Thursday, August 15, 2019

Why Training and Development = Success All Round


Guest post from Royston Guest:

Growing and developing is a two-way partnership between the individual and the business. I think of it as a ‘soft contract’, the rules of engagement for how both parties can achieve maximum value from the relationship. If you are able to link your personal and professional growth to the organisation, you are more likely to stay and participate at a higher level through increased commitment and loyalty.

As part of this ‘soft contract’ of growth and development are three core principles which underpin its very essence, and which results in a win-win for all involved.

#1 An individual’s never-ending thirst for learning
I believe every person owns their own performance through the conscious choices they make and one of those is undoubtedly having an attitude of constant curiosity for learning.

Sometimes, particularly as adults, we slip into the trap of complacency, operating in a state of unconsciousness where it feels like we are just going through the motions.

But the day you stop LEARNING is the day you stop EARNING!

It’s the day you slip into a place that I call ‘the groove or the grave’ – no man’s land. It’s the day you accept your place in the world of mediocrity where just enough is good enough. It’s the day when you lose your edge and stop being your best self.

In an increasingly competitive world, there is no such thing as standing still. All around you, people are actively moving forward and standing still really means you’re falling behind.

Do not get to the point where your people feel like they are falling behind, because from this point on, you will be just playing catch up, trying to reach the point where they think they ought to be. And that place is no fun for anyone.

#2 Setting your people up for success.
If you asked your people what great performance looks like, feels like and acts like in their role, how aligned would their answer be with your version? There should be one version of the truth, and in my experience perception and reality are often misaligned.

If you haven’t created absolute clarity about what the expectations are for their role, explained and demonstrated what great looks like, and set them up for success, it’s almost predictable that you and your people will be working to different models and interpretations of what great looks like.

Create clarity of purpose for your people. Enable them with the mindset (attitude, determination, will), the skillset (technical or soft skills) and the toolset (tools to do their job) to truly unlock their potential and deliver excellence within their role fueling their inner self worth, igniting their self-motivation, building their confidence and their loyalty will be inevitable.

#3 Empowerment without enablement is a train crash!
Empowerment is often an overused word which means little without enablement. The one without the other is simply a train crash.

Often training is created to serve the majority of the needs of those carrying out a general role, rather than catering for the individual needs of each unique employee. Although there is some efficiency in the traditional way of thinking, there is magic in making learning and development suit the individual.

Enabling an individual so they have the capability to contribute their whole self gets them to return next day inspired, motivated, and enthused to be the best they can be.

The success of any business is hardwired to the productivity of its people. Organisations that consider people as merely a paid resource have difficulty retaining good people and generally end up overpopulated with under performers.

Organisations that value people as their greatest asset and demonstrate it through their actions are positioned to get the best out of all employees whilst retaining their top talent or high potential - a catalyst for business growth.

Royston Guest is a leading authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. Entrepreneur, author of #1 best-seller Built to Grow and RISE: Start living the life you were meant to lead, CEO of Pathways Global and founder of The Business Growth PathwayÔ and Pti Worldwide. His new book RISE is a practical guide using a coaching framework to help the reader identify where they’re going in their career, and life, and how to get to there. It shares a plethora of ideas, strategies and practical tools that enables the reader to become more self-aware – unpacking their relationship with their past and understanding their present in order to make the conscious choices that will help them unlock their potential at work, unleash their success and create the future they want.

Friday, August 9, 2019

What Business Leaders Can Learn from JFK’s Powerful Speech that Brought Us to the Moon


Guest post from Dick Richardson:

A simple definition of leadership is “Leadership is influencing others to do what they would not do if left to their own accord.”

Consider the most memorable speeches meant to persuade people: Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I have a dream…” speech, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and John F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon” speech at Rice University.

What made these speeches so persuasive was not necessarily their oration, but their vision and appeal to the heart as well as the mind, and their construction. Let’s focus on Kennedy’s “We go to the moon” speech. This address followed a common structure for enrollment speechesspeeches to persuade.

Kennedy used two organizing principles for his talk. The first was chronology, starting with the past and ending with the future. The other was Aristotle’s three forms of persuasion: logos, pathos, and ethoslogic, emotion, and credibility.

The Past
Kennedy started by talking about the past and what led the US to its current situation. He described in detail the breakneck pace at which technology was evolving, likening 50,000 years of human history to fifty years.  Continuing with this analogy, he said: “Then about ten years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels.” And at this pace, man will have “literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.”
           
