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A Freethinking Leader's Guide To The Real World

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I'm a big fan of  Marcus Buckingham 's work, teachings and books, so I was eager to read his book, co-authored by  Ashley Goodall . Titled,  Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World , the book debunks what we've come to believe as basic truths in the workplace. What at first may seem provocative and counter-intuitive, you'll learn why the nine lies "cause dysfunction and frustration, ultimately resulting in workplaces that are a pale shadow of what they could be," explain the authors. Keep an open-mind as Buckingham and Goodall take you through these nine lies (each a chapter in the book) with engaging stories and incisive analysis as they reveal the essential truths behind these lies: People care which company they work for The best plan wins The best companies cascade goals The best people are well-rounded People need feedback People can reliably rate other people People have potential Work-life balance matters most Leadershi

Admit Your Mistakes

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We all make mistakes. Yes, even leaders make mistakes. When you do, admit to them and apologize for the negative consequences they have caused your team members, vendors, or customers. Your ability to admit to a mistake will gain you the respect of your employees.

Seven Ways To Delight Your Customers

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If you want to delight your customers, then the book by Steve Curtin ,  Delight Your Customers -- 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary , is a must-read for you and your employees. The book explains the  seven ways  for you and your employees to demonstrate  exceptional customer service : Express genuine interest Offer sincere and specific compliments Share unique knowledge Convey authentic enthusiasm Use appropriate humor Provide pleasant surprises Deliver service heroics "Exceptional customer service typically costs no more to deliver than poor customer service," explains Curtin. For example: How much does it cost to express genuine interest in customers or to anticipate their needs? Does it cost more to display a sense of urgency or to pay attention to detail? Do you pay your employees more to smile, to make eye contact, or to add energy to their voices? Curtin reminds readers that: Customers don't establish relationships with busi

How To Lead Using The 10 Essential Elements Of Dignity

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In their book,  Millennials Who Manage , authors  Chip Espinoza  and  Joel Schwarzbart , quote Donna Hicks's explanation about how  dignity is different from respect . Dignity is different from respect in that it is not based on how people perform, what they can do for us, or their likability. Dignity is a feeling of inherent value and worth. Therefore, Espinoza and Schwarzbart recommend that leaders treat those they are leading with dignity and follow Hick's  10 Essential Elements of Dignity : Acceptance of Identity  - Approach people as being neither inferior nor superior to you. Assume that others have integrity. Inclusion  - Make others feel that they belong, whatever the relationship. Safety  - Put people at ease at two levels: physically, so they feel safe from bodily harm, and psychologically, so they feel safe from being humiliated. Acknowledgment  - Give people your full attention by listening, hearing, validating, and responding to their concerns, feelings, and experi

Use Failure As A Way To Success

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“On the path to success, we trip and lose our footing from time to time. But stumbling and even falling is the best way to learn from mistakes and is critical to achieving goals,” says Bill Wooditch , author of the book,  Fail More: Embrace, Learn, And, Adapt to Failure As A Way To Success . “We all fail. It’s a part of business, and it’s a part of life,” explains Wooditch. “It’s how you deal with setbacks is what makes the difference.” The book will teach you how to: Conquer the negative emotions that naturally arise after making mistakes. Clearly articulate lessons learned. Put these lessons to use immediately.  Plus, you’ll learn how to: Navigate all forms of rejection and failure in pragmatic ways. Rationally examine your personal fears and gain mastery over them. Shed the discomfort of uncertainty, which is the only way to open your mind to all possibilities.  Awhile back, Wooditch answered these questions for me about failing, succeeding and his book: Question :  We are often tau

How To Reclaim Your Time

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  “Four out of five adults report feeling that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it,” reports Ashley Whillans , author of the new book, Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life . “These time-poor people experience less joy each day. They laugh less. They are less healthy and less productive.” And, in one study, time stress produced a stronger negative effect on happiness than unemployment.   Drawing on the latest science, Whillans teaches us how to escape the time traps that make us feel this way and keep us from living our best lives.   She explains that the six most common time traps are: Constant connection to technology. Obsession with work and making money. Limited value placed on time. Busyness as a status symbol. Aversion to idleness. The Yes…and then regret it effect.   Her playbook shows you how to :   take back the time you lose to mindless tasks and unfulfilling chores. improve your "time affluence.” free up seco

The CEO Test

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  Today brings a must-read book for leaders at all levels. The book is, The CEO Test , written by Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer . You’ll learn what truly matters to be a successful leader and you’ll discover a clear roadmap for succeeding in these seven critical challenges – the CEO test :   Can you develop a simple plan for your strategy? Can you make the culture real—and matter? Can you build teams that are true teams? Can you lead transformation? Can you really listen? Can you handle a crisis? Can you master the inner game of leadership?   “Passing the CEO test does not mean scoring a perfect ten out of then on each of the challenges. That would be unrealistic, as we all have our strengths and weaknesses. But we do believe that to succeed in a leadership role, you have to achieve a certain threshold level of proficiency in each of the skills,” explain the authors.   Throughout this no-nonsense insider’s guide to navigating leadership’s toughest challenges, you’ll discover crit

Productive People Do This

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  According to  entrepreneur and author   Margaret Hefferman , as reported a few years ago in  Inc.  magazine, the  secrets of the most productive people are that they do these three things : They  take breaks . Breaks refresh the mind and allow you to see new situations.  They  are   great collaborators .  They  have lives outside work . In fact, the most successful have rich private lives that include interests that hone different skills and that let them think in different ways.

