No matter how hard Olympians train, when winning can come down to a thousandth of a second every optimization is crucial. One crucial decision that every athlete faces is whether to risk their health and career by using performance-enhancing drugs in order to closer to the win.

There are parallels in business everyday. I see a lot of companies make unhealthy decisions when faced with the pressures for short-term results. Many cycle through inexpensive interns instead of investing in developing talent for the future; they stifle innovation through excessive cost cutting; or grind “productivity” out of increasingly demotivated employees.

These decisions aren't as obvious as an athlete deciding to dope, instead they creep in at every level of the organization until long-term health is in danger.

Certainly there are times when the short-term need for a win can outweigh long-term considerations, but it's important to be clear about the choices that are being made, and the consequences that could appear down the road.

How can you be certain that your organization is making healthy decisions?

Start by to asking these questions:

  • What are the long-term impacts of short-terms bursts of productivity?
  • How are we pursuing a strategy of long-term health while pursuing our short-term goals?
  • Is our drive to win today compelling us to pursue tactics that will make it difficult for us to win tomorrow?

Any organization that is compromising its long term health for short term burst is doping. It's a choice. The consequences become graver the longer it goes on, and it's always possible to pursue a healthier course.

Enjoy the games!


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Core Leadership Competencies for Financial Professionals

Something you may not know about me is that in addition to my consulting work I am also a co-owner of a growing landscape contracting company. As a result, I rely on the performance and input from financial professionals in the running of that company.

I recently received a request from a journalist to share my thoughts in the core competencies today for CPA's and other financial professionals. Here are my observations:

A great financial services leader communicates completely, candidly, and directly.

Too often, I've seen financial professionals believing that they've stated a set of concerns very clearly, but the client doesn't really grasp the severity of the situation. The same can happen with their own employees.

Get confirmation that your message has been received and understood instead of just delivering it. A weak leader avoids conflict by throwing out information without verifying understanding.

A weak financial services leader will take and cling to toxic business, such as the client who borders on abusiveness with staff, etc...

The leader who is run by fear of losing any business, including bad business, is weak — and running their business into the ground. A great leader will regularly cull their client list until their book is filled with clients who treat them and their staff with respect, pay on time, and generate work that fulfills the organization.

Which do you sound like?

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About Michelle

Management consultant, speaker and author, Michelle Randall is the leading expert in culturally agile leadership. Michelle's clients include executives and their teams at Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profit organizations and members of the US House of Representatives and legislative leaders throughout the United States.

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