Course 6: Leadership with Urgency
EVERY DAY IS A STARTUP
What you will learn
Relationship building is the most important investment.
Slow down for success.
Reading is your critical tool for continuous improvement.
Revel in the mess of implementation.
“Avoid busy-ness, free up your time, stay focused on what really matters. Let me put it bluntly: Every leader should routinely keep a substantial portion of his or her time—I would say as much as 50 percent—unscheduled...Only when you have substantial ‘slop’ in your schedule—unscheduled time—will you have the space to reflect on what you are doing, learn from experience, and recover from your inevitable mistakes. . . . It takes an enormous effort on the part of the leader to keep free time for the truly important things.” (emphasis added)
—Dov Frohman, Leadership the Hard Way: Why Leadership Can’t Be Taught—And How You Can Learn It Anyway
High-Tech superstar Dov Frohman lays down an outrageous law: Fifty-percent unscheduled time. Frankly, I don’t think many of us could pull this off—could even pull off 25 percent free time. Nonetheless, Frohman’s credentials from Intel and from reshaping Israel’s high-tech sector are impeccable. My goal is to have you reflect on the likes of Frohman’s outrageous command. I don’t think I could do it—but upon personal reflection I think he is absolutely positively on the money. Typically frenzied leadership is not leadership at all. How many of us have had a boss who is late to four out of every five meetings because he’s over-scheduled? Well count me as one who’s experienced it—and lost all respect for the boss as a result thereof. The late boss is disrespectful—and, I’d bet, an awful decision-maker. You can’t do “frenzy” and “thoughtful” at the same time—I’d bet his decision-making is as half-assed as his on-time record.
The goal of this course is to lay down some formidable leadership challenges. It’s meant to get you thinking and trying several of these ideas out. I’m going to push you, for instance, on your communications skills. I’m going to tell you that each of the 15 people who report to you is very different from the other fourteen. Which means you need 15 dramatically different communication strategies in order to move forward effectively—every top football coach knows that and so does every superior third-grade teacher; but damn few bosses seem to get it. They blame a miscommunication on the recipient—when in fact it is the boss’ fault. 100 percent of the time!
Twenty challenges are forthcoming. I hope they help you down the path to leadership excellence.