Kennedy wanted to propose that reaching the moon was almost within our grasp, should we choose to travel there; that our past has now presented us with this opportunity.

The Present
His speech then shifted to the present, hinting at the fact that no matter what we do, Russia would continue with its space program: “the exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not.” He contrasted the Soviet Union with the US. Both were competitors, but one would win. He said that the US must “become the world’s leading space-faring nation” in order to increase our own safety and security. Traveling to the moon was necessary to preserve our way of life, Kennedy inferred.

The Future
In order to achieve this objective of landing on the moon inside of ten years, Kennedy then described what the country had already done to prepare for this future endeavor. He talked about the investments that had already been made in facilities, technology, Saturn rockets, and satellites, and the benefit to the American people of investing their hard-earned tax dollars in the missionnamely, a growing availability of high-paying jobs for skilled scientists. By committing to this future mission, we would be continuing the work already started.
           
Parallel to this presentation of history, current challenges, and future achievements, Kennedy used the framework of logos, pathos, and ethos.  

Logos
Logos, or logic, is one element that Kennedy used throughout his Rice speech. He described all the investments made up to that point in space exploration and crafted a logical argument for why the US needed to invest at a more aggressive rate in order to gain the upper hand against the Soviet Union.

Pathos
Americans were already on edge after Russia demonstrated superiority in space. So, Kennedy leveraged that insecurity, tapping into that emotion, fear and expressing sympathy for those real feelings.  That Russia might soon control the skies created a security weakness for the US. But Kennedy also appealed to our pride. “But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forwardand so will space.”

Ethos
Kennedy also demonstrated source credibility or authorityethosas he spoke, so that those in the audience did not question his statements.

On top of making a logical case for investing heavily in space exploration, Kennedy made Americans feel. They were afraid, then hopeful, then resolved, and then proud of the ambitious plan their president had outlined.

In addition to chronology and Aristotle’s forms of persuasion, Kennedy also used tried and true communication patterns.

Communication Patterns

If you listen to Kennedy’s speech, you will notice the following speech patterns and speaking style points:
  • Simple words. Kennedy doesn’t try to impress by using multisyllabic words no one recognizes. He makes the information he’s sharing accessible, understandable.
  • Short sentences. Kennedy also uses short, crisp sentences containing a single idea at a time.
  • Systematic. When Kennedy makes a statement, he then backs it up with an explanation or proof. He makes his point in a methodical way.
  • No extra fluff. He chooses his words carefully, packing a punch in as few words as possible. He chooses words that generate an emotional response whenever possible, such as “pride” or “un-tried.”
  • Repetition. Many of the great speeches, including Kennedy’s, use repetition for effect. Abraham Lincoln repeated the words “cannot” in the Gettysburg address: “Cannot dedicate…cannot consecrate…cannot hallow…” Similarly, Kennedy used the phrase “We choose” three times in his speech, just as Martin Luther King, Jr. used the phrase “Now is the time.”

Bio:  Dick Richardson is the founder and CEO of Experience to Lead, a firm that offers unique, immersive experiences to improve the leadership skills of senior business executives.  He is also the author of Apollo Leadership Lessons (Authority Publishing), a book that demonstrates what how the tactics employed by the moon program’s key decision-makers can be applied in business today, from the C-suite on down to the frontline. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

How to Beat Scrutiny During a Culture Change


Guest post from S. Chris Edmonds:

When leading a culture change initiative, scrutiny of senior leaders’ plans, decisions, and actions increases heavily. I tell senior leaders that they’ll never be able to run a yellow light at a traffic signal in their town again! Yes, even senior leader behavior away from the workplace is scrutinized.

Consequently, it is extremely important for senior leaders to model their declared values – every day, with every interaction.

Too often senior leaders “manage by announcements,” publishing a set of expectations or rules that they declare are to be embraced from that moment forward, yet they do not actively demonstrate those expectations themselves, measure how well others embrace those expectations, etc. No wonder leader credibility suffers in many organizations. Only when senior leaders model desired valued behaviors will the rest of the organization trust those leaders, follow those leaders, and model those desired valued behaviors themselves.

Here’s a great example. A client shared an interesting perspective about his boss, a gentleman he’d been working with for over a year. His boss – let’s call him Tom – is a fabulous champion of the company’s culture change process. Tom has effectively led culture change initiatives at his last two organizations and has begun work to refine the culture of his current organization. Tom started with his senior leadership team by sharing his leadership point of view – his philosophy of leadership – and his values. He asked his direct reports to hold him accountable to those values and the valued behaviors Tom has defined.

