Wednesday, March 11, 2009

As small things cumulate, bigger things will happen

Dave Ulrich wrote the foreword for the 2002 book "The Extraordinary Leader."

Ulrich, a management guru who Fast Company magazine recognized as "one of the 10 most innovative and creative leaders," outlined his advice for leaders. Here are three of his points:


1. Start small. Going from good to great follows an "S" curve of learning. Starting small means doing something now, something within your control that will have an immediate impact. As small things cumulate, bigger things will happen. A leaders should identify some quick, simple, and readily visible things that can be done along the "S" curve path.

2. Excel at something. The worst leaders have an average profile with no great strengths or weaknesses. They are "vanilla" leaders, not standing out on anything. My advice to you as a leader is to figure what you are good at and improve it. Be good at something, then a few things.

3. Remedy fatal flaws. (1) The inability to learn from mistakes and develop new skills; (2) being interpersonally inept; (3) being closed to new ideas; (4) failure to be accountable for results; and (5) not taking initiative. Assess yourself and see how others assess you on these five fatal flaws. If any show up, work on them fast and furiously.