Tag Archives: MIke Myatt

Good Advice Often Makes Bad Things Happen

Mike Myatt, who writes on leadership, says it straight. In a post titled Really Bad Advice, he first sets the scene:

I just finished reading an article where the author (a self professed innovation guru) recommended strategy be aligned with capability, and that to allow ambition to exceed capability is a nothing short of a recipe for disaster.

And then he tears into that: 

Let me get right to it – if you want to fail as a leader then please follow the flawed advice given by the wizard of innovation mentioned in the opening paragraph. But if you want to rise above the crowd and become a truly innovative leader, I’d ask you to regard said advice for what it is – more of the same. It’s just another well-intentioned sound bite that will destroy your company and your career if you choose to follow it.

The underlying problem, much more general than Mike’s specific issue, is quite common: Good advice makes bad things happen. Business, like life itself, is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every case is different. What worked for me could easily be disastrous for you. I’m flattered when people ask my advice, but I’m always hoping they have the common sense to listen, digest, evaluate my story for their situation, and execute on it only if it actually makes sense for them, then, in their situation. I shudder when it seems like people are going to just execute on my advice without internalizing first. 

Meanwhile, back with the specific issue on strategy, Mike puts his objection very clearly: 

leaders who complain about a lack of resources, are simply communicating they are not very resourceful. Great leaders find a way to develop and/or acquire the best capability in order to create a certainty of execution around a winning strategy. If you want to fail as a leader, hire B and C talent and ask them to win with an inferior strategy. Thinking in a limited manner will only accomplish one thing – it will limit your future.

That too, I think, is good advice that might or might not apply to some other situation. To be taken in moderation, and used with care.

Conclusion: This goes straight to my general feeling that there are no such things as best practices

(Image: bigstockphoto.com)

5 Excellent Leadership Tips for 2012

As the year draws down, a good time for reflection, I’d like to call your attention to Mike Myatt‘s 5 Leadership Tips for 2012 on Forbes.com, posted yesterday. I think he’s 5-for-5 on this. Here are my three favorites:screen shot

  1. Family. Mike says “If you’re struggling with the family balance thing my advice is simple: don’t attempt to balance your family – make them your priority. I’ve simply lived too long to buy into the myth that success in the workplace will create happiness at home.”
  2. White space. I love this. “Leading doesn’t always mean doing. In fact, most often times it means pulling back and creating white space so that others can do. This is true leadership that scales.”
  3. Unlearning. Also brilliant: “We’ve all acquired knowledge, beliefs or positions that but for the protection of our ego, would easily admit are outdated. I can think of no better definition for a closed mind than someone unwilling to change their opinions. Smart leaders recognize it’s much more valuable to step across mental lines in the sand than to draw them.”
  4. Listening.
  5. Engagement.

Mike gives much better explanation than the summary here, and there are some excellent comments too, so I recommend this post.