Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Evidence of a Leadership Void

Many of you commented on the first blog to support the notion that boomers have responded to their opportunities by embracing entitlement instead of thankfulness.  One of the ways that I see this played out is in the leadership void that exists in far too many areas of our workplaces.  Consider the following:

1.  Statistics Canada reports that the economy creates about 100,000 new small businesses each year.   But they also report that almost 85,000 small businesses fail within their first 5 years.  And business analysts cite poor leadership/management as the primary cause of failure.  That is certainly unfortunate for the small business owner.  But as almost 50% of all Canadians work for small businesses, the impact of poor leadership has an incredible impact on a large segment of the economy.  How comfortable would you be in the knowledge that there is an 85% likelihood that you will be looking for a job every five years.  That is hardly an inspiring thought.
2.  Accenture, the world wide consulting company, reports that over 50% of the working professionals they surveyed around the world are dissatisfied with their jobs.  But nearly 70% intend to stay on in their current roles.  Whoa, beam me up Scottie.  I have heard it all.  They are not happy doing what they are doing, but lack the courage to change things.  As an employee, where do I draw the inspiration to do my very best when the boss is really just going through the steps and waiting for the clock to strike 5:00 and for the deposit to my account every 14 days?
3.  In another survey, Kenexa Research in the US, surveyed employees around the world.  It should come as no surprise that less the 60% felt that their manager was effective.  This seems to support the notion that there really is a leadership void and that void exists everywhere.

Let me paint this analogy.  Assume you are one of 10 in a rowboat.  These results suggest that only 6 of you have an oar in the water.  And one of them is not pulling as hard as they are able.  The other 4 in that boat are sitting on their hands.  So productivity is under 60%, best case.  We have all been in situations in which some coworkers are actually so dissatisfied that they work against the best interests of the company.  If all four are actively pulling against the other 6, the boat is going no where fast, and likely just turning in circles.

We need leaders who inspire.  We cannot continue to live with the status quo.  The hole is only getting deeper. 

As leaders we need to commit to inspire others! I will offer you some tools to make that happen.



Sunday, 22 April 2012


We 'boomers' have much for which we must apologize.  Too often our leadership has taken on the attitude of entitlement instead of thankfulness.  Where did we go wrong?

I am an early baby boomer, having entered the workplace in the mid '70's.  The leaders of my day had gone through vastly different life experiences. 

If they were in middle and senior positions of responsibility, that meant that most would have lived through the Great Depression and WWII. As a result they were thankful to have a job and even more thankful to be alive. 

They may not have been the most inspirational leaders, but there was a decency about them.  They recognized the value of a day's work.  A handshake was a commitment that was honour bound.

But we boomers have lived, by and large, through a period of relative prosperity and peace.  And somewhere along the line, we stopped being thankful.  Things were so good for so long, we developed an attitude of entitlement. This is not to say that there have not been challenges or that the ride has not been bumpy from time to time.  But on balance, we have had it pretty damn good.

And yet our legacy will not be one of which we can be proud.  We have allowed our political leaders to borrow from future generations to pay for our excesses today.  We have allowed our business leaders to create an economic system that has the greatest disparities in history between the rich and the poor. And we are poised to leave the workplace with the most recent history being the Great Recession.

It seems to me that we have much to account for...and little defence to protect us.

We had a chance to inspire.  So far we have missed the boat.

But perhaps it is not too late.  Perhaps we can make a difference.  Perhaps we can provide the inspirational leadership that is more necessary today than ever before.

Join me next time as we continue this dialogue.