Thursday, August 30, 2018

You Don’t Have to Be Gates (or Buffett) to Shake the World

Guest post from Steve Farber:

How do you become a great leader and a better person? Just do one simple thing: Help others achieve greatness. Here’s how.

Some of the world’s richest and most powerful people already know one thing you might not: philanthropy is so much more than a tax dodge. In fact, philanthropy is a way of showing that success is not measured by money alone, but by how money can help enrich the lives of others. 

You probably aren’t in the Forbes Billionaires List. (If you are, congratulations!) But you don’t need to be a billionaire or even have much money at all to fulfill a sense of mission to others. And if you succeed at that, your own success is absolutely guaranteed as well.

It’s not about the money; it’s about what and who you know. Leave the big-money contributions to the Gateses and Buffetts of the world. The rest of us can give our talent, time, knowledge, contacts – whatever resources we have – to other worthy people in our lives at work and at home.

I’ve made it my life’s work to pass along this message. In effect, you can make it your own, too, by treating everything you do as an act of philanthropy. Here are the three main tenets of what I like to call Greater Than Yourself:

1. Expand yourself. We expand ourselves in order to give to others.

2. Give yourself. Knowledge may be power, but the giving of knowledge is far more powerful because it enriches both the provider and receiver.

3. Replicate yourself. Teach others to do for other people exactly what you’ve done for them.

The principles of GTY are the foundation for a company culture in which everyone reaches out not just to help, but also to help each other excel. The role of a CEO is to ensure that everyone in the company becomes significantly greater as a result of working with one another. The CEO’s job is to lead the company, not to be the smartest, greatest, most talented person in the building. The ability to work well with others, tap into social networks, and draw on collective intelligence is critically important, adding to our knowledge of the world we live in.

My Greater Than Yourself philosophy is grounded in social network theory, which explores how the social processes involved in change are passed along between individuals and between managerial levels in an organization. This involves a shift from primarily focusing on the individual and individual attributes, to understanding the dynamic supports and constraints of the larger network in which the individual operates.

Diving In Deeper

Here are some details about each of these three tenets in the GTY process. Add your own items to the lists! 

1. Expand Yourself.

Take a personal inventory of:

· Things I do well

· Meaningful experiences I have had

· Life lessons I have learned

· People I know

· My admirable qualities

· My personal values

Then ask, what more can I do to improve the quality and depth of my experience and knowledge?

2. Give Yourself

Be clear on intentions to make a difference in others’ lives by offering all of one’s:

· Knowledge

· Connections

· Experience

· Insights

· Advice and counsel

· Life lessons

· Confidence

· Words and gestures of encouragement

3. Replicate Yourself

Ensure that GTY efforts expand far beyond one’s own relationships by:

· Making sure others understand that you expect nothing in return except that they take on GTY projects of their own

· Making sure they understand that their GTY project recipients will be required to take on GTY projects of their own

· Challenging everyone to practice GTY in their professional and personal lives

· Sharing one’s GTY successes and failures with others, so they can learn from your experience
By following the Greater Than Yourself, leaders will be empowered to help others—teammates, employees, and colleagues—become more capable, confident, and accomplished than they are themselves, and in the process achieve greater success in their personal and professional lives.

About The Author:

Steve Farber is author of GREATER THAN YOURSELF: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership and founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, an organization devoted to changing the world through the cultivation and development of extreme leaders in business, nonprofits, education, and beyond. Listed on Inc.’s ranking of the Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts in the world, and #1 on Huffington Post’s 12 Business Speakers to See, Farber is a bestselling author, popular keynote speaker, and a seasoned leadership coach and consultant who has worked with a vast array of public and private organizations in virtually every arena. For more information, please visit

Monday, August 27, 2018

How to Propel Your Career in 10 Minutes

Guest post by Dr. Dawn Graham:

Spring cleaning, New Year’s resolutions, summer vacations, back to school—these days, everything has a season. But what about career management? One would think that something we spend more than half our waking hours investing in, which sustains our families and lifestyle, and which for many is an integral part of our identities, would get more regular attention. Other than when we need a new job, that is.

There’s a well-publicized notion that professionals spend more time planning a vacation than planning for their careers. That’s an unfortunate truth for many of us, even though a successful career is much more important to our happiness—a research-backed fact. Towers Watson’s global talent survey found that career advancement opportunities ranked higher than base salary on a list of top reasons employees join their companies, yet less than 50 percent of these same employers said they effectively provide these advancement opportunities.

It’s no secret that today’s professionals need to take charge of their own growth and development. However, many haven’t stepped up to take the reins. We often dedicate time to challenges requiring immediate attention—we wait until a layoff, merger, or burnout before we dust off the resume, only to find that the market and required skills have shifted since we last interviewed.

