Skip to main content

Posts

From The Bench To The Boardroom

  In the new book, From the Bench to the Boardroom , Michael MacDonald shares his journey from humble beginnings in the outskirts of Philadelphia, to his college basketball career at Rutgers, to executive positions at Xerox and Medifast. The book (co-authored by Dick Weiss ) chronicles Michael’s story of going from an underdog athlete to a turnaround CEO, and how he took his student-athlete experience and translated those learned lessons to successes in his career. As a basketball player, Michael learned teamwork, courage, adaptability, and much more. As an business executive, he found the perfect environment to apply these skills. Michael’s inspirational and motivational story is filled with lessons for making the most of your opportunities, achieving success, staying relevant, leading with passion, and building your legacy .   Today, Michael shares these additional insights with us: What inspired you and Dick to write the book? Michael : I was inspired to write the book
Recent posts

How To Deliver What Your Organization Needs Most From You

  Accomplished leadership and executive coaches Bill Berman and George Bradt have discovered over the past 30 years that:   People lose their ability to influence others and impact the organizations they work at because they are not focused on the most essential, mission-critical business and cultural priorities of the organization.   From CEOs to first-line managers, Berman and Bradt explain that too often individuals are unintentionally misunderstanding critical aspects of their job. And, to often, these individuals do not understand the organization’s top priorities.   These discoveries encouraged Berman and Bradt to write their new book, Influence and Impact , which provides an easy-to-follow, common-sense approach to building influence at any level of an organization.   More specifically, they explain how to:   Evaluate what values, strengths and capabilities you bring to your role. How you can develop new skills to increase your influence. Determine if you are in th

The Importance Of Employee Engagement

Debbie Laskey is my trusted resource for expert advice on marketing, customer service and leadership. I've had the honor of featuring her on my blog in the past. And, today, Debbie shares her keen insights on  the importance of employee engagement . As background, Debbie has nearly 20 years of marketing experience and an MBA Degree. She developed her marketing expertise while working in the high-tech industry, the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France, the nonprofit arena, and the insurance industry.  How do you define employee engagement? Debbie : Erika Andersen (@erikaandersen on Twitter), author and leadership expert, defined employee engagement in a post for  Forbes , and it has stuck with me:   “If a company’s focus is ‘How can we give our customers what they want,’ then that company needs great employees to come up with the ideas, to make the great products, to interact with the customers. Employees aren’t a begrudged necessity in that kind of company –

The Path To Purposeful Aging

  Young or old, the pandemic likely caused you to think more about your life and purpose in life. Young or old, the new book, Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Old? , is worth your time to read – start to finish.   Richard J. Leider’s and David A. Shapiro’s co-authored book is about not just on getting older but also on how to grow as we do so.   They explain that the path of purposeful aging is to be traveled for three reasons : It is energizing and life-affirming; it provides us with that why to get up in the morning. It makes us more resilient as we face the inevitable adversities of aging. It enables us to grow whole as we grow older. Most importantly, it is about having purpose. “Purpose always involves something that we love to do and enjoy sharing with others, that we feel passionate and care deeply about, and that we feel fits our values and the way we prefer to live and work in the world. Our purpose will always express our true gifts, passions, and values

Seven Steps To Creating A People First Culture For Your Company

If you want to create a   heart culture   and a   people-first culture   at your workplace, read the book,  Advisory Leadership , by  Greg Friedman .   Although the book is authored by an award-winning financial advisor and primarily written for professionals in the financial services industry, this book is a must read for any leader who wants to create a nurturing  heart culture  that hinges on the human-centric values the next generation of employees hold in high regard. And, what exactly is  heart culture ? Friedman says, "At its core, heart culture symbolizes how a company values more than just an employee's output. It's not about the work, but rather, the  people  who do the work." He further explains that leaders can no longer afford to ignore the shift toward a people-first culture and its direct influence on a healthy, effective work environment. Friedman teaches that there are  seven steps , based on human virtues we all strive to achieve, that are key to unl

