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Showing posts from February, 2020

Stop Asking Your Customers These Typical 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.

Servant Leadership In Action

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Be sure to read 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. Covey Plus, 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 Turnarounds Get your pen or highlighter ready. You're sure to take lots of notes as you capture advice from this powerful book, where as Jo…

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…

The Power Of 5 Percent More

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“Making small changes to reach big goals is the answer,” says entrepreneur and bestselling author Michael Alden in his book, 5% MORE: Making Small Changes To Achieve Extraordinary Results. “If you just put 5% more effort into any aspect of your life, you will not only achieve your goals, you will surpass them,” he explains. 
“Far too often, people become paralyzed when they want to improve their lives, because the effort to reach their goals seems overwhelming,” adds Alden. “Or the opposite occurs. They decide to dive into something one hundred percent, but then quickly lose steam.”
Therefore, Alden demonstrates that long-lasting success is based on small increases in effort. “Five percent is almost unnoticeable in terms of effort—but it accrues quickly, with each step boosting the baseline,” he declares.
Although much of Alden’s advice is based on personal experience, observation, and common sense, he is careful to discuss the studies and research that support his ideas throughout the b…

Use TIPS When Providing Feedback

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Eric Harvey and Al Lucia wrote a booklet called, 144 Ways To Walk The Talk. They provide the following great advice about giving feedback:
1. Make it timely -- give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance.
2. Make it individualized -- tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver.
3. Make it productive -- focus your feedback on the performance and not the performer.
4. Make is specific -- pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

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.

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 …

7 Ways Motivated People 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 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

Winning Principles For Leaders And Coaches

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Trillion Dollar Coach is about Bill Campbell, someone you likely never heard of, who coached several of the biggest names in Silicon Valley during a 16-year tenure, and who’s behind-the-scene wisdom helped created over a trillion dollars in market value.
Authored by Eric SchmidtJonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle, they share that from Steve Jobs and Dick Costolo to Larry Page and Sundar Pichai, these big names in Silicon Valley give credit to Campbell for much of their success.
Campbell, who died in 2016, started his career as a football coach at Boston College and Columbia then switched to business in 1979. As leaders at Google for more than a decade, Schmidt, Rosenberg, and Eagle had the benefit of experiencing Campbell’s executive coaching firsthand.
In addition, for the book, the authors interviewed over 80 people with whom Campbell also worked. Through stories from those interviews, Trillion Dollar Coach features specific strategies and action steps to help leaders implement Cam…

10 Questions To Gauge Your 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 …

10 Attributes Of High Performing Teams

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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 Be The Leader You Want To Be

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

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

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

Tip For How To Onboard 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.

Checklist For How To identify And Develop Emerging Talent At Your Company

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From the book, Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change, comes this useful checklist from author H. James Dallas for how to identify and develop emerging talent in your company/organization.

Dallas recommends that each question should be graded on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the best. Use the questions and the scoring for you and your employee to work together toward the highest ratings across the board.
Has the person demonstrated a "getting lost with confidence" mind-set?Does the person communicate with authenticity?Has the person created a strong personal brand that is recognized by colleagues of all levels?Does the person know his or her blind spots and have people watching to prevent him or her from crashing?Is the person getting exposure to executive management?Does the person seek out and seriously consider advice?Is the person building an inclusive team and sponsoring others?Is the person proactive in finding opportunities to initiate and lead change?

The Most Important Questions To Ask To Move Your Company Forward

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Years ago in an issue of Inc. magazine, was a fascinating list of 35 questions from business owners, entrepreneurs and management thinkers. Each offered the one question they would ask to move a company forward.

From the list, my favorite most important questions to ask are:
Are we relevant?  Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten?What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader?Are we changing as fast as the world around us?Who, on the executive team or the board, has spoken to a customer recently?And, my most favorite is: How can we become the company that would put us out of business? What question do you ask to help move your company forward?

