Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Leadership: Delegate Or Die - Douglas E. Castle

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Leadership: Delegate Or Die
One Of the Most Important Responsibilities Of A Leader Is To Delegate Responsibility





To be a leader and to maintain a position of leadership, you must be a competent and efficient delegator. By the act of delegating, you are not relinquishing control – you are actually expanding the realm and scope of your control. The larger the responsibilities and the larger the organization, the more proficient you must be at delegation.

In the military, “delegation” is defined as the action by which a commander assigns part of his or her authority commensurate with the assigned task to a subordinate commander. While ultimate responsibility cannot be relinquished, delegation of authority carries with it the imposition of a measure of responsibility. The extent of the authority delegated must be clearly stated.

Your success at delegation will determine the strength and length of your reign as a leader and commander. The most significant insights and skills which are required in successful delegation are listed below. They are worth studying:

==+ If you are obsessive-compulsive by your nature, do all that you can to rationally counterbalance this dangerous impediment to effective delegation. You cannot micromanage and be a leader. You cannot be the servant of your subordinates because you are insistent about things being done exactly as you would have them done;

==+ You must constantly keep the big picture and the broader focus in mind. If you are a perfectionist and overly detail-oriented, you will never be able to attain your organizational objectives while mired in minutiae;

==+ Understand all of your responsibilities, and itemize or componentize each of them. You'll find that each individual component can be delegated (as it must) to someone in your organization whom you can select. If the right individual is not among your inventory of Human Assets, then you must either replace some of your people, or your must acquire some new members with the requisite skill sets. The objective is to export as many of your responsibilities as possible, while retain the central responsibility of organizational stewardship, oversight and goal attainment;

==+ When you delegate responsibility for the accomplishment of a task or function, also remember to grant the requisite authority and to impose the necessary accountability to the person to whom you've charged with the job. Responsibility without authority is a recipe for managerial impotence and non- performance. Responsibility without accountability is a recipe for waste, abuse and failure;

==+ Since you, as a leader, are ultimately responsible for the successful and efficient attainment of your organization's most important goals, you must constantly monitor the performance of those to whom you've delegated, without being drawn in to correcting their mistakes yourself. Observe, measure, suggest, monitor and determine whether the subject task has been assigned to the right individual; sometimes a change may be warranted.

==+ Where you observe leadership potential in some of those persons to whom you've delegated tasks, you may find it wise to increase their roster or responsibilities, but to also grant them greater authority to sub-delegate to others who are subordinate to them. Remember that the greatest leaders know how to identify and cultivate leadership within their organizations. Be aggressive and bold about identifying and leveraging the leadership talents of other leaders within your organization. Encourage leadership and acceptance of increased responsibility. Reward it and give it appropriate recognition. Empowering other leaders liberates you to be a greater leader yourself.

==+ As you develop leaders and assign them to their respective specialty areas (not unlike fiefdoms within a kingdom), clearly identify where each one's territory begins and ends. Clearly define their responsibilities with minimal overlap. Keep your subordinate leaders separated from each other (unless you are present and orchestrating or conducting a meeting or hearing reports) – fiefdoms should not compete, but neither should their feudal lords unite, lest they undermine the king's leadership. 

In brief, don't permit your subordinates to take you over. Delegate, but do so without ever permitting your absolute command from being undermined. Keep your emerging leaders separated from each other, and even instill a competitive spirit amongst them to 'fight' for your approval.

As always, thank you for reading me. 


Douglas E Castle 

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TAKING COMMAND - Douglas E. Castle

TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

http://takingcommand.blogspot.com

The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Control Your Client From The Start - Douglas E. Castle - Taking Command

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Control Your Client From The Start
Note: This article originally appeared in The TAKING COMMAND BLOG


To all of our TAKING COMMAND! Readers:

If your firm is a consultancy, and you are finding it difficult to win fee-paying clients, the letter which I recently wrote to a friend and colleague might provide you with some serious insights into what is required in order to actually land clients instead of just engaging with them. Could you be selling too hard? Could you be talking too much? Could you be permitting your prospective clients dictate terms and conditions to you?
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Dear Disappointed Financing Consultant:

I am sorry to hear that following a month of conversations, your prospective client has decided to freely try to solve its capitalization objective on its own without having retained the services of your firm. Your client most likely doesn't know just how difficult it is and how much work is required in order to obtain capital for the growth of its operations in this difficult economy... where so many deals are competing for limited, sophisticated investor and institutional dollars.

Something must have gone wrong – and that “something” might just have been your over-indulgence of your prospective client. You've spent too much time coaching (for free), educating and selling the prospective client on your interest in acquiring it as a client and on your capabilities as a consulting firm. Sadly, the more you try to sell, the more that you will reduce your value in the prospective client's eyes. That's just Human Nature.

