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Showing posts from March, 2017

How To Hold Leadership Conversations

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When I read business books, I turn the corner of every page that has something I really like, want to remember and easily reference in the future.

Halfway into the 300-page book, Leadership Conversations, I had turned the corners of nearly every fifth page. So, you can see why I believe this is such a good book. There is so much to learn from Leadership Conversations. It's a must read for today's business leaders. Leaders who are leading multi-generational workforces. And, leaders who want the skills to get promoted and move up the corporate ladder.

Authors Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz wrote the book because they believe that a leader's most powerful skill is the ability to hold effective conversations.

So, in their book, they detail the four types of conversations every leader must effectively master.  Conversations that: Build relationshipsDevelop othersMake decisionsTake action And, they provide real-world examples and tactical guidance for each of those conversat…

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?

Ten Reasons To Use Storytelling In The Workplace

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From Paul Smith's popular 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

Leading Versus Managing

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In his new book, Getting To "Yes And": The Art of Business Improv, author Bob Kulhan reminds us of the important difference between leadership and management.

"I'd suggest that the act of managing focuses strictly on strategic thinking at its most practical -- on execution. Managing is taking care of logistical and practical details," says Kulhan. "The real problem arises when anyone confuses the managing of job-specific details with actual leadership. One does not need to be a visionary to qualify as a leader, but leadership does imply vision from a position of oversight," explains Kulhan.

He further shares, "Managing is part of leading, and a great leader can and should be an excellent manager. The skill of managing, though, is only one part of leading, and managing in and of itself is not leading."

Finally, Kulhan says that "a good leader communicates on a broader, higher level. A leader drives for results, leads by example, and dev…

Ten Ways 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.

How To Stay Motivated

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To learn how to stay motivated, read High-Profit Prospecting, by Mark Hunter. It's a powerful read that includes counterintuitive advice and cutting-edge best practices for sales prospecting in today's business world.

Today, I share one of my favorite sections of the book where Hunter describes his seven things motivated people do to stay motivated:
Motivated people ignore voices in their lives. These might be people in the office and friends who have bad attitudes. They're out there, and if you're not careful, they'll control you, too.Motivated people associate with highly motivated people. Just as there are negative people in the world, there are also positive people. Your job is to make sure you spend as much time with the positive people as possible. Motivated people simply look for the positive in things. Positive people count it an honor to live each day, learn from others, and impact positively those they meet. Positive people take great satisfaction in help…

Ten Ways To Improve Your Connection Skills

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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…

Eight Guidelines For A Good Company Culture

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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 Overcome Organizational Drag

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The average company loses more than 25 percent of its productive power to organization drag, reports the authors of the new book, Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team's Productive Power.

Organizational drag is all the practices, procedures, and structures that waste time and limit output.


Michael Mankins
Authors Michael Mankins and Eric Garton demonstrate in the book through in-depth examples how the best companies manage their people's time, talent, and energy with as much discipline as they do their financial capital to breakthrough organizational drag.

Eric Garton
Unfortunately, organizational drag and complexity are the normal consequences of growth. Mankins and Garton explain that, "As organizations expand, they add new products, serve new customer segments, and enter new geographic markets. With each of these changes, the company becomes more complicated. Left unchecked, organizational drag slows decision-making, increases costs, an…

Three Elements To Apologizing

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The following great advice about how to apologize is from the book, The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie. She 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.

What Will Your Leadership Legacy Be?

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As a leader, you likely have asked yourself, "How do I want to be remembered as a leader?"

But, perhaps the more important question is, "How will I be remembered as a leader?" The answer to that question is likely going to be based on the valuable lessons you shared with those you led, among other things.

The Kansas City Star newspaper a couple years ago wrote a story about Marion Laboratories and its 60th anniversary. In its heyday, Marion had 3,400 employees with sales of nearly $1 billion and in 1989 merged with Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Ewing Kauffman, fondly known as Mr. K, led Marion during its peak, and is remembered as one of the most effective, influential leaders ever in the Kansas City area.

Former employees quoted in the newspaper article remember Mr. Kauffman as a leader who shared these lessons with them:
"You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it and if you study your competition.""You can't be afraid of trying…

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 Sydney Finkelstein, author of the 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
Fink…

A Good Story Contains These Seven Elements

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According to Kristi Hedges, author of the book, The Power of Presence, a good story includes these seven elements:
Has a clear moral or purposeHas a personal connection to the storyteller and/or the audienceIncludes common reference points the audience can understandInvolves detailed characters and imageryReveals conflict, vulnerability, or achievement others can relate toHas pacing (a beginning, ending, and a segue back to the topic)Serves to strategically underscore your intention (it's not randomly told)

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 Listen Effectively

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Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability. They are all about:
what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener:Do:
Maintain eye contactLimit your talkingFocus on the speakerAsk questionsManage your emotionsListen with your eyes and earsListen for ideas and opportunitiesRemain open to the conversationConfirm understanding, paraphraseGive nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile)Ignore distractionsDon't:
InterruptShow signs of impatienceJudge or argue mentallyMultitask during a conversationProject your ideasThink about what to say nextHave expectations or preconceived ideasBecome defensive or assume you are being attackedUse condescending, aggressive, or closed body languageListen with biases or closed to new ideasJump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

How To Use Improv In Business

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"It is a driving passion of mine to get people to understand that improv skills can be effectively translated into the business world with powerful results," says Bob Kulhan, veteran improv performer, university professor, and author of the fascinating new book, Getting To "Yes And": The Art of Business Improv.
And, "Nope, improv isn't just making stuff up," explains Kulhan. "Preparation and awareness are critical to successful improvisation."
He further explains that improvisation takes technique, training, practice, thoughtfulness and intelligence. "Improvisation at its most effective is a deliberate strategy that draws on intelligence in concert with instinct. And, in business, improvisation thrives at the pivotal intersection where planning and strategy meet execution."
Kulhan, who was trained in improv by notables including Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, also teaches you in his book the powerful difference between "Yes, and..…

How To Turn Prospects Into Donors To Your Nonprofit

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If you serve on a nonprofit Board, are the executive director for a nonprofit, or are responsible for raising funds for your nonprofit, The Nonprofit Fundraising Solution, book by Laurence A. Pagnoni is a must-read for you.

Pagnoni bridges the gap between theory and practical methods and shows you (often via real-life case studies) how to:
increase your access to wealthy donorsraise your community profilestretch giftsoperate major campaignsavoid revenue plateauscreate a fundraising culture within your organizationtake specific actions if your Board's core strength isn't fundraisingconduct challenge gift campaignsintegrate social media into your existing fundraising methodscreate a planned giving program When it comes to transforming prospects into donors, Pagnoni suggests you follow these basic five steps: Get to know your prospectGet your prospect involvedAsk for a small gift of financial supportAsk them to open their network of contactsAsk for a major gift And, during those c…

12 Characteristics Of The Best Leaders Who Work Well As A Team

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Author Melissa Greenwell interviewed many top business executives while doing research for her new book, Money on the Table. When she asked them to list characteristics of their best leaders, those who work well as a team, collaborative was almost always first and foremost.

The full list is:

CollaborativeGood listenerAsks thorough questions and seeks new information or is curious and innovativeRisk takeSense of urgency or takes actionSubject matter expertsNot afraid to challengeParticipatoryIntuitiveWants or seeks feedbackEmpatheticRespectful

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…

Ten Ways 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 …

Five Leadership Quotes For Today

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Some of my favorite quotes for leaders are:
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit -- Arnold H. GlasgowI praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of RussiaHonest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas GandhiA long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- VoltaireThe least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable -- Paul Broca These and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101.