Don’t let this be you. Whether time, know-how, or some other excuse has gotten in your way, NOW is the time to be proactive. The best way to remain marketable and achieve your professional goals is to practice consistency and discipline in managing your career.

Here are nine simple strategies to actively manage your career in less than ten minutes a day:

  1. Stay active on LinkedIn. As technology advances, social media is becoming increasingly critical to careers across all industries. In minutes each day, you can stay in touch with your contacts and build new ones by posting (or sharing) insightful articles, joining online discussions, inviting people to connect, or endorsing others. Maintaining a consistent online brand will ensure you stay top of mind with your network and keep you “in the know” about what’s happening in your field.
  2. Subscribe to an industry blog. New information and ideas are constantly generated and shared in all professions. These bite-size articles take only a few minutes to read on the train or over lunch and will sustain your marketability, which is critical to both your present role and potential future positions.
  3. Walk the halls. With a packed work calendar, it’s tempting to interact with the same few people, eat lunch at your desk, and skip the monthly birthday celebrations. But small interactions with colleagues go a long way in building trust and deepening relationships, which will ultimately facilitate future interactions. If you work in a large organization, strive to meet colleagues outside your department, to learn what they do. If you’re remote, travel to the main office for town halls, special events, or occasional staff meetings.
  4. Ask for feedback. Plain and simple, feedback is a gift. Welcome it with open arms. Since many shy away from providing constructive criticism, proactively seek it out and be specific as to how others can assist you. For example, before your next presentation, ask a colleague to note at least one thing you can improve, such as a bad habit (e.g., swaying, reading slides verbatim, talking too softly).
  5. Meet people outside the office. We’re typically drawn to familiar faces at networking events, children’s team practices, and/or weekly worship services. Going forward, introduce yourself to at least one person you don’t know. Be curious, and aim to find commonalities. You’ll instantly broaden your contacts, and you never know who you might meet. Everyone has something to teach you. Everyone.
  6. Read your local biz journal or daily newspaper. Okay, print media has gone the way of the fax machine. However, spending a few minutes each weekday familiarizing yourself with current events expands your perspective and makes you more conversant and interesting. If it’s more convenient, subscribe to an online news channel to receive a daily roundup of the latest headlines. For many, the hardest part of networking is finding something to talk about, so the more you know, the more topics you’ll have to choose from.
  7. Peruse job openings. Even if you aren’t currently searching, remaining informed about what skills, experiences, and knowledge employers are looking for in your role/industry. Periodically evaluate how you measure up to current job requirements, and update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your latest accomplishments at least once a year (or more often). Sometimes the best opportunities in life come along when we’re not looking. Make sure you can be found.
  8. Help others. Building goodwill with your network will be invaluable in your career, and these opportunities are everywhere. Assisting someone could be as simple as providing an introduction, offering a word of advice, or sharing a resource. Take a few minutes to slow down and notice When you can serve someone else.
  9. Pay attention. In most cases, it’s rare to be completely blindsided. Usually, red flags precede a layoff, major leadership change, merger/acquisition, or other career upset. When we keep our heads down, we miss the signs. Tune in to watercooler talk, recognize any increase in closed-door meetings, understand potential implications of a hiring freeze or budget decreases, and pay attention to project delays. While none of these may indicate a major shake-up on the horizon, taken together, these signs may indicate you need to start sharpening your interviewing skills.

For better or worse, career management is your responsibility. Make the time to invest in yourself.

Happy hunting!
Dr. Dawn Graham is one of the nation’s leading career coaches. She is the career management director of the MBA Program for Executives at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she counsels business leaders on making strategic career choices. A licensed psychologist and former corporate recruiter, she hosts SiriusXM Radio’s popular weekly call-in show Career Talk on Business Radio 111 and is a regular contributor to Her new book, Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers and Seize Success, gives professionals tools to draw a new roadmap for success—and happiness. Learn more about the book and get free bonus content at




Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why You Can’t Pick the Winners!