Five Ways To Set Your Goal

"The more specific you can be about your goal, the greater your level of success will be," explain authors  Tom Pandola  and  James W. Bird , in their book,  Light A Fire Under Your Business . "This is because once we have visualized something that doesn't yet exist, it causes our subconscious mind to make the decisions necessary to make that visualized goal a reality." The authors explain that all goals must have these  five elements : Goals must clarify a specific action or outcome. Goals must be measureable by being able to quantify the benefits of achieving them. Goals should be achievable with the resources available (or at least you should know that the necessary resources are in reserve and can be acquired). Goals must also be realistic for achieving based on your particular situation. Goals must also include the time period in which you want to achieve them. With a date or time period specified for completion, planning can be established in order for eva

Flashback To The Best New Leadership Book For 2020

Flashback to earlier this year... This time each year, I select my pick for  best new leadership and business book for the year . For 2020, my pick is,  Stand Out! Become a Young Professional Who Wins at Work and Life , by  Nathan Magnuson , published in June this year. Written by a humble, wise, insightful millennial, Magnuson provides a timely resource to help young professionals excel in the workplace and beyond.  I selected this book because Magnuson tells it like it is, provides clear, practical, actionable advice and speaks with authenticity and in a conversational style that will resonate with young career professionals. Call it a blueprint, handbook, guide or manual,  Stand Out!  is a must-read for young professionals early in their career, for recent college graduates, and for workplace leaders respectfully guiding and coaching the young professionals within their organizations.  Stand Out!  also makes for a good gift from a parent or life/business coach and is perfect for a m

A Headhunter’s 11 Strategies To Get Hired Now

  Headhunter, Rob Barnett , distills everything he’s learned about getting hired into his new book, Next Job, Best Job .  His timely 11 strategies will take you from any current state of confusion about what’s next to a new destination that will become clear and achievable as you seek your next best job.   Candidly and step-by-step, with a book chapter devoted to each of the 11 strategies, Barnett teaches you how to:   Regain confidence and optimism after a job loss. Create a focused job search game plan. Clearly communicate your career goals (your true North Star). Brand and market yourself with a unique resume and strategic LinkedIn profile. Navigate and effectively incorporate social media during your job search. Master networking. Score a perfect 10 interview in-person and online. Get immediate replies and callbacks. …and then Pay it forward.   Rob Barnett Today, Barnett answered these questions for us:   Why did you write your book,  Next Job, Best Job ?   Barnett : W

How To Be A High Performing Team

According to  Ron Ricci  and  Carl Wiese , authors of the book,  The Collaboration Imperative , high-performing teams have the following characteristics: People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose--they feel free to express feelings and ideas. Everybody is working toward the same goals. Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks. Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected. Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute--even the introverts. Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed.  Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles. The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement--in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor, aft

First-Time Leader

The  First-Time Leader  book by  George Bradt  and  Gillian Davis  begins with a discussion of taking charge of your new team and then tracks through  BRAVE leadership  components from the outside in. BRAVE is a leadership framework that helps first-time leaders successfully build their team by uniting them around a shared purpose. The term reflects an acronym that stands for behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and environment. Carefully considering and analyzing each component will help first-time leaders discover this shared purpose and incorporate it into the company’s larger strategy and their team’s implementation of same. Specifically, the book defines the  five components  as: Behaviors  –  The actions that make real lasting impact on others. Relationships  – The heart of leadership. If you can’t connect, you can’t lead. Attitudes  – Encompassing strategic, posture, and culture choices around how to win. Values  – The bedrock of a high performing team. Get clear on what

Five Cultural Fit Interview Questions

If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the book,  Advisory Leadership : What motivates you? What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone's personality.) What are you telling your family/spouse/partner about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.) What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.) What opportunities do you see for yourself here? 