You've invested your time with that prospect in educating its president rather than in positioning yourself and your firm. Too bad. A great deal of conversation must have been wasted because you didn't set up the ground rules and frame yourself and your firm's role at the initiation of the relationship. Maybe you've forgotten that every step in communicating with a prospective client is actually a (gasp!) negotiation.

You see, prospective clients secretly want to be lead by a competent and confident consultant. They just are very hesitant to say this openly. And this means that you must establish yourself and your firm as competent, confident and in command and control. It begins with your very first conversation with the client. An you must assume the alpha role right from the inception of the relationship.

Now, getting back to the case of your consulting firm and your prospective client...

It appears that your prospective client's president views your firm not as a consultancy, but as a mere "money broker," to serve the purpose of just shopping his unsupported and somewhat amateur financing proposition to "real" investors and arranging to simply connect him with them in exchange for some unspecified commission -- without the burden of even executing a fee agreement or paying a much-required retainer to your firm. He was simply not made to be emotionally, intellectually or financially invested in your firm, or in your value proposition.

His perception is that you are merely hungry intermediaries and that his company has a "deal" which you will happily shop. He evidently does not see your value-added as a consultancy, and is taking an alpha (dominant) posture and position in your relationship. He might have arrived at (for whatever reason) this misconception of your value from the start.

You might have made some inadvertent missteps in the process of negotiating with him from the very beginning of our conversations - if you don't introduce yourself powerfully and establish a position of strength from the very outset of the relationship, you might find yourselves faced with a truckload of prospects, but no signed clients. That would be awful.

There's a definite demand in the market for what your firm does and for the valuable service that it provides. You'll definitely get many leads, and generate even more through your website and through your networking efforts. But you must establish yourself and your professional firm to every prospective client as a valuable resource and achieve that understanding from your very first communication! You must frame the relationship and set the tone. You must take command.

Perhaps one of the things that you should add to your weekly management meeting agenda is how you present yourselves (as leaders of a firm) to prospective clients from the very beginning, so that each and all of you can properly represent and position your firm to prospective clients to better insure control of the course of the relationship.

Additionally, you might consider letting your wayward client's president take two weeks (to shop his deal to "real" investors via LinkedIn and other means), and let him meet with some failure and frustration before you even accommodate him with further correspondence. Perhaps your errant prospective client's president should be left without a reply from you for two weeks – and then you can re-visit and engage with him again – this time taking a dominant role and re-framing the relationship. This short span of time might provide you and your firm with additional negotiating leverage and an opportunity to, in effect, start the relationship over and set it on its proper course.

Please give my suggestions serious consideration. I look forward to discussing this, and to my helping you to building a standardized approach for handling prospective clients. You have a powerful and intelligent Team  -- it's just a matter of better-defining yourselves to prospects, taking the controlling position in each relationship from the start, and using your respective skills and talents with better organization and united coordination to subtly overwhelm prospective clients. Yes – they [prospective clients] want and need to be rapidly overwhelmed by you and your firm.

I am confident that you can have a full roster of fee-paying clients under contract if you simply refine and polish your approach. You will win more signed clients, and simultaneously limit any wasted time – consider this to be a means of increasing your operating efficiency in client capture and retention.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to offer my comments in response to your prospective client's president's most recent email to you, which was tainted with a bit of condescension, dismissiveness and some disrespect for your value. Be confident that he will not get any financing ($50.0 - $100.0 million!) by his current scatter gun methods and amateur approach. I would suggest that you and your firm cool down and let this wine (i.e., your straying prospective client) ferment a bit more. Then come back heroically when your prospective client has predictably failed in its efforts without your firm's help.

In Friendship and With All Of The Best,
Contact me directly at http://bit.ly/CASTLEDIRECT


TAKING COMMAND - Douglas E. Castle

TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

http://takingcommand.blogspot.com

The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success



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Friday, June 05, 2015

Leadership: Don't Ask... Tell! -- Douglas E Castle

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If you are a leader (or are aspiring to become one), you'll need to manage people efficiently and effectively. This involves "framing" yourself as a commander instead of as a peer or as a mere moderator. One of the ways that a leader stands out from the crowd is that he or she does not make requests by asking -- he or she makes requests which are always worded as orders.

Instead of asking "Would you do this for me?", a leader who is truly in the proper posture of command will tell a subordinate "I need for you to do this for me. Your time frame to complete this is three business days, starting and including today. If you have any questions, I'll expect you to ask them of me as quickly as they come up, in the interests of meeting the deadline. Thank you." -- and then, following the dismissive "thank you", the leader will be silent and maintain eye contact.

There is power in telling instead of asking. If you ask, you leave yourself vulnerable to the other person's response and questioning; if you tell, you are delivering a command from a position of knowledge (of what needs to be done, how and when), and strength (as in citing your expectation instead of asking for permission).