Guest post by Soulaima Gourani:
I’ve conducted (or participated in) countless conversations with some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world through the years. I live alongside the wealthiest and most influential people in our day and age here in Silicon Valley– but what do their lives consist of?
Aside from the generic comments about passion, hard work, the ability to innovate and think creatively, and knowledge of their craft, there are a couple of other personal characteristics that tend to be behind their success.
You always hear people talk about “if only” they had more time or more money or they lived somewhere else, and so on. You hear it from companies too – “if only the Planning Act were more flexible, if only we had more investors, and if only our clients would understand.” The vast majority of innovative people and companies I’m personally familiar with became innovative because they didn’t have time or money or because they were excluded and unappreciated. It was the lack of resources, understanding, and exclusion from others that motivated them. Others were driven by the desire to make the world a better place or to reach a particular status. And then there are those who just needed to make a living, but who had the ambitions, the will, and the innovative mindset that allowed them to make it big.
Two years ago, I was having dinner with Travis Kalanick, the founder, and ex-CEO of Uber. Uber is one of the most profitable, recognized, and debated companies in the modern world.That said, it’s also one of the world’s most hated companies. Travis told me all about how he randomly came up with the name, (which doesn’t exactly make much sense), and how all he wanted was access to cheaper transport. His vision and drive ended up changing the way we get around, who we trust to transport us, and how we work (through apps rather than in miserable office spaces).
 Regardless of whether we like Uber or not, the company remains famous and successful. Before launching Uber, Travis wasn’t doing well financially, and he didn’t have the time or support when he started Uber. Nobody believed in him, and his friends/family only gave him money because he talked their ears off. They felt sorry for him. For Travis, his vision and faith in it proved to be the deciding factor in establishing something nobody ever saw coming.
In other words – you can’t pick the winners.

Nobody predicted that he would be successful. The same goes for Alibaba and Jack Ma from China. He wasn’t particularly intelligent as far as the school system was concerned and he applied to more than 30 blue collar jobs as a server and a busboy (etc.) but received nothing but rejection letters. Now he has an estimated net worth of $50 billion.ho ends up being the most innovative and successful? Can you walk into a classroom and pick the winner? Almost never. It’s a kind of x-factor that can be difficult to spot. Most people don’t recognize talent if they haven’t seen it before, and that’s why most people can’t spot a good idea if it’s staring right at them.

Soulaima Gourani, E-MBA. Speaker, Author, Advisor, Investor, Life Leadership and Life Design Coach for more information please visit

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Out-of-the box Leadership / Leadership From Within

Guest post by Pratima Rao Gluckman:

My daughter once told me, “Mom, I am awesome. I am good at math. I run fast. I am better than my brothers. Right?” As I looked into her darling eyes as she was desperately seeking validation, I thought, “This is where the problem lies.” It’s cute when a four-year-old thinks she is better than the rest. And yes, I want to encourage her to think that way, because it will build her self-esteem (as this is important for girls). But the problem is that adults feel that way all the time. Adults don’t say it aloud because it's not cute anymore. But we think it.
Stereotyping starts at a very early age. Each of us believes we are better than everyone else around us. We believe specific groups of people who think and look like us are better than the rest. And so we begin to stereotype. We put people into little boxes, label them, and thereby create boundaries. We divide women and men into separate boxes. We place different races and cultures in separate boxes. We box people based on their sexual preference. As we compartmentalize, we grow up developing strong values of what is right and wrong.

Who gets to break these boxes, silos, and stereotypes? Brave, self-aware and fearless people.
When a brave person comes in, breaks open these boxes, and removes the labels, slowly changing the mindsets of people—that’s when a change occurs. Real change. That’s what a true leader does. Someone who is fearless, someone who is not afraid of criticism, someone who believes in making a difference will destroy the boxes. Someone who is aware of the power struggle between genders, races, and cultures will transcend the stereotypes.

You can become one of these brave, fearless leaders. First, you need to tell yourself that you are not better than someone else. You must say to yourself that you are not better than someone else because your skin color is different, or because you are more educated, or because you are better looking. You should be grateful that you had the opportunities that came your way, but that doesn’t mean you are superior to the rest. However, this is hard to do. Because you then need to internalize that. You must go deep into your subconscious and undo all the wiring. You must become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You have to know who you indeed are and what you stand for.
And you need to forge these changes from within before you go out to change the world. Once you can genuinely transform yourself from your childhood beliefs, biases, and stereotypes, you can transform others, because when you see the change in yourself, you know what change looks like. While you transform others, you know what to look for, and most importantly that change is occurring.

So where do you begin? Start with awareness, just noticing your thoughts as you go through the day. It’s a meditation: you don’t need to analyze and judge every thought and reaction. Thoughts come and go, with the power to shift your viewpoint all the time. For instance, you meet an interview candidate who seems older than you expected. Your first thought might be, “I don’t think she will be the right culture fit because she seems different from the kind of people we hire here.” Let that thought pass through your head. Don’t analyze it any further. Give that person a chance, because you never know—your internalized bias may be kicking in. So let other thoughts in as well. Now after you interview the candidate if you still feel that person is not right for your team, sure, pass her up. But you have opened your mind to other aspects of this person.
To be effective leaders, we have to know ourselves well. From the inside out. Once we have an awareness of ourselves and the factors at play in our personal environment, we will be able to make better decisions for ourselves and for other people. Change comes from within, and in today’s world, we need this more than ever.

