What People Need Most from Their Leaders in Times of Crisis

by Dr. Tim Elmore, CEO and Founder of Growing Leaders – An ELAvate Partner

There is a piece of content making its way around on social media right now that summarizes what every leader needs to remember as we endure this strange time in our history.

  • “We are all in the same boat—but we are not all in the same storm.
  • For some people, it’s sprinkling. This is a break. It’s a breather. It’s a rest. A time to reconnect with their families. Honestly, it’s kind of peaceful.
  • For some, it’s a storm. It’s a bit scary. It’s disruptive. It’s enough to make you stay up and watch the news and worry a bit.
  • For some, it’s a hurricane. It’s tearing at the boards. It’s pulling off the roof. It’s washing them out to sea. It’s dark and unknown. It’s life changing.
  • It’s not wrong to be enjoying a sprinkle or enduring a storm. Rest with your family. But don’t minimize the hurricane engulfing your neighbor. Laugh at a meme but get on your knees for those in the hurricane.”

For me personally, I am not stressed. Our organization is in a storm, as revenue is down during this time of social distancing, but I know people who have it far worse. I know people who’ve lost their jobs. I know several who’ve been infected. I have a friend who lost a friend.

More than 6.6 million American’s filed for unemployment over the past week. This is more than any single week during the Great Recession (2008) and feels more like the Great Depression (1929) according to people who lived during that time. New York City has already lost more people to the coronavirus than the city lost on September 11, 2001 during the terrorist attack. Dr. Anthony Fauci, from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, suggested we should never shake hands with anyone again.

What a strange time.

What Do People Need from Their Leader Most?

Leaders must remember first and foremost that people under their care have very different temperaments and will react to these times differently. Be careful to not minimize the angst others are feeling, while at the same time being a source of steady hope. People need three items most from their leader during this season. They spell the word: CAB. I tell myself to jump in a CAB every day I am interacting with others:


It’s easy for people to watch the news all day and get freaked out. They feel angst from all the bad news and the uncertainty this season. Good leaders provide context to problems. This is not the worst crisis we have ever faced and yet it deserves our focused attention. Context means you furnish perspective on what’s happening; you stay knowledgeable on current details and you become a source of wisdom especially for those who fall on either end of the spectrum: those who feel it’s no big deal and those who feel like the sky is falling.


People usually need leaders to offer practical action steps during this time. It may sound silly, but sometimes grown adults need reminders of the applications we’ve been given to respond to COVID-19 well: wash your hands many times a day, stay six feet apart from others in public, wear a mask outside and shelter in place. The best leaders leave people with clear applications for their day. In fact, clarity is the greatest gift a leader can offer their team right now.


Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” I believe we owe it to our people in uncertain times to offer belief and hope for a better future. This season will one day pass and we may just return to a better normal. I actually believe this. Americans, once polarized in recent times, are now cooperating and focusing on helping each other. We are applauding health care professionals and first responders. We will get through this and be better for it.

How to Host Conversations Remotely…

  1. Personal items before business items. If they know you care about their personal life, they’ll feel secure enough to focus on team business. Talk about personal wellbeing, then the team.
  2. Hard conversations before easy ones. I’ve found it’s better to begin by handling the tough stuff, maybe even the bad news, before you get into the easy or good news. Hard then easy.
  3. Big picture before smaller details. Providing the big picture allows any personality to place details into proper perspective. Give them the box top, then show where their puzzle piece fits.

Let’s go lead our teams and the emerging generation well.

Two Key Behaviors for Leaders leading through Crisis By Alycia Sutor



Adapted from GrowthPlay, an ELAvate Partner

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the world of work and life.  What has not changed, however, is the need for great leadership.   GrowthPlay has identified what ELAvate believes are the top two behaviors for every leader to consistently practice in this COVID Crisis.

Be Present

In the midst of responding to COVID-19, it can feel challenging to keep client and remote staff connections warm.  In a desire to avoid burdening already stressed people, we have heard many leaders express a desire to pull back from reaching out, wanting to hear that their assistance is necessary or invited before making contact.  And, as event after event cancels and clients delay projects, it can seem like the possibilities to stay organically connected to most of our staff and clients must be put on hold until life and business as usual resumes.

However, this is exactly the time for trusted advisors and empathetic team leaders to lean in, step up, and lead.  It also may be comforting to remember that in a time of crisis and great uncertainty, people are not inclined to make dramatic changes, but rather to lean more heavily on relationships that are already known, liked, and trusted.  Therefore, keep in mind that your behavior to act upon the two principles that guide business development as an act of service are critical right now:  continue to build authentic relationships, and be willing to listen for and solve another person’s most important problems, even if you can’t solve them right away.

