Saturday, July 25, 2009

How to Create a Shared Vision Statement

A vision statement is an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.

Having a clear vision can give a team direction and inspiration, and be the foundation for goal setting and action planning. In today's uncertain economic climate, having a sense of hope, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, is more important than ever.

There's two ways a leader can create a vision statement: by themselves, or collaboratively. The advantages of involving others in the creation of a vision are a greater degree of commitment, engagement, and diversity of thought.

When others are involved in the creation, it becomes "our vision". When a leader does it alone, it becomes "your" vision.

Unfortunately, well intended leaders have gotten teams together and turned what could have been a fun, energizing, productive session into a trip to the bowels of meeting hell. They focus too much time on the agonizing process of wordsmithing a document, and not enough time on what really matters. The objective is to energize the team, gain commitment, and provide direction - not a pretty poster and laminated cards.

So if you're taking over a new team, starting a project, or just need to take your team in another direction, here is a 10 step process on how to create a shared vision statement:

1. Get the right people on the bus

It all starts with getting the right people together. In many cases, this may just be your own employees. In other cases, it could be dotted-line team members, project team members, and other key stakeholders who might have good ideas to contribute and have a part to play in implementation of the vision.

2. Preparation

Schedule at least a 1/2 day, or a full day for larger, more complex scenarios. An off-site location is best, if possible. You want to minimize interruptions, and get people away from their day-to-day environment in order to stimulate creativity. For dispersed teams, a live meeting is a must.

Consider the use of a neutral "facilitator". That is, someone trained in group process that has no biases or stake in the game. That way, as a leader, you are able sit back and focus on being a participant, and not have to worry about the mechanics of the meeting. Removing yourself as the focal point also helps open up the free flow of open dialog.

Rule of thumb: for every hour of meeting time, double the amount of preparation needed.

3. Determine appropriate "input" to the vision.

Schedule the meeting far enough ahead of time to allow for preparation. Send out documents to review ahead of time, i.e., market research, competitor analysis, survey results, or any other information needed to prepare the participants. Establish the expectation that preparation is a must in order to participate, and follow-up to make sure people have done their pre-work. Following up may sound like baby-sitting, but it's also a good excuse to get a feel for where each participant is coming from, plant some seeds, and create a little pre-meeting buzz.

Consider adding internal or external guest speakers to the early part of your agenda. For example, when I first took over my current team, I brought in senior leaders to discuss company strategy and leadership development implications, as well as an external consultant to review trends and best practices.

4. Set the stage.

At the start of the meeting, review the desired outcomes, agenda, process and ground rules. Take extra time here to check for understanding and agreement. Doing this sets the stage for how the rest of the day will flow - you are modeling collaboration and consensus. Going slow here will allow you to go fast for the rest of the day.

5. Create and use a process that ensures full participation, openness, creativity, and efficiency.

A trained facilitator can help you with this, or you can design it yourself. The key is to have a plan and process - you can't just go in and "wing it" like you may be used to doing in a regular meeting. Here's a process that I've used:

- Explain to the team what a vision statement is and why they are important. You might show a few examples.

- Ask the group to imagine what this team, organization, or project could look like 3-5 years from now. What would success look like? What could you achieve? What would they love to achieve? If they were to pick up a newspaper 3-5 years from now, what would the headline say about what this group has accomplished?

- Either individually, in pairs, or in groups of 3-4, have people create those headlines on flip charts. Tell them to include pictures, phrases, or anything else to describe that desired future. Give them about 30 minutes.

- Ask each person or team report out to the larger group. If you are the leader, go last, so you don't bias the rest of the group. This also gives you the opportunity to incorporate other's ideas into your vision.

- The facilitator or leader should be listening for and recording on a flip chart key phrases that describe each vision. This is the time to listen and to ask clarifying questions, but not to evaluate.

- add up up the number of phrases (n), divide by 3, and give everyone that many stickers to "vote" with (n/3). Explain it's not really a decision making vote, it's simply a way to quickly take the temperature of the group and see how much agreement there is.

- Start with phrases that received a lot of vote, discuss, and check for agreement. Do the same thing for phases that received no or few votes, and ask if those items can be crossed off. Work your way to the middle items, using the same process - circle it or cross it off.

- If there are any issues where consensus can't be reached after everyone has had a chance to state their case, then the leader needs to make the final decision.

- You end the meeting with a list of phases that will form the vision statement.

6. Do the "grunt-work" off line

Group time should not be wasted creating the vision statement and wordsmithing it to death. The leader can do this off-line, and/or ask for 1-2 volunteers to do it. I've even seen it done during lunch to present back to the team in the afternoon.

