Showing posts from February, 2015

The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership

A few months ago brought the release of the new book, The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership:  Classical Wisdom for Modern Leaders.

As you dig in, you'll step back in time to learn philosophies of the past and how to apply them today.

Authors M. A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas offer a fresh approach to becoming a great leader by learning from antiquity's great thinkers, such as Aristotle, Hesiod, Sophocles, Heraclitus, and others.

Each chapter in the book is devoted to one philosophy of leadership that equate to ten simple rules:
Know ThyselfOffice Shows the PersonNurture Community at the WorkplaceDo Not Waste Energy on things You Cannot ChangeAlways Embrace the TruthLive Life by a Higher CodeAlways Evaluate Information with a Critical EyeNever Underestimate the Power of Personal IntegrityCharacter is Destiny You'll learn how to take each idea and apply it to the challenges of the modern workplace.
According to the authors, the key distinguishing features of an authentic le…

My Career Insights Into How To Create An Effective Corporate Culture

Fortunately, most of my career I’ve worked in effective corporate cultures. If I put together the best of each, here is what made those environments effective:

• Leaders led by example on a consistent basis and were willing to roll up their sleeves, particularly during tight deadlines or challenging times.

• Employees clearly understood how what they did made a difference and how their contributions made the organization either more profitable or more effective.

• The workforce included a blend of long-term employees with a rich company, product/service and customer history, employees who had been at the company for five to seven years, and then new hires with a fresh perspective and keen sense of new technologies and techniques. That blend worked best when the mix included virtually all A-players.

• Top managers had a clear, realistic and strategic vision for how the company would grow and compete in the marketplace.

• Employees were challenged and rewarded through growth opportunit…

How To Use The Friendship Factor To Motivate Employees

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…

Six Universal 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 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.

Why Learning Beats Knowing

Liz Wiseman's book, Rookie Smarts, is all about living and working perpetually on a learning curve.

She contends that we do our best work when we are new to something.  And, she teaches us how to reclaim and cultivate the curious, flexible and youthful mindset called "rookie smarts."

"Something magical happens when a skilled veteran successfully re-learns his rookie smarts and is still able to retain his veteran acumen," explains Wiseman.

Wondering if you are ready for a new challenge?  Take a look at this list from Wiseman of the 10 signs that indicate you are ready for a new challenge:

Things are running smoothly.You are consistently getting positive feedback.Your brain doesn't have to work hard to be successful.You don't prepare for meetings because you already know the answers.You've stopped learning something new every day.You are busy but bored.You're taking longer showers in the morning and you take your time getting to work.It makes you t…

The Secret Science Of Brilliant Leadership

Coherence:  The Secret Science of Brilliant Leadership is the 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:
Culture is the collective attitudes w…

What The Most Successful CEOs Know About Internal Communication

Communications expert David Grossman of Your Thought Partner awhile back published a white paper – What the most successful CEOs know: how internal CEO communications shapes financial performance.

"CEOs who communicate often and well inside their organizations have better reputations – and that leads directly to better business results," explains David. "They’ve also got more engaged employees – another strong, measurable driver of positive financial outcomes."

David's white paper incorporates research compiled from a number of leading sources and points to some critical key headlines, including:
Internal communications helps drive organizational financial performance and other key business results, and enhances organizational reputation.There’s a correlation between effective internal communications on topics the CEO is best prepared to address, such as explaining business conditions and challenges, providing information on organizational performance and financ…

The Orbital Perspective

Astronaut Ron Garan
How can you not read a book that starts out, "I have wanted to write this book since returning to Earth from my first space mission in 2008"?

Well, that's exactly how astronaut Ron Garan's new book, The Orbital Perspective, starts.

Garan is a retired NASA astronaut who has traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet during more than 178 days in space and 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA (extravehicular activity) during four spacewalks.

For Garan, living on the International Space Station (ISS) was a transformative experience – one he believes that can help us solve the world’s toughest crises. Though exploration in space led Garan to many new frontiers; perhaps his most important discovery came in the form of a parallel reality. On Earth, the former US fighter pilot during the Cold War fought the Russians; in space, the US and Russia worked as allies.
As he took in a spectacular view of the planet from the ISS, Garan’s “Orbital Perspectiv…

How To Reduce Your Employee Turnover Rate

Knowing why an employee leaves your company can help you to reduce your employee turnover rate.

That's because you can use the reasons a departing employee provides to gather information about processes, people and departments that might need some redirection to correct situations that may have contributed to the employee's reasons for leaving.

