The Lead: Hurricane Power Outages, Tesla’s CAO, U.S. Sanctions China

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Massive Power Outages from Hurricane Florence

Duke Energy, an energy conglomerate, restored power from the massive power outages in North Carolina in just two days. Duke Energy is continuously investing in smart power and creating strengthened power grids that will reduce power outages in the future.

Our View: Responding well to challenges takes practice. Leaders thoroughly understand Tony Robbins’ quote “repetition is the mother of skill,” and excellent leaders teach and mentor others to help them understand and utilize the power of practice. In The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life – Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process, bestselling author Thomas M. Sterner writes “everything in life worth achieving requires practice. In fact, life itself is nothing more than one long practice session, an endless effort of refining our motions. When the proper mechanics of practice are understood, the task of learning something new becomes a stress-free experience of joy and calmness, a process which settles all areas in your life and promotes proper perspective on all of life’s difficulties.” Further Reading

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Tesla’s Transient Chief Accounting Officers

Tesla’s last Chief Accounting Officer, Dave Morton, quit the job within one month of joining. Morton is the second CAO to leave the Tesla in six months. Immediately after Morton’s resignation, Elon Musk considered taking the company private, but Musk doesn’t have that authority without a shareholders meeting.

Our View: Leadership programs can increase employee retention by increasing engagement and helping employees understanding how their roles fit in the bigger picture of the organization. Losing talent is costly. Leadership programs increase productivity and loyalty. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum Alliance member content: Leading through Transitions

U.S. Sanctions China for Buying Russian Fighter Jets and Missile Systems

The U.S. imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying Russian fighter jets and missile systems in breach of a sweeping U.S. sanctions law punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Adding to a list under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the U.S. blacklisted another 33 people and entities associated with the Russian military and intelligence. A U.S. official stated “we hope that at least this step will send a signal of our seriousness and perhaps encourage others to think twice about their own engagement with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors.”

Our View: Setting ground rules for your team can facilitate a better working environment where everyone is held accountable for their actions and words. Taking time to discuss assumptions can not only create better outcomes, but it can also help your team reach the desired results quicker. When team members participate in setting their own ground rules for engagement and align them with their core values, they will feel more closely connected to the tasks at hand. Further Reading

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Space Food

NASA is discovering how to grow plants on other worlds and in space in preparation for sending humans to Mars. The less astronauts carry, the better, and seeds weigh less and take up less space than already-prepared food. Scientists are experimenting with growing plants and vegetables in simulated space environments like the microgravity environment of the International Space Station.

Our View: NASA is not inventing new food, but rather inventing new processes for producing it in space in order to make the journey to space more efficient. When leaders think of innovation and investing in innovation they often narrow it to product innovation. Expand your thinking and think of innovation in regards to business procedures by streamlining business operations. Ask yourself the following five steps to prompt process innovation:

  1. Ask: Is the process necessary?
  2. Identify the desired result of the process.
  3. Eliminate steps.
  4. Combine multiple steps.
  5. Automate the process if possible. 

Further Reading

Related AchieveForum Alliance member content: Leading InnovationProblem-Solving Results

Selling Your Own Data

As tech giants have taken users’ personal data for free, some individuals are taking back the reins by selling their own data. Participating in certain online surveys is one way to make money from your personal data. Redeeming points (accumulated by sharing things like your location and/or social media profiles with companies like Wibson) for Visa gift cards or Uber rides are more indirect ways to make money from your data. Not all data is equal, and individuals who influence the purchasing decisions of others will undoubtedly be able to make more money by selling their data. Though more companies are emerging to grow the concept of individuals monetizing their own data, the greatest value from personal data comes with economies of scale.

Our View: Business leaders who achieve economies of scale take advantage of the opportunities resulting from larger size and increased output. They reduce their average unit costs and increase their profits, and ideally, they avoid diseconomies of scale by cautiously growing and understanding that average unit costs decrease with increased output only to a certain point. (After that point, costs could rise again as the company creates unwanted inefficiencies.) Leadership is a delicate balancing act and requires the management of several strategic systems that require continuous fine-tuning. It’s advantageous to set up tripwires at the onset of a project to notify you and your team when an adjustment needs to be made. Setting tripwires at the beginning creates space and perspective to help facilitate rational processes and avoid impulse reactions. Further Reading

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