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Showing posts from February, 2021

10 Essential Elements Of A Business Plan

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  Tasked with writing a  business plan ?  Keep in mind that every business plan should contain at least these  10 elements/parts :  Executive Summary The Business – description of the business being proposed Market Demand Competition Strategy Resources Financials and Forecasts Risk, Opportunity, and Sensitivity Conclusion Appendices  For more information about writing an effective business plan, I recommend the book,  The Standout Business Plan . 

How To Provide Feedback To An Employee

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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.

How To Sell With A Story

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Today, we look back to 2016 : 2016 brought the much anticipated release of  Paul Smith 's book,  Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale . I'm a big fan of Paul's earlier best-sellers, including  Lead with a Story  and  Parenting with a Story . And, the newest installment in the series is equally good, informative, practical and actionable. If you have not read it, please do. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with procurement managers, Paul  teaches you how to : Select the right story Craft a compelling and memorable narrative Incorporate challenge, conflict, and resolution Use stories to introduce yourself, build rapport, address objections, add value, bring data to life,  and create a sense of urgency Storytelling definitely works in sales, explains Paul, "because a great story changes everything. It causes buyers to put down their defenses. It helps them relax. It engages their minds and their hearts by appealing to both their in

How To Find And Work With A Mentor

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Unleashing Your Inner Leader , by Vickie Condolff Bevenour , provides these six easy steps to help you find and work with a mentor:  Step 1  –  Find  the person in your company or industry that you most respect. Step 2  –  Ask  her or him to be your mentor. Step 3  –  Agree  with this person on the time commitment for mentoring you (e.g., 30- to 60-minute meeting or phone/Zoom-style call every month). Step 4  –  Explain  to this person the goal of the mentoring relationship (e.g. “My strength is _____and I want to find more opportunities to use it in my daily work.”). Step 5  –  Describe  the top three reasons why you chose this person. Step 6  –  Explore together  what success would look like and mean to you in the next six months.  Bevenour shares that, “Imagine that if you follow this plan, in five years you will have 10 people who know you and will help support you in your career. This is truly career gold.”  Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me a copy of the book.  

How To Create A Welcoming And Diverse Work Environment

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Every business leader should read the new book, The Business of We , by Laura Kriska . However, read it only once you’ve committed yourself to creating a welcoming and productive work environment for all.  This book couldn’t have come at a more important time because as Kriska shares, “a new approach to diversity, cultural difference, and inclusion is urgently needed – a time for business leaders to create true synergy among the diverse and often fiercely divided members of their workforce.”  With 30 years of experience bridging gags in diverse workplaces, and as a sought-out lecturer and a TEDx speaker, Kriska provides expert insights and actionable strategies in her book to help you:  Effectively repair division. Recognize warning signs. Proactively create opportunities.   And, more specifically and most importantly, how to create WE-builders to help close any gap between people who are separated by ethnicity, language, race, religion, or any factor that divides .  Kris

Quantum Marketing

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  “Marketing today is at the brink of unprecedented disruption”, explains, Raja Rajamannar , author of the new book, Quantum Marketing . “An explosion of game-changing new technologies, data and cultural shifts will render traditional marketing frameworks and strategies ineffective, and turn the function upside down.”  Rajamannar’s book is all about the mastering the new marketing mindset for tomorrow’s consumers. He takes you beyond product marketing, emotional marketing, digital marketing and mobile and social marketing, into what he terms quantum marketing .  You’ll learn how to : Replace advertising with better ways to efficiently engage consumers at scale. Hyper-personalize marketing with AI. Go virtual and immersive with everything from VR-AR product demos to gamification. Reach all five human senses, with Multi-Sensory Marketing and Sonic Branding. Invest in partnerships to capitalize on new opportunities beyond their immediate reach. Quantify impact with data, but never a

Family Business Handbook

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  January brought the new Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook , a comprehensive guide for how to build and sustain a successful enduring enterprise.  If you are in a family business, serve as a silent partner or board member, or are contemplating becoming part of a family business, this handbook is essential reading. And, even if you aren’t working in a family business, you’ll find the book enlightening because many best practices and learnings are transferrable to a non-family business.  Family businesses represent an estimated 85% of the world’s companies, and in the US, 5.5 million of these businesses employ 62% of the workforce. Understanding how these businesses work and how they contribute to the economy is critical for post-pandemic recovery. Therefore, that’s another reason to read the book.  Book authors Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer take readers deep behind the scenes to share: The secrets to longevity for family-owned businesses. How to decode the fami

16 Ways Leaders 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 honest Keep commitments and keep your word Avoid surprises Be consistent with your mood Be your best Demonstrate respect Listen Communicate Speak with a positive intent Admit mistakes Be willing to hear feedback Maintain confidences Get to know others Practice empathy Seek input from others Say "thank you"

Don't Delay Tough Conversations With Your Employees

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If you have an employee who needs to improve his/her performance don't delay the tough conversation with them. If you don't address the issue right now, the employee has little chance to improve and you'll only get more frustrated. Most employees want to do a good job. Sometimes they  just  don't know they aren't performing up to the required standards. Waiting until the employee's annual performance appraisal to have the tough conversation is unhealthy for you and the employee. So, address the issue now. Sit down with your employee in a private setting. Look them in the eye. First, tell them what they do well. Thank them for that good work. Then, tell them where they need to improve. Be clear. Be precise. Ask them if they understand, and ask them if they need any help from you on how to do a better job. Explain to them that your taking the time to have the tough conversation means you care about them. You want them to do better. You believe they can do better.

