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Showing posts from July, 2017

Interview With Step Up Book Authors Evans And Foster

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The book,  Step Up , shows readers how to step up to the plate during  six critical leadership moments .  Readers learn how to: Use anger intelligently in the workplace. Recognize and deal with terminal politeness. Make decisions when no one else is making them. Take ownership when others are externalizing a problem. Identify and leverage pessimism. Inspire others to take action. And, before you start to read the book, you can take (via a QR code in the book) a  fifteen-minute online Step Up Leadership Assessment , which will give you instant feedback on your  leadership readiness  and point you to the most relevant chapters in the book. The book's two authors awhile back shared these insights with me: A Conversation with Henry Evans and Colm Foster, authors of  Step Up What is a “leadership moment”? These are moments when leadership is required in order to see a problem solved, opportunity seized, momentum changed, relationship(s) built, or when

How To Jump-Start Your Business

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As a leader in your business, try these  six ideas to give your business a jump-start : Ask for ideas from employees in all parts of your business . Don't ask for ideas only from your product development or marketing departments. Be sure all employees clearly understand your vision and the mission  of your business. Brainstorm ways to  take advantage of your strengths . Determine how to  overcome your business' weaknesses . Choose which opportunities you will prioritize to help  keep everyone focused on a common goal . Celebrate your successes regularly and encourage learning from your mistakes .

What It Means To Be A Manager With Class

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AMACOM's (of the American Management Association)  sixth edition  of the best-selling book,  The First-Time Manager  -- originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business. One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about  class in a manager : Class is treating people with dignity. Class does not have to be the center of attention. Class does not lose its cool. Class does not rationalize mistakes. Class is good manners. Class means loyalty to one's staff. Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others. Class leads by example. Class does not taken action when angry. Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.

The Four Questions To Ask During An Exit Interview

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As a leader, it's critical that you understand the real reasons employees leave your company. To do that, you need to  ask specific questions  that may not be ones you currently include in your exit interviews. Fortunately,  Richard Finnegan , shares in his book,  Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Bad ,  four key questions you should include in your exit interviews : Why did you decide to leave us? Of all the things you've told me, what is the top thing that caused you to resign? It's great that you've found such a good opportunity, but why did you look? What one thing could we have done that would have caused you to stay? Your goal is to learn  the most important leave reason  rather than learn which three or five things contributed to your employee's decision to leave. The four questions above will help you learn the most important reason.

Don't Hire Someone Just Like You

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Despite the temptation to hire someone like yourself,  hire someone to complement your skills  --not to duplicate your skills. Managers often find it easier, more comfortable, or less threatening to hire someone with similar skills and work habits. But, to build a well-balanced team and to achieve maximum success, you need to have employees who can fill in your weaker areas. So, if you are a great idea person, but a poor communicator, hire someone with strong communications skills. Similarly, if your team excels in sales but lacks organization, add an employee who leads in organization. This may all seem like common sense. And you obviously need to hire someone to meet certain/minimum skill sets and who will be a good overall fit. But, do what you can to avoid the trap or temptation to hire someone just like you.

Seven Ways To Delight Your Customers

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If you want to delight your customers, then the book by Steve Curtin,  Delight Your Customers -- 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary , is a must-read for you and your employees. The book explains the  seven ways  for you and your employees to demonstrate  exceptional customer service : Express genuine interest Offer sincere and specific compliments Share unique knowledge Convey authentic enthusiasm Use appropriate humor Provide pleasant surprises Deliver service heroics "Exceptional customer service typically costs no more to deliver than poor customer service," explains Curtin. For example: How much does it cost to express genuine interest in customers or to anticipate their needs? Does it cost more to display a sense of urgency or to pay attention to detail? Do you pay your employees more to smile, to make eye contact, or to add energy to their voices? Curtin reminds readers that: Customers don't esta

