LinkedIn is testing out a new free service for members that will match them with other professionals who can give them career advice. LinkedIn will help to make matches between mentees and mentors via its online platform.

Mentorship is a significant part of the careers of every successful person that I know. I personally have sought out and found mentors since my early 20s working in Accenture.  I used to think this was normal, but I discovered over the last decade that many talented friends have never found a formal mentor relationship.

I have run the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Mentorship Program in Barcelona for the last 3 years and have learnt a lot as we have got 15 mentor-mentee pairs connected and working together to achieve specific goals.  Personally I have have benefitted from some wonderful mentors throughout my life – in particular Michael (my first long-term manager at Accenture), Brian (the reason I teach at IESE Business School), Harry (helped me take a big decision last year).  I personally mentor 5 people each year and it is hugely valuable for me to reflect on my own life as I listen to the challenges and opportunities of these inspiring individuals.

How will Mentorship work on LinkedIn?

Hari Srinivasan, director of product management at LinkedIn, says, “As people spend less and less time at a company, it’s hard to find people you need to talk to.”  LinkedIn user analysis shows that 89% of senior leaders (on LinkedIn) would be interested in giving advice.

This is how it works: There will be a section on your profile called “dashboard”. This will display the “career advice hub” where you can sign up to be a mentor or a mentee.

The first screen is a basic overview of the function and its value for both those giving and getting advice. From there, you are instructed to provide specifics on who you’d like to talk to with parameters such as region, industry, school, etc.

LinkedIn’s matching algorithm will immediately send recommendations for matches. If you select someone who is a match they will get a message immediately notifying them of your interest to connect. Once both parties agree, they can start talking.  Read more about LinkedIn’s plans for mentorship on Fast Company.

Two of the reasons mentorships fail are…

  1. the mentee isn’t able to articulate what they need or
  2. asks too much of a mentor.

Check out my blog post: “How to be a Good Mentor

LinkedIn is working on ways to make the conversation flow more smoothly so both sides get what they need.  LinkedIn say that it’s not meant to be a replacement for long-term mentorship. It’s meant to tackle those “quick question” requests such as whether you are taking the right approach in different scenarios.

Do you have a mentor?  Are you searching for a mentor?  Are you interested in becoming a mentor?  

This video is about Sequoia Capital and their 3 rules for success in leading a business.  They make leadership feel very simple.. but it works. They have 30 years of track record of successfully taking on and turning around businesses.

Their rules are:

  1. 30/30
  2. 80/20 &
  3. the golden rule: 90/10.

More on Leadership

This video is about Verne Harnish’s 5 habits of the Leaders that will succeed in the next decade.

Conor and Verne before the ScaleUp Conference in Barcelona

The 5 habits are:

  1. Ratio of “No” to “Yes”
  2. Meals with Influencers
  3. Calender hours on Gold Chip actions
  4. Total brains involved in your decisions
  5. Regular Reading and Thinking Time

Verne C. Harnish founded Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, both international entrepreneurship organizations. He also serves as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gazelles, Inc., a strategic planning and “executive education” company. He chairs the “Birthing of Giants” leadership program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

ScaleUp Barcelona

Here’s some of the action from last week’s ScaleUp Barcelona conference:

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This is an interview that I recorded with Christoph Magnussen during the EO Global Leadership Conference recently. It is part of a series of video blogs that Christoph is producing called: WorkDay Vlog.

Christoph has some great videos on his channel Workday Vlog and Worktools  – covering the new way of work, cloud tools for your company (office 365 vs Google Apps), the life of a tech entrepreneur.

The Making of the Interview

In a new move for the youtube video creator community… we actually have a short facebook live “the making of” video of myself watching Christoph getting ready for the shoot:

Were you at the EO GLC?  What did you learn?  What lesson will you take home and put into your business and into your local chapter?

Genetically we differ 2% from chimpanzees and 3% from worms. Our big difference is the cortex, the upper layer of the brain.  The cortex is the home of imagination.

Imagination gives us the choice to live intentionally.  We can make a choice: lead a life that is not just response to stimuli, but building towards a vision: an imagined future.

Why is imagination so important?

A leader sees a future that is not yet here.  This requires imagination. The clearer you can see and touch and feel this potential future the more compellingly you can communicate it to others.

Imagination is what makes us human. 2,300 years ago in the Greek city-state of Athens, Aristotle asked himself “what is the purpose of human life?”  Aristotle defined the purpose of an object as being that which it can uniquely do.  A human is alive – but plants are also alive – so that cannot be human purpose.  A human feels – but animals also feel – so that cannot be human purpose. The unique gift of humanity is reason, the ability to solve problems in the mind, to imagine.

How can you develop your imagination?  The video below shares a tool that Jim Collins uses to develop his power of Imagination.

