Championing Your Consigliere

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to become more persuasive. Reading time: 3:19

       a black laptop computer with a red megaphoneYou’ve got a good idea. Now, consider presenting that idea with all the creative flair it took to develop it.

       Instead of simply  pitching it directly to the decision-maker, lateral it. Hand it off to a colleague –your champion–who has less baggage to carry into that decision-making meeting.

      And with no dog in the race,  your champion is likely to get farther– faster –than you.

     executive warfare

      Yes. Your Champion. One who speaks on behalf of another.

       Think of that champion as your consigliere (Italian for counselor.)

       You’ll recall meeting the  Consigliere in the movie The Godfather. Robert Duvall’s character served as the trusted lawyer and confidant to the Corelone family.

        The Consigliere — a.k.a. champion — 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.

     And those champions in your organization serve as servant leaders to leaders. They become “consiglieri or the real advisors behind the throne,” notes former CEO David D’Alessandro in his book Executive Warfare.

     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 have no ax to grind. No personal agenda to pursue beyond their current role. Continue reading “Championing Your Consigliere”

Watering Your Institutional Memory

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to reinforce your servant leadership. Reading time: 2:36.

The Watercarrier, a sculpture by Allan Houser, on display at Herman Miller Inc’s corporate headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan.

             You’re a servant leader. You display your emotional intelligence and your sense of humility in creating a productive environment, in nurturing the creative zeal of others, in solidifying symbiotic relationships that sustain and grow the organization.

             You know all of that in the abstract.

             But how can you share a concrete image of your role as a servant leader? How can you envision yourself in action long before you assume your duties? How can you leverage an image of a servant leader to help you better prepare for your new role as servant leader?

             For me, it’s the image of a tribal water carrier–those strong and committed colleagues — who literally did the heavy lifting that sustained life.

Doing the Heavy Lifting

           They carried bone-crushing heavy water on their backs that quenched thirst, cleaned soiled hands and healed wounds in harsh conditions.

           You can sense the self-less commitment to others in the hardened surface of The Watercarrier in Allan Houser’s sculpture showcased  at one of America’s most admired companies – Herman Miller Inc., the office furniture company in Zeeland, Michigan. The inscription reads:

       “The tribal water-carrier in this corporation
is a symbol of the essential nature of all jobs,
our interdependence, the identity of ownership
and participation, the servant-hood of leadership,
the authenticity of each individual.”

       Continue reading “Watering Your Institutional Memory”