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Showing posts from April, 2014

Change-friendly Leadership

Because  Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan  delivers so much timely, straight-forward and relevant wisdom in his book,  Change-friendly Leadership , reading it is like talking with your trusted best friend. Or, listening to your favorite teacher.  Or, soaking in the thoughts from your respected mentor. That's why you'll want to spend plenty of time reading the book.  Reflecting on the messages.  Absorbing the discussion,  And, then likely re-reading it.  Or, at least certain sections. Duncan demonstrates in the book how  humanness, approachability , and  friendliness  are necessary but often overlooked elements of making change successful in an organization. He teaches leaders the foundation for effectively  engaging people's heads, hearts and hopes  -- all necessary to enable effective and lasting (sustainable) change in today's constantly changing world.  Duncan refers to this as  leading the whole person . According to Duncan: Change must accommodate people's

How Will The Value Of Your Days Be Measured?

I recommend that all leaders every so often read the  What Will Matter  poem by  Michael Josephson . It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of unselfishly serving and leading with character. I've highlighted in bold and in color my favorite parts of the poem: Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end. It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Tips For Building Trust

You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you. Building trust takes  energy, effort and constant attention  to how you act. To help build trust, follow these 16 tips , recommended by author Susan H. Shearouse: Be honest Keep commitments and keep your word Avoid surprises Be consistent with your mood Be your best Demonstrate respect Listen Communicate Speak with a positive intent Admit mistakes Be willing to hear feedback Maintain confidences Get to know others Practice empathy Seek input from others Say "thank you"

More Leadership Quotes From John C. Maxwell

The real gems in John C. Maxwell's book,  Everyone Communicates Few Connect , book are the abundant leadership and communication quotes, such as these: To add value to others, one must first value others. People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. All good communicators get to the point before their listeners start asking, "What's the point?" The first time you say something, it's heard. The second time, it's recognized, and the third time it's learned. In the end, people are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand. People pay attention when something that is said connects with something they greatly desire. Maxwell also says that: Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could . The book covers five principles and five practices to help readers so they can connect one-on-one, in a group, or

Questions You'll Likely Be Asked At Your Next Job Interview

Many Human Resource (HR) managers have moved away from questions like "What's your weakness?" and prefer  behavior-based questions , which ask you to: describe how you handled specific situations  at your former jobs If you are about to interview for your next leadership position, be prepared for questions like these (from an article in  Reader's Digest ): Tell me about a time when your integrity was challenged . What was the situation, and what did you do? Tell me about a time you had to work with someone you did not personally like . If you could come to work with  only three tools to get your job done, what would they be ? What personal and professional development have you been engaged in outside the workplace  over the past year? Describe your Outlook calendar  on a typical day

Best Leadership And Business Books Of 2013

A few months ago, I shared my list of my favorite leadership and business books published in 2013.  If you're since then read one or more of these, I'm eager to hear what you thought of them. Ethical Leadership Unlimited Sales Success Manager 3.0 AMA Business Boot Camp The way of the SEAL Becoming a Better Boss Leadership Conversations And, my favorite 2012 in case you haven't read this book: Lead with a Story

How To Make Your Written Communication Shorter And More Appealing

Author Joseph McCormack offers these six tips for ways of making your written communication shorter and more appealing: Deliver a strong title or subject line that's your invitation. Limit your email to the original window. Make sure there is white space and balance throughout the text. Call out key ideas by calling them out in bold type. Start each bullet point with a strong word or catchy phrase. Trim the fluff -- anything that's unnecessary, leaving a consumable and concise size communication You can learn more helpful tips in his new book, Brief:  Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less .

3 Things Every Mission Statement Must Have

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 : Opportunities Competence Commitment 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?

5 Compelling Benefits Of Having An Ethical Culture

In  Andrew Leigh's  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.

