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Showing posts from 2019

Unlocking The Customer Value Chain

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Earlier this year brought the release of the book, Unlocking The Customer Value Chain, by Thales S. Teixeira, the Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
He shows in his book how and why consumer industries are disrupted and what established companies can do about it—while highlighting the specific strategies potential startups use to gain a competitive edge.
Among the insights revealed in the book are:  Startups do not disrupt existing markets – customers do.Customers, in effect, pay businesses with their money, time, and effort. These determine whether consumers will change their behavior or not.Most disruption in the marketplace occurs not because of new innovations in technology but as the result of new business models.  Lots of food-for-thought in this book. And, vivid insights from in-depth and exclusive accounts of both startups and reigning incumbents as they respond.

The Seven Attributes Of Meaningful Work

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There are so many good things to learn in the book, Helping People Win At Work, by Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge. Among those is the section about how to define meaningful work.

Their definition consists of these seven attributes.  Work is meaningful when it:
It is conducted in a manner that is "good and proper" in all respects.It positively affects our company and our communities, giving our work an impact that extends beyond ourselves.It provides learning and growth, offers challenges, requires creativity, pushes us to surpass limits, and creates exciting results.It provides recognition and rewards for our achievements.It allows us to succeed as a team while excelling as individuals.It allows us to enjoy the ride, bringing humor and fun into our work.It fuels passion!

When Change Is Good

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"Change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

How To Identify A Leader During An Interview

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The next time you are interviewing a candidate and you want to access their leadership skills, consider asking the candidate these questions: What personal qualities define you as a leader?  Describe a situation when these qualities helped you lead others.Give an example of when you demonstrated good leadership.What is the toughest group from which you've had to get cooperation?Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas?  What was your approach?  Did it work?Describe a situation in which you had to change your leadership style to achieve the goal?One leadership skill is the ability to accommodate different views in the workplace, regardless of what they are.  What have you done to foster a wide number of views in your work environment?Thanks to Sharon Armstrong, author of The Essential HR Handbook, for these helpful questions!

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 counter intuitive 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 hel…

How To Encourage Teams To Think Of Providing 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 Power Of Brevity

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Here is some good advice from author Scott Belsky's book, The Messy Middle: Finding your way through the hardest and most crucial part of any bold venture.
The power in brevity: Shorter emails get faster response times. Fewer words go further (and are listened to more intently).The less preamble, the more focused your team will be on your message. Most attention spans don’t even make it to the end.Start with your point; don’t end with it.

Eight Steps To High Performance

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“Higher performance comes from doing many things well—but some of those things are not in your power to change,” says author Marc Effron. Therefore, he recommends in his new book, 8 Steps to High Performance, that you focus on what you can change and ignore the rest. Effron reveals in his book the eight key factors you do control and provides practical advice for improving yourself on each one. “A high performer is someone who consistently delivers better results and behaviors, on an absolute and relative basis, than 75 percent of their peers,” explains Effron. Key words in the previous sentence are “consistently” and “relative,” where relative means that your performance must be better than others’, not just better than the goal. You’ll want to read the book to fully learn the eight steps, however in short, they are:
1.Set big goals
2.Behave to perform.
3.Grow yourself faster.
4.Connect.
5.Maximize your fit.
6.Fake it (this is a particularly interesting step and chapter in the book)
7.Commit y…

Why Culture Matters

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An important chapter in the incredibly insightful book, It’s The Manager, is about why culture in the workplace matters.
The book’s authors Jim Clifton and Jim Harter suggest as a leader you ask yourself: How well do your purpose, brand and culture align?How clear is your purpose to employees and customers?Are your employees committed to your culture? Equally important, if you see any of the following warnings signs, your culture may be broken: The inability to attract world-class talent.Difficulty maximizing organic growth based on customer-employee interactions.Leadership initiatives that don’t go anywhere.Lack of agility in responding to customer needs.Loss of best performers to top brands. 



How To Ensure New Leaders Succeed

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It has been estimated that 40% of executives fail within the first 18 months on the job, regardless of whether they were hired from outside the company or promoted from within,” explain Dan Ciampa and David L. Dotlich, authors of the book, Transitions At The Top.
Leadership transition is more complex than many realize, affecting the company’s strategy, operating efficiency, and culture.
The key people involved with C-suite transitions have the power to ensure that the transition is successful if they understand their roles and follow the necessary steps,” add Ciampa and Dotlich. Transitions At The Top teaches these all-important players the necessary steps. More specifically, it teaches what directors, the head of human resources, and the other senior managers must do individually and collectively to best ensure the handoff from an incumbent leader to the one who will step in to replace her/him in a planned transition.
If you are wondering why the transition success rate is not bet…

Onboarding New Employees

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If you lead an organization that uses employee ID badges, considering using a different color or a special designation on the badges for newly hired employees for at least their first 30 days and ideally up to 60 days.

