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Showing posts from November, 2016

17 Ideas For Employee Programs

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As you select the employee programs you'll offer at your company during 2017, consider choosing one or more from this list of 17 from Richard P. Finnegan, author of the book, The Stay Interview.

Employee Programs
Presentation opportunities at new employee orientationsPlanning committees for holiday parties and other eventsEmployee referral programs and rewardsFlexible scheduleWork from homeTuition reimbursementInternal training programsMentoring programsInternal input groupsCareer day or fairsFund-raising walks, and other volunteer civic programsProfessional certificationsReimbursement for membership in Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and other professional civic organizationsCompany-sponsored recreation teams from softball to yogaParticipation in the company's donation decisionsTransportation help via ride-sharing/van poolingCompany policy for matching personal donation to charities

There Is No Shame In Asking For Help

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If you are new to managing, or if you are struggling with a management dilemma, ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.

Seek the guidance of a colleague at work. Reach out to a mentor at or away from work. Turn to an online resource. Consult a book on managing.

Whatever you do, don't sit back and do nothing. Managing even one employee can be challenging. And many managers receive little or no formal training on how to be a manager. That means you have to be proactive about learning how to be a good manager.

Your team is depending on you, and to lead them effectively you need to know to how manage effectively. So, ask for help.

Great Ideas Come At Anytime From Anyone On Your Team

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Great ideas for your business can come at anytime from anyone on your team.

So, as a leader, be sure you dig deep for ideas, and provide an easy way for all employees to make suggestions.

Did you know that the idea for the microwave oven came to the inventor, Percy L. Spencer, when a chocolate bar melted in his shirt pocket as he stood in front of a magnetron, the microwave tube used to power radar?

Carl Magee invented the parking meter when back in 1932 the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce asked Magee to solve problems caused by all-day parkers in the downtown business district.

To jump-start your idea sharing program, encourage employees to:
Tell you the obstacles they encounterShare what they are hearing from satisfied and unhappy (or lost) customersExplain what they think your business can do better than the competition

Encourage Peer Coaching

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Do you create an environment at your business/organization that allows peer coaching to succeed?

Hopefully you do. If you don't, encourage peer coaching among the members of your team. Peer coaching can be formal, informal or a combination of both.

You'll likely find that everyone on your team has a skill, technique, behavior that they can teach a fellow team member. That coaching is rewarding for both parties, and it helps everyone to learn an important skill for being a successful leader -- coaching.

Three Things Coaches Must Do To Drive Success

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Former University of Kansas head basketball coach Roy Williams once told U.S. News and World Reportmagazine that there are three things that coaches as leaders must do to drive success:
"Have everyone on the team focus on the same goal."  And, the leader must effectively communicate that goal to the team."Emphasize those goals every day.""Understand that although everyone has a common goal, individuals also have goals, needs and dreams that must be cared for." According to Williams, in a commentary he wrote for the magazine, the third point is the most challenging to address and where leadership may be the most critical. And, I totally agree.

Therefore, if you lead a team at work or within an organization, one of the best ways to work with each of your team players is to tailor your motivation techniques for each individual, and then be prepared to tweak those techniques if necessary as each person grows.

Williams was the head coach at the University of K…

How To Lead A Successful Business Operation

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Here are some good tips for leading a successful business operation from the handy booklet, 144 Ways To Walk The Talk, by Eric Harvey and Al Lucia:
Involve your team in setting standards that are achievable but also require everyone to stretch their knowledge and skills.Remember that regardless of what you say, it is the performance you're willing to accept that becomes your true standard.Work as a team to stay abreast of technology advancements. Have different employees read different trade and professional magazines and blogs.  Ask others to share key learning from workshops, webinars, seminars and conferences they attend. Make it easy via meetings and or within an Intranet forum/Blog area to share what everyone is learning and hearing.Ask each member of your group to identify the three most significant obstacles to their performance. Create a master list and develop strategies to eliminate them. Then, reward employees for identifying obstacles!

The 10 Things I Am Thankful For This Year

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Each year, around Thanksgiving time, I think about what I am thankful for. This year, I decided to once again take the time to make a list. A list of 10 things I am thankful for.

What's on your list thisyear?  And, what's on your list this year that wasn't on last year's list?