If you are reading this via email, the video is on the blog here: Start with the End in Mind

Today is Martin Luther King Day.  Martin Luther King had courage as a leader to stand up for what is right.  He was willing, and did finally, pay the full price as a leader.

Update: I recorded a Facebook Live video session about this post and Bill Treasurer’s new book:

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Conor & Bill on Conor’s roof terrace, Barcelona 2015

Bill Treasurer’s latest book, “A Leadership Kick in the Ass” launches today, January 16.  Bill is a good friend and a trusted source of expert guidance when I have questions about leadership, life and living well.  The pic to the right is from Bill’s last visit to Barcelona in 2015.

I first met Bill in 1996 at Accenture’s Global Leadership Training facility in St Charles, near Chicago USA.  We were put on a team of 4 consultants for a week-long training course.  I loved the experience, and I gained a leadership mentor that week.  Bill has gone on to publish 5 books on Leadership and speak on the stage with Marshall Goldsmith, Ken Blanchard.  I’m proud to say that Bill is turning into a Leadership guru.

About this post...  I did a short interview with Bill about his life and his motivations for writing this latest book.  First, here is Bill himself explaining what the new book is all about...

How to Lead with Experience: Making the Shift

If you are reading this via email you can watch the video on the blog here: How to lead with Experience

The Rhetorical Journey Interviews Bill Treasurer

Over to Bill… 

Where did the idea for the book come from? 

I didn’t know where the book came from until after I wrote it! Though I’ve worked with lots of famous companies over the years, the bulk of my work has been with three unionized construction companies based in Chicago. They have a very low tolerance of leadership fru fru. If you don’t give them practical and useful stuff that works, they will chew you up and spit you out.

This book is low on theory and high on practicality. Even the title was influenced by my construction company clients. Believe me, “ass” is the tamest word I hear when I’m working with them!

What single achievement are you proudest about? 

Honestly, when other parents compliment my wife and I on our kids. I love being my kids dad.

Outside of my home-life, the achievement I’m most proud of is having developed long-term relationships with my clients. In this business, if you’re not adding value, your business will fail. I love my clients, and I love the trust that we’ve built together. I consider the fact that they’ve entrusted me with the development of their leaders to be a sacred honor.

If you could speak to every person on the planet for 1 minute what would you say (what would you ask of them?)?

I would have the world start each day with 5 minutes of reflective silence. With all the technological bombardment in the world, we often move too far off-center, away from our inner wisdom.

With even 5 brief minutes of silence each day, people could become reconnected with the wisdom inside them, and collectively, humanity would be a lot better off with more wisdom and less distraction.

Who are 5 people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself?

My three children, Bina, Alex, and Ian. My wife, Shannon. And all my clients.

What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?

I sucked at leading. I know that because one of my employees had the courage to tell me. At first I got defensive. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. I didn’t know who I was as a leader, so I had adopted the leadership style of my main leadership role model: my dad. Turns out, my dad was a controlling temperamental hothead, and I was mimicking him.

So I picked up my first book on leadership: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. It lit a fire in me. I started reading more leadership books, and then entered graduate school and studied leadership. My thesis focused on the effectiveness of various leadership styles. Before long, I got better as a leader myself. Now I work with leaders as part of my professional practice. I owe that courageous employee a debt of gratitude for telling me I sucked as a leader.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

 I’m a gregarious loner. People sometimes mistake me for an extraverted socialite.

In actuality, I’m a very solitary person and relish my time alone. I sometimes think of myself like a full moon that you can see during the morning. I’m at my best when I am able to be a bit of an outsider, observing the world with a certain objectivity, and then sharing what I’ve observed in my books.

I can be social, but it’s just as important to me to be unsocial so that I observe the world without becoming subsumed by it.

What is one internet resource that you regularly use?

Wikipedia. Someday, when computers get integrated with human biology, I’m going to upload Wikipedia into my brain!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

You mean besides my new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass? J

One of my all-time favorite leadership books is Obedience to Authority, by Stanley Milgram. When you learn how easily people capitulate to authority figures, with little or no coercion, it becomes less perplexing to see how a Hitler or other malevolent leaders emerge. Every leader needs to read this eye-opening book.

About Bill Treasurer

Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer (CEO) of Giant Leap Consulting, Inc. His new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, focuses on the crucial importance of leadership humility. He is also the author of international best-seller Courage Goes To Work, which introduced the new management practice of courage building and Leaders Open Doors, which became the #1 leadership training book on Amazon. Bill’s clients include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, Walsh Construction, Spanx, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs, and many others. Learn more at: www.CourageBuilding.com/Kickass

Connect with Bill through social media: facebook.com, twitterlinkedin. youtube

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Overlooking the White House

I was in Washington DC the last 6 days teaching on the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Leadership Academy 2016.  We had 28 leaders from all around the world – China, Nepal, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Canada, Germany, Australia, USA, UK.  The White House was being prepared for the inauguration of the next US President.

