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Showing posts from July, 2015

How To Be A Catalyst Leader

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"Catalyst leaders represent the gold standard -- energetic, supportive, forward-thinking mentors who spark action in others," explain Tacy M. Byham and Richard S. Wellins, authors of the new book, Your First Leadership Job -- How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others.


More specifically, the authors share that a catalyst leader:
Asks and listensFosters innovationProvides balanced feedbackBuilds trustFocuses on people's potentialCollaborates and networksEmpowers othersEncourages developmentEnergizes and mobilizesAligns actions with strategy In the book, you'll learn how catalyst leaders bring out the best in people. They do that by, among other actions, by: Encouraging the person to try new things.Giving the person input on things that affect him/her.Allowing the person to safely learn through failure, so they can take appropriate risks.Taking the time to find out what motivates the person. The authors also cover the following topics in the book: How to build tru…

10 Important Leadership Questions

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Here are 10 important questions business leaders should ask, according to Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, authors of Helping People Win At Work:
Does my business have a clear, meaningful, and easily understood vision/mission?Do I have the right people in the right seats on the bus?Do I have a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), and have I communicated it to my employees?Are my values driving the behavior I want in my organization?Am I creating a culture that increases employee engagement?Am I cultivating a spirit of internal and external learning?Do my employees know what an A looks like, and am I supporting them to get that A?Are our products/services creating lasting, positive memories for our customers?Do I have the best, most timely data and information to help my business make good decisions?Are our key performance indicators the right ones, and are we measuring what matters? And, one more questions to ask is:
Do we celebrate success?

Nine Times When You Should Thank Your Customer

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In your leadership role, it's vital that your team members know how to deliver excellent customer service. "Knock Your Socks Off" type service as book editor Ann Thomas and Jill Applegate would say.

Part of delivering excellent customer service is saying "Thank You" to your customers and knowing when to say "Thank You".

Thomas and Applegate recommend telling your customers "Thank You" during at least these nine situations:
When they do business with you...every time.When they compliment you (or your company)When they offer you comments or suggestionsWhen they try one of your new products or servicesWhen they recommend you to a friendWhen they are patient...and even when they are not so patientWhen they help you to serve them betterWhen they complain to youWhen they make you smileYou and your team members can say "Thank You":
VerballyIn writing (and don't underestimate the power of personal notes via snail mail)With a small, tast…

Eight Ways To Build A Powerful Team

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Take some quality time to read the book by C. Elliott HaverlackUnbunde 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 individual to create and ac…

How To Be A Better Listener: 10 Tips

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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.

Light A Fire Under Your Business

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I have a deep respect for the leadership and teamwork embodied by Navy SEALS, Olympic athletic teams, and firefighters. That's why I find the new book, Light A Fire Under Your Business: How to Build a Class 1 Corporate Culture Through Inspirational Leadership, so interesting.

In the book, former Los Angeles Fire Department Captains turned business executives Tom Pandola and James W. Bird share principles for management, leadership and success that have the power to continuously improve business operations, personnel motivation, and the bottom line.

The stories they tell in the book are actual experiences. And, it's these stories of their past experiences that acted as a practical classroom in which they learned the principals that have served them well in firefighting, subsequently in business, and in life in general. More specifically, they learned and applied these lessons over nearly 50 combined years of fire service careers, and used them successfully in nearly 30 combine…

How To Show Genuine Interest In Your Customers

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Author Steve Curtin, in his book, Delight Your Customers, suggests you and your employees do these 12 things to express genuine interest in your customers:
Offer personalized greetingsUse namesPractice assertive hospitalityAsk questionsCossetAnticipate needsRemember preferencesPay attention to detailsDisplay a sense of urgencySolicit feedbackOffer personal farewellsFollow up on service

Management Integrity

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Some words of wisdom from author Thomas Teal: Integrity in management means:
being responsiblecommunicating clearlykeeping promisesbeing an honest brokeravoiding hidden agendasknowing oneselfAlso, explains Teal: Great managers serve two masters; one organizational, one moral.Managing is not a series of mechanical tasks but a set of human interactions.One reason for the scarcity of managerial greatness is that in educating and training managers, we focus too much on technical proficiency and too little on character.You can find more advice and expertise from Teal in his book, First Person: Tales of Management Courage and Tenacity (Harvard Business School Press, 1996)

Leading In Six Moments That Matter

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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 intelligent expression of emotion is required to d…

Leadership, Life And Business Quotes From Brian Solis' Book, What's The Future Of Business

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In addition to learning a lot about the ways businesses are creating experiences for their customers in Brian Solis' book, What's The Future of Business, you'll be treated to dozens of compelling leadership, life and business quotes, such as these:

"People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves." -- Paulo Coelho
"We live in a time where brands are people and people are brands." -- Brian Solis
"In real life, the most practical advice for leaders is not to treat pawns like pawns, nor princes like princes, but all persons like persons." -- James MacGregor Burns
"The only source of knowledge is experience." -- Albert Einstein
"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." -- Auguste Rodin
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." -- Maria Robinson

The Elements Of Good Culture

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You'll learn a lot about marketing from the new book, Does it Work?, by Shane Atchison and Jason Burby. Most important, you'll discover their 10 principles for getting digital marketing right.


