Thursday, January 31, 2013

Intro Chapter Excerpt 3

Whatever the strengths that brought you to this point in your career and business life, I want you to keep those with you. What’s equally important, however, is to get a full picture of your strengths plus your weaknesses, so you can harness those strengths while working around any potential vulnerabilities so they don’t trip you up on your path to increased growth, higher returns, more reliable products, you name it.

It’s not always easy to hear, but we all have limitations—that’s part of being human. Despite those individuals who take a strengths-based approach (i.e., rely on your “genius” and don’t worry about your weaknesses), there are some real risks to senior leaders who choose to ignore their limitations or who don’t understand or respond to them. Even the most self-aware, well intentioned executive has to work hard to stay grounded. The success of being at the top can get a little heady, clouding a leader’s ability to view him or herself objectively. Then, compound that with the fact that the higher a person’s rank, the less likely those around him or her are to give honest feedback, and that can set a leader up for disaster at worst, dysfunction at best.

Think about it: as an individual at the top of the organization or business, those below you are less inclined to give you criticism, even if it is constructive. Who wants to tell the boss he or she might be “off-base” or at the source of certain challenges within the organization? People don’t want to risk the political fallout by giving honest feedback to the boss. That’s Strike One for you as business leader against understanding your weaknesses or limitations. Strike Two? Maybe people have tried to give you feedback only to see that you ultimately ignore it. So they stop. Or possible Strike Three: when people do give you feedback, you may make it so difficult, that they don’t want to go through your outburst of defensive comments again.

As a result, it’s easy to end up at the top of your organization with certain blind spots that fewer and fewer people are willing to call to your attention. Sooner or later, those blind spots may cause you to stumble or drop the ball.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Intro Chapter Excerpt 2

It’s tough being a CEO or business leader. Sure, you hold much of the power in the organization, and what you say ultimately goes. There’s power in that! There’s freedom! Yet the sober reality is that the numbers for long-term success are not working in your favor.

 Here’s a revealing snapshot that’s hard to ignore.

·       Two in five CEOs fail in their first 18th months on the job, according to a study published by the Harvard Business Review.

·       One-third of Fortune 500 CEOs endure fewer than three years at the helm.

·       The majority of start-up businesses fail within five years, according to the Small Business Administration; two-thirds will disappear just a decade after founding.

This prevalence of failure is not due to a lack of effort. For example, billions of dollars are poured annually into rolling out the latest and greatest technology, working with consultants to trim costs and boost profits, and training the workforce so they stay cutting-edge. Yet the failure rates of CEO’s and business owners isn’t changing. The news of CEO missteps, corporate oversights, and declines in profit still abound. Why? The truth is that many of these initiatives and practices overlook the main influencer of the business’s success: the executive how many CEOs and business owners are tuning into the areas where they themselves are currently weak?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Intro Chapter Excerpt 1

Getting the truth from others when you are in a position of power is tough. It’s a tale as old as The Emperor’s New Clothes: No one wanted to tell the emperor he was naked, and no one wants to tell the CEO he might be wrong. Whatever the nature of the feedback for the leader, if it’s not purely positive, colleagues, reports, and team members may hesitate to offer it. That lack of candor can quickly lead to trouble: today, tomorrow, or in a few months’ time.

            This is a book about becoming even better at what you already do by identifying your personal blind spots and using the power of EQ to overcome them. I call it ego vs. EQ: that dance between ego and emotional intelligence, that ever-important balancing act between self-confidence, outer strength, and superior technical expertise that helped you climb to your position today and the seemingly softer, more interior qualities of reflection, consideration, and connection that will ensure you stay there.

Note: there are special instructions once you reach the top. Many of the business books out there today can help you refine your game as you climb to the pinnacle of your organization or business, but the special skill set you need to stay at the top has often been missing from the discussion. This book will give you a set of eight ego “landmines” to avoid and the respective EQ tactics that will help you recalibrate for success at the top. Because the goal for many of us isn’t just to reach the summit, of course—it’s to stay there.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The 8 Ego Traps

A View from the Top

The Eight Ego Traps

Trap # 1

Ignoring Feedback that You Don’t Like

Trap #2

Believing Your Technical Skills Trump Your Leadership Skills

Trap #3

Surrounding Yourself with More of You

Trap #4

Not Letting Go of Control

Trap #5

Being Blind to Your Downstream Impact

Trap #6

Underestimating How Much You Are Being Watched

Trap #7

Losing Touch with the Front Line Experience

Trap #8

Killing Your Credibility


Humble Request: Do the chapter titles seem interesting? Are you left wanting to know more about the Traps?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Title and Summary

OKAY....drum is the proposed title:
Ego Vs. EQ: How Top Business Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence

Here is the book summary:

What topples great business leaders from the pinnacle of success?

