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Showing posts from January, 2015

Full Engagement By Brian Tracy

Best-selling author Brian Tracy's book,  Full Engagement , provides practical advice for how to inspire your employees to perform at their absolute best. He explains that above nearly every measure, employees' most powerful single motivator is the "desire to be happy". So, Tracy teaches you how to make your employees happy by: Organizing their work from the first step in the hiring process through the final step in their departure from your company so they are happy with you, their work, their coworkers, as well as in their interactions with your customers, suppliers and vendors. Full Engagement  includes these chapters and topics: The Psychology of Motivation Ignite the Flame of Personal Performance Make People Feel Important Drive Out Fear Create That Winning Feeling Select The Right People Internal Versus External Motivation At a minimum, Tracy suggests that  managers do the following when managing their employees : Smile Ask questions Listen

How To Step Up To Lead In Six Moments That Matter

The 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 two 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 the

Why Responding To Customer Complaints Is Critical

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 complaints Refuse to defend or make excuses Offer to make the customer happy immediately Be open and honest Tell 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 .

How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out And Succeed

Judith Humphrey 's book,  Taking the Stage:  How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed , is based on a program that has been delivered to over 400,000 women worldwide. Filled with  practical and actionable advice , the book is ideal for women at all stages of their career  and  for the managers and executives committed to supporting and guiding these women on their leadership journeys. "This book deals with the qualities and desires deep within all of us," says Humphrey.  "It is our birthright to be heard.  We were born with voices -- loud, penetrating voices - and there is absolutely no reason why women should feel obliged to surrender those voices in the face of obstacles," adds Humphrey. Divided into  four parts and covering 25 themes , this "handbook" for women teaches readers how to make the most of every opportunity by understanding  how best to : Speak up confidently, even when others don't agree Convey your accomplishme

The Leadership Test

One of my favorite books about leadership is  The Leadership Test  by Timothy R. Clark.  You can read it in an hour and its message will guide you through your entire career. Here are some important points from the book that are particularly powerful: Leadership is the process of influencing volunteers to accomplish good things. The spectrum of influence ranges from manipulation to persuasion to coercion. Only persuasion is leadership.  Manipulation exploits.  Coercion controls.  Neither manipulation nor coercion can produce lasting results or consistent good results. Leadership is based on the influence-through-persuasion at the front end, combined with accountability at the back end. Clark further points out that: Leaders qualify themselves based on the manner of their influence and the nature of their intent. If you haven't read this gem of a book, pick up at copy today.

Must-Read eBooks From David Grossman

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 I

10 Ways To Be A Better 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.

Listening And Learning As A Leader

In John Baldoni's  book ,  The Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence , he provides these tips for listening as a leader and learning as a leader: When  Listening  As A   Leader : Look at people when they are speaking to you. Make eye contact. Ask open-ended questions, such as "Tell me about..." or "Could you explain this?" Consider the "what if" question:  "What if we looked at the situation like this?" Leverage the "why" question:  "Why do we do it this way?" Employ the "how" question:  "How can you do this?" When  Learning  As A Leader : Reflect on what people have told you. Think about what you have not observed.  Are people holding back?  If so, why? Consider how you can implement what you have observed. Get back to people who have suggested ideas to you and thank them. Look for opportunities to collaborate with others. For nearly 20 years, Baldoni has coached and c

How To Lead Breakthrough Change Against All Odds

David S. Pottruck 's new book, Stacking the Deck , teaches readers a nine-step course of action leaders can follow from the first realization that change is needed through all the steps of implementation, including assembling the right team of close advisors and getting the word out to the wider group. This book tells the in-the-trenches stories of individuals who led bold, sweeping change. Stories that walk you through the social and emotional reality of leading others -- many of whom are fearful of change. Stories from eBay President and CEO John Donahoe; Wells Fargo former CEO and Chairman Dick Kovacevich; Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz; San Francisco Giants President and CEO Larry Baer; and Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves. Part one of the book outlines the Stacking the Deck process -- the nine steps through which nearly every breakthrough change inevitably goes: Establishing the need to change and creating a sense of urgency. Recruiting and unifying

The Art Of Leading By Looking Ahead

Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead , gives readers practical guidance and concrete techniques to help leaders become more visionary. In his new book, Rob-Jan de Jong provides the developmental framework for visionary capacity, focusing on two key skills: The ability to see change early The ability to connect the dots Rob-Jan de Jong De Jong makes a clear distinction between the company vision and your personal vision. And, in this book, he helps you increase your personal visionary capacity for your personal leadership whether or not you are hierarchically in a senior position. The book includes many exercises and examples, along with QR codes to access videos with additional content that can be viewed on your smartphone. Some of de Jong's tips for how to think like a visionary and be a source of inspiration to your organization and teams include: Deliberately break your normal, everyday patterns. Develop a set of appreciative questions aimed

The Difference Between Success And Failure Is GRIT

Why are some people able to succeed in their work, careers, and lives despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet others crumble at the slightest sign of adversity?   Why do some organizations, whether in the private or public sector, thrive despite unprecedented competition, economic downturns, or worse, while others whither and die?   The difference between success and failure is grit ,” says Dr. Paul G. Stoltz in his new book,  G RIT: The New Science of What it Takes to Persevere, Flourish, Succeed .   Having spent thirty-five years studying human performance, Stoltz writes in his book, “I used to be convinced that grit was just one of those qualities on a long list of stuff that everyone knows you need to succeed. I could not have been more wrong. Grit isn’t a nice-to-have item on the get-the-most-out-of-life list. It’s the single most essential item on the list." The good news is that grit is something that anyone can grow and improve at any stage of his