7. Talk to the outliers

If there was anyone who disagreed with the output, or who's favorite idea was not incorporated, talk to them privately to make see how they are committed to the vision. Explore ways to make connect the vision to their interests and needs. In some cases. they may need to be given the choice to leave. For example, if Art was really passionate about being the market leader in the veggie market, and it was decided that you were only going to play in the fruit market, then Art might be better off joining the Green Giant team.

8. Re-convene the group and review the draft vision statement.

This is a shorter meeting, and can be done over a conference call. Go for "roughly right", or "directionally sound", vs. falling into the trap of drawn-out debates over using the word "grow" or "increase".

9. Review the draft with key extended stakeholders that were not at the meeting.

This is the time to review the vision with your manager, peers, customers, suppliers, and anyone one that has a stake in your team's work. It's a chance to get input and make it better, and to begin to build a broader coalition of support.

10. Communicate the vision and begin to make it a reality.

A vision is just a dream without solid goals and action plans. That's the team's next step and requires at least another meeting. Communicating your vision in a way that inspires others is covered in another post. Get some of your creative people involved to bring it alive in a way that inspires, using images, metaphors, and stories.

Investing the time to create a shared vision may be the best investment you've ever made as the leader of your team.

Credibility note:
I'm not just making this up - really. At a former company, I was a certified master trainer for a pool of internal facilitators. I've designed and facilitated well over 100 meetings using these techniques and others. I'm not sure why I needed to mention that, other than I haven't written much about this area of expertise up until now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A No Bulls*#% Manager's Guide to Internet Use at Work

During a recent trip, I tried to access my blog from a company's intranet and I was greeted with the following WARNING:

The site you are trying to access is forbidden.
Therefore, your access is being denied.

Wow, my very own leadership development blog.... banned, like some kind of porn site. I felt so sleazy.

I then read an interesting story by AP reporter Martha Irvine about how young workers are pushing employers for more online access. It's one of the more balanced reports I've read on the topic, and got me thinking it might be fun to write another "No bull guide" for employee internet usage.

I've heard some of the most narrow-minded, asinine, and time wasting debates on this topic. I'm really sick of it. We've spent more time on the issues of employee access and how to prevent abuse that our employees could ever waste.

Like previous no-bull guides, I've written this as if I get to make up the all rules. However, there's a good chance your company already has some kind of internet policy, so before you do anything, make sure you're familiar with it. My guide is biased towards open access and trust, so if your company's policy isn't, I'd hate to get you or one of your employees fired.

1. Trust your employees.
How about if we start with the assumption that most of our employees are hard working, trustworthy, responsible, mature adults? Just because they have access to something does not mean they will all abuse it. It's basic Theory Y vs. Theory X management. This assumption then forms the foundation for any policy or procedure, and you're sure to end up with a very short list of rules.

2. Turn it into a perk that differentiates you as a great place to work.
Allow your employees access to their facebook sites, hotmail, gmail, twitter, blogs, or any other social networking sites they have grown up with. To many younger employees, these things are considered an important part of who they are. Send them a strong message that you understand this; that it's perfectly OK to take a break from working now and then to check facebook or personal email, even if it's not work related. You want them to know you appreciate that they are often called on to give it up for the company, and this is your way of giving a little back to them.

Like it or not, most employees are already doing this; they'll figure out a way. Why not differentiate yourself from competing employers and make a big deal of allowing it, even encouraging it? It's sure cheaper than hiring a masseuse, free food, building fitness centers, tuition assistance and some of the other things companies do to make their employees happy and attract top talent.

You may find, by the way, that your employees will use these tools to find innovative ways to learn, solve problems, recruit talent, and improve your company's reputation. They might find ways to leverage these tools well before the "How to leverage social media" corporate task force does.

3. Educate every employee.
Make sure every manager and employee attend a series of three training programs:

- Online liability, privacy, and security
- Network management
- Responsible internet usage

Instead of having overly restrictive polices, or saying "no" all the time, make sure everyone understands the reasons behind the policies. You're not behaving like a leader if you point fingers at your IT department for being behind the times, or unreasonable, if you have no clue about data security or network management.

For example, before you whine about your company's unwillingness to allow you to share video files on your network, find out why they say they can't. Just because Google does it, doesn't mean your company can. In fact, it's not as easy as it seems for Google to host all of those Youtube videos. That acquisition is a serious money loser for them due to the ever-expanding number of server they have to keep buying - some say they are losing as much as a million dollars a day!

