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Showing posts from 2020

Leadership During COVID-19

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The following   10 leadership and business book authors  recently  answered this question for me: Question: While we surely will find ourselves challenged by COVID-19 in the foreseeable future, what is the most important thing a leader can do as they lead their business/organization? “Leaders have had some great opportunities as a result of COVID-19. Topping the list: hire the best people, not just the best people geographically convenient. The world just gave permission to have people working remotely. Take advantage. As a bonus tip, it is more important than ever to remember that your team is made of humans and this is an extremely difficult time for humans. Build in extra supports for your team.” --  Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg, co-authors of,  Game Changer . “First, don’t allow yourself to become so overwhelmed and distracted by the uncertainties—what you don’t know—that you lose sight of what you do know, and what you can control. Second, you must establish a protocol for

How To Be A Healthy Leader

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In Bob Rosen ’s book,  Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted In An Uncertain World , he explains that there are six dimensions of being a healthy leader: Physical health : how you live. How you manage your mind and body – managing your energy and living a peak performance lifestyle. Emotional health : how you feel. This is about being self-aware and having positive emotions and the ability to be resilient, catching yourself when you have a counterproductive thought. This also includes seeking feedback from others about how you act and trying to be more reflective. Intellectual health : how you think. This is about asking questions, being deeply curious and seeing changes as an opportunity to grow, learn and reassess the way you see and talk about the world. Social health : how you interact. This is about authenticity. How do you build relationships? Are you being honest about yourself? Are you comfortable being vulnerable? Do you consider other people’s viewpoints? Vocational health : how

New Year's Resolutions For Leaders And Managers

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  With 2021 fast approaching, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for next year. To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders? Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and January 1, think about which couple you want to work on during 2021. Don't micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Be courageous, quick and fair Talk more about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to grow Summarize group consensus after each decision point duri

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 satisf

Becoming The Best

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  My favorite takeaways from the book,  Becoming The Best , by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr. , are:  Your best self is not about perfection (an impossible and, therefore, futile goal). It is about becoming consistently disciplined and focused, making sure you challenge yourself to truly be your best self—instead of becoming complacent, convinced that you have arrived. No matter how good you are, you can always be better. Being your best self is a lifelong commitment.  True self-confidence and genuine humility are the distinguishing characteristics that will showcase your values and highlight your authenticity.  A best team is formed when people are self-reflective, understand themselves, and come together with a sense of common purpose. It takes each person operating as her or his best self for the group to function extremely well together. As their best selves, team members are self-reflective, balanced, have self-confidence, and are genuinely humble. 

Why Learning Beats Knowing

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Liz Wiseman 's book,  Rookie Smarts , is all about living and working perpetually on a learning curve. She contends that we do our best work when we are new to something.  And, she teaches us how to reclaim and cultivate the curious, flexible and youthful mindset called "rookie smarts." "Something magical happens when a skilled veteran successfully re-learns her/his rookie smarts and is still able to retain her/his veteran acumen," explains Wiseman. Wondering if you are ready for a new challenge?  Take a look at this list from Wiseman of the  10 signs that indicate you are ready for a new challenge : Things are running smoothly. You are consistently getting positive feedback. Your brain doesn't have to work hard to be successful. You don't prepare for meetings because you already know the answers. You've stopped learning something new every day. You are busy but bored. You're taking longer showers in the morning and you take your time getting to

Five Cultural Fit Interview Questions

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If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the book,  Advisory Leadership : What motivates you? What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone's personality.) What are you telling your family/spouse about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.) What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.) What opportunities do you see for yourself here? 

Dig Deep Within Your Organization For New Ideas

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The next time you are looking for ideas for how to grow revenue, streamline processes and procedures and/or reduce expenses,  dig deep  within  your organization . Don't ask only your direct reports for their suggestions. Instead,  ask everyone at all levels . Some of the best ideas will come from your lower and mid-level employees who are interacting with your vendors, customers and co-workers every day in the very areas that, if improved, could make the most dramatic impact. Be sure to  acknowledge receipt of each idea . Keep everyone informed of the types of ideas you've received . Perhaps update them on a monthly basis. When you implement a suggestion,  recognize and reward the submitter , including possibly financially. Feel free to accept ideas anonymously. But, if employees know you are sincere about wanting their input, and witness you acting upon suggestions, most of your team members will be proud to tie their names to their ideas. Finally, if there are some of the sa

