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Updated: 16 min 56 sec ago

What’s Your Story?

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 01:03


WHAT GREAT LEADERS have in common is their ability to communicate and create meaning from their words. Much of that ability speaks to the ability to listen and read between the lines to develop an understanding with those you lead. Great stories begin with great listening. From there you can learn how to connect your perspective to theirs.

This is especially important today when ironically our ability to communicate in a meaningful way is deteriorating. The structures we used to have to develop that skill are diminished. Bursts of thought do not help to create the empathy we need to function effectively as a civilization. We don’t connect in bursts of thought but in shared stories. A good story can set the tone for a deeper connection and empathy for another’s perspective.

In a September 2018 interview with Fast Company magazine, Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about her book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, and the ability of the four presidents she delved into to communicate through stories. Each of the presidents she portrays could help their audience see themselves in the future they were describing. A well-crafted story has the power to give the audience ownership of the idea that is woven into the story.

Goodwin is asked, “What’s the most important lesson that business leaders can take from these presidents?” If I were to pick one, it would be the ability to speak to audiences with stories. [Take] Abraham Lincoln: While we celebrate his beautiful language, his speeches really worked because they were filled with stories and illustration. He believed people remembered anecdotes better than facts and figures. When he was young, he would listen as his father and the people who would come by his little log cabin told stories. He’d go to bed at night and try to translate those stories into [his] words, so he could then go out on the field the next day, stand on a tree stump—he’s like eight, nine years old—and entertain his friends.

Each of these leaders was fortunate to live in a time when his particular kind of storytelling fit the age. Lincoln’s speeches were printed in full in newspapers; they could be read aloud all over the country. Teddy Roosevelt had this punchy way of speaking—“square deal,” “speak softly and carry a big stick”—that was perfect for the new newspaper age. FDR had the ideal voice for the radio age and a conversational, intimate style. People felt they were listening to him one-on-one. After he died, they felt they had lost a friend. Clarity, simplicity, humor—these people were experts.
Goodwin adds this about Theodore Roosevelt’s ability to relate—even today: What really interests me is thinking about which of these [presidents] would give a speech that would be relevant today. It would probably be Teddy Roosevelt. Think about where we were at the turn of the 20th century: The industrial revolution had shaken up the economy, immigrants were pouring in, cities were replacing towns. A gap was developing between the rich and the poor, and the social landscape was changing because of all these new inventions: the automobile, the telegraph, and the telephone. You had populist movements that called for restrictions on immigration, and the establishment worried about [giving] power to ordinary people.

Teddy was able to channel those emotions into positive, moderate reforms. Even his slogan would work today: “A square deal for the rich and the poor.” He was a fighter, but he understood that democracy would founder if people began to see each other as the other. He’d also be great at Twitter, with all his phrases: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He’d be perfect at that.
Ryan Matthews and Watts Wacker begin their book, What’s Your Story? with this observation: “Long before the first formal business was established, before the first deal, the six most powerful words in any language were Let me tell you a story.

What’s your story?

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Categories: Blogs

Newton’s First Law and Your Life

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 01:34


IN 1686, Sir Isaac Newton presented three laws of motion. The first law is often referred to as the Law of Inertia. The law states that every object will remain at rest or continue in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. In other words, things stay the way they are unless something comes along to disrupt them. This law has the power to make us or break us. And it is at work in our lives all day, every day whether we are conscious of it or not.

When we kick a soccer ball, it heads in a specific direction until it is acted upon by a force greater than the force that is currently propelling it downfield. Like that soccer ball, our life is moving along a path that is taking us to a particular future intentionally or not. And we will continue along that path to its destination until we do something different. It’s not about what we want. It’s about what we are doing. Our intentions mean nothing. It’s a law, and as such, it is objective and indifferent to our intentions.

In other words, our 2019 will be just like our 2018 unless we exert a force to change our direction that is greater than comfort we enjoy by continuing to do what we have always done producing the same results again and again. No force, no change. 2019 will be 2018 all over again.

If you’re not where you want to be, change your direction. Get on a new path. New actions will produce different results.

We can use Newton’s law to our advantage. For every cause, there is an effect. Today is connected to tomorrow. Every action we take and everything we say is taking us somewhere. We just need to be sure we are on the path that is taking us where we want to go; a path that is taking us to the person we want to become.

If we work harder than we did last year, then we will do better.
If we sacrifice now, then we are investing in our future.
If we reflect, then we will grow.
If we improve our leadership, then people will follow us.
If we are courageous, then we will inspire.
If we are curious, then we will learn.
If we avoid the trappings of power, then we will stay connected with those we serve.
If we surround ourselves with the right people, then we will be enriched and will lift others up.
If we are authentic and humble, then we will build trust.
If we work this law to our advantage, then we will eradicate regret.

If we don't improve, then our circumstances won't improve either. We can’t tell ourselves that it’s not going to be alright if we are headed in the wrong direction. Life naturally pushes us off-course and takes us on tangents. Anything meaningful in life is produced by moving upstream – against the current. When we find ourselves where we don’t want to be, we must acknowledge the fact that we have drifted; we have gone with the flow. We need to make some course corrections. We all do from time to time.

Of course, this implies getting uncomfortable. It’s helpful to have a mentor, a coach, or a program that will keep us accountable, because we tend to say, “I pushed hard enough” when we’ve barely touched our potential.

As we look at our life, we all have directions that need to be changed. It helps to begin this process by asking ourselves questions and giving serious and honest thought to the answers.

The big general questions are: What worked for me last year and what didn’t? What habits are holding me back? What three things do I want to accomplish by 2020? What is that one thing I need to accomplish in 2019—your BHAG—my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal? What does a good day look like? What routines keep me on track? Why do I do what I do?

And most importantly, what am I grateful for? Then drill down into specific areas of your life:

Do I make time to study and grow spiritually?

What habits are draining my time and attention?
What activities replenish me?
Am I taking time to relax and grow in other areas of interest?

Am I sleep deprived?
Am I eating healthy and avoiding processed foods?
What do I need to change in my diet in 2019?
Am I exercising regularly?
Am I drinking enough water? Is my morning and evening routine setting me up for my best day?

Am I living within my means?
How much do I want to make in 2019?
What do I have to do to reach that amount?

What weaknesses do I need to minimize?
Am I where I would like to be in my work or career?
How can I increase the value I bring to work?

What relationships are building me up?
Are any relationships taking me off-track?
Who do I take for granted?
Do I support those around me?
Do I support and encourage others?
Do I focus on building others up?
Do I make time for others?

Where do I need to grow?
What strengths do I need to improve on?
What do I need to learn?
What books do I need to read?
What seminars do I need to attend?
What can I learn from the mistakes I made in 2018?

The key to moving forward is the first step. Every destination needs to be broken down into incremental markers or indicators on the way to the destination. What is the first thing you need to do to get you moving in the right direction? As you begin, focus on the actions required and not the end result. A small step is easier than a leap. Once the first step is made, it is easier to continue down the right path to your desired destination.

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Categories: Blogs

First Look: Leadership Books for January 2019

Tue, 01/01/2019 - 03:05
Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in January 2019. Don't miss out on other great new and future releases.

Unlocking Creativity: How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions
Michael A. Roberto

Leaders do not have to conceive innovative ideas, but rather open the path for curious and creative employees within their organization. Unlocking Creativity aids organizations in removing obstacles to the creative process and helps to form an atmosphere of imagination and innovation.



Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose
Jean Case

When National Geographic Chairman Jean Case set out to investigate the core qualities of great change makers, past and present, from inventors to revolutionaries, she found five surprising traits all had in common. They weren’t wealth, privilege, or even genius. It was that all of these exceptional men and women chose to make a “big bet,” take bold risks, learn from their failures, reach beyond their bubbles, and let urgency conquer fear.



Creative Construction: The DNA of Sustained Innovation
Gary P. Pisano

The conventional wisdom is that only disruptive, nimble startups can innovate; once a business gets bigger and more complex corporate arteriosclerosis sets in. Big organizations require a different set of management practices and approaches—a discipline focused on the strategies, systems and culture for taking their companies to the next level.



Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most
Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams

Is your leadership built for scale as you advance in today’s volatile and disruptive business environment? This context puts a premium on a very particular kind of leadership—High-Creative leadership capable of rapidly growing the organization while simultaneously transforming it into more agile, innovative, adaptive and engaging workplace.



Return on Courage: A Business Playbook for Courageous Change
Ryan Berman

Return on Courage is the go-to courage instructional manual that helps readers attack and shrink business fears head-on. They will learn how to relentlessly play offense, drive change, and transform into a Courage Brand®. ROC can be the secret weapon to innovating new products and services, maximizing ROI, and revolutionizing their industry.



Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want
Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni

Study after study confirms that career development is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving retention, engagement, productivity, and results. But most managers feel they just don't have time for it. This new edition offers a better way: frequent, short conversations with employees about themselves, their goals, and the business that can be integrated seamlessly into the normal course of business.



