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Showing posts from May, 2016

How To Be A Stronger Career Mentor And Coach

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Author Paul Falcone offers the following great advice for how to become a stronger career mentor and coach by helping your subordinates grow and develop in their own careers.
Encourage others to engage in random acts of kindness.Find creative ways of surprising your customers.Focus on making bad relationships good and good relationships better.Look for new ways of reinventing the workflow in light of your company's changing needs.Think relationship first, transaction second.Realize that people can tell more about you by the depth of your questions than by the quality of your statements.Separate the people from the problem.Always provide two solutions for each question you ask or suggestion you raise.Employ right-brain imagination, artistry, and intuition plus left-brain logic and planning. And, one of my favorite pieces of advice from Falcone: Convert "yes...but:" to "yes...and" statements to acknowledge the speaker's point of view and to share additional in…

Ten Important Questions For Business Leaders

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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?

Wisdom Versus Integrity

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Five Elements Of A Good Goal

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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…

Six Universal Drivers That Maximize Employee Engagement

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Overland Park, Kansas-based author Leigh Branham, along with Mark Hirschfeld, awhile back completed a survey of 10,000 employees in 43 states to better understand what separates a "best places to work" company from other companies.

What Branham and Hirschfeld discovered is that the best companies use six "universal drivers" that maximize employee engagement:
Caring, Competent, and Engaging Senior LeadersEffective Managers Who Keep Employees Aligned and EngagedEffective Teamwork at All LevelsJob Enrichment and Professional GrowthValuing Employee ContributionsConcern for Employee Well-Being Branham also explains that to get the best from your employees you need to re-engage them. You can learn more about how to do that in his book, Re-Engage.

Eight-Point Plan For Building 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…

How To Lead With Purpose

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“Purpose is the why behind everything within an organization,” says author John Baldoni, of the book, Lead With Purpose.

Baldoni also believes that it is up to leaders to make certain that organizational purpose is understood and acted upon. And, to harness the talents of their employees, leaders must recognize their responsibility to instill purpose in the workplace.

Other recommendations include:
Make purpose a central focusInstill purpose in othersMake employees comfortable with ambiguityTurn good intentions into great resultsMake it safe to fail (as well as prevail)Develop the next generation According to Baldoni, purpose forms the backbone of what an organization exists to do; upon which you can build vision and mission.

To define an organization’s purpose, you must ask three questions:

1. What is our vision — that is, what do we want to become? 2. What is our mission — that is, what do we do now? 3. What are our values–that is, what are the behaviors we expect of ourselves?
Some…

Questions To Ask When You Want To Move Your Company Forward

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The April 2014 issue of Inc. magazine featured a fascinating list of 35 questions from business owners, entrepreneurs and management thinkers. Each offered the one question they would ask to move a company forward.

From the list, my favorites are:
Are we relevant?  Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten?What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader?Are we changing as fast as the world around us?Who, on the executive team or the board, has spoken to a customer recently?And, my most favorite is: How can we become the company that would put us out of business? What question do you ask to help move your company forward?

How Companies Succeed By Engaging Radically With Society

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"Organizations will pay significant consequences if they don't work openly, honestly and proactively with government and society. In order to survive over the long term and gain competitive advantage, companies must learn how to connect profoundly with the world around them -- not only with customers and stakeholders, but also with employees, local communities, politicians, and the environment itself."
This is the advice from the authors of the new book, Connect: How Companies Succeed By Engaging Radically With Society.
The book is all about redefining three discredited words: Corporate Social Responsibility. The authors want to put these at the center of business -- both because it's right and because success in business is inextricably linked to sustainability.
To achieve "connected leadership" you must: Map your world -- Analyze stakeholders as precisely as your customers, understand trends and discontinuitites, and quantify the value at stake from exter…

Driving Transformation In A Fast-Paced World

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The Art of Change Leadershipdemystifies the psychology behind our reactions to change and offers a powerful collection of tools to inspire individual and collective transformation quickly and more effectively, explains author of the new book, Cheryl Cran.

The book teaches you how to:
Leverage your current technical knowledge to increase the rate of innovation.Use the cycle of change to foresee and handle change-related issues affecting yourself, others, and business.Raise your emotional intelligence to match your IQ.Guide "change" initiatives with repeatable success by using the reliable three-step change model. Cran also explains the differences between a Change Manager and a Change Leader.
For example: A Change Manager creates a plan, directs projects and people to achieve a goal. In contrast, a Change Leader sets the compelling vision; tells a story that includes the hero's journey for each person involved.
In addition, a Change Leader does the following: Provides a proj…

Ten Ways Leaders Make The Hard Work Harder

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In the book, The Leadership Contract, author Vince Molianro shares that not only is leadership hard work, but also a lot of us inadvertently make the hard work harder.