Imagine how welcoming it will be for your new hires when employees recognize your newly hired employees' status via their special badges and then when your longer term employees introduce themselves to the new employees in halls, on elevators, in your break room, in the parking lot and at large group meetings.

Some people call this a "hello" culture.  It's a culture that helps to quickly develop relationships.  And, it's a culture that ensures your new hires feel welcome during their critical onboarding time period.

How To Project A Professional Image

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From Jay Miletsky's book, 101 Ways to Successfully Market Yourself, here 10 tips for projecting an effective professional image:
Discipline yourself to be positive and enthusiastic.In tense situations choose positive responses by maintaining perspective and getting along well with others.Acknowledge mistakes and shortcomings and learn how to correct them.Develop a reputation for being a resourceful problems solver.Leverage your strengths and expertise to have maximum impact on the decisions you make.Be organized, efficient, flexible, and self-motivated.Master your tasks and fully expand your area of expertise so that you can boost your output.Keep up with the latest developments in your company and in your field.Cultivate unique talents that give you a definite edge.Gain visibility by taking the kind of action that will propel you into the right sights of management personnel.

How To Drive Engagement

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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
My favorite part 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 attention …

16 Ways To Build Trust

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You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you.

Building trust takes energy, effort and constant attention to how you act.

To help build trust, follow these 16 tips, recommended by author Susan H. Shearouse:
Be honestKeep commitments and keep your wordAvoid surprisesBe consistent with your moodBe your bestDemonstrate respectListenCommunicateSpeak with a positive intentAdmit mistakesBe willing to hear feedbackMaintain confidencesGet to know othersPractice empathySeek input from othersSay "thank you"

Seven Ways 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 counter intuitive 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 hel…

Eight Decision-Making Tactics

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These eight decision-making tactics from David Lahey’s book, Predicting Success, are helpful to me and hopefully useful to you as well: Deep breathing, to clear your mind.Researching, to feel confident that you have all the information in front of you.Listing your options, in either verbal or written form, to keep the whole picture front of mind.Following through on the possible outcomes, complete with likely predictions and acknowledgement of whether they’re negative or positive (or design yourself a decision tree, that lays out every possible consequence visually).Testing your intuition, by imagining a committed decision and then gauging the corresponding feeling it inspires in your gut.Taking the time you need, so long as it doesn’t become an overly indulgent distraction.Evaluating your decision, an after-the-fact exercise that engages a conscious inventory of the lessons learned.Coming to terms with your pick, always cognizant of the reality that no decision is going to lead to a …

14 Attributes Of Great Coaches

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For those who may have missed this posting from awhile back, I am pleased to share again a guest post from Garret Kramer about how to be a great coach:


14 Attributes of Great Coaches By Garret Kramer, Author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life

There are many, many coaching manuals and books on the market today.  Unfortunately, virtually all of them provide an external blueprint or "positive" guide to successful coaching and leadership. Very few, however, point the coach inward to an intuitive understanding that he or she already possesses.
Below are fourteen examples of the inside-out coaching paradigm revealed in Stillpower.  Consider these attributes of great coaches for yourself; then see how they might apply to you, your team, classroom, company, or family.
1.  Great coaches think state of mind first; behavior (including "working hard, "staying positive, and "doing the 'right' thing"), a distant second.
2.  Great coaches know that…

Plan Now For Your Nonprofit Thank-A-Thon

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If you serve on a nonprofit Board, are the executive director for a nonprofit, or are responsible for raising funds for your nonprofit, The Nonprofit Fundraising Solution, book by Laurence A. Pagnoni is a must-read for you.
Pagnoni bridges the gap between theory and practical methods and shows you (often via real-life case studies) how to: increase your access to wealthy donorsraise your community profilestretch giftsoperate major campaignsavoid revenue plateauscreate a fundraising culture within your organizationtake specific actions if your Board's core strength isn't fundraisingconduct challenge gift campaignsintegrate social media into your existing fundraising methodscreate a planned giving programWhen it comes to transforming prospects into donors, Pagnoni suggests you follow these basic five steps: Get to know your prospectGet your prospect involvedAsk for a small gift of financial supportAsk them to open their network of contactsAsk for a major giftAnd, during those conve…

Today's Five Leadership Quotes

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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. GlasgowI praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of RussiaHonest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas GandhiA long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- VoltaireThe 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.

Leadership Conversations: Must-Read Book For Leaders

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When I read business books, I turn the corner of every page that has something I really like, want to remember and easily reference in the future.