Here is my list:
Family and friendsEmployment, and a year of positive evolution for my workplaceTechnology, Blogs, Twitter and all social media sharing tools that help me to be a constant learnerHealth and all those who help me stay healthy and encourage me to reach my 2016 fitness goal -- which included running 80 races (a combination of 5K and 10K races) this year benefiting a variety of mostly Kansas City area nonprofits and charities, Setting business and personal goals and working hard to reach or exceed themGood books (including ones the book club recommended)Nonprofit organizations that provide vital services and ways for me to volunteer and donateMusicThe ability to travel for vacationsRead…

How To Build A Great Business

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When you start reading Mark Thompson’s and Brian Tracy’s book called, Now…Build a Great Business!, you may feel like you are reading 200 pages of Blog posts, but the bite-sized approach to providing tools, practical steps and ideas, rather than theory, is precisely the authors’ intended approach.

The book thoroughly explains the seven keys for how to achieve business success:
1.  Become a great leader
2.  Develop a great business plan
3.  Surround yourself with great people
4.  Offer a great product or service
5.  Design a great marketing plan
6.  Perfect a great sales process
7.  Create a great customer experience

You’ll find a checklist at the end of each step (each chapter) where you can write down your action plan for applying what you’ve learned.

Particularly interesting is the chapter on strategic planning, where the authors recommend you should ask yourself these important questions before you act to create or reinvent the direction of your organization:
•  Where are you now? …

Six Things Effective Leaders Do That Don't Cost Money

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Leigh Branham a few years ago. He's the author of the popular book called, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave.
He said that in research that he has done about the leaders of companies that have won "Best-Place-To-Work" competitions in 45 U.S. cities, that there are six things these effective leaders do that don't cost money. They do, however, cost time and effort. But, that is time and effort that can pay big dividends.
Here are the six things you can do: Make the commitment to create a great place to work. Inspire employee confidence in decisions and clear business direction Work to build trust based on honesty and integrity Practice open, two-way communication, especially in times of uncertainty Look out for the organization before you look out for yourself Believe employees should be developed and retained; not burned out and discarded Thanks for these great leadership tips, Leigh!

Resolve To Find A Mentor In 2017

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Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do to advance your career as a leader. So, decide today to secure a mentor who will work with you during 2017. Make that one of your New Year’s resolutions.

A mentor can benefit leaders new to their leadership role and they can benefit experienced and seasoned leaders, as well.

A strong mentoring relationship allows the mentor and the mentee to develop new skills and talents, to build confidence, and to build self-awareness.

Proper mentoring takes a commitment from both parties and it takes time to develop and to reap the rewards of the relationship. Plan to work with your mentor for no less than three months, and ideally for six months or longer.

When seeking out a mentor, think about these questions:
1.  Will the relationship have good personal chemistry?
2.  Can this person guide me, particularly in the areas where I am weakest?
3.  Will this person take a genuine interest in me?
4.  Does this person have the traits and skills I wan…

Follow Through On What You Promise

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Set a good example for your employees and follow through on everything you say you are going to do.

If you promise to get an employee an answer, get it for him or her. If you say you'll send a team member a report, do so. As the Nike campaign/slogan so aptly says, "Just Do It."

Too many leaders don't follow through. Perhaps they get busy. Perhaps they forget. However, following through is critical to keeping your team effective and efficient. And it's necessary for gaining respect from your employees.

Following through also means doing so in a timely fashion. If you take too long to follow through, it's as bad as not following through at all.

How To Get The Feedback You Need

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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…

How To Be A Healthy Leader

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If you're like many leaders, you're "too busy" to exercise on a regular basis. And, you don't give yourself time to renew and refresh. Truth is, there are ways to fit exercise and healthful habits into your busy day that will pay off in dividends.

From Experience Life magazine, here are 10 tips for how to fit even just moments into your day (at work, on the road and at home) to help you become more healthful:
Make a plan to exercise. Include exercise times, even if they are just in 10-minute increments, on your calendar.Find time to exercise and build on that time. Start off by walking for five minutes at lunch and add to that every few days until you've worked up to 30 minutes every few lunch hours.Limit screen time. Set a timer for how long you'll watch TV or surf the Net. Then, use the time you aren't in front of a screen to exercise.When you are watching TV, do squats, pushups, lunges, yoga poses and crunches.Think positive. Psychologists suggest …

Quick Brainstorming Activities

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According to Brian Cole Miller in his book, Quick Brainstorming Activities For Busy Managers, there are 50 ways to improve your brainstorming at your company or in your organization.