How To Reach Your Goals

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Social psychologist,  Heidi Grant Halvorson , wrote  Succeed   to help you understand how goals work, what tends to go wrong, and what you can do to reach your goals or to help others reach theirs. Because many of us struggle each year to fulfill our New Year's Resolutions (goals), Halvorson's book, packed with the findings from her own research, along with the most useful tips from academic journals and handbooks, is a worthwhile read. In her 260-page book, Halvorson covers : •  How to set a goal that you will pursue even in the face of adversity. •  How to avoid the kind of positive thinking that makes people fail. •  How to create an environment that will help you win. "Setting goals is important," said Halvorson,  "But that's not the whole story. Because how you set your goals--the way you think about whatever it is you want to do, and how you will get there--is every bit as important." Halvorson recommends : •  Making your goal as specific as possib

Best New Leadership And Business Book Of 2020

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This time each year, I select my pick for best new leadership and business book for the year . For 2020, my pick is,  Stand Out! Become a Young Professional Who Wins at Work and Life , by Nathan Magnuson , published in June this year. Written by a humble, wise, insightful millennial, Magnuson provides a timely resource to help young professionals excel in the workplace and beyond.  I selected this book because 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. 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.  Nathan Magnu

Three Tasks For Leaders This Week

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Be Decisive 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 made a decision. Successful managers (true leaders) gather the data from their employees, make any 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 de

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!

70 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

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With 2021 fast approaching, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for next year. To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders? Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and January 1, think about which couple you want to work on during 2021. Don't micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Be courageous, quick and fair Talk more about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to grow Summarize group consensus after each decision point during

Today's Business Quote

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  "We can't solve problems by doing the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." -- Albert Einstein

Leadership Lessons From The Book, Helping People Win At Work

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Here are  10 important questions  business leaders should ask, according to  Ken Blanchard  and  Garry Ridge , authors of  Helping People Win At Work : Does my business have a clear, meaningful, and easily understood vision/mission? Do I have the right people in the right seats on the bus? Do I have a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), and have I communicated it to my employees? Are my values driving the behavior I want in my organization? Am I creating a culture that increases employee engagement? Am I cultivating a spirit of internal and external learning? Do my employees know what an A looks like, and am I supporting them to get that A? Are our products/services creating lasting, positive memories for our customers? Do I have the best, most timely data and information to help my business make good decisions? Are our key performance indicators the right ones, and are we measuring what matters? And, one more questions to ask is: Do we celebrate success ?

3 Things Your Mission Statement Should Include

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A lot of companies struggle when creating their mission statement. Author Peter F. Drucker provides the following good advice in one of my favorite book's of his,  The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization : Every mission statement has to reflect three things : Opportunities Competence Commitment In other words, he explains: What is our purpose? Why do we do what we do? What, in the end, do we want to be remembered for? How well does your mission statement meet Drucker's recommended three requirements?

Leadership Quotes From The Book, Leading With Grit

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In addition to  Laurie Sudbrink 's,  Leading With GRIT , being a great book for leaders, it's packed with powerful leadership and life quotes. Here are some of my favorites: Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are -  Kurt Cobain The respect you show to others (or lack thereof) is an immediate reflection on your self respect -  Alex Elle You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - H arper Lee People only see what they are prepared to see -  Ralph Waldo Emerson We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give -  Winston Churchill If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you -  Fred Devito The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new -  Socrates The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to rely -  Anonymous Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity -  Simon Weil Good leaders inspire people t

Flashback: Best New Leadership Book Of 2018

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Today, we flashback to 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 B est 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

Flashback: Best New Leadership Book Of 2016

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Originally published in December 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, ti

10 Ways To Be A Better 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.

What Is Your Life Word?

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You've likely started to select your New Year's resolutions and set some goals for 2021. I have. As you set your resolutions and goals, consider also reading the book,  Life Word , to learn how to select your one Life Word. The one word that as the book authors say will significantly impact your life and legacy. Life Word  shows you the three-step process for how to identify your Live Word and the "why" behind that word so you can live with a renewed sense of  power, purpose and passion . Your Life Word becomes the driving force to align your efforts and eliminate distractions. And, by living your Life Word you create your  legacy , defined by what you leave behind that lives on in others. Your legacy is always about the lives we touch and the people we influence. And, as the authors explain,  the value of your life and your legacy is revealed in the stories that those who were most important to you--those who knew you best--will tell . In less than 100-pages and some

Flashback: Best New Leadership Book Of 2015

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Flashback to this post from early 2016 : After reading nearly 30 new books about leadership this year, my pick for  2015's best new leadership book  is,  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 virtu

Flashback: 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 new leadership book of 2014 is,  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 leaders Provides "real-world" and practical everyday steps you can take Gives you  specific  techniques and tactics Tells powerful, life-experience stories Capsulizes "Take Action" to do’s for you at the end of each chapter Reveals 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 presi