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Showing posts from July, 2014

5 Strategies From The Book, Into The Storm

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Imagine navigating a tiny boat through a sudden, violent storm at sea -- with winds roaring at nearly 100 mph and waves soaring to 80 feet -- to not only survive, but triumph over formidable competitors in one of the world's toughest ocean races.

It's a feat claimed by the crew of the AFR Midnight Rambler, overall winner of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart -- the most treacherous and tragic race to date in the six-decade history of Australia's iconic competition.

As Dennis Perkins, an expert on thriving under daunting conditions, shows in his book, Into The Storm, it's also a feat rich in lessons for anyone tasked with maintaining smooth, effective teamwork -- and delivering winning results -- in the unpredictable, turbulent waters of today's business environment.

Inspired by the Ramblers -- the Midnight Rambler's team of one determined skipper and six dedicated amateur sailors -- here are five crucial strategies, with proven tactics, for Teamwork at The Edge of human en…

How To Write A Company Policy: 5 Tips

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Keep these five tips in mind when you craft your next company policy:
Keep the policy short and simple.Get rid of two old policies for every new policy you implement.Make sure that your organization's policy and procedures are written to serve your employees and customers--not just your organization.Don't write a policy in reaction to a single incident.  The problem may never arise again.Don't write a policy longer than one-page, no matter how large your organization may be. Thanks to author Bob Nelson for these great tips from his book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees.

8 Ways To Show You Value Your Employees

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There are eight specific actions business leaders can take to show that they value their employees, according to Andrew Leigh, author of the bookEthical Leadership -- Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture.

Those eight behaviors are: Attention -- Pay attention to what people say to show your interest.Listen -- Make time to hear what colleagues, peers and employees have to say to show you care.Positive Language -- Find words and phrases to show employees they're needed.  Examples are, "We couldn't have accomplished this without you," "That was really useful."Document -- Put praise in writing to increase its impact.  Make clear where the credit belongs.Micro Sessions -- Create two-way communication sessions.Visits -- Schedule visits to teams and work areas.Stories -- Share stories that highlight unusual contributions and provide your personal response to them.Invite -- Ask people to contact you directly with their issues and concerns -- not to …

Make It Easy For Your Employees To Volunteer

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If you are a workplace leader who supports a volunteer program at your business, you already know that by encouraging employees to give back to your community you are:
building teamworkmotivating employeesattracting new hires In fact, job seekers much prefer companies that have a strong volunteer program. And, a growing number of businesses are rewarding employees who volunteer by giving them extra vacation time and other incentives.

Fortunately, throughout the U.S. there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities where employees can contribute individually, or where leaders can organize teams of employees to volunteer together on a routine and scheduled basis.

To find organizations in need of volunteers, go to Volunteer Match and type in your zip code.  You'll be presented a list of nearby volunteer opportunities.  Also, you can find opportunities on iPartcipate.

How To Use The Friendship Factor To Motivate Employees

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All you need is one hour to read Brian Tracy's newest, pocket-sized guide for managers, Motivation.

"You cannot motivate other people," explains Tracy, "but you can remove the obstacles that stop them from motivating themselves.  All motivation is self-motivation.  As a manager, you can create an environment where this potential for self-motivation is released naturally and spontaneously."

In the book, Tracy presents chapter-by-chapter his 21 most reliable and powerful methods for increasing the effectiveness of any individual or group.

Each chapter includes a couple different action exercises.

Toward the end of the book, Tracy explains the importance of the Friendship Factor in motivating employees.  "Every manager can tap into the power of friendship in everyday employee interactions by remembering the three Cs:  Consideration, Caring and Courtesy.
Practice consideration by expressing an interest in your employees as individuals.Express caring for your s…

Find The Truth In The Middle

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If you're a parent of two children you already know that when the two are fighting and child #1 tells you what happened, you then ask child #2 what happened, and most often the truth is somewhere in the middle of what the two children have told you.

Surprisingly, many managers, even when they are parents, don't use this parenting "discovery" skill in the workplace. Instead, they often listen to only one side of a situation. Whether it is because of lack of interest or lack of time, they don't proactively seek out the other side of the story.

The unfortunate result is those managers form incorrect perceptions that can often lead to poor decisions and/or directives.

So, the next time two employees are at odds, or when one department complains about another department within your organization, take the time to listen to all sides of the situation to discover the truth that's in the middle.

eBook: Mastering The Art Of Messaging

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David Grossman, president and founder of The Grossman Group, published in 2010 a helpful, free eBook titled:  Mastering The Art of Messaging.  Four years later, it remains a valuable tool for workplace leaders.