10 Ways To Improve Your Connection Skills

"Connection is what transforms a dog-eat-dog environment into a sled-dog team that pulls together," says  Michael Lee Stallard , author of the book,  Connection Culture . "Connection builds an emotional bond that promotes trust, cooperation, and esprit de corps among people in the workplace." Based on  shared identity, empathy, and understanding , connection moves primarily self-centered individuals toward group-centered membership. "Without that sense of connection, employees will never each their full potential," states Stallard. The  10 ways you can improve your connection skills  are to: Recognize varying connection needs Be present in conversations Develop the ability to empathize Develop the habit of emphasizing positives Control your tone of voice Negotiate with the mindset to solve a problems rather than to win Provide autonomy in execution Learn to apply the five languages of appreciation  Apologize when you make a mistake Develop social skills an

Today's Business Quote

  "We can't solve problems by doing the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." --  Albert Einstein

How To Hire Top Talent In An Instant

The following statements from author  Scott Wintrip  convinced me to read his book,  High Velocity Hiring: How To Hire Top Talent In An Instant : "Hiring is broken. There's a new way to hire that's faster, efficient, and effective. Instead of waiting for the right  person  to show up, the new way to hire is to wait for the  right job  to show up. Instead of waiting until a seat is empty to search for talent, the new way of hiring starts the talent search before that job opens ." Wintrip explains how companies across the globe have applied the principles of the on-demand economy to hiring. And, perhaps counter-intuitively, he demonstrates how hiring faster creates better employees and improved working relationships. The book takes you through a  five-step process : Create Hire-Right Profiles Improve Candidate Gravity Maximize Hiring Styles Conduct Experiential Interviews Maintain a Talent Inventory Most interesting to me is Wintrip's  Talent Inventory  concept -- c

How To Ask More Effective Questions

"Questions help us break down barriers, discover secrets, solve puzzles, and imagine new ways of doing things, But few of us know  how  to question in a methodical way," explains  Frank Sesno , Emmy-award-winning journalist, and author of the book,  Ask More . Sesno's book teaches readers how the power of questions: Opens doors Uncovers Solutions Sparks Change More specifically, he reveals: The power and payoff of targeted  diagnostic  questions. How  strategic  questions can ease the hardest decisions and support triumphant outcomes. How and when to use  empathy  questions. How asking  creativity  questions help to get people to imagine, set their sights high and soar above failure. And, "when a leader fails to know where he/she is going, refuses to listen to what he/she doesn't want to hear, or relies on faulty information, bad things happen," adds Sesno. Frank Sesno Sesno also shares that some questions work best when they don't end in a question mark

Coach Campbell's Leadership Principles And Winning Approach

Trillion Dollar Coach  is about  Bill Campbell , someone you likely never heard of, who coached several of the biggest names in Silicon Valley during a 16-year tenure, and who’s behind-the-scene wisdom helped created over a trillion dollars in market value. Authored by  Eric Schmidt ,  Jonathan Rosenberg , and  Alan Eagle , they share that from Steve Jobs and Dick Costolo to Larry Page and Sundar Pichai, these big names in Silicon Valley give credit to Campbell for much of their success. Campbell, who died in 2016, started his career as a football coach at Boston College and Columbia then switched to business in 1979. As leaders at Google for more than a decade, Schmidt, Rosenberg, and Eagle had the benefit of experiencing Campbell’s executive coaching firsthand. In addition, for the book, the authors interviewed over 80 people with whom Campbell also worked. Through stories from those interviews, Trillion Dollar Coach features specific strategies and action steps to help leaders imple

Leadership And Life Quotes From The Book, Leading With Grit

In addition to Laurie Sudbrink's,  Leading With GRIT , being a powerfully instructional book for leaders, it's packed with compelling leadership and life quotes. Here are some of my favorites: Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are - Kurt Cobain The respect you show to others (or lack thereof) is an immediate reflection on your self respect - Alex Elle You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view - Harper Lee People only see what they are prepared to see - Ralph Waldo Emerson We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give - Winston Churchill If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you - Fred Devito The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new - Socrates The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply - Anonymous Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simon Weil Good leaders ins