Choosing to Lead

Choosing to Lead

Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you. There’s a difference between managers and leaders

Ask them what that difference is, and they may have a bit more difficulty providing a clear answer. Suddenly the words become amorphous and undefined. Somehow leadership is an intangible – a charismatic component that some people have and others simply don’t. That’s why, according to the ubiquitous “they,” it is such a rarity.

I disagree with this perspective.

Job Versus Calling 

A job is a task, something you have to do, something that you must accomplish to get something else ( like a pay check).  But a Calling is unique, it is driven by passion, it isn’t something you can stop doing , or retire from, or simply not do either at home or at work.  A Calling is ‘who you are” it’s part of you.

The difference between being a manager and being a leader is simple Management isa career. Leadership is a calling.

You don’t have to be tall, well-spoken and good looking to be a successful leader. You don’t have to have that “special something” to fulfill the leadership role.

What you have to have are clearly defined convictions – and, more importantly, the courage of your convictions to see them manifest into reality. Only when you understand your role as guide and steward based on your own most deeply held truths can you move from manager to leader.

The Power of Trust 

Whether the group you oversee is called employees, associates, co-workers, teammates or anything else, what they are looking for is someone in whom they can place their trust.  Someone they know is working for the greater good – for them and the organization. They’re looking for someone not only that they can – but that they want to – follow.

Because it is only when you have followers -people who have placed their trust in you – that you know you have moved into that leadership role. And the way you see it is that your organization is transcending all previous quality, productivity, innovation, and revenue achievements. You’re operating at such a high level of efficiency that you’re giving budget back to the corporation – and you’re still beating your goals.

You’re achieving what you always dreamed could be achieved. And not only that, but it’s easier than you thought.

Because you’re a leader. Because the classic command and control management model – which, contrary to popular belief still applies even in our most progressive 21st-century companies – is no longer in play. Sure, controls are in place. Sure, you’re solving problems that arise.

But it’s not just you alone. You have the people in whom you’ve put your trust – and who have happily and safely reciprocated – to help you create organizational success.

First Steps:

Where to start? Begin by discovering exactly what your convictions are. Clarify and codify for yourself what you believe in. Then, take a nice step back and see how those beliefs are playing out in the organization as it stands today.

Don’t start with an organizational assessment based on the numbers or your opinions about others. It is not about “them.” It is all about you.

Ask yourself:

  • What is important to me? What are my values, beliefs, ethics?
  • How am I demonstrating those values, beliefs, and ethics every day?
  • Is the larger organization designed to support my values, beliefs, and ethics?
  • Where are the disconnects within my immediate organization and for myself with the larger enterprise?
  • What can I do to change how I behave with my immediate organization to demonstrate my belief in them?
  • What additional assistance do my employees need to succeed ¡V and how can I ensure that they get everything they need and more to create personal and organizational success?

Realistically, you’ll go through this process not once, but many, many times. It is a periodic reality and cross-check to see how you’re doing in your own context and, as you begin making changes, in the larger context.

Because, while you can and should expect yourself and your immediate organization to make changes, you cannot – and should not – expect the larger organization to respond or follow suit immediately. It is a personal journey designed to assist you in being more – and helping those whose lives you touch to be more. Give the organization time. It’ll get there. It’s just a little bit slow.

What’s Next? 

As you identify your convictions and begin aligning your behaviors with those convictions, you are going to need to take steps to build a collaborative culture based on where you’re going.

To do that, seek input from your employees about what they need and what their dreams are for their jobs and the larger organization. (They have them, you know). Talk to internal and external customers and suppliers about their needs. Find out what more and what else you can be and do to create success.

Take some time with your assessments over the holidays and focus on these questions as you begin to prepare yourself for the new year.

Questions for reflection :

  1. What Is Leadership?
  2. What is the Leadership Challenge you are currently Facing? (What Keeps you Awake)
  3. What is my vision for the future?
  4. How can I foster an environment that engages people fully?
  5. How do I need to “re-invent” personally to make progress toward my vision?
  6. Am I   Results or Relationship Oriented?
  7. What are my next steps to compensate for my bias?
  8. What are my terminal values I need to know and Live?
  9. Am I a serving leader or a self-serving leader?

Enroll and engage in conversation and communication. Sit back. Listen. Take in as much as you can. Look for trends and themes. Find out where the possibilities are – the connects and disconnects that you can effect.

Be more. Be all those things you always believed about yourself – and usually bring to the rest of your life.

Leaders aren’t made or born. Leadership is a choice – a belief in and commitment to everything that is good and noble within you.

Choose to Lead….this world needs more like you!

