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Showing posts from January, 2019

Flashback To Best New Leadership Book Of 2014

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Flashback to this post from early 2015:

After reading nearly 40 books about leadership released this year, my pick for the very best is the book, The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up, by Chris Van Gorder.
This book is my top choice because it: Covers the issues most important to today's workplace leadersProvides "real-world" and practical everyday steps you can takeGives you specific techniques and tacticsTells powerful, life-experience storiesCapsulizes "Take Action" to do’s for you at the end of each chapterReveals how to create a culture of accountability that creates a high-performing organization with a competitive advantage And, most important, because the entire premise of the book is: People come first!Today, Van Gorder is the President and CEO at Scripps Health, one of America’s foremost health systems with 14,000 employees and 2,600 affiliated physicians.  He has presided over a dramatic turnaround, catapulting…

How To Make The Best Of The Moments That Create 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 meetingsRichardson'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 is…

Stop Asking Your Customers These Questions

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Consider this advice from author Paul R. Timm. He recommends a different twist on asking your customers questions:
stop asking your customers the "typical" questions and instead ask them open-ended questions.Here's specifically what Timm recommends:

Don't Ask:
How was everything?Can I get you something else?Did you find everything you need?Will that be all?Was everything satisfactory?Instead Ask:
What else can I do for you?What else can I get for you?What else can I help you with?What else could we do to better serve you?How else can we be of help?These open-ended questions will let your customers really express their ideas, opinions and needs. Timm is the author of, 50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use To Keep Your Customers.

You Are An Open Leader If You Do This

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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!

Four Daily Questions For Leaders

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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. And, thanks for a great a great business, health, fitness and quality-of-life magazine.

How To Be An Optimist

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Every leader experiences periods of ups and downs. Hopefully, more up periods.

If you struggle with too many down periods, it might be because you have perfectionist tendencies.

Transform yourself into an optimist by:
Viewing failure as an opportunity to learn and understand that failure is part of a fulfilling life.Making room for pain. Don't deny yourself permission to feel painful emotions.Setting standards that are attainable because they are grounded in reality. Don't set goals and standards that are essentially impossible to meet. You can learn more about being an optimist by reading the book, The Pursuit Of The Perfect: How To Stop Chasing Perfection And Start Living A Richer, Happier Life, by Tal Ben-Shahar

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 …

The Little Book Of Leadership Development

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The authors of the today's featured book suggest that readers don't read their book cover to cover.  But, if you're like me, you'll read the book that way. That's because I found, The Little Book of Leadership Development, by Scott J. Allen and Mitchell Kusy, a compelling read, packed with practical tips and techniques for both leading and helping others to learn how to lead effectively.

What you'll find is basically 50 one- to two-page chapters, each highlighting a leadership tip. Some tips seem easy and no-brainers. Others are more difficult to implement. But, even the "easy" ones are surprisingly absent from many organizations, so they are well worth a reminder of what to do and how to do it correctly.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the book that highlight the keen observations by the authors:
As a leader, if you are active, involved, and perceived by members of your team as an individual who care about their development and growth, you will in…

Six Inspirational Maxims For Leaders

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I so appreciate this advice from William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims:
Do more than belong: participate.Do more than care: help.Do more than believe: practice.Do more than be fair: be kind.Do more than forgive: forget.Do more than dream: work.

Seven Ways To Be A Collaborative Leader

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Edward M. Marshall's book, Transforming The Way We Work -- The Power Of The Collaborative Workplace, remains relevant today, more than two decades after Marshall wrote it.

Particularly useful is the book's section that teaches readers how to be a collaborative leader.

Marshall says that there are seven different, important roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders when leading teams, and those leaders should select the appropriate style to meet the team's needs.

The seven roles are:
The leader as sponsor -- You provide strategic direction, boundaries and coaching for the team. You also monitor progress and ensure integrity in the team's operating processes.The leader as facilitator -- You ensure that meetings, team dynamics, and interpersonal relationships function effectively. You also ensure internal coordination of activities among team members.The leader as coach -- You provide support and guidance and you serve as a sounding board.The leader as change age…

Today's Three Leadership Tips

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Here are three helpful leadership tips from author Neil Smith -- from his book, co-authored with Patricia O'Connell, How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things:
People say they cannot find the time to do things, yet they always find the time to fix things when they break. Companies need to create that sense of urgency before a problem occurs.People will embrace change if they see the logic behind it. If they feel they have control over its onset and evolution.  If they see it as nonthreatening and self-esteem enhancing. And, if the change has the possibility of future benefits to them.Make sure that people are basing their decisions on facts -- fact-based information should be a company mantra. Do not accept "I guess" or "I think so."

