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Straight Talk on Leadership: Solving Canada's Business Crisis


CAD $29.95

Straight Talk on Leadership: Solving Canada's Business Crisis

R. Douglas Williamson

ISBN: 978-1-118-58168-1 August 2013 Jossey-Bass 352 Pages

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Praise for Straight Talk on Leadership

"This book is for leaders who aspire to make a difference by transforming their organizations for global competitiveness. It is for those who approach leadership as a privilege to be re-earned each and every day, rather than a reward for past successes. Doug covers the landscape of issues facing leaders today in a compelling, insightful manner, and always with the frankness for which he is respected in the business community."
— Eric Siegel, President & Chief Executive Officer (Retired), Export Development Canada

"Williamson's approach is effective and real-world: confront truths, wear them and move forward quickly with accountable action. This book is an invaluable recipe as to the "how" and why leadership is critical to Canada's economic future."
— Rupert Duchesne, Group Chief Executive, Aimia Inc. (Formerly Group Aeroplan Inc.)

"The turbulent fast-changing times we live in pose great leadership challenges. There are no easy leadership recipes. Doug Williamson's unvarnished straight talk puts the environment in global perspective and provides leaders with a competency framework suited to the times we live in. A must read."
— Naseem Somani, President & Chief Executive Officer, Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories

"Succeeding in global markets requires an aggressive and competitive style. Doug has created a blueprint for success. Open communication and high transparency are the hallmarks of the best-run companies. In Straight Talk on Leadership, he makes a no-nonsense, patriotic plea for pragmatic leadership in the executive suite and a wonderful roadmap for high performance results on the international stage."
— Robert Courteau, Chief Executive Officer, Altus Group Limited

A Note to the Reader xiii

Foreword xv

Introduction: Moving Backward at the Speed of Light 1

Part I: Leveraging Our National Brand through Bold Leadership 13

Chapter 1: Crimes of Leadership Malfeasance 15

Chapter 2: Lessons from the Recent Past 18

Chapter 3: Hidden Costs of the Current Crisis 22

Chapter 4: Confronting Our Complacency 24

Chapter 5: Mastering Transformational Tension 26

Chapter 6: The Canada Brand—An Inexhaustible Natural Resource 28

Chapter 7: Leveraging the Maple Leaf 30

Chapter 8: The Canadian Mosaic, Version 2.0 32

Chapter 9: Spirits of Our Past 34

Part II: Meeting the Future Today 39

Chapter 10: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way 41

Chapter 11: Challenge #1: Sense Making and Sense Shaping 43

Chapter 12: Challenge #2: Clarity and Credibility 46

Chapter 13: Challenge #3: Understanding and Perspective 49

Chapter 14: Challenge #4: Creating Winning Conditions 52

Chapter 15: Mistaken Beliefs and Naïveté 60

Chapter 16: Raising the Flag 62

Part III: Preparing for Transformational Leadership 67

Chapter 17: Rebuilding the Franchise 69

Chapter 18: Winning Is an Attitude 71

Chapter 19: Playing the Canadian Game 73

Chapter 20: Benefits of Healthy Paranoia 75

Chapter 21: Thinking about Tomorrow 81

Chapter 22: Clear Vision and Sensitive Radar 82

Part IV: The Basis of a High-Performance Culture 87

Chapter 23: Teamwork vs. Team Performance 89

Chapter 24: Mistakes of Leadership 92

Chapter 25: Middle Management Malaise 94

Chapter 26: Coaching to the Bell Curve 96

Chapter 27: Culture of Grit and Determination 98

Chapter 28: Battling Stagnation 99

Chapter 29: The Team Is Not the Sum of Its Parts 101

Chapter 30: Facing Reality in the Mirror 103

Chapter 31: Stocking the Credibility Bank 105

Chapter 32: Discipline and Accountability 107

Chapter 33: Understanding Your Organizational DNA 109

Chapter 34: Modern Anthropology in the World of Business 111

Chapter 35: Superstars, Studs and Starlets 113

Chapter 36: Corporate Culture and Performance 117

Part V: Strategic Thinking vs. Strategic Planning 123

Chapter 37: Peripheral Vision as a Competitive Advantage 125

Chapter 38: Digging the Puck Out of the Corner 127

Chapter 39: The Importance of Total Candour 129

Chapter 40: Avoiding Conflict Is a Mistake 131

Chapter 41: Acting when Pivot Points Emerge 133

Chapter 42: Thinking in the Future Tense 138

Chapter 43: Opportunity Sensing 140

Chapter 44: The Narrative of Intentional Choice 142

Chapter 45: Focused Ambition 144

Part VI: The Importance of Human Capital Management 151

Chapter 46: Building Bench Strength for the Future 153

Chapter 47: Decline of the Dream 155

Chapter 48: Paradise Postponed 157

Chapter 49: OMG—They Are Back! 159

Chapter 50: Generations X, Y and Z? 160

Chapter 51: Shifting Values, New Challenges 162

Chapter 52: The Experience Economy 164

Chapter 53: Redefining Work 166

Chapter 54: The War for Talent, Version 3.0 167

Chapter 55: Role of Academia 172

Chapter 56: Role of Governments 174

Part VII: The Critical Role of Talent Management 179

Chapter 57: Owning the Podium 181

Chapter 58: Striving for Mediocrity 183

Chapter 59: Intellectual Capital 185

Chapter 60: Human Capital Planning 187

Chapter 61: Tears and Disappointment 189

Chapter 62: People, Practice and Perspiration 192

Chapter 63: Cost of Benign Neglect 194

Chapter 64: Investing in Development 196

Chapter 65: Societal Change in High Gear 198

Chapter 66: The Cost of Incompetence 199

Chapter 67: Knowledge Architecture 201

Chapter 68: Playing the Modern Game 206

Part VIII: Building the Collaborative Organization of the Future 213

Chapter 69: Compromise: The Enemy of Success 215

Chapter 70: Carpe Diem 218

Chapter 71: Collaboration Recast 220

Chapter 72: Reputation Management 222

Chapter 73: Misguided Focus and Human Nature 225

Chapter 74: Truth, Lies and Mediocrity 227

Chapter 75: Fresh Air and Brilliant Sunlight 229

Chapter 76: Shared Pain, Shared Gain 233

Part IX: Unleashing Innovation and Driving Creativity 239

Chapter 77: Reimagination 241

Chapter 78: Abandoning Certainty 244

Chapter 79: Prisoners of Our Mindsets 246

Chapter 80: Games We Play 248

Chapter 81: Human Nature Revealed 249

Chapter 82: Diversity, Imagination and Originality 250

Chapter 83: Creating Value by Creating Opportunity 252

Chapter 84: Brain over Brawn 254

Chapter 85: Rebels on Mahogany Row 259

Chapter 86: Expanding the Experience Repertoire 261

Chapter 87: Mindset for the Future 263

Chapter 88: Intuitive Genius Unleashed 264

Chapter 89: Competing for Relevance 266

Chapter 90: Overcoming Our National Hangover 267

Part X: The Art and Science of Effective Decision Making 271

Chapter 91: Decision Risk 273

Chapter 92: The Fog of Business 276

Chapter 93: Learning from Failure 278

Chapter 94: Upside of the Downside 280

Chapter 95: Understanding Human Frailty 282

Chapter 96: The Bias Trap 283

Chapter 97: Covering Our Asses 285

Chapter 98: Broadening Our Portfolio of Choices 286

Chapter 99: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions 292

Part XI: Straight Talk Conclusion 297

Chapter 100: Defining Canada’s Future 299

Acknowledgements 307

About the Author 309

Bibliography 311

Index 327