6 Leadership Lessons From World Champion Steve Kerr

There are leaders, then there are great leaders. When you experience a great leader in everyday life, it’s a different experience.
Enter Steve Kerr, head coach of the 2017 NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors. His team battled the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, and beat them 4 games to 1.

6 Leadership Lessons From World Champion Steve Kerr is an enlightening essay written by John Eades, Author, podcaster and CEO of LearnLoft .  It goes on like this:

There are leaders, then there are great leaders. When you experience a great leader in everyday life, it’s a different experience.

Stev Kerr

Enter Steve Kerr, head coach of the 2017 NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors. His team battled the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, and beat them 4 games to 1. Not only did he win his second NBA championship as a coach, but he also holds the highest winning percentage in NBA history and was previously named coach of the year. Here are a just a few takeaways we can learn from Kerr’s leadership style:

It’s not about the leader

A few years ago when the Warriors won their first NBA championship since 1975, Kerr almost refused the microphone and trophy after winning. He did the same thing again in 2017 but when he did finally speak he used all of his time to give praise to his other coaches, players, and team ownership.

He knows he is just a spoke in the wheel, and it’s his job to push those around him to levels they didn’t even know they were capable of, without wanting any credit.

Talent matters but it’s your job to enhance it

Kerr has been blessed with some of the greatest talent the NBA has ever seen. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green are elite-level players that any coach would love to have. Kerr has been quoted as saying, “Everyone who gets into coaching in the NBA knows it’s all about the talent.”

While it’s impossible to win titles in the NBA without talent, it isn’t a guarantee for success unless those players are getting better year in and year out. Kerr has made nearly every player he has ever coached not only a better basketball player, but a better human being.

Trust your team

News broke that Kerr was stepping away from coaching the team in the NBA playoffs because of nagging pain from back and neck surgery. Kerr stated he wouldn’t return to the bench until he was fully capable of giving the team 100 percent. There is nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t trust their team to do the job in their absence. It’s a sign of an unhealthy ego and micromanagement.

Kerr showed the ultimate trust in assistance coach Mike Brown and his players by stepping away during the most critical time in the season, and it created a stronger bond of mutual trust between the parties.

Always look for new ways to add value

While Kerr was absent from games, he didn’t stay away from the team entirely. He was an active participant in practices, game plans, and strategy to help his team be prepared as best as possible when they stepped on the floor without him.

Know your core values

Kerr is famous for being a student of leadership and always working on his craft as a coach. One offseason he went to see Pete Carroll the Seattle Seahawks head coach and Carroll taught him an important lesson: “Your leadership approach has to reflect your identity.”

After that meeting, Kerr identified ‘joy’ as a core value he had to lead with all the time. Knowing your core values is a critical part in finding your authentic leadership voice.

Empowerment is key

Kerr has built a culture of empowerment with the Warriors. So much so star Draymond Green said:

“So he [Kerr] built a culture to where, one man down, the next man has to step up. And it’s not just on him, it’s on everybody to come together and empower that next man and have his back through whatever the situation is, and ride for him just like you’d ride for coach Kerr.”

PUBLISHED ON: JUN 9, 2017 on INC.COM – The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Four Questions to Ask if You Want to Lead Effectively

, in his RapidStart Leadership Blog, Take Action, Written Blog wrote that “Whether it’s your first leadership position or your fifty-first, taking over can be a challenging business”.  He does give the Four Questions to Ask if You Want to Lead Effectively.

Hi key to success is “Don’t start out by answering questions; start by asking them”. He came up with four questions all leader should ask. Getting thde answers helps leading confidently and effectively. Below is the extensive post.

Have You Heard This One?

A company, feeling it was time for a shake-up, hires a new CEO. This new boss is determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, the CEO notices a guy leaning on a wall. The room is full of workers and he thinks this is his chance to show everyone he means business!

The CEO walks up to the guy and asks, “And how much money do you make a week?” Undaunted, the young fellow looks at him and replies, “I make $600 a week. Why?” The CEO then hands the guy $600 in cash and screams, “Here’s a week’s pay, now GET OUT and don’t come back!”