Somewhere along the line, while climbing the corporate ladder or growing their own company, ego takes over and business owners and eventual CEOs lose the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that keeps them connected to their workforce and grounded in the day-to-day realities of their business. The risk of falling into “ego traps” increases, hurting the business and threatening their hard-won success.

Two in five CEOs fail in their first 18th months on the job, according to a study published by the Harvard Business Review. One-third of Fortune 500 CEOs endure fewer than three years at the helm. Just witness the parade of high-profile CEO firings and their stock-pummeling mistakes: recently, Barclays CEO Robert Diamond went down in flames after an interest-rate rigging scandal while JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon found his credibility challenged after his company made a $6 billion investment “mistake”; looking farther back, Carly Fiorina suffered a bitter departure from Hewlett-Packard after failing to achieve buy-in for her business strategies. What do they all have in common? Their ego played a big enough role to overshadow their “EQ” in management for the good of the business.

EQ refers to a skill set that includes an ability to recognize one’s own impulses and moods (self-awareness), the ability to read situations accurately (empathy), and the capacity to respond appropriately depending on the situation (self-control). That skillset includes a wide range of learnable skills but Shirkani’s method focuses on three that can be effectively practiced on a daily basis: self-awareness, empathy and self-control. By contrast, ego is characterized by a high degree of self-absorption and exaggerated sense of self-importance. In other words, EQ and ego are mutually exclusive.

So, how can otherwise brilliant leaders keep from succumbing to self-sabotaging, ego-driven behaviors? In Ego Vs. EQ: How Top Business Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence, speaker, author, and executive coach Jen Shirkani shows CEOs and business owners practical ways to hone their Emotional Intelligence to eliminate business blind spots.

Fundamental to the EQ skillset is an understanding of how to “think outside the ego.” No book on the market approaches EQ from this important angle. Written specifically for CEOs and business owners—people at the very top of their organizations—and backed by the latest scientific research in Emotional Intelligence and real-life case studies, Ego Vs. EQ: How Top Business Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence explores the critical role Emotional Intelligence plays in business performance and provides readers with practical tools for raising their own EQ—possibly the most important exercise a CEO can do to ensure a prolonged career and catapult the business to the next level.

This 180-page book consists of an introduction plus eight chapters describing each of the common “ego pitfalls” nearly every CEO or business owner will face at the company helm, from losing touch with the front line to underestimating the impact of one’s behavior on everyone else. The author then offers Emotional Intelligence-based solutions for each, including how to:

·       creatively seek and accept feedback

·       effectively communicate priorities for the company good—while eliminating abrupt, ego-driven, hot-cold shifts through increased self-control

·       raise empathy for the front lines of the workforce—thereby building higher employee engagement

·       boost self-awareness of management style and behaviors by discovering and eliminating blind spots.

Drawing on real-life anecdotes from Shirkani’s 20 years of coaching and consulting—including stories of success and failure from the leaders of vanguard companies in energy, investment, and health care industries, among others—Ego Vs. EQ demonstrates the power of honing Emotional Intelligence skills through the “three R’s”: recognize, read, and respond to improve communication and innovation, defuse disruptive conflict and, ultimately, boost the bottom line.

Humble Request: What do you think of the title? What jumps out at you the most? What section would entice you to want to read the book?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Exciting News

Sorry for my long absence, I have been very busy. One of my most exciting projects is the publication of my book, being published by Bibliomotion, scheduled to be out in late Fall of 2013. I would like to recruit some of my blog readers to participate in the process, if you are interested, there are several ways you can help:

One, I will be posting sections of the book and would like your feedback.
Two, I would love input on the final title, subtitle and book cover.

Three, help me find others willing to read and endorse the book prior to publication.

You know how to reach me if you are interested. If not, of course you are welcome to read along and watch the process unfold as a spectator. All are welcome! Here we go…