Do you have the courage to raise the bar?

Posted by Andrew Netschay, in Blog, Psychology, Jul 24, 2011

You have your goals and targets for the next quarter and year. Have you developed these goals or has someone else set them for you?

When you hit these targets you’ll simply be meeting expectations. Status quo maintained nothing noteworthy here, on to the next quarter.

However, if you set your sights on even more challenging targets, there’s a much better chance you’ll exceed others’ expectations. This is the mark of a leader as you just raised the bar.

Now take this one step further and look at your team.

How did they perform last year? Will they hit their targets this quarter? Have you developed a culture that encourages risk taking and evolution?

In my experience, I’ve found the executives who had the confidence to hire people smarter than themselves were the leaders that either sprinted up the corporate ladder or created a new ladder at a company they built themselves. These guys had the courage to truly build an ‘A-Team’ and blast through pre-set goals and perceived limitations.

This is where leadership starts to get exciting!

Changing Gears

Posted by Andrew Netschay, in Blog, Leadership, Psychology, Jul 10, 2011

The element of surprise causes trauma. This a key principle taught in my street combat psychology seminars. It also applies in business.

Were you surprised by your company’s earnings report for the last quarter? If so, I’m sure that was an experience you don’t want to relive. How many meetings did you have to sit through while the board hammered you with pointed questions and accusations?

You probably suspected the numbers weren’t going to meet expectations. What kept you from taking action?

I propose the failure lies with your psychology. You were idling in ‘neutral’ instead of dropping the clutch, changing gears and accelerating into action.

As a Leader, your ability to take action swiftly – sometimes based only a few facts and mostly on intuition is critical. This ability is supported by your psychological transmission – the ability to switch psychological gears as required by the environment.

If you suspect there’s an issue with one of your teams or a project they’re delivering, don’t hesitate to take action and get the answers you need to switch gears into a certainty mind set. A certainty mind set supports immediate action. Taking action is your job.

Choking Hazards

Posted by Andrew Netschay, in Blog, Conditioning, Psychology, Jun 19, 2011

You’ve reviewed you team’s risk assessments and considered the options. Now it’s time to make a decision and execute. This is the point where many leaders falter. They choose to review all the available ‘facts’ again and schedule more meetings with their teams, in the process wasting valuable time. They know what to do, but, they hesitate.

In professional sports, this behaviour is called choking. The batter is at the plate, he sees the pitch coming straight at the strike zone but instead of swinging, he pauses a microsecond and then hears the umpire yell “Strike!” He has the training and experience but instead he stands over the plate one pitch closer to being called out.

The key distinction is he did not freeze. We freeze when we don’t know what to do. When we have the experience and skills to succeed and we choose not to act, that’s choking.

Choking in the corporate world translates into lost opportunities, stagnant growth and will potentially lead you out the front door.

How do you avoid choking?

First, remember choking is a decision you make. It is also within your power to execute. Once you take ownership of that decision it liberates you from external dependencies. Don’t ask for permission to decide. Forget about covering you precious behind, you’re not being paid to blame others.

You have this leadership role for a reason. Now take responsibility and lead.

Going the Distance

Posted by Andrew Netschay, in Blog, Conditioning, Leadership, May 28, 2011
  • Building a strong team that will ‘go to war’ with you to win the largest contract in your industry.
  • Achieving consistent growth, quarter after quarter, year after year.
  • Instilling culture of trust, honour and authenticity.

All of these require a long term approach to Leadership. Getting your team to consistently deliver results does not occur because you command them to “make it so!”

That difficult customer that fails to appreciate the value your organization delivers and the heated negotiations over price and contract terms.

These issues are seldom resolved overnight. Your ability to persevere and deliver over the course of years is required to win that customer’s trust and ensure their contract renewal becomes a mere formality.

The current focus on quick fixes embraced by a workforce suffering from attention deficit disorder does not pave the way for consistent growth. It may deliver an impressive quarter once or twice but does not ensure your firm’s relevance the following year.

Leading your team to deliver on a consistent basis requires an approach similar to training for a championship fight. You cannot cram the conditioning required to fight for 15 rounds into a week. Professional fighters train for years to hone their skills and then enter a fight camp two to four months prior to their championship bout that will last 25 minutes, if it goes the distance (that’s five five-minute rounds if you’re a UFC fan). Die hard boxing fans will remember the 15 round battles fought by Ali and Frazier. Those epic wars required incredible endurance, conditioning and heart from both fighters.

If a fighter trains for a fight expecting to knock out his opponent in the first round, his conditioning (or lack thereof) will fail him in the fourth round at best. We saw this happen to Mike Tyson in his last fights before he retired.

Instilling the qualities of stamina, patience and forbearance into your teams will pay significant dividends in your company’s future. As a Leader, you have no choice but to have a long term view. Train and develop your junior managers today as they will be the closing your firm’s critical contracts in the future.

Are You Comfortable with Confrontation?

Posted by Andrew Netschay, in Blog, Confrontation, Leadership, Psychology, May 15, 2011

Having spent many years negotiating contracts with the proverbial 500-ton corporate gorillas, I’ve identified many parallels between the tactics required to survive physical assault and the strategies needed to manage relationships with clients, vendors, executive management teams and colleagues.

The current corporate mantra is to strive for a win/win solution. This requires developed negotiation and conflict resolution skills. A knee-jerk reaction to meet force with force is rarely a viable option if the longevity of your business or climbing the corporate ladder is a goal.

What type of confrontations do you face on a daily basis?  Your initial reaction to a confrontation will set the tone for the role you will play and the outcome. If your first reaction to the signs of conflict is fear, you’re not alone. Many prefer to remain at ‘arm’s length’ from conflict. A raised voice or a display of aggression can be perceived as stressful if it is not seen for what it is: a simple tactic.

As long as you perceive confrontation as a stressor you will react in fear. The key is to become comfortable with confrontation. Each confrontation is an opportunity to learn and grow. If you choose not to expand your comfort zone it will automatically shrink.

Getting comfortable with confrontation can only occur if you start getting engaged in more confrontations. You’ll start to see patterns of tactics emerge as you actively participate in more negotiations. The experience will be invaluable.

So the next time you have an option to reschedule or defer a meeting you’ve been avoiding, don’t. Plan the agenda, prepare for the meeting and dive right in. Send me a note and let me know how you did.