Therefore, Molianro recommends you:
Don't get in over your head -- where you are in situations where you are unable to take your performance to a higher level. Where you are creating risk to yourself and your organization.Confuse rough with tough -- Mistreating, disrespecting and insulting others is rough, not tough.Mistake effort for results -- Keeping yourself busy by toiling away at drudgery is very different from tackling real hard work of leadership.Feel like the victim -- Everybody gets frustrated at work. That's normal. But leaders need to be able to move through the frustration.Be insecure -- The key to overcoming insecurities begins by admitting that you have them.Need good news -- Your job as a leader is not to avoid, ignore, or deny bad news. It's to find out the bad news as early as you can so yo…

How To Be A Superboss

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"Superbosses embrace certain practices that good bosses don't, and they do even more of the productive things that good bosses do," says Syney Finkelstein, author of the new book, Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent.

What's more, according to Finkelstein's findings from ten years of research and two hundred interviews, superbosses focus on identifying promising newcomers, inspiring their best work, and launching them into highly successful careers, while also expanding their own networks and building stronger companies.

Most important, "regenerating the talent pool is the single most important thing any leader can do to survive and prosper," adds Finkelstein.

Sydney Finkelstein
Superbosses also do this: Create master-apprentice relationshipsRely on the cohort effectSay good-bye on good termsAdapt the job or organization to fit the talentTake chances on unconventional talentLook for new talent poolsHire on the sportAccept churn
F…

Today's Leadership Quote

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"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." -- Winston Churchill

My Favorite Leadership Quotes

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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…

Eight Things 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.

Nine Times When You Should Thank Your 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…

10 Tips For Projecting An Effective Professional Image

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From Jay Miletsky's book, 101 Ways to Successfully Market Yourself, here 10 tips for projecting an effective professional image:
Discipline yourself to be positive and enthusiastic.In tense situations choose positive responses by maintaining perspective and getting along well with others.Acknowledge mistakes and shortcomings and learn how to correct them.Develop a reputation for being a resourceful problems solver.Leverage your strengths and expertise to have maximum impact on the decisions you make.Be organized, efficient, flexible, and self-motivated.Master your tasks and fully expand your area of expertise so that you can boost your output.Keep up with the latest developments in your company and in your field.Cultivate unique talents that give you a definite edge.Gain visibility by taking the kind of action that will propel you into the right sights of management personnel.

Eight Focus Areas For Achieving Continual Improvement

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In addition to your 2016 New Year's resolution and the goal that you've either accomplished so far or are still working on, 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.

Nine Steps To Drive 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…

A Look Back At The Best 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…

Six Steps For 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.

Six Ways 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 Lead Others By Following The 10 Essential Elements Of Dignity

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In their 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.Recognition

The Trusted Executive

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Perhaps now more than ever it's time for the new book by John Blakey called,The Trusted Executive: Nine Leadership Habits That Inspire Results, Relationships, and Reputation.

The book is divided into three parts:
Part One: Blakey explores how trust in executive leadership has been lost so that we can understand the scale and depth of the problem.Part Two: Here, Blakey shifts from exploring the theory of trustworthiness to studying its practice. Specifically, you'll learn a three pillar approach to building trustworthiness: Habits of Ability; Habits of Integrity; Habits of Benevolence.Part Three: Finally, Blakey reviews the impact of the three pillars and discusses governance, remuneration, corporate social responsibility, reporting, scale, regulation and structure.By the time you finish the book, you will also have learned about the nine habits that inspire trust. Choosing to: DeliverCoachBe ConsistentBe HonestBe OpenBe HumbleEvangelizeBe BraveBe Kind Today, Blakey kindly answered…

Stragility Is The Key To Competitive Advantage That Lasts

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"Stragility is the term for strategic, agile, people-powered change that enables organizations to thrive amidst relentless turbulence and uncertainty," explain Ellen R. Auster and Lisa Hillenbrand, authors of the new book, Stragility: Excelling At Strategic Changes.

"Achieving Stragility is the key to competitive advantage that lasts," they add.

The book provides lots of examples, concrete tips, action steps and tools. You'll learn that as a leader you must constantly adjust both strategies and execution to achieve winning goals. That agility is a key part of Stragility. Without ongoing agility, even good strategies will fail.

You can read the entire book, or focus on the sections that address your pain points, bad habits within your organization, and/or on your Stragility goals.

For example, the authors present these common pain points that derail making changes, and show you how to transform this pain into successful change:
Political infighting, turf wars, r…

How To Be An Active Listener

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Today's leadership tip on how to be an active listener comes from the book, Stronger. The authors explain that perhaps the best single technique to convey effective listening requires you to be an active listener.

When someone has finished making a point, use that person's name and then paraphrase in your words the essence of what you understood that person to say. Then ask a follow-question. Frame your question to keep the focus on the person speaking.