In addition, Tom chartered his senior leadership team to refine that group’s purpose, values, behaviors, and norms to ensure everything they do helps the business grow and succeed and is consistent with their agreements.

The client’s comment unintentionally described the scrutiny Tom is under. He said, “I keep waiting for Tom to be inconsistent.” Two things are clear –
  1. Tom has really put himself on the line by declaring his values and asking his staff to hold him accountable for those values.
  2. For over a year, Tom hasn’t yet acted in conflict with his declared values. That’s really powerful!

Does Your Culture Serve Customers, Employees, and Stakeholders Equally Well?

If the existing culture is not serving customers, employees, or stakeholders consistently, it may be time for a change.

Senior leaders can refine their organization’s existing culture by doing three things:
     First, clarify performance expectations and gain employee agreement on those expectations.
     Second, define values in behavioral terms and gain employee agreement to demonstrate those behaviors.
     Finally, hold themselves and all organizational leaders, managers, and staff accountable for both performance and values.

Most senior leaders have not experienced successful culture change. Even fewer, across the globe, have led successful culture change. The journey to become a high performing, values-aligned organization is both intense and gratifying. Senior leaders may not be aware of it, but they are both the sponsors and drivers of the organization’s current culture. When you are ready, we’re here to help.


S. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. After a 15-year career leading successful teams, Chris founded his consulting company, The Purposeful Culture Group, in 1990. Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies since 1995. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Amazon best sellers The Culture Engine and Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Learn from his blog posts, podcasts, assessments, research, and videos at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com. Get free resources plus weekly updates from Chris by subscribing here

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Having the Courage to Trust Your Team


Guest post by Bill Treasurer:

Leadership is typically associated with action—with trying, doing, and achieving. However, there’s another side to leadership that focuses on the followers: trust. As leaders, we need to actively trust our followers, teams, and employees. While this sounds simple, it’s often a hard task for those of us who are goal-oriented.

Trusting other people requires us to let go of the impulse to control outcomes or people. It requires us to quell our defense mechanisms and ditch our preconceptions about “what’s right.” For Type A, coffee-clutching personalities, this goes against everything we stand for and believe. Trusting others is at odds with the take-charge spirit that permeates the business world. For example, in many companies, the most valued employees are those who force order, control chaos, and take decisive action. As the Roman poet Virgil said, “Fortune favors the bold.”

However, business success springs from empowered employees, and that requires mutual trust. On the one hand, you need your employees to trust you if you want them to follow your direction enthusiastically. On the other hand, you need to monitor their performance, which, if done too closely, comes across as distrust. To make matters worse, many leaders and managers work in organizations layered with forced hierarchies and inherently distrustful systems. It’s more difficult to instill trust in your workers if you’re an extension of a system that doesn’t trust them. “Oh, sure,” your workers may think, “I’ll trust you … just as soon as you stop monitoring our e-mails, stop drug testing, or stop requiring to-the-minute time reports.”

Establishing trust is hardest for new leaders

New leaders and managers, in particular, have the hardest time establishing what I call “TRUST Courage,” the courage of relying on others. For instance, consider how challenging it is for new managers to delegate important tasks to their direct reports. If an employee screws up, it reflects on the manager, not the employee.

Consequently, new managers struggle to let go of delegated tasks; instead, they hover over workers like smothering helicopter parents. In doing so, they thwart their employees’ development and keep themselves mired in tasks they don’t have time for—and should have outgrown at this point in their careers.

Delegation is a hard task for new (and even experienced) managers because it involves intentionally refraining from controlling an outcome. If a manager doesn’t trust that an employee will get the job done, he or she will take that task back—or worse—won’t even give the task to the employee in the first place. The result? Managers and employees become trapped in an unhealthy leadership dependency in which workers wait to be told what to do, like baby birds waiting for a meal. Inevitably, a dangerous cycle ensues: the manager completes the tasks, which prevents workers from gaining the experience and skills they need to perform the tasks, which keeps the manager from delegating the tasks, which requires the manager to finish the tasks—and it never ends.

Breaking the cycle

To break the cycle, you must build TRUST Courage. Yes, TRUST Courage involves taking on risk, gambling on other people, and accepting that you might get harmed in the process. It can be risky. You might feel vulnerable. You’ll be forced to rely on others’ actions, which are beyond your control. It will take courage to let employees do their jobs. It will take courage to keep yourself from interfering, to accept that employees will make mistakes. But the end result will be a more productive, efficient, and innovative workforce.