Grossman says that perhaps it’s the still tough economy, technology, or that every is just 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 employeesunhappy workplacesstressed bossesdemanding shareholders In Grossman's 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:
w…

How To Tell An Effective Story During Your Presentation

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Joey Asher's 100-page book,15 Minutes Including Q&A provides a "plan to save the world from lousy presentations," proclaims Asher.

In chapter 8, Asher explains that the best presentations have stories and if you want to be a good speaker, you need to know how to tell an effective story.

Asher's formula is:
Start with the point.  You don't want people wondering why you're telling them a story.Tell the story chronologically.Keep your story tight and on point, but give some details.Make your story personal to you.Remind your audience of the point at the end.Keep your story to between 30 and 60 seconds.

The 4 Things To Ask When An Employee Leaves

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As a leader, it's critical that you understand the real reasons employees leave your company. To do that, you need to ask specific questions that may not be ones you currently include in your exit interviews.

Fortunately, Richard Finnegan, shares in his book, Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Badfour key questions you should include in your exit interviews:
Why did you decide to leave us?Of all the things you've told me, what is the top thing that caused you to resign?It's great that you've found such a good opportunity, but why did you look?What one thing could we have done that would have caused you to stay? Your goal is to learn the most important leave reason rather than learn which three or five things contributed to your employee's decision to leave. The four questions above will help you learn the most important reason.

The New Beta Way To Lead

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It's these chapter headings in the book, The Fall of the Alphas, that first grabbed my interest:
Corporate AnthropologyPlows and PrimatesBoomers and BonobosInformation Changes EverythingThe Top of a Different PyramidEliminating ElitismManaging EgoIt Takes Two to Beta
Next, it was author Dana Ardi's premise that convinced me to read her book:
“Today’s American corporate world is a tale of two cultures.  One, more traditional and common, is centralized and hierarchical.  I call it Alpha.  The other, smaller and rarer, is decentralized, horizontal, and inclusive.  I call this one Beta,” explains corporate anthropologist Dana Ardi
Drawing on her vast experience as a venture capitalist, organizational design expert, and management consultant, Ardi argues that the future belongs to the Betas.


In her book, The Fall of the Alphas:  The New Beta Way to Connect, Collaborate, Influence – And Lead, she shows why the Beta model is the key to both business and career success.

With the adve…

4 Questions To Ask To Ensure You Are Always Innovating

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I'm a big fan of the magazine, Experience Life.  Particularly the monthly Perspective column by Bahram Akradi, the founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness.

Akradi tackled self-reflection in a recent issue of the publication.  He firmly believes the business model that if you aren't innovating you are dying.  And, to innovate, you have to regularly fine-tune both your business and your life.

What better way to do that than to ask yourself each day these four questions, says Akradi:
Where did I do some good or make some progress today?Where did I let myself or others down?What can I do to keep my good habits going?What can I do to address any negative triggers or trends before they get out of hand? Thanks Bahram for this great advice.  And, thanks for a great a great business, health, fitness and quality-of-life magazine.


Today's Five Quotes For Leaders

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Some of my favorite quotes for leaders are:
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit -- Arnold H. GlasgowI praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of RussiaHonest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas GandhiA long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- VoltaireThe least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable -- Paul Broca These and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101.

Book Review & Highlights: Leadership Conversations

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When I read business books, I turn the corner of every page that has something I really like, want to remember and easily reference in the future.

Halfway into the 300-page book, Leadership Conversations, I had turned the corners of nearly every fifth pages.  So, you can see why I believe this is such a good book.  There is so much to learn from Leadership Conversations.  It's a must read for today's business leaders.  Leaders who are leading multi-generational workforces.  And, leaders who want the skills to get promoted and move up the corporate ladder.

Authors Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz wrote the book because they believe that a leader's most powerful skill is the ability to hold effective conversations. So, in their book, they detail the four types of conversations every leader must effectively master.  Conversations that:

Build relationshipsDevelop othersMake decisionsTake action And, they provide real-world examples and tactical guidance for each of those con…

The Six Universal Drivers At "Best Places To Work" Companies

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Overland Park, Kansas-based author Leigh Branham, along with Mark Hirschfeld, awhile back completed a survey of 10,000 employees in 43 states to better understand what separates a "best places to work" company from other companies.

What Branham and Hirschfeld discovered is that the best companies use six "universal drivers" that maximize employee engagement:
Caring, Competent, and Engaging Senior LeadersEffective Managers Who Keep Employees Aligned and EngagedEffective Teamwork at All LevelsJob Enrichment and Professional GrowthValuing Employee ContributionsConcern for Employee Well-Being Branham also explains that to get the best from your employees you need to re-engage them. You can learn more about how to do that in his book, Re-Engage.

