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Honor MLK Day By Volunteering

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As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18, volunteer or make the decision to volunteer in your community. King routinely asked “What are you doing for others,” and January 18th is the ideal day to ask yourself that question. The federal holiday was first observed 35 years ago and in 1994 Congress designated it as a National Day of Service, inspired by King’s words, “everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” You can turn to  Volunteer Match  to find volunteer opportunities right in your neighborhood or nearby surrounding area. Visit the web site, type in your zip code, and you will be presented with a variety of organizations seeking volunteers. And, if you are a leader in the workplace, encourage your team members to volunteer in the community as individuals. Or, organize team volunteer afternoons or evenings for your employees.

5 Leadership And Business Books To Read This Winter

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  Stumped for what leadership and business books to add to your winter reading list?  Here are  five must-read books for leaders  well worth adding to your list: Lead With A Story  -- A Guide To Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire . Author Paul Smith explains why storytelling has emerged as a vital skill for every leader and manager. In the book, you'll find over 100 ready-made stories you can use as templates to tell your stories. Stories are so powerful because they are simple, timeless, demographic-proof, contagious, easy to remember and inspiring. Most important, they put the listener in a mental learning mode. What's The Future Of Business? (WTF?)  -- Changing The Way Businesses Create Experiences . This book, by Brian Solis, details the incredible transformation happening in business today, driven by new social and mobile technologies. And, he explains how experience design helps your business and how you can harness its power for business g

High-Performing Teams Have These 10 Characteristics

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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

Use These 13 Energizing Verbs More Often At Work

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Here is some great advice from the book,  Anticipate, the Art of Leading by Looking Ahead ,  by  Rob-Jan De Jong . Use these 13 energizing verbs more often when communicating: Discover  (instead of See) Explore  (instead of Discuss) Radiate  (instead of Display) Uncover  (instead of Show) Transform  (instead of Change) Engage  (instead of Involve) Mobilize  (instead of Gather) Stretch  (instead of Develop) Boost  (instead of Increase) Propel  (instead of Move) Deliver  (instead of Give) Grasp  (instead of Understand) Connect  (instead of Join)

Experts Offer Advice For How To Lead During 2021

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  Today, the following expert business and leadership book authors shared their advice for how to effectively lead during 2021 . My question to them was:   What is your advice for leaders as we enter what is surely to be a challenging 2021 for most businesses? Fred Dust -- Author of   Making Conversation: Seven Elements of Meaningful Communication “There’s been a surprisingly joyful outcome of 2020—quite simply, leaders are seeing those they lead as humans. They’ve seen them wrestling with children, in trying to manage personal and professional challenges at home, more Zoom gaffes than we can count, etc., which has given employers a deeply humanistic view of those they manage.  “The converse is also true. Mangers, leaders, and CEOs are grappling with the same—noisy toddlers, spouses who are also navigating unprecedented schedules, faulty technology, etc. This recognition of humanity is significant—I myself paused a team meeting yesterday when I noticed one of my coll

Leadership During COVID-19

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The following   10 leadership and business book authors  recently  answered this question for me: Question: While we surely will find ourselves challenged by COVID-19 in the foreseeable future, what is the most important thing a leader can do as they lead their business/organization? “Leaders have had some great opportunities as a result of COVID-19. Topping the list: hire the best people, not just the best people geographically convenient. The world just gave permission to have people working remotely. Take advantage. As a bonus tip, it is more important than ever to remember that your team is made of humans and this is an extremely difficult time for humans. Build in extra supports for your team.” --  Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg, co-authors of,  Game Changer . “First, don’t allow yourself to become so overwhelmed and distracted by the uncertainties—what you don’t know—that you lose sight of what you do know, and what you can control. Second, you must establish a protocol for

How To Be A Healthy Leader

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In Bob Rosen ’s book,  Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted In An Uncertain World , he explains that there are six dimensions of being a healthy leader: Physical health : how you live. How you manage your mind and body – managing your energy and living a peak performance lifestyle. Emotional health : how you feel. This is about being self-aware and having positive emotions and the ability to be resilient, catching yourself when you have a counterproductive thought. This also includes seeking feedback from others about how you act and trying to be more reflective. Intellectual health : how you think. This is about asking questions, being deeply curious and seeing changes as an opportunity to grow, learn and reassess the way you see and talk about the world. Social health : how you interact. This is about authenticity. How do you build relationships? Are you being honest about yourself? Are you comfortable being vulnerable? Do you consider other people’s viewpoints? Vocational health : how

