Category Archives: Thinking

Sitting RINGSIDE in the Corporate Arena

By Peter Jeff, Author
The Leadership Mints Series

Sitting ringside at a professional boxing match as a sportswriter you see the splatter of the blood on the canvass. You hear the grunts and groans.  You wince at the pain in the eyes of the boxers.  And you see ropes vibrating with a venom like a rattlesnake when a boxer is on the ropes.

        You are THAT close to the action, even closer than those who pay $10,000 a seat to sit AROUND the ring albeit not exactly ringside. And there in the thick of the action a ringside viewer “gets a clearer and more comprehensive view of the infighting, something the home fan seldom gets (watching on television),” observed a long time boxing sportswriter.

So do those who sit ringside in the corporate arena  — close enough to sit eye-to-eye with the Chief Executive Officer but yet far enough away to never have to risk going toe-to-toe. They become “consiglieri or the real advisors behind the throne,” notes David D’Alessandro, the former Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial Services in his book Executive Warfare.

Chances are you first became familiar with that job title — Consigliere– in the movie The Godfather. Robert Duvall’s character served as the trusted lawyer and confidant to the Corelone family.

The Consigliere often had to referee internal and external conflict without getting killed in the process. He or she stayed above the fray primarily because he or she stood on the sidelines, never in line for one of the line positions to run the family.

Those Consiglieri  (plural of Consigliere) are often staff leaders in human resources, public relations, investor relations and the law department, D’Alessandro observes who have “unfettered access to the boss.”  They are able to walk into the office of the CEO” without a moment’s notice and just glide by the assistant with or without an appointment.”That’s because those consiglieri have no personal career ax to grind and no personal agenda to pursue.

I enjoyed that kind of unfettered access to the Chief Executive Officer and other key decision makers in a billion -dollar plus company for nearly 20 years. Sitting ringside in the corporate arena, I saw up close and personal how leaders throughout the organization dealt with complexed problems from liability and compliance issues to employee engagement and media scrutiny that impacted the bottom line. Continue reading

Weaving the Threads of History

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to leverage history in solving today’s challenges. Reading time: 4:34

         The old chicken-and-egg conundrum of leadership still stirs a discussion: Does history make great leaders or do great leaders make history?

      history PAGE3 Some may agree with the historian Thomas Carlyle who insisted that great people make history. On the other hand some may agree with author Leo Tolstoy and historian Arnold Tornbee who argued that history made great   people.

       No matter. One way or another, history plays a key role in shaping our lives as author Ralph Waldo Emerson observed: “man is explicable by nothing less than his history.”

       As Abraham Maslow observed history is part and parcel of each of us just as a steak that you have eaten is now part of you not, fully assimilated. “The past is not something filed away but integrated into,” Maslow writes.

    The most effective visionary leaders straddle the fence of time across the bridge of history–with one eye clearly anticipating the future and one eye clearly remembering the past.

    They see history as a strategic tool where the past is a crucible filled with the potential of tomorrow — not a coffin filled with the decay of yesterday. They agree with philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s insight that “life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.”

      Maybe that’s why President Harry S. Truman spoke so memorably, so meaningful, Continue reading

KEN: Seeing Way Beyond Barbie

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to motivate quality behavior. Reading time 3:27.

     Can do! As a leader, you have that can-do spirit, energy and drive. But the most effective leaders voice their can-do mantra with a special accent on their “ken” that turns performance into mastery and productivity into even greater profitability.

     aa wave  With their ken, leaders can “gain understanding, insight and vision, “ according to the dictionary definition of the word “ken.” With their ken, leaders see beyond what others merely can.

      With their ken, a leader’s vision becomes something you feel more than something you see. With ken, a leader’s vision becomes an anchor more than a target, a vision that stabilizes the waves of change. And with their ken, a leader’s vision becomes a take on what it all mean rather than what means it will all take.

     With their ken, a leader’s vision becomes the father of purpose and the mother of invention. No matter how stacked the odds. Continue reading

Leaders See Off The Charts

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to think more strategically. Reading time 2:57.

       Leaders see more than meets the eye. They absorb more than observe. They see well beyond what the Snellen Charts measure that turns every eye doctor’s office into a mini Spelling Bee.

     chart Those letter-littered charts always begin with a big letter E and then feature a series of ever diminishing squiggles that eventually end in a blur for most of us.

     But those squiggles never blur in a leader’s eyes. That’s because leaders see much more than letters on a chart. Leaders see what the Snellen Chart doesn’t measure—depth perception and peripheral vision.

   As their vision becomes more strategic, more in-depth, more all encompassing—their thinking becomes more productive, more creative and more innovative. And as their vision becomes more than letter perfect they read more than what’s on the chart

     No wonder the most effective leaders see their SUPER vision ability as a key to their supervision capability. Continue reading

Factoring So Much More Than 1+1

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you be more strategic in your problem-solving. Reading time: 2:56.

       One and one don’t always add up to two. At least not to astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington.

        ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????He noted that we often think that when we have competed the study of ONE, we know all about TWO, that TWO is ONE and ONE. “We forget that we still have to make a study of AND.”

       That’s what leaders do. They make a strategic study of AND. They don’t grab at the easiest solution. They broaden their reach. They grasp at what could be plausible not simply possible.

       They don’t settle for stating the following letters in order: IMPOSSIBLE. Instead they restate for added emphasis the same letters in the same order: I’M POSSIBLE.

        Likewise when confronted with a mathematical proportion problem, they don’t grab for the most obvious course of action. Instead they grasp at the larger more strategic issue to solve the real problem. They seek to answer the more defining and refining question: AND? No wonder former 60 Minutes investigative interviewer Mike Wallace always said that one word –AND?–was his most revealing question. Leaders  command  the strategic study of AND.

        Consider the pizza restaurant that sponsored a back-to-school promotion. Continue reading