Identity theft
is another real and serious issue that a lot of people just don't get. Consider yourself fortunate if your company has a top-notch security geek responsible for your firewall. Take that geek out to lunch some day to learn what he/she does - you'll be impressed.

4. Hang the offenders.
Once you have educated your employees and incorporated this training into your orientation program for new employees, set a "zero tolerance" expectation for internet abuse. Spell out the dos and don'ts and the consequences, and enforce them. For example, "you may not download porn. If you do, you will be canned. Period". Or, "If you post company trade secrets on your blog, you will be canned".
Actually, your company probably already has policies that govern these kind of stupid, unethical, unprofessional, or downright illegal behaviors, so you really just need to enforce what you have. The idea is to trust and reward 98% of your employees, and come down hard on the few offenders that ruin it for everyone else.

5. Use the teenager deterrent.
Make sure your employees are aware that anything they do on their computer or phone can be accessed by their manager or someone in IT and or HR (i.e., Mom and Dad). This is like the threat of a nuclear first strike. The fact that you would never really use it - and might not even be able to - doesn't matter. It's only for those borderline situations, in order to "help" your employees make the right choices.
I've always used the same policy with my kids; I've never snooped in their stuff (nor would I want to) ... but I always let them know I could. Again, it all goes back to rule #1 - I trust them.

6. Mandatory access to Great Leadership for all employees.
Sorry, I just had to add this.

What do you think? Am I missing something here? What would you change or add, and why?

7/22/09 update: Just for clarification, I was at another company, not my own when I got the "access denied" message.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Managing Bad Apples Is Key to Productivity

Guest post by Terry Sember:

Bad apples are employees who cause problems, reduce productivity, or have a negative impact on morale. These types of workers come with a variety of traits, personalities and problems. Most managers are well-equipped to handle problems with sales, production, negotiations, or suppliers, but almost universally, managers feel inadequate when it comes to solving personality problems or person-to-person conflicts. And these often have the biggest influence on productivity in the workplace.

Identifying Bad Apples
Some easy to recognize signs of a troublesome employee include tardiness, leaving work early, failing to follow instructions, argumentativeness, and inability to take direction well. The best test for a bad employee is to ask if he negatively affects the company’s bottom line. Whatever he is doing (or not doing) can make it harder for other people to get their work done, or for him to complete his. Some types of bad apples include backstabbers, passive-aggressives, liars, bullies, whiners, career climbers, gossips, laziness and more. The ultimate outcome of the employee’s attitude or behavior is that the company does not succeed as well as it could have.

Evaluate Productivity
When it comes down to it, employees are primarily valuable to the company because of the work they accomplish which helps the company make money. There may be employees who work for you that you don’t like, find annoying, or whom other people dislike, but the ultimate test of whether they are bad apples is how they impact productivity.

You need to look not only at that employee’s own productivity, but at how she influences productivity for the entire company. An employee who does not do his job well is an obvious problem, but one that drains the resources of the company from other employees is not as easy to spot sometimes.

Understanding Bad Apple Behavior
Just as there are lots of behavior that qualifies as problematic, there are many reasons that can explain bad apple behavior. If you can pinpoint and understand the reasons behind your employee’s actions (or inactions), you’ll be in a better position to be able to solve the problem.
Some common reasons for below par activity include:
- he doesn’t like his job
- he doesn’t like the work environment
- she doesn’t like her co-workers
- she feels dissatisfied within the company
- he has skill set deficiencies he is trying to manage or cover up
- he really has no idea he’s not measuring up
- she is experiencing a personal, health, or family problem outside of work
- he has a basic clash with management
- she has basic personality traits that are just incompatible with the job or company.

The best way to find out the reason behind your employee’s behavior is simply to talk to her. Find out what her concerns are, how she feels, and what’s going on in her life. It’s impossible to properly correct something if you can’t identify the cause and sometimes we as managers tend to over think things when there really is a simple explanation. If you have an employee who is not turning in projects on time, you could extrapolate all sorts of complicated reasons for this – she can’t work with the new version of the software, she’s trying to make you look bad, and so on, when the explanation might be as simple as the fact that another manager is giving her work that is more urgent. Find the root of the problem and you can then fix it. Unless you understand the core cause of the problem, you might end up just solving a symptom, but not resolving the underlying issue. A solution that deals only with the symptoms is going to be an incomplete solution. If you spackle over a cracked wall in your house you can mask the problem, but it will simply crack again if you have a shifting foundation that needs to be repaired. Your employee is in the same situation. You can temporarily change some behaviors, but if the root cause of the problem remains untouched, you’re likely to experience problems with this employee over and over again. You won’t always be able to completely fix the problem, but understanding the cause can help you be a more effective manager.