How To Create A High-Performance Culture

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In his book,  The Responsible Leader ,  Tim Richardson  explains that to create a  high-performance culture , you need to  plan and prepare  for the following moments to ensure the conversations surrounding them are both meaningful and intentional: recruitment and induction of new team members performance management discussions promotion interviews and talent management discussions coaching discussions customer sales presentations handling customer complaints and problems briefings to the press, analysts and wider market senior leaders' contact with, and briefings to, teams across the organization internal presentations with executive committees team meetings and management meetings Richardson's advice to  improve the quality of these conversations  is to consider: How clear is the principal message for the conversation?  How can you ensure that the content of the discussion is focused on the key message(s)? How can you ensure the quality of the listenin

Today's Thoughts About Leadership

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A relatively small Kansas City-area newspaper for readers over 50 years in age published an article by C.W. Hanson a few years ago where he offered these keen observations about leadership: The longer the contact with those you offer leadership to, the more scrutiny you will receive and the more self-disciplined you must be. People will pay attention to what you do as well as what you say. Your contingent may be one or many. You may not even know you are being watched, but that does not preclude you from being a role model for someone.  Your word and your behavior are still important. Your contact with those you lead may last a lifetime or be just a passing moment. The preparation for leadership is necessarily more complex when you are responsible for many than for one. Source:   Kansas City 50 and Better

11 Ground Rules For Meeting Behaviors

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While recently reading C. Elliott Haverlack's new book,  Unbundle It , I found his  11 ground rules for meeting behaviors  to be particularly helpful: Arrive on time. Be respectful of other attendees. No phones or computers if at all possible. No leaving the meeting or getting up to walk around until scheduled breaks. No eating unless during working meal meetings (consuming beverages as appropriate is acceptable). No side conversations. Good posture. Listen intently (even if you don't want to). Ask questions at the appropriate time. No filibustering. Take notes.

Today's Five Quotes For Leaders

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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. Glasgow I praise loudly, I blame softly --  Catherine II of Russia Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress --  Mohandas Gandhi A long dispute means that both parties are wrong --  Voltaire The 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 .

Don't Hog All The Credit

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Insecure managers hog the credit for a job well done . Or, they hide the credit and don't give credit where credit is due. These managers are afraid to let their employees be in the limelight. Secure and successful managers  talk up their employees, highlighting the good performance they've done, and are eager to give credit where credit is due. They promote their staff to their supervisor and to others within their organization. Successful managers know that they look good when their employees look good . Giving credit where credit is due is a sign of a manager who is wise and confident . It's a sign of a manager who  demonstrates  good leadership skills. So, when your employees excel, allow them to take the spotlight.

Leadership Books To Read Before The End Of Summer

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Starting to choose which business books you'll bring along with you on Spring break this year? Here are some leadership books I highly recommend:

High Velocity Hiring

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These statements from author  Scott Wintrip  convinced me to read his book,  High Velocity Hiring: How To Hire Top Talent In An Instant : "Hiring is broken. There's a new way to hire that's faster, efficient, and effective. Instead of waiting for the right  person  to show up, the new way to hire is to wait for the  right job  to show up. Instead of waiting until a seat is empty to search for talent, the new way of hiring starts the talent search before that job opens." Wintrip explains how companies across the globe have applied the principles of the on-demand economy to hiring. And, perhaps counter-intuitively, he demonstrates how hiring faster creates better employees and improved working relationships. The book takes you through a  five-step process : Create Hire-Right Profiles Improve Candidate Gravity Maximize Hiring Styles Conduct Experiential Interviews Maintain a Talent Inventory Most interesting to me is Wintrip's  Talent Inventory  con

A Boss Versus A Leader

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"A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss creates fire, a leader creates passion." -- Russell H. Ewing, British Journalist.

How To Involve Your Employees To Create A Successful Business

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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!

