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Showing posts from December, 2016

New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

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With only one one day left of 2016, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for 2017.

To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders?

Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and tomorrow, think about which couple you want to work on during 2017.
Don't micromanageDon't be a bottleneckFocus on outcomes, not minutiaeBuild trust with your colleagues before a crisis comesAssess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all timesConduct annual risk reviewsBe courageous, quick and fairTalk more about values more than rulesReward how a performance is achieved and not only the performanceConstantly challenge your team to do betterCelebrate your employees' successes, not your ownErr on the side of taking actionCommunicate clearly and oftenBe visibleEliminate the cause of a mistakeView every problem as an opportunity to growSummarize group consensus after each decision point during a meetingPra…

Most Popular Post From 2016: How To Lead By Using 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

Seven Ways To Be A Collaborative Leader Of A Team

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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.The leader as change agent/…

Nine Ways 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…

How To Create SMART Goals

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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:
SpecificMeasurableAttainableRelevantTime-relatedShare 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.

10 Questions Every Leader Should Ask

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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?

Four Business Books To Read In 2017

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To find the best business, communications and leadership books to add to my "to read" list for 2017, I reached out to some of the best experts in the field. Individuals I admire and respect.

Here is what they read this year and recommend adding to your 2017 "to read" list:


Paul Smith Organizational Storytelling Speaker, Trainer/Coach, Author
The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build BroadSupport, and Get It Approved, by Mike Figliuolo.
"As a storytelling trainer and consultant, I’m constantly asked by companies to help their managers 'tell a better story.' When I dig in to find out what the issues and needs are, about half the time I conclude that it’s not actually storytelling that they need. What they need is the ability to craft a simpler, more logical, and more compelling argument that they can deliver in a presentation or in a memo. The Elegant Pitch teaches that and does it well," says Paul.
Web: www.LeadWithAStory.com Twitt…

Three Leadership Skills Building Tips

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Be Decisive
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 best decisio…

Four Ways To Be A Humble Leader

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From John Blakey's new book, The Trusted Executive, published just a couple weeks ago, 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.

Five Key Interview Questions

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If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the book, Advisory Leadership:
What motivates you?What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone's personality.)What are you telling your family/spouse about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.)What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.)What opportunities do you see for yourself here?

Hold Getting-To-Know You Conversations With Your Direct Reports

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To help you bring out the best in your team, you need to get close and understand their skills, abilities, and motivations. So, the authors of the book, Your First Leadership Job, recommend you hold getting-to-know-you conversations with each of your direct reports.

Ask these open-ended questions. Let each team member know the purpose of the meeting in advance. And, don't cheat by adding in work-specific questions.
What do you enjoy doing most as part of your work? Why?What do you  miss most about the jobs you've had in the past? Why?What things about your current job do you enjoy the least? Why?How do you cope with or relieve stress?To help you do your job, what could I change about: Your work environment? The content of your work? How you get your work done?What form of recognition do you prefer or not prefer?

How To Create A Cycle Of Success

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The Cycle of Winning has five parts: Decide, Overdo, Adjust, Finish, Keep Improving. These are the five actions that winners take to get on track and to help stay on tract. Theses actions create Serial Winners, explains Larry Weidel in his book, Serial Winner.

"Serial Winners leverage a cycle of winning action to make progress," says Weidel. "They do something every day that puts them on a course for the things they want in life."

"As you read [the book], you'll realize that you're already doing some of these things. But one or more of them will jump out at you -- the things you're missing," adds Weidel.

In the book, Weidel presents a step-by-step process that you can apply to your life, career and in your business.

Larry Weidel
For example, Weidel teaches:
Don't Hesitate, Decide -- Serial Winners make up their minds to being and then they keep moving. They know the clock is ticking and they need to continually make decisions and take actio…

How To Lead Through The Language Of Leadership

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Communication expert Bart Egnal reveals why jargon is so prevalent in the workplace, and why it usually undermines those who use it, in his new 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 six 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. When you speak fr…

Ten Sample Guiding Business Principles

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I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company USAA lives by: Exceed customer expectationsLive the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect)Be a leaderParticipate and contributePursue excellenceWork as a teamShare knowledgeKeep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together)Listen and communicateHave fun You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees.

Four Ways To Make Your Executive Coaching Experience A Success

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If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine:
Find the right match. Find someone to push and challenge you. To encourage you and to hold you accountable.  Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily.Be aware of your company's expectations. If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you. Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list.Get your money's worth. Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job. Be sure your coach sees you in action. Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports. This also gives your colleagues a sense that you're se…

Read Good To Great

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Near the top of virtually every list you'll see of the best leadership books, you'll find, Good To Great, by Jim Collins.

The book, five years in the making, and published in 2001, addresses the all-important question of: Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?

Some of the lessons from the book are:
"Leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confronted.""Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision.  It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.""Good-to-great companies use technology as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it.""Engage in dialogue and debate."Good-to-great companies are those who have the ability to get and keep enough of the rig…

70 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders In 2017

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With only one month left of 2016, it's not too early to start identifying your New Year's Resolutions for 2017.

To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders?

Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and December 31, think about which couple you want to work on during 2017.
Don't micromanageDon't be a bottleneckFocus on outcomes, not minutiaeBuild trust with your colleagues before a crisis comesAssess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all timesConduct annual risk reviewsBe courageous, quick and fairTalk more about values more than rulesReward how a performance is achieved and not only the performanceConstantly challenge your team to do betterCelebrate your employees' successes, not your ownErr on the side of taking actionCommunicate clearly and oftenBe visibleEliminate the cause of a mistakeView every problem as an opportunity to growSummarize group consensus after each decision point …