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Showing posts from July, 2016

Today's Three Leadership Skill-Building Tips

Be |Dsecisive A manager who can't make a decision or who can't make a timely decision will frustrate his/her employees. Equally bad, a lack of decision will impede the  progress  of the manager's team. Some managers make endless requests for data as a way to postpone their having to make a decision. Employees end up spinning in circles, slicing and dicing the information far beyond what is truly needed for the manager to make a decision. Some managers are simply afraid to make a decision in fear of making a "wrong" decision. These managers don't necessarily request needless data, but simply just never made a decision. Successful managers (true leaders) gather the data from their employees, make any necessary follow-up requests (probing beyond what their employee may have researched/gathered on their own), and then make their decision...knowing that in virtually all cases most decisions are not black and white "right or "wrong," but are the

The Three Things Every Mission Statement Must Reflect

A lot of companies struggle when creating their mission statement . Author Peter F. Drucker provides the following good advice in one of my favorite book's of his,  The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization :" Every mission statement has to reflect  three things : Opportunities Competence Commitment In other words, he explains: What is our purpose? Why do we do what we do? What, in the end, do we want to be remembered for? How well does your mission statement meet Drucker's recommended three requirements?

Lead With Purpose By John Baldoni

“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 focus Instill purpose in others Make employees comfortable with ambiguity Turn good intentions into great results Make 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 th

How To Lead By Using The 10 Elements Of Dignity

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, feelin

How To Make Small Changes To Achieve Extraordinary Results

“Making small changes to reach big goals is the answer,” says entrepreneur and bestselling author Michael Alden in his new book, 5 % MORE: Making Small Changes To Achieve Extraordinary Results . “If you just put 5% more effort into any aspect of your life, you will not only achieve your goals, you will surpass them,” he explains. The book will be available in late August. “Far too often, people become paralyzed when they want to improve their lives, because the effort to reach their goals seems overwhelming,” adds Alden. “Or the opposite occurs. They decide to dive into something one hundred percent, but then quickly lose steam.” Therefore, Alden demonstrates that long-lasting success is based on small increases in effort. “Five percent is almost unnoticeable in terms of effort—but it accrues quickly, with each step boosting the baseline,” he declares. Although much of Alden’s advice is based on personal experience, observation, and common sense, he is careful to discu

The 10 Questions Leaders Should Ask

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 ?

How To Write Anything

Ever wondered about the  do's and don'ts  of writing a: Business Apology Letter of Recommendation Job Advertisement Interview Follow-up Press Release Executive Summary Collection Letter Resignation 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: Work School  (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' expe

How To Create SMART Goals

Too often, businesses don't have clearly defined goals and even less often specific plans to reach those goals. When you set a goal for your business, be sure it is  SMART : S pecific M easurable A ttainable R elevant T ime-related Share that goal with your employees, so they understand all of the five attributes of the goal. And then for your plan (sometimes called "program"), keep these tips in mind : Realistically assess the obstacles and resources involved and then create a strategy for navigating that reality.  For me this year, that meant adjusting my race schedule this summer to accommodate a nagging hamstring injury. Plan for more than just willpower.  Instead, plan by taking into consideration your business environment, your employees' schedules and workload, and everyone's accountability so that all these factors will work together to support you to achieve your goal.

John C. Maxwell Leadership Quotes

Here are some of my favorites quotes from John C. Maxwell's book,  The 5 Levels of Leadership  -- a book I   believe should be a  must-read for any workplace/organizational leader : Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team. Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others. Leadership is action, not position. When people feel liked, cared for, included, valued, and trusted, they begin to work together with their leader and each other. If you have integrity with people, you develop trust.  The more trust you develop, the stronger the relationship becomes.  In times of difficulty, relationships are a shelter.  In times of opportunity, they are a launching pad. Good leaders must embrace both care and candor. People buy into the leader, then the vision. Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team. Progress comes only from taking risk

How To Know When Work Is Right For You

In  Brian Tracy 's book,  Find Your Balance Point , he shares this helpful list of the  seven indicators  of the  right work for you  and the career where you will feel fully engaged and where you will be the happiest in serving other people: The right work for you is something that you really enjoy doing; something that you love to do. The right work for you is easy for you to learn and easy to do. In many cases, you learned it automatically, without thought or effort. You love learning more and more about the work if it is the right work for you. When you are engrossed in this work, the hours fly past. You forget what time it is, and later you are surprised to see how much time has passed. The right work for you gives you energy when you are doing it. You can spend hours at this work, often forgetting to eat. If it is the right work for you, you want to be excellent at it, and you are constantly striving to learn and improve in that area. If it is the right work for yo