Eight Ways To Value Your Employees

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There are  eight specific actions  business leaders can take to  show that they value their employees , according to  Andrew Leigh , author of the  book ,  Ethical Leadership -- Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture . Those  eight behaviors  are: Attention  -- Pay attention to what people say to show your interest. Listen  -- Make time to hear what colleagues, peers and employees have to say to show you care. Positive Language  -- Find words and phrases to show employees they're needed.  Examples are, "We couldn't have accomplished this without you," "That was really useful." Document  -- Put praise in writing to increase its impact.  Make clear where the credit belongs. Micro Sessions  -- Create two-way communication sessions. Visits  -- Schedule visits to teams and work areas. Stories  -- Share stories that highlight unusual contributions and provide your personal response to them. Invite  -- Ask people to contact you di

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 as k :  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”

Seven Things Motivated People Do 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 gr

Flashback: Best Leadership Book Of 2016

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After reading nearly 30 new books about leadership this past year, my pick for  2016's best new leadership book  is,  Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change , by  H. James Dallas . Technically, the book came out in the fall of 2015, but gained its popularity and momentum in 2016, hence my selection as my 2016 pick. Virtually every business is undergoing change. And, one of the most difficult things for a leader to do is to successfully lead a change initiative. And, change is what most employees fear most. That's why, says Brown that on average nearly 75 percent of change initiatives fail. What's more... When the rate of external change exceeds the rate of internal change, the end is in sight. Fortunately, Brown has written what I consider to be one of the most straight-forward, practical and timely books on how to lead a transition through change effectively. H. James Dallas More specifically, Brown covers much more than tasks, timing and techno

Successful Leaders Connect With Their Employees Individually. Here's How.

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Here, from the book,  Be A Network Marketing Leader , are some tips on how, as a leader, you can  connect with your individual team members : Send cards on their birthdays and anniversary-of-joining dates. Keep yourself updated with what's happening in their personal lives. Show your support during personal or family crises. Schedule weekly one-on-one phone calls or meetings. Pay attention. When you see an increase, decrease or change in results, get in touch. Schedule monthly whole team meetings. Applaud achievements and address concerns immediately. Be consistent. Make frequent thoughtful, spontaneous gestures.

Leadership Quotes From John C. Maxwell

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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,

Coaches As Leaders Do This To Drive Success

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Former University of Kansas head basketball coach  Roy Williams  once told  U.S. News and World Report   magazine 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 co

How To Communicate Change To Your Team

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When you communicate change to your team, explain the  logical and rational reasons  for the change: 1. Explain  how the change will make employees feel  before, during and after the implementation. 2. Explain the  tactical plan and goals . 3.  Answer questions  from your team.

How To Be A Humble Leader

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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.

Five Steps To Effective Meetings

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Here is some good and practical advice for how to lead effective meetings, from the book, First-Time Leader : Context . Understand the meeting's place in the broader journey. It's not about the meeting itself, or even the meeting experience. It's about how the meeting moves its participants forward along the path and fits with everything else. Objective . Set an overall single objective for the meeting and clear expectations for learning, contributions, and decisions by agenda item and attendee in order to align with the single objective and with the meeting's place in the broader journey. Pre-work . Make sure to get appropriate pre-work and pre-reading to people far enough in advance for all to learn/contribute to their fullest potential. Delivery . Manage meeting participation and timing to optimize learning, contributions and action-oriented decisions. Follow-Through . Get meeting notes out promptly to memorialize decisions and actions, kicking off the pr

Questions To Ask Yourself At The End Of Each Day

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One of my favorite parts of Joe Sweeney 's book, Moving the Needle , is the section where he recommends you ask yourself these six questions before you go to bed each night : What was the best thing that happened today? What am I most grateful for today? What did I do to live my ideal day today? What is one new thing I learned today? What did I do to meet my goals today? What am I most looking forward to tomorrow? And, by jotting down your answers to these thoughtful and positive in nature questions sets you in the right frame of mind for waking up in the morning!

The Power Of Doing All You Can

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Today's leadership thought is  John Wesley's Rule : Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.