The number one thing to do right now, particularly if your business is slow, is to connect with your clients and team on a consistent regular basis.  Authentic relationship building means that you are willing to demonstrate care and concern for the other person because the person is important.  If you haven’t asked your most important contacts how they are doing personally and professionally, now is the time to do so. Here are some examples of authentic reasons you can use to connect in the absence of a pressing need.

And here are a few other tips to help you stay connected:

  • Every time you think of pushing send on an email, consider picking up the phone and calling instead. Talk don’t text!
  • Use the time from meetings that get cancelled or rescheduled as an opportunity to call one colleague or client to simply check in.
  • Learn to use WhatsApp, Skype, Webex, MS Teams or Zoom to virtually be present with staff and clients.

“Good Leaders Ask Great Questions,” says Dr. John Maxwell

The most important thing you can do is ask good questions and listen deeply.  When you discover something that is a priority or concern, recognize that you have a multitude of ways in which you can help.  Some possibilities to consider include:

  • Invitations to sit in on training, discussions, and webinars
  • Introductions to other clients, service providers, experts, and colleagues; and
  • Insights into how to manage the current circumstances, including strategy conversations, sharing of feedback or surveys, and examples of how other organizations are addressing similar challenges.

Be present even if it means virtually!


Message Hope

We only have to tune into the news for a brief minute to experience a breakdown in confidence. There is no shortage of things to remind us that we are living in an exponentially VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world right now.

Jeffrey Gitomer reminds us, “Don’t Outsource Your Attitude”

And, this is precisely why our clients need us to step up, lean in, and stand out as courageous leaders that inspire, motivate and give hope. One of the things courageous leaders must do in times of crisis is lift morale by sending a message of hope. A leader’s hopeful outlook enables people to see beyond today’s challenges to tomorrow’s answers. The word hope is derived from the Old English word hopian, which means to “leap forward with expectation.”

But, how can we offer hope to others when we ourselves may not be feeling particularly hopeful? Here are three things research shows can help:

  • Look to your heroes – Take a quick moment to identify and think about people you consider heroic in times of great need, such as the first responders during 9/11 or the medical professionals that continue to show up to treat patients today despite the great risk to their own health and safety. Researchers have a name for the high we get from witnessing human goodness: moral elevation. And moral elevation has been shown to have many positive benefits, including inspiring optimism, making people want to be better, and encouraging people to act more altruistically.
  • Stay calm and maintain your focus – as leaders, we need to recognize our own need to regulate emotion so we can respond in constructive and helpful ways to external circumstances. Research has shown that the ability to adjust emotions by using rational thinking can be learned and practiced, in particular with mindfulness practices, including meditation, breathing, prayer and exercise.
  • Look outside yourself –  When we recognize our common humanity and show compassion, we are more likely to pull together and solve even the most perplexing issues. You can start by practicing compassion on yourself and recognizing that we all have moments of fear and doubt and we all make mistakes. You can recognize and remember that how we support and bolster ourselves by supporting and bolstering each other is critical and can give you the peace of mind to comfort others.

Finally, seek inspiration from other leaders who can bolster your own sense of perspective, calm, and confidence.  Here are a few examples that may lift you up when you need your own shot of inspiration:

  •  “Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.” – Pliny the Elder
  •  “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ― Nora Ephron
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ― Anais Nin

Be the courageous leader that is present who gives hope, shows compassion, and inspires others through this crisis.

Adapted from GrowthPlay by ELAvate Leaders

How to Adapt During Crisis by DISC Behavior



By Carol Mettenbrink, Consultant at TTI Success Insights– An ELAvate Partner

As your Senior Business Services Consultant at TTI SI, I wanted to learn more about how each behavioral style has been reacting to our current global situation. I interviewed 4 people in our network who fit into the D, I, S, and C behavioral styles. Here are their reactions, actions, and results from their first weeks of remote work in the wake of a global pandemic.


High D  |  High I  |  High S High C



 D – Dominance 

Fast Paced, Task-Oriented, Results Driven

Initial Reaction: Fight or Flight

If you have a high D score, your initial reaction was probably one of stark realization. This might have triggered you into a ‘fight or flight’ response, feeling like you needed to defend yourself and your loved ones, or flee.

Focused Reaction: Innovation

After the initial shock wore off, our High D made a plan. “We work with people,” they said. “We have some of the best tools to leverage how best to deal with people during this crisis, so let’s pull together a package that can appeal to the masses in being better able to lead their talent from a bad situation to a more positive outcome.”

