Why You Need to Put Culture Before Strategy

Daniel Montgomery Culture

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This quote has been floating around the business world for a while. It’s often credited to Peter Drucker, but the jury’s still out on who really said it first.  Mark Fields—former president and CEO of Ford—summed it up nicely: “You can have the best plan in the world, and if the culture isn’t going to let it happen, it’s going to die on the vine.”  What Drucker/Fields/Whoever is saying is spot-on. You can go ahead and pay a consultant big money to draft the most incredible strategic plan anyone has ever seen. But, if you don’t have the culture to support it, that plan will be dead on arrival. Have We Heard Something Like That Before? To my ears, this sounds like a slight variation on a theme we find in Jesus’ ministry. Once, Jesus ripped into a …

Where Are You Right Now? 7 Signs of the Unaware Leader

Daniel Montgomery Reality

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality As I shared last time, self-awareness is the key to high performance. Tasha Eurich—an organizational psychologist and New York Times best-selling author—has a lot to say about that in her book, Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as we Think. Referring to self-awareness as the “meta-skill of the 21st century,” Eurich writes: “[T]he qualities most critical for success in today’s world—things like emotional intelligence, empathy, influence, persuasion, communication, and collaboration—all stem from self-awareness. To put it another way, if we’re not self-aware, it’s almost impossible to master the skills that make us stronger team players, superior leaders, and better relationship builders—at work and beyond.” For me, Eurich’s most startling research finding was just how oblivious we are to our obliviousness. 95% of people think they’re self-aware, yet only 10-15% actually are. “For most people, it’s easier to choose self-delusion,” she says, “over the …

leadership development

Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here?

Daniel Montgomery Reality

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality A friend once told me a parable that went something like this: About 2000 years ago, a Rabbi ambled along the way, paying more attention to the little plumes of dust kicked up by his feet than to where he was going.  When the Rabbi meandered a touch too close to the provincial governor’s estate, a soldier appeared, clad in armor with a sword on his hip.  “Who are you and what are you doing here?” The Rabbi stopped and looked up. “What did you say?” “Who are you and what are you doing here?” The Rabbi pondered deeply for a moment. “Son, I don’t know what they’re paying you, but I’ll give you double to come stand by my tent and ask me those two questions every morning.” Who are you and what are you doing here? Since stepping down as the …

9 leadership types

Understanding the Power of Your Leadership Archetype

Daniel Montgomery self awareness

SARAH BRAUD Contributor & CEO Braud Creative My best friend since childhood has always been a natural leader. She’s charming, out-going, and a little bossy. She thinks in black and white, knows what she wants and goes after it, every time. Her insecurity meter is broken and when someone pays her a complement, her first instinct is to say, “I know.” I love her dearly, but I often want to punch her in the throat for being so ridiculously confident.  In comparison, I am awkward, self-deprecating, and way more comfortable with the gray areas of life. I don’t exactly scream “natural born leader.” Yet here I am, leading my family as a mother, leading my company, and leading my clients as a marketing consultant. So when I think about growth as a leader, I automatically think I’m supposed to be more like Stacey.  Or like Hillary. Or like Cheryl Sandberg. …

leadership development

The One Thing Leaders Miss

Daniel Montgomery Reality

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Have you ever watched a singer go down in flames on American Idol? How does that happen? How do these poor people make it all the way to the TV screen entirely unaware of their glaring lack of vocal talent? Did no one ever tell them? I’ve had a similar feeling as I’ve consulted with companies.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about professional competence. The people I’ve met and worked with are some of the most brilliant operators you’ll ever meet. Unlike those contestants on Idol, they consistently demonstrate why they belong in the spotlight. But, just like those early washouts, these leaders walk out onto that stage with a paper-thin sense of who they are and why that matters to the audience before them. For all their operational brilliance, they’re completely unaware. Typical Examples In working with businesses, I’ve met …