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Showing posts from December, 2017

New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

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With only one one day left of 2017, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for 2018.

To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders?

Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and tomorrow, think about which couple you want to work on during 2018.
Don't micromanageDon't be a bottleneckFocus on outcomes, not minutiaeBuild trust with your colleagues before a crisis comesAssess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all timesConduct annual risk reviewsBe courageous, quick and fairTalk more about values more than rulesReward how a performance is achieved and not only the performanceConstantly challenge your team to do betterCelebrate your employees' successes, not your ownErr on the side of taking actionCommunicate clearly and oftenBe visibleEliminate the cause of a mistakeView every problem as an opportunity to growSummarize group consensus after each decision point during a meetingPra…

Creating A High-Performance Culture

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In his book, The Responsible LeaderTim 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 membersperformance management discussionspromotion interviews and talent management discussionscoaching discussionscustomer sales presentationshandling customer complaints and problemsbriefings to the press, analysts and wider marketsenior leaders' contact with, and briefings to, teams across the organizationinternal presentations with executive committeesteam 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 listening by all parties?How can you set a pace that …

Seven Ways To Succeed In The Future

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Here are the seven smart things you can do to succeed in the future, according to leadership expert. John Baldoni, in his book, Lead With Purpose:
Make purpose a central focus.Instill purpose in others.Make employees comfortable with ambiguity.Turn good intentions into great results.Make it safe to fail (as well as prevail).Develop the next generation.Prepare yourself.

Four Questions Leaders Should Ask Every Day

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I'm a big fan of the magazine, Experience Life.  Particularly the monthly Perspective column by Bahram Akradi, the founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness.

Akradi tackled self-reflection awhile back. He firmly believes the business model that if you aren't innovating you are dying. And, to innovate, you have to regularly fine-tune both your business and your life.

What better way to do that than to ask yourself each day these four questions, says Akradi:
Where did I do some good or make some progress today?Where did I let myself or others down?What can I do to keep my good habits going?What can I do to address any negative triggers or trends before they get out of hand? Thanks Bahram for this great advice.

How To Build A High-Performing Team

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According to Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese, authors of the book, The Collaboration Imperative, high-performing teams have the following characteristics:
People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose--they feel free to express feelings and ideas.Everybody is working toward the same goals.Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks.Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected.Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute--even the introverts.Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed. Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles.The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement--in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor, after which litt…

How You Make Them Feel

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"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  - Maya Angelou

How To Write A Nonprofit Annual Report

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Here are some tips for leaders responsible for writing an effective annual report for their nonprofit organization.

Consider making these objectives for your report:
To demonstrate accomplishments (not activities) (results and how you did it).To recognize important people (volunteers, donors, major funders, partners).To provide an account of your organization's work for the past year.To share your mission with a wide audience.To generate new donations, retain donors and grow partnerships.Consider these audience sectors when writing your report: DonorsVolunteersCommunity leadersFuture board membersSupporters (in-kind)Elected officials Potential partners, grant funding entitiesAllow three to four months to prepare your report: Create and outlineGather an organize contentEngage your management teamDesignReview/ProofPrintDistributeConsider packaging your report with a theme, such as one of these: TransformationDay in the lifeMilestonesCritical issuesProgress toward the futureNew undertakin…

Leadership Quotes From 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 …

The Definition Of Work Ethic For Leaders

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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,…

Tips For Leading A Successful Business Operation

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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!

Six Questions To Ask Your Direct Reports

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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?

10 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…

The Art Of Leading By Looking Ahead

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Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, gives readers practical guidance and concrete techniques to help leaders become more visionary. In his book, Rob-Jan de Jong provides the developmental framework for visionary capacity, focusing on two key skills:
The ability to see change earlyThe ability to connect the dots

Rob-Jan de Jong
De Jong makes a clear distinction between the company vision and your personal vision. And, in this book, he helps you increase your personal visionary capacity for your personal leadership whether or not you are hierarchically in a senior position.

The book includes many exercises and examples, along with QR codes to access videos with additional content that can be viewed on your Smartphone.

Some of de Jong's tips for how to think like a visionary and be a source of inspiration to your organization and teams include:
Deliberately break your normal, everyday patterns.Develop a set of appreciative questions aimed at discovering what is going well, …

Best Leadership Book Of 2016

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Soon, I will announce my choice for best book about leadership for 2017. In the meantime, let's flash back to last year's winner. Here is that blog post from about a year ago...

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…

How You Create An Optimistic Workplace

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In the book, The Optimistic Workplace, author Shawn Murphy, explains that the following beliefs are essential to helping create a positive work experience:
The team is more important than any individual. For optimism to be strong, a cohesive team is vital. People need to believe the team will be there for them when needed. A team is weakened when the first priority is the needs of each person, or when ego dictates a team's actions or inaction. And, avoid relying on the usual suspects, the same few superstars, to handle high-profile projects.There's value to experiencing joy at work. Joy can open brains to better see connections and various options to solve work problems. Joy is about playing. Play at work is useful when creativity and innovation are needed. The usefulness of creativity and innovation at the workplace is linked to increasing employees' knowledge and skills. Doing good is good for business. It's not just about philanthropy. Do good by not contributing to…