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The Bellwether Effect

Stop Following, Start Inspiring
by Lance Secretan
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In the more than two decades of knowing Lance, he has been my teacher, mentor, and friend. He has helped me transform organizations into great healthcare organizations and great employers. Time and again, he reminded me of the stupid things organizations do and what I should be doing instead – and he did so with love and dignity and grace. Lance is the best the world has to offer, and he has shown me how to be the inspirational leader I have always wanted to be.

Scott Regan, Strategy Consultant and Former Executive Vice President and COO,
Memorial Health, Savannah, GA

Lance Secretan does it again. He takes the world as we know it and turns it upside down to give us the opportunity to actively seek to live in a world we WANT to know. Dr. Secretan leads the field in change leadership by inspiring new ways of organizational living. This book is a life-changing blueprint for how to treat others as well as ourselves. I highly recommend everyone who considers themselves a leader to read and apply the concepts and ideas so beautifully presented. Then, watch how your definition of leadership changes!

Penny Cowden, President, Philanthropy212

Lance has once again shown the world he is at the leading edge of inspiring leaders to show care, compassion and love in the workplace. That is the only way to truly inspire Team Members to do what they do best every day.

Stephen Heise, Director of Human Resources, Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment

Lance Secretan's latest book, The Bellwether Effect, is filled with transformational practices and a must read for leaders and HR professionals. This book is overflowing with popular organizational exercises that must be challenged and replaced by more effective approaches to help employees reach their full potential. Dr. Secretan's candid work pushes the boundaries of our thinking by inspiring us to integrate new approaches that will positively influence culture change. This is an excellent resource for human resource professionals to introduce in their organization with many chapters of notable practices that need updating and rich content on how to move forward. This is another outstanding business book written by Lance Secretan to share and discuss key principles with other leaders.

Deanna Hatmaker, Managing Director, Midwest People Development

Lance Secretan’s latest book has been widely acclaimed-

Read the rave reviews on Amazon

Listen to the Preface of The Bellwether Effect read by Lance Secretan.

The Bellwether Effect

This is not Lance Secretan’s first rodeo.

Working with some of the most inspiring leaders in the world he has pondered why organizations adopt, invest in and continue to support ineffective business practices, often erroneously referred to as “best practices”, even though there is scant evidence that they work, and plenty of evidence that they don’t. Many leaders are so disconnected from the operating and administrative practices of their organizations that they are relying on what they are told by others for their sense of the organization’s pulse. This creates an echo chamber, an “emperor’s new clothes” syndrome, and what Secretan refers to as the accompanying “dissonance”—a perception at the top that all is well, while the experience in the rest of the organization is that it isn’t.

In working closely with leaders Dr. Secretan has observed that before we can create the kind of workplaces that inspire everyone, we must first remove the business processes that are deeply uninspiring for them. The two are closely related—we just need to introduce them in the right order—remove antiquated and demoralizing business processes that are a barrier to inspiration first, so that we can then concentrate on building great organizations that inspire. Secretan writes that there are a number of embedded, old-fashioned, ineffective business practices and beliefs, which, collectively, present a formidable barrier to creating high-performance organizations. Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is also the noble art of removing things that add no value. Often, it is necessary to remove things in order to achieve things. Lance Secretan writes that we need to take away some redundant and hindering business practices so that we can add more modern approaches that inspire. Doing so could change everything.

In The Bellwether Effect, Dr. Secretan first proposes a theory that explains how and why leaders are attracted to, and seduced by, trendy ideas, and the process by which these ideas then become mainstream. He calls the originators of these trends, “bellwethers”, hence the book’s title. He then goes on to describe eight examples of counterproductive business practices, among them, fear-based management, motivation, separateness and silos, employee engagement surveys, performance appraisals, salary grades and pay scales, mission, vision, and values statements, and the use of war as a metaphor for business. In each case, Dr. Secretan proposes a novel and inspiring alternative that could lead to transformation and an inspiring culture.

Lance Secretan claims that we have lost our passion for corporate life—during his presentations to audiences, he often asks them this question: “What percentage of the population do you think would leave corporate life and pursue different interests if they had a completely free hand?” Like an auction, he starts at 50% and the audience will typically raise the offer until they settle at an estimate of something close to 80%. Why is this a tragedy? Because apart from the human anguish and suffering it causes, we live in a capitalist society, one of whose main engines (besides the church and government) is commerce, and if we botch this critical source of livelihood and exchange, we risk losing everything. So this is not an inconsequential issue—and it is time to reset our beliefs about what really matters in corporate life.