Personal Practices

Our advice for high D scores? Slow down at home. Your housemates, loved ones and families probably have different scores than you, and they might be hesitating to react as quickly as you are inclined to. It’s ok to take a breath!

Rely on others who are more structured than you. Our D’s partner is a High S, and they are letting them take the lead on household procedures. They found themselves grateful for the structure in such an uncertain time.

Business Best Practices

If you have a high D score, you are a trailblazer and an innovator. That’s exactly what businesses need right now! “Innovation happens during interesting times,” said our High D. “This is certainly an interesting time that we plan to optimize and have a positive impact on our clients.”

Help your clients focus on a bigger picture for their business without emphasizing the ‘doom and gloom’. Don’t be insensitive, but a lot of people are looking for inspiration right now, and you’re a natural leader.

Next Step for High Ds

What’s your next step? A great idea for High Ds is to connect with others and seek out their points of view. Your willingness to charge forward is a great strength, but make sure you have all the facts before you do.



 I – Influence 

Engaging, Flexible, Optimistic

Initial Reaction: Loss of Connection

The high I was initially very concerned with how the pandemic would affect their connections with others. Since they are people-oriented and fueled by interaction, they were concerned about social distancing and restriction.

Focused Reaction: People-First Support

People with high I scores are excellent influencers. They can use that talent in difficult times to help others come around to necessary changes. If you’re a high I, your great attitude and ability to talk through issues will be a huge benefit for you in this time.

Personal Practices

Our high I was having a hard time adapting to our new social norms, so they are focusing on keeping spirits high. Inspirational content is a great source of comfort for them, so they are enjoying favorite quotes and seeking out inspiration on social media.

Try keeping a ‘victory file’: a collection of notes, cards and messages you’ve received over the years. That way, you can be reminded of the good you have done over time to get inspired for the good you will do!

Business Best Practices

You know putting #PeopleFirst is the best way forward. Do this by providing exceptional service to reduce waste and reserve profits. It might be hard to adapt without the in-person interaction that a high I prefers, but make face-to-face time a priority with tools like Zoom and Jitsi. Your role in this time is one of support and guidance for your clients. That means you might not be in the spotlight where you thrive, but you can do a lot of good.

Next Step For High Is

Make sure you’re making future plans. Daydreaming about everything you want to do after the quarantine isn’t a bad idea — it can help you appreciate your loved ones and favorite activities.



 S – Steadiness 

Stability, Patience, Great Listening Skills

Initial Reaction: Awareness, Not Panic

Our High S took the changes in stride and noted that it didn’t really affect their day-to-day as much as it might have affected others. The Steadiness that is their hallmark trait became very useful in this confusing time.

Focused Reaction: Sustain Business, Don’t Grow It

This High S is already prepared to do business from anywhere, remote work included. Their goal is to continue to provide dependable, predictable service while they wait for the hiring freeze to lift. This reliability is a great comfort to clients.

“Great things will come out of this and make all of us more aware of things,” they said. There was no evident sense of urgency when interviewing the S, just confident awareness that this too shall pass.

Personal Practices

While you might have the benefit of big picture thinking and a cool head, others are panicking. Their reactions are not less valid than yours, even if they are less logical. Work hard in this time to acknowledge others’ points of view, and shift your own communication style to reflect their urgency when appropriate.

This S ran into a challenge when trying to express the seriousness of the situation to their teenage son. Since they were calm and prepared, their son wasn’t fully understanding the gravity of sheltering in place and the importance of social distancing. Shifting communication to match his style helped the S break through.

Business Best Practices

While your levelness and approach of a process is crucially important to your clients, you need to be careful in this time not to withdraw. It can feel easy for you to carry on, business as usual, but if you aren’t working outside of your comfort zone, you might fall behind your competition.

Push yourself to try new challenges! Your patience and awareness are great tools as you pursue new goals.

Next Step For High Ss

Make sure you don’t withdraw! A challenge that High Ss often face is fear of conflict or challenging situations, and working remotely presents lots of opportunities to shrink away from both. Make sure you’re setting goals outside of your comfort zone to keep up with your competition!



 C – Compliance 

Data Driven, Methodical, Risk Averse

Initial Reaction: Social Distancing? No Problem!

Our High C started the conversation by noting that High Ds and High Is were probably already missing interaction, while they were welcoming the distance. Their task oriented nature made the shift to virtual much easier than it had been for their peers.

Focused Reaction: New Opportunities For Engagement

High Cs are at risk of withdrawing, especially with an isolated environment. This High C recognized a need to engage deeper on new platforms, and put in high amounts of effort to connect with others virtually. The risk of disconnect is high, but many businesses might stick with a virtual model when the pandemic is resolved. High Cs can help their clients adapt to new protocol and procedures, but the relationship needs to be there.

