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Showing posts from December, 2015

The 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…

I Accomplished My 2015 Goal!

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I hit my 2015 fitness goal - run 50 competitive races during the year. Between March 14 and December 13, I ran:

4 10K races1 8K race45 5K races Motivational Compete Every DayT-shirts kept me inspired and driven. Thank you!


Thanks, too, to KC Running Company, for expertly organizing and timing most of the 50 races. KC Running Company is simply the best!


And, the weather totally behaved this year, so I didn't miss any scheduled race due to bad weather. Most of the races this year supported non-profit organizations, primarily in the Kansas City metro.

My favorite moments from the 50 races this year were: Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas - The 5K and 10K had been on my bucket list for years. I ran both races.Roots N Blues N BBQ (Columbia, MO) -- Got to run with my sister-in-law. And, runners enjoyed free BBQ at the finish line.Bellco 5K (Denver, CO) -- Great scenery.Midnight Run 5K (Leawood, KS) & Night Flight Legacy Park 5K (Lee's Summit,MO) -- Fun times running late at night.P…

2016 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

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It's time to select 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?
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 during a meetingPraise when compliments are earnedBe decisiveSay "thank you" and sincerely mean itSend written thank you notesListen carefully and don't multi-task whi…

Five Key Interview Questions

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If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the new book, Advisory Leadership:
What motivates you?What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone's personality.)What are you telling your family/spouse about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.)What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.)What opportunities do you see for yourself here?

Hold Getting-To-Know-You Conversations With Your Direct Reports

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To help you bring out the best in your team, you need to get close and understand their skills, abilities, and motivations. So, the authors of the book, Your First Leadership Job, recommend you hold getting-to-know-you conversations with each of your direct reports.

Ask these open-ended questions. Let each team member know the purpose of the meeting in advance. And, don't cheat by adding in work-specific questions.
What do you enjoy doing most as part of your work? Why?What do you  miss most about the jobs you've had in the past? Why?What things about your current job do you enjoy the least? Why?How do you cope with or relieve stress?To help you do your job, what could I change about: Your work environment? The content of your work? How you get your work done?What form of recognition do you prefer or not prefer?

How To Achieve Personal Resilience

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If you want to build the psychological body armor to achieve personal resilience, then the new book, Stronger, is a must-read for you. 
That body armor consists of five factors of personal resilience: active optimismdecisive actionmoral compassrelentless tenacityinterpersonal support According to the authors, these five factors of personal resilience are keys to improving your work habits and output in the workplace, and to achieving overall satisfaction from life.
Backed by compelling scientific findings and packed with powerful stories of resilience in action, Stronger teaches you how to gain an edge on making sound decisions under pressure, bounce back from setbacks and layoffs, and motivate peak performance in others as well as yourself,

Each chapter includes self-assessment questions and homework for choosing one thing you'll do the next day to help you begin to develop each of the five factors of your personal resilience body armor.
In addition, the authors explain that their …

How To Discover Your True North And Become An Authentic Leader

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In his book, True North, Bill George shows you how to discover your true north - your internal compass that guides you successfully through life. "Only when you discover your true north can you unlock your full potential as a leader and human being," explains George.

In the book, published a few months ago, George shares with you how to:
Cultivate self-awarenessDefine your valuesFind the "sweet spots": of your motivated capabilitiesBuild your support team and lead an integrated lifeMake the journey from "I' to "We" as an empowering leaderBecome a global leader

Bill George
George shares profiles and stories from more than 100 leaders who in their own words explain how they discovered their true north. 
He also explains the characteristics differences needed to be a leader in the Twenty-First Century versus the Twentieth-Century. Today's leaders, he says need to be: Purpose-drive versus charismaticGlobally focused versus U. S.-centricThinking lon…

Mission Statements Are Not All About Money

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From the book, Light A Fire Under Your Business:

A clear and concise mission statement defines, in the simplest terms, your organization's core reason for being, and it had better not be all about money.

Money is definitely important to most of society, and it is a motivator.

But many people aspire to be part of something  more meaningful than just a paycheck. They want a paycheck that is also connected to a culture that offers greater intrinsic values.

How To Improve How You Communicate By Leaps And Bounds

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David Grossman's new book, No Cape Needed, is an absolute must read. Every page provides you tips for how to communicate more effectively with your employees. Each page is colorful and easy to digest. Grossman's advice and tips are actions you can put into place tomorrow.

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

High-performance Teams Must Have A Common Purpose

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Here is some great advice from the authors of the book, Light A Fire Under Your Business, about high-performance teams:

Once you have developed teamwork within a group, synergy is born. But it is the mission that creates motivation, an essential ingredient in high-performance teamwork. High-performance teams must have a common purpose to experience the motivation to achieve shared success.

When team members share a duty to serve a stated mission and respond in like fashion, they create motivation in each other. One of the greatest elements of a well-written mission statement is that every person on your team will use it as the same foundation for decision making. Regardless of his or her specific responsibilities or status on the team or in the organization, everyone is motivated by the same mission but from a different perspective.


Leadership Quotes From, Leading With Grit

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In addition to Laurie Sudbrink's, Leading With GRIT, being a great new in 2015 book for leaders, it's packed with powerful leadership and life quotes. Here are some of my favorites:
Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are - Kurt CobainThe respect you show to others (or lack thereof) is an immediate reflection on your self respect - Alex ElleYou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - Harper LeePeople only see what they are prepared to see - Ralph Waldo EmersonWe make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give - Winston ChurchillIf it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you - Fred DevitoThe secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new - SocratesThe biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to rely - AnonymousAttention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simon WeilGood leaders inspire people to have co…

How To Explain Change

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When you communicate change to your team, explain the logical and rational reasons for the change:

1. Explain how the change will make employees feel before, during and after the implementation.

2. Explain the tactical plan and goals.

3. Answer questions from your team.

How To Be A Good Listener

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Here is a great passage from the book, Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed:
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.


How To Determine 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.

How 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.

How To Be An Open Leader

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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 Practice SPARK Leadership

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You practice SPARK leadership if you:
Share InformationPlay to StrengthsAsk for Input and Appreciate Different IdeasRecognize and Respond to Individual NeedsKeep Your Commitments A great reminder from the President and CEO of American Management Association, Edward T. Reilly. You'll find more good advice in his new book, AMA Business Boot Camp.

Best New Leadership Book Of 2015

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After reading nearly 30 new books about leadership this year, my pick for 2015's best new leadership book is, Advisory Leadership, by Greg Friedman,


Although the book is authored by an award-winning financial advisor and primarily written for professionals in the financial services industry, this book is a must read for any leader who wants to create a nurturing heart culture that hinges on the human-centric values the next generation of employees hold in high regard.


And, what exactly is heart culture? Friedman says, "At its core, heart culture symbolizes how a company values more than just an employee's output. It's not about the work, but rather, the people who do the work."

He further explains that leaders can no longer afford to ignore the shift toward a people-first culture and its direct influence on a healthy, effective work environment.

Friedman teaches that there are seven steps, based on human virtues we all strive to achieve, that are key to unlockin…

How To Build Good Internal Customer Service

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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, teach your team members/employees 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.

My Favorite Nelson Mandela Leadership Quotes

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As we near the second-year anniversary of the day Nelson Mandela died, I think about my favorite Nelson Mandela leadership quotes:
"Lead from the back--and let others believe they are in front.""The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.""It always seems impossible until it's done.""I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.""I've learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.""Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."