If you are taking command -- and you should put yourself in the position of command at every possible occasion -- you must remember: Don't ask... Tell! People who ask are open to rejection , while people who tell exude more confidence and an expectation of cooperation from the person with whom they are communicating.

Thank you as always for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle

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TAKING COMMAND - Douglas E. Castle

TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

http://takingcommand.blogspot.com

The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Leadership: Avoiding Burdensome Bureaucracies -- Douglas E. Castle

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If you choose to lead or are chosen to lead any organization comprised of Human Beings (most are), you will find your ability to achieve objectives encumbered by burdensome bureaucracies. These bureaucracies are a virtual organizational tradition built on the following behaviors and assumptions in groups:

1) the belief that a committee decision will be better than one made by an individual;

2) the "presumption a democratic process" as the righteous route to societal success;

3) excessive delegation of even the simplest of functions in the interest of jobs creation, full employment and a tendency of many managers to surround themselves with Human insulation or gatekeepers;

4) project management configured in a series formation (i.e., where each step is dependent upon a large number of preceding steps) leading to processing and decision making bottlenecks;

5) excessive specialization in tasking.

Bureaucracies grow like cancers in mismanaged companies, governments and organizations unless leadership imposes a culture comprised of performance-based incentives, individual accountability and self-management. In the three-dimensional hierarchical chart of a well-led organization, the picture resembles more of a pyramid than an ever-widening cylinder.

Remember: Bureaucracies are destroyers of focus, momentum and accomplishment. Effective management makes rapid decisions based upon well-vetted information and immediately proceeds to action instead of wading through a quagmire of bureaucratic red tape, political correctness and petty politics.

Sad Example: ISIS is taking more territory and accumulating more assets while the international anti-terrorism alliance is busily "weighing variables". Apparently actions DO speak louder than rhetoric...

Thank you, as always, for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle

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TAKING COMMAND - Douglas E. Castle

TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

http://takingcommand.blogspot.com

The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Leadership: Strike A Power Pose - Douglas E. Castle - Taking Command

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Command Presence is a necessity for effective leadership.  In some individuals, this is intuitive; in others, it must be developed consciously through instruction. To be a leader, you must make those around you feel, beyond a doubt, that you are fully in command and control. You must get people's attention, keep their attention and have them aligned to follow your orders or instructions.

Command Presence is essentially presenting yourself as someone in authority, trusted and respected. This is partially done through the message conveyed by how you LOOK, how you CARRY YOURSELF, how you ACT, and how you SPEAK.

Body Language Is One Of The Keys To The "Appearance" Of Leadership
 

How you carry yourself portrays command presence or lack of it. Confidence is projected through your body language, and how you verbally deal with individuals and groups.
 

Walk (or stand) with your head up, eyes alert (as if focused on some object in  front of you -- as if a destination point), and your expression intent. You do not want to appear weak or vulnerable. You want to project the image of someone that knows why they are where they are, and who is trained and knows what they are doing. At the initiation of contact, do not smile.

Walk with intent. Don't shuffle your feet or use a "lazy" walk. Pick up your feet and move like you know where you are going, and that you have a purpose in going there. Walk briskly and purposefully in as straight a path as possible. In fact, before you enter a room, or ascend a platform, inspect the spatial layout to determine the straightest, most direct path to the place where you will be speaking.

You need to portray an  "I am in charge of this situation" image -- You must strike a power poseThe key is to be outwardly confident - even if on the inside you are scared out of your wits. You want your body language to convey confidence. Stand erect, with your hands on your hips and your legs shoulders' width apart, when addressing a group in a "situation room" or "briefing" environment. Accentuate your verbal points by using a closed hammer fist strike into the open palm of your other hand.

If you are behind a podium, or sitting at a desk, your posture must be erect and powerful, with shoulders squared, and face full forward. Accentuate your speech with powerful hand gestures. Always bear in mind that your physical gestures anchor your words.

To be a leader, you must consistently portray your command presence, and this is mostly done through intelligent and informed use of body language. Remember -- when you are in a position of leadership, your body language (the way you look, walk, stand, sit and gesticulate) speaks volumes.

As always, thank you for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle for The Taking Command! Blog

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TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

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The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Business Leadership: Founders Versus CEOs - Douglas E. Castle

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Business Leadership: Founders Versus CEOs



Founders tend to be entrepreneurial visionaries, who strive to put their future imagery of success into a machine which we refer to as a business. Founders are largely iconoclasts, rebels and disruptive types with the gifts of imagination, intuition and planning. In contrast, most hired CEOs (many of whom are hired by founders of companies in conjunction with those companies' respective boards of directors) tend to be best at turning intangible visions and printed plans into reality through management and tactical skills. In many cases, founders are excellent strategic thinkers, but are not well-suited toward coordinating all of the moving parts necessary in order to bring a business to the point of achieving its most important objectives.