Pratima Rao Gluckman, author of Nevertheless, She Persisted: True Stories of Women Leaders in Tech, knew she wanted to be an engineer from a young age. She attained a master's degree in computer science (University of Texas at Arlington), a master's degree in chemistry, and bachelor's degree in instrumentation engineering (BITs Plain India). Currently, in her field of enterprise software, she is Engineering Leader at VMware and manages a team of engineers.

For more information, please visit

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Leadership at the Symphony

Guest post from Barbara Mitchell:
I’ve always loved the performing arts—symphony, ballet, theatre, live music concerts…doesn’t matter what but seeing a live performance is powerful! While enjoying a live performance, it became obvious to me that, in addition to hearing great music or watching talented dancers, I was also seeing examples of good leadership.

Members of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are sometimes invited to attend a rehearsal of the National Symphony Orchestra.  It’s quite an experience to sit in the beautiful Concert Hall and watch the musicians come in wearing very casual clothes as opposed to their formal evening attire, chatting with each other while tuning up their instruments.  But when the conductor arrives, it is all business.
The first time I attended a rehearsal, I expected that the orchestra would play a few bars and the conductor would stop and give them feedback but that’s not what happened. the way it was. The conductor led the orchestra almost all the way through the piece without stopping. When he finally paused them and began providing feedback it was clear that the musicians were listening intently—he had their total focus. He pointed out specific bars where he wanted certain instruments to play louder, softer, faster, or slower—all from his memory of what he had just heard. He hadn’t taken a note while they were playing—he was totally focused on what he was hearing. What an amazing gift to be able to listen to so many sounds and hear each one individually as well as in total!

When the conductor (leader) pointed out the very specific changes he wanted to hear, his orchestra (team) listened closely. He complimented musicians who had done something special and then they replayed specific portions of the symphony. When he raised his baton, they were ready to play at the exact right bar of the music because he gave them clear directions.
What an example of leadership and followership in action. The conductor as a leader demonstrated he was listening to his team. He showed that he understood he couldn’t make music without them—he could wave his baton around all day, but if they weren’t sitting in front of him, focused on his direction, he would be totally ineffective.

Today’s business leaders could should learn to listen more closely to their employees, praise them when appropriate, point out needed changes, and acknowledge how important each one is to the success of the organization—in other words, set clear expectations, provide frequent feedback and development opportunities, praise when appropriate, listen to the team, hold people accountable, and let them know where their work fits in the overall objectives of the organization.  That’s leadership!
At the end of the first piece, they took a short break while chairs were rearranged on the stage. Some musicians came back while others who weren’t needed for the next piece did not return. I see another lesson here about how leaders need to know the strengths of their employees in order to put the most effective teams in place—teams that take advantage of the strengths of the participants. This piece featured a world-famous violinist.  I wondered if the conductor would lead differently in the presence of a star but it sounded as if she and the conductor  were almost operating as one as she played her solo with the conductor bringing the orchestra in to provide background and harmony.

Business leaders can learn from a symphony conductor and others in the performing arts. Leaders must be great listeners who know the strengths of those they manage. Strong leaders know how to put the best team together to maximize the organization’s success. Leadership and harmony lead to great things—not just in music but in the marketplace.
The Manager’s Answer Book is an easy-to-use guide written in a question-and-answer format that focuses on many aspects of managing, broken down into the following categories:

- Getting started—moving from peer to manager, setting goals, managing projects, resources and much more.

- Developing your management skills—communicating, delegating, motivating, and facilitating.

- Building your management team: hiring, firing, and everything in-between.

- Creating your personal brand—building credibility for yourself, your team, and your department.

- Managing up, down, and around—working with people and functions in your organization.

- Avoiding potential land mines—conflict, change, and risk.

- Recognizing legal pitfalls—navigating the haze of laws and regulations.

Barbara Mitchell is an author, speaker, and business consultant. She is the coauthor of The Manager’s Answer Book, The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book and The Essential HR Handbook. After a long career with Marriott International, she is now Managing Director of The Mitchell Group and works with a variety of clients to help them hire, develop, engage, and retain the best talent available. She resides in the Washington, DC area.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Multiplying the Effective Intelligence of Your Organization

Guest post from Robert (Dusty) Staub: 

“Perhaps the only sustainable competitive advantage is increasing your ability to learn faster
than your competition.”
 - Arie de Geus, former head of Strategic Planning, Shell Oil Company

Are you getting the best results from the people–the embedded collective intelligence–in your organization? Do you feel that there is something missing in overall performance, or your team and/or enterprise could achieve even more? Most senior leaders with whom I have worked would answer, “We can achieve more and be better if only we could work smarter and more effectively together.” The name of the game today is figuring out how to multiply the Effective Intelligence (E.I.) of your organization. Here is where you can gain a great competitive edge that is sustainable and also leads to more innovative and effective ways of getting things done.