How To Cultivate Enduring Customer Loyalty To Keep Your Business Thriving

"Today's customers demand something unlike anything they have ever wanted in the past -- a connection with your business," explains Noah Fleming , author of the new, must-read book , Evergreen . "This means that in order to increase customer loyalty, you need to create a relationship with that customer on a deeper and much more profound level," adds Fleming. And, to do this, you need to think in an entirely new way (at times even counterintuitively) about your market, your customers and your marketing offers. Noah Fleming Fortunately, in Fleming's timely and intensively relevant book , he shows you through strategies, exercises and examples what to do. He explains why the customer is not always right.  And, why not every customer is worth keeping. Fleming's techniques teach you how to acquire customers faster and how to create what he calls legitimate brand loyalty -- the type that helps to keep your business thriving. One of the boo

How To Discover Your LeaderGrade

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.

How To Write Anything

Ever wondered about the  do's and don'ts  of writing a: Business Apology Letter of Recommendation Job Advertisement Interview Follow-up Press Release Executive Summary Collection Letter Resignation Letter ...then, the book,  How To Write Anything: A Complete Guide  is for you. This 596-page book not only provides you  examples and templates  for all types of writing you do at work, but also, and most important, provides you do's and don'ts for each writing situation. Author  Laura Brown  provides  200 how-to entries and easy-to-use models  organized into three comprehensive sections on writing for: Work School  (research paper, book review, internship letter) Your Personal Life  (i.e. get-well note, baby shower invitation, complaint letter) Best of all, her advice is Internet-savvy, because she provides you advice for choosing the most appropriate medium for your message:  email or pen and paper. Brown has more than 25 years' expe

The Questions To Ask To Move Your Company Forward

The April 2014 issue of  Inc .  magazine featured a fascinating list of  35 questions  from business owners, entrepreneurs and management thinkers.  Each offered the one 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?

A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish

How To Build A Culture 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.

13 Energizing Verbs To Use More Often

In a few weeks, I'll post my review of the great new book, Anticipate, the Art of Leading by Looking Ahead , by Rob-Jan De Jong. In the meantime, here are 13 energizing verbs the author recommends we use more often: Discover (instead of See) Explore (instead of Discuss) Radiate (instead of Display) Uncover (instead of Show) Transform (instead of Change) Engage (instead of Involve) Mobilize (instead of Gather) Stretch (instead of Develop) Boost (instead of Increase) Propel (instead of Move) Deliver (instead of Give) Grasp (instead of Understand) Connect (instead of Join) Great advice, indeed!

6 Interview Questions To Ask To Access Leadership Skills

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!

How To Me A Manager With Class

One of my favorite sections of the book,  The First-Time Manager , 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 take action when angry. Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.

A Good Reason To Start Volunteering On January 19

As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday,  January 19 , volunteer or make the decision to volunteer in your community. King routinely asked “What are you doing for others,” and January 19th is the ideal day to ask yourself that question. The federal holiday was first observed 28 years ago and in 1994 Congress designated it as a National Day of Service, inspired by King’s words, “ everybody can be great because anybody can serve .” You can turn to  Volunteer Match  to find volunteer opportunities right in your neighborhood or nearby surrounding area. Visit the web site, type in your city's name and the types of volunteering opportunities that interest you most, and you will be presented with a variety of organizations seeking volunteers. And, if you are a leader in the workplace, encourage your employees and team members to volunteer in the community as individuals. Or, organize volunteer afternoons or evenings for your employees.

8-Point Plan For A Powerful Team

Take some quality time to read the 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

How To Write An Effective Nonprofit Annual Report

Here are some tips for leaders responsible for writing an effective annual report for their nonprofit organization. Consider making these  objectives  for your report: To demonstrate accomplishments ( not activities ) ( results  and how you did it). To recognize important people (volunteers, donors, major funders, partners). To provide an account of your organization's work for the past year. To share your mission with a wide audience. To generate new donations, retain donors and grow partnerships. Consider these  audience sectors  when writing your report: Donors Volunteers Community leaders Future board members Supporters (in-kind) Elected officials  Potential partners, grant funding entities Allow  three to four months to prepare your report : Create and outline Gather an organize content Engage your management team Design Review/Proof Print Distribute Consider packaging your report with a  theme , such as one of these: Transformation D

How To Be An Effective Listener

A good book to add to your 2015 reading list is AMACOM's (a division of the  American Management Association ), The 11 Laws of Likability . From the book, here are some great reminders on  listening  --  what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finis

How To Be A Better Leader In 2015

Four years ago, Lynn Flinn of  EWF International  wrote the following in her business' newsletter. It's so powerful I wanted to bring it back again this year as 2015 gets underway. So, here goes...Lynn's advice for leaders: •  Do something that you are afraid to do . Run through the fear rather than running away from it. •  Take a personal risk . Tell someone something you've always wished you'd said to them. •  Write a note to someone who inspires you  but probably doesn't know it. •  Pick one characteristic about yourself that you'd like to change and earnestly work on changing it . It is really hard to change a behavior, but it is possible if you are aware, patient and persistent in making a change. •  Realize when you are not engaged and re-engage . Turn off the television, turn off the cell phone, and pay attention to the people around you. •  Smile and talk to strangers that you meet . It is amazing how much shorter a long line feels w