Feeling pretty good about his first firing, the CEO looks around the room and asks, “Does anyone want to tell me what that slacker did here?” With a sheepish grin, one of the other workers mutters, “He’s the pizza delivery guy.”

First Impressions

A successful start as a new leader doesn’t require bold actions or drastic measures.  And if you try to start leading before you know what’s going on, you risk firing the pizza guy and looking foolish, like our CEO in the joke above.

A strong foundation for effective leadership is built not on dramatic acts but on understanding the environment, and building trust, so that when it is time to take action, your team will be willing to follow you.

To establish those things, here are four questions you should ask, why they are important, and some tips for how you can get the answers you need.

4 Questions

1. Ask:  What is the vision?

This is all about knowing the direction you need to take the team.  Leadership is influencing others to get something done, so it’s crucial to understand what the long term vision of your organization is, and the short term goals you need to meet to get there.

Get the answer:  The best way to get this is to meet with your boss.  Even if you already know the organization and each other, do this anyway.  It’s important to sit down and discuss their specific expectations.

It can be intimidating if your boss doesn’t initiate a meeting, or seems too busy.  But set it up and make it happen.  You can’t lead effectively if you are uncertain about the direction you are going.

2. Ask:  What are the team’s strengths and weaknesses?

This is all about who’s on your team and what they can do.  Maybe you have been around a while and already kind of know.  Or you are the newest kid on the block and don’t know anyone.

Either way, it’s worth the time and effort to deliberately evaluate the relative strengths of your team members and compare that to what your team is supposed to be doing.

Get the answers:  Talk to each member of your team.  Get to know them as people, and ask them to explain what they do, how they do it, and what challenges they face.

By developing an understanding of who is on your team and what they can (and can’t) do, you are laying the foundations of trust and improving your grasp of team capabilities.

When you know what obstacles are holding them back, you will be able to see how you can help clear the way forward.

3. Ask:  What don’t you know that you should?

This is about your personal competence in your leadership position.  It’s directly related to building the trust that is so essential on an effective team.

An early mistake new leaders can make is to try to act as if they already know everything.  Even if you think you do, people will shut down on you if you act as though no one can teach you anything.

Get the answers:  The best leaders I’ve known were always full of questions and curiosity, even when they thought they knew the answers.  They were confident, but when they didn’t understand something, they wouldn’t try to hide it.  Instead, they became intensely curious.

They would ask lots of open-ended questions like, “tell me more about how that works,” “how do you fix it when it breaks” and “where do you get the resources you need?”

And when you identify an area of knowledge that you can’t fill in a short conversation, make a plan to get smart.

Who would you rather follow – someone who pretends to know everything or the person who admits he doesn’t but actively strives to fill in a knowledge gap whenever he finds one?

4. Ask:  Who do you need to know?

As the leader, a crucial part of your job is synchronizing the actions and efforts of your team with the rest of the world.  To do this you have to have a leadership network.

Get the answers:  Think about who your team supports or gets support from on a regular basis – it could range from suppliers to maintainers, marketers, customers, finance, and human resources.    Also ask your boss who you should get to know.

Make a list, then go introduce yourself.  Do it before you need something from them.  Ask about what they do, how they interact with your team and about any challenges they are having that have involve your team. Simply connecting with people and showing that you are interested in them will open doors, improve your understanding of your environment, and give you places to turn when problems arise.

New Leader Questions – The Takeaway

Being a new leader can be tough even under the best of circumstances. One of the best things you can do to make it easier on yourself is to get clear on the direction, fill in your knowledge gaps, and get connected to others who can help you move your team forward.

This list just scratches the surface of how to focus your efforts in the early days of a leadership position. After all, firing the pizza guy is probably not the way you want to start things out!




10 Characteristics of Great Leaders

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According to Georges Couros in his blog (see here, published June 8th, 2017), leadership is not “an easy endeavor”. In this post, the author describes 10 characteristics of great leaders or as those that a good leader should have. Here is below the extensive text.

