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Showing posts from January, 2016

10 Reasons For Embracing Storytelling As A Business Tool

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From Paul Smith's book, Lead With A Story, here are the 10 reasons for embracing storytelling as a business tool:
Storytelling is simpleStorytelling is timelessStories are demographic-proofStories are contagiousStories are easier to rememberStories inspireStories appeal to all types of learnersStories fit better where most of the learning happens in the workplaceStories put the listener in a mental learning modeTelling stories shows respect for the audience Smith goes on to say that:
you don't need a degree in English to tell a storystories can spread like wildfirelessons from a story are remembered more accurately, and for far longer, than learning derived from factsstories spark curiosity and interest rather than the urge to evaluate or criticizestories get your message across, without arrogantly telling listeners what to think or do

What To Ask During An Employee Exit Interview

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Knowing why an employee leaves your company can help you to reduce your employee turnover rate.

That's because you can use the reasons a departing employee provides to gather information about processes, people and departments that might need some redirection to correct situations that may have contributed to the employee's reasons for leaving.

So, do an exit interview whenever possible with each departing employee. Ask each person:
Why they are leavingWhat they liked about their jobWhat they would have changed about their jobHow they felt about the cooperation level among co-workersHow they felt about communication and interaction with co-workersWhether they received the necessary training to do their jobWhether they received frequent coaching and balanced feedback from their supervisorWould they recommend a friend apply for work at your companyHow they felt about their payHow they would describe the morale in the company and in their departmentWhat they would change about th…

How To Turn Your Nonprofit Prospects Into Donors

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If you serve on a nonprofit Board, are the executive director for a nonprofit, or are responsible for raising funds for your nonprofit, The Nonprofit Fundraising Solution, book by Laurence A. Pagnoni is a must-read for you.

Pagnoni bridges the gap between theory and practical methods and shows you (often via real-life case studies) how to:
increase your access to wealthy donorsraise your community profilestretch giftsoperate major campaignsavoid revenue plateauscreate a fundraising culture within your organizationtake specific actions if your Board's core strength isn't fundraisingconduct challenge gift campaignsintegrate social media into your existing fundraising methodscreate a planned giving program When it comes to transforming prospects into donors, Pagnoni suggests you follow these basic five steps: Get to know your prospectGet your prospect involvedAsk for a small gift of financial supportAsk them to open their network of contactsAsk for a major gift And, during those c…

How To Stimulate Your Creative Thinking

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From the book, Leading With Strategic Thinking, by Aaron K. Olson and B. Keith Simerson,here are 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?

How To Give Praise To An Employee

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Entrepreneur magazine's February 2012 issue offers these great tips on how to give praise:
Praise followed by criticism is not praise.Praise followed by praise is probably a little too much praise.Ending an expression of praise with "...and stuff" nullifies the praise. And,
Make it timely.  The closer the recognition is to the behavior, the more likely the behavior will be repeated.Be sincere.  Be impromptu. Remember, a handwritten note is worth more than a gift card. Having trouble writing your handwritten note of praise?  Try this template to get you started:
_______, I couldn't be more impressed with how you______.  Not only did you____, but you_______.  Beautiful.  Thanks, ________

Never Say These Words To A Customer

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Author Harvey MacKay wrote the following spot-on advice in his column in the Kansas City Business Journal a few years ago. He wisely points out that all employees at every level should never use these four words in front of a client/customer for both obvious and perhaps not so obvious reasons:
Can't -- As in, "We can't do that."  "We can't meet that deadline."  Unless you honestly cannot produce and then be honest and help them find another vendor.Busy -- As in, "I'll call you when I'm not so busy."  "I'm really busy right now." The word "busy" gives your customer the impression they are a low priority.Safe -- As in, "Let's play it safe."  Customers typically want to engage in calculated risks versus playing it safe.Fear -- As in, "I fear that we may be moving too fast." That tells your customer you haven't done your homework. MacKay writes, "Common sense, thorough research and s…

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 about 20 years, Baldoni has coached and consulted for a number of leading companies in a var…

Decide Today To Volunteer

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As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18, volunteer or make the decision to volunteer in your community. King routinely asked “What are you doing for others,” and January 18th is the ideal day to ask yourself that question.

The federal holiday was first observed 29 years ago and in 1994 Congress designated it as a National Day of Service, inspired by King’s words, “everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”


You can turn to Volunteer Match to find volunteer opportunities right in your neighborhood or nearby surrounding area. Visit the web site to learn about a large variety of volunteering opportunities that interest you most, and you will be presented with a variety of organizations seeking volunteers.

And, if you are a leader in the workplace, encourage your employees and team members to volunteer in the community as individuals. Or, organize volunteer afternoons or evenings for your employees.

