Content By James daSilva

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By: James daSilva

When you think about Domino’s, you think about getting pizza quickly—30 minutes or less. Domino’s has also become known for technology, including flashy and fun concepts such as the Associated Talent Development (ATD) conference in Washington, D.C. There, attendees heard from Domino’s training and learning leaders Eric Kammerer and Drew Helmholtz about how they transformed a specific part of the operation: Training incoming multi-unit supervisors for the company’s corporate-owned locations.

Multi-unit supervisors are a key part of Domino’s 400 U.S.-located, corporate-owned stores, where each supervisor manages eight stores. This is an environment that requires skills of leadership, conflict resolution, time management, and financial acumen—not to mention managing differently from the hands-on, direct-control approach that a one-store manager might embrace. It’s also a potential pathway to executive positions.

The challenge of getting this promotion, summarized in a sentence by Kammerer: “How do I go from telling people what to do to achieving results by influencing other people?”

James daSilva’s picture

By: James daSilva

I have been thinking a lot lately about a maxim that Seth Godin likes to use: “What is it for?”

That phrase was mentioned often in his altMBA program I did a couple of years ago, and it can be a good focusing question for any of us.

What does all this mean for leaders? Here are a few areas where you can apply “What is it for?”
• Day-to-day scheduling and prioritizing
• Bigger-picture thinking
• Better communication to others and in how we listen

‘What is it for?’ in our daily work

So much of our days is regimented by our calendars or ad hoc demands by a boss or client. We do things the way they’ve always been done because that’s what keeps us out of trouble and takes the least amount of energy and time. Most of us, me included, really don’t stop enough to ask, “Wait, what is this for?”

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By: James daSilva

The news that General Electric ousted CEO John Flannery was surprising to many of us, and it certainly matters to investors, analysts, employees, and competitors (and probably, historians). But does the success or failure of GE’s CEO really matter that much when it comes to how most of us lead, manage, and plan each day? Not necessarily.

For one thing, an increasing percentage of Americans are working at large companies, but it’s still not a majority, and most of us aren’t running these companies or even their divisions. Our direct reports (hopefully) are a small group of people, even if we’re ultimately responsible for larger causes. The communication, relationship-building, and coaching we do in these small groups is a vital part of any leader’s job, and you can have almost any title and work in almost any setting while doing it.

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By: James daSilva

One of the common complaints you’ll hear today is executives saying how there isn’t enough talent out there, not enough people with the right skills or even the willingness to learn. They say that people—almost always “young people”—are too eager to jump ship.

What are companies to do when there’s not enough talent and what talent there is will just leave?

I can sympathize with this, to an extent. It’s a tight labor market (though maybe not as tight as claimed), and certain jobs are harder to hire for than others. Less glamorous jobs that require computer or technical skills can be especially vexing to manufacturers and other employers. Trucking companies can struggle to find candidates who can pass federal drug-testing guidelines. Rural areas can face obstacles that cities don’t in attracting people.

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By: James daSilva

There’s a lot to be worried about in business: the political climate, robots and automation, the future of entrepreneurism and innovation, the promise or peril of the gig economy. But imagine if we weren’t in an economy that’s been growing for years.

Like it or not, these are the good times, and that should make us concerned about how prepared we are, as leaders and companies, for the inevitable downturn. Maybe that time won’t arrive tomorrow or this year or even this decade, but it will. There’s always a downturn.

Why am I starting this column with such dire thoughts? Because leadership in these times is easy. You hire, you expand, you can talk about motivating for excellence, building industries, and helping people find a career and maybe a fortune. Technology is a force for good (and productivity).

This is also the time where you see many articles, books, and TED Talks about great leaders telling you why they are so great. Notably, they’ll throw in some tale of hardship, but it’s mostly about success going forward, sprinkled with positivity and win-wins, maybe even win-win-wins.