The Need To Innovate

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I find this advice from Ken Goldstein (from his book, Endless Encores) particularly helpful. He says:

"You have to be innovating all the time. The only sure path to a limited repertoire is not to push yourself beyond the familiar. Your range is only gated by your courage to pursue the unknown, despite the doubters who relish the false safety of narrowing your path.

You risk, you stretch, you can't know what's going to stick. No matter how much you know the familiar will carry you, you navigate the balance of old and new, constantly committing to reinvention.

Repeat success is getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, knowing that luck will shine again, but never knowing when or how."

Five Elements Required For Your Goal

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"The more specific you can be about your goal, the greater your level of success will be," explain authors Tom Pandola and James W. Bird, in their book, Light A Fire Under Your Business.

"This is because once we have visualized something that doesn't yet exist, it causes our subconscious mind to make the decisions necessary to make that visualized goal a reality."

The authors explain that all goals must have these five elements:
Goals must clarify a specific action or outcome.Goals must be measureable by being able to quantify the benefits of achieving them.Goals should be achievable with the resources available (or at least you should know that the necessary resources are in reserve and can be acquired).Goals must also be realistic for achieving based on your particular situation.Goals must also include the time period in which you want to achieve them. With a date or time period specified for completion, planning can be established in order for evaluating the…

Strong Leaders Can Say These Three Statements

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In Brian Tracy's and Christina Stein's new book, Find Your Balance Point, they point out the necessity and power of being willing to say these three statements:

1. "I was wrong." - The authors comment that it's amazing how many people make a mistake and do or say something that they know to be wrong, but because of their egos, they cannot admit it. The authors recommend that because you are going to be wrong likely many times, the sooner you admit it, the sooner you can correct the situation and get on with the tasks at hand.

2.  "I made a mistake." - Many of the things that you do, especially in business and in your career, will turn out to be mistakes in the fullness of time. The authors explain that there is nothing wrong with this.This is how everyone learns and grows. What is wrong, they say, is to refuse to correct a mistake because your ego is so invested in being "right."

3. "I changed my mind." - It is amazing how many peop…

Motivation And The Friendship Factor

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Take one hour to read Brian Tracy's pocket-sized guide for managers, Motivation. You'll finish the book within that hour, and it'll be worth your time.

"You cannot motivate other people," explains Tracy, "but you can remove the obstacles that stop them from motivating themselves. All motivation is self-motivation. As a manager, you can create an environment where this potential for self-motivation is released naturally and spontaneously."

In his book, Tracy presents chapter-by-chapter his 21 most reliable and powerful methods for increasing the effectiveness of any individual or group.

Each chapter includes a couple different action exercises.

Toward the end of the book, Tracy explains the importance of the Friendship Factor in motivating employees. "Every manager can tap into the power of friendship in everyday employee interactions by remembering the three Cs: Consideration, Caring and Courtesy.
Practice consideration by expressing an interest in…

How To Explain Change

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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.

Choose To Live A Life That Matters

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I recommend that all leaders every so often read the What Will Matter poem by Michael Josephson.

It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of unselfishly serving and leading with character.

I've highlighted in bold and in color below my favorite parts of the poem:

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.

It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will…

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…

10 Ways 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.

Tips For Building 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"

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 directly with their issues and concerns -- not to …

How To Cultivate Enduring Customer Loyalty

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"Today's customers demand something unlike anything they have ever wanted in the past -- a connection with your business," explains Noah Fleming, author of the must-read bookEvergreen. "This means that in order to increase customer loyalty, you need to create a relationship with that customer on a deeper and much more profound level," adds Fleming.

And, to do this, you need to think in an entirely new way (at times even counter intuitively) about your market, your customers and your marketing offers.

Noah Fleming
Fortunately, in Fleming's timely and intensively relevant book, he shows you through strategies, exercises and examples what to do.

He explains why the customer is not always right.  And, why not every customer is worth keeping.

Fleming's techniques teach you how to acquire customers faster and how to create what he calls legitimate brand loyalty -- the type that helps to keep your business thriving.

