Coaching Talk

If it isn’t broken, fix it!

Jun 13 2013
By: Doron York
Categories: Coaching Talk
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One of the most obvious observations I have made in the last ten years, and more significantly during the recent crisis, is that nothing is constant. Many corporations were caught unprepared to deal with the sharp changes in the market place.

For many, many years the approach “if it’s not broken, don’t fix” was a leading approach in the business world. I say on the contrary, in today’s world the more appropriate approach should be “If it isn’t broken, do fix it” is more apropos than ever.

Complacency is the prime “killer” of innovation, progression and organizations ability to move forward. It has also been said before that “if you do not move forward, you are moving backwards” I believe that is even more accurate to say today. “If you do not move forward, you move out”. (Out of business that is).

In the fast pace of today’s business world, you are as good as yesterday results. The ability of any organization to bank on their success, in a matter of quarters, weeks, or in some cases, days is now inconceivable.  It is OK to “feel” comfortable and or celebrate your successes for a moment, yet do not let it getting to your head too much, as your competitors  are already strategizing on how to beat you in your own game.

They are using the same channels of outreach, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and such others and they are talking to your customers as well, uncovering and capitalizing on your company’s weaknesses sometimes before even you do.

I have discussed this with an executive in a fortune 100 company; he describes this phenomenon as being fearful and in the same time discourages developing “paranoia”.  As I have described to you about my  SEAL training, the ability to be intense and relaxed in the same time is the key. Do not loss you edge and never panic.

Here is the bottom line: In today’s marketplace, complacency is a death warrant!


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What Time Is It When An Elephant Sits On Your Fence?

Jan 13 2012
By: Doron York
Categories: Coaching Talk
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Okay, it’s an old joke that has been around for longer than both of us. If you are one of the few who have never heard it before, the answer is “Time to get a new fence”.

But, what does the joke have to do with this briefing?

When I heard the joke for the thousandth time repeated by my nephew the other day, I got to thinking that it really was a great analogy for our lives today. I know you may be thinking that I have gone and lost my mind, however stick with me for a moment

Think of yourself as the fence. You stand rigid, the guardian of all things inside your company. You are the protector, the leader, the financial manager and the keeper of all things valuable. You decide what internal influences require attention and what external influences you will allow inside.

You believe that you are a fence made of sturdy construction and able to weather any storm or turbulence, when along comes the elephant who decides that after an exhausting day, to take a short rest, right smack on the middle of your weakest point.

Alright, now let’s move past the picture in your head. Sorry about that. The elephant represents today’s challenges. For simplicity, let’s just call him “Stress”. And yes, the pun is intended.

These are trying times indeed. As we slowly creep towards an economic recovery, I doubt anyone will come out unscathed. Some will be affected more than others. When tested, our emotions run on high, our decisions impulsive, and our patience very thin. The question is, are we effectively navigating and managing our challenges?

“Stress” carries a big load and his trunk is filled (yea, intended again) and he is marching right towards you.

Stress generally comes in two different forms. There is that which we can’t do anything about. Some say death and taxes. I’ll add the decisions made or not made by others. Unless you’re making their mouth move with your hand or you’re a marionette, you can’t control what others say and or do.

Equally, there is self-imposed stress. That is the stress we put upon ourselves by the decisions that we make or don’t make each and every day. And, if we weren’t stressed enough by those decisions, we like to compound it by continually second guessing them.

So, we have a choice. Better manage stress, or let it consume us.

Firstly and most importantly, put things in perspective. Try to understand what is really important, and what is not. Are you the one I saw yelling at the grocery store clerk because the item was mispriced, even after she apologized? Or was that you screaming at the fast food cashier because you specifically asked for no onions, and damn it if they didn’t put onions on it.

Would you be humiliated by your behavior if they played the store video tape back and you were able to watch yourself on TV? Of course you would.

Is there one specific, yet simple tactic to modify our behavior? I don’t think so but, personally, I like to apply the ten second rule. I try to give myself ten seconds before I act or react. Let me get this out of the way right now, I can’t always do it. It’s not easy.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the consequences (good or bad) of my decision?
  • Will my actions cause unnecessary emotional strife?
  • How will the other party(s) perceive my decision?

And maybe most importantly,

  • Will I end up regretting my actions?

No, you can’t change other people. You can’t tell them how to react or how to interpret you. What you can do however is to be cognizant of their feelings and act or react in a manner which is well thought out and respectful. After you have done that, move on.

I remember reading a book many years ago and my apologies to the author for forgetting his name or even the title, where he quoted a story about General Dwight David Eisenhower. It seems that Eisenhower was asked how he was emotionally able to send thousands and thousands of troops off into battle clearly knowing that many of them would not return. Surely each of them had parents, many with siblings and children and that burden had to unbearable for him.

Eisenhower responded simply by saying “I sit down and analyze all the facts available to me at the time, make my decision, and most importantly I never look back”.

Don’t stress yourself out by over thinking and over analyzing situations. Make your decisions based on facts rather than emotion. Remember; don’t waste precious time and energy revisiting your decision.

