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The 7 Secrets Of Responsive Leadership

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“Responsive leaders are very focused on the people – the humanity – within the opportunity,” explains Jackie Jenkins-Scott, in her book, The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership.
She writes about how to drive change, manage transitions, and help any organization turn around. And, she reflects heavily on her personal leadership journey, which included transforming a major urban healthcare center and a college from struggling and failing organizations to thriving, international leaders in their respective fields.
Jenkins-Scott believes that the strongest leaders have these characteristics: Curiosity: A desire to continuously learn, discover, and grow intellectually.Humility: A sincere regard for the reality that we cannot go it alone.Empathy: The ability to feel and appreciate other human beings.Resilience: The capacity to recover, to keep going forward in the face of adversity.
Jackie Jenkins-Scott
One of my favorite parts of the book is Jenkins-Scott’s observations about how to remove barrie…

Tools And Tactics For Achieving Optimum Alignment In Your Organization

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I run a lot. And, running coaches, trainers and books all stress the importance of alignment. Muscle imbalances and misalignment in the body decreases running efficiency and leads to injuries.

That's why the premise of the book, Total Alignment, makes perfect sense to me. As the authors stress, only when you have total alignment in your organization can you achieve maximum results.

Unfortunately, most organizations have a vision and a mission statement, but few know how to align everyone in the organization around that vision to achieve results. Even fewer measure and reward alignment.

"This book is for leaders and managers in organizations of all sizes," explain authors Riaz and Linda Khadem. "The book will show you how to release the power of alignment, how to create unified action, and channel everyone's energy in the same direction,"

With each of the book's 14 chapters, readers are are presented with a fictional case study based on the authors' expe…

How To Make The Most Of Your First Years Of Your Professional Life

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A lot has happened since 1997 when Robert L. Dilenschneider wrote, The Critical First Years of your Professional Life. That's why are few years ago he released a new edition of his best-seller. "The book contains all the lessons you'll need to learn about functioning at work," explains Dilenschneider.  His lessons are based on his four decades of experience in the work world, along with research and dozens of interviews with business experts.
The lastest edition of the book is particularly relevant today, because, shares Dilenscheider: Not knowing the ropes puts you at a competitive disadvantage.Times have changed, and there are fewer people in today's workplace willing to help you understand how the world of work operations.Lessons in the book include: You and Your BossesWorking the GrapevineNetworkingMaking Allies of Your EldersImageHaving Influence at Any LevelYour Work and Your Personal LifeAfter a SetbackMentorsFormer Chariman and CEO of Lockhead Martin Corporat…

How To Master The Most Important Skill For Success

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That most important skill is the skill of asking for help, according to new research that author Dr. Wayne Baker highlights in his book, All You Have To Do Is Ask. “Those who give themselves permission to ask and then ask effectively for help, move faster, achieve better results, and get more recognition for excellence,” explains Baker. He adds that people who make strategic asks (asking for things you need to succeed) can cultivate breakthroughs, solve problems, share knowledge, and bridge organizational silos. Baker recommends you make your strategic asks SMARTSpecific – details trigger people’s memory of what and who they know, and how they can help;Meaningful – conveys why the request is important to you, motivates others to respond;Action-Oriented – a call-to-action to achieve your goal;Realistic – request must be strategically sound, feasible;Time-Bound – every request should have a due date.Typical good, strategic asks include asking for:AdviceMentorshipInformationMaterialsRe…

How To Become The Person Others Follow

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Yes, it will take you some time to read Joshua Spodek's book, Leadership Step by Step. Yes, it will be a little like doing "homework." Yes, this is a book you'll read and likely need to revisit a few times for the concepts to fully sink in. Yes, this is a book you must read if you want to become the person others will follow.

The time and effort you put into, Leadership Step by Step, will be well worth it!

Spodek guides you through what to do and how to do it in an integrated and comprehensive progression of exercises designed to cultivate key abilities, behaviors, and beliefs through experiences.

The progression contains four units:
Understanding YourselfLeading YourselfUnderstanding OthersLeading OthersEach chapter within the four units provides you: Hands-on ExercisesReflection QuestionsPost-Exercise Observations"By the time you finish the book, you'll have competed 22 exercises." explains Spodek, who is an Adjunct Professor at NUY and a lecturer for Colu…

How To Overcome Organizational Drag Within Your Company

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The average company loses more than 25 percent of its productive power to organization drag, reports the authors of the book, Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team's Productive Power.

Organizational drag is all the practices, procedures, and structures that waste time and limit output.


Michael Mankins
Authors Michael Mankins and Eric Garton demonstrate in the book through in-depth examples how the best companies manage their people's time, talent, and energy with as much discipline as they do their financial capital to breakthrough organizational drag.

Eric Garton
Unfortunately, organizational drag and complexity are the normal consequences of growth. Mankins and Garton explain that, "As organizations expand, they add new products, serve new customer segments, and enter new geographic markets. With each of these changes, the company becomes more complicated. Left unchecked, organizational drag slows decision-making, increases costs, and becom…

How To 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…

Your New Leader 100-Day Action Plan

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There are seven major onboarding land mines that you are likely to come across as a new leader and there are specific points in the first 100 days where you are most likely to encounter them, explain authors: George Brant Jayme A. Check Jorge Pedraza ...in their third edition of, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan.
Ill-prepared, without a plan, and lacking proper onboarding, the land mines will get you.  And, if you miss one or more of the critical tasks that must be accomplished in your first 100 days, you'll likely fail.
The book is packed with: Examples and case studies Action plans Tools, techniques and tricks of the trade The authors also explain why you need to start even before your official first day on the job. For example: Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition; and it is essential that you know what your cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One. A new leader's role begins as soon as you are an acknowledged cand…

The Keys To Energizing Your Work And Life

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Add to your to-read list Tom Rath's book, Are You Fully Charged?