Managing the Iceberg

Managing the Iceberg

Managing the Iceberg

Norms are standards or rules of conduct to which people conform. Behavior reflects the extent to which people conform to or deviate from the standards. We have all felt the pressure to conform at times. There is value in conformity; for civilized society to exist, conformity to certain rules must occur. This is also true for organizations. There are two other qualities of conformity, however — that creative change rarely if ever springs from such behavior, and that we sometimes conform to rules or standards that do not make sense from the perspective of either productive individual behavior or effective organizational performance.

People are usually aware of their conformity, but, especially in organizations, they are often not aware of many of the norms to which they are conforming. Norms can be classified as either explicit or implicit. Explicit norms are those to which we consciously conform. Explicit norms in organizations include policies and procedures, working hours, job descriptions, etc. Implicit norms are those rules we follow without being aware we are conforming to anything.

In organizational terms, explicit norms reflect the formal organization and implicit norms are the informal side. Using an iceberg as a metaphor to illustrate norms, the formal organization is that above the waterline and the informal one is below. It has been argued by many organizational experts that most behavior in an organization is manifested by the informal organization ö below the waterline. Much of the diagnostic work in organizational consulting involves determining the nature of the organizational behavior that occurs below the surface and how these behaviors affect people and the organization positively or negatively.

Formal Organization


  • Explicit Norms
  • Organization Chart
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Policies and Procedures

Informal Organization

  • Implicit Norms
  • Ways around the system
  • Power and influence patterns
  • Views of what is competent behavior
  • Trust, secrets and collusion

As consultants, we are concerned with:

  1. determining the norms, particularly the implicit ones, that influence organizational members’ behavior;
  2. bringing these norms to the surface, by a feedback process, for organizational members to consider;
  3. considering these norms in terms of those that seem to be helpful and those that hinder effective individual and organizational functioning; and
  4. changing the norms that are considered to be dysfunctional.

LUMPKIN & ASSOCIATES offers a thorough and well-tested employee survey instrument to identify the implicit norms in your organization. While you may have a sense of what some of these may be, a survey of your employees designed to uncover norms will provide you with powerful information about what is really going on “below the surface” and enable you to plan changes in your culture that will move your organization ahead.

At LUMPKIN & ASSOCIATES we believe that Organizational Development should be a planned process of change in an organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology and theory.

Some organizational consultants offer “intuitive” impressions to measure and understand the organizations with which they work. While intuition can certainly be a helpful skill, what sets us apart is our thoroughness of knowledge and depth of experience in applying behavioral science technology and theory to expand on and verify our impressions.

  • We know how to ask the right questions
  • We have the technical ability to collect and assemble the answers in a complete and understandable format. (We use the same statistical program to compile and interpret your data that is preferred by social researchers at the leading universities.)
  • We understand social and organizational dynamics. This enables us to thoughtfully interpret the information we collect, recommend useful changes and guide your organization through the change process.
Iceberg metaphor from S.M. Herman, “The Organization as an Iceberg”, paper presented to the OD Network Conference in 1970.
Litigation and Valuation

Litigation and Valuation

Litigation and Valuation

The Practice of Business Valuation

Much more than “rules of thumb.”

T he theory surrounding the value of an interest in a business depends entirely on the future benefits that will accrue to the owner of it.

A business valuation then depends upon an estimate of the future benefits and the required rate of return at which those benefits are discounted back to the date of the valuation.

To put this in the most simplest of forms, a business valuator projects some category or categories; (such as cash flow, earnings or dividends) and then estimates the present value of those future earnings by discounting them based upon the time value of money and the risks associated with ownership. The direct implementation of this will be discussed in future issues of our newsletter.

While there is a generally accepted framework for business valuation; translating it into practice in an uncertain world poses one of the most complex challenges of financial theory and practice.

The reasonableness of the conclusion is contingent upon the valuators projections and variables used to estimate future economic benefits. Because of the complexities associated with this, business valuation experts have developed various approaches that use historical as well as projected data to arrive at a valuation that is supportable and defendable in the business and legal world.

Points to consider when using an Expert Witness

    1. Don’t expect your expert to work in a vacuum and then appear in court with a perfect presentation. Preparation is the key.
    2. Don’t expect to be able to ambush a well-prepared expert witness.
    3. Don’t tie your expert up with tightly worded yes or no questions. Ask questions that allow the expert to explain a position.
    4. Don’t expect to win your case on the cross-examination of the opposing expert. Win it with your expert.
    5. Don’t just learn the basic principles or theory. Having just a little knowledge is dangerous.
    6. With your expert, prepare an outline of direct testimony and include only those technical terms necessary to ask questions.
    7. Retain the expert early; that usually results in a more efficient case, with less overall cost.
    8. Maintain constant communication with your expert. He or she needs to know about any financial aspect of your case.
    9. Use the deposition process to make the opposing expert tell everything he or she knows about the case.
    10. Use a written report if the matter is complex. The written report is a valuable tool for you, not your opponent.

