Click here to Download Better Under Pressure PDF Book by Justin Menkes Language English having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 162.
As a psychologist who works with the world’s top CEOs, I have spent the last eight years specifically studying the differences between CEOs who fail and those who have shown remarkable staying power. I’ve worked with companies as they vet candidates for their top positions, helping them understand the key attributes needed for a person in that position to succeed.
Better Under Pressure PDF Book by Justin Menkes
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The findings in this book are based specifically on in-depth psychological interviews conducted with dozens of CEOs from the world’s largest companies, both retired legends and those considered current masters of their domain, as well as analyses of performance evaluations for more than two hundred candidates being considered for chief executive roles.
Two of those conversations in particular help frame the most important lessons about what sets the best leaders apart under today’s extreme conditions. Larry Bossidy, retired chairman and CEO of Honeywell, spoke about the single thing that influenced him most profoundly during his career. “I was always really afraid that I wouldn’t succeed,” he told me.
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“I can remember on my mother’s deathbed, she said, ‘Larry, fulfill your potential.’ She did a lot of great things for me over my life, but I’ve never forgotten what she said. And that’s what I was most worried about. Was I going to fulfill my potential? I didn’t know what that was—certainly I didn’t know I was going to be a CEO for ten years.
But I just wanted to make sure that I went as far as I could. And I wanted the same for my people—for them to fulfill their potential.” David Dillon thus resolved from an early age to aim for meaningful personal achievement, to pursue a life focused on realizing his potential. Inherited wealth or positions held no interest for him.
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He was gratified by his own triumph over obstacles, earning achievement through work, and not through connections. And whereas his cousin Dick helped create the context for this wisdom to emerge by pointing out to him the conditions for joining the family business, David would later create contexts that helped his people.
In turn, experience the gratification and subsequent thirst for self improvement that comes from overcoming obstacles as a path to meaningful achievement. This phenomenon has proven itself over decades of modern management. Many years before David Dillon began working to fulfill his own potential and that of those around him.
Larry Bossidy had taken to heart his mother’s belief in his ability to do the same. Human beings doing their best—and helping others to do their best—are and have always been a key game changer. In fact, this is the first of the two major points that emerged from my studies: leaders’ ability to realize their maximum potential and the potential of their workforce is the most profound way that. Better Under Pressure PDF Book
They can differentiate themselves. It is the essential part of a CEO’s job. This represents such a fundamental shift in our perception of leadership that it calls for a new definition. Leadership means realizing potential—in yourself and in the people you lead. Yet to be effective, this kind of leadership can’t be unidirectional. Rather, leader and followers cocreate their identities and performance.
Thus we move away from the old paradigm in which leaders have an impact on their people, who in turn perform. The new paradigm for leadership becomes a fluid, virtuous cycle of exchange and growth between leaders and the people they lead. To master the process of soliciting the best performance from their people, leaders must first understand one essential truth about human psychology.
That every human being is capable of both mediocrity and greatness. We assume that there is one person in each body, but each of us is more like a committee whose members have been thrown together to do a job. Consider two of the most widely revered leaders in business—Peter Drucker and Jack Welch. Drucker is globally regarded as one of the most sought-after minds in management science. Better Under Pressure PDF Book
But he wasn’t always right. For example, in September 1929, just a few weeks before the stock-market crash that led to the Great Depression, he began his career by publishing an article explaining why the New York Stock Exchange could only go up. Two decades later, writing about emerging trends in the packaging industry, he based his commentary on statistical analyses that were wildly incorrect.
Years later, he told a reporter that a soap bubble exists for precisely twenty-five seconds (nonsense). Largely ignored in the United States for the first half of his seventy-year career, he was forced to go to Asia to find corporations interested in paying for his counsel. It wasn’t until his involvement in some of Japan’s revolutionary management techniques became better known that.
His advice became increasingly sought within the United States. But he was not always the sage we have come to know him as today; his wise and thoughtful self is complemented by a self that perhaps made snap judgments or read the facts wrong. In the end, Drucker was successful because he brought his best self to the fore. Better Under Pressure PDF Book
How could Novak trust that his people would change the way that they were working? “I think people want to go to work with a quest towards greatness,” he told me. By turning the table on them and tapping into that pride—that quest—he engaged them in a way that direct orders or reprimands wouldn’t have done. Instead, under Novak’s leadership, the company is focused on training in the whole organization.
“Secretaries, admins, VPs, they’re all going through it,” Novak said. “This is a demonstration that everyone counts, regardless of the level you are at in the company. We’re all a part of something special, achieving greatness.” The best leaders can tap into the universal human thirst for pride and self improvement.
No matter what industry they are in and regardless of the content of their organization’s mission statement. They do this in many ways. Herb Kelleher, founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, made a lot of self-deprecating jokes when I spoke with him. He argued that humility and nonhierarchical thinking play a big role in realizing the potential of a workforce. Better Under Pressure PDF Book
Humility is a very important ingredient for an effective, strong CEO. And if you have that sense of humbleness, you’ll feel perfectly happy making jokes about yourself because you understand your own inadequacies, you understand how other people can help you enormously in areas where you need help, and you can have enormous fun with everybody that works for you because you’re all the same.
