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Showing posts from May, 2017

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 The Best Leaders Energize People Every Day

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At the end of each year, I select my choice for the best new leadership book for that year, and then highlight that book on my blog.

Well, we're only five months into 2017 and there is a new leadership book so good that I can't wait until year-end to share it with you. And, it's likely to be among the select few options for best new leadership book of 2017. Available starting Wednesday, June 1, it's called, The Inspiration Code, by Kristi Hedges.


Perhaps now more than any other time, the need for inspirational leadership is critical in the workplace. Filled with profound insights and compelling data, and based on a commissioned survey on who and what inspires people, Hedges uncovers a set of consistent, learnable behaviors that dramatically enhance leadership success. And, shows you how to inspire those you lead. And, how to energize people every day.

Kristi Hedges
But, first, what exactly is inspiration? Hedges explains that psychology professors Todd Thrash and Andre…

Have You Selected Your Life Word?

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You're likely making good progress with your New Year's resolutions and goals for 2017. I am. Plus, I recently read the book, Life Word, and because of that I have also now selected my one Life Word. The one word that as the book authors say will significantly impact my life and legacy.

Life Word shows you the three-step process for how to identify your Live Word and the "why" behind that word so you can live with a renewed sense of power, purpose and passion.
Your Life Word becomes the driving force to align your efforts and eliminate distractions. And, by living your Life Word you create your legacy, defined by what you leave behind that lives on in others. Your legacy is always about the lives we touch and the people we influence. And, as the authors explain, the value of your life and your legacy is revealed in the stories that those who were most important to you--those who knew you best--will tell.

In less than 100-pages and something you can read in about a cou…

How To Be Humble

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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.

Your Customers Don't Want To Hear These Four Words

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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…

John C. Maxwell Leadership Quotes

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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.

Ten Reasons To Use Storytelling In The Workplace

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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

Managing Millennials

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The second edition of Managing the Millennials 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 and learning from the people wh…

How To Be A Collaborative Leader

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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/…

How To Play Bigger

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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 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, are…

How To Create A People-first Culture

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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…

The 12 Golden Rules Of Effective Communication

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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 development and learning.Remembe…

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!

The Power Of Positive Leadership

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"Pessimists don't change the world. Critics write words but they don't write the future," says author Jon Gordon. "Naysayers talk about problems but they don't solve them. Throughout history we see that it's the optimists, the believers, the dreamers, the doers, and the positive leaders who change the world," he adds.

You'll learn how and why positive leaders transform teams and organizations in Gordon's new book, The Power of Positive Leadership.

Gordon firmly believes that positive leaders:
Drive positive culturesCreate and share a positive visionLead with optimism, positivity, and beliefConfront, transform, and remove negativityCreate united and connected teamsBuild great relationships and teamsPursue excellenceLead with purposeHave grit For those reasons, he's dedicated a chapter for each of those leadership attributes in the book.
Gordon also professes that "The number one predictor and factor of success is not talent, title, w…

How To Be Fitter Faster

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I was fit early in my life. Then, not fit for many years. And now, back fit again. When I returned to fitness, I also became passionate about the importance of leaders creating an environment for health and wellness in the workplace.
The first step to doing that, however, is to become fit yourself. If you need help with that, there's a terrific new book, published this month, that will help you achieve your fitness goals. It's called, Fitter Faster;authored by health journalist and runner Robert J. Davis and personal trainer Brad Kolowich, Jr.
If you are already fit, this book is also good for you. That's because the authors answer the most asked questions by even experienced athletes and fitness buffs.
Overall, within the book's four parts, you'll learn: How to motivate yourself to exerciseWhat you need to know about aerobic exercise, strength training and stretchingWhat to eat and how to prevent painThe workouts to help you get fit fast



Robert J. Davis
Today, auth…

How To Be A Strong 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…

Leading Through Langauge

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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 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 from a…

How To Establish The Need For Change

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Stacking the Deck: How to Lead Breakthrough Change Against Any Odds, is as relevant today as it was when published two years ago. That's because the pace of change in business is just as fast as it was two years ago.

Unfortunately, even when business leaders know they need to make changes at their company, many struggle with how to start making that change. And, how to create a sense of urgency around that need.

Author David S. Pottruck offers these 14 action items for establishing the need to change and a sense of urgency. Ask these questions and take these steps:
What is your company's mission statement? Do employees believe the company is committed to this mission?What is your perspective on the problem you need to solve or the opportunity you need to capture?What evidence do you have of this problem or opportunity?How is this problem or opportunity connected to the company's purpose and mission?Define your stakeholders (customers, employees, leadership, shareholders, ve…

The Three Elements Of An Apology

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The following great advice about how to apologize is from the 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 Write A Business Plan In One Hour

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Joe Calhoon, published seven years ago, The 1 Hour Plan for Growth, where he provides a system for creating a clear and compelling business plan for growth.

I believe business plans are critical to any business — new or old. So, if this book helps those who have been putting off the task because it seems too daunting, try Calhoon’s book.

The 194-page shows business leaders how to write a business plan in about one hour so it fits on a single sheet of paper. The plan will include six essential elements:

1.Vision
2.Mission
3.Values
4.Objectives
5.Strategies
6.Priorities

And, Calhoon teaches how to write a plan that will engage employees and develop leadership capacity. Calhoon’s system has been used by Kansas City-based companies, such as:

Cruise Holidays of KCJack Stack BarbecueRedemption PlusUnited Heating and Cooling
“Joe Calhoon is an expert at making the growth planning process simple. This book is a must read for every team member where leadership is committed to growth. Now there…

How To Manage The New Workplace Reality

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With clear caution against stereotyping people by age, Valerie M. Grubb has written an incredibly insightful book on how to manage the new workplace reality. A reality driven by the fact that by 2020, 25 percent of the labor force will be over the age of 55, and Generation Z is just now entering the workforce. All of which will drive a clash of cultures that demands a new management approach.

Key takeaways from Grubb's new book, Clash of the Generations, include:

Old habits - not old people - kill innovation, and pairing veteran workers with younger ones has proven to spur innovation at many companies.Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and motivating senior team members to develop their skill sets is just as important as mentoring new and mid-career members of the team.Employees and managers worry about job stability, and taking part in developing individualized career plans for your talent is a critical way to retain them. In the book, you'll learn about: The New Workplace Reality…