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Showing posts from February, 2016

How To Rewire Your Brain To Be A More Effective Leader

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This week brings the new book, The Mindfulness Edge, a fascinating manual that teaches you how through mindfulness training you can become a better leader.

The science of neuroplasticity shows that you can learn the practice of mindfulness training that results in physical changes to the structure of your brain -- in some cases as quickly as eight weeks -- that can be linked to better leadership skills.

Matt Tenney
Most importantly, intentional mindfulness training helps you to develop self-awareness and mental agility that are the keys to better business acumen and the foundation for developing the emotional and social intelligence that allow you to serve and care for the people on your teams more effectively.

"Mindfulness training also helps leaders to make decisions that have better impacts on gross margins and expenses," explains the book's author Tenney.

Additionally, Tenney shows how mindfulness training also helps you develop the mental agility that allows you to …

Managers Versus Leaders

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Today, I share some of my favorite managers versus leaders quotes from Kevin Cashman's book, The Pause Principle.

"What sleep is to the mind and body, pause is to leadership and innovation.""Managers assert drive and control to get things done; leaders pause to discover new ways of being and achieving.""Managers require competency to drive results; leaders embody character to build a compelling, sustainable future.""Managers accelerate to keep pace with the competition; whereas leaders paradoxically step back to go beyond the competition."

Leadership Books To Read During Spring Break

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Starting to choose which business books you'll bring along with you on Spring break this year? Here are some leadership books I highly recommend:








How To Innovate

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I found this advice from Ken Goldstein (from his book, Endless Encores) particularly helpful. He says:

"You have to be innovating all the time. The only sure path to a limited repertoire is not to push yourself beyond the familiar. Your range is only gated by your courage to pursue the unknown, despite the doubters who relish the false safety of narrowing your path.

You risk, you stretch, you can't know what's going to stick. No matter how much you know the familiar will carry you, you navigate the balance of old and new, constantly committing to reinvention.

Repeat success is getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, knowing that luck will shine again, but never knowing when or how."


How To Discuss Poor Performance

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As a leader, the time will come when you will have to speak with an employee about his or her poor performance. Here are six steps that will guide you through that process:
Tell him what performance is in need of change and be specific.Tell him how his actions negatively affect the team.Let the discussion sink in.Set expectations of performance improvement and time frame, and get his agreement on the desired outcome.Remind him that he is a valuable part of the team and that you have confidence his performance will improve.Don't rehash the discussion later. You made your point. Give him to make his improvement.

How To Enable Your Employees

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"Frustration in the workplace is a silent killer," claim authors Mark Royal and Tom Agnew in their terrific book, The Enemy of Engagement.


Further, "in an organizational context, frustration is not as simple as failing to get something you want. Rather, it involves the inability to succeed in your role due to organizational barriers or the inability to bring the bulk of your individual talents, skills, and abilities to your job."

Royal and Agnew further explain that a staggering number of highly motivated, engaged, and loyal employees quit trying--or quit, period---because they feel frustrated.
And what's causing all that frustration?  It's lack of enablement.  According to Royal and Agnew, as employees grow in experience in their roles, they begin to focus less on learning the ropes and more on achieving desired results. In the process, they are increasingly confronted with enablement constraints that limit their ability to get their jobs done effectively.

The Nine Best Times To Thank Your Customer

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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…

Dig Deep Within Your Organization For Ideas

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The next time you are looking for ideas for how to grow revenue, streamline processes and procedures and/or reduce expenses, dig deep within your organization. Don't ask only your direct reports for their suggestions.

Instead, ask everyone at all levels. Some of the best ideas will come from your lower and mid-level employees who are interacting with your vendors, customers and co-workers every day in the very areas that, if improved, could make the most dramatic impact. Be sure to acknowledge receipt of each idea.Keep everyone informed of the types of ideas you've received.Perhaps update them on a monthly basis.When you implement a suggestion, recognize and reward the submitter, including possibly financially. Feel free to accept ideas anonymously. But, if employees know you are sincere about wanting their input, and witness you acting upon suggestions, most of your team members will be proud to tie their names to their ideas.

