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Showing posts from June, 2016

How To Listen And Learn 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 nearly 20 years, Baldoni has coached and consulted for a number of leading companies in a va…

Ten Questions To Help Drive Engagement

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"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 new 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
My favorite part of the book is the "10 Questions on Engagement," that all start out with, To what extent... ...does your organization facilitate opportunities for engagement within and between all stakeholder groups, so that they may share perspectives, learn and grow together in support of the organization's purpose?...do people come together to examine the way things are done, criticize processes and behaviors with a view to evolving a shared best practice?...is attent…

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 Infuse Your Organization With Entrepreneurial Energy

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This month brought the release of the new book, Achieving Longevity: How Great Firms Prosper Through Entrepreneurial Thinking, by Jim Dewald.

"I wrote this book because I am concerned that businesses in general, and business leaders in particular, have lost touch with the all-important entrepreneurial spirit that drove growth and prosperity in the past," says Dewald.



Jim Dewald
Dewald also believes that today's business leaders put too much emphasis on efficiency and commoditization rather than innovation.

"The long-term survival of a firm depends on its ability to engage corporate entrepreneurship to adapt to changing markets, technologies, and/or social-cultural factors," adds Dewald.

In his book, Dewald explores for the reader three distinct questions:

What is driving the renewed interest in entrepreneurship -- specifically, corporate entrepreneurship? Are we entering a new era in which corporate entrepreneurship will become essential, even for short-term su…

Business And Life Lessons My Father Taught Me

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My father passed away 15 years ago this month. What he taught me has served me well in business and in life. Even lessons I learned when I didn't at the time necessarily realize I was learning from him.

So, I thank my dad for teaching me the following business and life lessons:

Listen - Growing up, I thought my Dad was perhaps shy or quiet. Really, he was just a great listener. I believe that's what made him so wise. He would listen to anyone. Young or old.  New acquaintance or friend.

Provide - My Dad provided for me. Music lessons. Vacations. Summer camp. Boy Scouts.  He gave. He put others' needs first. Today, I find in volunteering likely the same satisfaction he felt when he provided.

Educate - My Dad's passion was education. He loved to learn. He loved even more to teach. He lived to help other people learn. In the workplace, providing learning opportunities is one of the most powerful things you can do for an employee. Mentoring is equally powerful.

Trainand Prepar…

The Courage Solution

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The Courage Solution, a new book by Mindy Mackenzie, is all about the simple truth that the only thing you can reliably change or control is yourself. So, that is why Mackenzie wrote her book -- to teach you how to take actions that ultimately will improve your impact on the job and increase your happiness and fulfillment in your career.

Mackenzie's quick-read strategies focus on these four key areas:

Part 1: You First offers techniques to take ownership and accountability for creating a career and life you love.Part 2: Lead Your Boss describes proven techniques to transform your relationship with your boss.Part 3: Lead Your Peers provides methods for accelerating positive peer relationships to improve business results.Part 4: Lead Your Team gives approaches for generating and creating the most effective teams and having more fun while doing it.

Mindy Mackenzie
A preview of Mackenzie's advice on  Leading Your Boss includes: Intensely study your boss to get to know the human bein…

How To Be A Category King

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"The most exciting companies create. They give us new ways of living, thinking, or doing business, many times solving a problem we didn't know we had -- or a problem we didn't pay attention to because we never thought there was another way," explain the four authors of the dynamic new book, Play Bigger.

They add that, "the most exciting companies sell us different. They introduce the world to a new category of product or service." And, they become category kings. Examples of category kings are Amazon, Salesforce, Uber and IKEA.

Play Bigger is all about the strategy that builds category kings. And, to be a category king you need to be good at category design:

Category design is the discipline of creating and developing a new market category, and conditioning the market so it will demand your solution and crown your company as its king.Category design is the opposite of "build it and they will come."Key traits of category design, explain the authors,…

How To Project A 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.

The Difference Between A Mission And A Vision

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Here's a good definition of the difference between a mission and a vision by leadership book authors George Bradt, Jayme A. Check and Jorge Pedraza:
Mission - A mission guides what people do every day. It informs what roles need to exist in the organization.Vision - A vision is the picture of future success. It helps define areas where the organization needs to be best in class and helps keep everyone aware of the essence of the company.

Sixteen Trust-Building Tips

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You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you.

Building trust takes energy, effort and constant attention to how you act.

To help build trust, follow these 16 tips, recommended by author Susan H. Shearouse:
Be honestKeep commitments and keep your wordAvoid surprisesBe consistent with your moodBe your bestDemonstrate respectListenCommunicateSpeak with a positive intentAdmit mistakesBe willing to hear feedbackMaintain confidencesGet to know othersPractice empathySeek input from othersSay "thank you"

The Three Elements Of A Great Apology

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The following great advice about how to apologize is from the new book, The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie. I'll be posting a full review of the book in a few days. In the meantime, Mackenzie recommends you include these three elements when you apologize:
Actually say "I'm sorry" out loud, while making eye contact, if possible.Acknowledging your error by adding the phrase "I was wrong...but more importantly, you were right."Asking humbly, "How can I fix this?" Keep in mind that an effective apology requires you to have actually begun working on a solution by the time you get to this step.

How To Reduce Employee Turnover

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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…

Brian Tracy On Motivation And The Friendship Factor

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All you need is one hour to read Brian Tracy's pocket-sized guide for managers, Motivation.

"You cannot motivate other people," explains Tracy, "but you can remove the obstacles that stop them from motivating themselves.  All motivation is self-motivation.  As a manager, you can create an environment where this potential for self-motivation is released naturally and spontaneously."