The Things Best Companies Do

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Here are some of the things the companies often ranked as " best companies " by leading industry magazines do to attract and retain employees. Many of these programs and activities take little to no investment. But, they all can only happen when there's strong leadership at the company's helm. Try some of these in your workplace this year: Mentoring programs, especially for new employees Volunteer opportunities/days Lunches with the CEO or president On-site wellness fairs Pep rallies Telecommuting programs Summer picnics for employees and their families Retention bonuses Lending libraries Unlimited sick days Employee team sports after hours, such as bowling and baseball On-site child care services Awarding vacation time in exchange for community volunteering time Employee pot-luck breakfasts Monthly birthday parties On-site fitness equipment Frequent town hall meetings with upper management Subsidized gym memberships Leadership development prog

How Teams Provide Value Beyond The Ordinary

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"It takes more than encouraging words to get a team thinking beyond the ordinary," explains Jackie Barretta , author of the book, Primal Teams . She suggests you must help team members to redefine the purpose of their work with broader and more expansive thinking. Use certain pointed questions to guide a team toward a loftier view of their purpose. Specifically, Barretta recommends you as the leader ask the following purpose-broadening questions to encourage the team to think of providing value beyond the ordinary: What major contributions can our team make to the company's success? What do we do that makes our colleagues and customers happy? What does our work do to give our company a competitive advantage? What do we do that no one else can do? What legacy do we want to leave? What future possibilities excite us? What difference does our work make in the lives of others?

The Five Factors Of Personal Resilience

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If you want to build the psychological body armor to achieve personal resilience, then the book,  Stronger , is a must-read for you.  That body armor consists of  five factors of personal resilience : active optimism decisive action moral compass relentless tenacity interpersonal support According to the authors, these  five factors of personal resilience  are keys to improving your work habits and output in the workplace, and to achieving overall satisfaction from life. Backed by compelling scientific findings and packed with powerful stories of resilience in action,  Stronger  teaches you how to gain an edge on making sound decisions under pressure, bounce back from setbacks and layoffs, and motivate peak performance in others as well as yourself, Each chapter includes  self-assessment questions  and  homework  for choosing one thing you'll do the next day to help you begin to develop each of the five factors of your personal resilience body armor. I

Inspiring Leadership Quotes

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These quotes truly inspire me : “The three common characteristics of best companies -- they care, they have fun, they have high performance expectations.” -- Brad Hams “The one thing that's common to all successful people: They make a habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don't like to do.” -- Michael Phelps “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." -- Harry S. Truman “The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.” -- Peter Drucker “Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” -- Dwight D. Eisenhower “Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team.” -- John C. Maxwell "People buy into the leader, then the vision.” -- John C. Maxwell “Great leaders have courage, tenacity and patience.” -- Bill McBean "People never lear

Are You A Perceptive Listener?

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"Perceptive listening requires you to be totally focused, completely mindful, and perceptive of the conversation -- about what is spoken and what remains unspoken," explains John Jantsch , author of the book, Duct Tape Selling . He adds, "Perceptive listening reveals things that a distracted or even mostly active conversation can't reveal." To be a perceptive listener , ensure you hear and interpret the words as they're said, and also consider what the person isn't saying. What they might really be thinking, and how they are acting as they speak.

Mentoring Tips From The Book, One Minute Mentoring

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Fortunately, I've benefited from having great mentors throughout my career. And, I've have the honor and good fortune to be a mentor, both formally and informally, for various individuals the past few decades. Mentoring is powerful. Both being a mentor. And, being mentored. That's why I became an instant fan of the book,  One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor -- and Why You'll Benefit from Being One . Released this in May, the book presents a fictional parable about the power of finding, or being, a mentor. In what is about a one- to two-hour read, you'll gain knowledge and easy-to-use tools for  how to find and leverage mentoring relationships . Ken Blanchard You'll also learn why developing effective communication and relationships  across generations  through mentoring can be a tremendous opportunity for companies and individuals alike. Bestselling author,  Ken Blanchard, Ph.D . teamed up with  Claire Diaz-Ortiz  to write