Episode 43: Steve Drotter On Managing Managers & The Leadership Pipeline [The Amiel Show]

We talk a lot on the podcast about stages of development within adults–why they matter and what you find while transitioning to a new stage.

But what about levels within organizations? What new capacities does each call for? What happens when you’re not doing the work of that level–or haven’t developed the inner and outer capacities to do it well?

To explore these questions, I turned to one of the world’s top experts on succession planning: Steve Drotter. When I say “top,” I mean it. Steve has advised half of the Fortune 10 on CEO succession and decades ago helped build GE’s famous succession planning machine.

And then he wrote a book with Ram Charan.

In 2001, Steve partnered with Charan and Jim Noel on The Leadership Pipeline.  It filled a massive void in succession planning by defining six key leadership passages in organizations. And it sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

But that’s not all. In 2011, Steve wrote The Performance Pipeline, which identifies the work to be done at each level of leadership.

Recently, Steve and I chatted for an hour about these two books and how they are reshaping our view of leadership and organizational success. We explore:

  • How is managing managers dramatically different from managing individual contributors?
  • Why do function managers often feel like they aren’t accomplishing much?
  • What makes it important for business managers to bring together multifunctional teams?
  • Why is being a group manager less fun than you might think?
  • What are CEOs truly responsible for?

Leadership PipelineSteve DrotterPerformance Pipeline

Highlights

  • 8:00 Steve’s work with John Reed at Citibank on succession planning
  • 12:30  Your first job out of school—learning time discipline and adopting company values
  • 15:30 #1: First line manager = 100% change in the work requirements
  • 18:00 #2: Manager of managers, another major transition
  • 32:00 The first question to ask when work isn’t getting done (as manager of managers)
  • 33:00 #3: Function manager—the first strategic layer
  • 42:15 #4: Business manager—ask how the business makes money
  • 43:45 #5: Group manager—connect all the businesses to the enterprise
  • 47:00 #6: CEO—setting enterprise direction, attending to culture
  • 54:30 The sweet spot with the pipeline model: $100M-$5B companies
  • 57:00 Coaching leaders using the pipeline framework
  • 1:04:00 Steve’s transition from top HR executive to external consultant

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“I can name ten Fortune 100 companies without high enough expectations for managers of managers”

–Stephen Drotter  Tweet this quote

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Episode 42: Lisa Marshall On Exiting, Firing, and Burnout Nation [The Amiel Show]

Sometimes it takes a wise voice unperturbed by convention to make us radically rethink everyday acts. Consider these questions:

  • How do you lay someone off?
  • How can you exit an organization gracefully?
  • What does it take to make meetings juicier?

Lisa Marshall wants you to consider these questions with greater maturity, clarity, and thoughtfulness. That way, in the very act of doing what you’re paid to do, you can grow into a leader others want to hire, partner with, and follow.

Listen in as this seasoned leadership coach and author breathes new life into old questions.

Lisa Photo 2

Highlights

  • 5:00  We still live in Burnout Nation
  • 13:30 Why Lisa insists on putting her coachee’s interests first
  • 16:15 Meaningless meetings vs environments rich in stories of helping customers
  • 22:30 Why the juiciest subjects belong at the start of meetings
  • 25:30 Body language tells you whether a “yes” is genuine
  • 32:30 How to tell someone they’ve been laid off
  • 38:00 Leaders hold the walls of the container
  • 49:30 How to leave an organization gracefully
  • 1:00:00 Saying “I’m sorry” before you leave the organization
  • 1:07:30 Why maturity matters
  • 1:11:30 Why Lisa gardens

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Any meeting without an agenda is almost by definition a waste of time.

–Lisa Marshall  Tweet this quote

‘Thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ are the two key elements of completion.

–Lisa Marshall  Tweet this quote

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Episode 41: Peter Block On Ambition, Authenticity, And Community [The Amiel Show]

One of my favorites interviews of all time!

In the consulting field Peter Block is a giant. His book Flawless Consulting–now in its third edition–taught us how to show up in client relationships with authenticity, rigor, and an eye for potential pitfalls.

Peter also influenced a generation of managers with his book The Empowered Manager. Today, he brings his passion to building local community around people’s assets.

In this interview, Peter and I walk through the trajectory of his career–his earlier years as an ambitious internal consultant, the decision (unusual at the time) to start an external consultancy, how he learned to build relationships with others despite being a self-described “loner,” and the questions and commitments that have pulled him in and shifted how he works.

For a serious conversation about big ideas and a full life, this was a heck of a lot of fun.  Enjoy–and share widely!

1PBlock color 05

 

Highlights

  • 5:00 Getting into the field by accident & influence of Chris Argyris
  • 12:30 A loner finds connection in Gestalt and T-groups
  • 16:30 Early years of restless ambition and almost getting fired
  • 22:30 The risks of being authentic
  • 25:30 Influence of Werner Erhard, language, and speech acts
  • 31:30 The Philippines—working with citizens and loving it
  • 37:00 Taking two years off to raise kids
  • 42:00 Peter tells me, “You’re amazing. You frighten me.”
  • 47:30 Why focus on gifts rather than deficiencies
  • 50:30 John McKnight’s work on asset-base community development
  • 58:30 Contracting in place-based communities

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Authenticity–putting into words what you see happening–is risky.