How Leaders Connect With Team Members

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Here, from the book,  Be A Network Marketing Leader , are some tips on how, as a leader, you can connect with your individual team members: Send cards on their birthdays and anniversary-of-joining dates. Keep yourself updated with what's happening in their personal lives. Show your support during personal or family crises. Schedule weekly one-on-one phone calls or meetings. Pay attention. When you see an increase, decrease or change in results, get in touch. Schedule monthly whole team meetings. Applaud achievements and address concerns immediately. Be consistent. Make frequent thoughtful, spontaneous gestures.

Today's Leadership Quotes

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Some of my favorite  quotes for leaders  are: A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit --  Arnold H. Glasgow I praise loudly, I blame softly --  Catherine II of Russia Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress --  Mohandas Gandhi A long dispute means that both parties are wrong --  Voltaire The least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable --  Paul Broca These and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's book,  Conflict 101 .

The Live Enterprise Model

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   Authors Jeff Kavanaugh’s and Rafee Tarafdar’s new book, The Live Enterprise , is all about how to create a continuously evolving and learning organization.  They explain that the very nature of organizations has come under pressure. The way we think about experience has changed. Value chains have changed. Decisions are the triggers of the digital economy, the actions that initiate response and provide its shape and direction. Talent has progressed from a cost to be minimized to source of competitive advantage. IT systems are evolving from static processing engines to agents of change. And even change management is changing as well.  In their book, the authors use eight themes to offer guidance on how to change perspective and view the enterprise as a living organization, enabled by technology . Those eight themes are:  Quantum organization Perceptive experience Responsive value chain Intuitive decisions Hybrid talent Design to evolve Digital runway Micro is the new m

The Future Of Work

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   Timely, critical, instructional and enlightening are how I describe the new book, Work Disrupted , by Jeff Schwartz .  “I wrote this book to share my view that the future of work, a source of fear for so many, is actually about the opportunities, the resilience, and the growth that we can leverage to do things differently,” explains Schwartz.  He adds, “My work on this book had been well underway before the global pandemic took hold in the early 2020. However, there’s no doubt that it brought a new sense of urgency to my exploration of the future of work that had begun seven years earlier.”  Future of Work offers guidance to individuals, business leaders and institutions so they can make smart choices that will help shape their future of work .  That future will be impacted by the changes in technology, including automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). And, by new employment models, including freelancers, gig workers, and crowds. The future will impact how

How To Make Better Decisions

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These  eight decision-making tactics  from  David Lahey ’s book,  Predicting Success , are helpful to me and hopefully useful to you as well: Deep breathing , to clear your mind. Researching , to feel confident that you have all the information in front of you. Listing your options , in either verbal or written form, to keep the whole picture front of mind. Following through on the possible outcomes , complete with likely predictions and acknowledgement of whether they’re negative or positive (or design yourself a decision tree, that lays out every possible consequence visually). Testing your intuition , by imagining a committed decision and then gauging the corresponding feeling it inspires in your gut. Taking the time you need , so long as it doesn’t become an overly indulgent distraction. Evaluating your decision , an after-the-fact exercise that engages a conscious inventory of the lessons learned. Coming to terms with your pick , always cognizant of the reality that no decision is

The Definitive Book On Servant Leadership

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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 Broadwell ,  Servant Leadership in Action , includes the personal stories from some of the most well-respected authorities on leadership: Patrick Lencioni John C. Maxwell Marshall Goldsmith Stephen 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 Leadership Elements of Servant Leadership Lessons in Servant Leadership Examples of Servant Leadership Putting Servant Leadership to Work Servant Leadership Turnarounds Get your pen or highlighter ready. You're sure to take lots of notes as you capture advice from this powerf

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 Yourself Leading Yourself Understanding Others Leading Others Each chapter within the four units provides you: Hands-on Exercises Reflection Questions Post-Exercise Observations "By the time you finish the book, you'll have competed 22 exercises." explains Spodek, who is an Adjunct Professor at NUY a

The Do's And Don'ts Of Effective Listening

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Here are some great tips from  Michelle Tillis Lederman 's book,  The 11 Laws of Likability . They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

6 Best Open-Ended Questions To Ask Your Employees

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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?

How To Be The Best You

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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. 

10 Leadership Experts Explain How To Lead During COVID-19

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  The following  10 leadership and business book authors  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 maintaini