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Showing posts from November, 2013

The Benefits Of Having An Ethical Culture

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In Andrew Leigh's new book, Ethical Leadership, he provides these compelling and important benefits of having an ethical culture in your business/organization:
Customers prefer dealing with companies who put ethics at the center of their culture.Most employees would prefer to earn less working for an ethical company than being paid more and working for an unethical company.More than one in three people at work say they've left a job because they've disagreed with the company's ethical standards (Trevino, L and Nelson, K - 2011)If you adopt an early warning system against misconduct it reduces the risk of you facing expensive litigation.An ethical culture helps you make your company a strong affirming place to work in. "The foundations of an ethical culture include values, attitudes, meaning, behaviors, purpose, and management practices," explains Leigh.

Wellness Perks And Programs Popular Among Best Places To Work Companies

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Last month, theKansas City Business Journalpublished its list of2013 Best Places To Work Companiesin the Kansas City metro.  As you review the winning companies profiles (the publication's October 4, 2013 issue), you'll notice that wellness and fitness programs and perks are common among this year's winners. For example: Health center- Burns & McDonnellSubsidized fitness club memberships- DEG; Ryan LLCMonthly massage therapist visits- FishNet Security Inc.No-cost 15 fruit and vegetable "brain foods" every day- Genesys Systems IntegratorFitness facility- Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa; Henderson Engineers Inc.; Plattform Advertising Inc.Healthy snacks in general gathering rooms- Tortoise Capital Advisors LLCWellness and fitness events- Lockton Cos., Kansas City Employee BenefitsStand-up workstations spread throughout the office- Netsmart Technologies Inc. Other perks and programs offered by this year's winning companies include: On-site dry cleaning, farmers…

The Nine Times When You Should Thank Your Customers

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During this season of giving thanks, I thought I'd bring back one of the most popular posts from my Blog.  Here it is from 2012:

In your leadership role, it's vital that your team members know how to deliver excellent customer service. "Knock Your Socks Off" type service as book editor Ann Thomas and Jill Applegate would say.

Part of delivering excellent customer service is saying "Thank You" to your customers and knowing when to say "Thank You".

Thomas and Applegate recommend telling your customers "Thank You" during at least these nine situations:
When they do business with you...every time.When they compliment you (or your company)When they offer you comments or suggestionsWhen they try one of your new products or servicesWhen they recommend you to a friendWhen they are patient...and even when they are not so patientWhen they help you to serve them betterWhen they complain to youWhen they make you smileYou and your team members can sa…

What I Am Thankful For This Year

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Each year, around Thanksgiving time, I think about what I am thankful for.  This year, I decided to take the time to make a list.  A list of 10 things I am thankful for

What's on your list thisyear?  What's on your list this year that wasn't on last year's list?

Here is my list:
Family and friendsEmploymentTechnology, Blogs, Twitter and all social media sharing tools that help me to be a constant learnerHealth and all those who help me stay healthy and encourage me to reach my goals -- which included running 35 5K races this year benefitting a variety of mostly Kansas City area nonprofits and charitiesSetting business and personal goals and working hard to reach or exceed themGood books (including ones the book club recommended)Nonprofit organizations that provide vital services and ways for me to volunteer and donateMusicThe ability to travel for vacationsReaders, followers and guests of my Blog and of Twitter @ericjacobsonkc Wow, I have a lot to be thankful for this…

Wisdom From The Book, The Art Of Being Unreasonable

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Early on in Eli Broad's book, The Art of Being Unresaonable, he reminds us of the power of a child's instinctive asking, "Why not?"  Unfortunately, most adults lose that habit and Broad goes on to explain that it was his continuing to ask "Why not?" throughout his career that brought him success.

"The questions you're willing to ask when others think they have all the answers are doors todiscovery," says Broad.

Other words of wisdom from the book, and my favorite takeaways, include:

Most successful businesses have to begin by bucking conventional wisdom.  Invention and innovation don't happen without it.Do your homework no matter how much time it takes.Big ideas don't happen in a moment.You can't do it all yourself, so ask questions and delegate.The trick to delegating is to make sure your employees share your priorities.Find the best people to whom you can delegate, and know their strengths and weaknesses. Younger employees simply …

7 Characteristics Of Annoying Bosses

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A former co-worker shared a great blog post with me this past week about the most common complaints about the annoying things bosses do without even realizing it.