10 Essential Elements Of A Business Plan

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  Tasked with writing a  business plan ?  Keep in mind that every business plan should contain at least these  10 elements/parts :  Executive Summary The Business – description of the business being proposed Market Demand Competition Strategy Resources Financials and Forecasts Risk, Opportunity, and Sensitivity Conclusion Appendices  For more information about writing an effective business plan, I recommend the book,  The Standout Business Plan . 

How To Provide Feedback To An Employee

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Eric Harvey  and  Al Lucia  wrote a booklet called,  144 Ways To Walk The Talk . They provide the following great advice about giving feedback: 1. Make it  timely  -- give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance. 2. Make it  individualized  -- tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver. 3. Make it  productive  -- focus your feedback on the performance and not the  performer . 4.  Make  is  specific  -- pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

How To Sell With A Story

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Today, we look back to 2016 : 2016 brought the much anticipated release of  Paul Smith 's book,  Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale . I'm a big fan of Paul's earlier best-sellers, including  Lead with a Story  and  Parenting with a Story . And, the newest installment in the series is equally good, informative, practical and actionable. If you have not read it, please do. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with procurement managers, Paul  teaches you how to : Select the right story Craft a compelling and memorable narrative Incorporate challenge, conflict, and resolution Use stories to introduce yourself, build rapport, address objections, add value, bring data to life,  and create a sense of urgency Storytelling definitely works in sales, explains Paul, "because a great story changes everything. It causes buyers to put down their defenses. It helps them relax. It engages their minds and their hearts by appealing to both their in

How To Find And Work With A Mentor

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Unleashing Your Inner Leader , by Vickie Condolff Bevenour , provides these six easy steps to help you find and work with a mentor:  Step 1  –  Find  the person in your company or industry that you most respect. Step 2  –  Ask  her or him to be your mentor. Step 3  –  Agree  with this person on the time commitment for mentoring you (e.g., 30- to 60-minute meeting or phone/Zoom-style call every month). Step 4  –  Explain  to this person the goal of the mentoring relationship (e.g. “My strength is _____and I want to find more opportunities to use it in my daily work.”). Step 5  –  Describe  the top three reasons why you chose this person. Step 6  –  Explore together  what success would look like and mean to you in the next six months.  Bevenour shares that, “Imagine that if you follow this plan, in five years you will have 10 people who know you and will help support you in your career. This is truly career gold.”  Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me a copy of the book.  

How To Create A Welcoming And Diverse Work Environment

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Every business leader should read the new book, The Business of We , by Laura Kriska . However, read it only once you’ve committed yourself to creating a welcoming and productive work environment for all.  This book couldn’t have come at a more important time because as Kriska shares, “a new approach to diversity, cultural difference, and inclusion is urgently needed – a time for business leaders to create true synergy among the diverse and often fiercely divided members of their workforce.”  With 30 years of experience bridging gags in diverse workplaces, and as a sought-out lecturer and a TEDx speaker, Kriska provides expert insights and actionable strategies in her book to help you:  Effectively repair division. Recognize warning signs. Proactively create opportunities.   And, more specifically and most importantly, how to create WE-builders to help close any gap between people who are separated by ethnicity, language, race, religion, or any factor that divides .  Kris

Quantum Marketing

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  “Marketing today is at the brink of unprecedented disruption”, explains, Raja Rajamannar , author of the new book, Quantum Marketing . “An explosion of game-changing new technologies, data and cultural shifts will render traditional marketing frameworks and strategies ineffective, and turn the function upside down.”  Rajamannar’s book is all about the mastering the new marketing mindset for tomorrow’s consumers. He takes you beyond product marketing, emotional marketing, digital marketing and mobile and social marketing, into what he terms quantum marketing .  You’ll learn how to : Replace advertising with better ways to efficiently engage consumers at scale. Hyper-personalize marketing with AI. Go virtual and immersive with everything from VR-AR product demos to gamification. Reach all five human senses, with Multi-Sensory Marketing and Sonic Branding. Invest in partnerships to capitalize on new opportunities beyond their immediate reach. Quantify impact with data, but never a

Family Business Handbook

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  January brought the new Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook , a comprehensive guide for how to build and sustain a successful enduring enterprise.  If you are in a family business, serve as a silent partner or board member, or are contemplating becoming part of a family business, this handbook is essential reading. And, even if you aren’t working in a family business, you’ll find the book enlightening because many best practices and learnings are transferrable to a non-family business.  Family businesses represent an estimated 85% of the world’s companies, and in the US, 5.5 million of these businesses employ 62% of the workforce. Understanding how these businesses work and how they contribute to the economy is critical for post-pandemic recovery. Therefore, that’s another reason to read the book.  Book authors Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer take readers deep behind the scenes to share: The secrets to longevity for family-owned businesses. How to decode the fami