For bulk orders call 1-626-441-2024


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 39 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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“Books, because of the power they possess to exert intellectual influence, more so than any other form of serious communication, change the way readers — and even leaders — see the world and set the stage for them to change it.”
— Peter J. Dougherty, editor-at-large at Princeton University Press

Categories: Blogs

LeadershipNow 140: December 2018 Compilation

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 08:36

Here are a selection of tweets from December 2018 that you don't want to miss:
See more on Twitter.



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Categories: Blogs

Five Problems with Virtual Communication & What to Do About It

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 22:31


EVEN THOUGH WE have entered a new world of virtual communications, we still communicate in real-world ways that don’t always work in the virtual world. We’ve all sent an email or a text where we meant one thing and the recipient took it in a completely different way. They never saw the smile on our face, the touch of our hand, or the look of concern. There was none of the emotions that we take for granted in the real-world to guide them in the virtual world to a proper conclusion.

We need new approaches and to become more conscious of what we are doing. We need to sharpen our communication skills in the digital world. We have to put the emotion back.

Nick Morgan is here to do just that in Can You Hear Me? Nick Morgan is a master communicator and speech coach. And this book reflects that. His website Public Words is one of my favorite. The focus is public speaking, but the principles apply in most contexts including one-on-one conversations. Don’t miss it.

The world of communication in the real-world and virtual world are very different with different dynamics. The same rules don’t apply. This leads to five major problems with virtual communication that need to be addressed.

Problem One: The Lack of Feedback

In the real world, there are two kinds of feedback: implicit and explicit. Implicit feedback is all of the non-verbal sounds, facial expressions, touches and body language that goes with conversation. Explicit feedback is the straightforward, unvarnished communication we get from others. In the real world, there is a mix of the two. But in the virtual world, implicit communication is almost nonexistent.

In the real world, implicit and explicit work together to toughen the soft messages and soften the harsh messages. When we remove the implicit feedback from our communication, it’s little wonder we have misunderstandings, confusion, and often hurt feelings. (Emoji were introduced to help with this problem, but I find on important communications, an emoji doesn’t really convey the feelings behind our words.)

Morgan says what has changed online is the nature of trust. “Trust in the virtual world is much more fragile, though perhaps easier to establish initially. But the big difference comes when something threatens the trust.” He explains: And feedback depends on trust. In face-to-face relationships where there is trust, one party may do something to screw up, causing friction, anger, and even a bit of mistrust to creep in. But if the connection is strong enough, the feedback begins. The issue will get thrashed out, the perpetrator will apologize, and trust will be restored. Indeed, once restored, the trust may be stronger than ever.

How different it is in the virtual world! Once trust is threatened, it’s easily broken, and it’s nearly impossible to reestablish it. People simply move on. Since trust was more fragile in the first place, it shatters with very little provocation.
Here are a few of Morgan’s suggestions to offer effective feedback in a virtual world:

Virtual feedback should be appropriate and honest, but it doesn’t need to be cruel. “Leaven clarity with kindness.”

Virtual feedback should be specific and focused on the relevant object, performance, or creation and not on the person. “A failed artistic performance doesn’t entitle you to judge the character of the performer. And general comments are far less useful—and far more damaging—than specific ones.”

Virtual feedback should never be more about the giver than the recipient. We have all frequently seen where the feedback given “really concerns what the giver knows at some deep level to be the problem with his or her own work. If you’re going to offer feedback, you have to have enough security, distance, and impartiality to deliver an opinion that is truly helpful.”

Problem Two: The Lack of Empathy

Our virtual world robs us of real closeness and intimacy. “The distance provided by a virtual connection creates conditions where people are much more likely to behave badly to one another and are much less likely to be sympathetic to other’s feelings. There’s a lack of empathy.” When we are face-to-face, even the coldest of us find our mirror neurons firing when we are with someone who is experiencing an emotion. We laugh together, cry together, bond together. Put us in the virtual space, and empathy can’t work as well. The mirror neurons don’t fare as readily. We remain disassociated.
The key lesson regarding empathy: “If you can possibly begin a relationship of any importance in person, you should do so. Period, full stop, end of discussion.” If you can’t, “do everything you can, especially early on, to be consistent, trustworthy, and transparent.

In a virtual world, our stories are more important than ever. “Your online presence needs to meet four criteria: authenticity, clarity, comprehensiveness, and consistency.”

Problem Three: The Lack of Control

The virtual world is unforgiving. Online, “we hold others to rigid standards of behavior and are much less forgiving. In virtual space, this double standard is particularly compelling. If you behave badly, it’s because you’re a troll, and your mother and her mother before you, back a thousand generations. These feelings are not logical, but such is the nature of virtual relationships. Lacking emotional depth, we substitute brittle, intellectual, standards.”

We don’t have control over what others say about us and others. And we rarely forgive inconsistent online behavior. So we need to be intentional about who we are and be consistent with that image. Decide now who you will be. Take control of your online life by creating a personal values statement.

As an example of the kind of transparency, control and consistency Morgan is talking about, is Chris Palmer. Palmer is an environmental filmmaker with a personal mission statement (which you can find at the bottom of this page) he published on his website. Palmer told Morgan that publishing it “has transformed my life. I use it to guide my daily activities. Instead of confusion, I have clarity. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel in control. Instead of ennui, I have purpose.” How do people see you online? What do you stand for? How could a personal mission statement guide your interactions online?

Problem Four: The Lack of Emotion

The emotions that come naturally in face-to-face communications is almost nonexistent in virtual communications. “Every face-to-face communication is two simultaneous conversations: the content (what you say) and the body language (how you say it).” Both are essential and very different. And when we take the emotion out we get bored, nasty or both.

We are wired to make an emotional connection with others. Emotions are a vital part of our communications, and we base our decisions on emotion. “And removing that natural, easy, unconscious emotional data stream, as virtual communication does surprisingly well, is particularly crippling.” The virtual space we’ve created is uniquely set up to make it difficult for us to conduct our human business in the way that we’ve done for thousands of years. We think we’ve created something convenient, cost-effective, and efficient. Instead, we’ve created something that this stultifying, expensive in terms of emotions and decision-making, and wildly inefficient.
Because of this, we need to consciously create tools that replace the unconscious connection tools we have in the real world. This would include becoming “exceedingly conscious about taking turns and allowing others to do so” and signaling that you are nearly ready to stop talking. Mediating conversations becomes more important. Morgan also suggests ways to add a three-stage “temperature” check to your conference calls.

Problem Five: The Lack of Connection and Commitment

Virtual communications aren’t as satisfying and emotionally compelling as our real-world interactions. Take the emotions out and we feel alone. We need to create engaging approaches that combine both the virtual and real-world behavior that leads to commitment in the end.

Research Lynn Wu of Wharton found that the “more that individuals used social words in their chat with colleagues, like ‘coffee,’ ‘lunch,’ or ‘football,’ the less likely they were to be laid off.” Of course, these online tools can be misused, so balance is required. Nevertheless, connection with others and job security are closely tied.

A few ways to create commitment in the real-world work well online. People look to others for cues, so use social validation to push people toward commitment. Remember the golden rule of reciprocity. A “strong feeling of cooperation allows people to connect, commit, and support each other.” Always be consistent. Look for similarity. “Similarity builds rapport.” Tell stories. “The best way to get and hold someone’s attention is to tell a story.”

In part two of his book, Morgan provides specific techniques for various digital channels of communication: email, texting, conference calls, webinars, chat sessions, and sales efforts. All contain helpful advice to avoid misunderstandings.

Our virtual relationships are more fragile and “these weaker ties mean we inhabit a more toxic world. The research shows that negative conversations stay with us longer than do positive ones because of how we metabolize oxytocin and cortisol differently.” In the real world we let our unconscious minds do the heavy lifting—and pick up on those implicit messages. In the virtual world we don’t have that luxury. My journey into the online world to understnd the virtual communicator has led me tounderstand how profoundly inhuman many ways of virual communication are. Our very human job now is to learn to put the emotional and memorable back into this attenuated world that has srung up around us.
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Categories: Blogs

Hyperfocus: How to Take Control of Your Mind

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 13:25


THERE ARE LIMITS to our attention. There is only so much we can focus on at any given time. So it becomes critical what we allow in our attentional space if we want to get anywhere in life. (And heads up. Your attention space shrinks as you age—but your mind wanders less.)

When we try to cram too much into our attentional space, we experience attention overload. When we do that we forget things because we didn’t leave enough space for what we originally intended to do.

What is going on in our attentional space is the subject of Chris Bailey’s Hyperfocus. Bailey shows us how we can use our limited attentional space intelligently and deliberately so that we can focus more deeply and think more clearly.

Hyperfocus happens when we consciously expand our attention to fill our attentional space. It is when we are the most productive—and happy.

So, how do we enter hyperfocus mode? Distractions are distracting because they are more attractive than what we are focusing on. We have to plan in advance to remove them. Distractions are costly. Put the phone down. Don’t check the emails. “It takes an average of twenty-five minutes to resume working on an activity after we’re interrupted, and before resuming that activity, we work on an average of 2.26 other tasks.” Not good.

