From Chapter 2:

You’re One of Them

For all of the pressures of running your organization or department, it’s good to be the top gun. Your salary is probably the highest. Your office is probably the cushiest. Your parking space—well, you get the idea.

However, there is danger in allowing these perks to hijack your identity as the all-around shepherd of the firm. Running a firm or division does not confer royalty, but it does leave you vulnerable to feeling too much like a head of state. This is a feeling that your employees can sense, and it is a tremendous detriment to their willingness to work hard for you. The reality, of course, is that you must be the role model, working harder than anyone in your organization to keep it productive, competitive, and ahead of the curve. There are a few small, seemingly innocent behaviors that you should avoid to maintain your credibility as a good leader: Don’t joke about firing people. Steer clear of conversations about personal finances. Keep your temper in check—everyone is testing your authenticity and checking you out daily. And never forget your manners—always be hyper-vigilant about remembering a name, providing a smile, holding the door, avoiding a low blow. The overarching theme here is: Remain cordial and humble. You’re a boss. You’re not a superhero. No one is. And if your team knows that you know it, they will respect you more. You’ll engender more trust. In short, you’ll look like the sort of person worthy of their best efforts.

From Chapter 3:


Speeding the pace of your business will require certain adjustments on your part and that of your staff. The pace of business quickens with every new generation entering the workplace, and the need for speed is the price of entry to almost every industry, both to stem costs and to keep the competition guessing. You’ll have to be more dynamic, listen more closely, and have a higher tolerance for change than ever before. On occasion, you’ll also have to remind your unit’s or company’s more conservative personalities that you are wearing the big shoes and that what you say goes. For example, you’ll have to keep your legal staff in its place. Lawyers should not be allowed to run your company. They’re not innovators. They’re not motivators. They’re regrettably overtrained to mouth, “No, we can’t.”

Here are a few strategies and guidelines to get you through the process of accelerating your organization to winning speed.

Focus on the top line: Great leaders are almost obsessive about jumping the revenue curve through volume growth. They know that being persistent about finding new sales opportunities is essential to the bottom line’s long-term improvement. In a fast-paced business environment, it is all too easy to mistake quarterly results for success. Good leaders recognize the importance of controlling costs but resist the temptation of overemphasizing cost cutting. Trimming overhead can shore up a sagging bottom line temporarily, but the benefits are fleeting and can be ultimately self-defeating. Super leaders wake up each morning thinking of ways to produce profitable revenue by strengthening their brand or service to gain momentum or by introducing the next product innovation to keep that critical competitive edge. This focus on “the next big thing” becomes infectious because your reports take their cues from the boss.