Rehabilitating Bad Apples
To change a bad apple, first talk to the employee and the team. Find out what is going on. Take some time to observe and create your own conclusions. Next, think about what might be creating the situation. You might have a situation where two people are incompatible or your employee has been placed in a situation that is outside her area of skill or confidence. If you can identify and isolate a situation or problem that is contributing to the behavior, you have a much better chance of creating a solution for it.

If the problem is inherent to the employee’s attitude or personality, first demonstrate the benefits of being a good employee by rewarding other employees. Demonstrate the consequences of bad apple behavior – follow your company protocol for write-ups and discipline. Talk to him about what the problem is, but do so in a way that shows you want to work together to solve the problem. Be prepared to really listen to your employee’s explanations and feedback. Create a goal for the problem employee. Don’t step back and expect him to get there himself – help him reach the goal. Doing so ensures success and shows you are on his side. Provide real suggestions and tips and always give positive feedback as you move along.

Terry Sember is a management consultant and author of Bad Apples: Managing Difficult Employees (Adams Media) and The Essential Supervisor’s Handbook (Career Press). Visit

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Leaders: Don't Get "Old"

"People try to put us down
Just because we get around
Things they do look awful cold
I hope I die before I get old
This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
Why don't you all fade away
And don't try to dig what we all say
I'm not trying to cause a big sensation
I'm just talkin' 'bout my generation " - The Who

Like a lot of boomers, I remember rockin to "My Generation" and asking my friends to shoot me before I got "old". And I didn't really mean old, as in "old age". There were a lot of cool old dudes we could point to. I was referring to that old coot for a boss I had at the supermarket, who was stuck in his ways, critical, miserable and lazy. I guess it was afraid of becoming "old fashioned", or "old school" more than getting just plain old.

So now, 30 years later, "my generation" is on the verge of old. OK, some might say we're already there. And quite honestly, I kind of like this stage in my life. There's a lot to be said for maturity, financial security, career success and credibility, and looking forward to the freedom of a soon to be empty nest.

Yet when it comes to the workplace, we need to make sure, especially as leaders, that we're not letting ourselves get "old" in how we show up at work.

Part of the inspiration for this post, and my own personal declaration, was reading Lisa Haneberg's new book, Hip and Sage. I've known Lisa through her Management Craft blog as a regular contributor to the Leadership Carnival, and she sent me a copy a few weeks ago. I picked it up one early Sunday morning and never put it down until I finished it.

Lisa says if there's only one thing you take away from the book, it should be the story of how Tony Bennet introduced himself to K.D. Lang backstage at an awards ceremony. He walked up to her, a new singer young enough to be his granddaughter, and said, "Hello, I am Tony Bennett, I am a big fan of your work, and I would love to work with you sometime."

First of all, everyone knew who Tony Bennet was - no introduction was needed. Instead of offering to give "the kid" a hand and help her out, he humbly asked if he could work with her so that he could learn and stay fresh. That's why, although in his 80's, Tony is still "young" - he's hip & sage.

When a leader allows him/herself to get "old", there are personal and organizational consequences. Michael Haberman just wrote a nice piece on Ageism in the workforce. Yes, from an HR standpoint, it's illegal as hell. But it's still all around us, and can have serious career implications.

The organizational consequences are a lack of innovation, stalled change efforts, frustrated employees, and clogged talent pipelines.

While we can't stop the clock, there are some things we can do to make sure we're not thinking, acting, and looking "old":

1. Don't think old.

One of the disadvantages to experience is that it can lead to being too skeptical. It's that "been there, done that" attitude. The problem is, it comes across as being close-minded and not open to change. Phrases like "we tried that and it didn't work", or "that's just a newer version of an old idea" may be true, but they can take the wind out of the sails of creativity and engagement and inhibit our learning.

Instead, try practicing "possibility thinking". Hold back the urge to evaluate and dismiss new ideas too quickly, listen, and ask yourself and others "what if". The next time someone trys to tell you something was already tried and won't work, use the phrase "up until now", i.e., "well, up until now, that may have been true; but what if we.....".

When an employee comes to you with a proposal that they are excited about, don't look for all the flaws in the idea or come up with ways to make it harder to implement the idea. You should tell yourself your job as a leader is to figure out ways to make it easier to implement that idea. Try it - it's a lot harder than it sounds - and you will be amazed with the effect it has on your employees and your organization.