Right Ways To Respond When Things Go Wrong

"From Tylenol's textbook handling of product tampering to Toyota's troublesome automobile recalls, how a company recovers from crisis can mean continued business success or bankruptcy," explains author  Jim Moorhead . In his book,  The Instant Survivor -- Right Ways to Respond When Things Go Wrong , Moorhead presents a  four-step, crisis survival kit  to show leaders how to weather professional, and personal, crises. He explains that a company's ideal crisis management team does the following when a crisis occurs : Review their crisis management plan and talk through the company's business, communications, and legal goals. Identify the risks and opportunities the crisis presents and analyze the options to consider, the people and resources to deploy, and the allies and experts to call upon. Debate, argue, and finally agree on a strategy to implement. Stay in constant contact to gauge how they're doing and make adjustments as the crisis unfolds.

Thoughts From The Book, Decide

Two of my favorite observations made by author Steve McClatchy in his new book, Decide , are: Goals :  The reason so many people fail to achieve their goals is because they have not committed to defending a time in which they will work on their goals. Management vs. Leadership :  Management is keeping things the way they are today.   Management Maintenance .  Leadership is moving things forward from where they are today.  Leadership = Improvement . Steve McClatchy

Coherence: The Secret Science Of Brilliant Leadership

Coherence:  The Secret Science of Brilliant Leadership is the new book by author Dr. Alan Watkins . Trained as a medical doctor, Watkins is now  an honorary senior lecturer in neuroscience and psychological medicine at Imperial College, London and an affiliate professor of leadership at the European School of Management, London. According to Watkins, coherence is the biological state achieved when elite performers experience maximum efficiency and super effectiveness, where body and mind are one . Coherence provides one of the most unique approaches to showing leaders how to be younger, smarter, healthier and happier -- which gives them the power to make decisions under pressure and achieve sustainable success. Prepare to spend quality time reading Coherence . It's not light reading.  Kind of feels like a medical text book in parts.  But, it's worth your commitment to it. I particularly found useful Watkin's discussion on culture , where he wrote:

All The Lessons You'll Need To Function At Work

A lot has happened since 1997 when  Robert L. Dilenschneider  wrote,  The Critical First Years of your Professional Life .  That's why, 17 years later he released a new edition of his best-seller. "The book contains all the lessons you'll need to learn about functioning at work ," explains Dilenschneider.   His lessons are based on his four decades of experience in the work world, along with research and dozens of interviews with business experts. The new edition of the book is  particularly relevant today , because, shares Dilenscheider: Not knowing the ropes puts you at a competitive disadvantage. Times have changed, and there are fewer people in today's workplace willing to help you understand how the world of work operations. Lessons in the book include : You and Your Bosses Working the Grapevine Networking Making Allies of Your Elders Image Having Influence at Any Level Your Work and Your Personal Life After a Setback Mentors Form

Knowledge Versus Wisdom

Knowledge is the process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification -- Martin H. Fischer


Many years ago, I worked with a person who could not make decisions.  Neither big nor small decisions. That indecisiveness paralyzed our business in many ways. Unfortunately, the book, Decide:  Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example , had not been published.  Had it, I would have shared it with my co-worker. Decide , published this past February, teaches readers how to make better decisions based on the real results they want to experience. The author, Steve McClatchy, explains how to use the two forms of human motivation -- Gain, or Prevent Pain , to make more effective decisions.  For example, he demonstrates how inserting a Gain task in the middle of a Prevent Pain day can give you the energy you need to move forward and make the Prevent Pain tasks take less time through motivation. Deeper into the book, you'll be reminded about not only the problems with procrastination, but also about the benefits of procrastination, and, if you are a procrastinato

Today's Leadership Quote By Theodore Roosevelt

"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty...I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.  I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Powerful Quotes From The Book, Just Listen