Our smartphones rob our attention probably more than anything else. Bailey offers this great advice: “Resist the urge to tap around on your smartphone when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, walking to the coffee shop, or in the bathroom. Use these small breaks to reflect on what you’re doing, to recharge, and to consider alternative approaches to your work and life.” Reflection is one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves.

And then we have to deal with the natural wandering of our mind by continually and consciously refocusing. It also helps to plan to hyperfocus for a predetermined length of time. “Setting specific intentions can double or triple your odds of success.” Bailey has a whole chapter on taming distractions and offers techniques to help us with all of this.



Although your attentional space naturally shrinks as you age, study after study has shown that you can expand it through the practice of meditation. “Meditation involves continually returning your focus to a single object of attention—usually your breath—as soon as you notice your mind has wandered from it.” Breathing is the go-to because “the smaller the object of attention, the more your mind will wander, but the more you’ll expand the size of your attentional space as you focus on it.”

Ironically, as important as it is to hyperfocus, we must also scatterfocus. That is direct our attention on nothing at all—but in a deliberate way. In scatterfocus mode, we are at our most creative and it also allows us to recharge. And because in this mode our mind spends most of its time thinking about the future which is good because we can set intentions and plan for the future. It also “enables us to better weigh the consequences of each decision and path.”

“With hyperfocus you direct your attention outward; with scatterfocus you direct your attention inward.” In scatterfocus mode, you can capture ideas and actionable material. You can discover solutions to problems and connect ideas. It also serves to replenish our mental energy. Hyperfocus takes a lot of energy, and when we feel our attentional space contracting, we need to recharge our attention by deliberately entering scatterfocus mode.

Scatterfocus mode is a great place to connect the dots providing you are collecting valuable dots in the first place. People become experts on particular subjects by accumulating and connecting enough dots related to them, in the form of experiences, knowledge, and best practices.

As we cluster more and more dots about a given topic, we naturally develop expertise, which in turn helps us better manage our attentional space. Curiously, the more we know about a subject, the less attentional space that information consumes.

The more dots we’re able to cluster, the more efficiently we’re able to use that space, as we can accommodate and process a lot more pieces of information when they’re linked together.
With that in mind, it is wise to guard just what dots we are collecting on a regular basis. Some dots build us up, and some don’t. Defend your attentional space. It’s good to collect dots that add to our existing skills and knowledge, but it is just as important to collect dots that are unrelated to what we know. This often where new perspectives and breakthrough ideas will come from. “Every time you stop consuming trash, you make room for something useful to add value to your life.”

Not surprisingly, a positive mood expands the size of our intentional space, and a negative mood shrinks it. Unhappy people take longer to refocus. Guard your thoughts. Hyperfocus can help you get an extraordinary amount done in a relatively short period of time. Scatterfocus lets you connect ideas—which helps you unearth hidden insights, become more creative, plan for the future, and rest. Together they will enable you to work and live with purpose.
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Categories: Blogs

5 Distinguishing Traits of High-Performing Leaders

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 16:25


WHO WE ARE speaks louder than what we say. Respect for others is the cornerstone of high-performing leaders. Respect is demonstrated daily through skills that we can all learn and make a part of who we are.

Through his experience as an executive coach, Fred Halstead has defined in Leadership Skills that Inspire Incredible Results, seven skills that when practiced yield meaningful results. You may not be an expert at all but you can get better at every one of them.

Demonstrating respect is more about asking the right questions than being ready with answers. Halstead admits though that “asking questions—in particular, questions than can inspire clearer thinking, solutions, and action plans—is challenging, especially when we are used to just telling others what we know should be done.” But to succeed we must have teams that are self-reliant, who understand their purpose and can execute on that purpose. Asking questions and guiding requires real focus.

It’s about our team’s success. “Those who truly want others to excel are the ones who also achieve the greatest personal success.” To demonstrate respect and quip others we need to practice these skills with others:

1. Become a Fully Connected Listener

Listening shows respect and appreciation. Listening must come first. It requires patience. As Fran Lebowitz observed, “The opposite of talking is waiting.” Our natural desire to talk, judging others, our biases ego, and our business, all inhibit our inclination to listen. “The less we worry about appearing smart, the smarter we will appear to be by just listening and asking smart questions.”

Listening is easier when we are curious. It’s easier too when you know and believe in your purpose for listening. More than just gathering information, “when you listen to someone, you learn how that person thinks, which provides insight into how you can use them most effectively on a project, team, or in the organization.”

Listen for intent and observe body language. Much of what you need to know is communicated in this way. Respect others by taking a breath. “When we’re great listeners, we give others the gift of silence. We’re not in a hurry, so silence—time to think—gives the speaker the opportunity to formulate and express her best thinking.”

2. Ask Powerful Questions

When you ask questions, you become more engaging and it creates bonds with others. It means they will want to listen to you.

The right questions are important. “The right question is often a crystallizer. It helps put a bow of clarity around one’s thoughts.” It can help them to articulate their own thoughts and expand their thinking. Clarity questions are “What concerns you most about this?” “If there is one thing you could do to begin to resolve this issue, what is it?” “What are your instincts telling you?” Timing matters when you are listening. Ask when you need clarity.

Great questions open the door to additional thought. “Is this the solution?” opens the door to additional thought but closes the door on the conversation. A better question would be “If there is one thing that would make this solution better, what is it?” Halstead helpfully provides examples of powerful questions to achieve specific goals. The response, “I have not thought about that” is one of the best you can receive from your questions. You’re giving the other person the opportunity to think about new solutions in a positive way. You also show respect for the person being asked the question.
3. Develop Other’s Best Thinking

Great listening and questions lead other from “I don’t get it” to “I got it.” You bring out the best in others. “By helping others grow, you give them the opportunity to take ownership of their actions and the results.” That’s leading.

Be forward thinking—solution oriented. “When leaders focus on what can be done, people are inspired to achieve more, especially when they think of and articulate what it is that they are going to do.”

One of the best ways to inspire your team to follow you because of you rather than in spite of you is to acknowledge the things they do well. More than a compliment, by acknowledging someone you are “calling attention to a specific behavior or talent, and it comes without any type of extra modifiers.”

4. Wise and Thoughtful Delegation

Delegating demonstrates that you believe in others and they often respond by “expanding their ability to do more and perform at a higher level.” As a leader, the more you put everyone in the sweet spots of their talents, including you, the greater the likelihood of achieving short- and long-term exceptional performance. Delegating wisely both develops and uses those talents
Thinking we are can do it better, impatience, a lack of trust, a lack of clarity about the job to be done, all inhibit our desire to delegate tasks. And that’s on us.

5. Create Consistent Accountability

A culture of accountability means that people will do—actually accomplish—what they say they will do when they say they will get it done. Accountability builds trust.

What often holds us back from creating a culture of accountability says Halstead, is that we what to be seen as nice. But when seen properly, accountability is nice. Accountability builds others up. Like delegating, we think we could do better and so we don’t hold people accountable. But when we do, we might learn from how they achieve the desired result. And frankly, we lack faith in others. We don’t really believe they have what it takes to get the job done properly. If this is the case, Halstead recommends that we walk them through the process so they can see what it will take to get the job done. Also, remind them of the talents they have that will be useful in accomplishing the task.

These five skills, when practiced consistently will help to inspire incredible results. The thread running through them all is “as you respect others and put the interests of others in a paramount position, our personal success thrives, maybe in ways that you could not imagine.”

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Categories: Blogs

Questions Are the Answer

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 23:26


A PROBLEM OF OUR TIME—and perhaps every generation—is that we ask the wrong questions. The wrong questions divide us. Great questions break down assumptions and create possibilities. Simply put, better questions give us better answers. It’s all about the question.

Great leaders are great at asking better questions. In the rapidly changing environment, we are in today, it is imperative. Our future depends on it. Until you ask different questions, you can’t move beyond the incremental progress most of us find ourselves in. Breakthroughs require different questions from the ones we’ve been asking.

Decisiveness is a great quality but too often we charge ahead without really understanding the issue. We don’t get behind the issue. Better questions help us to get there. In Questions are the Answer, Hal Gregersen explains: The point is not to remain in constant questioning mode, always stepping back to rethink things instead of stepping up to make a decision and get on with life. But answering yesterday’s questions is not good enough at times when we are feeling stuck, or when innovation is imperative, or when change must happen more continuously.
How do you get to the right question? Gregersen says that we can create the conditions in which questions thrive.

To increase our odds of formulating better questions, we need to get out observe and network with the intention of exposing ourselves to new and varied viewpoints. And listen. When we stop talking we’ll be amazed at what we can learn. Our viewpoint could always be improved. Be intentional about it.

