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Showing posts from August, 2015

No Cape Needed By David Grossman

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I'm super excited to read David Grossman's new book, No Cape Needed.

David is both a communications and a leadership expert and I use his advice all the time. His new book provides, "the simplest, smartest, fastest steps to improve how you communicate by leads and bounds," explains David.




Work Is Meaningful When...

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There are so many good things to learn in the book, Helping People Win At Work, by Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge. Among those is the section about how to define meaningful work.

Their definition consists of these seven attributes.  Work is meaningful when it:
It is conducted in a manner that is "good and proper" in all respects.It positively affects our company and our communities, giving our work an impact that extends beyond ourselves.It provides learning and growth, offers challenges, requires creativity, pushes us to surpass limits, and creates exciting results.It provides recognition and rewards for our achievements.It allows us to succeed as a team while excelling as individuals.It allows us to enjoy the ride, bringing humor and fun into our work.It fuels passion!

Business And Leadership Quotes That Inspire Me

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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…

What Best Companies Do

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Here are some of the things the companies often ranked as "best companies" by leading industry magazines do to attract and retain employees. Many of these programs and activities take little to no investment. But, they all can only happen when there's strong leadership at the company's helm.

Try some of these in your workplace this year:
Mentoring programs, especially for new employeesVolunteer opportunities/daysLunches with the CEO or presidentOn-site wellness fairsPep ralliesTelecommuting programsSummer picnics for employees and their familiesRetention bonusesLending librariesUnlimited sick daysEmployee team sports after hours, such as bowling and baseballOn-site child care servicesAwarding vacation time in exchange for community volunteering timeEmployee pot-luck breakfastsMonthly birthday partiesOn-site fitness equipmentFrequent town hall meetings with upper managementSubsidized gym membershipsLeadership development programsTime given to employees to spend on work…

Quotes From Real Women, Real Leaders

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Two of my favorite quotes from the book, Real Women, Real Leaders, published this past April are:

"When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves." - Steve Maraboli"There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened." - Mary Kay AshThe book features twenty-four women leaders who describe their personal journeys to the top, providing deep insight and a fascinating perspective on "making it" as a woman in the male-dominated business environment. 
They discuss their experiences and offer guidance on topics, such as balancing family and career, building alliances, mentoring and being mentored, and overcoming obstacles in the business world.

10 Must-Ask Questions For Business Leaders

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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?

Four Key Exit Interview Questions

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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.

Listening And Learning As A Leader

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In John Baldoni's bookThe Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence, he provides these tips for listening as a leader and learning as a leader:

When Listening As ALeader: 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 consulted for a number of leading companies in a va…

The Seven Roles Of A Collaborative Leader

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Edward M. Marshall's book, Transforming The Way We Work -- The Power Of The Collaborative Workplace, remains relevant today, more than a decade after Marshall wrote it.

Particularly useful is the book's section that teaches readers how to be a collaborative leader.

Marshall says that there are seven different, important roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders when leading teams, and those leaders should select the appropriate style to meet the team's needs.

The seven roles are:
The leader as sponsor -- You provide strategic direction, boundaries and coaching for the team. You also monitor progress and ensure integrity in the team's operating processes.The leader as facilitator -- You ensure that meetings, team dynamics, and interpersonal relationships function effectively. You also ensure internal coordination of activities among team members.The leader as coach -- You provide support and guidance and you serve as a sounding board.The leader as change agent/…

Six Ways To Stimulate Your Creative Thinking

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Soon, I'll be posting a review of and highlights from the new book, Leading With Strategic Thinking, by Aaron K. Olson and B. Keith Simerson.

In the meantime, here are the terrific six ways the authors suggest for stimulating your creative thinking:

Engage in communities, conferences, or reading outside your typical area of expertise.Set aside time in your week that doesn't involve completing routine tasks.Visit places where you will encounter unfamiliar people, cultures, or ideas.Spend time with coworkers in your organization with different roles.Debate commonly held ideas or question assumptions about your work or business.Imagine a situation in which you (or your organization) could no longer work the same way -- what would you do?



Thanks to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

Teach An Employee Something New Today

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Take the opportunity today to teach an employee something new. Nearly everyone likes to learn and is capable of tackling a new challenge.
Teach your employee something that expands his (or her) current job description.Teach something that will help him to get promoted within your organization at a later date.Teach him a skill that uses new technology.Or, teach him something that will allow him to be a more skilled leader and manager in the future. You can even teach something that you no longer need to be doing in your position, but that will be a rewarding challenge/task for your employee.

