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Showing posts from November, 2015

Seven Questions To Ask When Checking Job Candidate References

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Awhile back, the Harvard Business Review published some great questions that Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan asks when he is checking job candidate references.

Ryan serves on the board of Yale Corporation, Human Rights Watch, and INSEAD, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a M.B.A from INSEAD.

His main seven honest-feedback-extracting-questions (and follow-ups) are:
Would you hire this person again?  If so, why and in what capacity?  If not, why not?How would you describe the candidate's ability to innovate, manage, lead, deal with ambiguity, get things done and influence others?What were some of the best things this person accomplished?  What could he or she have done better?In what type of culture, environment, and role can you see this person excelling?  In what type of role is he or she unlikely to be successful?Would you describe the candidate as a leader, a strategist, an executor, a collaborator, a thinker, or something …

70 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

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With only one month left of 2015, it's not too early to start identifying your New Year's Resolutions for 2016.


To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders?

Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and December 31, think about which couple you want to work on in 2016.
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 reviewsBe courageous, quick and fairTalk more 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 duri…

Best Leadership Book Of 2015 To Be Announced December 6

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On December 6, I'll announce my vote for the best new leadership book of 2015.  Stay tuned. It's a great one.

In the meantime, here's a look back at my my top (favorite) books for leaders that were published two years ago in 2013. Each is still a a useful read for leaders!

Each provides timely, practical and valuable tips, techniques and tools for how to become a more effective leader.

You'll find among the books useful information about:
communicating more effectively the power of story tellingcreating an ethical workplace cultureincreasing revenuethe basics you need to know as a first-time leader
Ethical Leadership

Unlimited Sales Success

Manager 3.0

AMA Business Boot Camp

The way of the SEAL

Becoming a Better Boss

Leadership Conversations
And, my favorite from 2012 in case you haven't read this book:

Lead with a Story


The 10 Things I Am Thankful For This Year

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Each year, around Thanksgiving time, I think about what I am thankful for. This year, I decided to once again take the time to make a list. A list of 10 things I am thankful for.

What's on your list thisyear?  What's on your list this year that wasn't on last year's list?

Here is my list:
Family and friendsEmployment, and a year of positive evolution for my workplaceTechnology, Blogs, Twitter and all social media sharing tools that help me to be a constant learnerHealth and all those who help me stay healthy and encourage me to reach my 2015 fitness goal -- which included running 50 races (a combination of 5K and 10K races) this year benefiting a variety of mostly Kansas City area nonprofits and charities, I am at 46 races as of today.Setting business and personal goals and working hard to reach or exceed themGood books (including ones the book club recommended)Nonprofit organizations that provide vital services and ways for me to volunteer and donateMusicThe ability to …

The Many Times You Should Thank Customers

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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…

How To Be An Effective Mentor

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Here are some great tips for how to be an effective mentor, from the new book, 50 Plus!, by Robert L. Dilenschneider.

Don't be authoritarian.Have something to say, and keep it short. It's best to think in terms of headlines when you're mentoring somebody. Let them come to you for the details.Be informal.Do not give orders.Don't take slights personally.Tell stories.Always use humor.Be lavish with praise. Give people full credit for every contribution they  make, however minor. It's the best way to keep the discussion alive.Despite repeated opportunities, never say, "I told you so."Set boundaries. No matter how generous your intentions or how great the need, there's only so much you can do.



Seven Elements Of A 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…

Articles About Working With Millennials In The Workplace

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Here are some links from my Blog to some of the most popular articles about working with Millennials in the workplace:

Q&A With Millennial CEO & Book Author Rick Lindquist

Get A Handle On Your Millennial Employees

How Managers Can Better Support And Retain Their Millennial Employees


Be A Leader Who Teaches

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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 Not To Be Sidelined When You're Over 50

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"It doesn't matter how old you are. Everyone has the same fundamental needs: to enjoy themselves, to be part of something larger than themselves, to confirm their own sense of their abilities, and to demonstrate to others that they've got what it takes," explains author Robert L. Dilenschneider.
"And yet, there comes a moment, generally after one turns fifty...when it becomes hard not to worry about being sidelined."
So, if you've over 50 and feeling vulnerable at work, you'll find Dilenschneider's book, 50 Plus!, Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life, a helpful resource.
He provides a blueprint for older workers looking to excel in the workplace, change careers, launch a new business or bring their expertise to bear as a consultant. With 32 percent of the U.S. population now over the age of 50, Dilenschneider offers ideas on how to activate your network to look for a new job if your present position is no longer fulfilling. He al…

A Goal Must Have These Five Elements

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"The more specific you can be about your goal, the greater your level of success will be," explain authors Tom Pandola and James W. Bird, in their book, Light A Fire Under Your Business.