What also really caught my attention was the book's discussion about the elements of good culture. Culture created from as high up in the organization as possible. A culture particularly well suited for digital.

Those seven elements are:

Stay Flexible -  create a continuous learning environment with flexibility and a certain disdain for roles.Hire Learners - individuals who are curious and willing to learn on their own.Empower People to Share - cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable bringing up bold ideas and are encouraged to speak up.Encourage Thinking Outside Roles - to help you capture every perspective from all your team members.Make Sure Problems Come with Solutions - don't just point out what's wrong. Find solutions.Make it OK to Fail - failure promotes…

5 Tips For Writing A Company Policy

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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.

Six Ways To Give Your Business A Jump-Start

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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.

The 4 Steps To Giving Constructive Feedback

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Eric Harvey and Al Lucia wrote a booklet called, 144 Ways To Walk The Talk. They provide the following great advice about giving feedback:

1. Make it timely -- give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance.

2. Make it individualized -- tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver.

3. Make it productive -- focus your feedback on the performance and not the performer.

4. Make is specific -- pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

Five Traits Critical To Effective Leadership

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A couple years ago, I was aksed, "What five most important traits must a leader have to be effective?"  I could reply fairly quickly, but I did take a moment to remember that when I asked a similar question in a LinkedIn group discussion, group members offered up nearly 100 different adjectives to describe an effective leader.

But, for me, I contend the five most important traits are:
Good communicator. That means effectively communicating timely and consistent messages during good and bad times. And, knowing how and when to be a good listener. Communicating is critical. Employees must hear from their leaders. And, hearing from their leaders in person versus e-mail and written memos is even more effective.Being a servant leader. Put your employees and your company first. A top manager who makes decisions that are self-serving will lack followers and will bring the company down.Adaptable. Today, more than ever, a leader needs to adapt. That means adapting to competitive and i…

How Trustworthy Are You?

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"In business, trust is one of the most valuable coins of the realm," explains Bob Rosen, in his book, Grounded. "You can lose it in a moment's thoughtlessness, and you must keep earning it every day."And, you can never have too much.

So, just how trustworthy are you? Rosen suggests that you answer the following questions. They offer you a way to assess whether or not your beliefs about trustworthiness are more than words.

Do you keep your promises, even the small ones, or do you let some commitments slide?Do your guard against the "Big Boss Disease," that tendency to isolate yourself and cut off criticism, or do you shoot the messenger when you get bad news?Do you avoid hidden agendas, or do you share your intentions only on a "need to know" basis?Do you discount materialistic values, or do you like showing off your power, influence, money, or status?Can you make fun of yourself and admit mistakes so that others can see you as a complete pers…

Quotes On Change, Questions And Ideas

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Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book, Out Think, by G. Shawn Hunter:
When the rate of change inside an organization is slower than the rate of change outside an organization, the end is in sight -- Jack WelchThe most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers.  The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question -- Peter DruckerIf you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will each have one apple.  But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas -- George Bernard Shaw

Listen To Others, Especially Before Your Speak

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Soon, I'll be posting an article highlighting the terrific, new book, Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed, but in the meantime, here's a great passage from the book:

Listen to Others, Especially Before You Speak

When we think of people who possess extraordinary interpersonal skill, we find they are good listeners. In even the briefest of encounters, they can make you feel important.

According to author Denise Restauri, charismatic people are good listeners who make the conversation about the other person. they show genuine interest. They let the world revolve around the other person. They remember the other person's name-- and they use it.

So, when you listen to people, truly listen. Look at the other person with interest. Do not multitask.

The book comes out on August 5.


The Motivation Of Great Leadership

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"Humans are at their best when they are deeply motivated to achieve something greater than themselves. When people have this motivation, they work incredibly hard to become great at what they do. Great leaders are motivated this way and inspire others to have similar feelings." -- William Seidman and Richard Grbavac -- authors of, The Star Factor.

How To Discover What Your Top Performers Do Differently

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The new book, The Star Factor, shows you a unique system for unlocking the wisdom of your stellar performers and transforming that knowledge into actionable steps to help other employees internalize these new attitudes and behaviors.

The system and methodology is called affirmative leadership. In the book, authors William Seidman and Richard Grbavac, explain the science, specifically the neuroscience, behind affirmative leadership.



They also outline the four phases of affirmative leadership:

Discover - identifying your stars.Prepare - creating a learning program.Launch - using coaches to lead learning groups.Guided Practice - completing weekly practice exercises four to six months into the process. Affirmative leadership can be used with a small group or globally for thousands of employees.
And just what is it that makes a star performer? Star performers: Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.Are skilled at filtering out what's irrelevant, and focusing on what will improve t…

How To Conduct A Stay Interview To Keep Your Best And Brightest Employees

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Disengagement remains a fact of work for more than half of America's workers, according to the experts at Gallup. And, with unemployment rates dropping and the economy continually improving, reducing turnover should be a priority for business leaders.
So, there's no better time then now for the new book, The Stay Interview, A Manager's Guide to Keeping the Best and the Brightest.

