You’re in Charge Now – What Next?

Leadership Excellence Trust

Being thrust into a leadership role can be one of the most frightening experiences of your career.


Many organizations groom prospective leaders to take on bigger responsibilities.  They test their prospects with leadership roles throughout their career.  But, more often than not, you are thrust into leadership roles unexpectedly and without warning.


If you are like most first time leaders, you have not received  leadership training or coaching.


Mistakes to Avoid

After getting over the shock, you are struck with what to do to begin to build the confidence and trust of your team.   Many new leaders make the mistake of believing they need to know everything and have ALL the answers.


They also fall into the trap of believing they need to behave like their predecessor.  Many of the best leaders build on their own unique leadership style.

Don’t Panic

But there is no reason to panic, as one of the ways the more successful leaders build rapport and trust is to meet with their team.  They meet as a group and one on one.

And, the smart leaders use these meetings to discover what is on the minds of the people you are now leading.  In addition, they gather ideas team members have for achieving organizational goals.

Path to Success

Your success as a leader will be dependent upon the buy-in and degree of ownership your team has in the strategies you implement.  Your team will be much more accepting of you and your strategies if they believe they have contributed to the development of these strategies.  They will support you if they believe they have been listened to and that their ideas have value.


In addition, a side benefit of these meetings is that you will have a chance to evaluate the members of your team.  You can begin to determine who you can count on to play critical roles in the execution of your strategies.

Your Leadership Style

Do you know your unique leadership style?  If you would like a free assessment send an email to and put “leadership style” in the subject line.  I will send you a link to a leading leadership profile assessment tool, at no cost to you.

If you want to learn about leadership styles from a variety of leaders in a diverse set of industry groups, check out my book:  “A Garage Full of Ferraris: How to unleash the potential in your high-performance teams to drive extraordinary results”

What Differentiates Highly Profitable Professional Services Firms From Those Who Struggle?

Leadership Excellence

shutterstock_130549784SIf your professional services practice struggles to earn double digit profit you undoubtedly have wondered what the top firms do differently to produce in excess of 30% net profit.

You may have concluded the most profitable practices earn high profits as a result of their reputation, or they pay more for top talent.  Maybe it is because they are able to take on large projects, and only a handful of firms have the capacity to win those projects.  After all, anybody can deliver 30% returns on multi-million dollar projects.

The questions which are rarely asked include:
•    What do the most successful firms do differently to position themselves for the most lucrative projects?
•    How are they able to hire and retain top talent?
•    How do their senior executives oversee teams of 15 or 20 professionals where your largest teams are only 7 or 8 professionals?

Having worked with firms on both ends of the spectrum, I have observed several ways the best organizations differentiate themselves from the pack.  What is surprising is that the differences are not rocket science.  The best firms do not have a secret formula, like Coca Cola, locked in a safe.

More often than not, the best firms do a few small things differently.  The rest of the firms refuse to conduct business in the same way because:
•    They don’t understand the simplicity of the solution.
•    They refuse to address and change bad habits that are holding them back.
•    They are afraid to change how they approach business.

In my experience, the three biggest differences between the haves and the have not’s include:
1) Leadership development 2) focus and 3) value proposition.

The top firms invest in their people, particularly in soft skills.  They focus their services in relatively narrow niches, and they completely understand their value proposition.

The firms that dwell on the bottom, and struggle to exist, believe they can hire their leaders and don’t have to train their people.  They believe they have to be all things to their clients, so spread their skills and services over a broad area.  And they don’t seem to understand the source of their true value.  They speak in terms of project management skills, their outstanding technical skills or rubbish about how their clients really like them because they are nice people.

What do you think are the differentiators?  In your opinion are the differences insurmountable? Are there hurdles the second tier firms cannot overcome?