Today's Leadership Thought - Passion And An Open Mind

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"You can express your own views as passionately as you want, as long as you're equally curious about others' views." -- Author of Smart Leaders Smarter TeamsRoger Schwarz.

How Video Recruitment Cuts The Cost Of Finding New Staff

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Today's Guest Post is from a company that offers a new exciting service for leaders, managers and human resources departments.


Guest Post
By Andy Law, HuddleRecruit.com
Finding new staff is a headache for any business. It involves a lot of time, organization and cost (for example, the UK recruitment industry reports that on average a new hire costs over £5,000). But now video recruitment offers a way of not only cutting costs but making the recruitment process as effective as possible. It’s an option that every business should consider.
The growth of video on the web has been phenomenal and people now create, edit and share videos online as a matter of course. This means that a huge number of job seekers are now video literate and entirely at ease with recording themselves. So if you’re looking for new employees, it makes sense to tap into this ever-growing resource of video-savvy candidates.
And it is easy to do - in fact you probably already have all the equipment you need. A new …

The 14 Things Great Coaches Do

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For those who may have missed this posting from earlier in the year, I am pleased to share again a guest post from Garret Kramer of InnerSports LLC about how to be a great coach:


14 Attributes of Great Coaches By Garret Kramer, Author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life


There are many, many coaching manuals and books on the market today.   Unfortunately, virtually all of them provide an external blueprint or "positive" guide to successful coaching and leadership. Very few, however, point the coach inward to an intuitive understanding that he or she already possesses.


Below are fourteen examples of the inside-out coaching paradigm revealed in Stillpower.  Consider these attributes of great coaches for yourself; then see how they might apply to you, your team, classroom, company, or family.


1.  Great coaches think state of mind first; behavior (including "working hard, "staying positive, and "doing the 'right' thing"), a distant second…

Prepare To Be Asked These Questions At Your Next Job Interview

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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

Don't Hire Someone Just Like You

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Despite the temptation to hire someone like yourself, hire someone to complement your skills --not to duplicate your skills.

Managers often find it easier, more comfortable, or less threatening to hire someone with similar skills and work habits. But, to build a well-balanced team and to achieve maximum success, you need to have employees who can fill in your weaker areas.

So, if you are a great idea person, but a poor communicator, hire someone with strong communications skills. Similarly, if your team excels in sales but lacks organization, add an employee who leads in organization.

This may all seem like common sense. And you obviously need to hire someone to meet certain/minimum skill sets and who will be a good overall fit. But, do what you can to avoid the trap or temptation to hire someone just like you.

How Do You Answer These 7 Leadership Skills Assessment Questions?

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Open Leadership book author Charlene Li reminds leaders to periodically ask themselves these "open leadership skills assessment" questions:
Do I seek out and listen to different points of view?Do I make myself available to people at all levels of the organization?Do I actively manage how I am authentic?Do I encourage people to share information?Do I publicly admit when I am wrong?Do I update people regularly?Do I take the time to explain how decisions are being made? Thanks for these great questions, Charlene!

How Teams Produce Uplifting Leadership

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Here's great advice and insight about leadership and teams that pull together, from the new book, Uplifting Leadership: How Organizations, Teams, and Communities Raise Performance:

"Uplifting leadership entails engaging a talented team that values risk and creativity, acknowledges and tolerates honest mistakes, and has members that participate and 'play' in interchangeable roles and positions. They inspire each other as leadership emerges throughout the group."

Show Your Team How To Provide Good Internal Customer Service

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Too often, we think of only external customer service, and forget about the need for excellent internal customer service.

No matter what type of business, organization or team you lead, remind your team members/employees of the need for and importance of internal customer service.

Similar to external customer service, that means employees/team members should:

1. Return phone calls on a timely basis.
2. Answer e-mails.
3. Be polite.
4. Probe to discover how else he/she can be helpful to a co-worker.
5. Be respectful of co-workers.

Lead your team in providing excellent internal customer service. If need be, make internal customer service a discussion topic at your next group meeting.

Discover Your LeaderGrade

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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.

The Little Book Of Leadership Development

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The authors of the above pictured leadership book suggest that readers don't read their book cover to cover.  But, if you're like me, you'll read the book that way.  That's because I found, The Little Book of Leadership Development, by Scott J. Allen and Mitchell Kusy, a compelling read, packed with practical tips and techniques for both leading and helping others to learn how to lead effectively.