Personal Practices

Focus on what you can actually control. A global pandemic is an unprecedented situation, so you need to be kind to yourself and think hard about ways you can realistically improve your situation, and acknowledge the ways you simply can’t.

Losing your in-person brainstorming in a team has a large effect on people with High C scores. It’s worth it to put in effort to over communicate, rather than under communicate with your team. While the dynamics are different, virtual meetings just to connect and bounce ideas off each other are still very valuable.

Business Best Practices

Your clear head as a High C is great for your customers right now— you are well positioned to help them figure out the logistics of working virtually. Help your clients focus on the positive aspects of working remotely, like saved money and resources, and help them re-evaluate their business structure to come out of this crisis in the best position possible for them.

Next Step For High Cs

You might not be used to helping others look on the bright side, but your ability to see the advantages of our current state of business is crucial right now. Use your reasoning skills to help others!

Move Forward With Awareness

The one thing that you can be certain of is that the state of the world and business are changing every day. Hopefully, you can become more aware of your own behavior by learning from our high D, I, S, and C.

8 Steps to Take as A Leader in Crisis Can Take Now!

by Korn Ferry – An ELAvate Partner

Covid-19 has spawned a lot of advice for businesses and leaders. Our ELAvate partner, Korn Ferry, has assembled the 8 Steps every leader of a team, company or non-profit can take and act on daily to lead, guide their teams to come out stronger through this crisis. These steps are concise and actionable.

Read and implement them this week!

Be purposeful • Constantly remind people why it is so important that we exist. • See this crisis as a new way to purposefully serve colleagues and customers in new, meaningful, value-creating ways. • Leverage purpose as a new tool of innovation; purpose can touch lives in new ways.

Be empathetic • Acknowledge others’ stress in this situation. • Know that people are also struggling with personal and family issues beneath the business issues. • Show you care about them versus the enterprise only. • Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Be calm, clear, and confident • Communicate with realness, clarity, authenticity, and regularity: tell the real story. • Express a vision of the other side of this…elevate from now to next. • Convert anxiety to the attitude “we will get through this together.”

Be both action oriented and reflective • Reconcile the paradox of pause and action; both are critical. • Avoid being too passive or too hyperactive during these times. • Step back to reflect, learn, and strategize when the pace and bias for action are too high.

Be inspiring • Share stories that reveal the enduring values and what is really important now. • Remember the purpose of the enterprise and rally people around it. • See the crisis as an opportunity to more deeply live and serve our people and customers.

Be resilient • Take care of your energy, wellness, and fitness. • Encourage others to take care of themselves, and demonstrate by modeling it. • Show your energy to take on these challenges with energy and innovation.

Be aware of mindsets • Move from fixed/fear mindsets to growth mindsets. • Know that our openness and closedness opens or closes others. • Catch yourself in fixed/fear mindsets and move to growth mindsets before acting or behaving.

Be courageous • Make the tough decisions on purpose and with courage. • Pay attention to fear-based, reactive decisions. • Inspire others with your courage, energy, and positivity.

Review and reflect on these 8 Steps you can take and decide how you will use them to lead your team in crisis.

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate
Korn Ferry Partner

“Are You Stir Crazy or Have Cabin Fever?” It Depends on Our Attitude!

Stir Crazy is a phrase that dates to 1908 according to the Oxford English Dictionary and the online Etymology Dictionary. Used among inmates in prison, it referred to a prisoner who became mentally unbalanced because of prolonged incarceration. It is based upon the slang stir to mean prison. (Wikipedia)

Cabin fever is a claustrophobic reaction, manifested as extreme irritability and restlessness, that takes place when a person or group ends up in an isolated or solitary location, or stuck indoors in confined quarters for an extended period of time. This term came about as many a farmer, trapper, or hunter could become trapped in their cabin over a long and brutal winter. The Covid 19 crisis is our brutal winter!

During the Covid 19 crisis, many of us have been told to stay at home or not to meet our team or clients. Beware of becoming Stir Crazy and catching Cabin Fever.
Jeffrey Gitomer had the best advice I have seen for us to follow in this crisis:

“Don’t Outsource Your Attitude!”

With all the instant social media bombarding us, you may be tricked into a negative, defeatist attitude by what you read from media as you sit at home bored and irritable. Don’t outsource your attitude to media! Be careful of what you read, be aware of your attitude while you are reading!

Dr. John Maxwell has said to me over and over:

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. Circumstances changed and now it seems like your business (or life) is falling apart. You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you react to it.”