Just Liste n is the book to read to learn the strategies to make you more compelling, and break down the walls that keep you from getting through to the people you need to buy into your ideas and goals. Some of my favorite parts of the book are the following compelling quotes author Mark Goulston includes throughout the book: Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. - Paul Hawken Don't be afraid of sharing your vulnerabilities.  Vulnerability doesn't make you weak, it makes you accessible. Know that your vulnerability can be your strength. - Keith Ferrazzi Humility is the surest sign of strength. - Thomas Merton Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. - Bill Gates Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people. - John D. Rockefeller The secret of getting ahead is getting started. - Agat

Insights From The Authors Of Step Up: Lead In Six Moments That Matter

The new book, Step Up , shows readers how to step up to the plate during six critical leadership moments .  Readers learn how to: Use anger intelligently in the workplace. Recognize and deal with terminal politeness. Make decisions when no one else is making them. Take ownership when others are externalizing a problem. Identify and leverage pessimism. Inspire others to take action. And, before you start to read the book, you can take (via a QR code in the book) a fifteen-minute online Step Up Leadership Assessment , which will give you instant feedback on your leadership readiness and point you to the most relevant chapters in the book. The book's three authors recently shared these insights with me: A Conversation with Henry Evans and Colm Foster, authors of Step Up What is a “leadership moment”? These are moments when leadership is required in order to see a problem solved, opportunity seized, momentum changed, relationship(s) built, or when t

Good Coach Versus Bad Coach

Former Verizon Wireless CEO,  Denny F. Strigl  offers these tips for how to be a good coach to an employee.  He explains that  good coaches help performers by : Keeping them focused. Giving them objective, helpful feedback. Acting as a sounding board for new approaches. Identifying blind spots that may be holding the performer back. Reinforcing key values, principles, and behaviors that improve performance. Recognizing positive behavior and performance. Providing encouragement after setbacks and failures Setting "stretch" goals. Acting as an accountability partner. Strigl believes that  some managers fail in their coaching roles because they : View coaching as babysitting. See coaching as only correcting performance. Don't spend enough time with their employees. Are reluctant to criticize. Have social relationships with their employees. Have a "sink-or-swim" philosophy. Believe coaching is not helpful or meaningful. "Coaching may

High-Performing Teams Are Made Of This

According to Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese, authors of the book,  The Collaboration Imperative , high-performing teams have the following characteristics: People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose--they feel free to express feelings and ideas. Everybody is working toward the same goals. Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks. Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected. Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute--even the introverts. Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed.  Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles. The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement--in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive spo

Four Ways To Drive Value For Your Customers

Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon's book,  High-tech, High-touch Customer Service : You provide value when you deliver the  four components  that reliably create customer satisfaction : A perfect product or service Delivered in a caring, friendly manner On time (as defined by the customer) With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process Micah has been named by the  Financial Post  as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously co-authored the bestselling,  Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit .      

Fit At Last. Interview With Author Tim Kearin

The new book,  Fit at Last - Look and Feel Better Once and for All , co-authored by  Ken Blanchard  and  Tim Kearin  traces business author Blanchard's weight-loss journey with fitness expert Kearin, and how finally at the age of 73, Ken dropped over thirty pounds in the course of a single year. In each chapter, Ken shares the personal ups and downs of his story, relating how anyone can use his  Situational Leadership  approach to determine their developmental level in each of the fitness areas outlined by Tim. From there, it can be decided what type of leadership someone needs to move to the next level. Fit at Last   isn't strictly about fitness --  it's about commitment . Given the proper tools, anyone can move from a superficial interest in fitness to creating and maintaining long-term devotion to personal health Tim recently shared more about the book with me:  Tim Kearin Question :  What was the most rewarding thing for you as you helped Ken

Good To Great -- Still A Must Read

Near the top of virtually every list you'll see of the best leadership books, you'll find  Good To Great , by Jim Collins. The book, five years in the making, and published in 2001, addresses the all-important question of:  Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how? Some of the lessons from the book are : "Leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confronted." "Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights." "Good-to-great companies use technology as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it." "Engage in dialogue and debate." Good-to-great companies are those who have the ability to get and kee