Research and experience demonstrate that the only difference between so-so organizations and high performing ones is the quality of the teamwork and the collaborative networks that exist within an organization. This makes sense if you understand brain physiology. It is not the absolute number of neurons that determines intelligence; it is the number of dendritic connections between neurons that determines overall processing power and intelligence. The greater the number of connections, the higher the level of collaborative networking, which equals greater intellectual capacity to problem-solve and create solutions. The term I have coined to describe this capacity for teams and organizations is “Effective Intelligence.” What great leadership does is to use presence (demeanor an modeling), practices and processes to multiply E.I., thereby increasing the performance and capabilities of a team, a department or an entire organization.

Is your enterprise actually engaging and making the full use of the collective intelligence embedded in the human system (people, team work, relationships) in your organization? Is your organization realizing its potential and performing at its best? Are you multiplying the E.I. of your organization by how you are leading and encouraging the engagement of individuals, teams and departments? Perhaps you share the opinion one CEO gave me recently, “There is truly room for improvement; I just know, good as we are now, that we can do better than we have been doing to date.”

If you see room for improvement, then how can you increase the E.I. of your team, your department and your organization? The answers will sound simple yet applying the insights to multiply effective intelligence will take all three forms of critical leadership capacity: guts, heart and head. It will require that you focus your attention and processes on the following dynamic development as outlined by Wayne Gerber and Staub in Dynamic Focus: Creating Significance and Breaking the Spells of Limitation. Please consider the question at the end of each of the eight process steps below.

Increasing the Effective Intelligence (E.I.) of Your Team and Organization:

1. Expanding perspectives. This means seeing beyond the obvious and challenging conventional thinking. The status quo and old ways of thinking are the enemy of higher order processing, innovation and increased performance. “Good enough” is the death of being even better, let alone great. What are you doing in your leadership and in your workplace to help expand the thinking and to promote a wider strategic picture or way of looking at the business and how work gets done?

2. Clarifying and focusing attention on your core Purpose, your WHY. Astute leaders know that when the people in an enterprise know WHY it exists–in other words, the purpose and mission it serves beyond the usual answer of “making money”–that they perform better and expend more discretionary effort. They are more engaged. (See
Simon Sinek’s Start with Why TED Talk.) Do the people in your organization know the fundamental WHY of the business? Do you use that to rally them and challenge them to help everyone step up to more active learning, interactions, collaboration and teamwork?

3. Consciously creating psychological safety in your organization. Google
research on the core factor fostering high performance teamwork finds that a sense of “psychological safety” is key. \ This means people feel “safe” offering different opinions, ideas, suggestions and, as outlined in the research and findings in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, engaging in “vigorous intellectual debate.” If people feel they will be punished, belittled or put down, if they do not feel it is safe to speak up, they won’t and you are then minimizing the E.I. instead of increasing it. How well are you creating a sense of psychological safety for your employees, teams and those around you? Do you have healthy, positive, vigorous intellectual debate around best practices, new ideas and better ways of moving the enterprise forward?

4. Leveraging strengths, focusing on what there is to celebrate. Research in the fields of psychology and sociology have revealed that human systems (from individuals to groups) get stronger by focusing on, leveraging and building upon strengths rather than by fixating on what is wrong. Yet many executives still manage by “exception,” ignoring what is right and working well and spending supervisory time on problems and issues. Are you focusing on strengths, on what is right and working well? What strengths in your people, teams and organization have you been celebrating? How have you been building on or leveraging the top 2 or 3 of these strengths?

5. Failing forward. This means giving reward and recognition for a specific category of mistakes instead of punishing for or treating all mistakes as the same, as if they are all “bad.” Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics and Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company, both subscribed to and taught “failing forward” as a way to promote innovation and growth within their organizations. Most executives and employees do the exact opposite. By treating all mistakes the same and seeing them as “wrong,” the E.I. of an enterprise is diminished instead of increased. Do you know which kinds of mistakes should be rewarded, or do you treat them all the same? Are you using the practice of “failing forward” in your organization?

6. Using Power Questions. Power questions enhance learning and improve performance. A great question is often more valuable than a good answer. The greatest danger you have as an executive is to be blindsided by issues or to miss key opportunities in your organization. One of the ways to minimize this is to make a practice of asking “power questions” – namely, Pareto- based questions that focus on quickly getting to the core or root cause of an issue or opportunity. For example a poor question is asking, “Is there anything here we need to improve?” A better question is “What do we need to improve?” A power question is, “What is the one thing we could do differently here that would make the biggest positive difference?” Asking power questions and teaching those around you to ask them will be a key part of increasing the E.I. of your enterprise. How are you and those in your organization doing with regard to asking power questions of each other, of customers, of key suppliers?

