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Showing posts from October, 2014

How To Foster Creativity

Here are some great tips and guiding principles for how a manager and leader can  build a culture to foster creativity . Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better. If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead. It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them. The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them. A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody. Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change—it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board. Thanks author  Ed Catmull  for these tips and great new book,  Creativity, Inc.

132 Pages Of Tips For How To Be A Better Leader

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 developmen

Challenging High-Potential Managers To Become Great Leaders

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 relationships Develop others Make decisions Take action And, they provide real-world examp

How To Make Better Decisions

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 procrastina

The Six Drivers That Maximize Employee Engagement

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 Leaders Effective Managers Who Keep Employees Aligned and Engaged Effective Teamwork at All Levels Job Enrichment and Professional Growth Valuing Employee Contributions Concern 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 .

The Critical First Years Of Your Professional Life

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 Fo

New Books For My Fall Reading List

These are the new books I've added to my fall reading list! The 27 Challenges Managers Face - Bruce Tulgan The Front-Line Leader - Chris Van Gorder Taking The Stage - Judith Humphrey Predicting Success - David Lahey Stacking The Deck - David S. Pottruck

Are You Spinning Your Employees In Circles?

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 decide. Successful managers gather the data from their employees, make any truly 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 decisions made at that

Compliance And Risk Management In Today's Business World

Dave Yarin  is a compliance and risk management consultant to senior management and directors of large and mid-size companies, and author of the soon to be published book,  Fair Warning – The Information Within .  Yarin follows and researches news stories regarding ignored warnings that lead to bad business outcomes, along with the social psychology theories that explain why these warnings were ignored. This week, Yarin shared with me insights into compliance and risk management, his forthcoming book, and leadership. Q and A with Dave Yarin 1. How does a compliance and risk management consultant help senior managers of large and mid-size companies? Yarin :  There are two approaches; ideally proactive but also reactive when necessary. Proactively, a compliance and risk management consultant helps companies to set up world-class compliance programs that help to mitigate risk by ensuring oversight of the compliance function, educating employees, creating and

Beyond The Job Description -- Interview With The Book's Author

Q and A with  Jesse Sostrin author of Beyond the Job Description Question :    What does the title of your book mean and what’s the truth about what employers really expect that is never written in job descriptions?   Sostrin :   Beyond the Job Description  represents two fundamental truths about the world of work. First, whether we realize it or not, our standard job descriptions only tell part of the story about the demands we face at work. In addition to the tasks and activities we have to perform, there are countless other challenges to getting great work done.    The second meaning has to do with the need for all of us to stand out in a crowded job market and do what is necessary to stay relevant in careers that keep getting longer. To do that you have to go "beyond the job description" and identify unique ways to contribute increasing value to your team and organization.   Question :   How can employees discover the true demands or “double r

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

Grossman Offers Dozens Of eBooks About Leadership And Communication

When I seek advice about leadership and how to effectively communicate in the workplace,  I often turn to David Grossman. Grossman  helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership and communication . Grossman’s work solves three business problems : Minimize the downside of change where business could be stopped, slowed or interrupted Maximize the upside of change to accelerate business results Turn employee confusion, skepticism or apathy into engagement Grossman is both a teacher and student of effective leadership and communication. He is one of America’s foremost authorities on communication and leadership inside organizations, and a sought-after advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. He also offers for free via his website a host of ebooks about primarily leadership and communication. “One of the most popular eBooks is the  Top 10 Barriers Communicators Face: How to Get Your Leader on Board with

Seven Ways To Delight Your Customers

If you want to delight your customers, then the book by Steve Curtin,  Delight Your Customers -- 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary , is a must-read for you and your employees. The book explains the  seven ways  for you and your employees to demonstrate  exceptional customer service : Express genuine interest Offer sincere and specific compliments Share unique knowledge Convey authentic enthusiasm Use appropriate humor Provide pleasant surprises Deliver service heroics "Exceptional customer service typically costs no more to deliver than poor customer service," explains Curtin. For example: How much does it cost to express genuine interest in customers or to anticipate their needs? Does it cost more to display a sense of urgency or to pay attention to detail? Do you pay your employees more to smile, to make eye contact, or to add energy to their voices? Curtin reminds readers that: Customers don't est

How To Put People First At Your Workplace

According to a survey as reported in John Baldoni’s book,  Lead with Purpose , more than  80 percent  of those surveyed say that  leaders can best demonstrate that they truly do put people first by : Delivering intrinsic awards (comp time, bonuses, etc.)  Offering developmental opportunities  Providing timely recognition  Promoting from within

Characteristics Of A Best Boss

In their book,  Rapid Realignment , authors George Labovitz and Victor Rosansky, reveal the most common responses from  thousands of managers and workers  when they were asked to think of the best boss they ever had, and then answer the question: " What did that person do to qualify as your best boss ?" And,  those most common responses were : My best boss listened! My best boss backed me up. My best boss trusted me and respected me. My best boss gave me feedback. My best boss left me alone. What else would you add to this list?  What did your best boss do? October 16 is Boss's Day in the United States.

The Seven Facts Of Business Life And The Five Levels Of Business Success

The fact is, if you are a budding entrepreneur, future business owner, or relatively “green” business owner, you need to read,  The Facts of Business Life , by Bill McBean. Because, in his book, McBean, a successful businessman with four decades of ownership experience, explains the essential  Seven Facts of Business Life  and the  Five Levels of Business Success . Being a successful business owner means more than knowing one’s industry and understanding the basic concepts of leadership, management, or motivation, according to McBean. It means being able to master many areas of business, and knowing how each of these areas relates to and build on each other. It also means understanding how those areas change as a business goes through its  inevitable life cycle , and  how the owner must be prepared to change with them . Fortunately,  The Facts of Business Life  provides readers with the means of achieving the kind of long-term understanding that is the key to true and lasti

John Jantsch Flips The Usual Sales Approach On Its Head

Author  John Jantsch  flips the usual sales approach on its head in his  book,  Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar . Today's sales superstars must attract, teach, convert, serve, and measure while developing a personal brand that stands for trust and expertise. According to Jantsch: Listening is the new prospecting. Educating is the new presenting. Insight is the new information sharing. Story building is the new nurturing. Value is the new closing. Jantsch shared with me these additional insights about his book and selling: 1.   What will it take for a salesperson who has been selling the "old school" way for 15-plus years to master the new "Duct Tape Selling" style? Jantsch :  Confidence that it's worth the work - Duct Tape Selling takes commitment and hard work to pay off, but that's what it takes to become a superstar salesperson. 2.   What is the meaning of the book title,  Duct Tape Se

The Lessons Learned From Small Businesses

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