Stay interviews are periodic, private, one-on-one meetings between direct supervisors and employees, both newly-hired and long-timers.

The interviews shed light on any possible problems while there's still time for you to address them.

They have the sole purpose of encouraging people to talk about themselves and what makes them happy. They:

Reinforce good relationshipsForge new relationshipsHelp repair relationships that are strained Stay interviews are not performance reviews or disciplinary sessions. They are not team meetings or focus groups. They are not focused on job performance. They are …

Your New Leader 100-Day Action Plan

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There are seven major onboarding land mines that you are likely to come across as a new leader and there are specific points in the first 100 days where you are most likely to encounter them, explain authors: George Brant Jayme A. Check Jorge Pedraza ...in their third edition of, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan.
Ill-prepared, without a plan, and lacking proper onboarding, the land mines will get you.  And, if you miss one or more of the critical tasks that must be accomplished in your first 100 days, you'll likely fail.
The book is packed with: Examples and case studies Action plans Tools, techniques and tricks of the trade The authors also explain why you need to start even before your official first day on the job. For example: Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition; and it is essential that you know what your cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One. A new leader's role begins as soon as you are an acknowle…

How To Evaluate Your Leadership Style

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In honor of Ken Blanchard's and Mark Miller's book, Great Leaders Grow, I welcome guest blogger Ken Blanchard.

How to Evaluate Your Leadership Style
By Ken Blanchard,
Co-author of Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life
Today, I'm going to give a short, one-question quiz. Here's the question: How do you rate as a leader?

I don't ask this question flippantly. It is a question I've asked countless people at the leadership seminars we conduct.

As leaders, most people rank themselves as being very close to a minor deity or at least Mr. or Ms. Human Relations. Seldom do leaders give themselves low marks. Strangely enough, when the tables are turned and people are asked to rank their boss's leadership style, we often find many supervisors graded as being adequate, merely OK, or at worst, office autocrats who depend heavily on the often-referenced "seagull management" technique as their sole line of attack -- they leave their people alone until so…

How To Write Your Nonprofit's Annual Report

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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: DonorsVolunteersCommunity leadersFuture board membersSupporters (in-kind)Elected officials Potential partners, grant funding entitiesAllow three to four months to prepare your report: Create and outlineGather an organize contentEngage your management teamDesignReview/ProofPrintDistributeConsider packaging your report with a theme, such as one of these: TransformationDay in the lifeMilestonesCritical issuesProgress toward the futureNew undertakin…

Four Ways To Maximize Your Executive Coaching Experience

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If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine:
Find the right match.  Find someone to push and challenge you.  To encourage you and to hold you accountable.  Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily.Be aware of your company's expectations.  If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you.  Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list.Get your money's worth.  Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job. Be sure your coach sees you in action.  Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports.  This also gives your colleagues a sense that you…

Most Popular Leadership Posts So Far This Year

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With the first half of 2015 past us, here's a look back at the three most read postings on my leadership blog so far this year.

Most Popular Post




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 founder 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 Lean Model 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…

Inspire Someone Today

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How To Effectively Communicate With Your 5K Racers

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My two passions are leadership and running 5K races that benefit nonprofit organizations. I'm halfway through my goal to run 30 5K's this year. Feeling good about that, I thought I would combine my two passions and list below best practices for what to communicate to 5K racers.

So, if you are:
Organizing a 5K raceLeading your 5K event communications and marketing teamsHiring a race director to operate your 5K raceWondering what 5K racers want to know before they commit to a race ...then hopefully, these two lists in this post will help you. 


At a minimum include these event details, typically called Race Info, on your promotional pieces and on your website. This is the key information most potential runners will want to know before they decide to sign-up for your event. These are in alpha order, but you'll want to organize them in the order or importance.
Awards (indicate if awards will be given and include age groupings/brackets for awards, and mention if masters awards wi…

How To Create Purpose And Engagement In Your Organization

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"The challenge for the organizational architect is to systematically create the blueprint for an organization that consciously connects everything to purpose," explains author  Clive Wilson, in his new book, Designing the Purposeful Organization. "The product of doing this are measurable results and, importantly, a felt sense of success.

Wilson's book is packed with case studies and activities that help you put to practice in your organization the learnings from the book.

Clive Wilson
One of the activities that I found most interesting and revealing is Wilson's "Where Did They All Go and Why?" Think of the household names of just a decade or so ago that are no longer with us, write their names on a sheet of paper, then make brief notes on what happened to them and why. Then, ask yourself, to what extent was it to do with their purpose (e.g. a lack of purpose, an unclear purpose, an uninspiring purpose or purpose being somehow out of sync with stakehold…