Jack Welch On Successful Leadership

Jack Welch On Successful Leadership

Jack Welch On Successful Leadership
by Josh Lowry

Jack Welch was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. During Welch’s tenure at General Electric, the company’s value increased 4000% and produced multiple executives that became Fortune 500 CEOs. Below are the Six Rules for Successful Leadership outlined in his book, Straight from the Gut (Warner Business Books, 2001). Whether you are leading a large company or startup, the six rules apply. They are:

1 – Be candid with everyone.
Leaders have an obligation to tell people how they are doing and where they stand. Not being clear and upfront about performance is unfair. When leaders are candid with people, candor will be returned to them. Once mixed messages are eliminated, people become faster, more creative and more energetic.

2 – Change before you have to.
Leaders who create change make it personal. People change when they see how it will improve the company and more importantly, their lives. Leaders must embrace and reinforce constant change and reinvention within the company. If the outside world is changing faster than the people on the inside, the company is falling behind.

3 – Control your destiny or someone else will.
Winning businesses are number one or two in their markets. Number one and two can defend market share with innovation and pricing while others cannot. Others also suffer more during downturns. Why sell a profitable third place business?  When number one sneezes, it will get pneumonia. First place businesses control their destiny.

4 – Do not manage, lead.
Leaders touch the hearts and minds of people to help them grow and thrive. They walk around with a can of fertilizer in one hand and a jug of water in the other. They continually pour fertilizer and water on flowers (people) in the garden (business). Some will grow. Some will have to be cut out. Give everyone a chance to flourish.

5 – Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it were.
Values are descriptive behaviors. Because values, not objectives, ultimately define what an organization and people become, leaders must constantly explain and model them. For example, facing reality as it is, not as it was or you wish it were was a key value at GE. If people could not face reality, they had to go.

6 – If you do not have a competitive advantage, do not compete.
If you are not better than the best in what you are doing, in both people and product, define what resources you need to get there and go after it or disengage. Wake up every day knowing that someone, somewhere is doing something better than you. Leaders must instill in others to always find a better way, every day.

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Best of Twitter – November, 2014

Best of Twitter – November, 2014

Best of Twitter – November, 2014
by Josh Lowry

A summary of my tweets and re-tweets during the month.