How can you trust your team more this week? What would that look like for you?


Bill Treasurer is a workplace expert, courage pioneer, and author of Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results.  Founder of Giant Leap Consulting, a consulting and training company specializing in courage-building, he advises organizations—including NASA, eBay, Lenovo, Saks Fifth Avenue, Spanx, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Pittsburgh Pirates—on teaching workers the kind of courage that strengthens businesses and careers. Learn more at GiantLeapConsulting.com.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

When Going Gets Tough, Action and Attitude Carry the Day


Guest post by Marc Demetriou:


There are two words that literally have everything to do with the everything in your days, as you go forward to live your dream and fashion your success: Action and Attitude.

Action: The lazy and uninspired will never inherit the earth, nor even the slightest speck of it. In order to achieve anything, you must be up and doing, actively engaged, and ever in motion. Building a best life requires more than mere motion, and more than mere effort or baby steps. It truly requires enthusiasm, zeal, and zest, along with the unbridled passion discussed in the previous chapter. Action is for those who are willing to sprint and go all out. There are no half–measures or shortcuts.

Each action taken must be considered, measured, and weighed, as each must fit into the larger context of the overall plan. Success is ultimately the province of the one who is on fire, the one who is utterly determined, and the one who will keep shoveling and shoveling in the resolute belief that he or she will indeed move the mountain placed in his or her path, no matter its girth or its mass. When you are going all out, fear itself gets cast aside and all systems are go, because the committed, engaged, and utterly active have no time for fear.

Of course, it is you who must implement your plan, as there is no magic in the moonlight out there that will do it for you. Plans are always the wellsprings of action, and, as such, your plan is not made to gather dust. Action is passion in motion. As Pablo Picasso said, it is “the foundational key to all success.” As Bo Bennett, author of Year to Success, writes, “A dream becomes a goal when action is taken towards its achievement.” May you make what he says your daily mantra, for your road to success must follow just such a course—from the dream, to the goal, to the action, to the achievement, bit by bit and step by step, inexorably onward, until you can truly exhale, breathe deeply, and smile broadly after having fulfilled what you set out to accomplish. It can take a long, long time, but it’s not the time spent that matters. Rather, fulfillment is in the doing. That’s action.

Attitude: Attitude is a larger–than–life word. Your attitude is the embodiment of the very way in which you grapple with life. It is the living expression of your acceptance or rejection of what life dishes out to you. It is your signature, your logo, your mark. Ralph Marston went so far as to say, “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” John C. Maxwell said, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”

So, yes indeed, attitude is one very big word. To add to this potent litany of quotes about attitude is a popular saying that goes “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Are you positive, upbeat and smiling when you try to succeed at anything, or are you down on the world and predisposed to think in skeptical terms about what is possible? Do you look for the good in people or rather expect to find the worst in them? Do you expect to take without giving or are you rather a “reap what you sow—you only get what you give” type? Is the cup always half full, or half empty?

If you think that you can take without giving, if you expect the worst from people, if you are generally negative and slow to smile, or predisposed to give less rather than more, then you might want to save yourself the time and effort and put this book aside right now, because success and a best life just might not be your thing. That is, of course, unless you are willing to do the hard work, and change! The truth is that you can begin to change your attitude by simply biting your tongue and smiling when it hurts. You are capable of changing and improving the way you behave and act, if you only have the will. Even the worst of attitudes can be made right with a little spit polish, glue, and hand–holding therapy. Believe it or not, no matter how hard or angry, ditching the negative and accenting the positive just might feel good. Why on earth would you want to hold onto a negative world view and attitude

The great American composer Irving Berlin who wrote in his book, Gathering No Moss: Memoir of a Reluctant World Traveler, “Life is 10 percent what you make of it and 90 percent how you take it.” What I am telling you is that 90 percent of what we are after here is largely the province of the upbeat and daring, the positive and determined, and the smiling and lighthearted. Yes, 90 percent of it is for those who will go forward undaunted, taking the hits and the failings and climbing over the pitfalls and the potholes, and even the occasional quicksand that will be placed in their paths. It is the positive and the upbeat who can deal with the vagaries and surprises of life. As Grandpa Charlie taught me, “Never stop moving in the direction of your dream.”