In the book, Tracy presents chapter-by-chapter his 21 most reliable and powerful methods for increasing the effectiveness of any individual or group.

Each chapter includes a couple different action exercises.

Toward the end of the book, Tracy explains the importance of the Friendship Factor in motivating employees. "Every manager can tap into the power of friendship in everyday employee interactions by remembering the three Cs: Consideration, Caring and Courtesy.
Practice consideration by expressing an interest in your employees as individuals.Express caring for your staff membe…

Ten Reasons To Embrace 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

Leadership And Life Quotes From Leading With Grit

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In addition to Laurie Sudbrink's, Leading With GRIT, being a great 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 confidence in …

How To Create A Heart Culture With Your Employees

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If you want to create a heart culture and a people-first culture at your workplace, read the book, 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 unlocking the power of a…

Five Tips For Writing Company Policies

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Keep these five tips in mind when you craft your next company policy:
Keep the policy short and simple.Get rid of two old policies for every new policy you implement.Make sure that your organization's policy and procedures are written to serve your employees and customers--not just your organization.Don't write a policy in reaction to a single incident. The problem may never arise again.Don't write a policy longer than one-page, no matter how large your organization may be. Thanks to author Bob Nelson for these great tips from his book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees.

How To Build A Connection Culture At Your Workplace

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"Connection is what transforms a dog-eat-dog environment into a sled-dog team that pulls together," says Michael Lee Stallard, author of the book, Connection Culture. "Connection builds an emotional bond that promotes trust, cooperation, and esprit de corps among people in the workplace."

Based on shared identity, empathy, and understanding, connection moves primarily self-centered individuals toward group-centered membership.

"Without that sense of connection, employees will never each their full potential," states Stallard.

The 10 ways you can improve your connection skills are to:
Recognize varying connection needsBe present in conversationsDevelop the ability to empathizeDevelop the habit of emphasizing positivesControl your tone of voiceNegotiate with the mindset to solve a problems rather than to winProvide autonomy in executionLearn to apply the five languages of appreciation Apologize when you make a mistakeDevelop social skills and relationship s…

Ask Your Employees These Six Questions Regularly

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As explained in John Baldoni's, book, Lead With Purpose, Marshall Goldsmith suggests all leaders make it a habit to regularly ask their employees these six questions: Where do you think we should be going?Where do you think you and your part of the business should be going?What do you think you're doing well?If you were the leader, what ideas would you have for you?How can I help?What suggestions or ideas do you have for me?

Leadership Quotes From John C. Maxwell

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The real gems in John C. Maxwell's book, Everyone Communicates Few Connect, are the abundant leadership and communication quotes, such as these: To add value to others, one must first value others.People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.All good communicators get to the point before their listeners start asking, "What's the point?"The first time you say something, it's heard. The second time, it's recognized, and the third time it's learned.In the end, people are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand.People pay attention when something that is said connects with something they greatly desire. Maxwell also says that: Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could. The book covers five principles and five practices to help readers so they can connect one-on-one, in a group, or with an audience.

13 Energizing Verbs To Use More Often

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From the book, Anticipate, the Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, by Rob-Jan De Jong, 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) Great advice, indeed!

Leaders: Six Tips For How To Get Feedback

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Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear. 
“Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the book, Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.
As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work.
Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy
1.      Don’t forget to ask:  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve.
2.      Make sure you listen:  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus them” mentality. Your reaction is critica…

Managing Millennials

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In their book, Millennials Who Manage, authors Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart explain that there are nine managerial competencies essential to managing Millennials.

They are:
Be Flexible - Focus more on what gets done than on how it gets done and give Millennials the leeway to work how they want when possible.Create the Right Rewards - Rewards don't need to be overdone for every accomplishment, but Millennials should be recognized when things go well.Put Their Imagination to Work - Keep Millennnals' minds (and hearts) engaged by using their well-developed imagination to solve problems ad innovate.Build a Relationship - Connect relationally with them first. Leaders who show interest and create personal connections with them will earn trust and have better working relationships.Be Positive When Correcting - Focus on areas of improvement as a positive. Focus on timely, frequent, and constructive feedback.Don't Take Things Personally - Keep the focus on them and their deve…

Four Words Your Customers Don't Want To Hear

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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…

Why Lunch Hour Is So Important To Team Building

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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…

10 Ways To Create A High-Performing Team

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According to Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese, authors of the book, The Collaboration Imperative, high-performing teams have the following characteristics:
People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose--they feel free to express feelings and ideas.Everybody is working toward the same goals.Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks.Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected.Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute--even the introverts.Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed.  Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles.The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement--in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor, after which lit…

How To Make Better Decisions Under Uncertainty And Pressure

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Follower of my leadership blog and Berlin-based business coach Edoardo Binda Zane, recently published his first book. It’s called, Effective Decision-Making: How To Make BetterDecisions Under Uncertainty And Pressure.

“We always make decisions under uncertainty and pressure, especially in business. We need faster and better decisions to cope, but we don't have the time to learn how to make them well. That is where I come in,” explains Zane. “I wrote this book to allow you to make better decisions without spending weeks studying theory and practice.”
In his book, Zane covers: Decision biasesThe worst mistake in decision-makingThe separate phases of decision-making
Edoardo Binda Zane
Because the book outlines many models for decision making it reads somewhat like a text book, but the many tools and techniques provided by Zane are both interesting and actionable.
The book earned the ranking of Top 20 in Management Science on Amazon US and Germany earlier in the year.