Robert Heinzman's blog

COMPELLING REQUESTS, Part II: Neutralizing Toxic Rock Stars

You know of whom I speak.

And I bet every leader in your organization knows who we’re talking about.

Yes, the Toxic Rock Star.

A Toxic Rock Star is someone who produces significant material results while having a negative impact on others, in essence holding other people, teams and even organizations hostage.

Like Ogres hiding under the bridge...

Steve Jobs And Leadership Success

Rip Steve JobsWired Magazine just published this worthwhile read, The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale?. It asks whether Jobs' thorny, authoritarian approach to leadership should be emulated. It's a good article, but it misses a big point: Jobs success may not be due to his rude-boy style. It may be more attributable to his entrepreneurial vision and the historical moment in which he lived and created.

Henry Ford also built an incredible company. Like Jobs, he was uncompromising. He broke conventions. It was a bold, brilliant move to pay his workers more, buffeting the advice of his board. By all accounts, Ford demanded the performance of others that he demanded of himself. Yet he was also an infamous anti-semite and basically toxic human being...

Change Leadership, Defined

leading change

Because the world is changing fast, leading change is perhaps the critical leadership capability. Here are some useful distinctions and a simple, powerful exercise for your team.

John Kotter, at Harvard Business School, branded "change leadership" with his 1996 book, Leading Change (republished 2012). He's a lucid writer; it's worthwhile reading. He argues the facts: we are simply not that good at leading change.

The Unique Challenges of Family Owned Businesses

family owned business

The unique challenges of family owned businesses center on performance - low performance. If you have family owned businesses, there are two studies worth paying attention to, one just published, the other from 2007. Both place family owned businesses in last place in two critical categories. The first is business performance. The second is board performance.

The 2007 study, a pedigreed academic work  from the School’s of Economics at both Stanford and London, and McKinsey surveyed 4000 mid-sized companies. The upshot of that study is that a relatively small and sustained investment in leadership training results in a 25% increase in staff productivity and 65% increase in return on capital. Most organizations underplay such investments, often in favor...

Team X-Ray App: Cracking the Code on Higher Performance

Team X-Ray App

Approximately 70% of change initiatives underperform or fail (see Beyond Change Management, 2010). The numbers are similar for mergers and acquisitions.

Big numbers. So expensive. Why?

Because change leadership is a mission-critical capability, and most organizations don't have it. Most leaders simply are not on an explicitly conscious path to higher performance that cultivates their ability to lead change.

At Growth River, we've strived to crack the code - to establish an approach to raising team performance...