Finally, if there are some of the same suggestion…

How To Team Build During The Lunch Hour

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According to Flavio Martins, the author of the new book, Win The Customer, the most important team building hour of the day is lunch hour.

He explains (using insights from Joel Spolsky) that, "great workplace cultures and places where people love to work are environments where people are emotionally involved, happy and excited to come to work. One of the keys to achieving this is getting to know each other as individuals and a part of a team. Having this type of relationship helps keep team members engaged with each other, as well as with the organization and its overall goals."

He adds that, "being part of a group and fostering camaraderie by eating lunch together is vastly superior to eating by yourself at work. A simple 30- to 60-minute break away from your desk spent with others is a stress reducer and a great way to develop the sense of culture within an organization.

Therefore, encourage your team members to take time to sit down with other people on the team and…

How To Lead By Treating Others With Dignity

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In their new book, Millennials Who Manage, authors Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart, quote Donna Hicks's explanation about how dignity is different from respect.


Dignity is different from respect in that it is not based on how people perform, what they can do for us, or their likability. Dignity is a feeling of inherent value and worth.
Therefore, Espinoza and Schwarzbart recommend that leaders treat those they are leading with dignity and follow Hick's 10 Essential Elements of Dignity:

Acceptance of Identity - Approach people as being neither inferior nor superior to you. Assume that others have integrity.Inclusion - Make others feel that they belong, whatever the relationship.Safety - Put people at ease at two levels: physically, so they feel safe from bodily harm, and psychologically, so they feel safe from being humiliated.Acknowledgment - Give people your full attention by listening, hearing, validating, and responding to their concerns, feelings, and experiences.Recogni…

Avoid These 10 Common Mistakes Made By Sales Managers

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You'll find this list of the ten most common mistakes made by sales managers toward the very end of Kevin Davis' latest book about how to sync your sales approach with your customer's buying process:
Failing to shift from "super salesperson" mode to managerial mindset.Fighting fires continually.Leaving your staff to sink or swim on their own.Ignoring the importance of performance standards/getting blind-sided by poor performance.Failing to leverage the strengths and resources of your team's top producers.Spending too much time working with the bottom 20 percent.Allowing senior salespeople to get stuck in an unmotivated rut.Being inconsistent in your recruiting and hiring process.Assuming your sales reps will figure things out the same way you did.Hanging on to low-producing salespeople for far too long. The chapter on coaching for sales success is well worth the price of the book by itself, but fortunately, the rest of the 250-pages provide helpful lessons on…

How To Build An Effective Corporate Culture

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Fortunately, most of my career I’ve worked in effective corporate cultures. If I put together the best of each, here is what made those environments effective:

• Leaders led by example on a consistent basis and were willing to roll up their sleeves, particularly during tight deadlines or challenging times.

• Employees clearly understood how what they did made a difference and how their contributions made the organization either more profitable or more effective.

• The workforce included a blend of long-term employees with a rich company, product/service and customer history, employees who had been at the company for five to seven years, and then new hires with a fresh perspective and keen sense of new technologies and techniques. That blend worked best when the mix included virtually all A-players.

• Top managers had a clear, realistic and strategic vision for how the company would grow and compete in the marketplace.

• Employees were challenged and rewarded through growth opportunit…

How To Deliver "Knock Your Socks Off" Customer Service

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Leading a customer service team? Have the team members use these 9 tips for delivering excellent customer service this holiday shopping season:
Rely on winning words and soothing phrases. A simple but sincere “Thanks for your patience” or “I’m listening” can go a long way toward defusing a holiday shopper’s frustration, anxiety, or panic. Develop a repertoire of short, easy to remember phrases around issues that are important to customers. Practice until the words come naturally.Communicate with silence. Remaining silent while your customers are talking is a basic courtesy, and nodding tells them you’re listening and understanding what you hear. An occasional “uh huh” or “I see” tells them you’re still listening without interrupting.Make customers feel seen. Making eye contact acknowledges that you see your customers as individuals. But there’s a balance to be struck here: staring can make your customers uncomfortable, too. Also keep in mind that eye contact is governed by specific cu…