We are rewarded and conditioned to have answers. We are not typically encouraged to ask. More often we passively collect information without learning to question the foundational concepts. Good questioners were encouraged to ask from early on in their childhood. “If we want to raise a generation of better questioners, we should try harder to influence what happens at home.” Intentionally fuel curiosity. Encouraging those “why” questions will fuel their curiosity and help to generate the “what if” questions that design better futures.

As you advance as a leader “and have the opportunity to lead others and have much more impact, your focus has to shift to ‘making other people the smartest in the room, with good questions.’”

Be comfortable with being wrong. Try being wrong more. “Questions don’t arise whenever we are wrong. It’s only on those rarer occasions when we think we are wrong. And for most of us, it’s only when we are practically hit in the face with how wrong we have been that questions start to get our attention.” Seek to question and improve your views. It makes sense to keep reminding yourself to admit and embrace being a little more wrong, goading yourself to stray into somewhat more uncomfortable environs, and compelling yourself to be more reflectively quiet. Immerse yourself in situations where you feel less right, less comfortable, or less compelled to speak, and your questions will multiply.
Gregersen suggests we brainstorm for questions—not answers—to find new insights. That is, what better questions could we be asking about our problem? He calls them Question Bursts. There are two rules to this exercise—first, questions only. And second, no explanations or introductions. Just the questions please. And keep it short—four minutes is ideal. You’re trying to get people to look at the problem differently. You’re not trying to elicit answers but to get people to think differently. Question Burst exercises help to minimize and potentially overcome cognitive biases and eventually generate the breakthrough answers we need.

“Asking the right questions is the only path to creating value—real value—at any level and in any role.” You have to actively support questioners because most organizations try to silence questioners. A leader who is secure enough to be questioned is a better leader. If as a leader you ask questions, you make it safe for others to do the same.

Did you ask a good question today?

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Categories: Blogs

What a Mechanical Shark Can Teach Us About Leadership and Innovation

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 11:32


ONE RECENT EVENING, exhausted after a long day of work, I collapsed into bed and turned on the television. On screen was the classic scene from “Jaws,” where actress Susan Backlinie is stalked by the unseen aquatic predator and then pulled underneath the dark water. The scene is famous for the way it terrified audiences without ever showing the titular shark.

But this wasn’t the film itself. It was a documentary on the making of the movie, all about the lengths that then 27-year-old wunderkind Steven Spielberg and his crew went to in creating a film that would define the summer blockbuster.

I soon learned that this scene – one of the best known in the entire film – isn’t what Spielberg initially had in mind. In his original vision, viewers would be treated to a gory scene of the mechanical shark visibly attacking the unassuming woman. But “Bruce,” the mechanical shark, kept malfunctioning, and so the director had to find another way to tell his story.

Spielberg could have insisted on the shot. After all, this was the scene he needed to “hook” the audience and keep their attention throughout the entire movie. He could have bawled out the engineers and technicians behind the mechanical prop, demanding that they somehow find a way to carry out his vision. But he didn’t. Instead, he brainstormed with the talented people around him and came up with a new vision – one that was just as compelling as the original, and with the added bonus that it would actually work.

The result: One of the most memorable scenes in cinema history.

This happened over and over again during the production of “Jaws,” with Spielberg and his crew forced to alter – or completely abandon – the director’s original vision to adapt to conditions on the ground. They had to improvise, making up major new scenes as they hit major new problems.

As I watched the documentary, I was struck by how closely the story mirrored case studies from the business world, and how perfectly it illustrated the points I try to emphasize in the leadership and innovation class I teach at MIT. In business, we tend to mythologize innovative leaders as those who have a revolutionary vision and stick with it, no matter what. But, as Spielberg’s mechanical shark illustrates, the truth is frequently far more complex.

In fact, an original, revolutionary vision isn’t innovation at all (and it certainly isn’t leadership). No, those fresh, once-in-a-lifetime ideas are examples of pure and raw creativity. And while these original sparks are surely important, they usually don’t stand up all that well to the pressures of reality. Anyone with experience with the unforgiving discipline of new product development can testify how exceedingly rare it is for even the best of ideas to emerge from that process unscathed. Creating something new is almost never a simple matter of dreaming a thing up and then building a physical representation of that vision. Nearly always, the process is an iterative one, full of trial-and-error, with more failures than successes. In one famous example, Thomas Edison had to teach himself thousands of ways not to make a light bulb before finding a way that worked.

Innovation, then, is less about having original ideas than it is about being able to execute those ideas. It’s about delivering what customers will buy or use. Friendster’s founders had a creative concept, for example, but it took the minds behind Facebook to turn a similar idea into what is now one of the world’s largest companies. Henry Ford didn’t have the creative spirit that led to the invention of the automobile, but his innovative leadership resulted in a level of execution rarely matched in the history of manufacturing. In fact, even the assembly line was inspired by Ford’s observations of the meat slaughtering process, and how workers in that industry were organized to divide up the whole animal into pieces. Similarly, Spielberg borrowed from his idol, Alfred Hitchcock, in exploiting the terror of the unknown.

One could, perhaps, cite these influences as dings against Ford’s and Spielberg’s creativity. But their willingness to lean on and learn from others’ ideas is a large part of what makes them such innovative leaders.

If innovation is really about execution, then execution itself is really about problem-solving. Inevitably, problems pop up that stand in the way of a leader’s original vision: The bulb won’t light up; the customers won’t buy; the mechanical shark won’t work. The difference between ultimate success and failure is the ability to solve these problems. In fact, I would go a step further and say that the mark of an innovative leader is often his or her ability to redefine the problem – to see it in a new way that presents previously unseen solutions. Spielberg’s genius lies in his ability to recognize that his central problem wasn’t how to make a mechanical shark work, but rather how to terrify his audience.

There’s a delicate balance at play here – what I sometimes call the “paradox” of leading innovation. On one hand, leaders must trust in themselves. They can’t be so wishy-washy that they’re willing to abandon an idea or strategy at the first hint of difficulty. But at the same time, they must be willing to surround themselves with talented people and place real trust in their teams to help them recognize problems and arrive at solutions. That’s what Spielberg did, staying up late with his crew night after night, devising new shots over beer and whiskey when the original storyboards had to be trashed.

In the documentary, Spielberg said that all of the accolades and big-budget movies that came to him throughout the rest of his prolific career (one that includes directing credits on “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Schindler’s List”) were made possible by the success of “Jaws.” And that success was due to his willingness to be flexible – to modify his vision through collaboration on his way to redefining the summer blockbuster forever.

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This post is by Dr. David Niño is a Senior Lecturer in the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program at MIT School of Engineering. He has taught leadership since 1998 at the undergraduate, masters, doctoral and executive levels. He is currently the instructor for MIT Professional Education’s highly popular online course, “Leadership & Innovation for Technology Professionals.” Dr. Niño is also a founding officer of the Leadership Development Division of the American Society of Engineering Education and consults with professionals and executives around the globe in the areas of leadership and team development.

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Categories: Blogs

The Best Leadership Books of 2018

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 11:54


The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results
by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter

(Harvard Business Review Press, 2018)

The Mind of the Leader offers a radical, yet practical, solution to solve the leadership crisis. Organizations need to put people at the center of their strategy. They need to develop managers and executives who lead with three core mental qualities: mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion. (Blog Post)




Leap: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied
by Howard Yu

(PublicAffairs, 2018)

In today's competitive environment, where latecomers can copy almost any product or service, companies can no longer just be good at what they do. Is the displacement of early pioneering companies an inevitable fate in the modern economy? Outlasting copycat competition in any industry is difficult; doing so over decades is nearly impossible—unless you leap. (Blog Post)




Reinforcements: How to Get People to Help You
by Heidi Grant

(Harvard Business Review Press, 2018)

Asking for help makes most of us uncomfortable and we often go to great lengths to avoid doing it. We fear rejection. We fear that people we think less of us. We believe people don’t really want to help. But the truth is we need the help and support of others to succeed. To be sure, leadership is fundamentally about asking people for help. (Blog Post)




Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself, and Thrive
by Bradley R. Staats

(Harvard Business Review Press, 2018)

What did you learn today? We often think of learning as something we are doing all of the time. But we aren’t. Mostly we are repeating or reinforcing what we already know. And that gets in the way of learning. Like most things worthwhile learning must be deliberate. (Blog Post)




What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You
by John Hillen and Mark D. Nevins

(SelectBooks, Inc., 2018)

The ability to reinvent yourself is core to your success as a leader. As you take on more responsibility, the demands on you as a leader change. If disrupting yourself isn’t part of who you are, you will get left behind. If you are just doubling down on what you’ve always done, you will miss the opportunities. When conditions change, you have to change too. (Blog Post)




The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win
by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

(St. Martin's Press, 2018)

So much of leadership is managing tensions. Leaders must know when to adapt. After the publication of their first book, Extreme Ownership, many people latched on to the aggressive implications of the word “extreme” and missed the more nuanced balance that a leader must have. “Leaders must find the equilibrium between opposing forces that pull in opposite directions.” The Dichotomy of Leadership is meant to help leaders find that equilibrium. (Blog Post)




Professionalizing Leadership
by Barbara Kellerman

(Oxford University Press, 2018)

Over the last 40 years, the leadership industry has grown exponentially. Yet leadership education, training, and development still fall far short. Moreover, leaders are demeaned, degraded, and derided as they never were before. Why? Leadership in the first quarter of the present century is different from what it was even in the last quarter of the past century - which is why leadership taught casually and carelessly should no longer suffice.




