October 3



Respect born out of fear is not respect. It is an attempt at self preservation. 

Tribal leaders need and value respect and loyalty. Tribal followers need approval and recognition. Leaders that instill fear in others to gain their respect can never sleep well. They can never relax – or turn their backs – because mistrust is everywhere. Leaders who lead through fear will never hear the truth from their followers. They will only hear what people think they want to hear. In a culture of fear, there is no upside for followers to speak truth to power.

This is a dark picture. It suggests a sinister, perhaps criminal organization, or a third-world dictatorship. And it could be. But it also has a more benign face, that of a seemingly tame, civil, profitable, respected company. Even a Fortune 100. Like Wells Fargo Bank, or Volkswagen, for example.

Fear driven respect, in any organization, is counterproductive at best and toxic at worst. In the case of Wells Fargo Bank, it is widely known that the approximately 5,000 employees responsible for opening up bank and credit card accounts for customers without their knowledge or consent were under orders to meet their sales quotas or risk losing their jobs. What began as ambitious goals became “by any means necessary” requirements. They lost their jobs anyway when the scheme was discovered. They were frightened scapegoats. The fallout at senior leadership levels of the bank were catastrophic. Government intervention has put a limit on the bank’s ability to grow, until they get their house in order. Their current search for a new CEO has yielded a few potentially qualified prospects, and one big problem. None of the candidates wants the job. 

Wells Fargo was and remains a major, headline grabbing example. What about the thousands of smaller companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies where some form of fear underpins what pretends to be respect? 

What happens in agencies that permit and encourage hazing of new employees as a proud, cultural tradition? What happens to respect in companies when whistleblowers are bullied, marginalized, shamed and forced to leave? What happens to respect for new ideas when group-think that mirrors what people believe their boss wants to hear is the only thing that brainstorming produces? The list goes on.

What about your company? What does respect look and feel like? What kind of results does it produce – good or bad? Please share your views. Let’s start a conversation and see where it goes. There’s a wealth of great ideas to be mined here. Be part of it.              

By Bill Leider, Managing Partner, Axíes Group


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Book Reviews

Mastering Your Balance

Amazon Book Reviews

D. Thurman April 7, 2021

The areas of balance required to perform as a top level organization are lifted from the almost unconscious to the very conscious in Mastering Your Balance. As a business and executive coach I see business leaders mostly consumed 95% if the time with near term issues. A perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole.

Perhaps, getting the various elements covered in the book in play and more importantly in balance these leaders would have far less moles to whack, and therefore much more time and energy available execute on their greater purpose.

Shane Willard April 21, 2021

Bill & Jason get it. Having coached thousands of businesses and business leaders their insight is invaluable. They beautifully weave Vision, Values, Culture, Strategy & Purpose together into actionable steps any leader can implement. As they say, no matter how good one is at these individual elements, without balance greatness will always lie just behind your reach.

The 'what-would-it-take' concept in Chapter 2 makes you peel back the excuses and think creatively. "To achieve the impossible you must first envision the improbable."

At its core, this book serves as a blueprint for each vital element necessary to achieve success and balance organizationally (and personally). It reminds leadership where they need to focus.

Joe Fera April 1, 2021

What would it take to shatter your limiting beliefs and lead your company to heights only dreamed? Read ‘Mastering Your Balance’. Bill & Jason have demystified the ‘Dark Matter’ of great leadership and great organizations and boiled it down to highly actionable and implementable elements. Aha moments abound!

LR March 31, 2021

Mastering Your Balance answers the question and is a must read and reread for any organization daring to go from good to great! Mastering Your Balance shines a much needed light, drawing our attention to it, causing us to remember it's significance. More than words, we are reminded that a carefully crafted mission/vision statement is the organization's North Star.

Severin Sorensen March 24, 2021

As a business coach I'm always looking for books to inspire the human mind, and give direction to business owners seeking to raise their performance in the great game of business. Mastering Your Balance is one of those books. The authors are experienced in the art of giving profound advice to their clients.