Here are the highlights:
1. Making social events unofficially required.
2. Pressuring employees to donate to charity.
3. Calling employees who are on vacation.
4. Holding endless meetings.
5. Not making hard decisions.
6. Delegating without truly delegating.
7. Hinting, rather than speaking straightforwardly.
Read on for the details behind each of the above statements.

How To Be Trusted As A Leader

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I found particularly compelling the following about trust from Andrew Leigh's new book, Ethical Leadership.

He writes:

To be trusted, leaders must show:
ability - competence at doing their jobempathy - a concern for others beyond their own needs and having benign motivesintegrity - adhering to a set of principles acceptable to others, reflecting fairness and honestypredictability - over time, acting with consistency

How To Be A Manager With Class

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AMACOM's (of the American Management Association) sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager -- originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business.

One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about class in a manager:
Class is treating people with dignity.Class does not have to be the center of attention.Class does not lose its cool.Class does not rationalize mistakes.Class is good manners.Class means loyalty to one's staff.Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others.Class leads by example.Class does not taken action when angry.Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.The First-Time Manager is an excellent how-to guide for anyone new to managing people.

New E-Learning Communications Course From The Grossman Group

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The Grossman Group has launched its new Take5 ™ to Communicate Well three part e-learning course designed to teach managers at all levels how to plan and deliver effective communications to their employees.

Based on a 5-part model that can be quickly applied to a variety of communication situations, the course uses real-life scenarios designed to help managers immediately apply the model to their work.

The interactive course – made up of three 30 minute modules – tackles the following topics and offers 5 key takeaways:
Outcome: Get the results you seek by properly identifying your desired business outcome before you communicateAudience: Identify your audience, their needs and care-abouts to help inform what you communicateMessage: Move people to action through proper message developmentMethod: Effectively deliver your message by selecting the best method based on the type of information you want to communicateMeasurement: Determine the effectiveness of your communication in real-time …

11 Ground Rules For Meeting Behaviors

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While recently reading C. Elliott Haverlack's new book, Unbundle It, I found his 11 ground rules for meeting behaviors to be particularly helpful:
Arrive on time.Be respectful of other attendees.No phones or computers if at all possible.No leaving the meeting or getting up to walk around until scheduled breaks.No eating unless during working meal meetings (consuming beverages as appropriate is acceptable).No side conversations.Good posture.Listen intently (even if you don't want to).Ask questions at the appropriate time.No filibustering.Take notes.

8 Tips For Excellence In The Email World

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To help your organization, here are some simple rules for emailing from C. Elliott Haverlack's new book, Unbundle It:
Never send an email when you are angry.Never address a sensitive or emotionally charged topic via email.Eliminate the use of return receipts.Mandate that "Reply All" emails are not allowed.Eliminate one word emails.Be cognizant of string or multiple message emails.Ensure emails requiring a response are addressed promptly.Do not expect answers on emails from carbon copy recipients.

Don't Delay The Tough Performance Appraisal Conversation

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If you have an employee who needs to improve his/her performance don't delay the tough conversation with them.

If you don't address the issue right now, the employee has little chance to improve and you'll only get more frustrated.

Most employees want to do a good job. Sometimes they just don't know they aren't performing up to the required standards.

Waiting until the employee's annual performance appraisal to have the tough conversation is unhealthy for you and the employee. So, address the issue now.

Sit down with your employee in a private setting. Look them in the eye. First, tell them what they do well. Thank them for that good work. Then, tell them where they need to improve. Be clear. Be precise. Ask them if they understand, and ask them if they need any help from you on how to do a better job. Explain to them that your taking the time to have the tough conversation means you care about them. You want them to do better. You believe they can do better. Ex…

Executive Coaching: Q&A With Alyssa Freas

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Alyssa Freas is a pioneer in the field of executive coaching. She is Founder and CEO of Executive Coaching Network® (EXCN), a global company whose mission is to help organizations achieve results by improving the effectiveness of their executives and their teams.
Awhile back, she answered for me the eight questions I hear the most about leadership, leaders and executive coaching.QuestionWhat is the most common leadership challenge you see that executives face?

Alyssa:  Executives are challenged by prioritization; that is, getting their work done and having enough time for reflection and rejuvenation. The vast majority of executives today have too many plates spinning and they feel imbalanced. The successful leader of the future will be one who understands how to prioritize in a framework of their company’s vision, values, and strategic objectives and financial results.
Executives will always be challenged by the need to focus on building the business while growing the business as we…

How To Conduct A Customer Analysis To Gain New Business

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As a sales leader, it's important that you analyze your current customers to help you identify the best places to focus your energies for finding new customers.  That's the advice of Brian Tracy in his new book, Unlimited Sales Success.