The benefit to your employee is obvious. The benefit to you is you'll have a more skilled team member who is capable of handling more work that can help you to grow your business and/or make it run more efficiently.

Be a leader who teaches.

How To Be A Healthier Leader

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If you're like many leaders, you're "too busy" to exercise on a regular basis. And, you don't give yourself time to renew and refresh. Truth is, there are ways to fit exercise and healthful habits into your busy day that will pay off in dividends.



From Experience Life magazine, here are 10 tips for how to fit even just moments into your day (at work, on the road and at home) to help you become more healthful:
Make a plan to exercise. Include exercise times, even if they are just in 10-minute increments, on your calendar.Find time to exercise and build on that time. Start off by walking for five minutes at lunch and add to that every few days until you've worked up to 30 minutes every few lunch hours.Limit screen time. Set a timer for how long you'll watch TV or surf the Net. Then, use the time you aren't in front of a screen to exercise.When you are watching TV, do squats, push ups, lunges, yoga poses and crunches.Think positive. Psychologists suggest…

Q&A With Fauzia Burke, President Of FSB Associates

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Fauzia Burke
Many of the leadership books I read and sometimes review on my blog I first learn about from FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors.

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, and because she's marketed leadership books for 20 years, she was a natural for me to ask her the following questions about:

trends in leadership booksthe leadership books that excite her the mostwhy books in print are still relevant But, first a little more about Burke:
1.  What is your title?
Burke: I am the President of FSB Associates, and have worked in book marketing and publicity for all of my professional life. I started in the marketing departments of John Wiley & Sons and Henry Holt.
2. How long have you worked at FSB Associates, Inc.?
Burke: In 1995, I founded FSB Associates, one of the first firms to specialize in Internet publicity and marketing for publishers and authors.
3. What are your primary…

What It Means To Be A Manager With Class

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AMACOM's (of the American Management Association) sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager -- originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business.

One of my favorite sections of the book 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 taken action when angry.Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.

Q&A With Best Selling Author And Expert Storyteller, Paul Smith

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Paul Smith
Paul Smith's book, Lead with a Story, is one of the top 10 books I recommend every leader should read. In his book, Paul demonstrates how storytelling is a powerful business tool that can mean the difference between mediocre results and phenomenal success. 
Since the book was published about three years ago, my admiration for Paul's passion for storytelling and helping to teach people how to effectively tell stories has only but grown.
Today, Paul was kind enough to share his thoughts about: that best-selling bookhow storytelling is growing in the business worldhis latest bookhow to use stories during job interviewshow Lead with a Story totally changed his carreer
1.  How would you summarize the overall reaction to your Lead with a Story book? Any surprises?
Paul:  Everything is a surprise with your first book. Being a new author, you don’t really know what to expect in terms of book sales, marketing efforts, media exposure, translation rights, etc. It’s all new territory…

25 Ways To Be A Better Leader

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If you don't have time to read a book about how to improve your leadership skills, tackle a handful of these tips, complied from the works of many authors:
Don't micromanageDon't be a bottleneckFocus on outcomes, not minutiaeBuild trust with your colleagues before a crisis comesAssess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all timesConduct annual risk reviewsTalk about values more than rulesReward how a performance is achieved and not only the performanceConstantly challenge your team to do betterCelebrate your employees' successes, not your ownErr on the side of taking actionCommunicate clearly and oftenBe visibleEliminate the cause of a mistakeView every problem as an opportunity to growSummarize group consensus after each decision point during a meetingPraise when compliments are earnedBe decisiveSay "thank you" and sincerely mean itSend written thank you notesListen carefully and don't multi-task while listeningTeach something new to your team…

How To Access Your Organization's Risks

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Within the first 100 days as a new leader in an organization, you'll want to assess your organization's risk.

Authors George Bradt, Jayme A. Clark and Jorge Pedraza, in their book, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan (third edition), recommend you do your assessment using the 5Cs:
Customers: First line, customer chain, end users, influencersCollaborators: Suppliers, allies, government/community leadersCapabilities: Human, operational, financial, technical, key assetsCompetitors: Direct, indirect, potentialConditions: Social/demographic, political/government/regulatory, economic, market Use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) as you examine each category if that helps.