About the Author: Marc Demetriou is nationally ranked mortgage broker based in New Jersey and author of the book, Lessons From My Grandfather: Wisdom for Success in Business and Life.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Taking Chances to Lead Change in the 21st Century: Why It’s Cool Not to Be So Cool


Guest post from Julie Benezet:


The internet changed all the rules.

Life has always had its challenges when new things showed up, but most of the time we thought we could handle them. While we didn’t love dealing with adversity, because we knew the people and situations involved, things seemed under control, familiar, . . . comfortable. At least that’s what we thought.

Then came the internet. With its global reach and instant transmission of vast amounts of information, we find ourselves living in a fast, hyperconnected world. Relentless change has become the norm. People, situations, and places we don’t know can have a direct impact on our lives, significantly altering the competitive landscape.  So much is unknown, and the new is everywhere--new technology, new economic models, new politics, new cultural norms, and new products and services. Much feels unpredictable, out of our control, . . . uncomfortable.

What does this have to do with leadership?  Everything.

The job of a leader, whether of a large corporation or small project team, is to discover new ideas to make life better for their customers, workforce, and communities. Then they have to convince others to join them in testing those ideas. The role has not changed since the concept of leadership was born. What has changed is the level of complexity, which is the gift and curse of the internet.

The job of 21st century leaders is to steer their organizations through the unknowns of the new toward a better place, and to treat its scariness as an asset, not a liability.

The internet introduced an infinite number of unknowns into business life. To succeed, leaders must find new ways for their organizations to satisfy rapidly evolving market and organizational demands. That involves experimenting with new concepts that carry no guaranteed outcomes. It can be uncomfortable, but that is how change happens.

Trying out a new idea is also awkward. Exploring its possibilities requires asking difficult questions about issues others want to avoid, talking to people you barely know, or suggesting fresh approaches that make them uneasy. Nevertheless, to create a winning idea, you need to learn as much as you can about the stakeholders whose lives you want to improve.

We work so hard in the 21st century to be cool, acting as if we know it all, but being cool rather than risking awkward conversations could cost us opportunities.

Charting a Course toward New Possibilities

Traveling on the road of discovery to realize new ideas requires taking chances. It is lined with uncertainty and reasons for turning back. Nevertheless, leadership calls for forward movement.

The Journey of Not Knowingâ sets forth four principles that provide navigation lights through the discomfort of pursuing something new.

The Core Four:

1.  Dare to dream.
Choose an idea you believe will move people to a higher plain. It could be a different company communication culture to overcome people’s reluctance to give each other valuable feedback. You could explore a new market outside of your core business based on customer requests for help.  Or, you could find a different way to build teams, allowing team members rather than managers to choose and evaluate their members.

A dream often is something you’ve been ignoring, either because the underlying problem deeply bothers you or you know it will be hard. If it scares you, however, you probably are on the right track.

Once you identify a dream, crystallize it by soliciting feedback from the people who will benefit from it. 

2.  Get comfortable with the scariness of risk.

Adopt a healthy attitude toward risk and its contribution to success. As you test new ideas, much can go wrong.  Your friends, colleagues, or customers might think the ideas are stupid, irrelevant, or expensive.  If you lead a team, your teammates might greet them with suspicion or annoyance.

Their reactions could cause you anxiety, adding to an inner dialog already running through your head about the possible consequences of your experiment: Will they laugh at me? Will it fail? Will I lose my reputation, or my job over this?  Or, will they love it?

Nervousness comes with the adventure of pioneering ideas. It is part of driving change. It also signifies you are on the road to something better. Embrace discomfort as a reminder to pay attention, learn from mistakes, and recalibrate as needed.

  
C.  Watch out for self-sabotaging behaviors.

Recognize that human beings are messy. That includes leaders.

When leaders try something new without knowing the outcome, the walls of resistance will rise.  People react defensively to cope with fear. Their reactions are normal.  Defenses give people short term comfort but prevent achieving better things. The biggest resistance, however, might come from you and stand in the way of your dreams.

Everyone has defenses. They appear in many well-known forms: Micromanagement, personalizing, and conflict avoidance top the list. To overcome their impact and return to the quest for new ideas, start by recognizing when your defenses are triggered. Understand their negative impacts. Then broaden your strategy to support your mission.

D.  Find drivers to fuel your travel through discomfort of the unknown

To move through the discomfort on the road to new things, you need a purpose or “driver” for traveling on it. Your purpose can be as simple as, “I so despise that guy competing against us on this proposal that I will work with our frightening analytics team who will assure a winning bid.” 