Christophe Magnussen is an inspiring entrepreneur from Germany. We made a short video up on the roof of our hotel, overlooking the winter evening sky of Washington DC.

Interview with Christoph Magnussen

If you are seeing this by email, here is the video: Interview with Christoph Magnussen

Christoph has some great tips on entrepreneurship and productivity over on his youtube channel.  I like the work he puts in to making the videos engaging and fast moving.

The Key to a Killer Keynote Talk

Here, Christoph took some time with another Leadership Academy attendee, Rich Mulholland from South Africa to discuss how to become a better keynote speaker:

If you are seeing this by email, here is the video: Interview Rich Mulholland

Don’t waste time in meetings

If you are seeing this by email, here is the video: Don’t waste time in meetings

If you can’t sell, you can’t lead

If you are seeing this by email, here is the video: If you can’t sell, you can’t lead

How to effective work Remotely

If you are seeing this by email, here is the video: How to effective work Remotely

What Makes a Leader?

Harvard Biz ReviewDaniel Goleman’s article “What makes a Leader?” is the single most requested article in the history of the Harvard Business Review.  He looked at what leaders actually do, and what impact these behaviours have on the people around them.

Goleman is the psychologist who introduced the term “Emotional Intelligence” to the field of human behaviour.  In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. Without it, a person can have first-class training, an incisive mind, and an endless supply of good ideas, but still will not be a great leader.

Emotional Intelligence

The chief components of emotional intelligence are:

  • self-awareness,
  • self-regulation,
  • motivation,
  • empathy, and
  • social skill

The 4 Positive Leadership Styles

  1. Visionary – big vision
  2. Coach – gets best out of others
  3. Affiliate – have a good time
  4. Consensus – brings in many views

The 2 Most Negative Leadership Styles

  1. Pace-setter – leads thru example but believes nobody else is quite as good as them
  2. Command and Control – coercive and bullying

 

Daniel Goleman Interview…

These 6 styles are described by Daniel Goleman in the interview below.

* What Makes a Leader? Daniel Goleman, 2004

 

If you liked this post, you will also enjoy the posts What is Leadership? and What is Mentorship?

“You can take my life, but you cannot take my freedom” William Wallace (through the mouth of Mel Gibson)

Freedom sounds like good stuff.  Generations have fought and died to allow us the individual freedom that we enjoy today.

Freedom is not the freedom from something, it is the freedom to choose to do or not to do something.  Freedom comes with a price: you are responsible for your choices.

pablo-40

Freedom is a burden.

Freedom is not fun.  Freedom is a challenge for individual human beings to handle.  Few accept complete responsibility. Existential psychotherapists say that people will go to extreme mental contortions to avoid seeing two truths: we die and we alone are responsible for our life.

Andy Warhol said that if he could hire anyone, it would be a “boss”.  Someone who would tell him what to do each day.  It is tiring to have to personally decide what is important and what to work on each day.  Much easier to outsource the challenge to a boss, or a political party, or a guru.

It takes courage to live with the responsibilities inherent in freedom. We have the power to shape our lives, and we have the capacity to take action to create and to destroy. We are responsible for our lives.

Gandhi said that all rights come with corresponding responsibilities. All rights can only be earned by carrying out the required duties. The right to be free comes with the duty of full responsibility for your actions.

Edit 14/12/2016: Added this wonderful animation of this post by @Saminsights

The Source of Passion in our Life

I’ve been meeting a lot of CEO coaches over the last 6 weeks in order to develop my business Vistage Spain.  I am interested in meeting all of the people that CEOs can turn to when they need clearer vision, greater commitment and significant change.

I had a wonderful coffee and discussion with Rabieh Adih, executive coach and founder of Shine Coaching, today.

We discussed passion.  What it is, where it comes from, how it dies, how it is brought back…

My personal position is that passion and meaning can only come from within an individual human being.  It can only come when that person knows that they have given more than has been demanded.  It is only this Chosen Sacrifice that can result in a feeling of meaningfulness in a life.  If you give only the bare minimum, if you treat everything as a transaction…  you will kill passion and find your way to apathy.  It is only by choosing to give more than is necessary that you use your freedom in a meaningful way.

“It all starts with Love” Raul Cristian Aguirre

My friend and entrepreneur Raul Cristian Aguirre wrote recently in the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Octane magazine.  His message “It all starts with love”.

Now, I’m the first to hate hippy slogans and idealism, but Raul’s message is not about Love in the US Romantic Comedy sense.  He speaks of another meaning.

