Leaders Enable Other Leaders to Make Better Decisions

Every coin has two sides; for every Yin there is a Yang. When you think about leaders, you probably think about followers.  But in the world of influence, you might be wrong: many leaders seek out ways to influence others “leaders”, in order to increase their impact.

Social psychology – which deals with the influence of other people on one another – led to the creation of behavioral economics, which focuses on decisions of economic value. You’re probably familiar with some of the popular thought leaders in this area, including Daniel Kahnemann (e.g., Thinking Fast and Slow), and Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (e.g., Nudge). The goal isn’t to understand the personality make-up of leaders. Rather, the focus is on helping people lead their life better and/or helping others do that, by changing the information available and how it’s processed to make better decisions.

I have the privilege of working with these kinds of leaders through many of the companies with which I work. 

  • At Vistage Worldwide, 25000+ CEOs join to make better decisions so they can be more effective leaders of their organizations. They participate in Peer Advisory Boards which serve as mastermind groups that help members resolve challenges to leadership, strategy, culture, etc. by sharing each’s experiences and perspectives, so they can gain fresh insights.
  • At Age Brilliantly, an interactional community platform for adults who want to lead a long, fulfilling lives, seek information, inspiration, support and tools from peers, experts and service providers, in order to make better life decisions as they navigate their lifepath to 100+.


In their book, Decision Leadership: Empowering Others To Make Better Choices,  Don Moore and Max Bazerman provide an overview of the things you can do to create environments which prompt others to make better decisions to influence their lives and those of others.  They note positive things we can do, including making space for thoughtful deliberation (as the two organizations I noted allow you to do), as well as identify the decision-biases that will deter good decision-making. Four of the ones that they mention include:

  • Availability bias –limiting the decision to the information currently available
  • Confirmation bias – seeking out information that confirms what we already thought 
  • Representativeness – accepting the correlations of information rather than seeking for cause-effect
  • Framing – making decisions based on the framework of the information, instead of the actual data.

For a more comprehensive list, see 12 Cognitive Biases.

At Presentation Excellence, we help clients learn how to influence the audience so they can make effective decisions to “buy-in” to their proposition. Similarly, we help the presenters learn how to withstand the biases that can lead to a bad decision. Are you paying attention to the factors leading to both? Given that our attention spans continue to shrink, paying attention to such factors becomes more and more important.

If you need help – as a presenter or decision-maker – let us know!

How Well Do You Know Your Current Culture?

How well do we really know our cultures?

As we think about the migration of traditional companies from ones where most employees work in the office daily to the new hybrid and virtual work – where a sizable proportion of workers do not have to come to work every day, it is likely that we will experience changes in our culture.  

It would be good to catch changes early, so we can respond to the new headwinds. Remember, Peter Drucker said “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and Gustavo Grodnitsky’s book title tells us that “Culture Trumps Everything”,   Recently, Alisa Cohen wrote an article, It’s time to Identify and Reset Your Company’s Culture, and suggested asking the experts : survey your employees. 

Rather than asking everyone to answer generic questions, start with the people most affected by the changed: people experience the greatest changes personally (e.g., they’re working virtually a lot) and collectively (e.g., they collaborate with others and aren’t able to do so in live, face-to-face interactions such as onboarding, brainstorming, meeting, etc.). 

The questions could focus on several issues, including the worker’s:

  • Changed experiential expectations (e.g., for onboarding, group decision-making, being considered for new opportunities) etc.
  • Perception of how it’s affecting the others, including those most and least successful
  • Description of the company in a short phrase (e.g., three or six words phrases)
  • Predictions for how changes might develop positively or negatively in the future.

Collecting the data from a large enough sample of people with different roles and experiences, may allow you to determine where changes in culture are taking place. And if they are, you can now adapt and respond!

If you do this, share your non-confidential results with the rest of us at Presentation Excellence!

How Does Your Leadership Style Impact on Your Company?

How well do we really know our cultures?


For a CEO, it’s important that you have confidence in your vision for the company and decisions. Uncertainty weakens the willingness of some team members to follow initiatives. For this reason, smart CEOs and other leaders seek out information from a diverse group of experts and as well as peer leaders who have experiences that are relevant (e.g., Vistage Worldwide). In addition they build their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) muscles, especially self-awareness.

In the blog post 4 Ways Confident Leadership Helps Everyone, Building Champions shares four benefits leaders get when they are confident and project that confidence to their team:

  • Builds loyalty among team members who want assurance
  • Support confident communications by the team members to others within the company
  • Encourages strategic thinking by providing a foundation for more long-term thinking and planning 
  • Empowers direct reports to follow your lead.

Working with 25,000+ leaders at Vistage, who go beyond their Mastermind Group to engage others on our intranet (MyVistage.com), I see how they build their confidence with frank and timely discussions and then report on the positive results that occurred.