The strongest drivers arise from one’s values, life stories, and vision for the future. The deeper you go, the more fuel they will give you.  Self-knowledge is power. It means getting to know and accepting who you are, lending strength and clarity as you face the discomfort of the new.

In short, it’s cool not to be so cool.  Successful leaders plunge into the awkwardness of the new to learn about themselves and the needs of the people whose lives they want to make better. Their reward is the thrill of making a difference.


Julie Benezet spent 25 years in law and business, and for the past 17 years has coached
and consulted with executives from virtually every industry. She earned her stripes for leading in the discomfort of the new as Amazon’s first global real estate executive. She is an award-winning author of The Journey of Not Knowing: How 21st Century Leaders Can Chart a Course Where There Is None. Her new book, The Journal of Not Knowing, offers a self-guided discovery mission to pursue one’s dreams and overcome the scariness along the way toward achieving them.  She can be reached at www.juliebenezet.com.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Effective Leadership Begins with a Strong Foundation


Guest post from Tabitha Laser:

What is leadership?  Since joining the workforce more than 25 years ago, and serving as a leader for numerous organizations, it’s apparent that leadership means very different things to different people.  Simply put, leadership is the art of inspiring, motivating, empowering, supporting, and assuring a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.  Unfortunately, the term is often confused with management, which can be defined as the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.

Why, in our current environment, is there confusion around these two terms and does what makes a strong leader still exist? 

Part of the problem lies with our current misconception around how organizations are led.  A day doesn’t go by where I don’t read or hear the term “led from the top.” This is what I believe to be a ‘deadly practice’ because it creates unhealthy competition, acts as a barrier for growth, and limits an organization’s ability to achieve sustainable success.  Allow me to elaborate on that.

Imagine your organization as a building, where its leaders are at the roof of the building.  Now imagine the workforce, processes, and equipment as the walls, fixtures, and foundation of the organization below, and your customers, market factors, and environment as the external pressures being applied to your building. 

If your building is made of bricks, picture the three little pigs’ scenario. Your organization will be able to survive quite a beating.  If your building, on the other hand, is made of straw, then it’s likely your organization will succumb to the slightest pressure.  

Regardless of your building’s strength, when your leadership forms the roof of the organization, you are creating a situation where they are practically forced to take on more of a “management” role that one of “leadership,” making it extremely difficult for that organization to grow.  In some cases, there has been growth; however, it has been as a result of falsifying data, back-stabbing, and other counterintuitive behaviors. That’s not a sustainable way to grow any business.

So, how can we fix this conundrum?  

First, we need to flip the script, and start requiring leaders to lead from the basement.  Not just from the bottom up, but from the basement.  They need to be the ones who define success, illustrated by the location for the organization and the expectations necessary to achieve success, which form the foundation for the organization.  When organizations are led from the basement, the challenge to build around them to grow is eliminated, and the building is encouraged to innovate, experiment, and expand far beyond the organization’s expectations for success.  Only then leaders will be properly positioned to truly spearhead their organization and provide the inspiration, motivation, empowerment, support, and assurance necessary to sustainably grow without limitations.  In other words, 

“The sky is the limit for a roofless building built on a strong foundation.”

When organizations are led from the basement, management is ultimately unnecessary.  This is a difficult pill for most to swallow, but a necessary step every organization needs to consider if they want to survive and thrive long into the future!


Tabitha Laser is a multi-faceted professional with over 25 years of leadership experience in a wide variety of industries ranging from oil and gas, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and many more. Her diverse background has provided her with numerous opportunities to work with government agencies and some of the world’s largest companies, including Fortune 500 companies like BP, 3M, and General Mills. 
Her experience and education have fueled her passion to help shape the next generation of leaders, especially millennials, to avoid the pitfalls of their predecessors and lead beyond best.  Tabitha is the author of the book, Organization Culture Killers.  This is the first in a series of leadership books she calls “The Deadly Practices.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

6 Ways to Just Say No to Stress

Guest post from Janelle Bruland:


There is a growing epidemic that is killing us as leaders, and it’s completely curable. Our culture is filled with more anxiety and stress than ever. None of us were built to handle what we are all dealing with on a daily basis. The average knowledge worker today is interrupted every 11 minutes by some form of communication. Many of us wake in the morning and immediately reach for our phones which we strategically placed on our bedside table the night before so that it will be the first thing we see each day. The people in our lives expect an answer to their messages in seconds, and they think we are ignoring them if we take even a few minutes more than that.