Halfway into the 300-page book, Leadership Conversations, I had turned the corners of nearly every fifth page. So, you can see why I believe this is such a good book. There is so much to learn from Leadership Conversations. It's a must read for today's business leaders. Leaders who are leading multi-generational workforces. And, leaders who want the skills to get promoted and move up the corporate ladder.

Authors Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz wrote the book because they believe that a leader's most powerful skill is the ability to hold effective conversations.

So, in their book, they detail the four types of conversations every leader must effectively master.  Conversations that: Build relationshipsDevelop othersMake decisionsTake action And, they provide real-world examples and tactical guidance for each of those conversat…

How To Connect With Your Team Members

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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.

First-Time Leader

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The First-Time Leader book by George Bradt and Gillian Davis begins with a discussion of taking charge of your new team and then tracks through BRAVE leadership components from the outside in. BRAVE is a leadership framework that helps first-time leaders successfully build their team by uniting them around a shared purpose.The term reflects an acronym that stands for behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and environment.
Carefully considering and analyzing each component will help first-time leaders discover this shared purpose and incorporate it into the company’s larger strategy and their team’s implementation of same.
Specifically, the book defines the five components as: Behaviors –  The actions that make real lasting impact on others.Relationships – The heart of leadership. If you can’t connect, you can’t lead.Attitudes – Encompassing strategic, posture, and culture choices around how to win.Values – The bedrock of a high performing team. Get clear on what really matters.Enviro…

How To Find Your Balance Point

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A few years ago, Brian Tracy, along with Christina Stein, published, Find Your Balance Point.

"The desire for peace of mind and the idea of living a balanced life are central to your happiness and well-being. When you start to live your life in balance with the very best person you could possibly be, you will enjoy the happiness you deserve and experience harmony among all the elements that make up a successful life for you, as you define it," explain the authors.

The book teaches you how to identify you balance point, move to it at will, and automatically return to it whenever you want.

"You need to establish your balance point before you can set and achieve the goals that are important to you," explains Tracy.

The starting point is to develop absolute clarity about who you are and what matters to you. This means you much be clear about your values.


Then, chapter by chapter, Tracy and Stein take you through:
Creating your vision and how to be powered by clarityCon…

Words To Lead By

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Words to lead by:

"It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - President Harry S. Truman.

"Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." - President Woodrow Wilson.

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.

Best Leadership Book Of 2018

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In December, I'll post my selection for the best new leadership book for 2019. In the meantime, here's a reminder/re-posting of my selection for 2018:

The new book, Say What You Mean, by Oren Jay Sofer, couldn’t have come at a better time. Because 2018 was a year filled with communication challenges for so many people.Often, those conversations were ineffective and unhealthy, causing frustration, conflict and distress.
Published toward the end of 2018, Sofer’s book teaches you how to find your voice, speak your truth and listen deeply.
Most important, via the book, Sofer provides us the skill necessary to transform communication into a vehicle for greater intimacy, honesty, and compassion to bring us to greater equity and peace.
And, that’s why, Say What You Mean, is my pick for Best New Leadership Book for 2018.
The overarching framework for the book is taking three steps to create effective conversation: Lead with presence – show up and be fully in the moment.Come from curiosity …

Five Essential Principles For Being The Leader You Want To Be

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“By focusing in specific ways on five key leadership elements—Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace—you can increase your time, capacity, energy, and ultimately your leadership impact,” explains Amy Jen Su, author of the book (released today, October 22), The Leader You Want To Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self—Every Day.

Su shares both Western management thinking and Eastern philosophy to provide a holistic yet hands-on approach to becoming a more effective leader with less stress and more equanimity. She draws on rich and instructive stories of clients, leaders, artists, and athletes. And, she focuses on three foundational tenets: self-care, self-awareness, and personal agency.


Most important, Su explores in depth, chapter-by-chapter the Five Ps: Purpose – Staying grounded in your passions and contributions, doing your highest and best work that has meaning and is making a difference.Process – Relying on daily practices and routines that honor your n…

The School Of Greatness

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With only a few months left in 2019, it's not too early to start identifying your New Year's resolutions and goals for 2020. As you prepare for creating those, add reading The School of Greatness to your "to do" list. It's a highly uplifting and motivational book on how to strive for greatness in your everyday life.

Specifically, author Lewis Howes, shares his progression of a series of lessons -- eight areas that help you focus on continual improvement:
Create a vision.Turn adversity into advantage.Cultivate a champion's mindset.Develop hustle.Master your body.Practice positive habits.Build a winning team.Be of service to others. Packed with exercises, tools, tips and examples, the book makes for a perfect read at the start of the new year.

Making Small Changes To Reach Big Goals

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“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. The book will be available in late August.
“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 re…