Dear Founder: Letters of Advice for Anyone Who Leads, Manages, or Wants to Start a Business
by Maynard Webb with Carlye Adler

(St. Martin's Press, 2018)

What began as a project to provide guidance to a select group of founders in the Webb Investment Network has been expanded and offered to founders of all types and those who need to have a founder’s mindset. The result is Dear Founder. (Blog Post)




This Is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters
by Drew Dudley

(Hachette Books, 2018)

This is Day One is about choosing to lead. Everything worthwhile in life begins with a Day One. “If you want to be a leader, chose to be a leader today. Repeat that choice every day. It doesn’t matter if you failed to do it yesterday or if you’ve done it every day for a decade: every new day begins with a recommitment to that choice.” (Blog Post)




ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Highest Level of Distinction
by Scott McKain

(St. Martin's Press, 2018)

“Iconic organizations and leaders have become such universal symbols of distinction they are not only irresistible to customers in their marketplace, they compel interest and admiration across a wide spectrum.” How do you attain iconic status? The answer is explained in detail in this book. (Blog Post)




Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great
by Carmine Gallo

(St. Martin's Press, 2018)

“Your ability to communicate persuasively is the single greatest skill that will set you apart in the next decade.” There is so much in this book that will help you perform better in all of your communication. If only read one book on communication this year, this is it. (Blog Post)




Burn the Business Plan: What Great Entrepreneurs Really Do
by Carl J. Schramm

(Simon & Schuster, 2018)

If you are thinking of starting a business—and apparently nine million Americans are currently thinking about it and only about 500,000 actually do each year—you will want to read Burn the Business Plan. (Blog Post)




Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility
by Patty McCord

(Silicon Guild, 2018)

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. Powerful is a book of advice gained from her experience at Netflix. She began working with Reed Hastings to identify the behaviors that they wanted to see become consistent practices and worked to instill the discipline of actually doing them. When established they were communicated over and over again and eventually became known as the Netflix Culture Deck. (Blog Post)




The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership
by Fred Kofman

(Currency, 2018)

Fred Kofman's approach to leadership has little to do with the standard practices taught in business school and traditional books. Bringing together economics and business theory, communications and conflict resolution, family counseling and mindfulness mediation, Kofman argues in The Meaning Revolution that our most deep-seated, unspoken, and universal anxiety stems from our fear that our life is being wasted--that the end of life will overtake us when our song is still unsung. Kofman claims that transcendental leaders, wherever they are in the hierarchy, are able to put aside their self-interests and help others to feel connected with others on a team or in an organization on a great mission and part of an ennobling purpose.




Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life
by Hal Gregersen

(HarperBusiness, 2018)

The questions we ask determine our outcomes in leadership and life. The key to success is asking a different question. Gregersen explains the conditions we can create in our lives that will give rise to better questions—life-changing questions—that will provide us with better answers.





Biographies:


Connecting the Dots: Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World
by John Chambers with Diane Brady

(Hachette Books, 2018)

Since stepping down as CEO of Cisco in 2015, John Chambers founded the venture capital firm JC2 Ventures specializing in startups. That experience has led him to write Connecting the Dots as a way to help others to learn from the key events in his life and career as they navigate business and life. It has always been true, but it is worth repeating: “What will differentiate the winners from the losers won’t be technology or capital but leadership and a willingness to learn.” (Blog Post)





Entrepreneurial Leader: A Lifetime of Adventures in Business, Education, and Government
by William H. Donaldson with Karl Weber

(Greenleaf Book Group, 2018)

Donaldson and Karl Weber extract relevant lessons for leaders in Entrepreneurial Leader. The thread that runs through his career is the entrepreneurial mindset. That mindset is “about the application of creative thinking and prudent risk-taking to build innovative, long-lasting organizations in any sector of the economy.” (Blog Post)




Leading Matters: Lessons from My Journey
by John L. Hennessy

(Stanford University Press, 2018)

Leading Matters is about the journey. The stories Hennessy tells here are revolve around the ten elements that shaped his journey and how he relied on these traits in pivotal moments. The elements are relevant to any leader at any level. As he observes, the higher up you go the crises just get bigger and come faster. (Blog Post)




Leadership In Turbulent Times
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

(Simon & Schuster, 2018)

In this well-structured study, Goodwin begins by looking at the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson in turn, when they first entered public life. Unremarkable at this stage of their life they, like most young leaders, made mistakes stemming from inexperience, cockiness, lack of caution, outright misjudgments, and selfishness.” But more importantly we “see the efforts made to acknowledge, conceal, or overcome these mistakes.” This of course, is a key to their eventual success. (Blog Post)



Related Interest:
Best Leadership Books of 2017
Best Leadership Books of 2016
Best Leadership Books of 2015

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Categories: Blogs

Everything Begins with a Day One

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:37


LEADERSHIP IS intentional influence. Leadership is about being intentional. It’s about taking responsibility for everything we do. We affect others in ways we never imagined. It is prudent of us then to be intentional about how we live out our life. It gives us the moral authority to lead. The value we add becomes the meaning in our life.

This is Day One by Drew Dudley is about choosing to lead. Everything worthwhile in life begins with a Day One. “If you want to be a leader, chose to be a leader today. Repeat that choice every day. It doesn’t matter if you failed to do it yesterday or if you’ve done it every day for a decade: every new day begins with a recommitment to that choice.”

And it’s a daily choice. With everything in our environment to distract us from that choice, to push us into being reactive rather than proactive, some days that choice will take a huge effort. But the payoff is big. Your most enduring legacy will very likely have nothing to do with your plans. The greatest impact you will have on the people around you and the organizations of which you are a part will almost always be a result of the unplanned consequences of your everyday actions.
It’s the daily behaviors that add up to a successful life—to successful leadership. So we must plan to make a difference.

Our leadership plan must revolve around who we want to be—our values. We must identify and define those values and then do something every day that embodies those values. “When you no longer must consciously align your behavior with your values—when it happens by instinct—you have created a ‘personal culture of leadership.’”

Dudley has identified six values in his life that drive his behavior every day. Yours may be different. They are articulated through six questions that when asked in advance of your day can lead to a change in your behavior. His six questions are:

1. Impact—What have I done today to recognize someone else’s leadership?

“Leadership recognized is leadership created. What if we all worked to create a culture in which the true measure of our lives is how many people smile when our name is spoken twenty years after they last saw us.” Answering this question “will create moments of impact that remind others they have mattered, do matter, and will matter in the future.” Let people know they are leaders to us.

2. Courage—What did I try today that might not work, but I tried it anyway?

Courage is demonstrated through action. “Effective personal leadership is the willingness to honestly ask ourselves: ‘In what areas of my life am I settling? Leadership is having the courage to be honest with yourself about where in your life you are allowing yourself to settle and taking action to ensure you don’t do it for a single day longer.”

3. Empowerment—What did I do today to move someone else closer to a goal?

We are responsible. “One of the reasons so few people put up their hand when asked if they are a leader is they’ve accepted a situation where the things that they are chasing in their life—the things they believe will make them happy—can only come from someone else.” A driver in New Orleans told Dudley, “We serve others whenever we help them move closer to one of their goals. For some people that might mean an educational goal, a career goal, or a goal related to their legacy. But let me tell you, the most important goals you can help someone reach are the goals related to their dignity. People need to feel seen, they need to feel understood, they need to feel connected to another person. Too many people in this world don’t have those goals met.” Acting for the success of others.

4. Growth—What did I do today to make it more likely someone will learn something?

Expand your capacity. “Go too long without appreciable growth in your life and not only does it become difficult to see yourself as a leader, it become difficult to feel like you matter.” I liked this statement: “You can’t lead on a need-to-know-only basis. You can fix things, you can maintain, but you can’t lead.” We must continually expose ourselves to the new and uncomfortable. “It’s not enough to be supportive when you see opportunities to help people, you must be a catalyst for creating those opportunities and forgiving others the tools to create them for themselves. Forget power, influence, and control: make people feel like they’re better when you’re around and they will follow you anywhere.”

5. Class—When did I elevate instead of escalate today?

We can choose our response. We don’t have to operate on autopilot. “Class is elevating a situation when your instincts push you to escalate, when it would be easier to escalate and when you have every right to escalate. The difference lies in your goal for the resolution of the situation: elevating means trying to succeed, escalating means trying to win.” Treat people better than they deserve to be treated.

