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Showing posts from April, 2010

Create Core Values

Sometimes when you are leading an organization or business and struggling to articulate your core values, it helps to see how others have stated theirs.

In past postings I've shared Marriott's core values.  Below are the 10 core values of Zappos.com, a company founded in 1999 with the goal of becoming the premiere destination for online shoes.  Now, it is much more than just an online shoe store, and it's known for its unwavering focus on superior customer service.

Deliver WOW through serviceEmbrace and drive changeCreate fun and a little weirdnessBe adventurous, creative and open-mindedPursue growth and learningBuild open and honest relationships with communicationBuild a positive team and family spiritDo more with lessBe passionate and determinedBe humbleI like these because they are stated with no fancy words or stuffy jargon.  They clearly guide employees.  They quickly paint a picture of what the company is all about and they, collectively, describe the company's p…

Engage Your Employees...Especially Now

I'm a big fan of the books authored by Leigh Branham.  He recently shared his findings from his latest book, "Re-Engage: How America's Best Places To Work Inspire Extra Effort In Extraordinary Times."

What he found after studying 10,000 employers is that the senior leaders at the best performing companies during these tough economic times are doing these three things to maximize engagement with their employees:
Developing a clear and credible plan for, and path to, successMaking sure the plan is clearly communicated from top to bottomSeeking and welcoming every idea for making the plan a reality and delivering more value (e.g. big and small improvements, new ideas and suggestions for innovation.)Without these actions and in the absence of communication from management, Branham says employees create their own information, which is often worse than the reality.

The three things one should do may see like common sense and may appear easy to do, but it's surprising ho…

Welcome Ideas At Any Time From Anyone

Great ideas for your business can come at anytime from anyone on your team.

So, as a leader, be sure you dig deep for ideas, and provide an easy way for all employees to make suggestions.

Did you know that the idea for the microwave oven came to the inventor, Percy L. Spencer, when a chocolate bar melted in his shirt pocket as he stood in front of a magnetron, the microwave tube used to power radar?

Carl Magee invented the parking meter when back in 1932 the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce asked Magee to solve problems caused by all-day parkers in the downtown business district.

To jump-start your idea sharing program, encourage employees to:
Tell you the obstacles they encounterShare what they are hearing from satisfied and unhappy (or lost) customersExplain what they think your business can do better than the competition

Build These Leadership Skills

I had the pleasure of interviewing Overland Park, KS-based author Leigh Branham recently.  He's the author of three best-selling books, including Re-engage and The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave.

When asked what are the most important skills a leader should have to effectively lead, he offered this good advice:
VisionIntegrityCourageAuthenticity In addition, he suggests that to be effective a leader should have:
the ability to face and address unpleasant realitiesthe willingness to welcome disagreement and open discussionthe ability to open up and field tough questionsthe balance to be both tough and tender mindedthe ability to adapt oneself to the needs of those being led Most important, according to Branham, is a leader should have authenticity and courage.

Be A Developing Leader

One of my favorite lessons from the book, The DNA of Leadership, is the importance of being a developing leader.

Developing leaders:
Create the next generation of leadersAre great listenersGrow talent by challenging others to take on more than what they think they can doAre open, honest and directModel the behavior they want to mentor for others If you haven't read Judith E. Glaser's book, The DNA of Leadership, give it a read.  You won't be disappointed.