The way I tend to think about the startup or early-stage enterprise CEO job is fairly simple: In a startup, founders are typically responsible for laying out the vision for the products or services that the company offers, while the CEO is responsible for leading the company towards the execution of that vision. That execution path includes areas such as company protocols, go-to-market strategies, operational structure and many many other aspects that complement the company vision. Similarly, the most important job of a startup founder is to set up the right team and structure to take his or her company to the next level; oftentimes that team requires a new, professional CEO.

A founder may be a great assembler of wonderfully talented Human assets to form a team to fulfill his or her vision, but harnessing, positioning and coordinating the efforts of those assets requires the focused skills of a get-it-done CEO. Founders set a pace, a tone, an image and a corporate culture for the companies which they form. They tend to think outside of the proverbial box, while professional CEOs are used to performing their work within specified parameters, such as budgets, personnel, and other key business variables.

In many cases, particularly in early stages, the roles of founders and CEOs overlap, but this doesn’t imply that the situation must remain that way throughout the lifetime of the company. Certainly, in very early stages, the company founders are in the best position to execute in the original vision of the company. However, after the company reaches certain level the founder-CEOs need to objectively evaluate the best path and team that can maximize the chances of reaching the next set of goals.

NOTE: You can train a CEO but you can’t train a founder….

This is very true. As a startup founder, if you are convinced you are the best person to serve as your company CEO, you have the talent and the desire to make it work there are certainly plenty of resources at your disposal to help you become a world class CEO. Having the right advisors and consultants to support your efforts can be a determining factor in this stage. At any point, you have to be convinced that your role as CEO is the best thing for the company and is not based upon personal ambitions or a need (usually born of insecurity) to control every aspect of your creation.

NOTE: As a founder, you already hold the most important title there is…

In the startup world, there is no greater or more rewarding achievement than founding a company that makes its way to success and to changing the world. As a startup or early-stage business venture founder, focus on always doing the right thing for your company; it is counterproductive to obsess about remaining as CEO if there is a better person to execute on that role. Always remember that you already hold the best tile someone can have: Founder. Without founders, there would never be companies... and without companies infused with the vision of their founders, there would never be any purpose or job for a CEO.

Founders can give the company a Human face and personality. They may be become a charismatic component of the company's branding identity. And very importantly, founders ofttimes make excellent chairpersons because of their ability to conceptualize in "big picture" terms, to remain true to their original vision, and because of their parental dedication to nurturing the company as their minds' offspring.

As always, thank you for reading me.  - Douglas E. Castle
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TAKING COMMAND - Douglas E. Castle

TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

http://takingcommand.blogspot.com

The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Negotiating: Speak With One Voice

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Negotiating: Speak With One Voice

 

When you are engaged in business (or other) negotiations on behalf of your company or team, be certain that you are always negotiating with one voice. Negotiating as an entire team (or as a fragmented group) will almost always work against you and your team in arriving at agreements, settlements or arrangements with vendors, investors or any other outside third party.

Amateurs in the art and science of negotiating often speak with multiple voices when dealing with their counterparts on the other side of the bargaining table, and this usually yields poor results for the team. If your counterpart can divide you, or sees that you are of different minds, he or she will take advantage of that state by putting you in the awkward position of arguing with your own team mates, or of choosing the weakest member of the team to be his or her double agent (or emissary) to the entire group.

If you are entering into negotiations, have your team discussions in private and 1) do not allow your counterpart to either bypass the spokesperson/negotiator for your group, or 2) allow any members of your team to open up a separate channel to the other side.

Of course there are exceptions to this general rule where governments or very large entities are concerned in either intelligence-gathering operations or ambassadorial talks about major treaties and other types of multilevel arrangements. In these situations, there might be some "back-door" or covert secondary discussions behind the scenes or through the ranks for numerous reasons -- but in each of these cases, the team makes its ultimate decisions internally, in private.

In sum, if you must speak in multiple voices (on the rare occasions where this is done by deliberate design), make sure that you are privately sharing information and reaching your own internal agreements about each of the simultaneous or parallel negotiations. So if you are not speaking with one voice, speak with just one mind.

Douglas E. Castle for Taking Command! and for The Douglas E. Castle Consultancy.

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TAKING COMMAND - Douglas E. Castle

TAKING COMMAND! ACHIEVING YOUR OBJECTIVES.

http://takingcommand.blogspot.com

The Guide to self-mastery, goal-setting, strategic planning and decision making, leadership, management, contingency planning, leveraging assets, rule and domination, choosing allies, dealing with enemies, assessing risk, time management, negotiation... achieving personal authority, influence, wealth and success through total TRANSFORMATION.

Key Terms: Leadership, management, self-growth, self-mastery, personal power, career advancement, negotiation, winning, wealth, success

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