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Steven Feinberg's
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“I count myself hard to impress. But I was highly impressed after reading several sections of The Advantage-Makers. The material offers a wealth of excellent information and advice, allowing readers to move from research-based evidence to decidedly practical action steps.”
ROBERT CIALDINI, author of Influence: Science and Practice

 

 

 

 

Methodology: The Advantage Maker Strategy

Unlike other leadership, team, and organizational development firms, we're unique because we use the Advantage-Maker Strategy approach. We help companies find unexpected solutions that lead to a profitable course of action. You'll find the approach refreshingly practical and surprisingly insightful into the behavioral science that leads to finding hidden assets that enable you to get the most of everything you are doing.

The Advantage-Maker Strategy is designed to stack the deck in your favor. Disadvantages are for your competitors: not for you. In fact, Advantage-Making is central to all methods. All recommendations are constructed to offer you profitable courses of action.

"The biggest mistake I made was not using your services sooner!"
Chuck Fox, CEO Chameleon Systems

The Advantage-Maker Strategy uses the Feinberg Vantage Points of Strategic Influence to move you from where you are to where you want to be, through a profitable, practical course of action. I combine these "vantage points" with Judgments to Increase Your Leadership Efficacy and Gain Leverage to create an Advantage Maker Strategy which works for you.

I'm the first management consultant to combine leadership efficacy with the behavioral sciences. These are not random claims, but the hard science and case examples of real world leadership shifts that lead to organizational, strategic and business results. Few, if any, have engaged in this rare, exclusive integration of unique behavioral science knowledge with methodologies from the world's foremost authorities on leadership, influence, change, collaboration, and organizational performance. I have translated this body of work, as well as added some original insights, into immediately usable tools that enable pivotal changes, performance improvement and profitable application.

Feinberg Vantage Points of Strategic Influence

1. There is a Commanding Vantage Point
2. Adaptability and Anomaly are the Only Rapid Ways to Find Hidden Opportunities
3. Non-Productive Persistence, Not Resistance, Can Keep You from Succeeding
4. Move or Die
5. Influence: the Multiplier Effect

1. There is a Commanding Vantage Point
Most people get caught up on who is right. It's not who--but what is right. That is determined by positioning your thinking at an effective Vantage Point, like being on a strategic hill. It provides you the most strategic view of where you want to go and enables you to orient to reality: the good, the bad and the ugly. A commanding Vantage Point is a position, condition, situation or opportunity that is likely to provide superiority or an advantage, especially a comprehensive view or commanding perspective. In contrast, a personal opinion or subjective impression is a perception that may or may not actually reflect reality. When things go wrong you can often trace it back to a mistake in the Vantage Point. This is true about execution issues as well. In the beginning was the Vantage Point. Followers expect leaders to continuously create advantages. Without a Vantage Point, you will not create the advantage required to win.

2. Adaptability and Anomaly are the Only Rapid Ways to Find Hidden Opportunities
Resistance is futile, adapt or die. The marketplace is unforgiving to those who will not adapt, and adapt rapidly. A one-dimensional approach will leave you vulnerable. Adaptive executives and adaptive organizations succeed where others fail. The evidence is non-arguable. Executive agility to grasp both the existing reality and exceptions to the rule is critical. This capacity will continue to open doors of opportunity.

Pay attention to the exceptions, the anomalies, in your thinking. How else will you see what hasn't already been seen? Most people rule out these thoughts and banish them from their attention. Instead, be curious about them and where they might lead and what it could be. In the Law of Requisite Variety (Ashby) states, "The internal diversity of any self regulating system must match the variety and complexity of its environment if it is to deal effectively with the challenges posed by its environment." Stated more simply, adapt to the outside, flexibility succeeds. In any situation, the person, team or organization with the most requisite variety wins!

3. Non-Productive Persistence, Not Resistance, Can Keep You From Succeeding
Insanity is sometimes referred to as continuing to do what you've always done and expecting a different result. Often, and unwittingly, your attempted solutions are actually acts of persistence which don't change the outcome. If what you are doing is not working, do something different.
The key is doing something really different that is not actually more of the same. Moving the chairs around on the Titanic is not a survival strategy. Acquiring productive collaboration and controversy skills moves issues forward. Showing a fly how to get out of the bottle requires that the fly stop banging its head again and again against the side of the bottle in its futile attempts to free itself. It can be free but it has to do something different! We'll show you how.