6. Self-Respect—What did I do today to be good to myself?

“The fact that we have the rest of our lives ahead of us is the biggest reason we don’t do things today that will make the rest of our lives better.” Plan failure into your plans. It’s inevitable. “The most extraordinary leaders I’ve known are the ones who are best at healing.” Only hurt people hurt others. “It means leaders have got to forgive and leaders have got to heal. If we don’t evict the things living rent free in our heads, we will carry them with us and one day use them as weapons against those we care about most.”

The last section of the book is a workbook of sorts to help you define your own values and create your own questions based on those values. This is Day One will help to see leadership as a responsibility everyone has. It’s a choice. We can build a community of leaders one day at a time.

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Categories: Blogs

Iconic: How to Attain the Ultimate Level of Distinction

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 16:23


S COTT MCKAIN wrote the book on creating distinction in a world of homogenization. In Create Distinction he discusses how we got here and how we can create distinction for ourselves and our organizations. Having passion, product knowledge and commitment is not enough. Are you creating a distinctive story so that those who chose you the first time will come back for more? It’s not just a matter of being different. It’s about being uncommonly excellent.

Creating distinction is based on four cornerstones: clarity (being precise about who you are), creativity (built on clarity, it’s about discovering a different approach—delivering creatively), communication (creating and delivering a compelling story), and customer-experience focus (create distinctive experiences for your clients).

In the years since Create Distinction was published McKain realized there was another place beyond distinction. Becoming iconic. Once you achieve distinction, it’s time to become truly iconic. In Iconic: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Highest Level of Distinction, he writes: Iconic organizations and leaders have become such universal symbols of distinction they are not only irresistible to customers in their marketplace, they compel interest and admiration across a wide spectrum.
How do you attain iconic status? How do you maintain and enhance that status once you achieve it? And how do you regain that status if it has eroded in the marketplace? The answers to these questions are explained in detail in this book. Briefly, the process is based on the five factors of iconic performance that take an organization or a leader to a level beyond distinction:



Play Offense. “Every moment you are playing defense against the competition wastes a moment you could be innovating to make them irrelevant.” Play to your strengths and create accountability with clear expectations, measurement, feedback, and consequences. Make it special—leave a trail of tangibles.



Get the Promise and Performance Right. People evaluate us on promise and performance. “The challenge is that customers will always evaluate your performance based on the promise from their point-of-view … not yours.” Performance is in the eye of the beholder. “Iconic companies find a way to accelerate their promises while improving their performance to a public that has already become predisposed to expect their excellence.”



Stop Selling. Build a relationship. “Appeal to the aspirations of your customers and prospects. Then invite them to savor the experience that they desire through your product or service.” Think less like a professional and more like a rapper—let it flow!



Go Negative. This may seem a bit counterintuitive. Know your weaknesses. “Iconic companies are obsessed with learning what they did wrong, so they can change the behavior—or process—that created the unpleasant experience in the first place.” Check your culture. It may be holding you back from iconic status. “Don’t be satisfied with satisfied customers. See to have amazed, thrilled, and overjoyed followers.” Go negative doesn't mean a negative attitude. Instead, develop a defensive pessimism. “Defensive pessimism is examining what has gone—or could go—wrong, so you take the necessary steps to prevent it from occurring.”



Reciprocal Respect. Disrespectful behavior should never be tolerated. “What you tolerate you endorse.” How do you display respect to others? McKain recommends six ways: Don’t just hear—listen. Display open body language. Don’t nitpick. Show how you’re following up. Don’t withhold praise. Treat others equally and with sensitivity.

Obtaining, maintaining, and regaining iconic status requires brutal honesty. Think like a start-up. Have an innovative mindset and look at everything you do from a fresh customer-centric focus.

Again be sure to examine your culture. “Until your culture is right internally—no matter the size of your organization—many of your external efforts won’t help.” Your efforts may just draw attention to what you’re doing wrong in the eyes of your customers. Everyone in the organization needs to be on board with providing an excellent experience. “All components of the company have to be aligned internally before they can expect results externally.”

The examples McKain uses throughout really help to drive the lessons home and trigger the thinking necessary to implement them in your situation.

By the way, McKain has a great set of five short videos on his Instagram page explaining each of the five factors. Here’s #4 on Going Negative.

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Categories: Blogs

The Key to Effective Leadership: Mindsets

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 13:19


WHAT SEPARATES a poor or a good leader from a great leader? Let me make the argument that a primary distinguishing factor is in how leaders see, interpret, and think about the situations that they encounter.

To do so, consider four situations leaders can find themselves in:
  • Challenge and failure
  • Disagreement with a subordinate
  • Having to make a decision that involves risk
  • Having a subordinate that is underperforming

Here is a table that shows two different leaders and how they each see and interpret these situations differently.



Who would you rather follow, Leader A or Leader B?

Every group I speak to always says “Leader B.”

But here is what is interesting, through a personal assessment I have done with over two thousand leaders and individuals, only 5% consistently operate like Leader B.

What this hopefully demonstrates is that effective leadership is born not out of what leaders do or what behaviors they engage in, but first and foundationally in how they see and interpret the situations they find themselves in.

So, what causes leaders to encounter the same situations, but interpret them so differently?

The answer to this question is the foundation of effective leadership: leaders’ mindsets. Mindsets are the mental lenses that leaders wear that shape how they see and interpret their worlds. Stated differently, mindsets are leaders’ mental fuel filters. Every day leaders are bombarded by thousands if not millions of stimuli, and it is their mindsets that filters select stimuli or information into their brain, and what gets filter through is what ends up guiding their thinking, learning, and behavior.

For example, consider a leader that has a subordinate that suggests that the leader could improve in some way. Depending upon the leader’s mindset, the leader could see that feedback as an indicator that the employee: (1) is questioning his/her leadership abilities and get defensive, or (2) cares about him/her and wants him/her to be as effective as possible. Thus, in this instance, the leader’s mindset drives how the leader thinks about the feedback, how likely the leader is going to learn from the feedback, and the manner in which the leader will behave in response to the feedback.

Four Mindsets Necessary for Leadership Effectiveness

If leaders’ mindsets are what drives their effectiveness, do you know what mindsets you need to develop to think, learn, and behave in the most effective way as a leader?

Although mindsets are foundational to leaders’ effectiveness, most groups I speak to are unable to identify a specific mindset that is essential for leadership effectiveness.

After learning about the power of mindsets and the foundational role they play in leadership effectiveness, I sought to identify the mindsets that drive effective leadership. As a leadership researcher, I scoured the academic literature, and I identified four sets of mindsets in largely four different areas of study (e.g., psychology, management, education, marketing) that have been studied for decades. While research associated with each set has repeatedly demonstrated that the mindsets influence individuals’ thinking, learning, and behavior, they have all be isolated from each other. Until now.

I have pulled these different mindsets together into one framework to help leaders clearly identify the mindsets they need to develop to operate more effectively. Each set of mindsets represents a continuum from negative to positive as follows:



Every leader possesses a mindset that lies somewhere along each continuum, and the basic idea is that the more positive one’s mindset, the more effectively they are to think, learn, and behave in the situations that they encounter on a daily basis.

Let me describe each set.

Fixed/Growth
  • Fixed: We do not believe that we or others can change or develop our/their abilities, talents, and intelligence.
  • Growth: We do believe that we and others can change or develop our abilities, talents, and intelligence.

When leaders possess a fixed mindset, they seek to avoid failure, because, to them, failure means that they are a failure. Thus, those with a fixed mindset are primarily focused on looking good, and if something does not come easily or naturally to them, they have a tendency to give up.

Leaders with a growth mindset, on the other hand, are primarily focused on learning and growing. They embrace challenges, see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, and believe that success only comes through pushing through obstacles and difficulties.

Closed/Open
  • Closed: We are closed to the ideas and suggestions of others
  • Open: We are open to the ideas and suggestions of others and willing to take those ideas seriously

Here is a great quote from Farnam Street: “Before you smugly slap an open-minded sticker on your forehead, consider this: closed-minded people would never consider that they could actually be closed-minded. In fact, their perceived open-mindedness is what’s so dangerous.”

When leaders possess a closed mindset, they are primarily concerned about being seen as being right. As such, they seek to have their ideas supported, inclined to provide answers (as opposed to asking questions), avoid feedback and new perspectives, and see disagreement as a threat. All because they believe that what they know is best.

When leaders possess an open mindset, they are primarily concerned about finding truth and thinking optimally. In order to do this, they ask questions, seek to understand, seek feedback and new perspectives, and see disagreement as an opportunity to learn. All because they believe that their perspective is limited and they can be wrong.

Prevention/Promotion
  • Prevention: Being focused on not losing
  • Promotion Being focused on winning and gains

Leaders with a prevention mindset are like a ship captain whose primary objective is to not sink. When this is the leaders’ objective, s/he focuses on ensuring no problems occur, limiting risk, and not “rocking the boat” (i.e., maintaining the status quo).

Leaders with a promotion mindset are like a ship captain whose primary objective is to get to a specific destination. As such, the leader anticipates problems, sees risk as being necessary to reach destination, and is willing to adjust operations to reach destination.