We all like to think we're open to change - but are you? Are you keeping up with your field, with technology, with trends, and the world around you? After years of stubborn resistance (and frugality), I finally gave in and purchased an iPhone. I'm now an app addict. I've not yet fully embraced Twitter.... but a generous fellow blogger is teaching me.

Is there anything from this decade on your iPod? Is your favorite cable channel TV Land?

I admit, there are times I feel the world is spinning too fast and out of control. I sometimes miss simplicity. The key is not to put your head in the sand and turn your back on change, but to stay informed, keep an open mind, and try something new now and then.

Don't be that old coot supermarket manager; be Tony Bennet.

2. Don't act old.

I'll never forget the time I was leading a team to develop a new company performance management system and were we presenting to our executive management team. My team and I were only 10 minutes into the presentation that we had worked so hard on, and as I looked around the room to read their reactions, I noticed four of them were falling asleep. One was about to fall off his chair. Yes, it was after lunch and performance appraisals might not be the most exciting of topics, but I told myself that day I would NEVER be one of those guys if I ever made it to that level. Is it asking too much to at least be awake as a senior leader? Better yet, leaders, at any age need to bring a sense of enthusiasm, optimism, encouragement, passion and energy to work every day.

To maintain this kind of day-to-day level of energy requires that we stay healthy and in shape. That, and consume massive amounts of coffee.

It's about not letting yourself go, as tempting as that can be some days.

One of my role models for how to age was a man who lived next door to us when we bought our first house. Bob kept himself in great shape, was always working in the yard, active in the community, and never complained about his health. He was always there with words of wisdom and encouragement, and always greeted you with a warm smile and firm handshake. Bob was a pleasure to be around.

3. Don't look old.

All right, this is the most superficial of the three, but like it or not, appearances do matter. The #1 fashion/beauty book title of the year was "How Not To Look Old". One of the hottest fields in consulting these days is Image Consulting.

This is one that can sneak up on you. A few months ago, one of our Gen Y employees saw a pocket comb sticking out of my back pocket, and remarked "oh, that's so cute, my grandfather used to have one of those". Really?

This is where having two teenage daughters has helped. They never fail to provide me with blunt feedback on my appearance. I'm especially grateful for Mrs. Great Leadership, as without her, I'd surely drive right off a fashion cliff.

In case you're not sure, here are 10 signs that you might be showing your old age:

1. You complain that the cleaners has started shrinking your clothes

2. The end of your tie doesn't come anywhere near the top of your pants

3. You text with your index finger

4. You wear black socks with sandals

5. Flecks of gray starting to appear in your hairpiece

6. You buy a compass for the dash of your car

7. You take a metal detector to the beach

8. You discover random hairs sprouting from unexpected sectors of your body, so that, in addition to all the other little maintenance tasks you've always performed each day, you find yourself asking questions like: Did I remember to pluck my ears? (from Dave Barry)

9. 6-year-olds routinely guess you’re close to 100 years old if you don’t give them hints before they guess.

10. You don’t even TRY to look hip anymore.

All kidding aside, ask for and be open to feedback when it comes to appearance.

Old is not about age - it's about attitude. No "fading away" for me please.

“It's better to burn out than it is to rust.” - Neil Young

Please vote for Great Leadership for the Best of 2009 Leadership Blogs competition. Thanks for your support!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Three Questions for Potential Managers to Ask Themselves

My organization conducts a number of “So you wanna be a manager” kinds of programs, so I get to meet a lot of aspiring managers. Many of them are aware that they'll need to learn new skills and behaviors in order to succeed in a management role. Some of them realize they need to take a hard look at their true motivations. However, not many realize that they need to be prepared that being a manager can change who they are as people.

If you are considering a management role, there are three questions you’ll want to ask yourself, and perhaps even discuss with a trusted advisor:

1. "Why do I want to be a manager?"

People often want to be managers because they want to:
- tell people what to do, instead of being told what to do
- make more money
- solve all of those nagging problems and show everyone else the right way to do things
- move to a nice office or more prestigious surroundings
- become noticed
- prepare themselves to become the next CEO

Some of these things may happen, and some are just plain myths about management. For example, new managers often find out that:
- they now have more people telling them what to do than ever before
- they may make less money
- problems that looked like no-brainers are really way more complicated than they thought
- increased exposure can be a double-edged sword
- people don’t always do what you tell them to do

However, becoming an effective manager often does provide a chance to:
- have a larger impact on the organization because of the larger size of your role
- help your employees develop new skills
- help your employees achieve their own career goals dreams

It’s important to be honest with yourself about what your real motivations for being a manager and have a realistic understanding of what the role is and is not. Don’t go into management for all the wrong reasons!