    Suggestions for Dealing with Change

    Suggestions for Dealing with Change

    Suggestions for Dealing with Change

    With the current downsizing, rightsizing etc. that is happening in American business today, there are a few things that should be remembered by people affected by the changes. I predict that we will look back on this time as one of the stupidest times in the history of management. Much change being implemented simply isn’t needed and many organizations are and will find that they have cut too deep into their organizations leaving them vulnerable to poor quality products, poor service, and poor morale. Overworked employees make mistakes from fatigue and put the organization at risk from a safety and quality perspective. Tension continues to rise as we expect our workers to do more with less. By the time the realization hits us the damage is done to the business and the reputation of the business. What amends are made are too little for the remaining workers and too late to ward of a fierce competitor waiting in the wings. Many organizations have offered Early Retirement Options or “packages” to senior employees to get the older more expensive employees off the payroll. The problem with that is that it leaves the newer, more educated but less experienced employee to take up the slack without the vital experience of the senior worker. While the depth of the balance sheet expenses narrows making stockholders and executive cost cutter’s happy, the depth of the knowledge base gets wider frustrating and stressing out the very people who make the product and deliver the service. Without this knowledge base critical decisions take longer and simple operating problems are now monumental for the novice to solve alone. Sometimes the change is necessary. When this happens a new awareness is called for if you are to handle the change positively. In those cases, here are some suggestions for dealing with change.

    Understand that you are critical to the reorganization process. You are responsible for you own adjustment to change! In order to adjust, ask yourself several questions:


    1. What do I want to have happen in my job, my life, my career?
    2. What am I willing to do to get that?
    3. Is what I am currently doing helping me get what I want or hurting me in the process?
    4. What makes the most sense for me to do today to help me get what I want?

    Things to Remember…

    You control your attitude.

    While you cannot stop the progress and outcomes of change, you can control your attitude about change. You can choose to brood, be angry, feel helpless and bitter but is unlikely that will help you physically or mentally. However, you can choose to seize opportunities to grow and take steps in new directions every day if you wish. Living in the past is not much help when you are facing the future.

    Recognize that management will make mistakes.

    Don’t expect management decisions to always be right or even to make sense from your point of view. There are no standard treatments or pat solutions to managing the change process. Your organization is unique, some decisions that look like mistakes may be the best of the only bad alternatives from which a choice must be made. Generally, your best interests are in the heart of members of management even though decisions many not look like that sometimes.

    Swim with the current rather than against it.

    The most important life saving rule in dealing with change is that you will not stop it. You must find your way with it. Perhaps you’ve been to the beach and are aware of the “undertow” which periodically affects swimming conditions along the beach. Many travelers are caught in the undertow and find themselves being pulled out away from the beach. A few panic and fight the powerful currents that carry them. The survivors however, know that to swim along with the current will bring you to shore only a few hundred yards down the beach if you relax, don’t panic and swim with the current.

    Recognize that restructuring isn’t the “cause” of everything.

    Remember the “good ole days”? Well even in the good ole days there were issues and concerns too. Change brings with it a desire to return to times of our memories when things weren’t moving so fast. However, if you really think about it, times are less stressful when you remember them as times when things were really going the way you wanted them to. Times were moving fast then too, you were just on a different side of change at that time. Downsizing, restructuring, merging, relocating, etc. are all organizational behaviors of our times they happen for reasons much larger that just those that effect a single company or event.

    You may experience feelings about work that concern you. Like getting frustrated, temperamental, disgusted, angry and even afraid. If your feelings are managing you to the extent that you are not able to continue with your personal and work goals today, then perhaps you need to rethink whether you are reacting to change or acting with change. If you react to change too long, you can become negative, sad, depressed, and be a “corporate whiner” But if you are acting with change, you can be more accepting and though sometimes frustrated and even afraid, you still have the emotional energy to stay in control. Ask yourself, How am I feeling? Is this feeling helping me? What might I do that would help me feel differently?Then, take action. That makes the biggest difference.

    Worrying doesn’t change things, actions do!

    Worrying is a kind of voodoo activity that humans engage in falsely thinking that worrying will change events in life. Actually, there is no connection between worrying and constructive outcomes in life. There is however, a connection between positive actions and positive outcomes. So when you find yourself worrying, Ask, Is this helping me? If it is keep worrying. My bet is that your answer will mostly be no. If so, then ask “What can I do that might move me a little closer to my goal ( what I want) than worrying? Then, haul off and do it! Stay busy at work and focused on your personal plans and goals.


    In spite of the fact that you have been doing your job for a long time. You are not your job. You are more than that! We live in a society that defines us by what we do. Yet, who we are is far more important than what we do. It is important during these times of change that you pace yourself and that you take time for yourself. Make sure you are eating right, getting plenty of rest, (I know I sound like your Mother!) and intentionally increase your exercise regimen during these times. These behaviors are known to impact a healthy mind and body during the trauma of corporate change.