One of the book's most compelling less…

Today's Leadership Quotes

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I really like these motivating and inspiring quotes featured in a 2011 issue of Men's Health magazine:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it -- Alan Kay

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty -- Winston Churchill

The greatest accomplishment is not in never failing, but in rising again after you fall-- Vince Lombardi

Encourage Peer Coaching

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Do you create an environment at your business/organization that allows peer coaching?

Hopefully you do. If you don't, encourage peer coaching among the members of your team. Peer coaching can be formal, informal or a combination of both.

You'll likely find that everyone on your team has a skill, technique, behavior that they can teach a fellow team member. That coaching is rewarding for both parties, and it helps everyone to learn an important skill for being a successful leader -- coaching.

Use The Lunch Hour To Team Build

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According to Flavio Martins, the author of the new book, Win The Customer, the most important team building hour of the day is lunch hour.

He explains (using insights from Joel Spolsky) that, "great workplace cultures and places where people love to work are environments where people are emotionally involved, happy and excited to come to work. One of the keys to achieving this is getting to know each other as individuals and a part of a team. Having this type of relationship helps keep team members engaged with each other, as well as with the organization and its overall goals."

He adds that, "being part of a group and fostering camaraderie by eating lunch together is vastly superior to eating by yourself at work. A simple 30- to 60-minute break away from your desk spent with others is a stress reducer and a great way to develop the sense of culture within an organization.

Therefore, encourage your team members to take time to sit down with other people on the team and…

How To Enable Your Employees

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"Frustration in the workplace is a silent killer," claim authors Mark Royal and Tom Agnew in their terrific book, The Enemy of Engagement.


Further, "in an organizational context, frustration is not as simple as failing to get something you want. Rather, it involves the inability to succeed in your role due to organizational barriers or the inability to bring the bulk of your individual talents, skills, and abilities to your job."

Royal and Agnew further explain that a staggering number of highly motivated, engaged, and loyal employees quit trying--or quit, period---because they feel frustrated.
And what's causing all that frustration?  It's lack of enablement.  According to Royal and Agnew, as employees grow in experience in their roles, they begin to focus less on learning the ropes and more on achieving desired results. In the process, they are increasingly confronted with enablement constraints that limit their ability to get their jobs done effectively.

How To Be A Stronger Career Mentor And Coach

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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…

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, …

What The Most Successful CEOs Know About Communication

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Communications expert David Grossman of Your Thought Partner awhile back published a white paper – What the most successful CEOs know: how internal CEO communications shapes financial performance.

"CEOs who communicate often and well inside their organizations have better reputations – and that leads directly to better business results," explains David. "They’ve also got more engaged employees – another strong, measurable driver of positive financial outcomes."

David's white paper incorporates research compiled from a number of leading sources and points to some critical key headlines, including:
Internal communications helps drive organizational financial performance and other key business results, and enhances organizational reputation.There’s a correlation between effective internal communications on topics the CEO is best prepared to address, such as explaining business conditions and challenges, providing information on organizational performance and financi…

Five Tips For Writing Company Policies

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Keep these five tips in mind when you craft your next company policy:
Keep the policy short and simple.Get rid of two old policies for every new policy you implement.Make sure that your organization's policy and procedures are written to serve your employees and customers--not just your organization.Don't write a policy in reaction to a single incident. The problem may never arise again.Don't write a policy longer than one-page, no matter how large your organization may be. Thanks to author Bob Nelson for these great tips from his book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees.

How To Create A Heart, People-First Culture At Your Workplace

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If you want to create a heart culture and a people-first culture at your workplace, read the book, Advisory Leadership, by Greg Friedman.


Although the book is authored by an award-winning financial advisor and primarily written for professionals in the financial services industry, this book is a must read for any leader who wants to create a nurturing heart culture that hinges on the human-centric values the next generation of employees hold in high regard.


And, what exactly is heart culture? Friedman says, "At its core, heart culture symbolizes how a company values more than just an employee's output. It's not about the work, but rather, the people who do the work."

He further explains that leaders can no longer afford to ignore the shift toward a people-first culture and its direct influence on a healthy, effective work environment.

Friedman teaches that there are seven steps, based on human virtues we all strive to achieve, that are key to unlocking the power of a…

Best New Leadership Book For 2018

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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 and care – rooted in the foundation of our intention.Focus on what matters – honing our attention and training our mind’s capacity to discern what’s essential …