The book draws on the latest and most practical research from business and psychology and identifies the three keys that influence most of our daily well-being, as well as our engagement at work:
Meaning: doing something that benefits another personInteractions: creating far more positive than negative momentsEnergy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health"This book will challenge you to stop pursing happiness and start creating meaning instead," explains Rath. And, by doing so, you will rethink your daily interactions with the people who matter most.
"The actions you take throughout every single day accumulate to shape your years, decades and overall life," adds Rath. 
Even brief interactions count, says Rath, such as exchanging a smile or greeting while passing someone on the street. Those moments/interactions give your days a positive or negative charge. And, if you look at mome…

The Best Six Open-Ended 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?

Looking Back: Best New Leadership Book Of 2016

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Flashback to 2016...

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 timely books on how to lead a transition through change effectively.

H. James Dallas

More specifically, Brown covers much more than tasks, timing and technologies. He als…

7 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 helpi…

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 legenda…

Effective Communication Begins With These 12 Golden Rules

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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 …

4 Ways To Be A Humble Leader

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From John Blakey's book, The Trusted Executive, here are these four tips from Jim Collins for how to be a humble leader:
Demonstrate a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation and never be boastful.Act with quiet, calm determination and motivate others through inspired standards, not inspiring charisma.Channel ambition into the company, not the self, and set up successors for even more greatness in the next generation.Look in the mirror, not out of the window, when apportioning responsibility for poor performance.

An Inspirational 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.

Questions To Ask To Encourage Your Team To Go Beyond 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?

How To Find Success, Purpose And Happiness

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“I wrote this book as a roadmap to help you find success, purpose, and happiness,” explains Tom Lewis, author of the new book, Solid Ground.
In his highly personable book, Lewis uses his life story to connect the dots between his challenges and accomplishments to demonstrate the five foundational building blocks of success. He speaks from his experience as an award-winning homebuilder and philanthropist. And, as someone who overcame difficult markets, tough competition, and a life-threatening illness.
Those five foundational building blocks and key qualities necessary for reaching your potential are:Finding your talentMaking good decisionsTaking smart risksKeeping your drive aliveManaging your careerIn Solid Ground, Lewis also covers the topics of personal character, goal setting, helping others, benefits of self-awareness and finding purpose and meaning.

T.W. Lewis
Some of Lewis’ life lessons are:
Finding your talent and your purpose is the key to life. Both take time.Try something hard. …

How To Be A Better Leader

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Heed this advice from Julian Birkinshaw, author of the book, Becoming A Better Boss, on how to be a better leader.
Strive to answer “Yes” to these three questions: Do you invest your time in things that help others to succeed?Do you invest in projects that will help the company in the long run, even if you won’t be around to get any credit for their success?Are you prepared to try out a new way of working that may fail, even if you risk looking foolish?

High-Performing Teams Do These 10 Things

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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 To Succeed As A Young Professional

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Good books I like to share. Really good books I like to share with lots of people. And, Nathan Magnuson’s latest book, StandOut! Become a Young Professional Who Wins at Work and Life, is a really good book you, and lots of people, should know about. Written by a humble, wise, insightful millennial, Magnuson provides a timely resource to help young professionals excel in the workplace and beyond. Call it a blueprint, handbook, guide or manual, Stand Out! is a must-read for young professionals early in their career, for recent college graduates, and for workplace leaders respectfully guiding and coaching the young professionals within their organizations. Stand Out! also makes for a good gift from a parent or life/business coach and is perfect for a millennial’s book club. Magnuson tells it like it is, provides clear, practical, actionable advice and speaks with authenticity and in a conversational style that will resonate with young career professionals. Within the book’s 10 chapters, …

Wisdom Versus Integrity

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Servant Leadership In Action

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Check out the definitive book on servant leadership. It's a curated collection of incredibly insightful and motivational perspectives on servant leadership via essays by 44 servant leaders.

Edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee BroadwellServant Leadership in Action, includes the personal stories from some of the most well-respected authorities on leadership: Patrick LencioniJohn C. MaxwellMarshall GoldsmithStephen M. R. CoveyPlus, you'll read keen advice from celebrated sports coaches, company CEO's, pastors and retired military leaders.
Each of the 44 stories/chapters stands strong on its own. However, Blanchard and Broadwell group them within six parts: Fundamentals of Servant LeadershipElements of Servant LeadershipLessons in Servant LeadershipExamples of Servant LeadershipPutting Servant Leadership to WorkServant Leadership TurnaroundsGet your pen or highlighter ready. You're sure to take lots of notes as you capture advice from this powerful book, where as John C. Maxwe…

How To Create A 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 peo…

How To Connect With Compassion

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Soft skills, all too often deemed the less important skills for a leader, are needed now more than ever.
Soft skills are interpersonal skills that demonstrate a person's ability to communicate effectively and build relationships with others in one-on-one interactions as well as in groups and teams.According to Maxine Kamin, author of the book, Soft Skills Revolution, "The practice of soft skills aids in communication and promotes problem solving, negotiation, conflict resolutions, and team building."

Each of the book's nine chapters, listed below, provide dialogue, questions, tips and recommended activities:
What Are Soft Skills?The Hidden Side of CommunicationThe Power of Positive IntentionsTack and DiplomacyThe Challenge of Problem SolvingSoft Skills and TeamsThe Personality FactorTaking the Sting Out of FeedbackConflict and CooperationOne of my favorite parts of the book is where Kamin explains the common expectations of staff members when it comes to the Principles …

How To Increase 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.

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 lessons for me was why it's so important to tell your customers your company's origin story. Flemi…