We often confuse love with liking or love with lust or love with enjoying being in someone’s company.  These are not love.  They can help you get to love.  Love is not a response.  Love is action.  Love is giving when not being asked to give.  Love is to give without waiting for anything in return.  Love is Chosen Sacrifice.

It is only through daily acts of giving more than is asked that we live lives of passion.

These acts must be chosen.  We must give freely.  Thus, freedom is the burden…  but it is the path to a life of passion.

The Freedom to Give More than is Asked by Life

Life places demands on you.  You can pay the minimum price.  There are a whole legion of workers in business that are the “Working Dead”, the “Quit and Stayed”…  day after day after day they deliver the necessary minimum work.  They achieve exalted states of Apathy.  (In Harry Potter, these might be the “Dementors” creatures who feed off your fears).

You can use your freedom to choose to give more than the asking price.

I don’t mean that you pay €5 for tomorrows newspaper.  I don’t mean that you pay €10 for your next bus journey.

The next email you write… take 10 seconds to make it 1% better than necessary.

The next person you pass in the hallway…  take a few seconds to really look into their eyes when you ask “how’s your day?”

The next person you meet with…  ask them about why they work, what is going well, what is not going so well.. and take interest in who they want to become.

Practice giving a tiny little extra in these small things.

This is where passion grows.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

 

 

This post describes Corporate Boards –

  1. What do they do?
  2. How do I join one? and
  3. What are my responsibilities as a Director?

i_bannerboard

A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization, which can include a non-profit organization or a government agency or corporation.  In a stock corporation, the board is elected by the shareholders and is the highest authority in the management of the corporation. The board of directors appoints the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the corporation and sets out the overall direction for the company.

What does the Board do?

herman-daemsProfessor Herman Daems is teaching today on the IESE Advanced Management Program.  His course is “The role of the Board of Directors in Evaluating and Selecting the Strategy”.  Dr Herman Daems is professor at University of Leuven and visiting professor at Harvard Business School, and currently he is the Chairman of the Board at BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV.  He has been part of many public, private and charitable boards over his career.

I wrote a few notes as I sat at the back of the classroom.  What does the board actually do?

  • Develop an Ambition for the Company – an ambition is not a strategy.  An ambition might be to “Climb Everest”.  A strategy would be the specific path to gather the necessary resources and execute the climb of the mountain.
  • Find the Leadership to develop a Strategy to realise the ambition – management must develop strategy.
  • Approve a strategy – Important to be clear that a board does not make the strategy, only approve that the leadership’s strategy supports the Company Ambition.
  • Provide Resources (Financial and Human) – importantly the board establishes the dividend policy
  • Balance the Power of Differing Interests (shareholders, management, employees, government, public) – board members must have general business experience.  Specialist members do not make good board members.  Board must make collective general business decisions, not just good specific decisions.  Individual members must have credibility and be willing to raise their hand and make an impact.
  • Monitor and Control Strategy – the board plays a much greater role on controlling strategy than on deciding the strategy.  Management will rarely say that their strategy is not working.  This is where the board is really necessary.
  • Control the use of Resources, control the risks involved – see next item…
  • Assume responsibility for the actions and risks of the company – The Board of Directors have “collective responsibility” for the actions and risks of the company.  Members are not personally responsible.  Some legal attempts to hold a finance expert or an audit committee member personally responsible have always been pushed back by courts on the basis that board is collective responsibility.  In banking crisis, some executives have been held personally responsible, but in no cases have board members been found personally responsible.

 

How do you get onto a Board?

“People often ask me ‘I’d like to make a change in my career and play a role as a board member.’  I first ask how much money they are making now.  I don’t want your role as a board director to be the significant source of income for your life.  If you are dependent on this income, you are not going to be a good director.” Herman Daems

In most countries, board members can be fired at will.  You do not want to depend on this income.

There are 5 specific reasons why you might be appointed to the board of a company:

  • You represent a shareholder or stakeholder of the company – you represent a reference shareholder, a private equity company, a venture capitalist, a strategic owner
  • You bring specific knowhow or capabilities to the board – technological, financial, market knowledge, legal
  • You bring a specific experience – you are a former CEO or a director in other companies
  • You have a reputation for reliability, independence; you bring reputation to the company – …also you are always contactable (crisis happens on Sundays, board is like fire service…  emergencies happen)
  • You have access to a relevant network for the company

 

What is your role on the Board?

  • It is important to find an equilibrium between the interest you represent and the company interests.  A board member is responsible to all stakeholders.  Take into account the specific traditions, structures, culture of this board.
  • Come well prepared
  • Ask questions, be critical… but solution oriented.  Directors who are always critical start to lose engagement with management.
  • Do not get stuck into details (do not become a shadow executive) – do not try to prove how smart, wise you are
  • Be aware of your legal and societal responsibilities
  • Speak your mind
  • Be courageous, remain friendly

Further Reading