The Simple Secret to Making Better Decisions: Tap into the power of triads

January 14, 2014

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3 Tips for Great Management

December 13, 2013

I am so proud of my daughter who has been my best student—brings real issues, listens, takes action, and reports what happens. Here is what she wrote in her blog. Please follow her at

Dear Fellow Managers,

We suck. Before you curse me and defend yourself, I say this out of love—and it applies to me as well. As a group (supervisors, managers) we are ineffective.  For the most part we have been on the job for TEN years before we get any specific leadership training. For years we often are winging it or maintaining crappy systems that our own untrained managers created.

We can’t be afraid to learn what we don’t know OR be critical of what we are doing.

It takes a lot of courage to look at ourselves and see where we are failing.  The higher up you go the harder it gets—but the results are that more powerful.

Read the rest at

Three Actions You can Take to Create Better Leaders on Your Team

December 1, 2013

TeamAre you challenged with people that are not performing to your expectations? Do you feel that your employees are not doing all they could? Maybe it is caused by your mid-level managers.

Authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman said in their book, First Break All the Rules: What The Worlds’ Greatest Managers Do Differently, that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.

A survey of 2000 workers by management consultants Orion Partner found that almost half (47%) said “their managers made them feel threatened.”

It is no wonder why we have such a high percentage of Stage Two cultures. (Stage Two is a private conversation that “my life sucks”). My life would suck too if I felt threatened by my manager.

Why do managers behave this way? I believe that most don’t know better. A survey of 17,000 leaders found that “Average age for their first leadership training was 42, about 10 years after they began supervising people, and almost 20 years after they started experiencing leadership in organizations.” (Zenger/Folkman)

We are failing to train the very people that are responsible for our success.

What can you do?

  1. Offer leadership training. Organizations like Vistage offer training for Key Executives in addition to CEOs.
  2. Read books as a leadership team and review the principles. Some of my favorites are the following:
  1. Watch videos & TED talks and discuss as a group. These are some excellent ones:
    1. Dan Pink: The puzzle of Motivation
    2. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
    3. David Logan: Tribal leadership
    4. Vishen Lakhiani: World’s Greatest Workplace

The Enemy of Openness by Mark Taylor at TEDxTimesSquare

May 7, 2013

Key Points:

  • There is an enemy bouncing in our heads. It’s the enemy of openness “We think we’re open, but we’re not.”
  •  Openness is the grand illusion.
  • Social psychologists tell us the brain is wired for self-justification.
    • Biologists say that we cannot tell a perception from hallucination.
    • The only way we know that we’re not delusional is through feedback But here is the catch— with just two people, we still don’t know.  I see black and you see white—who is right?

When we have a dyadic relationship, perception is inherently unstable; especially when we disagree or have a difference of opinion.

We get stuck. We argue. We get defensive.

One person is right and the other wrong. The idea is good or bad.  Notice that we like people who agree with us and dislike those who don’t.

But openness is being able to listen when we don’t agree. How can we overcome this biological blindness?

The answer is the Power of Triads—two vs three.

A 12 year study of 24,000 people concluded 76% of work relationships are ineffective. (Tribal Leadership 2008)

That’s 3 out of 4 people who are being challenged at work – by dyadic relationships. What’s interesting is that the other 24% had a 3-5 times increase in productivity, less stress, & more fun. They also had one unique characteristic. They did not meet in dyads.” They met in groups of three. They used the power of triads.

A sandbox with two children and one toy—what happens? They fight.  “It’s mine!” Add a third child to our sandbox and the dynamic changes. We build a sand castle together.

This is the power of Triads. Three people working together on a common project. There is a shift from mine to ours.

Triads defeat the enemy of openness; Triads pull us from being stuck in the mud of dyads.

 Triads move us and others into action.

To create a “we” takes three.

So, the next time you get stuck in a sandbox with just one other person—remember the Power of Triads.