"This is because once we have visualized something that doesn't yet exist, it causes our subconscious mind to make the decisions necessary to make that visualized goal a reality."

The authors explain that all goals must have these five elements:
Goals must clarify a specific action or outcome.Goals must be measureable by being able to quantify the benefits of achieving them.Goals should be achievable with the resources available (or at least you should know that the necessary resources are in reserve and can be acquired).Goals must also be realistic for achieving based on your particular situation.Goals must also include the time period in which you want to achieve them. With a date or time period specified for completion, planning can be established in order for evaluating the…

New Book Announcement: Becoming Agile

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The new book, Becoming Agile: How the SEAM Approach to Management Builds Adaptability, illustrates the process of becoming an agile organization.  Readers are taken on a real-world journey of transformation and change. This short-format case study of the French company Brioche Pasquier highlights how one organization successfully implemented the principles of agility using the socio-economic approach to management, detailing each step of the process and describing how every decision brought the goal closer within reach.  Readers get inside the heads of decision makers to gain insight into how tough decisions were made, how new, important, and flexible management tools were implemented, and how the necessary changes ultimately benefitted both the organization and the people who made it work.  From overarching policy to day-to-day procedure, the story provides a clear example of how an agile organization is developed, giving readers a foundation upon which to implement similar changes in t…

How To Design A Purposeful 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 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 stakeho…

Leadership Quotes From, The 5 Levels Of Leadership

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Here are some of my favorite quotes from John C. Maxwell's book, The 5 Levels of Leadership -- a book Ibelieve should become a must-read for any workplace/organizational leader:
Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team.Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.Leadership is action, not position.When people feel liked, cared for, included, valued, and trusted, they begin to work together with their leader and each other.If you have integrity with people, you develop trust.  The more trust you develop, the stronger the relationship becomes.  In times of difficulty, relationships are a shelter.  In times of opportunity, they are a launching pad.Good leaders must embrace both care and candor.People buy into the leader, then the vision.Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team.Progress comes only from taking risks and making mistakes.Le…

How Managers Can Better Support And Retain Their Millennial Colleagues

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Millennial turnover is a huge problem for leaders. Millennials account for nearly 40 percent of the American workforce, and by 2025, that number balloons to 75 percent of the global workplace.
“Over 60 percent of millennials leave their company in under three years,” explains Elizabeth McLeod, a Millennial and cum laude grad of Boston University. “And, there are four reasons why Millennials dump their middle-aged managers,” adds McLeod.
She says those reasons are:  Leaders tolerate low performanceROI is not enough of a motivatorCulture is more than free PaneraLeaders often treat their employees like a number Elizabeth McLeodand her mother, Lisa Earle McLeod, are a mother/daughter consulting team whose clients include Google, Roche, Hootsuite, and G Adventures. Lisa is the author of the book, Selling with Noble Purpose.
 Lisa Earle McLeod
Elizabeth McLeod
The mother/daughter duo this week shared their insights about Millennials in the workforce and how managers can better support and ret…

How To Assess Your Organization's Risk

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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.

Ten Essential Questions Business Leaders Must Ask

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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?

How To Achieve Executive Presence

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After two years of research, forty focus groups and a national survey, author Sylvia Ann Hewlett contends the three pillars of Executive Presence are:
How you act (gravitas)How you speak (communication)How you look (appearance) All three work together to help you telegraph (signal) to others that you have what it takes and that you're star material.  
"One thing to note at the start is that these pillars are not equally important--not by a long shot," explains Hewlett.  "Gravitas is the core characteristic."
And according to the senior leaders that Hewlett researched the top aspects of  gravitas are: Confidence and "grace under fire"Decisiveness and "showing teeth"Integrity and "speaking truth to power"Emotional intelligenceReputation and standing/"pedigree"Vision/charisma In her book, Executive Presence, she teaches how to act, communicate and look your best while avoiding the most common blunders in each of these three c…

Today's Leadership Thought

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I ran across this awhile back and found it so compelling and powerful:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny

- MAHATMA GANDHI