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Showing posts from November, 2019

Step Beyond Your Comfort Zone

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Inspirational leadership wisdom came awhile back from Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness.

From that health club's monthly fitness magazine, Experience Life, Akradi says:
Once we get comfortable in our habitual patterns, we may fail to notice when they have outworn their useful purpose, or when new alternatives might serve us better.Once you've encountered a second way of seeing things, you're more likely to entertain the possibility of a third and fourth way, too.Do something that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable--and that renders you a little more awake. Thanks Akradi for encouraging us to break out from predictability.

A Maxim For Leaders

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I heard this advice quoted awhile back and wanted to share it. It's 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.All great advice for leaders and managers as we start to plan for 2020.

8 Times For Storytelling

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"Stories strengthen communications and presence for leaders," explains Kristi Hedges, author of the book, The Power of Presence.

She recommends you consider adding stories to your communications when you:
Want to motivate others and paint a picture of what's possible.Need to show others -- whether a large audience or one person -- that you have shared commonalities.Are trying to deliver difficult news and want to show empathy.Are facing adversity in the present that relates to a situation you've experienced before.Are interviewing for a job and want to demonstrate your ability to adapt, learn, and overcome challenges.Are in a new position and would like to show others your approach and values.Want to show clients or colleagues that you've been in their shoes.Want to encourage another person to tackle something difficult.

Effective Teams Have These 10 Characteristics

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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 littl…

Listen Up Or Lose Out

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Although people generally spend about 50 percent more time listening than speaking, the average listener misses more than he or she takes in – about two-thirds of any spoken message. That’s the unnerving findings of Robert Bolton, PH. D. and Dorothy Grover Bolton, ED.M., authors of the book, Listen Up or Lose Out
“Listening is not only the skill that lets you into the other person’s world; it is also the single most powerful move you can make to keep the conversation constructive” – Douglas StoneBruce Patton and Sheila Heen
Equally important, listening well has been found to distinguish the best managers, teachers, and leaders, according to Daniel Goleman, author of, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.
Presented within 22 chapters within five parts, the Bolton’s book teaches you: Why you should improve your listening The do’s and don’ts of great listeningHow to properly reflect content you’ve heardReading and reflecting other people’s feelingsListen Up or Los…

Allow Employees To Learn From Their Mistakes

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Mistakes happen. The best thing you can do as a manager and leader is to help your employee learn from his (or her) mistake.

If your employee is afraid of ever making a mistake, he will be paralyzed from taking action or taking even calculated risks. If he knows that mistakes happen in the course of doing business and that one learns from making mistakes, you will have a more productive employee.

Most important, be sure your employee knows that if he makes a mistake, he should let you know as soon as possible.

As soon as he does, quickly rectify the situation.

Then, discuss with him how the mistake happened. Find out what he did or didn't do. Ask him what he thinks he can do in the future to avoid the mistake from happening again. Chances are he has already figured this out. If not, teach him what he needs to do differently to avoid the mistake from reoccurring.

Finally, you may discover that the mistake happened because policies, procedures or your assignment instructions were confusi…

How To Hire Top Talent

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The following 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 ProfilesImprove Candidate GravityMaximize Hiring StylesConduct Experiential InterviewsMaintain a Talent InventoryMost interesting to me is Wintrip's Talent Inventory concept -- creating a pool or ros…

How To Explain Change To Employees

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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 Transform Yourself Into 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

How To Do 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.

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 One Minute Mentoring. Blanchard coauthored the le…

Team Building And Volunteering

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If you manage a small business or a department within a large organization, a great way to improve the cohesiveness of your employee team is to engage them in an activity away from the workplace.

Engaging in a community service activity is a great example. Your team can work at a food bank. Or, they can pick up liter along a highway. Or, they can provide a service at a local senior citizen center.

When you and your team are away from the workplace, working together and giving back to the community, everyone bonds in a way that is often difficult to do within the workplace. Away from work, it's an even playing field. Job titles and position levels disappear. Walls come down. Discussions open up.

Shoot for having your team do one activity per month. Make it voluntary. You may start out with a small group, but as the months go by and participants benefit from the team-building and the good feeling of providing service to their community, you'll soon likely get close to 100% particip…

10 Ways To Be An Effective Leader

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Here are 10 behaviors, techniques and tips you can use to be an effective leader:
Respond to questions quickly and fully.Take an interest in your employees and their personal milestone events.Give feedback in a timely manner and make it individualized and specific.Be willing to change your decisions.End every meeting with a follow-up To Do list.Support mentoring -- both informal and formal.Don't delay tough decisions.Do annual written performance appraisals.Explain how a change will affect employee's feelings before, during and after the change is implemented.Have face-to-face interaction as often as possible.

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 ask:  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” mentality. Your reaction is critica…

12 Golden Rules Of Effective Communication

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Here are the 12 golden rules of effective communication from Paul Falcone, as highlighted in his book, 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals.
Always remember to: Recognize achievements and accomplishments often.Celebrate success.Deliver bad news quickly, constructively, and in a spirit of professional development.Praise in public, censure in private.Assume responsibility for problems when things go wrong, and provide immediate praise and recognition to others when things go right.Create a work environment based on inclusiveness, welcoming others' suggestions and points of view.Listen actively, making sure that your people feel heard and understood and have a voice in terms of offering positive suggestions in the office or on the shop floor.Share information openly (to the extent possible) so that staff members understand the Why behind your reasoning and can ask appropriate questions as they continue along in their own path of career development and learning.Remember …

Peer Coaching Works

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

Resolve To Find A Mentor In 2020

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Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do to advance your career as a leader. So, decide today to secure a mentor who will work with you during 2020.

A mentor can benefit leaders new to their leadership role and they can benefit experienced and seasoned leaders, as well.

A strong mentoring relationship allows the mentor and the mentee to develop new skills and talents, to build confidence, and to build self-awareness.

Proper mentoring takes a commitment from both parties and it takes time to develop and to reap the rewards of the relationship. Plan to work with your mentor for no less than three months, and ideally for six months or longer.

When seeking out a mentor, think about these questions:
1.  Will the relationship have good personal chemistry?
2.  Can this person guide me, particularly in the areas where I am weakest?
3.  Will this person take a genuine interest in me?
4.  Does this person have the traits and skills I want to develop?
5.  Is this a person I admire?
6…

A Leadership Book To Read This Year

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If you have a manager who isn't the best communicator, you can suggest he/she read Jane Murphy's and Khatun Huber's book, What Could Happen If You Do Nothing?

Actually, it's more of a handbook than a book, and it is best read by finding the section most applicable at the moment versus reading it start to finish.

It's filled with mini-dialogues that demonstrate the impact of engaged listening, deliberative questioning, and animating suggestions to facilitate change and action.

For me, the most useful section is the list of a dozen or so questions (for each conversation category below) to ask an employee to:
Start a conversation with an employeeConduct a meaningful follow-up conversationClarify inconsistencies in what you are hearing from an employeeBuild and further a conversation on what's being said to move the conversation aheadWind down a conversationSolicit feedback Equally enlightening are these questions from which a manager can select to ensure all parti…

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"