Continue reading “10 Characteristics of Great Leaders”

Offshore Deals that deprive Africa of Billions

Offshore Deals that deprive Africa of Billions . . .

The ICIJ, producer of the Panama Papers has published an article written by Will Fitzgibbon on July 25, 2016. It is about those Offshore Deals that deprive Africa of Billions; commonly known thing by many, members of the public, journalists and all, did finally make it through to the long-awaited international audience. It addresses issues of that nature that lasted only too long unchallenged on the African continent.

Once again, it looks as if, Algeria is doing it one more time, being at the forefront not of Africa’s liberation from colonisation but this time from perverse behaviour in the world of business.

Excerpts of this article are reproduced with our compliments to the author / publisher, in MENA-Forum for their obvious interest to all our members and readers generally.

Offshore Deals that deprive Africa of Billions . . .

The ICIJ, producer of the Panama Papers has published an article written by Will Fitzgibbon on July 25, 2016. It is about those Offshore Deals that deprive Africa of Billions; commonly known thing by many locals, members of the public, journalists and all, did finally make it through to the long-awaited international audience.  It addresses issues of that nature that lasted only too long unchallenged on the African continent.

Once again, it looks as if, Algeria is doing it one more time, being at the forefront not of Africa’s liberation from colonisation but this time from perverse behaviour in the world of business. 

Excerpts of this article are reproduced with our compliments to the author / publisher, in MENA-Forum for their obvious interest to all our members and readers generally.  

Secret Offshore Deals Deprive Africa of Billions in Natural Resource Dollars

The Panama Papers show politicians and mining, oil and gas interests benefit from secrecy and dubious multimillion dollar transfers

◾Twelve of 17 companies under investigation by authorities in Italy in relation to a $10 billion oil and gas deal in Algeria were created by Mossack Fonseca

◾Italian authorities called one offshore company “a crossroads of illicit financial flows”

◾Dozens of companies created by Mossack Fonseca have been involved in law suits or public allegations of wrongdoing, according to an ICIJ analysis

When he wasn’t aboard his yacht, Farid Bedjaoui held court in the Bulgari Hotel in Milan, a renovated 18th century palace nestled between the botanical gardens and the La Scala theatre.  Over five years, Bedjaoui’s hotel tab there exceeded $100,000.

In the plush rooms and the granite-lined lobby, Bedjaoui met with Algerian government officials and executives from Saipem, the Italian energy giant.  Their agenda, according to witnesses later interviewed by Italian prosecutors: arranging some $275 million in bribes to help the energy company win more than $10 billion in contracts to build oil and gas pipelines from the North African desert to the shores of the Mediterranean.

To shift the bribe money between countries, Bedjaoui used a cluster of offshore companies that helped him shield the transactions from scrutiny, Italian prosecutors claim.  Twelve of the 17 shell companies linked to Bedjaoui were created by Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm that is at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal, a review of the law firm’s internal records by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media partners has found.

The garden at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan. Photo: bulgarihotels.com

Italian investigators described one of those companies, Minkle Consultants S.A., as a “crossroads of illicit financial flows” that channelled millions of Dollars from subcontractors to an array of recipients whose identities are still being untangled.  Prosecutors allege Bedjaoui used one company set up through the law firm to funnel as much as $15 million to associates and family members of Algeria’s then-energy minister.

The cross-border bribery scandal is one of dozens of cases in Africa in which companies created or administered by Mossack Fonseca have played a role in oil, gas and mining deals that have spawned public allegations of tax dodging, corruption, environmental destruction or other misconduct. In all, ICIJ’s review identified 37 companies within the Panama Papers that have been named in court actions or government investigations involving natural resources in Africa.

Ventures that drill or dig for oil, gas, diamonds, gold and other resources have long been dogged by evidence that contracts are often secured through bribery and other corrupt tactics that benefit a few and harm average citizens. Suspect mining and energy deals are usually organized through secretive companies and hard-to-trace bank accounts, corruption experts say.