Tribal Leadership Stage Two is its Not My Fault

April 1, 2013

The book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization is the result of a 10 year study of over 24,000 people. Authors Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright recognized strategies failed 70 percent of the time. In their inquiry as to why this occurred, they discovered Peter Duckers’ statement that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” was true. A big reason is what we call Stage Two culture–25% of the workforce

At Stage Two, the language you hear is a theme of “My life sucks.” As you can imagine, it is not a productive stage.

This two minute video is hilarious!

Talk2Brazil Radio Show Interviews Mark Taylor about Vistage, Tribal Leadership, Triads, & the US Economy

January 17, 2012

Talk 2 Brazil is the world´ s only English language talk program on business in and with Brazil and is broadcast through LA Talk Radio, Los Angeles California. The audience is international business oriented, native and non native English speakers, mostly in the US, but also Europe, Asia and Brazil. Here is a link to the interview.

In the interview, we talked about what Vistage is and how the economy is doing in the United States. We also talked about Tribal Leadership, triads, and culture.

The One Thing That Makes the Difference between Success and Failure

November 26, 2011

Through her work as a psychologist at Stanford University, Carol Dweck has been able to identify the one thing that makes the difference between success and failure. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she says there are two mindsets you can have in this world, and the one you choose will make all the difference.

  • Learning: Growth-mindsetters view every day and experience as a learning opportunity, not a stage to prove themselves.
  • Effort: Growth-mindsetters believe they can change anything if enough effort is put in.
  • Passion: Growth-mindsetters have passion for the things that they devote their effort to.
  • Process: Growth-mindsetters master the processes that put them on the path to success.
  • Talent: Fixed-mindsetters believe that accomplishment comes through talent.
  • Judgment: Fixed-mindsetters believe that each situation is a stage for judgment.
  • Fragile: Fixed-mindsetters are fragile if that judgment is negative.
  • Looking good: Fixed-mindsetters are more interested in looking good than in learning and growing.

There are many ways to divide the world. Benjamin Barber – an eminent sociologist – says,

“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, those who make it or those who don’t. I divide the world into learners and non-learners.”

This is at the heart of Dweck’s argument. The learners believe that they have the ability to change, and set about learning what they need to do in order to make the change a reality. The non-learners, on the other hand, are quite clear about the fact that “things are the way they are” and that there’s no sense in trying to change them.

There are things that you as a leader can do to help create this mindset in the workplace. The most powerful thing you can do in this situation is always ask what a person is learning. Don’t focus on the success or failure of their work directly, but focus on what they learned through the experience. Fixed mindset people have trouble thinking this way, because to them, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about winning and losing – and looking good or not. However, you should make it clear to them that the only way they will achieve the success they are looking for is by learning. If they want that bonus, raise or promotion, they’ll earn it by proving that they are learning in growing. Of course, this takes more time and effort on your part. You can’t focus only on the numbers and results – you have to focus on the process in how they get there. It’s hard work, but to have a team full of growth-mindset people is the only way to achieve long-term success.

As you go off into your day now, ask yourself the question – which mindset do you choose?

Tribal Leadership Insight: The Principles of Effective Triads

November 19, 2011

John King and Dave Logan concluded after a ten year, 24,000-person study, that 75% of our corporate cultures are ineffective. (Published as Tribal Leadership 2008) The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the great insights of their research was that the 24% of organizations that were effective had one major difference—they met in “triads”. A triad, at its most basic level, is three people that meet together. The objective is to create a peer-to-peer-to-peer relationship for accomplishing a mutual purpose. What follows are the best practices or principles for creating effective triads.

