Mark C. Crowley

Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century

What people feel in their hearts has profound influence over their motivation & workplace performance.
“In contrast to longstanding management thinking, the heart is the driving force of human achievement, and employee engagement is a decision of the heart.”
– Mark C. Crowley
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The Right Mindset For Leadership Excellence

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons, Wisdom From Other Authors | 0 comments

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”.
                                                               Albert Einstein

“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.
                                                               Albert Einstein

Have you ever wondered why some people reach their full potential in life when other equally talented people do not?

Could it be the difference between high achievement and mediocrity is a result of one’s thinking?

Within the answer to these questions lies the possibility of profoundly altering your own life’s direction, not to mention the lives and performance of every single person you lead.

In her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success,” Stanford Psychology Professor, Carol Dweck, reveals that people whose achievements are greatest have a “growth mindset.”  To understand this concept, she contrasts it with a belief system and disposition more of us likely have been imbued with – a “fixed mindset.”

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Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies To Work For: It’s Not About The Perks!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in Current Affairs, Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Wisdom From Other Authors | 0 comments

2012 100 Best Company's To Work For CoverHere’s the scenario:  You’ve just picked up the latest Fortune Magazine – the one which features it’s annual listing of America’s “100 Best Company’s To Work For.”

As you review the list, you’re not too terribly surprised to see that Google now ranks number one and that firms heralded in past years (e.g. SAS, Wegman’s Foods and Boston Consulting) again rank in the top 5.

As an ambitious leader seeking to learn from the example of these organizations, you read all the articles that describe their shared characteristics.  And then you put the magazine on your credenza and go back to work.

If I saw you the next day and asked you what you discovered to be the common denominators of all the great places to work, what would you say?

If I had to guess, you’d likely say something like “incredible perks.”

While I truly admire Fortune Magazine for producing a list like this (annually updated since 1998), I think they unintentionally do a huge disservice to readers (leaders) by creating the illusion that providing perks like stocked pantries and free gymnasiums is predominantly what it takes to win the hearts of workers.

Just consider Fortune’s treatment of Google.  In naming it as the new #1, the magazine showcases ten truly extravagant perks that almost no other company in the country replicates (Bowling alleys, unlimited free gourmet food and discounted eyebrow shaping to name a few).

If I’m a leader who wants to build my own team of happy, engaged and exceedingly productive employees, I’m too easily persuaded that I’m reliant on my organization to step up it’s gift giving.  I’m not adequately convinced my own leadership practices play a meaningful role in employee satisfaction.  And I would be wrong.

The truth is (and Fortune, to its credit, clearly know this) whether amazing perks are provided or not) great places to work share at least five common leadership traits.  And these practices can and should be modeled by every business leader:

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What The Golden Globes Teaches Us About Employee Recognition

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Current Affairs, Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Wisdom From Other Authors | 0 comments

Golden Globe Awards LogAfter watching the Golden Globes on TV last Sunday, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it.  Apparently, my subconscious believed the show should be the subject of a blog post and found a way of jostling me into alertness.

Always one to listen to my inner voice, I came to realize in the daylight that the Hollywood Foreign Press did some brilliant things to ensure the full power of its recognition was bestowed upon its awardees.  But they also did some things that unnecessarily undermined their effectiveness.

I want to make brief note of both.

Once a year, the Golden Globes are presented to television and film’s best writers, directors, actors and actresses, and the winners almost always have done truly exceptional work to earn the award.  It’s clear in the faces of these people that this recognition is extremely meaningful and that virtually all of them aspire to earn a Golden Globe though their work.

(Before you proceed, please begin thinking about your employees and how hard they work in order to earn your praise and approval.  There’s a parallel here).

This year’s host, comedian, Ricky Gervais, opened the ceremony with these words:

“Tonight you get Britain’s biggest comedian, hosting the world’s second biggest awards show, on America’s third biggest network… Sorry, fourth.”

As he said these things, we could see the audience wince.  Why?  Let’s dissect what he said.

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What Makes Every Human Happiest

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons, Wisdom From Other Authors | 0 comments

The Happiness ProjectFor an entire year, Gretchen Rubin devoted her life to the study of personal happiness.

She picked twelve important areas of human existence (such as marriage, work, parenting) and, one-month-at-a-time, committed herself to increasing her happiness in each of them.

Throughout the process, Rubin spent time “test driving” all of the world’s wisdom on the subject – everything from ancient philosophy, recent scientific studies and lessons from popular culture.

In her recent book, The Happiness Project, Rubin distills all she learned from her research and offers wonderful insight on how to most successfully and comprehensively make ourselves happier.

I happened to catch an interview with Ms. Rubin on CBS Sunday Morning – soon after her book made it to the top of the New York Time’s best seller list where she was asked this bottom-line question:  “What, above all else, did you discover to be the most important driver of happiness?”

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Give Your People A Little Love

Posted by on Jan 15, 2012 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons | 0 comments

Art GalleryHere’s a quick story my son, Ryan, once told me about how our words and gestures can have a really destructive or constructive effect on the people we lead.

As a young manager of a high-end art gallery following college, Ryan found himself way behind schedule in getting all the pieces of a new exhibit hung.  He was just a few days away from an opening night gala and was feeling the stress of meeting all the deadlines.

And so, he instinctively began barking orders.

The person doing all the actual hanging, Chris, was a genius performer in his role. He had experience in land surveying and used radar to precisely place all of the artwork.  While earning only a nominal wage, he displayed a huge sense of ownership for his work and no one in the company could match his effectiveness in this task.

Under the pressure of the moment, however, and in with a desire to speed up Chris’s work, Ryan started bossing him around. Not surprisingly, Chris shut down.  His spirit became deflated and his physiology confirmed that of someone who’d become really unhappy and resentful.  His progress slowed further.

Another gallery worker, Tim, observed Chris’s distress and found a moment to take his boss aside.  “Ryan, you’re really going about this the wrong way,” he said.  “You’ve gotta show Chris a little love.  If you do, he’ll do a perfect job.”

Ryan knew instantly that he had let the pressure get to him and “took his employee’s advice to heart.”  He went directly to Chris and apologized for being so hard on him. He expressed to Chris that he was especially grateful for having him on his team and that he truly appreciated all of his amazing work.

That’s all it took to cheer up Chris and get him back on track.  According to Ryan, he ended up doing a knock-out job with every piece of art perfectly hung before their important show.

If it’s not entirely obvious, the hero and leadership model in this story was Tim.  Sensitive in the moment to how his co-worker was feeling – and what was interfering with his normally high productivity – Tim saw to it that Chris got the support he needed. And when managers routinely take the pulse of employees and find ways of re-energizing their performance, this is leading from the heart.

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