  • 20% of the WHL plays of the week involve the Seattle Thunderbirds. @SeattleTbirds
  • 74% of enterprise companies have a hybrid cloud strategy. @Josh_Lowry
  • 75% of businesses are ill prepared for disaster recovery. @vCloud
  • A boat does not go forward if each one is rowing their own way. – Swahili Proverb
  • A leader leads by example, not by force. – Sun Tzu
  • A real vision is lived, not framed. @JesseLynStoner
  • Achieving 60% of the impossible is much better than 100% of the ordinary. @DonDodge
  • All problems and stresses are created by an undisciplined mind. @ExpertLeaders
  • Average company’s lifespan on S&P 500 in 1960s was 60 years. Today, it is 10 years. @ValaAfshar
  • Business opportunities are like buses … there is always another one coming. – Richard Branson
  • Cloud is the new datacenter and AWS is the best datacenter. – Godfrey Sullivan
  • Compliance and security are becoming reasons that customers move to the cloud. – Andy Jassy
  • Compliance and security no longer barriers to cloud. They are now key drivers for going to it. @Josh_Lowry
  • Delta between public cloud IaaS providers: AWS ($4.7B), Azure ($156M) and Google ($66M). @BButlerNWW
  • Do not wait for an opportunity. Make one. @LeadershipFreak
  • Every day, when you wake up, choose to live with positivity. @TEDTalks
  • Friends do not let friends build data centers. @Stu
  • Harvard Business Review declares Jeff Bezos the best CEO in the world. @BusinessInsider
  • I am anxious to praise, but loathe to find fault. – Charles M. Schwab
  • If leadership is influence, then dominance is not leadership. @LeadershipFreak
  • If you cannot decide what to do, decide what not to do. @LeadershipFreak
  • If you do not change, you get stuck. When you get stuck, you do not move forward. – Anonymous
  • If you want to discuss cloud or managed services, please stop by Booth 1000 at AWS re:Invent. @Josh_Lowry
  • Leadership is the ability to see the potential before potential even exists. @ExpertLeaders
  • Looking the other way never solves problems. @ExpertLeaders
  • Make decision w 40%-70% of information. <40%, shooting from hip. >70%, delaying unnecessarily. – Colin Powell
  • Narrow focus to 5-7 highly important goals to achieve each day to combat the whirlwind of the job. @Josh_Lowry
  • One AWS datacenter typically has between 50,000+ servers, often 80,000+. @CloudPundit
  • Results only [versus results + values] is the formula for toxicity. @LeadershipFreak
  • Someday people will summarize your life in a single sentence. My advice: Pick it now! @SteveGutzler
  • Spend 80% of time with best employees; 20% with other. Coach first string, not third string lineup. @Josh_Lowry
  • Successful leaders are dissatisfied with the world. @LeadershipFreak
  • Successful people plan how they spend their time to focus on right priorities vs urgent to-dos. @Josh_Lowry
  • The only way to combat failure is to decide to see it as an opportunity to improve direction. @SteveGutzler
  • There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. – Roger Staubach
  • Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you got. – Jim Rohn
  • Victorious warriors win first then go to war. Defeated warriors go to war first then seek to win. – Sun Tzu
  • What we fill our minds with enables us to be a resource for others. @JMarkCole
  • We are a product, not a prisoner of our past.” @ExpertLeaders
  • When writing the story of your life, do not let anyone else hold the pen. @ExpertLeaders
  • Who invests in you matters more than how much they invest in you. @KPBC
  • Yesterday is over. Get on with tomorrow. – Jack Welch

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Upgrading Talent to Win

Upgrading Talent to Win

Upgrading Talent to Win
by Josh Lowry

The best leaders relentlessly upgrade their people. Upgrading does not always means getting rid of the bottom 10%. Most often, it means proactively and systematically helping others realize their full potential. Because the coach who fields the best team usually wins, leaders must invest the majority of their time and energy doing the following:

1 – Building Self-Confidence. Leaders must provide caring, encouragement and recognition to others. The more specific the praise, the better. Self-confidence comes from continually taking small, incremental steps forward.

2 – Coaching. Leaders must help people improve their performance. Leaders have an obligation to let people know what they are doing well and where they can improve. Candor and transparency are a must.

3 – Evaluating. Leaders must ensure the right people are in the right positions. If leaders are going to build the best organizations and teams, they must continually evaluate their people. Strong values, results and culture matter.

As an individual, success is about you, your performance. As a leader, success is about other people, helping them win. Leaders are in the people business – selecting, evaluating and dealing with people. Great people are a leader’s “product.” Every encounter is an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence in others.

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

What is “Big Picture” Thinking?

How to think big? How to think big picture? What is big picture thinking?

What is “Big Picture” Thinking?
by Josh Lowry

The best leaders grow the “big picture” thinking of their organizations and teams by framing key decisions based on the interests of clients, employees and shareholders. They ask, what is the best course of action for each constituency with the right answer often being found at the nexus. That is, a balanced solution that best reflects the interests of all three groups. Why is big picture thinking important? It teaches employees to remove their functional hat and put on their company hat. When big picture thinking is not taught and reinforced by leadership, employees often act in a way that is locally optimized, which may or may not be in the best interests of all parties.

For example, dealing with difficult clients is an issue for every company. While clients pay the bills, trying to please every one of them will bankrupt a company. When dealing with difficult clients, a big picture thinker asks: Client. Who is our ideal client and what problems do we solve for them? Are we currently working with an ideal client and within our competency? Employee. While I want to win the business, is the time and effort involved worth the reward for this client? Shareholder. Is the client improving our profitability now or in the long-term? Through big picture thinking, you may decide that you cannot afford to do business with some difficult clients because they are wrong for the company.

