If You Escalate, You Fail

“If you have to escalate, you’ve already failed.” Those were the words a vice president of a Fortune 500 company told me during our interview. We were discussing the power of influence, especially when working with international teams. He was advising me that if you have to go over someone’s head to get what you need, then your leadership isn’t effective. Perhaps there are times when you have to resort to escalation, but 90% of the time it’s not necessary.

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Maybe It’s Time to Panic!

As deadlines near, there is something in the air – panic! While this isn’t always the case, it frequently is. A big project or deal has hit do-or-die time, and suddenly leaders within the organization worry about whether the company will meet with success. What can often be seen in that moment is more involvement from upper-level leaders and a lot more oversight, with a little bit of micromanaging thrown in for good measure.

Critical projects and deals warrant involvement from key leadership. If a lot is at stake, it’s understandable why upper management should be asking the right questions; these people often can bring the right perspective to avoid unnecessary hiccups. But, if you are a leader in this position, pause and ask yourself these questions before jumping in: Continue reading