Home > NewsRelease > Coaching & C-Vader: The Dark Side of Leadership--'At C-Level'
Coaching & C-Vader: The Dark Side of Leadership--'At C-Level'

 From the Top

Plan check.

Ok, you're four months into this; 33% of 2012 is done and buried.

How are you—and those you lead—doing with their goals, plans, and objectives? We should have considerable strides visible in the rearview mirror, and be able to explain delays and detours with something better than "I'm just getting' warmed up..."

Do a check-up. Ask and investigate. Insist on credible status updates that are helpful to you and those you lead. Do it now, because a little later comes a heck of a lot sooner than most of us realize. Until it's to late...

I'm Certified! No, I didn't say certifiable (as some were thinking—you know who you are), I said Certified. Recently awarded the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation by the Institute for Management Consultants (IMC). Whoop-te-do, right?? The reality is most people simply don't track—or need to track—the myriad certifications, designations, and related alphabet soup that people in my business append to their name.

From the IMC: CMC® (Certified Management Consultant) is the certification mark awarded by the Institute of Management Consultants USA and represents meeting the highest global standards and ethical canons of the profession. Fewer than 1% of all consultants have achieved this level of excellence.

Of course, that and $4.35 will get you a triple venti, non-fat, no-whip mocha...

The key takeaway in all of that, from my way of thinking, is not the certification, per se; nor is it the exclusivity. It's the focus on ethics.

Triangle Performance LLC's 2012 Survey of Senior Leadership http://www.triangleperformance.com/articles/seniorsurvey/2012_1_senior_survey.pdf) (our sixth annual) is available, and with almost 15% more respondents than last year, a rousing success, and as usual, quite enlightening!

I did want to briefly highlight some of the survey key findings. For example...

1. Revenue/Earnings Enhancement continues to lead the way, and Management/Leadership Performance continues be a big deal.

2. Clear Vision & Strategy are again important, and have been since we began surveying.

3. Talent Acquisition and Retention are newcomers to the scene, and Employee Benefits Costs and Legislation bubbled to the surface from dead last—no doubt motivated by current healthcare concerns, legislation, and unknowns.

The summary results can be yours by downloading here http://www.triangleperformance.com/articles/seniorsurvey/2012_1_senior_survey.pdf).

Who are you, really?? Take a complimentary assessment. Find out more about candidates; create a benchmark for skills in your organization, and use as templates for coaching efforts. Go to my assessments page http://www.triangleperformance.com/assessments/); then click on the link to take and receive your complimentary Personality assessment.

Some newsworthy mentions:

CEO Online published my article, Becoming A Purposeful Leader. You can read that here http://www.ceoonline.com/pages/id46307.aspx)

Monster.com interviewed me for an article on Compensation planning. You can read that here http://hiring.suntimes.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/managing-hiring-costs/2011-compensation-planning.aspx)

My Houston Business Journal feature covering my firm (and a large, multi-year client) for an article on team-centric executive development. http://www.triangleperformance.com/articles/newsletter/images/HBJ-article4-24.pdf)

He speaks... (Apparently I have a message that resonates with some... who knew??).

Recently delivered "Leadership, Ethics, and Attila the Hun" to a group of regional executives. Fun, meaningful, and to-the-point.

I'm confirmed to speak at SHRM's 2012 Annual Conference in Atlanta, on June 27th... http://annual.shrm.org)

I'll follow that by speaking at the Austin Human Resources Association's Annual Conference on August 24th http://ahrma.shrm.org)

Speaking of speaking... I continue to present two favorite topics:

Sit Down, Shut Up, and Color! Breaking through employee entitlement...


Leadership is Easy... until it isn't. Successful leadership in challenging times...


If you have a corporate, trade, or association event, I'd certainly enjoy speaking to your group. You can see more information regarding topics and details on my website http://www.triangleperformance.com/kevinspeaks/index.html).

Further, feel free to download and read a few articles that may be relevant today:

Back to the Future I've got me some tea leaves... http://www.triangleperformance.com/articles/articles/back_to_the_future.pdf),

Leadership Integrity Obligation, Obfuscation, or Oxymoron?


Lessons Learned... I'm not nearly as stupid today as I was back then...


...and don't forget to check out my blog http://blog.triangleperformance.com); some interesting (I think) posts, like the leadership myth, and how to succeed in HR... Please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

But that's just me...


Check me out on Twitter


If you'd like to know how I can assist you, your organization, or a colleague of yours, please fill out this form http://www.triangleperformance.com/contactus/requestinfo.html) and I'll send you some specific information, articles, engagement results, and so forth.

As always, I hope this finds you well, personally and professionally; please give me a call if I can ever help in any way, and feel free to forward this to anyone you feel may be interested. (Really!) I appreciate your referrals.

Warm Regards,

D. Kevin Berchelmann


Triangle Performance, LLC




Strategy & Leadership

High Performance Leadership Coaching

-- Kids, don't try this at home!

I coach lots of folks. Mostly high performing senior leaders, but sometimes I work with those gearing up for their next big thing. They're good—we want them to be better.

Sort of like the book, Good to Great. Except without Jim Collins. And it's not about companies. And these people need to be successful for years after publication date.