7. Knowing the difference between Symptoms and Root Causes. When you and those in your organization know how to recognize symptoms and use them to focus on root causes, you are helping to multiply the E.I. in your enterprise. For example the following should all be considered symptoms: poor teamwork, low employee engagement, quality issues, unhealthy conflict, customer complaints, lower market share and declining sales numbers. Do you know what the root causes of those kinds of symptoms are? For example, the symptom of low employee engagement has as a root cause a failure in management practices and leadership behaviors. The research shows that people quit supervisors as opposed to quitting companies. How a supervisor treats, talks to, engages, coaches, corrects, supports and otherwise makes an employee feel about the supervisor’s valuation of him or her is a huge determinant of how engaged and motivated that employee is. How effectively do you and your management focus on addressing root causes versus chasing symptoms?

8. Identifying and Utilizing Essential Behaviors as Core Leadership Practices. To address critical operational as well as human systems issues, make the best use of the seven practices outlined above. You will need to identify which essential behaviors you want to train for, expect, model and reinforce in all levels of your enterprise. Do you have a set of 4 to 6 essential behaviors that you know are clearly outlined, coached for and reinforced from front line supervisors up to the CEO? If you are like the vast majority of organizations and leadership teams, the answer to that will be a resounding no. If you want to really increase the effective intelligence of your enterprise then you will need to have an agreed upon core set of leadership practices, or essential behaviors, that are being used consistently throughout all levels. Do you know which essential behaviors will give you the biggest return on your investment of time, energy and supervisory development? Examples of essential behaviors include: active listening, using power questions, knowing how to design and engage in courageous conversations and making use of systemic-accountability. What are you doing to ensure there is consistent, effective modeling of powerful leadership behaviors? Are you living and modeling those behaviors with your teams and employees?

If you take the eight suggestions above to heart, and if you are working on engaging all of them, you will multiply the effective intelligence of your organization and can expect improved productivity, greater innovation, superior employee engagement, high performing teams, less waste, better quality, more loyal customers, better talent retention and higher profitability. The only barriers are either not following through or a lack of experienced guidance. Are you willing to build a learning-based, higher performing enterprise by multiplying the effective intelligence of your human system? What are you waiting for?

Robert “Dusty” Staub is an international speaker, best-selling author, and the CEO of
Staub Leadership International, a business consulting company that trains executives and teams in creating high-performance outcomes. Staub is the best-selling author of The Heart of Leadership, The 7 Acts of Courage, and Courage in the Valley of Death. In his experienced speaking career, Staub has motivated audiences with his insightful and heartfelt keynote presentations on leadership, excellence, change management, conflict resolution, organizational and team communication, and the relationship between intent, behavior, and results.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Power of Leaders That Do What They Say

Guest post from Bethany Andell:

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Recently a CEO friend of mine said that the three key ingredients to building a great culture are:

1) belief in the mission,
2) clarity of the vision and
3) having fun while living the values.

There is a growing movement in the business world that proves all of these points to be true. I have seen in my own business, and also in my clients’, that clarity of vision and passion for purpose are instrumental in long term success. However, having a clear purpose and vision alone are often not enough – his third ingredient, “living the values,” is critical in a company’s ability to bring its purpose to life. Even further, the key to that statement is the word “living.” 

To walk the talk as a leader should be an easy concept – just do what you say. Instead, what is probably more accurate is the phrase “easier said than done.” When companies list their values on a poster in the breakroom or on their website or even state them in a town hall they somehow expect everyone to adopt and abide by those values. But then you turn around and the same leadership team that posted the values is behaving in a completely contradictory manner – and you wonder why we don’t trust leadership.

Disturbingly, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed 63 percent of its survey respondents said CEOs are somewhat or not at all credible. Well… how many of you have heard a CEO say that his people are the company’s most important asset, but all decisions seem to benefit the investor over the employee? How many times have you heard that a company’s value is safety or quality, but an employee gets in trouble for calling out an issue? How many of you have heard a leadership team say they are accessible, but there’s a security code required to enter the executive suite?

In general, I would argue that most business leaders are good people with good intentions that unfortunately make some bad moves. It is hard to always walk the talk and it is hard to be called to the mat when you don’t. It is hard to always be looked to and looked at. I am a leader of a company and I admit from my own experience that it is hard and that I have failed at times. But hard is not and never will be an excuse – our ability to live out our purpose and values every day is what we, in a position of leadership, are looked to for. If you are a leader you are the example setter; you are the role model; you are the chief influencer. It is an absolute requirement to be the steward of your organization’s purpose and live out the values you claim.

I take heed of the Conscious Capitalism Conscious Leadership tenet: “Conscious Leaders focus on ‘we,’ rather than ‘me.’ They inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them.” There really is no better way to inspire your team than to be an example of your company values. It is in the actions of a leader that we see his true purpose and passion come to life.

