Adaptive Leadership Part Two: Principles for Leading Adaptive Change

In a prior blog, I discussed the ever increasing and complex challenges we face in our industry, which, Dr. Ronald Heifetz notes, require advanced methods of adaptive leadership to solve. Heifetz offers six principles for leaders dealing with adaptive challenges, and the first two of those are now discussed in more detail:

Get on the Balcony.

Athletes in fast moving team sports concentrate on their assignments and can easily get caught up in the frenzy of the game. But some have an uncanny ability to pay attention to everything happening on the field of play. Whether it was Joe Montana seeing a missed defensive assignment to throw a touchdown pass, or Magic Johnson blindly throwing the ball wh...


Adaptive Leadership to Navigate Today’s Environment

The electronic component industry, like our world, is constantly facing never-before-seen complications. The components themselves are increasingly technical, integrating nanoscopic physics with complex software. The internet continues to alter the way people and companies buy and sell. Geopolitical issues such as tariffs, regulations, and national security concerns impact our business. The tight labor market and generational shifts have strained the ability to hire and retain talent.

This new era of complexity requires more sophisticated forms of leadership. Noted Harvard leadership guru, Dr. Ronald Heifetz, in his seminal book, Leadership without Easy Answers, differentiates between te...


2019 Challenges

2018 was a banner year for electronic components, with semiconductor sales crossing the trillion-unit threshold. (That’s a one followed by twelve zeros and four commas!). If you built a factory capable of producing one part every second, it would take almost 32 thousand years for your factory to produce a trillion units. With this market growth comes multiple challenges and questions for 2019:

  • Is the current growth cycle over or are we just experiencing a two-quarter inventory correction?

  • Will the trade talks with China resolve the rising tensions over tariffs?

  • Will the slowdown in China’s economy effect the rest of the electronic component supply chain?

As is often the case in this ...


Mindfulness to Fine Tune Your Leadership Inner Game

Leadership effectiveness is a primary factor in business performance. Leaders in the 90th percentile on 360 degree competency assessments produce twice the results of those in the 10th to 89th percentile, according to a heavily researched book The Extraordinary Leader, by Zenger and Folkman (2009). And yet leadership challenges continue to grow. According to an IBM survey of 1500 CEOs, the top two challenges for business are 1) escalating complexity 2) building creative capacity to deal with it.

From the 2015 book Mastering Leadership, Anderson and Adams describe leadership as being concerned with the transactional: setting direction, keeping the organization on track, executing with efficien...


The Leverage of Frontline Managers

Electronic component companies range in size from less than 10 employees to over 100,000. What they all have in common is making and selling electronic components. What they all want to do is sell more electronic components! How can companies ensure that those 10 or 100,000 employees are selling as effectively as possible? On which employees should companies put their focus and investment?

There is a strong argument that significant leverage exists by investing in frontline managers. Roughly 50-60% of a company’s managers are frontline managers, supervising individual contributors (or sales reps in a sales organization) and these frontline managers oversee up to 80% of a company’s...