How To Be A Good Coach

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Former Verizon Wireless CEO, Denny F. Strigl offers these tips for how to be a good coach to an employee. He explains that good coaches help performers by:
Keeping them focused.Giving them objective, helpful feedback.Acting as a sounding board for new approaches.Identifying blind spots that may be holding the performer back.Reinforcing key values, principles, and behaviors that improve performance.Recognizing positive behavior and performance.Providing encouragement after setbacks and failuresSetting "stretch" goals.Acting as an accountability partner. Strigl believes that some managers fail in their coaching roles because they:
View coaching as babysitting.See coaching as only correcting performance.Don't spend enough time with their employees.Are reluctant to criticize.Have social relationships with their employees.Have a "sink-or-swim" philosophy.Believe coaching is not helpful or meaningful. "Coaching may actually save time by preventing extensive retra…

How To Evaluate Your Leadership Style

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Ken Blanchard, author of, Great Leaders Grow, shares today's guest post:.

How to Evaluate Your Leadership Style
By Ken Blanchard,
Co-author of Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life
Today, I'm going to give a short, one-question quiz. Here's the question: How do you rate as a leader?

I don't ask this question flippantly. It is a question I've asked countless people at the leadership seminars we conduct.

As leaders, most people rank themselves as being very close to a minor deity or at least Mr. or Ms. Human Relations. Seldom do leaders give themselves low marks. Strangely enough, when the tables are turned and people are asked to rank their boss's leadership style, we often find many supervisors graded as being adequate, merely OK, or at worst, office autocrats who depend heavily on the often-referenced "seagull management" technique as their sole line of attack -- they leave their people alone until something goes wrong, and then they fly in, …

What Employees Say Managers Don't Do

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According to David Grossman, author of the popular book, You Can't Not Communicate-2, here are eight things employees say managers don't do:
Don't keep employees informed.Don't explain the "why" behind decisions.Don't communicate frequently enough and in a timely way.Don't update employees on changes happening in the business.Don't share regular business updates and how the team is performing.Don't ask for feedback.Don't ask for or listen to concerns.Don't act on feedback (or at least close the loop as to why feedback wasn't incorporated into a decision) This is a great reminder for leaders of what not to do.

And, perhaps number 8 on the list is the one where most managers fall short -- not explaining why they didn't incorporate feedback into their final decision.

How To Win At Work. Ten Important Questions

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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?

Seven Steps To Sales Force Transformation

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A successful sales force transformation can mean increased revenue, increased sales productivity, and reduced cost of sales. But, up to seventy-five percent of attempted transformations fail, according to the authors of the new book, 7 Steps To Sales Transformation - Driving Sustainable Change In Your Organization.

Transformation failures are often a result of an organization that neglects to address the human factor (skepticism, resistance, avoidance). Equally important, transformations must focus on truly transforming and not merely making tweaks.

Authors Warren Shiver and Michael Perla use their own experiences transforming sales organizations, the lessons they learned from a host of interviewed sales professionals, and original, quantitative research to show readers how to transform and modernize a sales force -- including ones that are typically intrinsically resistant to change.

The recommended transformation seven steps are defined by these transformational levers:

DriversVisio…

Millennials Who Manage

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Drawing on extensive research, including a comprehensive, original workplace survey and in-depth interviews with Millennial managers, Millennials Who Manage, offers teaches Millennial readers how to overcome workplace perceptions and become great leaders.
Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart are the authors of the new book, and Espinoza was kind enough to share his answers the following questions about topics he covers in his book.
Question:  Millennials have been labeled as “the entitled” generation. What can they do to overcome such a negative perception?
Espinoza:  The best way to overcome being perceived as entitled is to show appreciation and gratitude. If your manager invites you to a meeting, send her a thank you card or e-mail detailing what you learned and your appreciation. Millennials have to be intentional about it because it does not come naturally. That is not a knock on them. They have grown up in a world in which authority figures are for them and are committed to their s…