Tag Archives: Leadership

Charles Has a Point on Leadership

They say you should never underestimate the stupidly of large groups, it was one of the new age trendy poster that hangs in modern companies. By God they are right.

This week in Britain Charles Clark wrote and spoke out about the current inertia in the Labour party. To be honest you would have to be coming from Mars not to recognizes the deep dissatisfaction at the current state of affairs. I do believe that a large percentage of the people in Britain do recognise the need to tighten their belts in a financial down turn. You have good years and you have not so good years. What I believe is that people feel most betrayed by, is the lack of leadership as a whole.
To be frank in economy matters no government can really control them. They might tinker here or there, but the economy controls itself. What the people want in difficult times is emotional and spiritual leadership. They want someone who they can admire, who is honest with them and tells it like it is and the rolls up his sleeves, put the kettle on and gets on with the job.

Gordon Brown central policy seem to be to fight change. Nobody in history has ever succeeded at that and there is good reason why, it is not possible. Charles Clarke summed it up elegantly this week. Either Gordon starts communicating his message or leaves with honour.

The current state of affairs is bad for moral. The British people can withstand much as shown as shown in two world wars, the Falkland’s and the war in Iraq, but dithering idiot just makes you want to jump ship.

How Expensive Is Poor Leadership

More than you think………….. Retaining talented employees should be a major focus for companies these days. I have heard over the years, that “anyone is replaceable.” When I was a young engineer fresh out college, I believed it myself. There were over 50 engineers in my graduating class and I was competing for jobs like they were. We had very similar skills and backgrounds and I knew I had to separate myself from them so an employer would hire me and not them. Even a couple years after college, I still believed that I could be replaced at any moment by fresh new talent.

It has been drilled into our heads over the years that we are replaceable and we have to conduct ourselves in a way that borders on humiliation. I took my first leadership role over a year ago after working for a few companies that really did not value the contributions of their people. Overtime and chaos was name of their games. Fortunately, those experiences allowed me to create my own leadership philosophy that centers on the fact that my people are not replaceable.

Employee turnover is very expensive. I recently was invited to speak at the 2005 Talent Management and Succession Planning Conference on creating a work life balance for employees to motivate and retain good talent. My emphasis will be on the importance of creating a pleasant work environment where leaders and employees respect each other. People will generally stay with a company if they are treated fairly, are given legitimate challenges, and feel their contributions are recognized.

The best way to illustrate the cost of poor leadership is give an example of what it takes today to hire a mid-level engineer. First, the engineer’s resume would cost the company around $15,000 provided it is coming from a recruiter. Today, many professionals move around the country, so the company would offer a full relocation package that would include moving of household items, vehicles, and pets. This would cost around $8,000. Then the employer would cover travel expenses including airfare, temporary housing, rental cars, and maybe thirty days of living expenses during the transition. I will be modest here and say that would cost around $5,000. Many employers also cover closing costs on both selling and buying of a home that could run as high as $10,000 total. Finally the engineer may be offered a starting bonus of $2,000. So, before the employer even starts paying the engineer his or her $65,000 a year salary and before the new employee steps in the door they have paid out around $40,000. This is a very large investment and I have seen many people in these positions quit after ten months to a year from poor leadership in a hostile work environment. Now the company has to do this routine all over again.

Good leadership is the key to retaining good employees and bad managers will only drive them away. As a leader myself, I cannot afford high turnover. I invest time and money into enhancing my people to be better employees. It becomes expensive to keep hiring people and training them to be productive and successful employees. I realize employees leave companies for a variety of other reasons. However, I can still do my part to make their work life a pleasant one.

About the Author

Chris Ortiz is a senior lean consultant and the owner of Kaizen Assembly. He has spent the majority of his professional career working for Fortune 500 companies, teaching and guiding them to become more efficient businesses. He has designed and constructed well over 100 assembly lines and other manufacturing processes resulting in millions of dollars in cost savings and waste reduction.

He is the author of 40+: Overtime Under Poor Leadership and his Ten Signs of an Incompetant Leader ihas received international recoginition. Chris has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Orlando Sentinel, and dozens of work life balance newsletters and trade magazines. He is an active speaker on workplace related issues and writes articles on leadership, overtime, and employee based programs.

Chris can be reached at chrisortiz@kaizenassembly.com or visit his company’s website at www.kaizenassembly.com

Losing The Vote

July 08 saw a by election defeat for Labour. Only two days before the election they had seemed to be doing well. To say that it was unexpected is putting it mildly. So why did Labour lose the seat. They appeared to be running a well run campaign. All the polls before polling day thought that they would hold the seat. I remember watching it at home on TV. While the current most talked about reasons is general unhappiness with the economy, houses prices, and the credit crunch. I think it was something else too.

What was very interesting while watching this on TV was the way Margaret Curran the Labour candidate behaved. There has been some speculation that the former Labour MP had behaved in a dishonorable way with relation to his expenses. The by election was called due to him standing down claiming ill health. When the current candidate Margaret Curran was asked about this on TV she tired to ignore the question. She than tried to demonstrate what a strong candidate she was by talking about her own agenda. What she failed to realize was that nobody was really interested in her agenda; they wanted to know about the former MP and his expenses. When repeatable asked whether she had visited the offices of the former MP who was claming it as an expense. She looked most annoyed and carried on ignoring it. She could have done much better to have said the truth. If she did not believe it was ill health than she should have said so. A least people could have warmed to her, or more importantly believed her. Instead she carried on denying it and acting in a most unreal manner. I think it was that moment that people decided they had enough and rightly so. At least with the other party (SNP) they are selling something they believe in.

They are two morals to this story, one sort out your history and two believe in what you are selling.

Leadership Doing What One Says

It has been interesting week here in Great Britain, we had some local elections and the current Labour government lost a large majority of their seats. It has been interesting to watch Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour party. I had the impression that with so much experience he should be able to handle the job. It appears not with the recent blunders in government. He has not shown leadership more sort of being led by public opinion.


Whether one likes Tony Blair (ex Prime minister) or not at least he had some idea of what he was doing and did not pander to criticism. Leadership is about Leading and ultimately to greater things.