–Peter Block   Tweet this quote

As soon as you acknowledge your gifts, you become accountable.

–Peter Block   Tweet this quote

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Episode 35: Doc Parsley on How Sleep Makes Everything Better [The Amiel Show]

Sleep helps you perform better at everything.

Everything.

At work. At home. And all the places in between.

Now, what if you’re less interested in doing more than in being the best version of yourself?

Sleeps helps there, too.

This is the message of Doctor Kirk Parsley, known widely as Doc Parsley. He is a medical doctor, sleep and hormonal modulation expert, consultant to corporations and professional teams, and former Sleep Medicine expert for Navy Special Warfare.

One other distinction: Doc Parsley is physically strong. Who better to disabuse us of the notion that “sleep is for the weak” than a former Navy SEAL and competitive athlete?

Head Shot

Highlights

  • 5:00 What persuades people to pay attention to their sleep
  • 22:00 How our ancestors maximized slow wave sleep
  • 26:30 How REM sleep cements everything you learned that day
  • 33:30 How sleep can help you when starting a new leadership role
  • 39:30 Doc Parsley’s journey from competitive athlete to Navy SEAL to physician to sleep expert
  • 44:00 Navy SEALs with blood panels you’d expect in an out-of-shape 65-year-old man
  • 57:00 The great results you can get from one week of great sleep
  • 59:00 Sleep hygiene
  • 1:02:30 How catching up on sleep is like paying off credit card debt
  • 1:08:30 The ideal length of a nap
  • 1:12:30 Perimenopausal and menopausal women and their hormonal and sleep challenges

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The time you get better at everything is while you sleep

–Doc Parsley  Tweet this quote

If I gave you $1M to make sleep your #1 priority for a week, could you do it?

–Doc Parsley Tweet this quote

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Episode 31: Hilary Bradbury On Women, Men, Power, And Eros [The Amiel Show]

Ready for a candid and edgy conversation about power relationships between women and men in the workplace?

Then you’ll want to download this episode and listen on your next car ride, walk, or flight.

Hilary Bradbury joins me to discuss her provocative and inspiring new book, Eros/Power: Love In The Spirit of Inquiry, which you can purchase here.  In this book, Hilary and her coauthor, Bill Torbert, a previous guest on the podcast, use their own autobiographical stories to reveal important yet often hidden dynamics that trip up leaders at work and in the rest of life.

Join me as I talk with this trailblazing leadership coach, organizational consultant, and professor.

Hilary-Bradbury

Highlights

  • First, second, and third person conversations (7:55)
  • The day Hilary got fired, then met Bill Torbert (18:00)
  • The “odd duality” women have about telling the truth (22:00)
  • Being an “eros bomb”, evoking confusion in Bill, and not realizing it (26:30)
  • Having crushes at work is different from acting them out (32:30)
  • Hilary and Bill’s most painful conflict with each other (38:50)
  • How Hilary’s Enneagram type–The Challenger–shows up in her work (48:30)
  • Bill’s great advice for Hilary on handling sexual harassment from a senior colleague of hers (55:10)
  • Hilary’s heartfelt apology and Bill’s graceful response (1:01.00)
  • Hilary’s angrily tells her life partner “I’m not your junior partner” (1:05.00)
  • Hilary and her partner’s weekly relationship-enhancing practice (1:11.00)

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“It’s a tricky thing when women & men try to do this power dance with integrity”

—Hilary Bradbury   Tweet this quote

Buy Hilary and Bill Torbert’s New Book

To purchase and/or review a copy of Eros/Power, click here.

To learn more about the book, read a sample, register for a related workshop, click here.

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Best. Performance. Review. Ever.

OK, so maybe I overdid it with my rant last week about the annual performance review.

Perhaps there is a way to make this (horrendous and widely despised) system work.

I’ve been thinking long and hard, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

The Best Performance Review Ever

Boss, walking down the hallway: Amiel, it’s time for your annual review

Amiel, stops to chat: Awesome, when can we schedule it?

Boss: It won’t take very long. How about we do it right now?

Amiel: Now works great. Did you want to get a conference room?

Boss: No need

Amiel: How about we at least step off to the side of the hallway?

Boss: No need. This will be fast. You ready?

Amiel: Shoot

Boss: Two things. First, you know that thing we’ve been talking about every week since your last review. That thing you’ve been getting really better at?

Amiel: Yes

Boss: Keep doing that

Amiel: Will do

Boss: And you know that other thing I’ve been giving you feedback about every day?

Amiel: How could I forget?

Boss: Keep working on that

Amiel: Got it. Anything else?

Boss: No, that’s it

Amiel: What? No ranking against my peers?

Boss: Nope

Amiel: Not even a rating?

Boss: Nope

Amiel: Alright. Thanks, boss.

Boss: Thank you.