You’re not members of different classes. So it’s always easy to be humble when you have lots to be humble about In my job assessing candidates for CEO positions, I am continuously pressed by boards of directors to comply with a “reductionist” model of explaining human behavior, in which I’m asked to break issues down into component parts that can then be isolated and measured.
When I walk into a board room to discuss the CEO candidates that I am assessing, the board usually asks me essentially to “categorize this person—is the candidate an A, a B, or a C?” But inevitably, the answer is more complicated than that, and I find myself having to broaden the discussion to involve the context of the company. Better Under Pressure PDF Book Download
The job, and the team that is to be managed and how each individual’s unique qualities would likely influence future outcomes. Nevertheless, as I began writing this book, I found myself falling into the same reductionist trap that my clients so often did. I was trying to reduce human behavior into a linear progression, a unidirectional model of success.
“Develop attributes A, B, and C, and you too can be successful.” The temptation of offering an easy solution for the reader is strong. But this overly simplistic assessment just isn’t right, and it doesn’t honor the very spirit of what I’ve found out about great leaders. Such reductionism doesn’t work, because these three attributes are a symptom of the mastery these CEOs displayed, as much as they are a cause.
In other words, as much as these qualities did indeed differentiate the successful leaders from unsuccessful ones, the attributes are not ends in and of themselves. Rather, they are parts of a much larger whole—the whole of leaders who realize the potential of themselves and of their people. This fundamental point ties all of these people together in a way that defines their greatness.Better Under Pressure PDF Book Download
It is something they had discovered unconsciously, individually, and it has made them great. It was September 2008, and the collapse of AIG had just become public, rattling the world economy in an unprecedented way. AIG was considered by many the most stable company in the world, a reputation that earned it an investor rating higher than all of its competitors.
And a market position and reputation that was unmatched. Upon the company’s collapse, it became frighteningly clear just how far out of touch with reality the insurance industry was as a whole—an industry whose very business model was supposedly built on its ability to accurately evaluate risk.
At this time, a team of colleagues and I went to meet the candidates for the CEO position at one of the world’s largest insurance companies, an AIG competitor. The current CEO was planning for his replacement. Like AIG, this company was one of America’s oldest and most trusted names in insurance, and at this time above all others, the successor would need an acute awareness of reality to do the job.Better Under Pressure PDF Book Download
When we spoke to “Randy,” one of a few front-runners for the position, he told us that AIG and others’ credit default swaps were inexcusable and that the problems with these swaps were entirely predictable. Still, he said, his company had looked at swapping, too, but once he closely examined how it worked.
He saw some serious exposure risks in the investments even as competitors were betting more and more heavily on them. As we walked through his career history, Randy’s commentary was peppered with very frank assessments of his weaknesses, opinions on what he could have done better in each of his former roles, and comments on what he learned from each experience.
“When I first started out [in insurance] seventeen years ago,” he explained, “I wasn’t sure what my role should be. I knew it couldn’t be sales, since I stunk at remembering names.” Later, he admitted a desire to improve his public speaking. And in a typical story, he explained how at one point, he had gotten too focused on lost earnings and missed some targets as a result. Better Under Pressure PDF Book Free
He then chose to supplement the company’s income by selling some treasuries, which was a mistake. “Lost sight of the big picture there,” he said, readily assessing his own performance. Randy showed an uncommon capacity for confronting the full range of complexities regarding any given situation, even if doing so meant revealing his own personal weaknesses.
He was authentic and humble about the unknowable and his own imperfections, and he showed a complete lack of shame in revealing them so freely. He possessed the acute awareness of actual circumstances—an awareness that this insurance company desperately needed in any CEO it selected. Indeed, this humility is a key part of a leader’s self-awareness.
While leaders must maintain a sense of humility, or accurate self-awareness, to make the best decisions and to grow to their full potential, they must also project this very human image to their people. Good leaders must reject the paradigm of the aloof business executive who makes nearly perfect decisions alone in the C-suite. Better Under Pressure PDF Book Free
If you follow the old paradigm and ignore the inadequacies that exist, then your behavior suggests that it is OK for others to do the same. In this sense, humanizing yourself goes hand-in-hand with the humility it takes to see the world for what it really is. By then showing the ongoing hard work that it takes to be great.
The effort required to overcome obstacles, frustration, and self-doubt—you show by example what is required to realize your potential and thrive in the face of intensifying competition. So while humility allows you to see things as they are, humanity allows the world to see you as you really are.
Today’s masterful leaders humanize themselves in different ways, depending on their personal style and what is most natural for them. Some broadcast their life stories of challenges and obstacles overcome, such as David Novak’s autobiography, From Trailer Park to CEO. Herb Kelleher has freely shared stories of his early life, in which he was raised by a single mom during wartime. Better Under Pressure PDF Book Free
A. G. Lafley publicly lists his own failures—he talks about why he failed, what he could have done better, and what he learned from the experience. Lafley’s list includes his leadership failure in P&G’s global beauty segment, which didn’t make its numbers under his direction in the late 1990s; Lemon Dash detergent.
Which failed because it offered nothing different from existing products; and an Olay cosmetics line that he had to discontinue after poor consumer testing. Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen, has his direct reports list his strengths and weaknesses annually for the company’s board, and he even has a painting of General Custer in his office because earlier in the CEO’s career, Sharer was occasionally guilty of thinking too much of himself—just as Custer had been before he experienced his famous last stand.