Commentary

Stan Sewitch

Stan Sewitch has over 35 years in business as an entrepreneur, consultant and executive. His adventures include founding HRG Inc., Emlyn Systems, Chromagen and KI Investment Holdings. Stan serves as a director on several boards as well. Stan holds an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from California State University at Long Beach, and a B.A. in Physiological Psychology from San Diego State University. He serves as the Vice President of Global Organization Development for WD-40 Company. Stan can be reached at sewitch1@cox.net

Notes From The Corporate Underground

The old saying is that knowledge is power. And it is, of course. Sharing it is also power, but only for those people who know how to create value rather than just have the private knowledge of it. For those people whose skill is not in value creation, but in value trading, differential knowledge is a source of profit.

There is no surer way for a leader to lose followers than to be perceived as behaving hypocritically — professing one set of values, morals or ethics, while behaving in contradictory fashion.

OK, so I haven’t read the full agreement, but I’m having a hard time seeing what we lose by ratifying the treaty negotiated with Iran.

Journalism has been a professional field that continually self-examines its motives.

When telephones snapped their tether a couple of decades ago and went wireless, we were able to travel freely around our house or office while conversing. We gained freedom of movement. We also often lost our phones, because we would put them down wherever we were when the call was over, and forgot where that was.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the first series of six books forming his autobiography “Confessions” in 1765, published in 1782. In the sixth book, he recounted a time when he was poor and hungry.

It may sound simple, but it’s not so easy to do: describe expected performance levels to an employee, and even tougher, what the employee can do to earn the highest marks for contributions. At WD-40 Company, we strive to help people get an A for their performance. But first you have to define what that means in observable behaviors.

This is actually the message on the front page of the latest Harvard Business Review. Front page. Again.

A friend of mine recently learned that she had stage 1 breast cancer. Surgery now complete, chemotherapy is next.

There are so many books, workshops and keynote speakers on the subject of leadership. Most, if not all, focus on what the leader can do to be a better leader. Few talk about how to be a better follower.

We as leaders (and ostensible developers of leaders) spend a great deal of time (or should) on what we are going to communicate, how we are going to do it, when we’re going to do it, with whom we’re going to do it, etc., etc. Leaders are primarily educators. Education doesn’t happen without communication.

I was contacted recently by a salesperson who represented a company with a software application that allows managers to set up a way to provide perquisites and gifts to people who earned the prizes by achieving whatever defined accomplishment was needed. I explained to the person why such programs don’t create lasting organizational improvement.

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