What you'll find is basically 50 one- to two-page chapters, each highlighting a leadership tip.  Some tips seem easy and no-brainers.  Others are more difficult to implement.  But, even the "easy" ones are surprisingly absent from many organizations, so they are well worth a reminder of what to do and how to do it correctly.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the book that highlight the keen observations by the authors:
As a leader, if you are active, involved, and perceived by members of your team as an individual who care about their development and growth,…

How To Lose Respect With An Employee

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Picture this. You call an employee into your office for a meeting. As your employee is explaining something to you, you turn to your computer monitor to check e-mail. Or, you answer your phone. Or, you look at your mobile device. Or, you engage in a conversation with someone who enters your doorway.

Do any of these once and your employee will likely forgive you. Do any of these actions regularly and you'll quickly lose the respect of your employee!

Rarely is there a reason not to give your employee your full, undivided attention during a meeting/conversation. You can only be a good listener if you are maintaining eye contact with your employee and not multi-tasking.

6 Questions To Ask During Project Reviews

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Here is some great advice from the authors of, Helping People Win At Work.  Those authors, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, recommend you ask the following six essential questions whenever you do a project review:
What did we set out to do?What actually happened?Why did this happen?What will we do next time?What should we continue to do?What should we do differently? Seems simple enough, but how often do we really take the time to step back and ask ALL six of these questions?
And, these questions are important to ask even if there was no mistakes made during the project. Continually planning and executing without the value of a review can blindside you.

Get more great advice from their book.

How To Select A Good Executive Coach

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When a leader or manager is considering using an executive coach, Marilyn O'Hearne, Master Certified Coach in the Kansas City metro area, said that person should at a minimum: Make sure the coach is certified and subscribes to a code of ethics.Ask for referrals about the coaches you are evaluating.Read testimonials on websites and on LinkedIn about the coaches.Have an introductory, no-obligation phone conversation with the prospective coaches.Discuss with the prospective coaches their experience and training.O'Hearne started executive coaching in 1998 and served as one of the Vice Presidents of the Board of Directors of the International Coach Federation, which has over 15,000 members in 92 countries. "Coaching will benefit any executive who wants to become a more effective leader," said O'Hearne. "Especially useful times to engage a coach are when a leader is moving or preparing to move into a new executive position, and when there is a merger or other cultur…

7 Ways To Succeed In The Future

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Here are the seven smart things you can do to succeed in the future, according to leadership expert. John Baldoni, in his book, Lead With Purpose:
Make purpose a central focus.Instill purpose in others.Make employees comfortable with ambiguity.Turn good intentions into great results.Make it safe to fail (as well as prevail).Develop the next generation.Prepare yourself.

Leadership Quotes From, The Pause Principle

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Today, I share some of my favorite  quotes from Kevin Cashman's new book, The Pause Principle.

"What sleep is to the mind and body, pause is to leadership and innovation.""Managers assert drive and control to get things done; leaders pause to discover new ways of being and achieving.""Managers require competency to drive results; leaders embody character to build a compelling, sustainable future.""Managers accelerate to keep pace with the competition; whereas leaders paradoxically step back to go beyond the competition."

6 Road Trips Reveal Critical Lessons For Business Success

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If you’re like me, you love road trips.  And, if you’re like most everyone, you appreciate hearing a good story.  
Just imagine how intriguing it would be to hear stories about six road trips.  Six road trips across the U.S. that produced dozens of stories about what local small businesses on Main Street’s across America do that can inspire big businesses on Wall Street – or Madison Avenue megabrands, or enterprise of any size -- in today’s economy.
Well, that’s exactly what you get when you read the new book, Roadside MBA:  Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs,Executives and Small Business Owners. You’ll read those dozens of stories captured by three information-hungry economist/b-school professor buddies who traveled Memphis, TN to Omaha, NE; Charlotte, NC to Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL to Cincinnati, OH, and so on.
Applying economic reasoning to the strategic questions that challenge any business, the authors reveal what real American small businesses can teach us beyond the bounds of most…

Use Storytelling As A Key Leadership Tool

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Paul Smith, author of the best-seller book,Lead With A Story, is a true believer in telling stories. “Today, many of the most successful organizations on the planet intentionally use storytelling as a key leadership tool,” explains Smith.   


Several companies, such as Kimberly-Clark, actively teach storytelling skills to their leaders.  And, some forward-thinking business schools such as Notre Dame and De Paul University have even added storytelling courses to their management curriculum.

“As a leader or a manger, if you’re not using storytelling as a method to rally your troops and convince others of your ideas, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal,” says Smith.



Lead With A Story explains why storytelling is so powerful and why it's back in favor within the business world.  The book is packed with 100 ready-to-use narratives that show you how to connect with bosses, employees and customers.   These narratives can be used as a springboard to p…