Leading Through Language

Communication expert  Bart Egnal  reveals why jargon is so prevalent in the workplace, and why it usually undermines those who use it, in his book,  Leading Through Language . Step by step, Egnal demonstrates how effective leaders reject fuzzy terminology in favor of the language of leadership. And, by language of leadership, he means using language that clearly and powerfully brings ideas to life for the audience. The book has two parts. The first part examines why jargon exists and discusses its implications for leaders.The second part teaches how to use language that conveys ideas with energy, clarity, and conviction. Egnal also explains that before you think about language you need to adopt a  leader's mindset  using these s ix principles : Begin with vision . You must define the vision as a possibility that others can embrace or aspire to fulfill.Yet, it must be concrete enough that people can grasp it as something clear and achievable. Define your own conviction .

Six Tips For How To Get Feedback

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 as k :  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” m

How To Be A More Creative Thinker

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?

Debbie Laskey's Expert Insights On Marketing and Leadership

Debbie Laskey is one of my go-to experts when I seek advice about a number of business topics, including marketing, social media, and nonprofit marketing and leadership.  So, it's my privilege to share today some of Debbie's insights on all these topics. However, before you read the answers to my questions to Debbie, we'll set the stage with her background: Debbie has an MBA Degree and 17 years of marketing experience in the high-tech industry, Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France, insurance industry, and nonprofit sector. She’s created and implemented successful marketing and branding initiatives for nonprofits including the Foundation for the Junior Blind, Exceptional Children’s Foundation, League of Women Voters of Los Angeles, and Brides for Good; and in the B2B financial sector for an insurance company and CPA firm.  Currently, she works with the Nonprofit Communications and Media Network and Special Olympics Southern California. 

How To Be A Change Leader

The Art of Change Leadership   demystifies 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 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 Lead

Ten Questions A Superboss Should Ask

Here are ten questions (or bundles of questions) you should ask yourself to ensure you are thinking and acting like a superboss . These are from Sydney Finkelstein 's new book, Superbosses . Do you have a specific vision for your work that energizes you, and that you use to energize and inspire your team? How often do people leave your team to accept a bigger offer elsewhere? What's that like when it happens? Do you push your reports to meet only the formal goals set for the team, or are there other goals that employees sometimes also strive to achieve? How do you go about questioning your own assumptions about the business? How do you get your team to do the same about their own assumptions? How do you balance the need to delegate responsibilities to team members with the need to provide hands-on coaching to them? How much time do you usually spend coaching employees? When promoting employees, do you ever put them into challenging jobs where they potentially might f

Abraham Lincoln On Trust

"Trust. Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln.

The Golden Rules Of Effective Communication

Here are the 12 golden rules of effective communication from Paul Falcone , as highlighted in his book, 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals . Always remember to: Recognize achievements and accomplishments often. Celebrate success. Deliver bad news quickly, constructively, and in a spirit of professional development. Praise in public, censure in private. Assume responsibility for problems when things go wrong, and provide immediate praise and recognition to others when things go right. Create a work environment based on inclusiveness, welcoming others' suggestions and points of view. Listen actively, making sure that your people feel heard and understood and have a voice in terms of offering positive suggestions in the office or on the shop floor. Share information openly (to the extent possible) so that staff members understand the Why behind your reasoning and can ask appropriate questions as they continue along in their own path of career developme

Embrace Change To Grow

Change is inevitable. Change is good.  Help your employees and team learn to embrace change. Here are some solid insights from  Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan 's (Liberty, Missouri) book,  Change-friendly Leadership -- How to Transform Good Intentions into  Great Performance : The kind of behavior change that results in lasting (sustainable) change must accommodate people's feelings--feelings that involve trust, confidence, passion, and all those other intangible but very real things that make us human. It's often the stress that people resist, not the change itself. Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights ( Pauline R. Kezer ). A transformational leader focuses primarily on initiating and "managing" change.  He/she influences people to improve, to stretch, and to redefine what's possible. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive t

Managing The Millennials

The second edition of Managing the Millennials is out now and is an important read. Because, in 2015, Millennials comprised 35 percent of the workforce--nearly 54 million workers. And, by 2020, one in three adults will be a Millennial, and then by 2025, three of four workers will be from the Millennial generation. Further, according to the book's co-author Chip Espinoza , more than 60 percent of employers say that they are experiencing tension between employees from different generations--more than 70 percent of older employees are dismissive of younger workers' abilities. And, 50 percent of younger employees are dismissive of the abilities of their older coworkers. In this latest updated edition of the original 2009 book, the authors include new research and new real-world examples to assist you in: Making the most informed decisions on getting the most from twenty-something employees. Executing solutions to the most common obstacles to younger workers engaging an

