Can You Handle Being on Stage as a Leader?

Great Leadership Blog

Beth Armknecht Miller is a Vistage Chair in Atlanta who provides a great role model of leveraging social media to create a personal brand around being a Vistage Chair. She does a great job using social media tools to amplify her message as a Vistage Chair in her community. One of the blogs I follow is the Great Leadership Blog by Dan McCarthy. I stumbled across this guest blog post by Beth on that blog titled “Don’t Let the Pebbles Cover the Rocks“.

Beth talked about the importance of not letting the urgent overwhelm the important in this article. If you’ll remember the writings of Steven Covey in the Seven Habits of Effective People, this was one of the key downfalls of most individuals – they let the urgent dictate their lives.

My focus was on a particularly interesting comment Beth made in her blog article that stuck in my mind. Many of you know that I coach High School Girls Basketball. We just finished our league season. The comment Beth made me reflect back over the last 6 months on my personal leadership, my ability to “control” my emotions and the other coaches I’ve observed in 100s of high school basketball games since the beginning of September. We have 3 levels in our program and each level has played over 50 games each. I announce all of our boys games for home games at our High School. Plus I run a youth club team with over 100 kids. That’s observing a lot of games. Here’s the comment Beth made about leadership:

And finally, having the skill to manage your emotions in times of the urgent is critical to leadership success. Many leaders forget that they are “on stage”. Their employees are always looking to them for emotional and behavioral cues. So when something or someone becomes that pebble, you need to kick up your level of emotional intelligence. Step back and think before you react.


I realized that the girls who played for me looked to me for guidance, inspiration, and focus. The lessons I’ve learned from coaching have helped me in my personal business, executive search practice, and in coaching my clients to be more effective in retaining top talent.


Very few basketball coaches have good control of their emotions and are able to effectively communicate with their teams. Their style is measured in extremes – from pure joy to outright anger. They talk about being ethical and value-based in their style out one side of their mouth, and out the other side swear at their players, abuse the referees, and trash talk the opponents. I have to ask myself what type of contradiction that sets up in the minds of young student-athletes. Perhaps, it prepares them for a lifetime of abusive and terrible bosses. Is there a significant difference in this aberrant behavior by coaches of high school girls vs. CEOs at entrepreneurial companies.

I may sometimes wonder if the girls on my team are paying any attention to what I am saying or doing during practices or games. I then realize they are focused on me with laser attention – every action, word, verbal or non-verbal comment is absorbed, analyzed, digested, and filed away for future use. I create a very open team environment where my girls can feel free to say anything they want without the feeling of retribution for being open. I am reminded of being on stage for them when I hear things like:

Why is that other coach yelling at his team?

Coach Barry – don’t forget to breath

Can you believe what that coach just said to the referee? How about that parent behind us who just yelled that comment – isn’t that inappropriate?

Coach Barry – when you sit down on the bench we feel you’ve given up on us.

My coaching peers frequently ask me why I don’t yell at the referees when I am upset about their calls. I tell them that the referees are doing their best job and sometimes they make mistakes under difficult situations and pressure. I ask them how they would feel if I yelled at them every time they made a mistake.

Top talent will not put up with a boss who cannot control their emotions. Members of a sports team will stop working hard when they don’t trust or believe in their coach. Employees are no different. If you’re going to be a “nut-case” and not coach/manage from a values-based approach all the time, then you should just forget about ever retaining top talent.

One of the top 3 reasons top talent decides to leave is that they lose their trust in you as THEIR leader. Not being able to control your emotions and not being able to “walk the talk” of your values is one of the fastest methods to lose good people. How many of your managers and executives have no clue how to manage with values and control their emotional state? Are they capable of learning? Should you send them to charm school? OR is it time to move on and hire better managers. You managerial and supervisors will dictate the caliber of team that delivers the front line of your service. If you’ve got “BAD” managers in those roles, you’ll never achieve long term continual success since they will only be able to hire and retain average and mediocre candidates who can’t find a job elsewhere.

Have you ever played on a team for a coach who couldn’t control their emotions – have you ever worked in an environment where the CEO or manager couldn’t control their emotions? What did you do about it?

My experience is that the entire culture/style/values of the team, group, department, or organization is set by the coach or leader? Do you have managers in your organization contributing to dysfunction?

If you would like to read the full article, click the link below:

Don’t let the Pebbles Cover the Rocks


Barry Deutsch




If you would like to read the full article, click the link below:

Don’t Let the Pebbles Cover the Rocks

Barry Deutsch

Why do most companies keep recreating the wheel?

Wordpress Content Management System

I had an interesting conversation at a presentation yesterday at one of my clients where we were working on performance management improvement. The topic of knowledge sharing came up. Various managers, staff, and field techs keep coming across similar problems and resolutions, yet it doesn’t get shared. I’m curious how other organizations “institutionalize” or “formalize” knowledge sharing beyond the weekly/monthly group meeting. How does this information get stored as part of the organization’s history?

An easy recommendation I’ve making to my clients to immediately start down this path is to just starting using a Content Management System internally like a blog – such as WordPress – to collect, store, and circulate knowledge. Easy to use and set-up and every person within minutes can learn how to add information.