So, do an exit interview whenever possible with each departing employee. Ask each person:
Why they are leavingWhat they liked about their jobWhat they would have changed about their jobHow they felt about the cooperation level among co-workersHow they felt about communication and interaction with co-workersWhether they received the necessary training to do their jobWhether they received frequent coaching and balanced feedback from their supervisorWould they recommend a friend apply for work at your companyHow they felt about their payHow they would describe the morale in the company and in their departmentWhat they would change about th…

How To Handle Conflict In The Workplace

Handling conflict is one of the most difficult things a leader has to deal with.  Unfortunately, conflict in the workplace is inevitable.
In fact, research shows that 42 percent of a manager's time is spent addressing conflict.  And, over 65 percent of performance problems are caused by employee conflicts. Managers new in their leadership role typically have had little to no training on how to deal with conflict.

Fortunately, in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101, you can learn:
How conflict is createdHow we respond to conflictHow to management conflict more effectively Shearouse explains that even though conflict is inevitable, it can lead to both growth and progress.  "There is little progress that is not preceded by some kind of conflict," says Shearouse.

I found particularly helpful in the book the definitions of the following five different types of conflict and then how best to deal with each:
Problems to solveDisagreementContestFightIntractable situation Al…

Moments That Significantly Impact Company Culture

In his new book, The Responsible Leader, Tim Richardson explains that to create a high-performance culture, you need to plan and prepare for the following moments to ensure the conversations surrounding them are both meaningful and intentional:

recruitment and induction of new team membersperformance management discussionspromotion interviews and talent management discussionscoaching discussionscustomer sales presentationshandling customer complaints and problemsbriefings to the press, analysts and wider marketsenior leaders' contact with, and briefings to, teams across the organizationinternal presentations with executive committeesteam meetings and management meetings Richardson's advice to improve the quality of these conversations is to consider: How clear is the principal message for the conversation? How can you ensure that the content of the discussion is focused on the key message(s)?How can you ensure the quality of the listening by all parties?How can you set a pace t…

How To Write Effective Performance Appraisals

Today's guest post is by:
Peggy Pedwano Solutions Specialist at Halogen Software
As performance appraisal time draws near, managers are all too likely to be dreading the exercise.  According to a  report by the Wharton School, although 91% of companies worldwide have a performance review process, only 35 to 40% do it well, often because managers lack the training to write effective performance appraisals. 
Here are some ideas to help you write effective performance appraisals that can form the basis for a discussion that will actually add value to employee performance reviews.   Begin with a clear understanding of what is important. If you and your employees have set performance goals or established other performance measurement criteria, this should be a relatively easy process. But even if you haven’t, taking the time to think through the year’s priorities and projects will help you focus your appraisal on what matters most. Consider projects where you have been able to observe o…

Trust-Building Tips

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 honestKeep commitments and keep your wordAvoid surprisesBe consistent with your moodBe your bestDemonstrate respectListenCommunicateSpeak with a positive intentAdmit mistakesBe willing to hear feedbackMaintain confidencesGet to know othersPractice empathySeek input from othersSay "thank you"

Six Ways To Jump-Start Your Business

As a leader in your business, try these six ideas to give your business a jump-start:
Ask for ideas from employees in all parts of your business. Don't ask for ideas only from your product development or marketing departments.Be sure all employees clearly understand your vision and the mission of your business.Brainstorm ways to take advantage of your strengths.Determine how to overcome your business' weaknesses.Choose which opportunities you will prioritize to help keep everyone focused on a common goal.Celebrate your successes regularly and encourage learning from your mistakes.

Don't Be This Type Of Boss

A former co-worker shared a great blog post with me 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.

Thought For The Day

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it." -- David Beckahm

Don't Hog All The Credit

Insecure managers hog the credit for a job well done. Or, they hide the credit and don't give credit where credit is due. These managers are afraid to let their employees be in the limelight.

Secure and successful managers talk up their employees, highlighting the good performance they've done, and are eager to give credit where credit is due. They promote their staff to their supervisor and to others within their organization.

Successful managers know that they look good when their employees look good.

Giving credit where credit is due is a sign of a manager who is wise and confident. It's a sign of a manager who demonstrates good leadership skills. So, when your employees excel, allow them to take the spotlight.