The difference between these two leaders is that those with a prevention mindset get blown about by the winds and the currents of the sea and end up in a destination not of their choosing, while those with a promotion mindset are willing to brave the winds and the currents of the sea to end up in a destination of their proactive design.

Inward/Outward
  • Inward: Seeing others as objects
  • Outward: seeing others as people and valuing them as such

When leaders have an inward mindset, they see themselves as being more important than others and are limited in their sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of those that they lead. And, when something goes wrong, they place the blame on others.

When leaders have an outward mindset, they see others as being as important, if not more important, than themselves. And, when something goes wrong, they ask themselves: “Who am I being that their light is not shining.”

Becoming a More Effective Leader

Who would you rather follow, a leader whose mindsets are:
  • Fixed, closed, prevention, and inward, or
  • Growth, open, promotion, and outward?

The effect of such leaders are just like they sound. Leaders with negative mindsets are constricting. Leaders with positive mindsets are expanding.

What mindsets do you possess? Correspondingly, what type of leader are you because of your mindsets?

Again, from my personal mindset assessment, I have found that only 5% of people consistently possess all four positive mindsets.

If you are interested in learning how positive your mindsets are relative to thousands of others, I invite you to take my free personal mindset assessment. It will provide you with a personalized and comprehensive report to help you better understand each mindset set, what your mindsets are, and direction on how to improve your mindsets.

In all: The key to being an effective leader is your mindsets.

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This is a post by Ryan Gottfredson. He is a cutting-edge leadership consultant, trainer, coach, and researcher. He is a leadership mindset pioneer that helps organizations, leaders, and managers identify their current mindsets and then shape them to fuel better decision making, problem-solving, development, and performance. Ryan is currently a leadership and management professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton (CSUF).

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Categories: Blogs

George H.W. Bush 1924-2018

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:44


I George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died on November 30 at age 94.

As a leader produced by the greatest generation—a term coined by Tom Brokaw to mean those who lived during the Great Depression and then went on to fight in World War II—Bush lead with moral authority. A grounded and humble man, he understood that character matters in leaders.

In 2012, he told Diane Sawyer in an interview that “I've been very blessed, when you look around, compared to ... others. But you must feel responsibility to others. You must believe in serving others. I think that's a fundamental tenet of my life.”

Bush lead in various capacities. Serving in World War II, he became the youngest combat aviation officer in the war flying Bush flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific. Shot down in 1944, he was awarded the Distinguish Flying Cross for bringing the plane down and saving most of his crew.

Shortly after leaving the Navy, Bush married Barbara Pierce. They had six children, one of whom died of leukemia before she turned four. His oldest son George Walker Bush was elected the 43rd President of the United States in 2001 becoming the second president to assume the nation's highest office after his father, following the footsteps of John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams. Bush later said, “I don't know what would happen, I don't know where I'd be in life if I wasn't blessed with a lot of kids and grandkids and family, including, of course, Barbara. Family means everything to me. And we're blessed a with lot of 'em.... We take great pride in what they do and what their plans are for the future. And through—through their eyes, I think of life a lot.”

He led in various capacities in his life as an oil company executive, CIA director, an ambassador to the United Nations and liaison to the People's Republic of China, a congressman representing Texas. Most notably, he served two terms as vice-president under Ronald Reagan before becoming the forty-first president of the United States. (The first incumbent vice president to do so since Martin Van Buren in 1836.)

Here is a selection of his thoughts that reflect his view and approach to life and leading:
America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.

We must act on what we know. I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity.

I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God's love is truly boundless. (Inaugural Address 1989)

Some see leadership as high drama, and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that. But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity — shared, and written, together. (Inaugural Address 1989)

It is possible to tell things by a handshake. I like the "looking in the eye" syndrome. It conveys interest. I like the firm, though not bone-crushing shake. (Letter to Gary Hanauser, September 18, 1979)

The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I'd add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others."

Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.

There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country and your fellow citizens and to do it well. And that's what our system of self-government depends on. " (Address to the Senior Executive Service, 1989)

I'm conservative, but I'm not a nut about it.

All right, one more: "Aging's all right. Better than the alternative, which is not being here."

No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.

International exchanges are not a great tide to sweep away all differences, but they will slowly wear away at the obstacles to peace as surely as water wears away a hard stone.

Be bold in your caring, be bold in your dreaming and above all else, always do your best.

Don't confuse being 'soft' with seeing the other guy's point of view.

History will point out some of the things I did wrong and some of the things I did right.
His last words were to his son George W. Bush: “I love you, too.”



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Categories: Blogs

First Look: Leadership Books for December 2018

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 09:07
Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in December 2018. Don't miss out on other great new and future releases.

  Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear by Richard Sheridan
  Master Your Mind: Counterintuitive Strategies to Refocus and Re-Energize Your Runaway Brain by Roger Seip and Robb Zbierski
  Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture Employees Love by Josh Levine
  Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation by Gary Shapiro
  The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek



For bulk orders call 1-626-441-2024


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 39 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
— Lemony Snicket

Categories: Blogs

LeadershipNow 140: November 2018 Compilation

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:40

Here are a selection of tweets from November 2018 that you don't want to miss:
See more on Twitter.

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Categories: Blogs

Leading Matters: John L. Hennessy on the Leadership Journey

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 15:08


AS A PROFESSOR, an entrepreneur, the president of Stanford University, and now the Chairman of the Board of Alphabet (Google’s Parent company) and Director of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, John Hennessy has had a lot of leadership experience. In Leading Matters, he shares the stories of what worked and what didn’t work.

Leading Matters is about the journey. The stories he tells here are revolve around the ten elements that shaped his journey and how he relied on these traits in pivotal moments. The elements are relevant to any leader at any level. As he observes, the higher up you go the crises just get bigger and come faster.

He begins by discussing the foundational elements: humility, authenticity, service, and empathy. He then links them together with courage. Finally, he shows how collaboration, innovation, intellectual curiosity, storytelling, and creating change that lasts, helped him reach his goals.

Here are some of his thoughts on each element extracted from his stories:

Humility

A true sense of one’s own skills and character—arises not from ego, but from humility. Arrogance sees only strengths, ignores our weaknesses, and overlooks the strengths of others, therefore leaving us vulnerable to catastrophic mistakes.

Leading with humility means letting others announce your accomplishments because you don’t need to, it means realizing and openly admitting that your understanding might not be right, it means taking the opportunity to learn from mistakes, and it means stepping up to the moments that challenge and grow you.

Authenticity and Trust

Authenticity is essential to building trust. Consider the wisdom popularly attributed to Socrates: “The way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” It’s a start down the path to a deeper practice of authenticity—you must identify those good and true characteristics you admire, and then you must work to embody them.

So this is part of the practice: identify the virtue you admire, strive to embody them, and be humble about the journey—you probably aren’t there yet. In fact, just when you think you’ve arrived, life has a way of returning you back to the beginning.

Leadership as Service

The larger one’s leadership role becomes, the bigger the role of service in that leadership.

If you take a leadership role as a step toward a personal goal of gathering ever-greater titles, awards, and salaries, you will never see true success in that role.

Recognize the service of others. As a leader it is easy to get wrapped up in big projects and ambitious initiatives, and, in the process, to forget the smaller, but no less important, individual acts of service taking place all around you. Much of that service supports and enables the widely celebrated success of others.

Empathy

Empathy should always be a factor in making decisions and setting goals. Empathy represents a crucial check on action—placing a deep understanding of and concern for the human condition next to data can lead to decisions that support the wellbeing of all.

Empathy usually implies compassion and perhaps charity, but we are looking for more than that: we are looking for the kind of empathy that changes people as a result of their interactions with each other, the kind of empathy that arises when one sees the world anew through someone else’s eyes.

Courage

Humility, authenticity, empathy, service-mindedness—these characteristics shape a leader’s vision and chart a course toward right action. Courage, on the other hand, compels a leader to take that right action. While many people can discern what is right and true, acting on that discernment is more difficult.

Even if risk-taking is against your nature, for the good of your organization, you must find the courage to practice it.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Most significant endeavors will be accomplished by a team.

Certain ground rules circumvented interteam rivalries. First of all, I reminded everyone of our shared goal: we wanted to achieve something great. Further, to support innovative, cross-disciplinary thinking, I set a second ground rule: at the start, we don’t criticize ideas. To this, I added a third ground rule: tough questions aren’t only allowed, they are necessary. This led to my final ground rule: team members must be treated with the utmost respect.

Innovation

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with students: the student opens with, “I want to create a start-up.” I ask them to tell me about their technology, and they answer, “Well, I don’t have it yet, but I want to do a start-up.” I remind these students that great start-ups begin with great technology discoveries. Innovation presents great opportunities for smart entrepreneurs, not the other way around.

Intellectual Curiosity

Beyond personal enjoyment, though, this lifelong curiosity has served me well in my career. It has enabled me to engage in meaningful dialog about the world and its future.