  1. Common Interest. “Triads are based on core values and mutual self-interest.” The purpose of three people meeting is to contribute to one another towards a common goal or cause. What is your mutual interest?
  2. Collaboration. The way of being in a triad is supportive. It’s ‘I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine’ or ‘all for one and one for all’. “The triad provides a level of support that often comes as a surprise to people.” (p191)
  3. Authenticity. Authenticity is being real with one another. It is transparency and speaking the naked truth without fear of looking bad or holding back out of fear of rejection.
  4. Contribution. It is a way of being with one another, where the intention is always to come from contribution and not ego or judgment. “Once the triad is established, all the roles merge and morph, requiring each person to contribute to, and receive contributions from, the other two.” (p 204) It is like a flock of geese, where each goose takes a turn leading. Each person in the triad steps in when it is appropriate. Triads are vibrant, values-based, and filled with people giving their best efforts—leading and being led at the same time.” (p 185)
  5. Identify & leverage core values. “Values are only manifest when they are called and they are only called when they are missing; when a value is missing, the anchor presences the value.” An anchor is a device that is used to connect a vessel to prevent it from drifting due to wind or current. In a triad, the anchor connects each person to their values in order to prevent the relationship from drifting. Each person is an anchor for the quality of the relationship between the other two, and consciously nurtures the relationship.

Way of Being:

  • Be Authentic
  • Be Accepting
  • Be Present
  • Be Useful

Value of Triads:

  • Opportunity to get an unbiased perspective from peers that have no hidden agenda
  • Help with decisions, challenges, problems
  • Expertise, diversity and experience of team members
  • Fresh ideas and perspectives
  • Share resources
  • Benchmark
  • Strategize
  • Hold one another accountable

Book Summary: Great by Choice by Jim Collins

November 12, 2011

Jim Collins is a legend in the business world, and for good reason. His latest book – Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All – takes a look at some remarkable companies who were able to outperform their industry index by over 10 times over a lengthy span of time. Do you want to know how you can do the same for your company? Get a free 30 day subscription today and watch the summary.

When Jim Collins wrote his best-selling book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, he became an instant business hero. Executives from around the world aspired to be Level 5 leaders and focused intently on finding their hedgehog concepts. But there was a question that remained unanswered: in a world that is increasingly in financial turmoil and constant change, how do you succeed?

In a methodology similar to Good to Great, Collins and his team studied companies that were in industries where there was a constant state of change, and found that there were some companies that outperformed the marketplace by a significant margin.

He called these the 10x companies, because they all had outperformed their “industry index” by more than 10 times over the span of the study. In fact, on average, the 1 0 x companies outperformed the marketplace as a whole by 32 times. If it sounds to you like these would be some good companies to learn from, you’d be right. What Collins and his team concluded was that there were 4 main attributes of a 10x company:

  1. Fanatical Discipline
  2. Empirical Creativity
  3. Productive Paranoia
  4. Level 5 ambition

How to Manage Your Sales Force & Get Superior Results

November 9, 2011

Ask any Vistage member “Who has been among the best speakers you’ve heard on increasing sales and profit margins?” and the name Jack Daly is always on every Vistage CEO’s list.

Jack has made over 500 presentations to the CEOs of our Vistage CEO Groups and has been a successful CEO in his own right.  Jack has built six companies, selling two to Wall Street firms; led a sales force of 2,600 in hundreds of offices that created $42 million in profits in three years and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and ranked #10 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing firms nationwide.  In short, he’s been there and done it….and here’s how.

The key ingredient to increasing profits is enhancing sales management. Your sales force is only as good as your sales leadership. This workshop has been designed to make positive results happen through more profitable selling. A sampling of areas to be covered includes the following:

  • Recruiting top-selling professionals
  • Field sales coaching
  • Getting sales people committed to your business goals
  • Establishing and measuring minimum performance standards
  • Communication, team building, and recognition tactics
  • A CEO action agenda

The emphasis is on street-tested (not theory) sales management techniques that are immediately implementable and that show in enhanced profitability.

Value: Participants will benefit from this seminar by taking away at least five ideas they can incorporate into their business. Significantly more ideas are shared to ensure each business gets several key actions to implement. Many of the ideas are easily transferable to areas beyond sales; however, Daly’s examples are positioned from the sales perspective. A workbook with applicable forms, examples, and schedules will be provided to each participant. He presents solid ideas for building, managing, and monitoring a sales force and sales program.

Want a sample? Watch a 25 minute video of Jack Daly by clicking here.


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