“Companies may be given access to lucrative extractive projects because their owners are politically connected, or because their owners are willing to engage in questionable deals aimed at generating quick profits for a few rather than benefits for wider society,” Fredrik Reinfeldt, former prime minister of Sweden and now head of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, told ICIJ.

He said the use of anonymous companies makes it harder to prevent money laundering and corruption because it allows wrongdoers to “hide behind a chain of companies often registered in multiple jurisdictions.”

ICIJ’s review of Mossack Fonseca’s internal records shows that the Panama-based law firm is a major provider of secrecy to companies involved in extractive industries. The firm’s internal files include more than 1,400 companies whose names refer to mining, minerals, oil, petrol or gas.  Other less explicitly named companies – including the 12 companies allegedly used by Bedjaoui in the Algerian energy deal – also played roles in the extractive sector, the files show.

Mossack Fonseca’s files reveal offshore companies that were established to own, hold or do business with petroleum, natural gas and mining operations in 44 of Africa’s 54 countries. Many of them are controlled by politicians, their family members and business associates. Often, the oil, gas, gold and diamonds formed beneath the earth’s surface over millions – even billions – of years are traded by shadow companies that have existed for months.

Companies created and assisted by Mossack Fonseca include at least 27 subsidiaries of one of the world’s biggest gold producers, the mining behemoth AngloGold Ashanti and its predecessor. AngloGold told ICIJ it complies with relevant tax laws and that its offshore companies held investments and allowed it to “mitigate ‘double taxation.’”

Mossack Fonseca declined to answer detailed questions for this story. It told ICIJ that “our firm, like many firms, provides worldwide registered agent services for our professional clients (e.g., lawyers, banks, and trusts) who are intermediaries. As a registered agent we merely help incorporate companies, and before we agree to work with a client in any way, we conduct a thorough due-diligence process, one that in every case meets and quite often exceeds all relevant local rules, regulations and standards to which we and others are bound.”

The law firm added: “Filing legal paperwork to help incorporate a company is a very different thing from establishing a business link with or directing in any way the companies so formed. We only incorporate companies, which just about everyone acknowledges is important, and something that’s critical in ensuring the global economy functions efficiently.”

Saipem, the Italian energy company, told ICIJ it is “fully cooperating” with prosecutors and it has “implemented significant managerial and administrative restructuring measures.”  External consultants reviewed the company’s books, Saipem said, and “found no evidence of payments to Algerian public officials through the brokerage contracts or subcontracts examined.”  In February 2016, an Algerian court found a Saipem subsidiary guilty of fraud, money laundering and corruption in obtaining contracts from Algeria’s national oil company, Sonatrach.

Criminal charges have been filed against Bedjaoui by Italian authorities.  Prosecutors allege that he inflated contracts for the benefit of Algerian officials, adding a standard cut for himself, which earned him the nickname “Mr. 3 Percent” after police found the ratio scrawled on Bulgari Hotel stationery during a raid.

Interpol issued a Red Notice – an international alert for a wanted person – on Bedjaoui at the request of Italian authorities.

Bedjaoui, the nephew of a former Algerian foreign minister, is currently living in a Beverly Hills-inspired gated community in Dubai.  He did not reply to repeated requests from ICIJ for comment.

In previous responses to the media, his lawyers have denied he was involved in any wrongdoing.  They insist that, as a thirty-something management graduate, he could never have wielded enough influence among Algeria’s political, military and business elites to coordinate a $275-million-dollar bribery scheme.

The Saipem-Sonatrach bribery case fits a pattern in Africa and other developing regions, where countries with the richest natural endowments often lose the most money offshore.

Between 2004 and 2013, Algeria, home to the second-largest oil reserves in Africa, lost an average of $1.5 billion annually through tax avoidance, bribery, corruption and criminality, the research group Global Financial Integrity estimates. Across the continent, the United Nations estimates at least $50 billion each year goes unaccounted for due to illicit money flows.

