Archive for the ‘executive skills and abilities’ Category

The Intangibles

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Michael Crandal, CNG, Inspiring exemplary management teams with confident leadership. AUTHOR: Life’s 10-Point Must System.

“Whatcha See is Whatcha Get” is a great song from the early 1970’s by The Dramatics. But, all great business leaders know that things run much deeper than what is merely seen at the surface level.

There are deeply rooted “invisible to the naked eye” intangibles that reflect professional consistency and personal character that maintain greatness. Others may have careers that languish in the minor leagues and never really understand why. Not really.

The resumes of achievers in executive leadership and professional sports both document their outward “stats.” But, if we were able to personally know them — we would slowly uncover a common thread of intangibles that ultimately separate those who make it to the “bigs” and thrive ─ and others who pine away as career minor leaguers.

1.     MUST get the most out of ability:  (Their own ability AND that of the entire team.)

It is a big mistake to evaluate executives (or athletes) only by the apparent skill level portrayed on paper. All the ability in the world will never get any lasting traction if lacking the intangibles.

  • Common sense,
  • emotional control,
  • focus,
  • a driving will to never compromise best efforts, and
  • some skill — are what lead to positive results.

It’s the things you can’t see that get you to that next level. Let’s take a look at some of the intangibles that go beyond the stats.

2.    MUST have positive influence on teammates:

Is it just me, or have you also ever noticed that things do not always go according to plan?

Original plans, like the sails of a great ship, may need from time to time to be adjusted slightly to reflect unforeseeable new prevailing winds. Should the ship start drifting slightly off course, it is easy for some to become hesitant in making difficult, yet appropriate, decisions that could avoid wandering unnecessarily into the vortex of a storm.

These isolated times of necessary course corrections are viewed as opportunities for those who are prepared to step up their performance another notch.

Successful leaders (or an entire company for that matter) are NOT those who have no problems on their plate or challenges of navigating through changing times. They ARE those who consistently handle them well and rally the entire team to believe they can collectively prevail.

3.      MUST have a “nose” for the ball:

If a trend is not going in the favor of the team — look for those who are still not afraid to handle the ball, and you will be looking at a professional who possesses a mandatory intangible.

Keep in mind that generals do not earn their stars in tranquil times of peace. It is in times of duress that they distinguish themselves.

4.      MUST routinely make big plays:

Irrespective of how much time and skill was devoted to drawing up game plans, organizational charts, and standard operating procedures — victory is determined by those who consistently make big plays. They are the ones who actually want the ball when the game is on the line and who then calmly produce in the clutch.

“BIG PLAYS” should be routine occurrences that the entire team prides itself in making day after day. The result is an undeniable, palpable, consistent “winning streak” of great consumer experiences.


  • A horse can win a race by “a nose”.
  • A boxer can win a fight with just one punch.
  • The difference between a major league baseball player and a career minor leaguer is only about 3 hits a week.
  • A football game can be won when the wide receiver beats his man by just half a step — just one time.

The difference between oftentimes good and consistently great has little to do with potential. It has everything to do with the degree of focus given to the little intangibles that loom so big in overall performance.

A little difference is all the difference when it comes to making big plays.

It is the little things that matter in striving to continually add polish to ultimately great consumer experiences, like particles of sand — compressed into a massive rock.

5.      MUST have their own style while still being a great teammate:

While individual styles may be variable, creating an atmosphere that constantly moves the entire team in a positive direction must be an intangible fixed asset that proves contagious.

Some bring to the team energy and enthusiasm. Some a calming oftentimes statesmanlike presence. Some carry themselves in a dynamic way that others want to emulate.

Mission Statements and Core Values may look good when printed in the annual report. But — are D.O.A. if not brought to life by leadership that confidently stirs the pot in a positive way toward that unique team chemistry that maintains pride of being a part of it all.

TEAM CHEMISTRY IS AS IMPORTANT AS IT IS HARD TO DEFINE. Every successful “major league” endeavor has a unique winning culture that is generated by the team chemistry of those entrusted to successfully lead and operate it.

6.      MUST anticipate:

One definition of a genius is: “Someone who sees a target that no one else sees yet — and hits it!”

An essential intangible is having the sense of being able to anticipate what just might happen before anyone else does. Anticipate the needs of consumers. Anticipate the desires of all those around you. Anticipate potential economic challenges and how to best respond to them.

Achievers are always looking down field and anticipating what needs to be done to achieve success and they are prepared to offer support and insight in order to get the needed policies in place. Then, they are prepared to lead the entire team within those meaningful policies towards making great things happen every day in the field — not just once on the drawing board during an annual strategic planning meeting.

Leadership that is able to anticipate equates to being able to solve potential problems before they ever have a chance to happen and to create ― in advance ― the best case scenarios for successfully navigating economic challenges and changing times.

Change is inevitable. Those who are successful initiate positive change, rather than reacting negatively to it.

7.      MUST be coachable:

Yes, there is some merit in “doing your own thing.” But if carried to an extreme, this single trait can score a knockout punch of any hope for hall of fame status.

When errors are pointed out and suggested corrective action ignored, some otherwise very noted executives can find themselves on the end of the bench very quickly.

Nothing will sit you down quicker than a reputation as being uncoachable.

There is a wealth of business experience and insight to be gained from board members, effective peers, proven department heads, and fellow teammates who can all potentially serve as great mentors. Listen up! Be wise and seek their input.

There are 2 kinds of people who are going nowhere:

  • Someone who will not do what they are told. And,
  • Someone who will do nothing but.

We all need mentors. There is no such thing as a “self-made” leader ─ regardless of whatever title may be on their office door or how many gatekeepers they have! We all need mentors!

No one will work alongside a “know it all” for very long. Why? Because this is a person who has stopped learning. After all ― they already know it all. Don’t they?

Those not willing to be coached today, by default, are unwilling to prepare for the changes that tomorrow will surely bring.

So, statistically speaking — find a comfortable chair in the clubhouse and ask yourself how the stats are looking these days? Do you like what you see?

Taking a closer look at the intangibles can manifest visible results — favorable ones.


Oh, and one more thing, just in case you’re wondering. The letters after our author’s name Michael Crandal, CNG — stand for: Certified Nice Guy. Self-certified, by the way. But, a nice guy nonetheless. Mr. Crandal creates leadership and business ethics presentations. He and his wife, Kim, reside in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, GA.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

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