It is easy to get lost in the activities and details associated with work. While being heads-down has its place, it is equally critical to look up to reflect on how things are going, consider alternative strategies and ask yourself hard, high-level questions. Work to expand your perspective beyond a function to the total business.

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

AWS Compliance, Governance and Security

AWS Compliance, Governance and Security

AWS Compliance, Governance and Security
by Josh Lowry

AWS compliance and security have become reasons for companies to move to the cloud versus avoid it (e.g., AWS is secure enough for the CIA). Accordingly, AWS has continued to add new and improve existing services to help customers maintain security, governance and compliance of their cloud resources on its platform. When customers leverage AWS, compliance responsibilities are shared. AWS is responsible for ensuring compliance of its infrastructure. Customers are responsible for ensuring compliance of anything placed on top of it.

To help customers improve compliance, governance and security, AWS introduced three new services at re:Invent 2014 this week. Since first class compliance and security starts with encryption, AWS Key Management Service (KMS) was introduced. KMS is a managed service to create and control the encryption keys used to protect and secure data. KMS uses hardware security modules to secure the keys. KMS is also integrated into AWS CloudTrail to provide visibility into encryption key management and rotation. AWS Key Managed Services is currently available.

Because good governance also requires visibility into an organization’s cloud resources and configurations, AWS Config was announced to the market. AWS Config is a fully managed service that provides companies with visibility into their AWS resources, as well as their AWS configurations. AWS Config also enables customers to audit and troubleshoot any changes that have been made to their AWS environment, including configurations, via CloudTrail. AWS Config is currently available to customers as a preview.

Standardized product delivery is also part of good governance. Thus, AWS Service Catalog was introduced. The AWS Service Catalog enables users to discover and provision applications and/or resources in AWS through a personalized web portal. Users can easily browse and launch approved products from the service catalog created. Companies can also control what users have access to what AWS applications and resources to ensure compliance with the organization’s business practices. The AWS Service Catalog will be available to customers in early 2015.

Below are the other independent, third-party controls, policies and processes available on/used by AWS. They include:

1 – Cloud Security Alliance (CSA)
Questionnaire to document and reference what security controls exist within AWS.

2 – Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2
U.S. government security standard for cryptographic modules protecting sensitive data.

3 – Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)
Security requirements for cloud services provided to U.S. federal agencies.

4 – Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)
Framework to protect U.S. government assets, information and operations against man-made or natural threats.

5 – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Requirements to maintain, process and store protected health information.

6 – International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001
Requirements for managing company and customer information based on real or perceived risks and threats.

7 – International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
Restricted access of protected data to U.S. persons and restricted physical location of that data to the U.S.

8 – Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
Best practices for securely delivering, processing and storing protected content and media.

9 – Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) Level 1
Requirements for processing, storing and transmitting credit card information in the cloud.

10 – Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1
Service organization’s controls over financial reporting.

11 – Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2
Service organization’s controls over availability, confidentiality, processing, privacy and security.

12 – Service Organization Controls (SOC) 3
Report on if organization achieved the trusted services criteria (does not include auditor’s controls/tests like SOC 2).

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Best of Twitter – October, 2014

Best of Twitter – October, 2014

Best of Twitter – October, 2014
by Josh Lowry

A summary of my tweets and re-tweets during the month.