My favorite is the Paper Swap brainstorming activity:
A brainstorming technique where participants write their input on separate pieces of paper; then they swap papers and continue to add input. Miller provides 49 other techniques in his book (released by Amacom last month), all of which take less than 15 minutes to complete.

For all brainstorming sessions, Miller reminds leaders that you should:
Focus on quantity not qualityDon't allow criticismEncourage wild ideasCombine ideas for more ideas Miller also suggests that the best starting question for a brainstorming session is a Focus Question -- one that:
Uses the participants' own languageIs personal to the participants and not the organizationEvokes responses with imagery This is a must-read book for any manager who needs to effectively lead brain…

How To Be A Synergist To Lead Your Team To Predictable Success

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Why do so many teams and groups fail to perform--achieving compromise at best and gridlock at worst?

According to best-selling author Les McKeown, the problem lays in conflicting personality types:
the Visionary with big ideas and little execution.the Processor who insists on putting every detail through a system, slowing things. downthe Operator who just wants to end the meeting and get back to the "real work." It takes a Synergist, says McKeown to end the gridlock. A Synergist, who can take all three--the bold dreamers, the pragmatic realists, and the systems designers--and knit them together into a dynamic, well rounded team.

"Most importantly, the Synergist is a role anyone can learn," explains McKeown.
And, he teaches that skill set in his new book, The Synergist -- How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success.

A Synergist:
sets their personal interests below the best interests of the enterprise as a whole.sees the big picture of what the team or group is there t…

Six Questions To Ask As A Superboss

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From Sydney Finkelstein's book, Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, comes these great questions you should routinely ask yourself as a leader:
Have you answered the "why do we exist" question for your team? Could all of your team members share this answer with you right now?Do you have people on your team who have followed non-traditional paths to their jobs, or do you find yourself attracted to cookie-cutter backgrounds?Are people on your team energized to come to work in the morning? How would you even know?Are you inspiring people to believe that they can achieve great things?Are you removing the bureaucratic barriers and hierarchy that get in the way of meaningful interaction and getting the job done?How often do you actively teach people how to do something, as opposed to just telling  people what to do?

How To Be A Catalyst Leader

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"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 listensFosters innovationProvides balanced feedbackBuilds trustFocuses on people's potentialCollaborates and networksEmpowers othersEncourages developmentEnergizes and mobilizesAligns 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 cover the following topics in the book: How to build tru…

How To Identify A Leader During An Interview

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The next time you are interviewing a candidate and you want to access their leadership skills, consider asking the candidate these questions:
What personal qualities define you as a leader?  Describe a situation when these qualities helped you lead others.Give an example of when you demonstrated good leadership.What is the toughest group from which you've had to get cooperation?Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas?  What was your approach?  Did it work?Describe a situation in which you had to change your leadership style to achieve the goal?One leadership skill is the ability to accommodate different views in the workplace, regardless of what they are.  What have you done to foster a wide number of views in your work environment? Thanks to Sharon Armstrong, author of The Essential HR Handbook, for these helpful questions!

Eight Good Company Culture Guidelines

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"The clearer your company culture, the less likely it will be hijacked by the weaker personalities in your team," explains Mary Christensen, author of the book, Be A Network Marketing Leader. "A few guidelines will ensure a level playing field for all team members as they pursue their individual goals."

Christensen's recommended eight guidelines are:
We respect each other.We support each other.We appreciate everyone's contribution.We're always professional.We operate in a spirit of fun and friendship.We keep it positive.We're a gossip-free zone.We deal with our disagreements in private.

How To Ask More And The Power Of Questions

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"Questions help us break down barriers, discover secrets, solve puzzles, and imagine new ways of doing things, But few of us know how to question in a methodical way," explains Frank Sesno, Emmy-award-winning journalist, and author of the forthcoming book, Ask More.


Set to publish in January 2017, Sesno's book teaches readers how the power of questions:
Opens doorsUncovers SolutionsSparks Change More specifically, he reveals: The power and payoff of targeted diagnostic questions.How strategic questions can ease the hardest decisions and support triumphant outcomes.How and when to use empathy questions.How asking creativity questions help to get people to imagine, set their sights high and soar above failure. And, "when a leader fails to know where he/she is going, refuses to listen to what he/she doesn't want to hear, or relies on faulty information, bad things happen," adds Sesno.

Frank Sesno
Sesno also shares that some questions work best when they don'…