Posts

Showing posts from June, 2017

Successful Leaders Routinely Ask Themselves Six Questions

Image
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?

Leaders Use 10 Essential Elements Of Dignity In The Workplace

Image
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

Open-ended Questions Improve Your Conversations With Direct Reports

Image
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 Become An Accountable Leader

Image
"Truly accountable leadership is the only way to build an organization that can survive and thrive in our increasingly complicated world," says Vince Molinaro, author of his revised and updated bestseller, The Leadership Contract.

More specifically, Molinaro believes that a new set of leadership expectations is redefining how each of us will need to lead in the future. He explains that as a leader you will need to take accountability to:
Align and engageTake an enterprise-wide perspectiveBuild relationshipsMaster uncertaintyDevelop other leadersModel the values And, to be a truly accountable leader, Molinaro says that you must serve the five core obligations of leadership: YourselfYour customersYour organizationYour employeesYour communities One of my favorite parts of the book are the Gut Checks for Leaders at the end of each chapter. The Gut Checks list critical questions to ask yourself, such as: Do you lead every day with a sense of clarity regarding your obligations?What …

The Cycle Of Winning Has Five Parts

Image
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…

Becoming A Stronger Career Mentor And Coach

Image
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 Do Five Percent More To Achieve Extraordinary Results

Image
“Making small changes to reach big goals is the answer,” says entrepreneur and bestselling author Michael Alden in his 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. 
“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 discuss the studies and research that support his ideas throughout t…

How To Make An Apology

Image
The following great advice about how to apologize is from the new 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.

Business And Life Lessons My Father Taught Me

Image
My father passed away 16 years ago this month. What he taught me has served me well in business and in life. Even lessons I learned when I didn't at the time necessarily realize I was learning from him.

So, I thank my dad for teaching me the following business and life lessons:

Listen - Growing up, I thought my Dad was perhaps shy or quiet. Really, he was just a great listener. I believe that's what made him so wise. He would listen to anyone. Young or old.  New acquaintance or friend.

Provide - My Dad provided for me. Music lessons. Vacations. Summer camp. Boy Scouts.  He gave. He put others' needs first. Today, I find in volunteering likely the same satisfaction he felt when he provided.

Educate - My Dad's passion was education. He loved to learn. He loved even more to teach. He lived to help other people learn. In the workplace, providing learning opportunities is one of the most powerful things you can do for an employee. Mentoring is equally powerful.

Trainand Prepar…

How To Identify And Develop Emerging Talent In Your Company

Image
From the book, Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change, comes this useful checklist from author H. James Dallas for how to identify and develop emerging talent in your company/organization.

Dallas recommends that each question should be graded on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the best. Use the questions and the scoring for you and your employee to work together toward the highest ratings across the board.
Has the person demonstrated a "getting lost with confidence" mind-set?Does the person communicate with authenticity?Has the person created a strong personal brand that is recognized by colleagues of all levels?Does the person know his or her blind spots and have people watching to prevent him or her from crashing?Is the person getting exposure to executive management?Does the person seek out and seriously consider advice?Is the person building an inclusive team and sponsoring others?Is the person proactive in finding opportunities to initiate and lead change?

Seven Tough Questions To Ask Your Teams

Image
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?

How To Be An Open Leader

Image
Open Leadership author Charlene Li reminds leaders to periodically ask themselves these "open leadership skills assessment" questions:
Do I seek out and listen to different points of view?Do I make myself available to people at all levels of the organization?Do I actively manage how I am authentic?Do I encourage people to share information?Do I publicly admit when I am wrong?Do I update people regularly?Do I take the time to explain how decisions are being made? Thanks for these great questions, Charlene!

Leaving Your Legacy

Image
Today's leadership thought comes from the new book, Trap Tales, by David M. R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks.

"True happiness does not come from possessions. It comes from serving others and making meaningful contributions that benefit other people long after we are gone. It is prioritizing experiences over possessions."

Five Tips For Making A Presentation

Image
There is lots of good advice in Bob Kulhan's new book, Getting To Yes And, One of my favorites is his tips for making a presentation.

Kulhan recommends you follow these five tips:

Warm Up. It's not enough to review your notecards and double-check your PowerPoint. Give yourself time to get your body and mind ready for peak performance.Relax. You've done all the prep work and you know what you're talking about, so give yourself permission to adapt to changes in your presentation as they occur.Adapt. You cannot plan for every question, and no matter how much you prepare there will always be uncontrollable surprises that pop up and potentially undermine your presentation. Don't try to control them. Try to adapt to them.Focus on Engaging. Put your energy into making sure that you are communicating your points clearly and effectively. You are not talking to a group; you are talking to individuals within the group.Be Yourself. You are not bound by slides. Your slides are …

The Broader Definition Of Work Ethic

Image
I really appreciate author Valerie M. Grubb's broader than typical definition of work ethic for leaders, as she details it in her book, Clash of the Generations.

