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Showing posts from August, 2017

Today's Leadership Thought

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"A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." - Phyllis Diller

Six Questions To Regularly Ask Your Employees

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As explained in John Baldoni's, book, Lead With PurposeMarshall Goldsmith suggests all leaders make it a habit to regularly ask their employees these six questions: Where do you think we should be going?Where do you think you and your part of the business should be going?What do you think you're doing well?If you were the leader, what ideas would you have for you?How can I help?What suggestions or ideas do you have for me?

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. 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.

The Seven Arts Of Change

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David Shaner's compelling, The Seven Arts of Change, shows business leaders that transforming a business only happens when each employee equates organizational change with the process of deep personal growth.

"The bottom line is that, despite how technological and automated organizations have become, at their core they remain a collection of human energies that are merely being applied in an organized environment," explains Shaner.  "Resurrecting and guiding that human core of your organization is the secret to leading and sustaining change," he adds.

Shaner pulls from his vast professional and personal experiences, including having been a member of the Olympic Valley USA Ski Team and a former Harvard University teacher, to lay out a seven-part "spiritual guide" for change:
The Art of Preparation (Assessment)The Art of Compassion (Participation)The Art of Responsibility (Accountability)The Art of Relaxation (Clarity, Focus, Visibility)The Art of Consc…

When To Be A Coach And When To Be A Counselor

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A good manager is both a coach and a counselor.  Generally, coaching should precede counseling.

As a coach,a manager:
identifies an employee's need for instruction and direction and this need is usually directly related to his or her performance or career goals.  Coaching is collaborative. It relies on mutual, progressive goal-setting, personal feedback, and an ongoing, supportive relationship.

You coach to help retain employees and to show you care about your employees as individuals.  It's best to coach when a new procedure is introduced, a job is changed, and/or a skill gap is identified.

As a counselor, a manager
first identifies a problem that interferes with an employee's work performance and then helps the employee to define specifically what behavior he or she needs to change in order to improve his or her performance or resolve a problem. So, the difference between coach and counselor is subtle, but important.  And, as Sharon Armstrong further shares in her book, &qu…

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…

Checklist For How To Identify And Develop Emerging Talent

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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?

The 10 Questions Every Leader Must 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?

How To Listen And Learn As A Leader

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In John Baldoni's bookThe Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence, he provides these tips for listening as a leader and learning as a leader:

When Listening As ALeader: Look at people when they are speaking to you. Make eye contact.Ask open-ended questions, such as "Tell me about..." or "Could you explain this?"Consider the "what if" question:  "What if we looked at the situation like this?"Leverage the "why" question:  "Why do we do it this way?"Employ the "how" question:  "How can you do this?"When Learning As A Leader: Reflect on what people have told you.Think about what you have not observed.  Are people holding back?  If so, why?Consider how you can implement what you have observed.Get back to people who have suggested ideas to you and thank them.Look for opportunities to collaborate with others. For about 20 years, Baldoni has coached and consulted for a number of leading companies in a var…

There Is No Shame In Asking For Help

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If you are new to managing, or if you are struggling with a management dilemma, ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.

Seek the guidance of a colleague at work. Reach out to a mentor at or away from work. Turn to an online resource. Consult a book on managing.

Whatever you do, don't sit back and do nothing. Managing even one employee can be challenging. And many managers receive little or no formal training on how to be a manager. That means you have to be proactive about learning how to be a good manager.

Your team is depending on you, and to lead them effectively you need to know to how manage effectively. So, ask for help.

Always Follow Through

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Set a good example for your employees and follow through on everything you say you are going to do.

If you promise to get an employee an answer, get it for him or her. If you say you'll send a team member a report, do so. As the Nike campaign/slogan so aptly says, "Just Do It."

Too many leaders don't follow through. Perhaps they get busy. Perhaps they forget. However, following through is critical to keeping your team effective and efficient. And it's necessary for gaining respect from your employees.

Following through also means doing so in a timely fashion. If you take too long to follow through, it's as bad as not following through at all.

14 Action Items For Establishing The Need To 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…

Be A Manager Who Makes Decisions

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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 decide.

Successful managers gather the data from their employees, make any truly 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 decisions made at that time for …

Powerful Leadership Quotes From The Book, Leading With Grit

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In addition to Laurie Sudbrink's, Leading With GRIT, being a great book for leaders, it's packed with powerful leadership and life quotes. Here are some of my favorites:
Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are - Kurt CobainThe respect you show to others (or lack thereof) is an immediate reflection on your self respect - Alex ElleYou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - Harper LeePeople only see what they are prepared to see - Ralph Waldo EmersonWe make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give - Winston ChurchillIf it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you - Fred DevitoThe secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new - SocratesThe biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to rely - AnonymousAttention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simon WeilGood leaders inspire people to have confidence in …

Highlights From The Book, Connection Culture

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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 new 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 relationsh…

Leadership Quotes From The Book, Just Listen

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Here are some terrific quotes from Mark Goulston's book,Just Listen:
Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. -- Paul HawkenLife is mostly a matter of perception and more often misperception. -- Dave LoganEveryone has an invisible sign hanging from their next saying, "Make me feel important." -- Mary Kay AshDo the unexpected. The expected is boring.  The expected is tuned out. -- Steve StraussHumility is the surest sign of strength. -- Thomas MertonYour most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. -- Bill GatesThe secret of getting ahead is getting started. -- Agatha ChristieDon't find fault.  Find a remedy. -- Henry Ford

How To Create Engagement In A Purposeful Organization

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"The challenge for the organizational architect is to systematically create the blueprint for an organization that consciously connects everything to purpose," explains author Clive Wilson, in his book, Designing the Purposeful Organization. "The product of doing this are measurable results and, importantly, a felt sense of success.

Wilson's book is packed with case studies and activities that help you put to practice in your organization the learnings from the book.

Clive Wilson
One of my favorite parts of the book is the "10 Questions on Engagement," that all start out with, To what extent...

...does your organization facilitate opportunities for engagement within and between all stakeholder groups, so that they may share perspectives, learn and grow together in support of the organization's purpose?...do people come together to examine the way things are done, criticize processes and behaviors with a view to evolving a shared best practice?...is attent…