It all starts with your attitude. Your attitude will determine how you come out of this crisis. Will you be a stronger, better, more wise sales person? Or a dithering depressed dolt?

“Focus on What You Can Control and Don’t
Waste Energy on Things You Cannot Control”

Let’s review Dr. Maxwell’s Axioms on Your Attitude. You can control your attitude!

Attitude Axiom #1: Our attitude determines our approach to life.
When you wake up in the morning during this “isolation” what is your attitude? What new daily habits do you need to inoculate when working at home or alone to have a positive productive day?

Attitude Axiom #2: Our attitude determines our relationships with people.
When we are out of our normal routine, we may find ourselves more touchy and grumpy. How might you improve your relationships with your family and friends during this down time? Time to help others in need?

Attitude Axiom #3: Often our attitude is the only difference between success and failure.
As a Successful Salesperson you have talent, How will you employ the gift of this “time out” to be even more successful in your job and relationships by the end of the Covid crisis?

Attitude Axiom #5: Our attitude can turn problems into blessings.
The problem of not being active, networking and selling may be a blessing. Take time and determine what blessings and opportunities arise out of this Covid Cabin Fever? Develop new habits, activities, and processes to grow as a better sales person.

Attitude Axiom #6: Our attitude can give us an uncommonly positive perspective.
All crises end. Remember this. Rather than be a Stir Crazy Sales person who is negative and down, develop habits and activities that grow you through this Covid Crisis. And remember, be a strong, positive example to others around you. Don’t infect others with fear but influence them with hope and help to come out of this Covid crisis as better stronger persons.

Axiom #7 From Verne Harnish: Talk don’t Text.
Many people are living in fear. Many people find it difficult to be alone. Give people a connection – don’t text but call them! Download Verne’s insights.
“We need to talk” – He explains why in his latest white-paper which can be downloaded here: https://scalingup.com/advice-from-verne/
Why not have a daily KPI to call at least 3 people a day to connect and see how they are doing?

Keep safe, keep healthy during the Covid 19 crisis. Develop a healthy attitude first, cultivate new healthy habits, and be a positive blessing to others. Give hope not fear!

Michael J Griffin
John Maxwell Team Founder
Jeffrey Gitomer Fan
Verne Harnish Gazelle Student
ELAvate Founder

Leading in Times of Crisis: Insights from McKinsey

The past weeks have brought a flurry of negative news and impact on your business due to Covid -19. Let’s review some of the sound advice I have found from McKinsey authors Gemma D’Auria and Aaron De Smet.

All crises end. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You as the navigator in the storm must navigate your business, your team to the safety of the harbor by being a leader of strength, wisdom and empathy. Will you and your team be shipwrecked or come out stronger at the end of this COVID – 19 crisis? Your team needs hope not fear and you as their leader are the ones they look to.

Here are some of the best actions I have found from McKinsey to be the leader that leads to give hope, wisdom and strength.

From McKinsey

“Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges”

 What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them to look ahead.

Organizing to respond to crises: The network of teams
During a crisis, leaders must relinquish the belief that a top-down response will engender stability. In routine emergencies, the typical company can rely on its command-and-control structure to manage operations well by carrying out a scripted response. But in crises characterized by uncertainty, leaders face problems that are unfamiliar and poorly understood. A small group of executives at an organization’s highest level cannot collect information or make decisions quickly enough to respond effectively. Leaders can better mobilize their organizations by setting clear priorities for the response and empowering others to discover and implement solutions that serve those priorities

Elevating Leaders during a crisis:
The value of ‘deliberate calm’ and ‘bounded optimism’
In routine emergencies, experience is perhaps the most valuable quality that leaders bring. But in novel, landscape-scale crises, character is of the utmost importance. Crisis-response leaders must be able to unify teams behind a single purpose and frame questions for them to investigate. The best will display several qualities. One is “deliberate calm,” the ability to detach from a fraught situation and think clearly about how one will navigate it. Deliberate calm is most often found in well-grounded individuals who possess humility but not helplessness.

Making decisions amid uncertainty: Pause to assess and anticipate, then act
Waiting for a full set of facts to emerge before determining what to do is another common mistake that leaders make during crises. Because a crisis involves many unknowns and surprises, facts may not become clear within the necessary decision-making time frame. But leaders should not resort to using their intuition alone. Leaders can better cope with uncertainty and the feeling of jamais vu (déjà vu’s opposite) by continually collecting information as the crisis unfolds and observing how well their responses work.

In practice, this means frequently pausing from crisis management, assessing the situation from multiple vantage points, anticipating what may happen next, and then acting. The pause-assess-anticipate-act cycle should be ongoing, for it helps leaders maintain a state of deliberate calm and avoid overreacting to new information as it comes in.