The result of all of this is chaos and chaos creates stress. Stress is a killer. It effects our health, causes confusion, and steals our joy. If it goes on long enough it might steal our time here on this planet and that would be even more tragic.

So, what can we do? My guess is that if you are reading this you have probably been overwhelmed recently. In fact, many of you live in a constant overwhelmed state.

I have learned firsthand that living this way is not sustainable. I have a successful business that I started in 1995. In a time of exponential growth and expansion, my husband got in the car and drove away leaving me with three young children to raise. If there was such a thing as a stress meter, I would have been afraid to know what the numbers were at the time. How in the world was I going to continue to lead my company and keep up with my duties at home (and anywhere else, for that matter)?

Sometimes challenges like these turn out to be a blessing because it forces us to figure out how to change things. I did just that. My heart was broken but there was no time to grieve. I had to get to work on a solution. I didn’t always do it perfectly, but I did discover transformational systems and practices that not only allowed me to survive, but to thrive in the most stressful time of my life.

I would like to share a few of them with you:

1. Write a list of things you are going to say no to. That’s right. Not a to-do list, but a not-going-to-do list. For example, I say no to the opportunities that come up that I am not completely passionate about.  When we choose to participate in something, we should be excited to be involved, not doing it out of guilt or obligation. I also say no to things that are not aligned with my core values and priorities.  To stay true to our values, our words, behavior, and actions must be in line with our beliefs. I decline requests that are not in my wheelhouse. Often, we are asked to do things that truly belong on someone else’s “to do” list. Be sure to pass on those, or delegate them to a more appropriate person.

I have learned to avoid those things that drain me of energy as often as I can.  Our time should be spent on activities that we enjoy and give us energy, not deplete it. And finally, I say no to relationships that are unhealthy. We will never be our best if we are constantly having to lift ourselves up from interactions with unsupportive or negative people. Eliminate these relationships.

2. Cut back on technology. I know. Easy to say. Hard to do. We are all afraid we might miss something, right? But it will be there when you come back to it. It’s not going anywhere. This is a tough one, but doable. At first you will literally have a physical reaction to leaving your cell phone behind or turning it off. But keep doing it and eventually you will experience the freedom that it brings to be unhooked and you will want to do it more often.

3.Train the people in your circle about how and when you will be responding. If you have just walked into the gym and get a call that you know is not a life or death matter, let it go to voice mail and don’t feel guilty.  Schedule a time in your day for phone calls and email. Pretty soon, people will know that you are not ignoring them. Do this one thing and you will begin to live a proactive life instead of a reactive one.

4.Take care of your health. We are no good to anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves first. Commit to self-care. Fuel your body with healthy food. Find an hour a day to walk or go to the gym. Most of us are too sedentary. We work at desk jobs. Get moving. Schedule it and then don’t let anything keep you from it.
Exercise release endorphins that give us euphoria and joy. Endorphins are stress killers!

5.  Be grateful. Most of us live better than 90 percent of the world. Our complaints are usually, as one person said, “First world problems.” You will drive to work today in a decent car. You most likely live in a safe and warm place. Remind yourself often about how good you have it. If something needs to be changed, change it. One practice I use is to write down three things I am grateful for every day. This activity shifts my mindset.

6.  Go to sleep. If you do all these de-stressing activities you will find that you also start doing perhaps the most important thing to help relieve stress and clear your mind: sleep. Most of do not get enough sleep and, when we do, we don’t sleep well. Sleep is vital to winning the war on stress and having the life we always dreamed of.

These 6 practices were life changing for me. Incorporate them and enjoy the positive effects when you just say no to stress.


Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach
who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Does Your Email Inbox Dictate Your Day — And Should It?


Guest post from Dianna Booher:

A reporter for Newsday called recently for a comment about his story on executive stress and the connection to email. As I shared stats from my organization’s recent survey, the reporter passed along comments from a CEO he’d just interviewed: “Email interrupts me all day long. I can’t focus on my core work. It’s 1:30. I have a project in front of me right now that should take me an hour and a half to finish. But because of the email distractions, it’ll take the rest of the afternoon to get it done.”

Do you feel this executive’s pain – the frustration of disruptions in focusing on your core work? The bad news: You’re not alone. The good news: There are simple solutions (not easy solutions, but simple ones).