Whole Foods states their purpose “is to nourish people and the planet.” In late 2014 co-founder and CEO John Mackey, notably the man most associated with organic foods, created the Responsibly Grown rating system so that his customers would have greater transparency about their food. But he also wanted to expose factors in production that were not being addressed in the standard organic certification. From soil health to farmworker welfare, the system takes into account issues that need to be addressed by growers. Through this program they buy first from producers that address these issues. It was not an easy decision and Mackey received push back from farmers. But he stood by the decision and found a way to nourish people and planet, aligning his actions with the company purpose.

But what of leaders who have failed their organizations? Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, stated in 1977, “What we’re trying to do is remove the barrier of having to learn to use a computer.” His mission to remove a barrier between people and technology proved successful, but his actions as a leader created a barrier between himself and his people.

After he was ousted as CEO he claimed that it took being a failure as a leader to open his eyes to what was needed at his company. In a presentation in 1997, after he came back to Apple as CEO, he stated, “Even a great brand needs investment in caring if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality. And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to bring it back.”

At the time Jobs realized he needed to get back to his company’s core value, that people with passion can change the world for the better. He had become so focused on producing things that he forgot the heart of what mattered, and that was people.

When you lead by example you create a vision of what is possible for others. If you do it consistently you create a culture where anything is possible. But if your actions aren’t congruent with your values you risk the integrity and credibility of your whole organization. In all things tie back to your core values. No matter what you are doing in any given moment there is always an opportunity to tie it back to your values, and by doing so you will find that walking your talk is not as hard as it sounds.

As President of Savage Brands, Bethany Andell is on a mission to revolutionize corporate America by unleashing the inherent good in all companies. In her book, Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose, Andell, along with co-author Jackie Dryden, Chief Purpose Architect at Savage Brands, help executives at business-to-business companies shift their focus from solely improving the bottom line to instead prioritize the company’s long-term health, culture and non-monetary impact on the world. Bethany is also the host of The BusinessMaker’s radio program, “Brandonomics”. The show features CEOs and business owners sharing direct insights on their purpose-driven organizations and strategies.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Indy 500 Races Can Be Won or Lost in the Pit. How’s Your Pit Crew Doing?

Guest Post from Glenna Crooks, PhD:

If you are a leader today you face a faster pace of change and far greater complexity than at any time in human history. As if the technical challenges, required skillsets and necessary mindsets were not enough to master, there’s more. It is likely your organization is multigenerational, multiracial, multilingual, ethnically-diverse and gender-fluid. It may cross time zones. If it is multinational, you comply with differing laws and regulations and adhere to differing cultural norms.
Add to that, your world gets more hyper-connected with each passing day.  Any, even minor, mistake you – or others on your teams – make, can create instant, major blow-back. How could it not?  After all, you face 24/7/365, always-on media, government regulators, Wall Street analysts, company shareholders, community stakeholders, critics, customers and employees, each with different – and sometimes conflicting – demands.

My work as a global strategist organizing chaos and solving problems in health care puts me in touch with extraordinary people navigating these choppy waters. I have the “up close” view that comes from long days of working, long nights of dining and long weeks of studying together in development courses. What a privilege!  I admire them all and am pleased to say none succumbed to the pressures by cutting corners or losing sight of their mission to help and to heal.
In 2005, however, I noticed a troublesome trend. Increasingly, the pressures were taking a toll.  I’d become a trusted, confidential counsel which is why, over time, more and more of them felt comfortable to share worries they’d not disclosed to others, even to spouses, coaches and counselors, and certainly not to Boards, other senior executives or employees. They were overwhelmed. They feared they were not up to facing the future successfully.  Even more, they feared their companies were destined for failure, their employees would lose jobs and the patients they served would suffer.

I don’t go looking for problems; they find me. That’s what happened here. These concerns sent me in search of solutions, and I found many. Some had worked in my own life: better fitness, Covey’s Seven Habits, active vacations and better stress management, to name a few. It seemed, however, that regardless of how necessary those approaches were, they were not sufficient. What else did they need?
In 2007, I found the answer in an unlikely place – the fashion magazine W – and from an unlikely source: Robert Downey, Jr. In an interview, he’s quoted as saying he needed a “pit crew” of people to help him live his life. He wasn’t a Model T; he was a Ferrari, so it took a pit crew to keep him on the road. 