Here is what she says defines work ethic for leaders:

Honest. Be truthful in your dealings with employees, vendors, customers, and anyone else with whom you come in contact on behalf of the company.Full of Integrity. Maintain high-quality standards despite schedule pressures. Demonstrate and uphold values and principles that create a climate of trust.Law-abiding. Act within the statutes of the law and the company's rules and regulations.Trustworthy. Speak the truth even when no one else does. Be candid and forthcoming. Give credit freely for others' accomplishments. Stand by your commitments and own up to your mistakes. Fair. Be fair and just in dealings with employees. Value and support diversity and inclusion across the board.Respectful of others. Display grace under pressure and don't lash out at employees,…

Communication Secrets For A Distracted World

Image
According to a 2015 Microsoft study, the average attention span for us ever-scattered humans is now shorter that a goldfish's; eight seconds. So, how do you stand out? How do you communicate effectively? How do you not waste time?


Paul Hellman answers these questions and gives you 100 fast and actionable tactics to make your eights seconds meaningful. It's all in his new book, You've Got 00:00:08 Seconds.

He teaches you three key ingredients:

Focus: How to say less with more meaning.Variety: How to stand out as slightly different.Presence. How to be notable and boost your reputation.


Paul Hellman
His tactics will serve you well in all these types of situations:

Making presentationsInterviewingEmailingNetworkingStorytellingLeaving voice mail Here are some of my favorite takeaways from Hellman's book:

In one-to-one conversations, talk less than the other person. Ask at least one thought-provoking question per conversation.In meetings, speak in 30-60 second bites. Provide the …

Today's Leadership Thought: Celebrate Learning

Image
Today's leadership thought comes from the new book, Trap Tales, by David M. R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks.

"Rejoice and celebrate in the effort, the journey, and the process as much as in the end result. Mistakes are instructive. Learn from them instead of hiding them."


Leading Versus Managing

Image
Here are some great insights about leading versus managing from Bob Kulhan and his new book, Getting To Yes And.

He says, "Leading is not managing. Managing is not leading."

"Managing is taking care of logistical and practical details. Every team-related task needs to be managed to some extent, and the quality of managing can fall anywhere on a spectrum that runs from well-oiled machine to gear-grinding nightmare."

"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."

"Managing is a part of leading, and a great leader can and should be an excellent manager. While a good manager needs to effectively communicate data and details, a good leader communicates on a broader, higher level. A leader drives for results, leads by example, and develops talent."

Finally, he adds that…

How To Create Your Mission Statement

Image
Here's some good "how-to" advice for creating your mission statement, from the book, Total Alignment. According to authors Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem:

Basically, your mission statement includes:

What you doWhere you operateWhom you are servingWhy And, they explain that the first step in developing your mission is to ask and answer these key questions: What do we do?Where and for whom?Why do we do this? What is our purpose?Does what we do today limit us in fulfilling our purpose in five years or beyond?If so, how can we broaden the statement of what we do today?What would be a brief inspiring statement describing our mission?The answer to Question 6 is your mission statement.

Outsmarting The 7 Hidden Obstacles To Success

Image
Last month brought the new book, Trap Tales, by David M. R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks.

It's a guide to avoiding the seven obstacles that ensnare people every day.


Those common seven traps are:

The Relationship TrapThe Money TrapThe Focus TrapThe Change TrapThe Learning TrapThe Career TrapThe Purpose Trap With sometimes counter-intuitive strategies and uncoventional wisdom, the authors teach you how to: Identify the traps that are holding you back right nowDiscover your escape routesAvoid traps altogetherThank you to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

How To Improve Your Decision Making Skills

Image
Plan now for the September 2017 release of the new book, The Decision Makeoever, by Mike Whitaker. It's a fascinating look at decision making and the importance of decision size and timing.

As you read the book, you'll gain a better understanding of:

The power of decisionsWhy we make bad decisionsHow to deal with bad decisionsHow to deal with regretHow to take control of decision makingHow goals and decisions can help each other Perhaps the most significant part of the book is the author's perspective on goals. "Knowing your goals is the key to making good decisions," says Whitaker. "Because goals and decision-making are so intimately intertwined."
Therefore, he advises that you: Keep a few key goals close: Choice five prime goals and stay focused on them.Decide which goal is top priority and always give it favorable treatment when making decisions.Know that when a decision overlaps a prime goal, it becomes a prime decision. And, prime decisions are to b…

How To Create A Workplace Wellness Culture

Image
In 2016, the Wellness Council of America named Lance Breger as one of the Top 50 Health Promotion Professionals in the U.S..

Today, Lance shares his recommendations for how a business leader can create a culture that supports workplace employee wellness.

Lance Breger
QuestionWhat are two to three things a leader can do to create a culture of wellness at their workplace?

Lance: Livingby example is the single very greatest thing a leader can do to create a culture of wellness. Be the change you want to see in the workplace. Even the small wellness efforts are noticed like bringing a water bottle to meetings, making good food choices, leaving the office on-time, unplugging on weekends, using a standing desk and taking the stairs. 
Question: What else can a leader do to demonstrate he/she values wellness for their employees?
Lance: A leader can name health and well-being as a core value of the company, department and even team. This can be positively reinforced through a staff-wide communicat…