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Martin Business Consulting, Inc.

May 6, 2014
MBC, Inc. Communication – Volume 1 Issue 7

MBC, Inc. Newsletter Topics on “Leadership”
Leadership Development Seminars at MBC, Inc.
As Inspired by “The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell”
By – *Oren Harari

When to Challenge the “Pros”!
The “Pros” may be internal to our organization or external resources.

Challenging the Pros internal or external is one of the most sensitive attributes of leadership and preparation is need for these challenges. There are very small groups of businesses, emphasis on small, this small group sees any questioning or challenge to the status quo, current operating procedures, methods or decisions of top management as insubordination. If you are a member of such an organization I hope, you are taking appropriate steps to move to a more progressive organization by keeping your resume` up to date and expanding your personal network of contacts.

For all the rest of us an open discussion with subordinates, peers and top management is possible. Even when there is not a formal process for bringing information to top management there is still a way of bringing the needed information, the data or proposals forward to various levels within the company or organization. It is necessary to learn and exploit these official or unofficial channels to make your “up-the-chain” communications possible and effective.

Challenging the “Pros” either internal as bosses or external in the form of consultants, advisors or supposed subject matter experts. This challenge is another way of opening dialog, adding more alternatives to the discussion, or providing alternate methods for consideration. A challenge makes people uneasy, so there is always risk. Risk takes courage. Top managers, peers and subordinates notice courage. Courage is a positive attribute and is something an effective leader should must strive for or improve upon.

How to make or present a challenge to the “Pros” is certainly worth considerable thought and preparation. This is not about self-proclamation, bravado, or high-risk behavior or plans. This is about respectful, courteous and unapologetic challenge. If you are disrespectful, arrogant or come off as self-righteous, you will likely fail in your approach to bringing even a well thought-out and prepared challenge.

In my consulting and training role I am often, ask questions such as; “I so much want to help the organization but nobody will listen to me”. “What can I possible do”? This generally opens a conversation in which I wind up challenging them to find a way forward. However, this is often difficult on the first effort. As people take on more leadership traits they find that without courage they are definitely limited in how far they can go.

On the other hand, there are few managers, consultants or other “experts” that cannot be approached with alternate ideas, if you have done your homework, and have your facts supported by data. It is amazing what you can present and receive support for, or at least consideration of your proposals.

The showstopper is; lack of information, incorrect information, making promises that you cannot fulfill, etc. Do not over present the capability of your proposal. People usually see right through such promises. Further, if you practice some miss leading approach the pushback, because you where not honest and forthcoming in your presentation of the “facts”, will be intense. Future proposals or challenges to the pros from you will be suspect. This makes any future work nearly impossible not only for you but for anyone that is suspected of using a miss leading approach.

Leadership Development Seminars at MBC, Inc.
Learn more at www.mbcincorp.com/leadership/
Powell Principles

1. Challenge the pros to get better solutions; Whether the challenge is you challenging up the organization chart or subordinates challenging you or challenges to external experts, the more opinions the more alternatives and the better the resulting decision.

2. Emphasize dignity, respect, and honor while disagreeing; Disagree without being disagreeable. Make a challenge that respect the dignity of your superiors and maintains your dignity.

3. Be Patient; If your right things will eventually come your way. Sometimes it takes time, and a change of circumstances, before your opinion or proposal is seen clearly as the proper option.

4. Build settings in which all feel free to speak out; If you are speaking up it is in your best interest to assist others in their ability to speak up as well. I have personally witnessed when I speak out on a subject that almost immediately several others will then find the license to speak as well. This adds a great deal of credibility to your position. Leadership demonstrates a strong following. You are perceived as courageous if you are the one that speaks up while all others are silent. They are just waiting for a leader.

There are three books that I recommend to everyone that is interested in understanding the principles of leadership.

1. The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell by *Oren Harari
2. The Powel Principles by *Oren Harari
3. It Worked For Me – In Life and Leadership by “Colin Powell”

Please talk with your peers and see if they would benefit from this series. If you think they may, please send them to the web site www.mbcincorp.com they may download the free white paper and be automatically signed up to receive all future leadership articles and quality tips.

Thanks to All
Bill Martin – President
MBC, Inc.

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