So, I'm frequently asked, then, what advice I would give someone aiming for more responsibilities, more authority, and larger scope of leadership. It's actually fairly simple... I tell them to do these four things:

1. Make bad decisions. Got your attention, didn't I?? I don't mean intentionally make idiot moves for your organization. What I mean is this – about 25 years ago, a really smart two-star General by the name of Lawrence Bosie told me "If 25% of your decisions aren't wrong, you simply aren't making enough decisions."

Now, we can argue that the number is wrong—too high, too low—but the concept is sound. If we in leadership are regularly and promptly making the decisions we should, we'll be doing so with (obviously) less than complete information. Because of that, we'll undoubtedly screw one up now and again. Not the end of the world... learn from it, make another decision (with your new information) and move on.

But, you've gotta be making decisions. Lots of 'em.

2. Take responsibility for others' hard decisions. No, I'm not saying take someone else's credit; I'm simply saying be in charge. Be the leader your people want you to be. If you are forever dodging bullets by telling your staff that "Sorry, that's just what I was told," or "Not my idea, Gail said we had to do it this way," or similar efforts to distance yourself from unpalatable decisions, you are sabotaging your future success.

You see, you are thinking if you blame the ugly stuff on your boss, or some general office wonk, that your staff will think you are a good guy/gal; that you wouldn't do such a bonehead thing. That you only do "right" things that people would like.

Well, news-flash, hero. They're learning all right, but not what you think. What they are learning clearly is that, should they ever need a decision-maker, someone to go to with authority and credibility, you aren't it. After all, every material decision made in recent times you've attributed to some other ne'er-do-well manager. Not you.

You simply aren't the one if I'm looking for a decision-maker.

3. Exceed your authority. Yeah, their bosses don't like it much when I toss this one around, but it's true: You never know the limits of your authority until you exceed them, and we usually want these folks to spread their wings and assume responsibility. Remember, these are well-intentioned up-and-comers we're talking about here, so mistakes they make seldom need a fire extinguisher. And when they occasionally do go really too far, you can just slap 'em around a bit and make him or her get back in line.

No harm, no foul.

4. Apologize. Man, if I could give even senior leaders some simple advice, it would be "get better at saying you're sorry." See #1 above – if you're good, you make the occasional error. It's human, really. Your staff already knows you made an error; they just don't know if you're going to own up to it or not. Apologize, and watch your credibility soar...

Want a "how-to" guide, complete with language? Here goes... write this down, and follow this process step-by-step. You need to say:

"I screwed up. I'm sorry."

There, that's it. Shut up after that, and accept any (likely none) commentary you've got coming. Don't add some stupid qualification like "I'm sorry, but if I had only known..." or "I messed up, if John had come to me first, we could have..." or some other silliness that tries to imply that you did nothing wrong. Your staff sees right through it.

Apologize, and do so sincerely. It neutralizes your detractors, and bolsters your personal credibility with those that matter.

Four steps – that's all it takes to potentially move someone to a higher level of performance. Well, that plus that pesky stuff we call courage. More on that later...



-- Come to the dark side of Leadership

Ok, any reference to Darth Vader and Star Wars must include this story: I was in a car with my oldest daughter and a close friend; we passed a billboard that was all black, saying

Come to the dark side—we have cookies


As a Star Wars fan, I thought it was downright funny. My friend, however, obviously the product of a sheltered life, says," Vader? You mean Darth Vader??"

No, my gifted and talented friend... Bill Vader, of the Arkansas Vaders. Precisely how many Vaders do you know?? I couldn't catch my breath for 20 minutes...

Though funny, this story isn't the point here today. No, I'm discussing those characteristics of leadership that are less than fun; those things we must remember to be effective, even when it causes us discomfort. Some of these include:

1. Not everyone will like you, or even believe you are effective as a leader. Get over it. If you take input from 10 people (as you should), and get 10 different thoughts/ideas (as you should), then make a learned decision based on that collective input (as you should), it stands to reason that at least one (or nine) of the 10 mentioned above may not be thrilled.

Yes, we can circle back, explaining the value of their input; how decisions are made as an amalgam of various facts and feedback, etc. etc... at the end of the day, though, some simply aren't going to like that you seemingly seldom accept their input at face value.

Such is life.

2. It's not a popularity contest. Leaders are neither voted into, nor out of, office (well, except for those political yahoos—another story altogether). Compromise has no place in good business decisions. Consensus, yes, but compromise? Not hardly.

Compromising a business decision generally means diluting the best decision/solution with components of the bad decisions/solutions so those with the bad ones don't get their feelings hurt.

Folks, that even sounds stupid. Don't do it. Make the best decision, period, and don't water it down for fragile egos.

3. Nobody cares as much as you do. Not even your spouse or significant other. In other words, even if your passion comes shining through; your motivation prompting others to excel, freely giving you that holy grail of discretionary effort. Even if others around you and working for you clearly get it, in ways you can hardly even describe...

Even if...

They still don't have your level of deep personal concern and "give-a-s$!t" for all matters relevant to your vision, direction, and strategy. They just don't.

You've just got to able to live with that.

So, much of leadership is fun and games, sprinkled with a ton of hard work and focus. Some of it, however, has the distinct ring of the evil emperor in Star Wars, reminding us that our success, at times, requires occasional visits to the dark side.

But that's just me...

and thanks, T, for the Vader story!)

News Media Interview Contact
Name: D. Kevin Berchelmann
Title: President & Founder
Group: Triangle Performance, LLC
Dateline: Spring, TX United States
Direct Phone: 281-257-4442
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