My organization, Booher Research Institute, recently commissioned a survey of email habits and productivity from the Social Research Lab at the University of Northern Colorado. Here’s what a representative sampling of knowledge workers across multiple industries reported about their email habits:
  • 42 percent spend 3 hours or more per day reading and writing email
  • 55 percent check their email either hourly or multiple times per hour
  • 31 percent spend more than 20 minutes per day searching for information or files to include in responding to emails

Conclusion: If your inbox feels like an email monster, you’re not fighting it alone. Here are five proven strategies to getting through your inbox faster so you can focus on your core work and the important emails.

Declutter
If you’ve ever tried to move your belongings into a closet or garage previously used by someone else, you understand this principle: Get rid of the items that served someone else’s purpose before you reload that space. You’ll typically sort the previous owner’s junk into piles: garbage, donate, sell.

Look at your email box the same way: Over the years, you may have let it become a collection of junk serving everyone’s purposes but yours. And your own purposes may have changed over time as your role has changed. Cutting your email clutter can be the easiest way to carve away a big chunk of wasted time.

In the earlier mentioned University of Northern Colorado (UNC) survey, a whopping 69 percent of the participants identified clutter as their biggest email problem.
Once you set your mind to the idea, decluttering goes quickly. Let’s get even more specific about how.…

Ask Team Members to Stop Hitting “REPLY ALL” and Stop Doing So Yourself
Instead, of using “REPLY ALL,” send congratulatory comments directly to the person who deserves kudos. Offer thanks directly to the person who helped you. Turn down an invitation only to the appropriate person. Why clog up seventeen other inboxes, only to have all seventeen recipients echo back?

A good rule of thumb on the REPLY ALL feature: Is your response helpful to all on the distribution list?  If not, fly solo. Granted, changing the culture can be difficult. But aim to set the example.

Cull Your Distribution Lists
Chances are great that you get copied on many emails you don’t need. Their usefulness to you has long since passed. But you’ve found it quicker just to delete those periodic emails than to take yourself off the distribution list permanently.

In fact, according to the UNC survey, knowledge workers report that fully 35 percent of the emails they receive are either irrelevant  (22 percent) or redundant (13 percent). (Irrelevant emails refer to those about topics that do not apply to you. Redundant emails are those with the same information sent by multiple people.)

That “quick and easy” decision is understandable when you’re dealing with just one email. But over time, that decision amounts to thousands of distractions.

You also may be surprised to discover that culling your distribution lists for emails you send may increase engagement with the interested parties on important projects. As with meetings, the larger the group, the lower the individual participation. When emailing for input, the same principle applies: When you copy a large list, people feel anonymous, and fewer feel it’s necessary to respond. If you need their input, cut the list and you’ll increase response.

Stop Responding on CCs Sent for Promotion or Pressure
Hidden agendas. Backhanded compliments. CYA attempts. Whatever the label, you recognize these tactics when you see them. When you respond to such CC emails about projects and issues not directly involving you, this encourages the sender to keep up the self-promotion and the pressure tactics on colleagues.

If you’re ever tempted to write such an email yourself, by all means, do so. Just don’t send it. This strategy in particular may demand a new mindset and a major emotional adjustment. An email cannot be both a productivity tool and a weapon. While it may motivate some, it will demoralize others.

Turn Off Email Alerts or Disable Automatic Retrieval
In the UNC survey, 55 percent of the participants said they keep their email open either always (37 percent) or most of the time (18 percent). That’s a major distraction from your work – unless your primary job is to read and respond to email!

Instead, handle emails only two or three times a day: ideally in the early morning, after lunch, and at the end of the day. Responding every time an email pops into your box breaks your concentration, wasting minutes and energy with each interruption. Productivity studies show there’s no such thing as multitasking – just rapid attention-switching. That in itself creates stress, increases the chance for error, and reduces overall efficiency.

How you handle email can often determine the trajectory of your career—whether you piddle away your time or focus on your core work. Master your emails—make them faster, fewer, better —and you’ll stand out as a leader who communicates clearly and delivers real results.

Dianna Booher’s latest books include Faster, Fewer, Better Emails; Communicate Like a Leader; What MORE Can I Say?; and Creating Personal Presence. She’s the bestselling author of 48 books, published in 61 foreign editions. Dianna helps organizations communicate clearly and leaders to expand their influence by a strong executive presence. For more information, please visit www.BooherResearch.com