Are You A Leader We Can Bank On?

Focus on the jockey as much as the horse

“Focus on the jockey as much as the horse. Or, if racing eludes you, bet on the head coach…would you feel confident investing your hard-earned money on a legal bet this weekend on a team in the NFL without researching or knowing the history of the coach of that team?” – Jim Cramer

We’ve written about the five common mistakes we see CEOs make, and it’s also interesting to look at the opposite angle – who is leading well.

After reading an interview in last Sunday’s newspaper with Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s Mad Money, about his new book, I had to find out who he identified as the 21 “bankable” CEOs – and why.

Almost all 21 have a communications tie-in, and they are in line with how we coach many of our CEO clients.

Whatever our role, we should always be mindful of ways to increase our leadership.

Here are four traits of “bankable” leaders that are worth adopting:

Engender Trust.

The most important element of leadership is trust. Trust will help you weather the storm, as Cramer describes of Howard Schultz’ leadership and recent turn around at Starbucks. Almost everything he says he will do – he does. Even in the face of doubt, he has delivered results from Europe to China. Whether this is integrity or follow through, it breeds trust. Named as one of our Top Ten Communicators of 2011, Schultz is a role model for how to engender trust.

The “Get It” Factor.

We look for the “Get It” factor in all levels of hiring here at Decker, but it’s an essential element for leaders everywhere. It’s kind of like the “X-Factor,” but instead of measuring how much you stand out, it measures the way you relate to others. How do you demonstrate that you get it? By focusing on your listener. What do they need, what do they want? That’s what you need to tell them. Bankable leader Ron Shaich of Panera Bread appealed to youth by understanding that natural and organic was important to them. It’s paid off in customers and loyalty.

Create a Shared Vision.

True influence – and power – stems from creating a shared vision. One of the best in business today is Alan Mulally. We recognized him as one of our Top Ten Communicators of 2013 for translating his results into actions. And according to Cramer, “as long as Alan is running Ford” – it’s worth it as “a core investment.” Talk about trusting the jockey. 

Give (and get) Balanced Feedback.

Sharing critical feedback in a way that left him feeling empowered instead of deflated was one of the ways Bob Iger of Disney left a lasting impression on Cramer. Strengthening your team’s weaknesses while recognizing what they are doing well creates results. Neither Iger nor Decker originated the idea of balanced feedback, but you will always see a benefit from sharing 3×3, or balanced feedback.

We can all learn from these best practices – even if you’re not a CEO. Use these tips to increase your influence because we all want to be bankable.

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart

“Considering the inherent value of every person on the planet, I optimistically envision a future where all people are treated equally regardless of what they look like or in what part of the country they live.”    - Not what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said Ever wonder why TED … Continue reading

Just Add Humor

“I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” – Audrey Hepburn The key to being funny is not worrying about the outcome. Release that armor … Continue reading

How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

It’s something we all strive to do – make better choices. So much of the work we do at Decker focuses on helping others make better choices. We help people be more influential when they communicate their ideas. And an important part of being more influential comes from understanding how … Continue reading

Fake It Till You Become It

Several of our program leaders use the phrase, “Fake it till you make it” when they are coaching. I prefer to raise the bar on that challenge. Do as social psychologist and HBS Professor Amy Cuddy says: Fake it till you become it. Amy’s TED talk is filled with reasons … Continue reading

Video Blog: Steve Jobs motivated with numbers

Before coming up for air from the new Steve Jobs biography, I stumbled across a great example of how to motivate people by using graspable numbers. We call this a SHARP (Stories, Humor, Analogies, References and Quotes, Pictures and Visuals) using human scale statistics, which we’ve covered before but will again because … Continue reading

A little eye communication goes a long way for WOMM

Last week I wrote on various aspects of eye communication. A couple of experiences prompt me to write again – on how eye communication impacts word of mouth marketing. And how important is word of mouth marketing? 80% of reviews are positive…because people want to share things they enjoy. Known … Continue reading

Thankful for “Reality Check”

With so many good books out recently… “Outliers“, “Tribes“, “You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard” – had to have that in there ;-) why single out Guy Kawasaki’s “Reality Check” on this Thanksgiving? Because… It’s that good. It’s a big book. You can get a multitude of tips … Continue reading

You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard

With today’s headlines, now more than ever “You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard.” So I’m delighted to announce the release of my newly revised book, just published in hard cover from St. Martins Press! Some great blog reviews already received are from Nancy Duarte of Slide:ology fame, Garr … Continue reading