New Year's Resolutions For Leaders And Managers

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  With 2021 fast approaching, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for next year. To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders? Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and January 1, think about which couple you want to work on during 2021. Don't micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Be courageous, quick and fair Talk more about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to grow Summarize group consensus after each decision point duri

7 Ways To Stay Motivated

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To learn how to stay motivated, read  High-Profit Prospecting , by  Mark Hunter . It's a powerful read that includes counter intuitive advice and cutting-edge best practices for sales prospecting in today's business world. Today, I share one of my favorite sections of the book where Hunter describes his  seven things motivated people do to stay motivated : Motivated people  ignore voices in their lives . These might be people in the office and friends who have bad attitudes. They're out there, and if you're not careful, they'll control you, too. Motivated people  associate with highly motivated people . Just as there are negative people in the world, there are also positive people. Your job is to make sure you spend as much time with the positive people as possible.  Motivated people simply  look for the positive in things . Positive people count it an honor to live each day, learn from others, and impact positively those they meet. Positive people take great satisf

Becoming The Best

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  My favorite takeaways from the book,  Becoming The Best , by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr. , are:  Your best self is not about perfection (an impossible and, therefore, futile goal). It is about becoming consistently disciplined and focused, making sure you challenge yourself to truly be your best self—instead of becoming complacent, convinced that you have arrived. No matter how good you are, you can always be better. Being your best self is a lifelong commitment.  True self-confidence and genuine humility are the distinguishing characteristics that will showcase your values and highlight your authenticity.  A best team is formed when people are self-reflective, understand themselves, and come together with a sense of common purpose. It takes each person operating as her or his best self for the group to function extremely well together. As their best selves, team members are self-reflective, balanced, have self-confidence, and are genuinely humble. 

Why Learning Beats Knowing

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Liz Wiseman 's book,  Rookie Smarts , is all about living and working perpetually on a learning curve. She contends that we do our best work when we are new to something.  And, she teaches us how to reclaim and cultivate the curious, flexible and youthful mindset called "rookie smarts." "Something magical happens when a skilled veteran successfully re-learns her/his rookie smarts and is still able to retain her/his veteran acumen," explains Wiseman. Wondering if you are ready for a new challenge?  Take a look at this list from Wiseman of the  10 signs that indicate you are ready for a new challenge : Things are running smoothly. You are consistently getting positive feedback. Your brain doesn't have to work hard to be successful. You don't prepare for meetings because you already know the answers. You've stopped learning something new every day. You are busy but bored. You're taking longer showers in the morning and you take your time getting to

Five Cultural Fit Interview Questions

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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 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? 

Dig Deep Within Your Organization For New Ideas

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The next time you are looking for ideas for how to grow revenue, streamline processes and procedures and/or reduce expenses,  dig deep  within  your organization . Don't ask only your direct reports for their suggestions. Instead,  ask everyone at all levels . Some of the best ideas will come from your lower and mid-level employees who are interacting with your vendors, customers and co-workers every day in the very areas that, if improved, could make the most dramatic impact. Be sure to  acknowledge receipt of each idea . Keep everyone informed of the types of ideas you've received . Perhaps update them on a monthly basis. When you implement a suggestion,  recognize and reward the submitter , including possibly financially. Feel free to accept ideas anonymously. But, if employees know you are sincere about wanting their input, and witness you acting upon suggestions, most of your team members will be proud to tie their names to their ideas. Finally, if there are some of the sa

How To Reach Your Goals

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Social psychologist,  Heidi Grant Halvorson , wrote  Succeed   to help you understand how goals work, what tends to go wrong, and what you can do to reach your goals or to help others reach theirs. Because many of us struggle each year to fulfill our New Year's Resolutions (goals), Halvorson's book, packed with the findings from her own research, along with the most useful tips from academic journals and handbooks, is a worthwhile read. In her 260-page book, Halvorson covers : •  How to set a goal that you will pursue even in the face of adversity. •  How to avoid the kind of positive thinking that makes people fail. •  How to create an environment that will help you win. "Setting goals is important," said Halvorson,  "But that's not the whole story. Because how you set your goals--the way you think about whatever it is you want to do, and how you will get there--is every bit as important." Halvorson recommends : •  Making your goal as specific as possib

Best New Leadership And Business Book Of 2020

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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 millennial’s book club.  Nathan Magnu