Why Giving Positive Feedback Is Better Than Giving Praise

There is an important difference between giving your employees positive feedback and giving them praise.
Positive feedback focuses on the specifics of job performance.Praise, often one-or two-sentence statements, such as “Keep up the good work,” without positive feedback leaves employees with empty feelings. Worse yet, without positive feedback, employees feel no sense that they are appreciated as individual talents with specific desires to learn and grow on the job and in their careers, reports Nicholas Nigro, author of, The Everything Coaching and Mentoring Book.
So, skip the praise and give positive feedback that is more uplifting to your employees because it goes to the heart of their job performance and what they actually do.An example of positive feedback is:

“Bob, your communications skills have dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The report that you just prepared for me was thorough and concise. I appreciate all the work you’ve put into it, as do your team mem…

Leadership And Life Quotes

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 learn anything by being told, they have to…

Fail Fast Or Win Big

In his new book, Fail Fast or Win Big: The Start-up Plan for Starting Now, author Bernhard Schroeder gives you the edge he believes you'll need to be an entrepreneur who can launch a profitable business—in 90 days or less.
He draws on his work with many talented entrepreneurs (the founders of Yahoo! and Amazon included), and presents a proven expedient route to start-up success. That expedited route includes fostering entrepreneurship by facilitating the introduction of product and service “rough drafts” to customers, and then, based on feedback, swiftly adjusting—or dumping—them. Schroeder calls this The LeanModel Framework.
Readers will quickly become adept at:
Leveraging all the lean resources around them, from their own skill set, local community, and personal circles to professional networks, online resources, and technology tools.

Developing and evolving a solid business model, rather than agonizing over writing a formal business plan, with attention to their venture’s unique…

Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader

This week, Herminia Ibarra will release her latest book, Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader.

Contrary to popular opinion, Ibarra argues that you have to act your way into a new type of leadership thinking instead of thinking your way into it. And to do this, you need to develop and practice outsight (versus insight).

To do that, you should:

Redefine your job to make time for more strategic work and more work outside your function, unit and even organization.Diversify your network so that you connect to and learn from a bigger range of stakeholders.Get more playful with your sense of self so that you allow yourself to experiment with styles of behaving that go against your nature. "Doing things -- rather than simply thinking about them -- will increase your outsight on what leadership is all about," explains Ibarra.
Here are three ways to do things at your office tomorrow: Sign up for one new project, task-force, professional association or extracurricular professional acti…

Promote Excellent Internal Customer Service

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.

How You Make Them Feel

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  - Maya Angelou

Thank You

Thank you for helping me be No. 64 on this list!

Never Say These Words To A Customer

Author Harvey MacKay wrote the following spot-on advice in his column in the Kansas City Business Journal a few years ago.  He wisely points out that all employees at every level should never use these four words in front of a client/customer for both obvious and perhaps not so obvious reasons:
Can't -- As in, "We can't do that."  "We can't meet that deadline."  Unless you honestly cannot produce and then be honest and help them find another vendor.Busy -- As in, "I'll call you when I'm not so busy."  "I'm really busy right now." The word "busy" gives your customer the impression they are a low priority.Safe -- As in, "Let's play it safe."  Customers typically want to engage in calculated risks versus playing it safe.Fear -- As in, "I fear that we may be moving too fast."  That tells your customer you haven't done your homework. MacKay writes, "Common sense, thorough research and…

How Do You Answer These "Open Leadership" Questions?

Open Leadership 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 To Check Your Grammar

Grammarly is an online grammar checker. It's an online spell and grammar checking application that helps users find and correct English writing issues. It provides context and correction suggestions about grammar, spelling, vocabulary usage and plagiarism.

In fact, Grammarly scans your text for proper use of more than 250 advanced grammar rules, spanning everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement.

It’s also easy to use. Simply copy and paste any English writing into Grammarly’s grammar checker. Grammarly’s algorithms then flag potential issues in the text and provide context and suggested corrections, enabling you to make informed decisions about whether, and how, to correct the issue.
Grammarly is used by over four million people.

Recently, the company conducted a study with over 400 freelancers to determine what impact writing skills have on one's career opportunities.

The company proofread the 400 freelancer profiles and checked for grammar,…

The Resiliency Revolution

"Stress is on the rise, both at work and home, and we cannot avoid it," says Jenny C. Evans. "The problem is that trying to 'reduce' stress is simply a waste of time. Instead, people need to become 'resilient' to stress, learning how to quickly recover from it," explains Evans.

Evans teaches readers of her new book,THE RESILIENCY rEVOLUTION: Your Stress Solution For Life 60 Seconds at a Time, how to become resilient to stress.

Evans is also founder and CEO of PowerHouse Performance, where she works with thousands of C-suite executives, leaders, and employees worldwide to help them improve their resilience, performance and productivity, while enhancing their health. 

Jenny C. Evans
Her new book is fully of stories, action plans and techniques for becoming healthier (eating healthfully, exercising, etc.) to create the resiliency you need to combat stress.
This week, Evans shared these additional insights about what she teaches in her book:
Question: All to…

5 Tips For Writing An Effective Company Policy

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.