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Showing posts from October, 2010

How To Write Your Company's Core Values

Walk into any Whole Foods grocery store and you'll see that company's core values proudly presented on a large sign.

Business leaders can learn a lot from the chain's core values:

1. Its values are what are truly important to Whole Foods.
2. The values remain constant and don't change from time to time, situation to situation or person to person.
3. The values clearly set the company's culture. As Whole Foods explains, their core values are the "soul" of its company.
4. The values address the company's product, customers, vendors, and the communities in which it operates.

Note, too, how for each of the company's six core values, it further explains what that core value statement means. Without these additional explanations, the values could be no more than just words on paper.

As you craft your company's core values, carefully study the approach and language used for Whole Food's, found here.

How To Be A Green Leader

You can be a green leader at work and help save the planet and money for your business, by following these practices and instilling these habits with your employees:

Photocopiers: Use the "standby" button on your copiers and that will lighten your energy load by 70 percent. This is particularly important, considering the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year.

Fax Machines: Avoid a cover page when possible and you'll save paper on both ends. Or, better yet, use Internet faxing.

Paper: Recycle and use only recycled paper.

Postage Meters: Try printing online stamps instead of using a postage meter. You'll save on equipment and meter maintenance.

Printers: Print double-sided pages and use an inkjet if you can. Laser printers use three hundred watts of electricity, while inkjets use only 10.

Computers: Activate the power management function, or sleep mode, on your monitors and CPU boxes. If just ten employees did it, they would collectively save near…

Key Interviewing Questions To Ask To Identify Leaders

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The next time you are interviewing a candidate and you want to access their leadership skills, consider asking the candidate these questions:
What personal qualities define you as a leader?  Describe a situation when these qualities helped you lead others.Give an example of when you demonstrated good leadership.What is the toughest group from which you've had to get cooperation?Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas?  What was your approach?  Did it work?Describe a situation in which you had to change your leadership style to achieve the goal?One leadership skill is the ability to accommodate different views in the workplace, regardless of what they are.  What have you done to foster a wide number of views in your work environment? Thanks to Sharon Armstrong, author of The Essential HR Handbook, for these helpful questions!

What To Think About For Next Year

Hopefully, 2011 will be better for most businesses. 

As you start to think about what you can add into your budget and plan for 2011 (that you may have cut from your budget the past couple years), consider these "best company" practices for your workplace:

•Mentoring programs, especially for new employees
•Volunteer opportunities/days
•Lunches with the CEO or president
•On-site wellness fairs
•Pep rallies
•Telecommuting programs
•Summer picnics for employees and their families
•Retention bonuses
•Lending libraries
•Unlimited sick days
•Employee team sports after hours, such as bowling and baseball
•On-site child care services
•Awarding vacation time in exchange for community volunteering time
•Employee pot-luck breakfasts
•Monthly birthday parties
•On-site fitness equipment
•Frequent town hall meetings with upper management
•Subsidized gym memberships
•Leadership development programs
•Time given to employees to spend on work related items outside their job description
•Empl…

Discover Your Leader Grade

If you need a tool to measure your leadership skills, check out LeaderGrade, by Quantum Workplace, which measures your leadership influence by asking your peers and followers to rate your leadership skills.

The online survey tool uses a 45 question assessment to measure your leadership skills across 15 dimensions of leadership.

The survey typically takes respondents seven to 10 minutes to fill out and the results you get will identify your strengths and weaknesses, and will allow you to compare your evaluators' responses to your own self-assessment.

The self-evaluation survey is free and it's the first step in the program. Also free is a summary analysis of your results. A full reporting on your results costs $79.

Also, by using LeaderGrade, your leadership skills can be compared to those of other leaders who have completed the LeaderGrade assessment.  I don't know the pricing for the full program, but the free self-assessment is worth using.

Thanks For Your Loyal Readership

A heartfelt thanks for reading my blog and sharing your feedback, comments and ideas.  I've passed the one-year mark of blog publishing and will continue to do my best to bring you useful, helpful and practical tips for how to be an effective leader.