If you are like the leaders I know, you have a good pit crew at work: good assistants, talented staff, great consultants and policies and procedures to help it all run smoothly. What became apparent in a decade of research, however, is that (except in very rare cases) virtually all leaders lacked similar support for life outside of work. That not only left them with little downtime to recover from the demands of the job, it disrupted work days with avoidable non-work commitments, obligations, events and crises. Though this had not (yet) taken a toll on their performance, it had taken a toll on them and their relationships.  
· In that case, what should a leader do? What my favorite superhero called “pit crews”, I call “networks.” I urge you to learn about yours. Explore who’s in them. Learn if an important person might be missing.  Determine whether they’re supporting you well enough and if not – especially if it’s someone you pay for services – consider making changes.

· What networks you should explore? There are six networks that support you outside of work: family, health and vitality, education and enrichment, spiritual, social and community, and home and personal affairs. And, there’s one additional; it is important because it impacts you, often without you realizing it. This is a network I call “ghosts”: the influential people from your past who shaped your life.
· Why is this important? It is true for everyone, but especially for leaders: when it comes to your career, the strengths and the weaknesses of every other network show up in force. Unreliable child care, doctors who keep you waiting, or a contractor that walks out on a remodeling job, for example, drain your energy and rob you of the peace of mind you need to lead well.
·Then, what’s next? With new insights about your own life, realize that each of your employees – and customers – are facing similar non-work support challenges. Many may not yet have the skills you’ve developed during your leadership journey. What might that mean for how you manage? For the training you provide? For company benefits? For new products and services for your market? For customer service? Please keep me posted. I’d love to hear about it.
Glenna Crooks, PhD was a Reagan Appointee, a Merck&Co Global Vice President and Founder of Strategic Health Policy International, Inc. With Bruce LaMont, she recently c-founded CogentSageQI, an innovative performance optimization platform built on a unique data ecosystem aligned to key performance indicators and the bottom line. She is the author of The NetworkSage: Realize Your Network Superpower.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

10 Traits of Great Leaders in This New World of Work

Guest post from Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey:

The world of work has and continues to change. Our workforce, which now consists of five generations working side by side, expects and demands different things from its organization, its job, and most certainly its leaders. 

We conducted a study to better understand these new expectations of leaders, asking 350 millennials the question: What do you want and expect from your leaders? We asked the respondents to name and prioritize the leadership traits that they most respected and valued. 

The results show that what employees are looking for in a leader has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. These are the 10 traits that employees expect -- and I strongly believe that companies need -- from their leaders:

1. Own and live the company values. Leaders need to be role models for their company’s values. They should take every opportunity to communicate and apply the values constantly, incorporating them to guide and help make better decisions.

2. Communicate openly and early. Leaders need to be open, honest and transparent with their employees. They should communicate news and information early, not shielding them from bad news.

“Be as open with your people as you can, as early as you can. Employees are much more likely to go to bat for something they understand.” --Helen Craik, Reward Gateway Co-founder

3. Inspire people to reach higher. Leaders need to create an environment where employees are able to do their jobs well, and a culture where they want to do their jobs well, inspiring them to be the best they can be each and every day.

4. Own their mistakes. Leaders are no longer expected to be perfect. They are expected to be human and positive role models, which includes owning mistakes when they happen. Leaders should also think of mistakes as learning or teaching moments, using them as opportunities and not obstacles.

5. Recognize big wins, small wins and hard work. Leaders build a culture of employee recognition by modeling continuous recognition and where saying thanks is an everyday occurrence.

6. Trust people. Leaders should always default to trust and accept that most people are good and trustworthy. They must lead in a way that’s respectful and honors other’s good intentions, and not presume that their employees’ have malicious intentions.

7. Make the right decision, not the popular decision. Leaders need to prioritize doing what’s right over what’s popular. They should be accountable to their people and act as servants, being prepared to be unpopular when necessary, and striving to do what’s right for the business, the customer and their people as a whole. 

8. Add value to their teams, helping them to succeed. Leaders who deliver visible value to their teams, helping them bring their creativity, ideas and judgment to work, overcome the challenges of the new world of work and of more complex jobs.

9. Have the courage to be genuine and visible. Leaders need to bring their whole selves to work, having the courage to be authentic and to show vulnerability.

10. Take care of people. Leaders need to lead with compassion and kindness, showing their employees that they truly care about them and have their best interests in mind.

Great leaders understand and embody all of these qualities, and don’t just pay them lip service. They understand that in this new world of work they need to eliminate the barriers that separate them from their people, using every tool they have at their disposal to cut through the hierarchy and bring themselves closer to their people. By doing this, they will significantly improve upward feedback and employee engagement. And, they’ll earn the loyalty of not only millennials, but every generation they have the privilege to lead.

Glenn Elliott is founder and Debra Corey is group reward director of Reward Gateway, a world leader in integrated employee engagement technology with more than 1,800 clients worldwide. Elliott and Corey's new book, Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement (Wiley, Feb. 27, 2018) highlights practical improvements that organizations can make to build a highly engaged company culture.