4. Move or Die
Leaders are movers and shakers. Movement forward from where you are to where you want to be is the essence of creation and results. However, structuring the movement to advance the organization is the invisible leverage that leaders should employ to succeed and keep on succeeding.
Tensions arise every day and how you manage the tensions, whether you go forward, stay the same, or actually fall behind distinguishes the winners from the losers. Just as a riverbed determines a river's course of action, your business has an underlying structure that determines your organization's course of action. A profitable course of action can be designed into the organization's structure. The underlying, invisible structure is often significantly underestimated as the cause of success or failure. We can tell you what the underlying structure is, and how to make it work for you rather than against you.

5. Influence: the Multiplier Effect

The multiplier effect illustrates how to get the most out of all the resources. If leaders aren't influencing, they aren't doing a significant part of their job. Persuasion to move the organization, to change direction, to get buy in, to get sales, to position for success ethically and legally is a high art. Many managers talk about influence, but they don't know that there is a science of influence that is repeatable and has achieved in some cases up to 650% more output when employed compared to when the influence strategies are not used. Small influential moves can yield big leverage gains.

Influence is first determined by judgment, the decisions you make. For example, is it better to tell the person you want to influence (boss, direct reports, subordinates, prospect) what they stand to gain or lose? There is an unequivocal scientifically valid answer. Before I inform my clients of the answer, they often miss significant opportunities, both career-wise and business-wise.

Judgments to Increase Your Leadership Efficacy and
Gain Leverage


1. Generative vs. Reactive Orientation
2. Adaptive Strategies
3. Influence & Judgment
4. Collaboration and Constructive Controversy
5. Strategic Maneuverability


1. Generative vs. Reactive Orientation
Leaders, teams and organizations that are generative, or proactive, are fundamentally different performers than those managers and organizations that are reactive. Employing these efficacy shifts is the difference between leaders that create, align and win; and managers that are 'also rans.' Surprisingly, there are times when our orientation is generative and focused on outcomes while other times we default to reactive patterns. Knowing how to move from reactive to generative for leaders, their teams and organizations results in big payoffs.

2. Adaptive Strategies
Resistance is a losing strategy; adapt or die. Leaders must adapt and help others adapt. This material was introduced at Harvard Business School. Employing these efficacy shifts is the difference between those managers who are capable of working on the people issues and those who mistake people issues for tasks issues. Making this error results in a loss of resources, involvement and contribution of employees at key times. It is an undeniable fact that the best executives want to know more about producing higher levels of leverage. We develop and implement rapid adaptation for leaders, their teams and organizations.

3. Influence & Judgment
You are always being evaluated in terms of the soundness of your judgment. Sound judgment is the basis of leadership credibility. To be able to influence, you need to know the decision-triggers and judgments people make. Persuading people to go in the right direction is crucial for business success.

This approach is based upon the number-one researcher on the science and practice of influence with over 500,000 books sold, the most-cited living social psychologist, Robert Cialdini. Arming yourself with the influence strategies is the difference between managers that are able to detect influence opportunities and take advantage of them vs. those that bungle away opportunities--opportunities they don't even know exist right in front of them--in terms of marketing, sales, and management.

4. Collaboration and Constructive Controversy
Resolving controversy and conflict is one of the fundamental talents that followers look for in their leaders. Harvard Business School faculty helped develop some of these key collaboration skills. Acquiring this performance-enhancing capability is the difference between managers who resolve substantial issues effectively and those unfortunate managers that repeat conflicts without any satisfactory resolution.

5. Strategic Maneuverability
Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is a hallmark of resilient leaders and their organizations. This vantage point, was developed at MRI in Palo Alto, world-renowned change agents on problem formation and problem resolution. During critical times, having the strategic maneuverability framework is the difference between managers who make the right efforts and right strategies vs. managers whose efforts inadvertently backfire, are counterproductive, and maintain the problems. Strategic maneuverability is an essential component of the rapid adaptation program for business and professional objectives.

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