Demonstrating empathy: Deal with the human tragedy as a first priority
In a landscape-scale crisis, people’s minds turn first to their own survival and other basic needs. Will I be sickened or hurt? Will my family? What happens then? Who will care for us? Leaders shouldn’t assign communications or legal staff to address these questions. A crisis is when it is most important for leaders to uphold a vital aspect of their role: making a positive difference in people’s lives. Doing this requires leaders to acknowledge the personal and professional challenges that employees and their loved ones experience during a crisis.

Take Care of Yourself as a Leader (Added)
Lastly, it is vital that leaders not only demonstrate empathy but open themselves to empathy from others and remain attentive to their own well-being. As stress, fatigue, and uncertainty build up during a crisis, leaders might find that their abilities to process information, to remain level-headed, and to exercise good judgment diminish. They will stand a better chance of countering functional declines if they encourage colleagues to express concern—and heed the warnings they are given. Investing time in their well-being will enable leaders to sustain their effectiveness over the weeks and months that a crisis can entail.

To read the full McKinsey article, click https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/leadership-in-a-crisis-responding-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak-and-future-challenges?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=37fc9d2ecd944a61a227b410ffa855ee&hctky=3017067&hdpid=16a43b5b-480b-4b3b-b8cf-bc20fcc11b08

Be The leader you need for your family, teams, and company to be in this crisis.

Have a Healthy Week
Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate
John Maxwell Team Founder

Peter Drucker on Mergers and Acquisitions From “The Daily Drucker”

Dr. Peter Drucker is known as the father of modern management. I read his compilation of insights from The Daily Drucker every morning to start my day. It is amazing how many of his words of wisdom still apply in today’s fast changing world. Many of you may find your company being swallowed up or chopped up to remain competitive in the global marketplace. It can be a stressful experience or one that opens new doors of opportunity.

Over the past 40 years I have worked for companies that have been acquired or merged. Some have been total disasters, others half-baked outcomes and some have worked really well. Those that were successful followed the key guiding principles that Drucker sets out for acquisitions.

Let’s review those that Dr. Drucker says lead to successful acquisitions or mergers.

“Acquisitions should be successful, but few are, in fact. The reason for this nonperformance is always the same: disregard of the well-known and well-tested rules for successful acquisitions. The six rules of successful acquisitions are:

  1. The successful acquisition must be based on business strategy, not financial strategy.
  2. The successful acquisition must be based on what the acquirer contributes to the acquisition.
  3. The two entities must share a common core of unity, such as markets and marketing, or technology, or core competencies.
  4. The acquirer must respect the business, products, and customers of the acquired company, as well as its values.
  5. The acquirer must be prepared to provide top management to the acquired business within a fairly short period, a year at most.
  6. The successful acquisition must rapidly create visible opportunities for advancement for both the people in the acquiring business and people in the acquired business.”

“Successful acquisitions are based upon business plans, not financial analyses. Acquisition targets must fit the business strategies of the acquiring company; otherwise, the acquisition is likely to fail.”

“An acquisition will succeed only if the acquiring company thinks through what it can contribute to the business it is buying, not what the acquired company will contribute to the acquirer, no matter how attractive the expected “synergy” may look. What the acquiring company contributes may vary. It may be management, technology, or strength in distribution. This contribution has to be something besides money. Money by itself is never enough.”

“Successful diversification by acquisition, like all successful diversification, requires a common core of unity. The two businesses must have in common either markets or technology, though occasionally a comparable production process has also provided sufficient unity of experience and expertise, as well as a common language, to bring companies together. Without such a core of unity, diversification, especially by acquisition, never works; financial ties alone are insufficient.”

“No acquisition works unless the people in the acquiring company have respect for the product, the markets, and the customers of the company they acquire.”

“Within a year or so, the acquiring company must be able to provide top management for the company it acquires. The buyer has to be prepared to lose the top incumbents in companies that are bought. Top people are used to being bosses; they don’t want to be “division managers.” If they were owners or part-owners, the merger has made them so wealthy they don’t have to stay if they don’t enjoy it. And if they are professional managers, without an ownership stake, they usually find another job easily enough. Then to recruit new top management is a gamble that rarely comes off.”

“Even if all the rules have been faithfully observed, many acquisitions end up failing or at least take forever before they live up to their expectations. Legally the acquired business is now part of the acquiring company. But politically, the people in the acquired company become “us” determined to defend their business against “them,” the people in the acquiring company. And the people in the acquiring company similarly think and act in terms of “us” against “them.” Sometimes it takes a whole generation before these invisible but impenetrable barriers come down. It is therefore imperative that, within the first few months after the acquisition, a number of people on both sides are promoted to a better job across the lines. This way both sides see the acquisition as a personal opportunity.”