The Mind Of The Leader

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“By understanding how their own mind works and training it for the most essential qualities, leaders can lead themselves effectively first, in order to better lead their people and tap into their human need for meaning, fulfillment and human connectedness,” explain Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter, authors of the book, The Mind Of The Leader.
Their book is based on extensive research, including assessments of more than 35,000 leaders and interviews with 250 C-level executives.
The authors found that three mental qualities are essential to becoming effective leaders. Leaders must be: Mindful – being present and attentive to their employees’ needs. Being focused versus distracted. Being aware versus being on autopilot.Selfless – to model cultures based on growth and learning instead of ego. Being selfless versus ego-centered. Being confident versus diffident.Compassionate – to show their employees they have their backs. Being kind versus indifferent. Being wise versus ignorant. The…

This Week's Leadership Book To Read

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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…

Go 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.

Meeting Behavior Ground Rules

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While recently reading C. Elliott Haverlack's book, Unbundle It, I found his 11 ground rules for meeting behaviors to be particularly helpful: Arrive on time.Be respectful of other attendees.No phones or computers if at all possible.No leaving the meeting or getting up to walk around until scheduled breaks.No eating unless during working meal meetings (consuming beverages as appropriate is acceptable).No side conversations.Good posture.Listen intently (even if you don't want to).Ask questions at the appropriate time.No filibustering.Take notes.

Six-Step Strategic Planning Process

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Awhile back, I shared highlights from the useful book, First-Time Leader, by George Bradt and Gillian Davis.
Here's one more gem from the book -- the authors' recommendations for a six-step strategic planning process: Set an aspirational destination (derived from the mission and vision).Assess the facts of the current reality and develop potential future scenarios.Identify options to bridge gaps between the current reality and the desired aspiration.Evaluate options under different scenarios. Make choices.Develop detailed plans that will deliver on selected strategies.Act, measure, adjust, and repeat.

Today's Leadership Thought

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"Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something.  In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see it as a place you go to give, and not a place you go to take." -- Anthony Robbins

How To Lose Respect

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Picture this. You call an employee into your office for a meeting. As your employee is explaining something to you, you turn to your computer monitor to check e-mail. Or, you answer your phone. Or, you look at your mobile device. Or, you engage in a conversation with someone who enters your doorway.

Do any of these once and your employee will likely forgive you. Do any of these actions regularly and you'll quickly lose the respect of your employee!

Rarely is there a reason not to give your employee your full, undivided attention during a meeting/conversation. You can only be a good listener if you are maintaining eye contact with your employee and not multi-tasking.

Are You Spinning Your Employees In Circles?

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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 …

How To Give Praise

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Entrepreneur magazine's February 2012 issue offered these great, timeless tips on how to give praise:
Praise followed by criticism is not praise.Praise followed by praise is probably a little too much praise.Ending an expression of praise with "...and stuff" nullifies the praise. And,
Make it timely. The closer the recognition is to the behavior, the more likely the behavior will be repeated.Be sincere. Be impromptu. Remember, a handwritten note is worth more than a gift card. Having trouble writing your handwritten note of praise? Try this template to get you started:
_______, I couldn't be more impressed with how you______.  Not only did you____, but you_______.  Beautiful. Thanks, ________

Nine Lies About Work

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I'm a big fan of Marcus Buckingham's work, teachings and books, so I was eager to read his book, co-authored by Ashley Goodall.
Titled, Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World, the book debunks what we've come to believe as basic truths in the workplace. What at first may seem provocative and counter-intuitive, you'll learn why the nine lies "cause dysfunction and frustration, ultimately resulting in workplaces that are a pale shadow of what they could be," explain the authors.
Keep an open-mind as Buckingham and Goodall take you through these nine lies (each a chapter in the book) with engaging stories and incisive analysis as they reveal the essential truths behind these lies: People care which company they work forThe best plan winsThe best companies cascade goalsThe best people are well-roundedPeople need feedbackPeople can reliably rate other peoplePeople have potentialWork-life balance matters mostLeadership is a thing