2. "Do I have what it takes to be successful?"

Once you’re clear on your motivations, the next question is a harder one to answer – do you have what it takes to be a successful manager? That’s a hard question to answer if you’ve never been in the role, so to some extent, there’s some guess-work involved.
We know there are certain skills and attributes that can be demonstrated in a non-managerial role, that if done well, are predictors of managerial success. For example, Development Dimensions International (DDI) has developed a set of criteria that they say will accurately predict executive success, based on their own experience and research, and research by others.

According to DDI, the “right stuff” for future managerial success include:

1. Propensity to lead. They step up to leadership opportunities

2. They bring out the best in others

3. Authenticity. They have integrity, admit mistakes, and don’t let their egos get in their way

4. Receptivity to feedback. They seek out and welcome feedback

5. Learning agility

6. Adaptability. Adaptability reflects a person's skill at juggling competing demands and adjusting to new situations and people. A key here is maintaining an unswerving, "can do" attitude in the face of change

7. Navigates ambiguity. This trait enables people to simplify complex issues and make decisions without having all the facts

8. Conceptual thinking. Like great chess players and baseball managers,the best leaders always have the big picture in mind. Their ability to think two, three, or more moves ahead is what separates them from competitors

9. Cultural fit

10. Passion for results

Try assessing yourself against this list of criteria. Better yet, ask your manager and others to assess you. If you’re lacking in any key areas, that’s OK – most of these things can be improved with awareness, practice, and feedback. Other management skills are learned and mastered once in the role and with experience.

3. "What do I want to become?"

New managers often find that due to the nature of their role, they end up changing how they see themselves and how others see them. People around them may start seeing them as more:
• aggressive
• demanding
• dictatorial
• harsh
• indecisive
• arrogant
• overly serious
• guarded

Sometimes the changes are so subtle and gradual we don’t even realize we’ve changed. Or we tell ourselves “that’s just how I have to be at work – it’s not the real me”. The reality is, if you’re not careful, you can end up becoming a person you don’t want to be.

Instead, start with a vision of who you want to be as a manager – and even more important, as a leader. What’s the legacy you want to leave, on your organization and others? What kind of a leader do you want to be remembered as? Who are the leaders you admire the most? This list of characteristics become your own personal leadership vision statement that you’ll use as a north star to make sure you’re not straying from who you want to be.

So do a little soul searching before you’re offered that promotion. Taking the time to ask and answer these three questions will help ensure your success as a manager and leader.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The July 5th Leadership Development Carnival

Most are probably reading this on Monday, so welcome back from the July 4th Holiday weekend! Yes, it's time to back to work. But not just yet... first, why not kill a little time while looking busy - and by learning a LOT about leadership. It'll help work the cramps out of your brain.

I love this month's collection - many of our regulars, and nothing but the best.

We'll start off the fireworks with next month's Carnival host, Mary Jo Asmus presenting How to Silence Others posted at Intentional Leadership.

We have three of the top 10 finalists from the Best of Leadership Blogs 2009 competition (don't forget to vote during the month of July for a chance to win prizes and pick your favorite leadership blog!): Scott Eblin, Steve Roesler, and Becky Robinson:

There's a message for leaders in the lives of Gov. Mark Sanford and entertainer Michael Jackson. Know when enough is enough. Scott Eblin presents Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford and the Human Condition posted at Next Level Blog.

We all debate the "characteristics" of effective leadership. How often do we deliberately discuss wisdom, discernment, and integrity? Steve Roesler presents All Things Workplace: Wisdom, Discernment, Integrity and Business posted at All Things Workplace.

Authenticity and integrity are important qualities for any leader. This post uses a real life example to express the differences between them. Becky Robinson presents Sunlight Through the South Window: Authenticity, Integrity, and a Life Well Lived posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk.

Wally Bock may not know the secret of life, but he thinks he knows the secret of great supervision (Dan's note: he really does). Wally Bock presents One Thing You can do to Supervise Better posted at Three Star Leadership Blog.

Chris Young presents Employee Performance Accountability - Do Your Employees Know What Is Expected of Them? posted at Maximize Possibility Blog.

Alice Snell presents Engaging Prime Talent posted at Taleo Blog - Talent Management Solutions.

Thought-leading companies are not just thinking about succession, they are thinking about the entire leadership pipeline. Meg Bear presents Leadership Pipeline vs. Succession Planning posted at TalentedApps.

