TOPLEY’S TOP 10 May 02 2024

1. Market Leader Semiconductor Index had -17% Correction

Semis -17% before bounce rolled over at 50-day

2. U.S. Electricity Generation

3. Natural Gas Fund $140 to $14

4. Trade Natural Gas at Your Own Risk

5. NFLX -15% Correction

6. These Corrections Have Broken Excessive Optimism Sentiment Streak

Excessive Optimism Streak Broken by Ed Clissold of Ned Davis Research, 5/2/24

Key Takeaways

  • The NDR Crowd Sentiment Poll exited its excessive optimism zone for the first time in 20 weeks, the third-longest run on record.
  • Long optimism streaks have become more common and in clusters.
  • S&P 500 returns have been mixed after optimism periods have ended.

7. Yield Spreads Not Widening

Jack Ablin Cresset
The yield differential between high-yield bonds and US Treasuries is the narrowest since 2007, according to Credit Suisse data. This suggests that lenders are more comfortable with lower-quality borrowers, believing that higher inflation makes debt repayment easier.

8. Wages vs. Inflation Post Covid

9. 81% of Americans Unfavorable View Toward China

10. Richard Branson’s Best Advice on Hiring the Right People Is a Master Class in Leadership-INC


Forget the impressive resume and the college degrees. Branson looks for something else when hiring his best people.

Richard Branson is famous for his innovative ideas and adventurous spirit. Branson’s signature blond hair and love for risky stunts make him an unconventional leader who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
The founder of the Virgin Group has shared various leadership lessons over the years, including his advice on whom to hire and place in leadership roles. He told Forbes years ago:
I’m quite involved in hiring for leadership and I look to hire my weaknesses. Personality before [resume]. A person who has multiple degrees in your field isn’t always better than someone with broad experience and a wonderful personality. 

What exactly is a ‘wonderful personality’?

That’s the million-dollar question. Some confuse skills for traits or vice versa. While you can argue that traits are inherent qualities that define a person’s personality, behavior, and attitudes, most leadership experts will tell you that they can be learned. 
That said, the most desirable (personality) traits you’ll want to look for in a leader can skillfully be applied on the job to achieve great results. So what are they? What will lead to effectiveness and success on the job these days? 
According to Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill, one of the world’s top experts on leadership, there are eight essential qualities to look for. She tells Harvard Business Review, “Leadership is a process of self-development. No one can teach you how to lead; you need to be willing and able to learn how to lead. Mostly we learn from our experiences and facing adversity.”
Of those eight qualities Hill has studied (which you can review in the HBR article), I’ll cover three here that I think Richard Branson would certainly consider for his own leaders:

1. Authenticity

Merriam-Webster announced late last year that “authentic” was its word of the year for 2023. It’s an overused buzzword that has lost its meaning, sure, but considering the current era of artificial intelligence and disinformation, where the distinction between what’s real and what’s fake has become increasingly ambiguous, it’s not a bad choice.
What does the word mean for leadership? I’ll break it down like this: Being authentic in human interaction means showing up with your best self. Unfortunately, sometimes, we choose to hide our true intent or motives to achieve a specific outcome. We wear a mask and try to impress others by becoming who we are not. 
You might have heard the phrase “fake it till you make it.” However, this approach leads to short-term gains. It can have severe consequences that damage your reputation and relationships.
Perhaps we put up a front and avoid our authenticity because we’re afraid. We might fear failure, feel ashamed of our true identity, or feel that we’ve been playing a role in life.
By being real with yourself, dropping the masks, and walking in the path of authenticity, you’ll soon notice a drastic difference in who you attract and how others treat you, especially employees.
How to be more authentic
The brave thing to do is to first ask for feedback from trusted peers. Hill recommends asking, “Can you give me some sense of what I should keep doing, start doing, and stop doing?” 
My own advice as a leadership coach is to be genuine and open about your emotions. This can be shown through statements like, “I’m not sure what direction we should take as a team in this situation. I need some guidance from you (team members).” This creates an environment of honesty and authenticity, which should be modeled and encouraged by leaders in organizations. Being emotionally honest and authentic sets an example for your team members to do the same, leading to stronger connections and more sincere conversations.

2. Adaptability

Do you adapt well to change and adjust easily to challenging situations? This is an important question you should ask yourself as a leader. Adaptability is a hallmark trait of people with high emotional intelligence. They recognize when to stay the course and when it’s time for a change. In other words, when one strategy is not working, high-EQ leaders evaluate and determine a different course of action. In practical terms, leaders with high EQ know how to handle unhappy customers, disgruntled co-workers, or bosses above their line of sight not pleased with their work.
How to boost your adaptability
It’s important to engage in activities that require you to be adaptable, says Hill. This means taking on tasks that may be outside of your usual area of expertise. For example, Hill suggests that if you work in finance, you could try working with the marketing team to broaden your skills. Basically, challenge yourself in new environments with diverse groups of people.

3. Resilience

Similar to adaptability, resilience means being able to adapt to challenging situations in life. Resilient leaders demonstrate unwavering emotional stability under stress, effortlessly adapt to ambiguity, and handle setbacks with poise. 
We know that setbacks and failures are inevitable, so today’s leaders and innovators rely heavily on resilience to overcome adversity. Mistakes are a natural and important part of the learning, growing, and innovating process and can be flipped into advantages when embraced.
How to become more resilient
Working with a coach. Coached individuals are better equipped to manage and thrive during change and uncertainty because coaching strengthens their resilience. How leaders handle stress also plays a crucial role in determining their overall resilience. To enhance yours, some effective techniques include:
– Setting clear and specific goals
– Sharing worries, anxieties, and concerns with others
– Getting enough rest
– Balancing work and leisure time
– Practicing meditation
Going back to the beginning, it raises questions about which of these “traits” Richard Branson would value the most when identifying top leaders. He is known for hiring leaders whose strengths complement his weaknesses, but I find it hard to believe that any of these traits could be considered a weakness in one of the world’s most innovative and charming billionaires.
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