Other Publications

The 5 Messages Leaders Must Manage

Published in Harvard Business Review by John Hamm

If you want to know why so many organizations sink into chaos, look no further than their leaders’ mouths. Over and over, leaders present grand, overarching—yet fuzzy—notions of where they think the company is going. They assume everyone shares their definitions of “vision,” “accountability,” and “results.” The result is often sloppy behavior and misalignment that can cost a company dearly.

Effective communication is a leader’s most critical tool for doing the essential job of leadership: inspiring the organization to take responsibility for creating a better future. Five topics wield extraordinary influence within a company: organizational structure and hierarchy, financial results, the leader’s sense of his or her job, time management, and corporate culture. Properly defined, disseminated, and controlled, these topics give the leader opportunities for increased accountability and substantially better performance.

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Why Entrepreneurs Don’t Scale

Published in Harvard Business Review by John Hamm

It’s a cliché to say that founders flounder, but unfortunately, that’s usually the case. Wild exceptions like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell aside, executives who start a business or project fizzle more often than not once they’ve gotten their venture on its feet.

Entrepreneurs actually show their inability to switch to executive mode much earlier in the business development process than most people realize, as my stories will reveal. But the reasons executives fail to “scale”—that is, adapt their leadership capabilities to their growing businesses’ needs—remain fuzzy. It’s simply assumed that there’s an entrepreneurial personality and an executive personality—and never the twain shall meet. I don’t think that’s true. I believe most executives can learn to scale if they’re willing to take a step back and admit to themselves that their old ways no longer work.

Read in full at hbr.com >>