Take the time to build your leadership skills and confidence, so you, too, can have a more significant impact on your leadership team and, in turn, your customers.

Are You Committed to Continuous Improvement?

Is continuous improvement a core value for your company?

Over a decade ago, I was asked by Vistage Worldwide to launch a CEO Peer Advisory group. My objective was to find successful CEOs who wanted even more success – by learning from other members of the group, other Vistage members (there are now 27,.000 In 20 countries), subject matter experts, and me. One of the goals we set for each of our companies was to turn them into CILOs- Continuous Improvement Learning Organizations. 

Over the years, many members sought a better system for holding staff accountable for their jobs and evaluating their success so they could help workers improve in whatever ways the worker and his/her supervisor thought would benefit the employee and the company. That led to the development of the Accountable 4 Success (A4S). The centerpiece is a clear and measurable Job Description with objective metrics which is used to evaluate job performance and culture commitment as needed – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Most important, each area of responsibility includes a section  in which the supervisor and the employee specify an area for improvement, and the ability to measure success.

Carolyn similarly takes individual continuous Improvement to a higher level by linking it to the culture. In Is Your Company’s Culture Relentless about Improvement? She notes that just as companies aren’t satisfied with complacency – they want things done better, cheaper and faster – neither are employees satisfied with the status quo in their job. They want to acquire new skills in order to grow both personally and professionally. She notes that when some employees are improving that sparks ideas for others. The goal isn’t personal achievement or out-performing co-workers; the goal is to elevate human talent so people can contribute more to the company and be rewarded for it.


Does your company already have a CILO culture? If not, what systems are you using to create a relentless culture for continuous improvement? If your system is successful, share it with Presentation Excellence members. If not, feel free to check out Accountable4Success.com and learn more about how you can develop a corporate wide mindset and culture of improvement and growth for all. With all the headwinds to facing companies today, you’ll need peak performance from everyone within a CILO culture to thrive!

A New Approach to Negotiation

As we ease our way into the post-pandemic period, we’re discovering the need to brush-up and/or acquire many different presentation skills in order to succeed in adapting to the changed world.   

When we launched Presentation Excellence over two decades ago, clients asked us to not only help them design and deliver winning investor, sales, marketing, and management presentations, but also with other interactions, including negotiations, job interviews, networking, and connections, and forging strategic partnerships.

For instance, the Great Resignation – a mass exodus of 48+ million employees – has created a need for workers to be more authentic when determining the lifestyle and type of work they want for the next few years before applying for jobs. Similarly, employers need to retool how they present their companies’ culture and career opportunities for both new candidates and existing staff to increase the odds of a fit for retention and future leadership.  Both sides are busy figuring out how to 

Negotiation skills is another area that’s taken on increased importance. Whether you’re moving to a new apartment or house, your business is trying to get out of a lease because workers are now virtual or hybrid; or your company is dealing with slower supply chains, inflationary cost increases, or workers who want virtual or hybrid work, you’re going to be negotiating.

Given the importance of negotiations, and my personal interest in it (e.g., teaching it at the MBA level), we offered individual and group negotiation training to interested clients.  You may already be familiar with classic books such as Getting to Yes by Harvard’s Fisher and Ury, You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen (as well as his many other books!), and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. My personal favorite, which I use in my courses, is Negotiation Genius by Malhotra and Bazerman.

A new approach to negotiation has been offered by Yale’s Barry Nalebuff and I thought I’d bring it to your attention. In Split the Pie: A Radical Way to Negotiate. While most negotiation approaches view the entire deal that’s to be negotiated as the “pie”, Nalebuff focuses the “pie” on what’s really at stake: the “Zone of Possible Agreement” (aka ZOPA). By doing so, he concentrates on the additional value created through an agreement to work together. The book is filled with examples in which his approach makes sense. He notes that he used the approach to negotiate the sale of Honest Tea, a company he co founded, to Coca-Cola. 

One example shows how two people (Alice and Bob) split a 12 piece pizza pie under interesting conditions set by the pizza shop owner. If they don’t reach an agreement, then they will only get half the pie (6 slices) with 4 slices going to Alice and 2 to He shares three alternative approaches that could be used. Power (Alice gets 4 vs.2 of the remaining 6, as she did with the first 6, giving her 8 vs. 4 at the end, Equality (both deserve half of the full pizza, so Bob gets 4 vs. 2 of the remaining 6 slices, so they both get 6 at the end, or his Split the Pie solution, they split the remaining 6, giving Alice a total of 7 vs. 5 for Bob.

The key to all successful preparations, regardless of which approach you use, is to be prepared. Understand what your real interests are, and what those of the other side are: what does each of you want and why. What is your BATNA – Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement?  In a fair, collaborative negotiation, focus on both sides’ interests as present and negotiate to an agreement. Don’t let the positions each side stakes out at the beginning, which often are designed to “anchor” the negotiation become the guiding star.

Good luck in your negotiations. May they all be successful.

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