And, Tracy recommends that the best way to analyze your current customers is to ask and answer these twelve questions:
Who is using your product or service today?Who will be using it in the future, based on current trends?Why should somebody buy your product at all?If someone should buy your product, why should they buy it from your company rather than from some other company?If customers have decided to buy from your company, shy should they buy the product or service from you personally, rather than from someone else in your company?Who exactly is your customer?  Who buys from you most readily?  Why does your customer buy your product or service?  What specific benefits does the customer receive from your product or service?Who or what is you…

The Three Things Every Mission Statement Must Reflect

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A lot of companies struggle when creating their mission statement.

Author Peter F. Drucker provides the following good advice in one of my favorite book's of his, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization:"

Every mission statement has to reflect three things:
OpportunitiesCompetenceCommitment In other words, he explains:
What is our purpose?Why do we do what we do?What, in the end, do we want to be remembered for? How well does your mission statement meet Drucker's recommended three requirements?

How Responding Quickly Builds Customer Loyalty

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A customer who complains and receives a fast response will actually be more loyal to your company in terms of future sales and referrals than a customer who never complained at all.  That is what author Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy proclaim, and I agree with them.

They also say in their book, Now...Build A Great Business!, that:
a slow response to a customer complaint triggers fear and anger. And, when that happens, the customer is afraid that he/she is going to be stuck with a product/service that doesn't work and feels angry that he/she went ahead with the purchase in the first place.

So, lead your team to:
Respond quickly to customer complaintsRefuse to defend or make excusesOffer to make the customer happy immediatelyBe open and honestTell the truth and tell it as soon as you know it Bottom-line...assume that anything you do or say will become public knowledge quickly. So, resolve to build and maintain trust in everything you do.

What Leadership Book Will Be On Your 2014 Reading List?

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As you think about what business books you want to read next year, how about adding to the list at least one book from the list below. 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 frequently.

The recommendations came from these member groups:
ExecuNet Executive SuiteLeadership Think TankLinked 2 LeadershipKeller Graduate School Of ManagementThe Talent Buzz As the recommendations rolled in, it became clear that leaders learn from, and are inspired by, a wide variety of books -- biographies, autobiographies, …

How To Be A Good Coach Of A Team

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Here are some great tips (and reminders) for how to be an effective coach of a team, from the author of, Unbundle It, C. Elliott Haverlack:
The best coaches embrace varietyIndividual praise is most often best done in privateCorrecting behavior should always be done in privateThe team trumps the individual when it comes to recognition And, as a leader, you should step back and ask yourself two questions:
Am I leading or am I part of a group of talented individuals who have been thrown together as a team?Am I leading or am I part of a great team who has members who are talented?Number 2 is far more powerful and will win more frequently and more reliably.

The Three Drivers Of Motivation

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Julian Birkinshaw shares the three drivers of discretionary effort (motivation) from employees in his new book, Becoming a Better Boss:
Material drivers, including salary, bonuses, promotion, and prizesSocial drivers, including recognition for achievement, status, and having good colleaguesPersonal drivers, including freedom to act, the opportunity to build expertise, and working for a worthwhile cause Take a moment now to reflect on where your business excels and where it falls short.





Brian Tracy Talks About Achieving Unlimited Sales Success

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A Conversation with BRIAN TRACY
About UNLIMITED SALES SUCCESS


Question:Why are some salespeople more successful than others? Brian Tracy: "I asked myself that very question when I started selling many years ago. My first breakthrough was the discovery of the 80/20 rule. It says that 20 percent of the salespeople make 80 percent of the money. That means the average income of the people in the top 20 percent is sixteen times the average income of the people in the bottom 80 percent.

When I first heard that statistic, I was both inspired and discouraged. I just did not think that being in the top 20 percent could be possible for me. Then I learned another fact: Every person in the top 20 percent started in the bottom 20 percent. Everyone at the front of the line of life started at the back of the line. I immediately made a decision to be in the top 20 percent.

Making a decision, of any kind, and then taking action on that decision, is often the turning point in your life.…

Add LeadershipDigital To Your Daily Reading Routine

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Each day, typically multiple times a day, I read LeadershipDigital, an aggregator of some of today's most influential bloggers about leadership and management -- including:
Tanveer NaseerRon EdmondsonLinked 2 LeadershipKarin Hunt In all, the website features content, updated daily, from more than 70 bloggers

You can sign up for a daily newsletter, and on the site you can access archived content back to July 2005 when the site launched.