Apply these words of Drucker “acquisition wisdom” and succeed in your synergy between both the acquirer and the acquired. Ignore these gems and most likely fail, losing precious people, depleting your investment dollars and effort.

Have a Great Week!

Michael J Griffin
A Drucker Disciple
Founder of ELAvate
John Maxwell Team Founder

4 Simple Ways to Build a Conscious Culture at Your Company

By Joe Galvin of Vistage

Company culture starts with leadership. Don’t leave your culture to its own devices. Build it with intention as the leaders of a company influence your culture! First let’s define company culture based on Dr. Fons Trompenaars definition: “Corporate culture is how teams of people solve problems, innovate and serve stakeholders across relationships, time and environment.”

Let’s read what ways Joe Galvin recommends on developing a healthy, productive corporate culture.

“Many leaders are approaching company culture the wrong way. Instead of consciously creating their company culture, leaders are letting it develop on its own.Not surprisingly, this has led to sub-par results. Vistage surveyed 1,518 CEOs from U.S. small and midsize businesses last September, just 11 percent of CEOs indicated they are satisfied with the strength of their company culture.

This means that the majority of small and midsize companies are missing out on the benefits that come with a strong culture. Vistage research suggests that companies with a great culture have:

  • A Strong Pipeline of Top Talent
  • HigherEmployee Retention
  • LowerRate of Voluntary Turnover
  • More Employee Referrals
  • Better Climate of Engaged Workers

As a leader, you have the authority and responsibility to be deliberate about the culture you create in your company, department or team. To do this well, Joe says start with these four steps.

  1. Put culture on the top of your leadership agenda.

Is developing culture part of your daily work? Is the strength of your culture truly important to you? Have you consistently made your culture a priority? If you’re not answering “yes” to each of these questions, remember that cultural development starts at the top.

As a leader, you have to create, promote and reinforce your ideal culture. Leverage your leadership team to ensure your employees understand and embrace the culture and demonstrate behaviors that exemplify it.

  1. Evaluate your culture with quantifiable metrics.

Culture is a tricky thing to measure, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to quantify. Culture is directly connected to hiring and retention, so metrics related to employee turnover, time-to-hire and employee engagement can shed light on your cultural strengths and weaknesses. Annual engagement studies and pulse surveys are valuable tools to begin with.

  1. Live your cultural values every day.

Ask yourself: How do I show up to work every day? Do my actions reflect our cultural values? Am I walking the talk? If you don’t live your culture, your employees won’t, either. Lead by example and expect what you accept.

  1. Communicate your mission, vision and purpose clearly and consistently.

After you articulate your mission, vision and purpose, communicate it visually and verbally. Make sure your actions and attitude communicate the same messages that your email campaigns and posters do. Culture is a living thing, and it will weaken or mutate if it is not continuously reinforced by what you say and what you do.

Corporate culture is a powerful connector that motivates employees to employ positive behaviors and attitudes that becomes the “brand of your business.” Leaders who want robust business results and an environment of productive, thriving employees should intentionally use these four steps to create a culture that is a competitive advantage.”

ELAvate has a library of tools, assessments and processes to measure and improve your corporate culture. Please contact me at michael.griffin@elavateglobal.com to explore how we can support your vision for a more positive productive culture.

Have a great week leading your organizational culture!

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate
John Maxwell Team Founder
Korn Ferry/AchieveForum Master Trainer

The Future of Intercultural Training: 4 Trends for 2020

by Nicole Barile of NB Intercultural

Nicole outlines why intercultural training is a skill we all need. Read on for this short 3 minute read. My company, ELAvate is an Asian Leader in Intercultural Inclusivity Training for Global Leaders, Sales People, Virtual Team Members and NGO volunteers. Contact us if you want a better skilled cross cultural savvy workforce. Read Nicole’s insights!

We are living in a hyper connected world. An estimated 258 million people are currently living outside of their home country. If all of those people made up their own country, it would be the fifth-largest country in the world. This number is increasing day by day and will continue to grow and impact the way we work.

Ten years ago, you may have worked mostly with colleagues in Germany and the U.K. Now, you’re more likely to work with colleagues in China, Singapore and India. Of the Global 100 companies, 27% are based in Europe (compared to 48% in 2010), 37% are based in the United States (compared to 33% in 2010) and 35% are based in Asia (compared to 19% in 2010).

