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Showing posts from December, 2011

What Southwest Airlines Taught Us This Year

Southwest Airlines celebrated its 40th this year and was kind enough to share in its in-flight magazine 40 lessons it learned since 1971. The lessons provide good tips for business leaders.

If you missed the full list, here are some of the highlights:
Invent your own culture and put a top person in charge of it. A crisis can contain the germ of a big idea. Simplicity has value. For Southwest, simplicity means using 737s for most of its fleet, which makes maintenance more cost-effective and allows more efficient training for flight crews and ground crews. Remember your chief mission. Take your business, not yourself, seriously. Put the worker first. For Southwest, that meant being the first U.S. airline to offer a profit-sharing plan, in 1974. Employees now own 13 percent of the airline. The web ain't cool, it's a tool. Southwest was the first U.S. airline to establish a home page. By 2010, Southwest.com boasted more unique visitors than any other airline, and ranked as the seco…

Be Verbal About Being Thankful

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You and your team may not hit your revenue or profit goals this year. Or, perhaps your organization won't accomplish all its goals during this tough economic year. But, as a leader, you likely still have plenty to be thankful for in 2011.

So, be thankful. And, most important, verbalize your thanks!

Take time during the rest of the year to smile and say "Thank You" to:
Your employees who took pay reductions. Your customers who still did business with you, even though they had tight budgets. Your vendors that worked with you on pricing and terms. Your partner businesses that banded together with you like never before. Your team that helped you think of ways to reduce expenses and repackage your services to drive sales. Your co-workers and peers who encouraged you to hang in there. Your team that put in more hours and tackled additional duties beyond their job descriptions. Your former employees for all they did for you before you had to exit them from your com…

The Roles Of A Coach And A Mentor

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Author Kristi Hedges, in her new book, The Power of Presence, provides these explanations of the roles of a coach and of a mentor and how they differ from each other:



The Coach shows empathy through a mixture of tough love and strong support.  The coach is not afraid to push you because she sees the best in you.  This leader has a good sense of what's going on in the rest of your life and isn't afraid to mention it as it relates to your performance and potential.



The Mentor makes you feel that your success is always top of mind.  Mentors have your back to guide you along in your career.  They will act as a confidante as you hash through ideas and won't hold it against you as your iterate.  Because they have done well, they operate from a point of helping others do the same.

Year-end Advice For Leaders From Lynn Flinn

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Last year, Lynn Flinn of EWF International in Tulsa, OK wrote the following in her business' newsletter. It's so powerful I wanted to bring it back again this year as 2011 comes to a close. 

So, here goes...Lynn's year-end advice for leaders:

Do something that you are afraid to do. Run through the fear rather than running away from it.

Take a personal risk. Tell someone something you've always wished you'd said to them.

Write a note to someone who inspires you but probably doesn't know it.

Pick one characteristic about yourself that you'd like to change and earnestly work on changing it. It is really hard to change a behavior, but it is possible if you are aware, patient and persistent in making a change.

Realize when you are not engaged and re-engage. Turn off the television, turn off the cell phone, and pay attention to the people around you.

Smile and talk to strangers that you meet. It is amazing how much shorter a long line feels wh…

Does Your Nonprofit Produce Results That Are Sufficiently Outstanding?

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If you lead a nonprofit organization, the one hour it will take you to read Peter F. Drucker's book, 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.

How To Determine What Motivates Your Employee

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When you meet with your employee during her annual performance appraisal take time to determine what motivates her when it comes to her career development.  Motivation changes over time and changes depending on where the individual is in her career.

So, to determine what motives her, author Paul Falcone recommends you ask her to rank-order her priorities in terms of the following six guidelines:
If you had to chose two categories from the following six, which would you say hold the most significance to you career-wise? 1.  Career progression through the ranks and opportunities for promotion and advancement.
2.  Lateral assumption of increased job responsibilities and skill building (e.g. rotational assignments).
3.  Acquisition of new technical skills (typically requiring outside training and certification).
4.  Development of stronger leadership, managerial, or administrative skills.
5.  Work-life balance.
6.  Money and other forms of compensation.

Then, do your best to match her nex…

Leadership Skills: Be Decisive; Find The Truth; Send A Thank You Note

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Be decisive
A manager who can't make a decision or who can't make a timely decision will frustrate his/her employees. Equally bad, a lack of decision will impede the progress of the manager's team.

Some managers make endless requests for data as a way to postpone their having to make a decision. Employees end up spinning in circles, slicing and dicing the information far beyond what is truly needed for the manager to make a decision.

Some managers are simply afraid to make a decision in fear of making a "wrong" decision. These managers don't necessarily request needless data, but simply just never made a decision.

Successful managers (true leaders) gather the data from their employees, make any necessary follow-up requests (probing beyond what their employee may have researched/gathered on their own), and then make their decision...knowing that in virtually all cases most decisions are not black and white "right or "wrong," but are the best dec…

Why Giving Praise Doesn't Work

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There is an important difference between giving your employees positive feedback and giving them praise.

Positive feedback focuses on the specifics of job performance. Praise, often one-or two-sentence statements, such as “Keep up the good work,” without positive feedback leaves employees with empty feelings.

Worse yet, without positive feedback, employees feel no sense that they are appreciated as individual talents with specific desires to learn and grow on the job and in their careers, reports Nicholas Nigro, author of, The Everything Coaching and Mentoring Book.

So, skip the praise and give positive feedback that is more uplifting to your employees because it goes to the heart of their job performance and what they actually do.

An example of positive feedback is:

“Bob, your communications skills have dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The report that you just prepared for me was thorough and concise. I appreciate all the work you’ve put into it, a…

The Top 20 Leadership Books: What To Give First To A New Manager

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Eighteen months ago, I posted the question “What’s The First Leadership Book You Would Give To a New Manager?” within the discussion forum for the LinkedIn group Linked 2 Leadership.

That question generated 603 comments and 690 recommendations.Some people suggested more than one book.Some during the course of the 18 months made the same book recommendations a couple times.And, the group discussion continues to be one of the most active still today. In early November 2011, group member Len White graciously culled through the comments using his company’s Symphony Content Analysis Software that assists with the organization, analysis, and reporting of themes contained in text data. And here are the results: ·412 different/unique books were recommended
·The Top 20 recommended books, collectively, received 250 of the total recommendations
·Two authors – Stephen R. Covey and John C. Maxwell each have two books in the Top 20
·Group members recommended other things instead of giving a book about le…

New Book For Work-From-Home Employees

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About 42 million people -- roughly one-third of the U.S. workforce -- work from home at least one or two days a week.

If you are a leader of work-from-home employees, share the new book, There's No Place Like Working From Home, with them.  Share it particularly with an employee new to working from his or her home.

Author Elaine Quinn wrote the book after working as a consultant for 10 years with small business owners who struggled with organization, time management, workflow processes, productivity and related challenges.

The techniques Quinn teaches small home-based business owners also apply to work-from-home employees of large organizations.

"Poor organizational and time management skills are among the top ten reasons small businesses and work-from-home employees fail," said Quinn. "And being disorganized can cost business owners and corporations lost revenue, wasted time, professional embarrassment, damaged relationships, and missed opportunities."

There’s…