Read more at the ICIJ’s website address given above.

Careers UAE 2016

Trade Arabia produced this article on 18 May 2016 on an exhibition labelled Careers UAE 2016. Government and private sector are exhibiting jobs possibilities with offers on on-spot employment, with job opportunities also extending to high school graduates, at the opening of the 16th UAE Career Exhibition taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.  The event from May 16-18TH with more than 110 public and private sector exhibition stands more a wide range of locally based industries, is organised by the Dubai Government HR Department.

The drastic fall in the price of oil must have affected employment generally but acutely in the oil, gas and derivatives sectors.  

By and large, local emirati nationals do not venture into private sector employment, so there could be some little impact onto this population whereas the expatriate segment could be the one to bear the brunt.  

Here is below Trade Arabia report.

More than 110 firms participate in Careers UAE

More than 110 firms from the public and private sector participated in Careers UAE recently.  The event was hailed as a strategic entry-point into a diverse array of employment opportunities.

The event witnessed thousands of aspiring Emirati professionals engaging with public and private sector organisations in verticals including automotive, aviation, banking, construction, energy, oil and gas, telecoms, healthcare and real-estate among others.

Whether scouring the fair for public sector opportunities or strategic stepping stones into private sector employment, the diversity of career avenues available has generated a universally positive response from the country’s next generation of leading local talent, revealed a press release.

“I have built up lots of experience in the banking sector and I’m very impressed with the number of banks at Careers UAE – all of the major local and international banks are here,” said Amna Salem from Dubai. “I had a great opportunity to conduct an immediate interview with First Gulf Bank and I’m waiting for their feedback. Normally, the interview process is quite drawn out and frustrating but Careers UAE gives you a chance to experience on-the-spot interviews – it’s important to be prepared when you arrive so you can maximise your opportunities.”

In an era where talent acquisition is a seller’s market and the vast majority of the recruitment process is conducted online, Careers UAE provides UAE national candidates with an opportunity to impress potential employers up-close and personal, the press release added.

With thousands of the UAE’s recent graduates flocking to Careers UAE, the fair has been well-received by UAE nationals already in full-time employment but who are eager to identify new careers opportunities.

“I’ve been working with Dubai Police for eight years but I feel ready for the next step in my professional development. I’m looking for opportunities in the security sector,” said Ahmed Abdullah, a 27-year-old from Dubai. “I’ve had good meetings with HR representatives from Emirates, the Community Development Authority, Dubai Electronic Security Centre and others. Careers UAE brings so many companies together – it’s a great platform to sell your skills, meet employers and assess opportunities. This fair is a springboard to progress your career.” –TradeArabia News Service

Great Leaders Character, Integrity and Transparency

Published by HuffPost Education of 25 March 2016 and written by Eric Sheninger, Senior Fellow at International Center for Leadership in Education, ICLE, this article titled “Great Leaders Stand Out” underlines those things that are amongst those that make Great Leaders Character, Integrity and Transparency.

“Great leaders don’t succeed because they are great. They succeed because they bring out greatness in others.” –  Jon Gordon

What makes a great leader? ask Sheninger. There is no shortage of advice on the characteristics, qualities, and attributes that make up a great leader. Leadership is a choice and something that one should not take lightly. “It does not rely on a title, position, or power, but instead, the actions that one takes” says Sheninger. “Leadership is the ability to move people to where they need to be instead of telling them what to do. Character, integrity, and transparency are at the heart of every action taken.”. . .[ms-protect-content]

Below he offers what he considers to be ten things that all great leaders do:

  1. Adapt When Needed – A great leader knows that his or her respective leadership style will never work for everyone. Being able to successfully navigate different personalities and situations requires flexibility as well as a willingness to change course on the fly.
  2. Love the Work – Enjoying the work provides the resolve to persevere when challenges arise. Most of all great leaders have fun and do what it takes to ensure others have fun as well.
  3. Show Appreciation – Any great leader knows that success is not isolated to one woman or man in an organization. Leadership is a collective effort where everyone plays a role. Great leaders go out of their way to put others on a pedestal while consistently praising efforts both in public and private.
  4. Eliminate excuses – Challenges and obstacles will always be prevalent in any organization, especially schools. These often morph into excuses as to why certain initiatives can’t be accomplished. Great leaders clear the way for staff by removing obstacles and challenges through empowerment and autonomy.
  5. Establish a Focus Through Vision – A clear vision provides guidance as to not only the goals at hand, but also how to accomplish them. Great leaders work with stakeholders to develop a shared vision and resulting plan for action that keeps everyone focused on a goal of improving student learning. Great leaders also know that vision is not enough.
  6. Model Expectations – A great leader never asks anyone to do what he or she is not willing to at least try. Setting an example by putting yourself in the shoes of others provides the inspiration and motivation for staff to embrace change.
  7. Start Small – Great leaders don’t set out to radically change school culture in one full swoop. They understand that success is the culmination of numerous small wins that build momentum for larger changes.
  8. Know When to Delegate – Common sense dictates that no one can do it alone. Great leaders exhibit trust in others when certain tasks are passed along. This in itself works to develop more leaders across an organization. The process of delegation also allows for more of a focus on the larger issues at hand.
  9. Provide Meaningful Feedback – There is a big difference between meaningful feedback and criticism. Great leaders articulate where staff excels and specific areas of growth. Meaningful feedback is the fuel for improvement.
  10. Communicate Effectively – You will not find a great leader who is not a master communicator. Great leaders understand that listening, facilitating dialogue, asking questions, creating an open environment, and getting to the point clearly are essential. They also understand the importance of a multi-faceted approach to increase stakeholder engagement.

What would you add to this list?


6 Tricks That Will Make You More Productive

Dr. Bradburry gave his 6 Tricks That Will Make You More Productive on Forbes of March 15, 2016.  Here is his take :

“When it comes to productivity, we all face the same challenge—there are only 24 hours in a day. Since even the best ideas are worthless until they’re executed, how efficiently you use your time is as important as anything else in business.

I’ve become fascinated by productivity secrets because some people seem to have twice the time, and there’s no better way to reach your goals than by finding ways to do more with the precious time you’ve been given.

It feels incredible when you leave the office after an ultra-productive day. It’s a workplace high that’s hard to beat. In my experience you don’t need to work longer or push yourself harder—you just need to work smarter.  “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” says William Penn.  I’ve learned to rely on productivity hacks that make me far more efficient. I try to squeeze every drop out of every hour without expending any extra effort. And my favorite hack also happens to be the easiest one to implement. It’s so easy and useful you can begin using it now.

1. Never Touch Things Twice

That’s it. Never put anything in a holding pattern, because touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, delegate it or delete it.

2. Eat Frogs

To pull this off you’re going to have to eat some frogs. “Eating a frog” is doing the least appetizing, most dreaded item on your to-do list. If you let your frogs sit, you waste your day dreading them. If you eat them right away, then you’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires you.

3. Fight The Tyranny Of The Urgent

You’ll also need to master the tyranny of the urgent. The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact. The key here is to delete or delegate. Otherwise, you can find yourself going days, or even weeks, without touching the important stuff. You’ll need to get good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of your performance, and you’ll need to delete or delegate the things that hinder real forward momentum.

4. Say No

No is a powerful word that you’re going to have to wield. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully and efficiently fulfill them. Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity.

5. Check Email On A Schedule

If you aren’t going to touch things twice, you can’t allow email to be a constant interruption. You should check email on a schedule, taking advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. Set alerts for your most important vendors and best customers, and save the rest until the scheduled time. You could even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when you’ll be checking your email again.

6. Avoid Multitasking

To make my system work, you’re also going to have to avoid multitasking. It’s a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.”

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. Never touching things twice means only touching one thing at a time.

Bringing It All Together

We’re all searching for ways to be more efficient and productive. I hope my productivity hack helps you to find that extra edge.”