Are you having a tough time keeping your personal and professional lives separated online? Yes? Good. Jason Seiden presents Ethics, social media, and… profersonalism. posted at Next Generation Talent Development.

The term “leadership” is extraordinarily plastic. So much so, in fact, that discussions about one sort of leader can be viewed by advocates of another sort as misguided, if not insulting, without anyone being the wiser that the concepts they have in mind are distinctly different, if not even mutually incompatible. Jim Stroup presents Static leadership posted at Managing Leadership.

The effects that hypocrisy, not the lies, cheating or illegal actions, but the fact that they are done by supposed leaders who vehemently preach a different course, have in fostering today's kids' cynicism. Miki Saxon presents Hypocrisy Leads To A Cynical Future posted at Leadership Turn.

Leadership can be defined as the act of motivating people to achieve a common goal. It is doing the right thing for the right reasons. It is taking action, no matter the consequences. Leadership is vision, purpose, courage, discipline and passion. On this American Independence Day, let us remember that leadership is an action verb. can change the "course of human events." Tom Magness presents Independent Leaders posted at Leader Business.

Regardless of your role in an organization, personal accountability is key. Sharlyn Lauby presents Taking Ownership posted at hr bartender.

Michael Lee Stallard presents Intrapreneurs: Find a Work Environment that Helps You Thrive posted at Michael Lee Stallard.

One of the founders of the rock band 38 Special talks with Wayne Turmel about team building and creating teams that rock. Wayne Turmel presents The Cranky Middle Manager Show #195 Rock and Roll Team Building with Jeff Carlisi posted at TPN :: The Cranky Middle Manager Show.

A timely post on one of the most important issues we face-trust. In a time where trustworthy advice is scarce, this piece probes deeper into why trust is so important. Eric Pennington presents A Matter Of Trust posted at Epic Living - Leadership Development Career Management Training Executive Life Coaching Author.

Anna Farmery presents Learning whilst living.... posted at The Engaging Brand.

What does it take to transmit bold new ideas to people who don’t want to hear them? How can the language you use facilitate enthusiastic, energetic implementation? John Agno presents How do you lead change? posted at Coaching Tip: The Leadership Blog.

Leaders, like Brett Favre, need to know when to "let go." Erik Samdahl presents Don't Be Like Brett Favre posted at Kevin Oakes.

Time Magazine recently caused a stir when they published the results of research that strongly suggested that Facebook (and other social networking sites) caused graduate students to suffer lower grades. Simon Stapleton presents Does Facebook Flunk Your Performance Review? posted at ACE Your Performance Review.

This is a guest post by a good friend who does a great job of bringing out principles from experiences of kindergartners. Michael Ray Hopkin presents Guest Post: Leadership Lessons from a Kindergarten Class posted at Lead on Purpose.

Nick McCormick presents No Time to Think posted at Joe and Wanda on Management.

Mark Stelzner presents SHRM 2009 - Observations & Conclusions posted at Inflexion Point.

The project manager’s basic strengths may consist - leadership, teamwork management, good communication skills (with clients and co-workers), analytic thinking, prioritization, highly motivated person, initiator and an highly opinioned worker. This article provides wide-ranging project management interview questions and answers for project manager (PMO, and for product manager) position. nissim ziv presents Project Management Interview Questions and Answers posted at Job Interview Guide.

You have been aked to present. Oh no! Where do you start? Here are several questions that will help you prepare: Great Management Tips presents The Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Publicly Speak posted at Great Management Tips.

When it comes to offering constructive feedback for a team’s or individual’s performance, it’s better to reinforce good behavior, than react to bad. Benjamin presents Develop Outstanding Employees Utilizing Effective Feedback posted at Leadership Type.

Susan White presents 100 Free Quizzes for Your Self-Improvement and Awareness posted at Online College Reviews - College Ratings. (Dan's note: not really a leadership post, but a pretty cool collection of free assessments)

Keith Tusing presents The Importance of the Huddle posted at Children's Ministry Buzz.

Shawn M. Driscoll presents It's Time to Kick Mediocrity to the Curb posted at Shawn Driscoll.

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few fundamental traits which separate them from everyone else: John Anyasor presents Three Staple Qualities of a Leader posted at HiLife2B.

Peter Cantelo presents 11 Steps To Being A Better Leader posted at

That's it for this month's edition! Now time to get to work. )-:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Leadership Development Conferences and Workshops

A question from a reader:

I am curious, have you done any posts on the best leadership development conferences for professionals in the field? There seem to be a lot out there and am just wondering how we can maximize our time and resources.