Breaking The Trust Barrier

"Teamwork is literally a matter of live and death for the members of the US Air Force Thunderbirds ," explains Colonel JV Venable (USAF, Ret) and former Top Gun (USAF's Fighter Weapons School) instructor for the Thunderbirds. "Overcoming the barrier of trust to fly less than an arm's length away from another jet moving 500 miles per hours at 400 feet off the ground is no small challenge," he adds. "Creating trust like that on a team requires a predictable, repeatable process that the Thunderbird instructors have been refining for more than half a century." Venable shares that process in his new book, Breaking the Trust Barrier: How Leaders Close the Gaps for High Performance . JV Venable Not only will you read plenty of true, inspirational stories, but also, you'll gain repeatable, step-by-step processes that are measurable and implementable, and that can be adapted to fit virtually any situation or scenario. The trust buildi

How To Be A Catalyst Leader

" Catalyst leaders represent the gold standard  -- energetic, supportive, forward-thinking mentors who spark action in others," explain  Tacy M. Byham  and  Richard S. Wellins , authors of the new book,  Your First Leadership Job -- How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others . More specifically, the authors share that a catalyst leader : Asks and listens Fosters innovation Provides balanced feedback Builds trust Focuses on people's potential Collaborates and networks Empowers others Encourages development Energizes and mobilizes Aligns actions with strategy In the book, you'll learn how catalyst leaders bring out the best in people. They do that by, among other actions, by: Encouraging the person to try new things. Giving the person input on things that affect him/her. Allowing the person to safely learn through failure, so they can take appropriate risks. Taking the time to find out what motivates the person. The authors also cov

Seven Elements That Make For A Good Company Culture

You'll learn a lot about marketing from the book,  Does it Work? , by  Shane Atchison  and  Jason Burby . Most important, you'll discover their  10 principles for getting digital marketing right . What also really caught my attention was the book's discussion about the  elements of good culture . Culture created from as high up in the organization as possible. A culture particularly well suited for digital. Those  seven elements  are: Stay Flexible  -  create a continuous learning environment with flexibility and a certain disdain for roles. Hire Learners  - individuals who are curious and willing to learn on their own. Empower People to Share  - cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable bringing up bold ideas and are encouraged to speak up. Encourage Thinking Outside Roles  - to help you capture every perspective from all your team members. Make Sure Problems Come with Solutions  - don't just point out what's wrong. Find solutions. Mak

How To Be A More Collaborative Leader

Edward M. Marshall's book,  Transforming The Way We Work -- The Power Of The Collaborative Workplace , remains relevant today, more than a decade after Marshall wrote it. Particularly useful is the book's section that teaches readers how to be a collaborative leader. Marshall says that there are  seven different, important roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders when leading teams , and those leaders should select the appropriate style to meet the team's needs. The seven roles are : The leader as sponsor  -- You provide strategic direction, boundaries and coaching for the team. You also monitor progress and ensure integrity in the team's operating processes. The leader as facilitator  -- You ensure that meetings, team dynamics, and interpersonal relationships function effectively. You also ensure internal coordination of activities among team members. The leader as coach  -- You provide support and guidance and you serve as a sounding board. Th

How To Be A Stronger Career Mentor

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

Four Ways To Be A Humble Leader

From  John Blakey 's book,  The Trusted Executive , here are these four tips from Jim Collins for how to be a humble leader : Demonstrate a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation and never be boastful. Act with quiet, calm determination and motivate others through inspired standards, not inspiring charisma. Channel ambition into the company, not the self, and set up successors for even more greatness in the next generation. Look in the mirror, not out of the window, when apportioning responsibility for poor performance.

Follow Your Dream

Seven Questions To Ask Each Team Member

High-functioning and effective teams can disagree and still produce excellent products and results. Team members can also disagree and still care about each other. And, they can challenge each other to think differently. Best-selling leadership book authors  Scott J. Allen  and  Mitchell Kusy  recommend that leaders ask  seven tough questions  of their teams to help  maximize their results . Here are those questions to   ask each team member : What are some obstacles affecting this team? What are opportunities we could take advantage of that we have been largely ignoring? Where can you take greater ownership on this team? Where have you let this team down? Compared to other teams with which you are familiar, how are we doing? When was the last time you complimented the team or one of its members? How open are you to giving direct feedback to team members?

Time To Check In On Your 2016 New Year's Resolutions

You made it through the first half of 2016. So, now it's a good time to check on your progress with your New Year's Resolutions for how to be a better leader. Hopefully, you're still doing great. So good that you're ready to add another one or two resolutions to your list to tackle during the remainder of the year. Here are some choices to choose from. Don't micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Be courageous, quick and fair Talk more about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to