Release The Power Of Your Team

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Take some quality time to read the new book by C. Elliott Haverlack, Unbunde It, because it explores the issues you face as a leader with a twist that is different from many other leadership books.  Throughout, the book offers suggestions on how to overcome the burden that complexity creates in our lives and businesses

Most intriguing for me is Haverlack's straight-forward, unbundled insights on teams.  "The healthiest teams trust each other," explains the author.  "When we trust, we tend to be more transparent and are more likely to share the hurdles we need to leap.  And, once trust becomes a competency, accountability comes much more easily."  And, accountability is the key to delivering results.

Haverlack's eight-point plan for a powerful team is:
Engage a group that shares your core values.Set aspirational yet achievable goals for the company and every individual.Create an environment that encourages and rewards trust.Empower every individual to crea…

The 11 Most Important Questions To Ask Before Starting A Business

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Are you a leader contemplating starting a new business? Or, has a budding entrepreneur turned to you because of your leadership skills to ask for your help?

Here are 11 questions you or that entrepreneur should ask before starting a business.
Is there a true need for my product/service? What is the competitive environment and how will my product/service be unique, different or better?Will my location (or accessibility online) be convenient and easy to get to for my customers? Do I have adequate funding to support my business, particularly during the ramp-up period that could be a year or more?Do I have the stamina to start a new business and work hard even if it means months of extended work hours and perhaps even seven days a week?Will my family and social life withstand my commitment to my new business?Will the name of my business be easy to spell, suitable for print on online, and memorable?Am I a risk taker?Am I humble enough to ask for help, especially if I am not an expert in…

How To Provide High-tech, High-touch Customer Service

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Micah Solomon’s book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service, is all about how to inspire timeless loyalty in the demanding new world of social commerce -- one where businesses today face the increasingly challenging world of customer interactions, both online and off.

The book is a must-read for any business leader. And, fortunately, the content is grounded in decades of experience and proven methodology.

Some key lessons I learned from the book include:
If you can anticipate, you can differentiate. If your customers feel at home. They’re unlikely to roam. If things go wrong for a customer initially, do a grand job of getting to the other side of that challenge and you may create a positive memory that literally supplants the initial unpleasantness. Also, Solomon states that the four components to solid value that creates customer satisfaction are: A perfect product or service Delivery in a caring, friendly manner Timeliness The backing of an effective problem-resolution process And,…

How To Practice SPARK Leadership

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You practice SPARK leadership if you:
Share InformationPlay to StrengthsAsk for Input and Appreciate Different IdeasRecognize and Respond to Individual NeedsKeep Your Commitments A great reminder from the President and CEO of American Management Association, Edward T. Reilly.  You'll find more good advice in his new book, AMA Business Boot Camp.

How To Be A "Do More" Leader

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Here are some of my favorite leadership and life tips and advice from William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims:
Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.

The Questions To Ask During An Interview To Identify A Leader

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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!

A Peter F. Drucker Book For Leaders Of Nonprofits

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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 of the five questions is the one where 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.

7 Goal-Setting Tips

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Last week, I wrote about goals and the importance of having a plan in place to reach your goals.

Today, I remembered reading these additional goal-setting tips from two-time U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper from the November 2013 issue of Competitor magazine.

Here are his seven tips for setting goals, whether are your workplace or away-from-work goals:
Be clear and specific about what it is you are trying to accomplish.Set intermediate goals that complement a long-term goal.Shoot high, but recognize the importance of a natural progression.Write your goals down.Review your goals periodically.Remind yourself often why you are working on your goal.And, remember even if you don't hit your goal, there is satisfaction the process.

The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan

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There are seven major onboarding land mines that you are likely to come across as a new leader and there are specific points in the first 100 days where you are most likely to encounter them, explain authors: George Brant Jayme A. Check Jorge Pedraza ...in their new third edition of, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan.
Ill-prepared, without a plan, and lacking proper onboarding, the land mines will get you.  And, if you miss one or more of the critical tasks that must be accomplished in your first 100 days, you'll likely fail.
The book is packed with: Examples and case studies Action plans Tools, techniques and tricks of the trade The authors also explain why you need to start even before your official first day on the job. For example: Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition; and it is essential that you know what your cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One. A new leader's role begins as soon as you are an ackn…