Anyone else have experience with companies using a structured approach to knowledge sharing without spending thousands of dollars on expensive software?

I find in many of my entrepreneurial clients, those in the 50-150 person range, have no formal tool to collect knowledge and share it with other employees, new employees, and customers. Everybody is an isolated silo. Even though three of our staff have faced this same exact issue before, let’s allow the new guy to stumble through it again, recreating the wheel, and making the same mistakes we know will happen.

This sounds so dysfunctional that information is not shared other than the occasional “lunch-n-learn”, staff meetings, or the rare group training (in which we forget 90 percent of what we’ve heard and learned within 48 hours).

I am recommending to all my clients that have a workforce and client base with the following needs that they immediately implement putting wordpress on their website and using it both internally as a knowledge base, and externally, as a marketing engagement tool for clients:

  • Success stories to share with all employees and clients
  • Problems and their resolution
  • Feedback on projects
  • Updates for clients on projects
  • Client understanding of your solutions
  • Case studies
  • Technical Training and Updates
  • Product Information and Updates
  • Project Collaboration
  • Sales Call Reporting – beyond the information in your CRM system
  • Field Tech/Customer Call Reporting – beyond the information in your CRM system
  • Company Newsletter
  • Self-paced on-line training


The list is endless when you start including downloads for video, audio, mobile updates from the field off ipads and smartphones. Layer on top of the internal value you get: Imagine the ability to interact real time, improve communications, and engage at a deep level with your existing and potential customers.

There are other more rigorous and expensive solutions. WordPress could be the least expensive (it’s free – and quickest method to implement a knowledge base immediately) You always have the option to scale it up and transfer the content to another system in the future. Your IT professionals can quickly master how to support the software and your staff can be easily trained. You can also outsource the support of your wordpress installation to an expert, for a very low monthly fee (this is my approach).

I can’t think of an easier solution to get a knowledge base up and running within days, and start to see the immediate impact.

I am conducting a research project for companies interested in launching a knowledge base that can be used internally and externally for marketing. I will take the first 10 companies to raise their hand and I’ll walk them step-by-step through the launch and management of their knowledge base using WordPress. I will do this on a complimentary basis to form the foundation for my research project. Shoot me a note if you’re interested in being part of the initial research group.

This new service and direction comes from our observation that one of the greatest challenges in most companies in building high performance teams and organizations is a lack of knowledge sharing among the management team in how to do it. Training is one element of the solution (most managers and executives don’t have equal training), and the other primary failure point is a lack of sharing of specific past experiences and “details”on how to do it.

Barry Deutsch

Employee Engagement – Inside the Mind of a CEO

David Zinger is another of my favorite bloggers with great insight to improving employee engagement, culture, satisfaction, and commitment. He writes a Blog titled “David Zinger Employee Engagement“. In a recent blog posting, David writes about Adam Bryant’s weekly column in the Sunday New York Times called “Corner Office”.

Adam interviews various CEOs and Presidents in his weekly column on topics of leadership. In one of these columns, he interviewe arbara J. Krusiek, CEO of the Calvert Group on Career Ladder? It’s Time for a New Metaphor.

I would highly recommend reading the blog posting or the original article in the Corner Office Column.

There are a few great nuggets to take back and think about implementing within your company to improve employee engagement, excitement, passion, satisfaction – not to mention retention.


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What’s your version of HR Insanity?

Dilbert animation cell
Image via Wikipedia

Evil HR Lady is one of my favorite blogs to follow. Suzanne Lucas, the funny and sometimes frank HR Guru behind Evil HR Lady, recently wrote on her blog asking for samples of Your Favorite or Least Favorite Policy.

I almost doubled over in laughter reading some of these Dilbert-ish comments.

What are the tribal policies that are in place in your company or organization that make you want to go home and either laugh till you cry, or cry while pounding on the wall? Where do these come from?

How many of your employees are turned off to your culture when they hear, read, see policies that have no grounding in common sense.

Why do you put policies in place that cause your employees to question your sanity?

File this one under “How I Encourage My Best People to Leave and Join My Competitors”.

Barry Deutsch

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How Do You Stand Out in a Crowded Field?

How Can You Stand Out in a Crowded Field?

How can you stand out in a crowded sea of other leadership or experts in your field?

How can you establish your brand as unique?

How do you differentiate yourself to the point where CEOs and executives look forward to your postings since they are so different from all the other generic stuff that everyone else posts in their blogs?

Darren Rowse, writing on his blog, Problogger, recently posted an article titled “11 Ways to Add to the Blogosphere and Stand Out From the Crowd“. Actually, it’s a video and Darren once again nails it with actionable tactics you could implement tomorrow to start differentiating yourself as the “go-to” leadership guru/expert in your local community.

Take a look and let me know what you think?

Are you doing any of the 11 things that Darren discusses in his video?

If you’re NOT yet blogging – is it time to start? Should you have a platform on which to establish your credibility, expertise, knowledge, and personal branding? There is no better solution that blogging about what you already know!

Barry Deutsch

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