The 3 Best Bosses You Will Ever Have

Posted by Richard Moran & filed under Uncategorized.

boss

Let’s make a boss list, but think about it first. No, not a list of the bosses from hell, that’s too easy. Instead, give the names of the best bosses you’ve ever had. I suspect you can name those bosses easily. As I explore the world of work and bosses, I find that most people can fill in the name of a best boss more quickly than the worst boss. The best boss is dear to our hearts and influenced our careers.

So who are the three best bosses you will ever have? We all know them.

The boss that held you to a higher standard. This is the boss that said, “It’s not good enough”. Even though you may have cursed that boss at the time, you knew he or she was right. This is the boss that you were willing to burn the midnight oil for to make a great thing happen. This is the boss that said typos and being late is unacceptable. This is the boss that always told you the truth. This is the boss that made you think rather than copy. This is the boss that made you do extraordinary things and exceed your own expectations. This is the boss that you may not have liked at the time and still may not like but that boss didn’t care. This is the boss that got you promoted. This is the boss that made you better.
The boss that gave you a chance. This is the boss that threw you into the deep end of the pool because this boss knew you could swim before you knew it. This is the boss that encouraged you to stretch and to take on that project in addition to your regular job. This is the boss that took the time to coach you as you struggled and didn’t give up. This is the boss that gave you more credit than you deserved for the work. This is the boss that took the time to write a detailed evaluation of your performance that helped your career. This is the boss that made you realize you can do a lot more than you thought.
The boss that taught you how to be a boss. We can learn a lot from the boss who never plays favorites or knows how to handle stress. This is the boss who never takes too much credit and never plays with the truth. This is the boss who cheers for others and, no matter how long he or she has been in the same job, is not bitter. This is the boss who never tells off color jokes and never sends emails that are offensive. This is the boss who acts age appropriate and does not desperately try to be cool and hip and young. This is the boss that might be the topic of conversation at lunch, in a good way as compared to others. This is the boss that we enjoy learning from and takes the time to teach. This is the boss that never leaves notes on our chairs at night. This is the boss that we want to be some day.
Besides these three, other bosses will come in and out of our careers. Although they do their best, most are not very memorable. The bosses that fall into these three categories stick with us for our entire career.

Who was your best boss? And what kind of boss are you?

Availability Is Not A Skill

Posted by Richard Moran & filed under Uncategorized.

shutterfly

 

Some things don’t change. Since the days when we were choosing sides on the playground, the best players still go first. But in those old days on the playground it wasn’t hard to choose the best players first. We knew who the good players were based on hanging around and seeing everyone in action. Everyone knew who was who.

In today’s complex organizations it’s not so easy. What is the best way to pick a team when you haven’t seen the players in action? It is not a perfect science, but here is how I do it:

  • Credentials matter, but experience is better. Sure I like smart people with impressive degrees but I like people who know how to do something based on having done it before.
  • Strategic thinking is great. Every team needs someone who can think from 30,000 feet. But a team is only successful when it reaches its goal and goals are reached when someone worries about implementation.
  • Impatience can be a virtue. Getting stuff done is better than meeting about getting things done. A good team includes someone who keeps things moving and will never miss a deadline.
  • Bad apples spoil the bushel as they say. The team member who doesn’t contribute or worse, complains, needs to go to another team or, at least, somewhere else. And bad apples need to be removed fast.
  • Instincts matter when picking a team. Some call it pattern recognition, some call it following the gut, whatever it’s called, “it” matters. After serving on enough teams, we get to know what a good one looks like.
  • Every organization has a framed small poster on the wall with the headline “Values”. On that poster are words like Trust, Integrity, Honesty and Communications. The words on that poster matter when it comes to picking a team.
  • The exceptional teams I have been on include people that I like, people that I enjoy spending time with. That hasn’t changed.
  • A team needs a leader and that leader needs to make decisions. Without the decision maker, there is no team. Picking a team includes picking a leader.

No doubt, I will continue to pick teams and I will make mistakes. The one thing I do know in team picking, just like on the playground, is that availability is not a skill.

The Car You Drive Can Make (or Break) a Career

Posted by Richard Moran & filed under Uncategorized.

bus

Unless you live in New York City or a few other places around the world, a car is a part of your daily life. You commute in it; you do conference calls in it; you plan for your day in it; you take clients out to lunch and co-workers to meetings in it; you check your emails while you are stuck in traffic; and, you text your coworkers that you will be late from it. (Note: these last two should be taken off your list for safety sake.) Whether we like it or not, a car is a part of our work life and can impact our career.

I know a venture capitalist who used car choice to decide about investing. Early in the pitch he would ask startled entrepreneurs what kind of car he or she drove. Usually, they would shrug like it was an ice-breaking question. What they didn’t know was that the VC was making a judgment. His interpretation was that if the entrepreneur drove a fast car, there was more likely to be action and speed in getting the company up and running. The entrepreneur who drove the Prius was in trouble.

A very senior manager I worked with once gave me a ride to a client meeting. In the office, she was always articulate, organized and put together. As we approached her car I spotted that the backseat of her car was crammed with three car seats. Not one, not two, three full-on strapped in car seats. As one who always wrestled with car seats, the fact that she could install three car seats alone was impressive. To some, the car loaded with the seats might have been an indication that here is a person with too much going on. To me, it was a statement that I was dealing with an incredible manager. She was soon promoted.

Sometimes each of us will be called on to drive while at work. There is no Uber, no taxi, and no one else available. Once I gave my boss a ride to a client because his car was in the repair shop. My vehicle at the time was a mini van that was used to bus around four kids and their friends. I had long before given up on having a clean interior. I got rid of the spilled French fries and the Popcicle wrappers but there was only so much I could do. When my boss jumped in the passenger seat, he took a deep breath and proclaimed, “I love the smell of dogs in a car!” At the time we didn’t own a dog but the van did smell like wet baseball gloves. The boss proceeded to tell me how he loved dogs and his perception of me became much more positive now that he knew I had dogs. I didn’t dissuade him of the notion.

If you drive an old beater, it may send out a message that you need a raise. Or, it may send out the message that you don’t care what others think.

If you drive a Ferrari on a meager salary, you may send out a message that you don’t really need a job. Or, that you are a former NBA star.

If you park a million miles away from other cars to prevent door dings, you may send out a message that you are meticulous. Or, depending on the car, that you are overly cautious.

There are probably millions of options today when it comes to vehicle choices and there is no perfect car. But your car should somewhat align with your world. If your boss is Al Gore, you might not want to take him to a meeting in a Hummer. If your biggest client is Ford, don’t show up with a new Chevy Volt. If you are crying poverty to all those around you, the new Tesla may not play well. Others will invariably learn what you drive, so next time you go car shopping, think about what your car might say about you.