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Showing posts from September, 2012

7 Revealing Questions To Ask When Checking References

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Earlier in the year, the Harvard Business Review published some great questions that Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan asks when he is checking references.

Ryan serves on the board of Yale Corporation, Human Rights Watch, and INSEAD, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a M.B.A from INSEAD.

His main seven honest-feedback-extracting-questions (and follow-ups) are:
Would you hire this person again?  If so, why and in what capacity?  If not, why not?How would you describe the candidate's ability to innovate, manage, lead, deal with ambiguity, get things done and influence others?What were some of the best things this person accomplished?  What could he or she have done better?In what type of culture, environment, and role can you see this person excelling?  In what type of role is he or she unlikely to be successful?Would you describe the candidate as a leader, a strategist, an executor, a collaborator, a thinker, or something else? …

Caring Criticism

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Negative feedback is part of growing as a leader -- both delivering that feedback and sometimes receiving that type of feedback.

Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferazzi Greenlight, a research-based consulting and training company, suggests practicing "caring criticism," as he recently explained it in the Harvard Business Review.

"Negative feedback can hurt, but usually it's a gift aimed at helping the recipient improve performance or avoid mistakes.  We should deliver and receive it that way," says Ferrazzi.

"Use phrases like 'I might suggest' and 'Think about this'" when giving feedback.

And, then Kerrazzi suggests when receiving candid feedback, that you thank the person who offered it and make clear the points on which you agree.  He's found that if you think of the person giving you honest feedback as generous, rather than critical, you become less defensive and more open to changing your behavior.

How To Identify A Leader During A Job Interview

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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!

Did You Read Any Of These Leadership Books This Summer?

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At the start of the summer season I posted the article below.  Now that most of summer has gone by, what books did you read?  Any great ones that aren't on the list below?  Let me know, and I'll add them to the next recommended list.
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This Memorial Day, as you select the books you plan to read for pleasure this summer, how about adding to the list at least one business book. Perhaps a book that will help you improve your leadership skills.

Awhile back, members of five groups on the professional social media web site LinkedIn voluntarily recommended their favorite books about leadership. They responded to a group discussion question, "Best Leadership Books -- What's Your Favorite?"

When contemplating their favorites, they likely thought about which books were in their minds the best, most favored, most inspiring, most instructional, most relevant, and which ones they might reference frequentl…

The Makings Of An Effective Corporate Culture

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Fortunately, most of my career I’ve worked in effective corporate cultures. If I put together the best of each, here is what made those environments effective:

Leaders led by example on a consistent basis and were willing to roll up their sleeves, particularly during tight deadlines or challenging times.

Employees clearly understood how what they did made a difference and how their contributions made the organization either more profitable or more effective.

The workforce included a blend of long-term employees with a rich company, product/service and customer history, employees who had been at the company for five to seven years, and then new hires with a fresh perspective and keen sense of new technologies and techniques. That blend worked best when the mix included virtually all A-players.

Top managers had a clear, realistic and strategic vision for how the company would grow and compete in the marketplace.

Employees were challenged and rewarded through growth oppor…

How To Maximize Your Executive Coaching Experience

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If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine:

Find the right match. Find someone to push and challenge you. To encourage you and to hold you accountable. Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily.Be aware of your company's expectations. If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you. Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list.Get your money's worth. Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job. Be sure your coach sees you in action. Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports. This also gives your colleagues a sense that you&…

Team Building Lessons From Play, The Friend Game

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While visiting the Orlando Science Center the other day I stumbled across a  family-oriented exhibit with simple, yet powerful principles useful within and outside the workplace.

The exhibit is traveling around the U.S. and it's called, Play, The Friend Game.  Created by Nacho Rodriquez Bach, the display explores six universal civic principles through the use of games for children and adults.

The six principles are:
See yourself in others and others in you.Listen to the dialogue.Express yourself and respect the will of the group.Help others and ask for help.Think before you act.Feel that you are part of something greater. Civic principles indeed, and excellent guidelines for all members of any team.

Bach was born in Mexico City in 1966, currently lives in Mexico City, and is a philosopher who publishes through art.

My Favorites Of Harvey Mackay 's Moral Of The Story

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I'm a big fan of best-selling author Harvey Mackay.  He writes about business, sales and leadership and typically ends his articles with a moral of the story.

Culled from his writings of the past three and half years, here are some of my favorites of his moral of the story endings:
Change your thinking, change your life.It's not enough to know how to do things - you must know why you do them.If you live in the past, you won't have much of a future.If you want to outsmart the competition, you have to outthink the competition.Don't be afraid to make a decision.  Be afraid not make a decision.What you learn on your first job will last through your last job.Minds are like parachutes - not much good unless they are open.If you can't be an expert, hire one.People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be.It only takes a little spark to ignite a great fire.Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.
Mackay's best-selling business books have sold m…