I was on a strange call recently. The call lacked an agenda (bad sign), involved too many people (bad sign), and was a round-robin style of updating (bad sign).

The leaders of the call were frittering at the edges, a bit nervous, fearful and entirely bureaucratic. Disorienting because I don’t know if the angst came from anger, jealousy, or just a straight shortage of leadership. It was cringe-worthy. Not founder’s mentality.

Sky clouds

Be positive. By my nature I am a realist – libertarian – lazy – optimist. Too many people waste time fretting over the past or the future; they don’t focus on fixing the present. Don’t be a culture terrorist or a gossip.

Don’t find fault, find a remedy – Henry Ford

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. – Thoreau

Be the change that you wish to see in the world – Gandhi

We live in a flat corporate world. It is not the hierarchical Asian corporate culture of the 1980s, or the US corporate culture of the Mad Men era. People we work with – educated, professional, (somewhat entitled), traveled, and good-paycheck-earning folks – are not afraid of speaking up. . . which is both good and bad. Good because it creates engagement, diverse thinking, synthesis towards a solution, and active culture building. Bad because with an open culture comes with some responsibility – to respect other people, pre-wire the meetings, and frankly – move the conversation forward.

Without trust, diversity of opinion does not work. 

Jealousy is all the fun you think they had – Erica Jong

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected – Steve Jobs

You cannot fix adults. Clearly, what motivates me will be different from what works for other people. It’s not my job to convince adults – older than me – to act differently. It’s too late. Truett Cathy, founder of Chik-Fil-A said it best with the title of his book, It’s Better to Build Boys, than Mend Men.

I think all managers can agree on these two fundamental things:

  • Let’s stay focused on doing great client work
  • Let’s be good parents and bring up the next generation of consultants

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