The Leadership Quotes That Inspire Me

These quotes truly inspire me : “The three common characteristics of best companies -- they care, they have fun, they have high performance expectations.” -- Brad Hams “The one thing that's common to all successful people: They make a habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don't like to do.” -- Michael Phelps “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." -- Harry S. Truman “The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.” -- Peter Drucker “Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” -- Dwight D. Eisenhower “Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team.” -- John C. Maxwell "People buy into the leader, then the vision.” -- John C. Maxwell “Great leaders have courage, tenacity and patience.” -- Bill McBean "People never

Try To Avoid These Common Mistakes

In Leading Change, Step-By-Step , author Jody Spiro describes three common mistakes leaders should avoid . Those are: Thinking That a Mission is Developed by a Single Leader -- Spiro explains that in order to have buy-in from across the organization, the creation of a mission requires negotiation and genuine input from across the organization.  And that means a leader needs to be a good, active listener. Addressing Too Much in a Single Strategy; Inability to Say "No" -- According to Spiro, leaders should avoid the temptation to "pack" a given strategy with several other strategies.  Instead, you should be selective and narrow the strategy to a single thought that furthers your mission and is a niche where you can have a competitive advantage or offer a unique program or service. Confusing Strategies with Actions -- Both strategies and actions specify something that will be done. But, as Spiro explains, actions are more specific and concrete.  The strateg

How To Be A More Effective Listener

Being a good listener is absolutely essential to being an effective leader. When you really listen, you : Remember names and facts correctly. Hear "between the lines." Show respect. Learn more about what's going on within your workplace. Here are 10 tips on how to be a better listener : Look at the person who's speaking to you. Maintain eye contact. Watch for non-verbal clues, body language, gestures and facial expressions. Eliminate all distractions. Don't multi-task. Ask questions that let the other person know you have heard them, and that you want to learn more. Don't interrupt. Don't finish the other person's sentences. Avoid using words, such as "no," "but," and "however," when you respond. Don't prejudge. Display a friendly, open attitude and body language. Ask questions to clarify what you heard.

Learn How To Identify And Overcome Your Leadership Blindspots

"A blindspot is an unrecognized weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine a leader's success," explains author Robert Bruce Shaw .  "Blindspots are tenacious and can reappear, causing problems over a leader's entire career." These blindspots can cause great harm when leaders fail to see what is right in front of them.  Compounding the challenge says Shaw is that: "People who are smart and self-assured are often very skillful at justifying their thinking and behavior--to the point of being in denial about their weaknesses and the threats they face. One of the burdens of moving up is that the complexity of the decisions leaders face increases at the same time as their ability to reveal their vulnerabilities decreases . Blindspots are both the result of individual traits and situational factors.  According to Shaw, there are 2 0 common leadership blindspots that fall under these four categories : Self Team Company Markets

Work Is Meaningful When...

There are so many good things to learn in the book,  Helping People Win At Work , by Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge. Among those is the section about how to  define meaningful work . Their definition consists of these  seven attributes.  Work is meaningful when it : It is conducted in a manner that is "good and proper" in all respects. It positively affects our company and our communities, giving our work an impact that extends beyond ourselves. It provides learning and growth, offers challenges, requires creativity, pushes us to surpass limits, and creates exciting results. It provides recognition and rewards for our achievements. It allows us to succeed as a team while excelling as individuals. It allows us to enjoy the ride, bringing humor and fun into our work. It fuels passion!

Questions To Ask To Move Your Company Forward

Check out the April issue of Inc . magazine .  In that issue, you'll find a list of 35 questions from business owners, entrepreneurs and management thinkers.  Each offered the question they would ask to move a company forward. From the list, my favorites are : Are we relevant?  Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten? What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader? Are we changing as fast as the world around us? Who, on the executive team or the board, has spoken to a customer recently? And, my most favorite is : How can we become the company that would put us out of business? What question do you ask to help move your company forward?