Literature, biographies, and histories—they’re like laboratories in which we can examine and learn critical lessons without having to live the difficulties ourselves.

In challenging moments, great leaders show their true character. …Their stories taught me if you can’t take the blame for failure, you shouldn't take the job.

Storytelling

If you really want to inspire a team to action, best to engage them with a story. Once they become receptive—once they can imagine themselves as part of your vision—you can back your story up with facts and figures.

When you turn that dream into a vivid story, you make it so attractive and so real that people will want to share it with you by joining your team.

When it came time to respond to change, these companies moved quickly and efficiently, because every employee already understood the company identity and therefore knew how to respond without direct coaching.

In every profession and career, as we climb to higher leadership positions, the role of facts and data decreases.

Legacy

Instead of worrying about my legacy too much or too early, I’m choosing now—as I always have—to follow the path of making meaningful contributions.

Legacy means the institution serves people more effectively now than it did when you arrived.

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Categories: Blogs

Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most

Fri, 11/23/2018 - 17:14


LIFE GIVES US CHOICES, and we make decisions.

Some choices are easy like “Should I get vanilla or chocolate ice cream?” Most of our decisions are like this, and the consequences aren’t life-changing. Most books on decision-making describe these kinds of intuitive, gut-reaction decisions. But not all decisions are of this type.

Some are farsighted choices as Steven Johnson calls them in Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most. These are the big decisions—life choices—like should I move to Denver? Should I take that job? Should I move home? Should I buy that car? Should I buy the house? Should I get married?

How do we make the right choice in these kinds of decisions? The answers are rarely a clear yes or no. These are complex problems with multiple variables.

We are all familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s two-column method. Most of us just tally the number of items on each list and go with the longer list. But Franklin recommended an important final step in this process. He advised that you conduct a kind of “Prudential Algebra” to each entry to give them relative weight because not all reasons are of equal value. It makes good sense, but as we know, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

What we need is “a routine or a practice—a specific set of steps for confronting the problem, exploring its unique properties, weighing the options.” A deliberate and measured approach that allows you to think about a problem from multiple perspectives.

Johnson puts forth a three-step method “designed specifically to overcome the unique challenges of a hard choice.” All decisions have a context, perspectives, and possible consequences. This method helps to address each of them.

The method begins with building a full-spectrum map of all of the variables and the potential paths available to us. Then we make predictions about where all those different paths might lead us, given the variable at play. Finally, we decide on a path by weighing the variable outcomes against our overarching objectives.

Given our disposition towards scientific methods, we would like this to be scientific to remove the human weaknesses that challenge our decision-making. But as Tolstoy’s Prince Andrew counseled in War and Peace, “What theory and science is possible about a matter the conditions and circumstances of which are unknown and cannot be defined, especially when the strength of the acting forces cannot be ascertained?” The Prince continued, “What science can there be in a matter in which, as in all practical matters, nothing can be defined and everything depends on innumerable conditions, the significance of which is determined at a particular moment which arrives no one knows when?”

Mapping

We all use mental maps whether we know it or not. The trick is to be intentional about it. “What the map should ultimately reveal is a set of potential paths, given the variables at play in the overall system. Figuring out which path to take requires other tools.” In the mapping step, you are looking to expand the context of your decision to include all possible decision paths.

The art of making farsighted decisions “with as much wisdom as possible lies not in forcing that map to match some existing template, but instead in developing the kind of keen vision required to see the situation as it truly is. And the best way to develop that vision is to get different pairs of eyes on the problem.” It requires a bit of humility as well. You are more likely to be right to the degree that you recognize that you may be wrong. We must embrace the likely possibility that we are wrong to get it right. Often what stands in our way of getting it right is our certainty that we are right. The lesson: explore other alternatives.

Predicting

When we make a farsighted decision, we are predicting what will happen as a result of our decision. But that’s not easy. One of the problems we run into is assuming that things will continue as they always have—the fallacy of extrapolation. Things changes and we don’t know what we don’t know. As Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling once noted that one thing a person cannot do “is to draw up a list of things that would never occur to him.” To make good decisions, we need to make those kinds of imaginative leaps.

Johnson prescribes simulations to do just that. Engaging in scenario planning or gaming is not to make accurate predictions, but “the very act of trying to imagine alternatives to the conventional view helps you perceive your options more clearly.” Pierre Wack wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “No single ‘right’ projection can be deduced from past behavior. The better approach, I believe, is to accept uncertainty, try to understand it, and make it part of our reasoning.”

It is a kind of storytelling. We create stories around our decisions all the time—“when we do this, this is what it will be like.” And that’s good. The problem arises when we fail to construct multiple stories around our choices. “That doesn’t always give you a definite path, but it does prepare you for many ways the future might unexpectedly veer from its current trajectory.”

With the decision mapped, the options identified, and the scenarios panned, it’s time to decide.

Deciding

Making a decision is the final step. How do we decide? What’s best for me or what’s best for the greater good or some other cost-benefit analysis. If we’ve done the first two steps well and given ourselves an appropriate amount to process, often the decision becomes clear. “But sometimes the answer is murkier, and you have to make the tough call between a few remaining options, each of which promises a different mix of pain and pleasure to the individuals affected by the choice.” Almost every strategy described in this book ultimately pursues the same objective: helping you see the current situation from new perspectives, to push against the limits of bounded rationality, to make a list of things that would never occur to you. They’re designed to get you outside your default assumptions, not to give you a fixed answer.
While Johnson presents many strategies and ideas of real value, the magic of Farsighted is the examples he weaves throughout to make the ideas and principles come alive.
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Of Related Interest:
  Where is the Wisdom We Have Lost in Knowledge?

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Categories: Blogs

Happy Thanksgiving from LeadershipNow

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 10:53


WE'RE THANKFUL for our LeadershipNow community around the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We owe so much to so many. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Thank you!

Here are links to posts on gratitude from here and around the web:

  Gratitude: The Habit of Noticing

  Finding Gratitude in the Common Things

  Gratitude is Good for You Too

  Unconditional Gratitude

  10 Powerful Ways to Give Thanks with Your Leadership by DougConant

  How to Bring Gratitude into the Workplace by Stacey Engle

  A Thanksgiving State of Mind by Thomas Kidd

  Practices From the Inside Out: Practicing Gratitude by Greg Richardson

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Categories: Blogs

How to Bring Gratitude into the Workplace

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 10:11


‘Tis the season of gratitude -- for friends, for family, and for delicious turkey dinners. But what about gratitude in the workplace?

November and December are notorious times for organizations to express gratitude to their employees -- holiday parties, annual bonuses and accolades they save up for this time of year. And while these gestures are appreciated, the truth is gratitude should be practiced all year round. By focusing on giving thanks just one time a year, these overtures become less authentic, and thus less meaningful.

For leaders, practicing gratitude at work is an incredibly valuable tool, and one that shouldn’t be saved for a single season. Here are a few suggestions you can implement today and use all year long, from the most personal, to the most public:
  • Start a gratitude journal: Not all gratitude needs to be expressed outwardly, and recognizing personally what you are grateful for can be very powerful. You may want a journal that encompasses all aspects of your life, or one just for the office. Perhaps every Monday morning you take 10 minutes to write down what work-related people and things you are grateful for. Over time, you can look back and reflect in a meaningful way.

  • Write Thank You notes. Sure, it’s a little old school when we are used to email and texting, but therein lies the magic. There is something powerful about taking the time to thank someone with a physical note - be it your boss, the intern or even the security guard in your building.

  • Incorporate gratitude into you conversations. During 1:1 meetings with both your boss and your direct reports, making a habit of highlighting something you appreciate about them. These conversations can have a lasting impact, and will serve to strengthen the relationship. Showing appreciation on a regular basis in many cases also makes conversations around areas of improvement easier, as you have built a stronger foundation with the other person.

  • Make time during meetings for shout outs. Public displays of gratitude can mean a lot to your employees. Make it an ongoing bullet point on the agenda, to call out a person or a team that is doing a great job, and be as specific as you can. Knowing the boss not only appreciates your work, but knows exactly what you are doing can be a big boost to an employees confidence at work.

  • Consider an Employee of The Week/Month/Quarter Award: This doesn’t need to be overly formal, but the idea of highlighting someone on a regular basis, either through a newsletter or a larger company meeting is a nice one. Not only does a stellar employee acknowledged, but in deciding who to highlight, you get to see some of the great work being done across the organization.


We all benefit when we take a minute to step back and recognize the good people and things we have in our lives. Study after study show that gratitude is a key factor in happiness. While we don’t often combine a gratitude practice with work, as you can see there are some easy ways to do just that. Giving thanks feeds the soul, which is as necessary in November as it is in February or June.

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This post is by Stacey Engle, executive vice president at Fierce. Fierce is a global leadership development and training company that changes the way people communicate with each other. They drive results for business and education by developing conversation as a skill. They believe that while no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life—any single conversation can. CEO, Susan Scott is the author of Fierce Leadership a Best Leadership Book of 2009.

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