Please continue to tell me what you want to read!

Eric Jacobson
Overland Park, KS

Learn The Art Of Effective Messaging

David Grossman, president and founder of The Grossman Group, recently published a helpful, free eBook titled:
Mastering The Art of Messaging

Grossman says that "maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s technology, maybe we’re all just way too busy, but whatever the reason, employees are feeling more disconnected than ever from the organizations they work for. At the same time, leaders continue to struggle with one of their toughest jobs, developing and articulating their overall strategy and priorities, especially during times of change."

Grossman says the result is:
•confused employees
•unhappy workplaces
•stressed bosses
•demanding shareholders

In Grossman's new free ebook, he highlights all the essentials of creating a strategic internal messaging plan with the end goal of helping leaders create and communicate
•clear, consistent, and credible messaging that connects to target audiences.

Using the 18-page ebook, you'll learn:
•what a strategic messaging plan should encom…

Check Out These Free Tips For Making An Effective Presentation

Speechworks has published a free eBook entitled How to Create a Seven Minute Rifle Shot Presentation. To get the eBook, go to the Speechworks home page.
The 38-page eBook details how to create a short, simple, persuasive message and includes these eight chapters:
A Plan for a Seven-Minute PresentationWhat a Seven-Minute Presentation Sounds LikeStart by Focusing on the Key Business ChallengeFocus Your Presentation on Three Key MessagesFilling Out Your Three Key MessagesClose By Recapping Your Three Key PointsEnd by Asking for SomethingKeys to Telling a Good StoryThe eBook is excerpted from Joey Asher’s new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: A Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations.

Find The Ideal Tone For Your Emails

Can't quite master the ideal tone for the emails you send employees and customers?  Or, do you have employees whole struggle with the tone of their emails?  You might want to check out ToneCheck.

ToneCheck, a software program that works with Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010, helps to ensure your tone is clearly communicated and understood. It acts somewhat similar to an email spell checker, and you can select the suggested alternatives or ignore the advice.

The program evaluates words and phrases for the intensity of eight primary emotions, allowing you to adjust the overall tone before you send your message. ToneCheck scans your messages for terms that may be inadvertently conveying:

• Affection
• Friendliness
• Amusement
• Excitement
• Sadness
• Grief
• Fear
• Uneasiness
• Anger
• Shame

Over 165 billion email messages are sent worldwide each day. The average worker will spend 10 years of their work life dealing with email. And, sometimes, perhaps all too often, email messag…

When To Coach And When To Counsel

A good manager is both a coach and a counselor.  Generally, coaching should precede counseling.

As a coach,a manager:
identifies an employee's need for instruction and direction and this need is usually directly related to his or her performance or career goals.  Coaching is collaborative. It relies on mutual, progressive goal-setting, personal feedback, and an ongoing, supportive relationship.

You coach to help retain employees and to show you care about your employees as individuals.  It's best to coach when a new procedure is introduced, a job is changed, and/or a skill gap is identified.

As a counselor, a manager
first identifies a problem that interferes with an employee's work performance and then helps the employee to define specifically what behavior he or she needs to change in order to improve his or her performance or resolve a problem. So, the difference between coach and counselor is subtle, but important.  And, as Sharon Armstrong further shares in her book, &qu…

Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Leaders

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If you lead a nonprofit organization, the one hour it will take you to read Peter F. Drucker's book called "The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization" will be well worth it.

This book may fundamentally change the way you work and lead your organization.

Perhaps one of most challenging questions Drucker asks the reader is:

"Do we produce results that are sufficiently outstanding for us to justify putting our resources in this area? 

Because, Drucker argues that need alone does not justify continuing.  Nor does tradition, if your results are not sufficiently outstanding.

If you volunteer for a nonprofit or are seeking employment at a nonprofit, this book is also an insightful and inspiring read.