The 2014 Ryder Cup...A Lesson In Contrasting Leadership

Oct 07 2014

I happen to enjoy golf and often find it a metaphor for business. I saw a leadership lesson in play during the 2014 Ryder Cup. The captain for the United States, Tom Watson, and Paul McGinley for Europe demonstrated two contrasting styles of leadership. Command and control was Watson's style and inclusive leadership was McGinley's.

McGinley went deep in gathering his input in formulating his game plan and selecting his team. Including his players, vice captains, as well as, the players and their caddies and coaches, he formulated a team which consisted of qualifiers and captain's picks. He wanted to determine who was playing well and knew he would get valid insights from the people he consulted. He also knew that they all believed in the goal of winning the Ryder Cup for Europe- more than that, this was the biggest event of the year from their perspective with only one possible exception, The Open. His role was to formulate the team and the game plan with the suggestions and input from others- knowing it was his decision in the final analysis but he would gain input and buy-in from the other stakeholders. As a matter of fact, he was selected as captain with player input- a process which the PGA of the US has not adopted.

Evaluating the Strength of Your Family Business

Do you know your organization’s most vulnerable link?

At what job level is your practice or company most vulnerable? Different experts will give different answers to this question. I believe the lowest level of your management or leadership team is your most vulnerable link. This group, line managers— works closest to the client or end product. This is the point where the owner’s vision, mission and values are passed on to the employees closest to your client or product. The ability of the line manager to recruit, select, develop, maximize and retain talent is paramount to building a great organization. 


Other ways to evaluate the strength of your organization

Additional indicators of strength are your Per Person Profit and Per Person Production and the number of strong managers/leaders you employ. If you have a large sales organization, rank each salesperson in order of their productivity over a similar time period. Let’s assume you have eight sales people. Divide them into four quarters (quartiles), add up their personal productivity in each quartile and then divide their total production into each quartile to determine the percentage of the total they represent.

For example, assume there are eight salespeople and a total production of 800 units. The top quartile (two salespeople) produces 400 units. That means 50% (400/800) of the total productivity comes from the top quartile of the sales staff. If salespersons three and four (the second quartile) produce 250 units, then they account for 31.25% of total production (250/800). Combining the production of the top and second quartile shows that the top 50% of the sales force accounts for 82% of the productivity. Ideally, you want to see the sales production distributed more evenly over the total sales staff. A balanced production signifies depth in talent and that is a good way to be!

When you have depth in sales talent you will ideally see the productivity more evenly divided among the quartiles. If the top two quartiles (50%) account for more than 70% of the total, you may need to work on upgrading your sales team. This exercise can be done for any group of people who hold the same job position to get an indication of talent and performance depth.

 “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what needs to be done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”                  —Author unknown


The irony of building a great organization

In a privately owned business, all managers/leaders need to be better skilled in leadership processes—recruiting, selecting, developing and maximizing talent—than their counterparts in large publicly owned businesses. There are a couple of reasons for this. Privately owned businesses and professional practices don’t have the resources that have been assumed by HR departments in larger companies. Often, the larger organizations forget these skills as their critical mass or size makes them seemingly unessential to their growth. In family-owned businesses, the people processes need to be more objective or they run the risk of placing a family member in a position where he/she will be detrimental to the success of the organization. The Bilco Company, a large privately owned family business, requires family members to apply for a position and it has been said by a key family member and executive that a family member may need to be more qualified than a non family member to gain a key position…

To get a copy of your unique role as a CEO of a family owned business- request the CEO Job Description at the top right of or email me at: .

What Top Producers Require from Their Manager / Leaders!

Feb 27 2014
Here are a few rules to consider when selecting someone to lead a team. You may view some of them as common sense, but don’t let that fool you. My 30 years of experience with both great and poorly performing companies has convinced me these rules are not commonly practiced, yet they are extremely important for building great teams.

The Real Cost of a Selection Error

Feb 27 2014
Selection errors cost four to five times annual salary. Hire the wrong person for a $30,000-a-year job and it eventually will cost you about $150,000. The tangible costs alone of a poor hire are often quoted as a minimum of 25-35% of a year’s base salary. The costs go beyond direct salary and benefits. The costs can include materials, recruiting expenses (fees, travel expenses, management time, and advertising), training time and training materials. Other less obvious costs could be losses such as spoilage of materials, products or other resources, lawsuits and even the loss of a customer. All of these costs are quantifiable, and you probably can think of more. And not the least of costs is the time and effort to repeat your recruiting and selection process and training.

The Six Common Selection Errors

Feb 26 2014
One of the sad outcomes of my consulting work is that I’ve seen, again and again, how companies make the same mistakes in selecting employees. There are a few common errors made by a majority of companies. Here are the top six selection errors that you need to avoid.

Understanding Where You Are In Your Organization’s Growth Stage

The logical place to begin our journey is to examine how privately owned businesses and professional practices grow. There is a natural and predictable set of stages into all companies fall… Here we will cover the four major stages of business growth: Entrepreneurial, Personal, Organizational and Beyond.

 The personal goals of the owners drive business decisions and ultimately form the basis of the growth stage where the business will reside. You do not need to attain a certain growth stage nor must you go through all these stages. You may start and indefinitely remain in the entrepreneurial stage. That is your choice and I place no value judgment on your conscious decision. That said, progressing through these stages is the surest and clearest path to greatness.