  • A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.—William G.T. Shedd
  • AMS beat undefeated KEL: 5 to 2! The Tri-Cities Americas are now 8 and 4 this season. @Josh_Lowry
  • Average cost per lead for outbound sales is $346. Average cost per lead for inbound sales is $135. @HubSpot
  • Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. – Anonymous
  • Do not confuse hard work with results. – Brett Bouchy
  • Do not waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. @MWBuckingham
  • Every business is successful to the exact extent that it does something others cannot. @PeterThiel
  • Have the courage to hire talented people, pay them what they are worth and let them work. @Inc
  • It is not B2B or B2C, it is H2H (human-to-human). – Anonymous
  • Leaders who create followers are stroking their ego; leaders who create leaders are doing their job. @MikeMyatt
  • Leadership formula: 1) get strategy right, 2) execute that strategy with 3) right people in right roles. @MarkVHurd
  • Like attracts like. Opposites try to change each other. Only surround yourself with winners. @Josh_Lowry
  • Looking for senior sales cloud executives in Boston, LA and NYC. Know any A-players? @Josh_Lowry
  • Marketing is increasing awareness. If prospects do not know about ur product, they cannot buy it. @AlexGoldfayn
  • Most people are reactive at work, putting our fires. Revenue growth is proactive. Be proactive! @AlexGoldfayn
  • My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there. – Jim Henson
  • No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. – Abraham Lincoln
  • People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. @JohnCMaxwell
  • People then products then traffic then revenue. – Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo
  • People will go to end of earth for you when they feel appreciated. Thank you goes a long way. @ExpertLeaders
  • Shallow men believe in circumstances and luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Speed has become the competitive currency today. @GeekWire
  • Success is never accidental. @Jack
  • Success is not owned, it is leased, and rent is due every day. – J.J. Watt
  • The best projects are often overlooked; the problems nobody event tries to solve. @PeterThiel
  • The best sales is hidden. If u look like a salesman, u r probably bad at sales & worse at technology. @PeterThiel
  • The only job security in sales is to consistently close the right types of deals. @Josh_Lowry
  • Victory awaits him who has everything in order – luck, people call it. – Ronald Amundsen
  • We receive same actions and thoughts we project onto people. @Josh_Lowry
  • When leaders ignore mediocre or poor performance in one area, they lower bar in all areas too. @Josh_Lowry
  • When u work at Tesla, it is equivalent of the special forces; u are choosing to step up your game. @ElonMusk
  • Without data you are just another person with an opinion. – W. Edwards

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Seven Questions for Startup Founders

Seven Questions for Startup Founders, Peter Thiel

Seven Questions for Startup Founders
by Josh Lowry

On a recent flight from Seattle to Newark, I read “ Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. Thiel co-founded PayPal and subsequently invested in several successful startups, including Facebook, LinkedIn and SpaceX. In his book, Thiel states that progress is held back by “sameness” – that is, undifferentiated products and services . It is only when companies do something truly different or unique that they create real value. Thiel further states that to avoid failure, every business plan needs to effectively answer seven fundamental questions. The seven questions are:

  • Distribution – Do you have a way to both create and deliver your product or service? Selling and delivering a product or service is at least as important as the product or service itself.
  • Durability – Will your market position be defensible in 10 and 20 years into the future? First-mover advantage does not do you any good if another company unseats you because your business was not defensible.
  • Engineering – Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements? Propriety technology must be an order of magnitude (i.e., 10X) better than its nearest substitute.
  • Monopoly – Are you starting with a big share of a small market? It is better to monopolize a unique niche of a small market than face vicious competition in a large one.
  • People – Do you have the right team? Why would someone join your company if they could work for Google for more money and prestige? The talent you want will be attracted to your mission or your team or both.
  • Secret – Have you identified a unique opportunity that others do not see? Conventional truths are not secrets because everyone knows them. You must have a specific reason for success that other people do not see.
  • Timing – Is now the right time to start your particular business? No industry or sector is important enough that merely participating in it will be enough to build a great company.

It is easier to copy a business model than create a new one. Doing what has already been done takes business from 1 to n – adding more of the same. However, when something new is created, business goes from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, the result is something different and unique. Today’s best practices lead to dead ends. The best paths are new and untried. The goal is to create new products and services, as well as better ways of making them. Successful startups find value in unexpected places and they do it by working from the above principles, not formulas.

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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