How To Write Anything

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Ever wondered about the do's and don'ts of writing a:
Business ApologyLetter of RecommendationJob AdvertisementInterview Follow-upPress ReleaseExecutive SummaryCollection LetterResignation Letter ...then, the book, How To Write Anything: A Complete Guide is for you.
This 596-page book not only provides you examples and templates for all types of writing you do at work, but also, and most important, provides you do's and don'ts for each writing situation.
Author Laura Brown provides 200 how-to entries and easy-to-use models organized into three comprehensive sections on writing for: WorkSchool (research paper, book review, internship letter)Your Personal Life (i.e. get-well note, baby shower invitation, complaint letter) Best of all, her advice is Internet-savvy, because she provides you advice for choosing the most appropriate medium for your message:  email or pen and paper.
Brown has more than 25 years' experience providing training and coaching in business writin…

How To Be A More Effective Work-From-Home Employee

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More than 40 million people -- roughly one-third of the U.S. workforce -- work from home at least one or two days a week.

If you are a leader of work-from-home employees, share the book, There's No Place Like Working From Home, with them. Share it particularly with an employee new to working from his or her home.

Author Elaine Quinn wrote the book after working as a consultant for 10 years with small business owners who struggled with organization, time management, workflow processes, productivity and related challenges.

The techniques Quinn teaches small home-based business owners also apply to work-from-home employees of large organizations.

"Poor organizational and time management skills are among the top ten reasons small businesses and work-from-home employees fail," said Quinn. "And being disorganized can cost business owners and corporations lost revenue, wasted time, professional embarrassment, damaged relationships, and missed opportunities."

There’s No…

How To Lead By Looking Ahead

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Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, gives readers practical guidance and concrete techniques to help leaders become more visionary. In his book, Rob-Jan de Jong provides the developmental framework for visionary capacity, focusing on two key skills:
The ability to see change earlyThe ability to connect the dots

Rob-Jan de Jong
De Jong makes a clear distinction between the company vision and your personal vision. And, in this book, he helps you increase your personal visionary capacity for your personal leadership whether or not you are hierarchically in a senior position.

The book includes many exercises and examples, along with QR codes to access videos with additional content that can be viewed on your Smartphone.

Some of de Jong's tips for how to think like a visionary and be a source of inspiration to your organization and teams include:
Deliberately break your normal, everyday patterns.Develop a set of appreciative questions aimed at discovering what is going well, …

How To Lead Breakthrough Change

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David S. Pottruck's book, Stacking the Deck, teaches readers a nine-step course of action leaders can follow from the first realization that change is needed through all the steps of implementation, including assembling the right team of close advisors and getting the word out to the wider group.

This book tells the in-the-trenches stories of individuals who led bold, sweeping change. Stories that walk you through the social and emotional reality of leading others -- many of whom are fearful of change.

Stories from eBay President and CEO John Donahoe; Wells Fargo former CEO and Chairman Dick Kovacevich; Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz; San Francisco Giants President and CEO Larry Baer; and Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves.

Part one of the book outlines the Stacking the Deck process -- the nine steps through which nearly every breakthrough change inevitably goes:
Establishing the need to change and creating a sense of urgency.Recruiting and unifying your inner team.Deve…

13 Energizing Verbs To Use More Often

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Here is some great advice from the book, Anticipate, the Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, by Rob-Jan De Jong.

In the meantime, here are 13 energizing verbs the author recommends we use more often:
Discover (instead of See)Explore (instead of Discuss)Radiate (instead of Display)Uncover (instead of Show)Transform (instead of Change)Engage (instead of Involve)Mobilize (instead of Gather)Stretch (instead of Develop)Boost (instead of Increase)Propel (instead of Move)Deliver (instead of Give)Grasp (instead of Understand)Connect (instead of Join) Thanks Rob-Jan De Jong.

A Boss Versus A Leader

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"A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss creates fire, a leader creates passion." -- Russell H. Ewing, British Journalist.

The Downfall Of Status Quo

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Today's leadership thought:

"Status quo breeds mediocrity, calcifies bureaucracy, cripples progress, and hampers changeability," explains Shawn Murphy in his new book, The Optimistic Workplace.

70 Simple Rules For Sensational Service

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Flavio Martins' book, Win The Customer, teaches you 70 simple rules for sensational service. "These can be used as a top-down resource in organizations looking to develop or enhance a service culture," explains Martins. "They can also be used as a resource for individuals who want to transform the way service is handled from the ground up, even when lacking the full commitment and support from organization-wide training and change efforts."

To deliver sensational customer service, you need to have the right culture. Martin says that the right culture:
Inspires -- Culture isn't a mission statement; it's a statement of action.Fosters -- When united in a common goal, people contribute to an environment where everybody willingly comes to work each day and pours their best efforts into doing what they believe will make the greatest difference.Transforms -- When working toward a higher purpose, the right culture has a real, positive effect on the work that is …

Eight-Point Plan 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…

2015's Top Leadership Blog Posts

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How To Strive For Greatness In Your Everyday Life

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In addition to your New Year's resolution and the goal you've set for yourself for 2016, add reading The School of Greatness to your "to do" list. It's a highly uplifting and motivational book on how to strive for greatness in your everyday life.

Specifically, author Lewis Howes, shares his progression of a series of lessons -- eight areas that help you focus on continual improvement:

Create a vision.Turn adversity into advantage.Cultivate a champion's mindset.Develop hustle.Master your body.Practice positive habits.Build a winning team.Be of service to others. Packed with exercises, tools, tips and examples, the book makes for a perfect read at the start of the new year.