I have not, but I've been meaning to put together a list for a while now, so thanks for providing the motivation.

When it comes to conferences for leadership development professionals, it's going to be a short list. There are LOT'S of leadership conferences (I just wrote a post on the GILD), and plenty others for HR and training, but not so many that I'm aware of for just our field. When I searched for "workshops" or "Talent Management", I was able to find a few more.

Readers, please comment and add to the list if I missed any.

1. Linkage's the Best Practices in Leadership Development
Linkage's 13th Annual Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit: Tools, Processes & Systems for Developing Leaders is the one place where those who are responsible for accelerating the development of managers, executives, and leaders in their organizations can come each year to learn the state-of-the-art in their profession. Thought leaders, world-class practitioners, and expert instructors form an elite faculty to help attendees produce the results expected of them. Benchmark against the best in the industry and dramatically increase your know-how and ability to succeed in your role.
Date: Oct 18-20, 2009
Length: 3 Days
Location: San Diego, CA
Price: $1,195.00

2. The Conference Board's Leadership Development Conference
If you are accountable for selecting, developing and retaining leaders; if you are charged
with ensuring the depth and breadth of your leaders’ competencies and ability to perform;
if you are responsible for succession management and leadership development, this is
one conference you can’t afford to miss.
Date: June 4 – June 5, 2009 (about the same time every year)
Length: 2 days
Location: San Diego, CA
Price: $ 2,495

3. The Conference Board's Succession Management Conference
The 2009 Succession Management Conference: Resetting and Recalibrating Your Succession Plan is designed to help our organizations continue to develop their processes. We begin with a pre–conference l/2 day workshop on October 20th that will take you through a diagnosis of your current succession management process and help you to develop an action plan moving forward. This will be followed by our day and a half conference which will feature sessions on various parts of the SM process to help participants with areas that they need to reset or recalibrate or put in place. The conference will also feature sessions from organizations that are taking advantage of this period of time to prepare for executive succession and key position successions in new and creative ways.
Date: October 21 – October 22, 2009
Length: 2 days
Location: New York, NY
Price: $ 2,495

4. The Strategic HR Network's Leadership and Talent Management Conference
Now in it’s 5th year the Strategic HR Network, the leading forum for HR Directors, presents a one day conference looking at the latest developments in leadership and talent management.
Date: September 9th 2009
Length: 1 day
Location: London
Price: £499 + VAT

5. The Center for Creative Leadership's Leadership Development for HR Professionals
Developed through a collaboration between CCL and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this program prepares you to become a more effective leader of people and processes. It focuses on self-awareness, proven methods of building leadership skills, and ways you can positively impact the organization's business strategy.
Date: August & October 2009
Length: 5 days
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Price: $6800

6. The Center for Effective Organization's Collective Leadership Development
This seminar will explain how to overcome the shortcomings of the old model of individual development. Leadership development experts Jay Conger, Susan Resnick West, Trina Soske, and Michael Markovit will guide you through the evolving terrain of collective leadership development and show you how to refocus your organization's leadership development efforts around collective leadership development.
Date: September 16-17, 2009
Length: 2 days
Location: Los Angeles
Cost: $1750

7. IQPC's Annual Talent Management Conference
The largest industry gathering of talent management professionals returns to exciting Chicago! Guaranteed to invigorate and improve your talent management strategy, The 12th Annual Talent Management Summit will bring together Fortune 500 leaders to share their recession-proof strategies.
Date: October 26 - 28, 2009
Length: 2 days
Location: Chicago
Cost: $2499

Readers - are there others that you would recommend?

Don't forget to vote for Great Leadership for the Best of Leadership Blogs 2009 . Voting takes place during the month of July, and you'll be eligible for prizes when you vote!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best of Leadership Blogs 2009

I'm honored to have been nominated for the third annual Best of Leadership Blogs 2009 competition, hosted by Kevin Eikenberry at Remarkable Leadership.

Voting will take place during the month of July, with the winner being announced on Monday, August 3rd.

Here's the list of 10 finalists:

Leading Blog by Michael McKinney

Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy

Seth Godin’s Blog by Seth Godin

Jon Gordon’s Blog by Jon Gordon

Leadership is a Verb by John Bishop

All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler

Work Matters by Bob Sutton

Leader Talk by Mountain State University

Next Level Blog by Scott Eblin

Leadership At Work by John Baldoni

Take a look at them all, and I'd sure appreciate your vote if you think it's derserved.

Here's more on the competition from Kevin:

Thank-you for your support!