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Showing posts from November, 2015

Seven Questions To Ask When Checking Job Candidate References

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

70 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

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 micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Be courageous, quick and fair Talk more about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to grow Summarize g

Best Leadership Book Of 2015 To Be Announced December 6

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 telling creating an ethical workplace culture increasing revenue the 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 Many Times You Should Thank Customers

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 suggestions When they try one of your new products or services When they recommend you to a friend When they are patient...and even when they are not so patient When they help you to serve them better When they complain to you When they make you smile You and your team members can say "Thank You" : Verbally In writing  (and don't underestimate the power of  perso

How To Be An Effective Mentor

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

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.

Articles About Working With Millennials In The Workplace

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

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

"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 l

A Goal Must Have These Five Elements

"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 orde

New Book Announcement: Becoming Agile

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 simil

How To Design A Purposeful Organization

"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 som

Leadership Quotes From, The 5 Levels Of Leadership

Here are some of my favorite quotes from John C. Maxwell's book,  The 5 Levels of Leadership  -- a book I   believe 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 ris

How Managers Can Better Support And Retain Their Millennial Colleagues

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 performance ROI is not enough of a motivator Culture is more than free Panera Leaders often treat their employees like a number Elizabeth McLeod and 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

How To Assess Your Organization's Risk

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, influencers Collaborators : Suppliers, allies, government/community leaders Capabilities : Human, operational, financial, technical, key assets Competitors : Direct, indirect, potential Conditions : 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

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

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 intelligence Reputation and standing/"pedigree" Vision/charisma In her book,  Executive Presence , she teaches how to act, communicate and look your best while  avo

Today's Leadership Thought

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