Many stressful circumstances are indeed just that, because we have turned them into stressful circumstances. Learn to digest, analyze, and then react, rather than the other way around.

Just tighten a few of those loose screws (yea, did it again) and know that with just a little adjustment you can effectively manage any situation

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I do not need a weather report!

Aug 10 2010
By: Doron York
Categories: Coaching Talk
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One successful corporate executive recently stated to me; “I do not need my people to give me a weather report; I need them to tell me how we can make umbrellas”. Inside the corporate culture for many years people that reach high level position in many organizations, carry with them the privilege and the entitlement that comes with it.  Part of the trend we are seeing in the market is that many organization have realized that they are truly, “Top Heavy”. We see more and more high level position being eliminated daily.

My notion is that it relates to the above statement. With today’s advance technological capabilities and ability, companies are in less of a need of layers of people to transfer and carry information internally from one level to another and attend endless numbers of weekly meetings.

In today’s world we assert the following:

An executive’s personal knowledge has value only if you can translate it to one’s ability to produce daily result.

Your organization’s senior leadership is not that interested in your opinions (Everyone has one), rather in your actions.

The statement; “Huston we have a problem” do not belong in today’s management world. “Houston we HAD a problem” is what is now desired.

Tell your management what CAN we do and not what we CAN’T do.

When you giving a report make sure that it is stated on how you solved the problem and not what is the “problem”.

The bottom line is that many seasoned executives are being replaced with young people that are creative, inventive and resourceful.  I have learned that for many industries, a career management today is being measured on a quarterly basis, What a life?

My daughter who is 21 year old, decided to take a semester at Melbourne University, Australia that is. In a matter of a few days, she complete the application had a place to stay a job offer and a car to drive and she did it all on her Blackberry without leaving the house.

Watch out she is coming to Corporate America and she is after your

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The truth will set you free -but first, it will piss you off!

Jun 24 2009
By: Doron York
Categories: Coaching Talk
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This briefing is in honor of my late business partner, Judy Weinstein, who was the living example of the distinction “straight talk”. (I know – I worked with Judy for a long time.)

There is an observation I have made repeatedly in the course of my career that I find worthy of sharing with senior leadership. If you are willing to take it on, it could set you free – but most likely it will piss you off first!

In recent years, we have watched Corporate America go mad. However, from the days of the great emperors to our own time, from the era to Enron, there have been people who embody the very essence of effective leadership. World figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Jack Welsh and many others whom we have grown to admire had something distinctive in common that made them the leaders that they were. What was it?

Straight Talk.

Is straight talk just a noble concept? NO! To give you an example, as a wise man said many years ago, democracy is not a spectator sport. George Washington stated that the only thing that holds democracy together is integrity. Integrity in our commitment, integrity in our principles, integrity in our actions – and, critically, integrity in our communications – i.e., talking straight.

Leadership is what leadership does. The absence of straight talk most often leads to greed, emptiness and corruption. When that happens, I have observed that, while the economic impact on the shareholders or the employees is often horrific, it’s not actually what matters the most. Rather, the biggest cost of a lack of straight talk is the assault on our human dignity. It is an attack on the very essence of what knits our society, our country and our corporations together, and makes any of them a cause big enough to be worth giving our lives for.

What’s all of this got to do with corporate leadership?

It has everything to do with business. The days of just throwing around words like integrity, accountability and responsibility as though they are cheap change, are over. As a leader, you either talk straight or you are going nowhere fast. It is as simple as that. I am of the opinion that what our great leaders had in common was the ability to say what needed to be said, exactly the way things were, and exactly at the time it was needed the most. They had ability to put the integrity of what we call humanness above all, and to call each of us to the best in ourselves. To honor ourselves by honoring the rest of humankind, to be a voice bigger than our own personal concerns, to look for the well-being of the whole – to tell it as it is, without adding anything or taking anything away, exactly the way that things are and the way that they are not, with no loss in dignity, power or the fundamental belief in human nature. Rather, these great leaders’ straight talk left us fully present to our dignity, our power and the magnificence of being human. And that moves mountains.

Great leaders live their lives as if they belong to the whole. So can you: the business owner, the investor, the shareholder and, mostly, the CEO. You are the one who sits in the leader’s chair and holds the responsibility for hundreds or thousands of lives in your hands. Who is responsible (or at least claims to be) for the global economy. We are all born with this ability. Are you willing to live up to it?

If your answer is yes, listen to these words with the highest degree of care – as if your life is depending on it (as well as so many others’). The paradox of straight talk is that many leaders claim that people can’t handle the truth. That they will panic, they will fall apart, they will not understand. I strongly disagree. Human beings are much stronger and more resolved than we are willing to take into account. Look at what has been accomplished in the last 1,000 years despite what humanity has been through. It is not the truth that scares people; it is the “not knowing”.

It is easy to forgive those who have made mistakes.

It is the NOT talking straight that is difficult to forget.

What do YOU have to say?

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    PAAR & Company is a global enterprise that specializes in the impossible. We are in the business of coaching corporate leaders in advancing forward those areas that are making an immediate, relevant and positive impact on their leadership presence and that are highly critical to the sustainability of their enterprise.