As organizations become more global, intercultural understanding becomes more crucial. In addition, technology is connecting people and cultures like never before. In order to be an effective leader, business traveler and global citizen, employees must learn the right skills.

However, the way we deliver and expose people to intercultural training and information is changing. Modern learners want learning to be immediate, personalized, flexible and ongoing. They take just seven seconds to decide whether content is good. They want to be instantly wowed, they want to be challenged and they want to have fun along the way.

Taking these learner needs and desires into consideration, companies should create tailored solutions to ensure that intercultural education is part of their corporate strategy and culture. With that goal in mind, here are four trends likely to emerge in intercultural training over the next five years.

  1. Skills for All:Intercultural Training Is Not Just for Expats

Intercultural training is necessary at all levels and functions within an organization. It’s for multicultural teams and organizations, business travelers, human resources (HR) teams, short-term assignees, rotators, developmental programs and employees working on virtual teams.

You don’t have to be a large company or make international assignments to invest in intercultural training. You are most likely a global company, even if you have a single office in one country. Anyone working with partners, clients or vendors abroad will benefit from such information.

  1. Collaboration: Intercultural Training Is a Natural Partner for Other Initiatives

Organizations are starting to combine intercultural training with other learning and development (L&D) initiatives and other disciplines; it will also partner increasingly with HR, diversity and inclusion (D&I), and in-house global mobility programs.

According to 2016 research by the Association for Talent Development, only 18% of multinational companies “believed they had a strong leadership pipeline to meet their future business challenges.” Why not integrate intercultural information into your existing leadership development programs to give your people and your organization a competitive advantage?

  1. Integration: Intercultural Training Content and Delivery Is Changing as Technology Advances

Companies are increasingly integrating intercultural tools, courses and information directly into their portals and intranets. As technology advances, gone will be the days of multiple logins and cumbersome systems. Application programming interfaces (APIs) will enable more connection and sharing of information. Intercultural information will be at employees’ fingertips via texting apps, chat bots and machine learning applications.

  1. Strategic Partners: Intercultural Training Success Is About Finding the Right Partner

Strategic partners can lead you through the ins and outs of intercultural training and help you navigate your options. Many provide complete customization, alignment with your corporate culture, a better learner experience, lowered costs and increased return on investment (ROI). If you incorporate intercultural training into your mobility and development programs, or are considering doing so, you may want to speak to a strategic partner who can help guide the way.

The more connected the world becomes, the more cultural competence organizations will need. Many leading multinational organizations have developed global programs dedicated to nurturing the skills and mindset required for international growth. These companies are creating the international leaders of tomorrow.

The future of work is global. Are you ready? Contact me at ELAvate if you want to assess your organization’s intercultural leadership fitness.


Blogs I have Read in 2019 and My Top 12

I have found my reading habits have gone through an evolution over the past two years.

Two years ago…..

I read in newspaper format The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist and the local newspapers where I am working. Magazines were regularly bought at local shops or in the airport.

Now, I read electronically…..

Flipboard to consolidate my news for Singapore, Detroit, Global News, Canada, Weather, Social Media, and Health.

Subscribe to daily news headlines from New York Times, Forbes and Fortune Magazine and Yahoo news page before logging into email.

My daily menu of blogs includes those from INC. Magazine, Pocket, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and one of my favorite Seth’s Blog.

Weekly reading includes Mc Kinsey and Company Highlights, John Maxwell Team, Economist on line, and Training Industry Weekly and Tim Elmore’s Growing Leaders.

I hope this proves even those over 60 can adapt to technology to keep learning!!!!

Here are some of the best blogs and articles I saved during 2019 for your review and growth that I saved on www.getpocket.com

Hidden in Tom Hanks’s Emotional Golden Globes Speech Was the Best Career Advice You’ll Hear Today. Here It Is in 1 Sentence

These Are the 5 Traits of Great Leaders, According to 50 Years of Gallup Research

 The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You Happier, Healthier and More Productive

 The Art of Losing Friends and Alienating People

 Are You Gaslighting Your Child? Here Are 6 Signs

Why Asking for Advice Is More Effective Than Asking for Feedback

Tina Turner Is Having the Time of Her Life

Why the 15-Minute Daily Huddle is Critical to Scale Up Your Business

How to be persuasive: 7 secrets from hostage negotiation

To Be Happier at Work, Invest More in Your Relationships

Why Coaching Matters: How Leaders Can Become Better Coaches And Build Stronger Teams

Ten Crucial Behaviors That Keep Love Alive

Hope you enjoyed my insights and best blogs!

Have a great start to 2020!

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate
John Maxwell Team Coach

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