Lanny was interviewed by AdvisoryCloud on 08/12/2019 as part of our Featured Advisor Interview series.
AC - Tell us more about your main areas of expertise for being an advisor?
LG - There are two - strategic planning and designing companies that run themselves. The first is for CEOs who want to clarify, communicate, focus, and mobilize their organization around a well-designed set of strategic priorities.
The second is for CEOs who are tired of working for their companies and want their companies to start working for them. I have developed a comprehensive system for creating this transformation based on science, common sense, and decades of experience with redesigning companies. Traditional management practice traps the CEO in a cycle of work and decision-making because traditional management does not leverage the skill, knowledge, experience, energy, creativity, and enthusiasm or his/her employees. In fact, it does just the opposite, pushing decision-making up to the top.
AC - Describe your main motivation for being an advisor?
LG - I’ve been out of the consulting game for a few years and got a call from a former client who was just made CEO of his organization and wanting to implement self-management. I’ve enjoyed being “back in the saddle” and want to help other CEOs who are sick of the many dysfunctions of traditional organizational structures and processes and deep down know there is a better way.
The culture of the business tends to emphasize the paradigm of the rugged individualist, who finds his/her own way. This, of course, is a myth. No one has all the answers all the time. And, different phases of organizational growth or lack thereof is likely to require different approaches to leadership. Having a trusted third-party with no agenda beyond the leader’s success is an essential resource for the intelligent, motivated leader.
AC - Elaborate on the types of situations, challenges, or decisions, you feel you could add the most value to as an advisor?
LG - The term Advisor suggests a more highly leveraged role than a consultant, so any time a leader is feeling stuck, stalled, or unable to accomplish what she is committed to doing, a sounding board with a lateral thinker is likely to uncover the breakthrough she needs to get back on track. This is one of my strengths. All human actions are shaped by assumptions, cultural, relational, or situational. These assumptions often inhibit our ability to take the actions we need to overcome challenges or commit to and achieve worthwhile strategic objectives. My bias in conversation with clients is to listen to what’s behind the message, and mirror that back when it is appropriate to help a leader break out of what appears to be a blind alley.
AC - Do you see any disruptive trends on the horizon in your industry or position?
LG - The primary disruptive trend is that traditional organizations always have and continue to stifle the creative energy of their employees. Where else in the business world do you see enthusiastic adoption of 150-year-old technology that was designed intentionally to minimize employee contribution? But the whole notion of management has such a grip on the culture of a business, that no one ever questions the assumptions behind the discipline of management. Instead, companies spend hundreds of millions a year on “bandaids” to put on the many dysfunctions of traditional management.
How is it in the natural world, bursting at the seams with abundant life in every conceivable ecological niche, no matter where you look, you will never find a single manager?
Is there a legitimate alternative to traditional management? Absolutely. A quick read of my book, The End of Management will demonstrate the fundamentals.
AC - Tell me about the most impactful project or decision you’ve been involved in as an executive.
LG - I called a meeting of the CEO of a major client of mine along with a colleague who was also actively working in his company. We explained that his two most senior project managers were failing in our estimation, and we believed their projects to be in serious trouble. The CEO was furious and stormed out of the meeting. Six months later, the CEO wound up essentially giving the company to a competitor in exchange for their covering the losses on the two projects. To me, an advisor must be a truth-teller, because everyone around the CEO has an agenda of their own.
If you are interested in speaking with Lanny Goodman about this topic or others, you can book a meeting with him through his AdvisoryCloud profile here: https://www.advisorycloud.com/profile/Lanny-Goodman