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What kind of matrixed environment are you operating in?

Posted on February 14, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  What kind of matrixed environment are you operating in?

  • Highly matrixed: lots of complexity and many stakeholders I answer to:
  • Moderately matrixed: it’s complex but it’s a managable number of stakeholders:
  • Not very matrixed: it’s a simple organization with a couple of key stakeholders:
  • Not matrixed: it’s a very simple organization with no overlapping responsibilities:

Complexity reigns supreme. A huge portion of you (71%) are operating in highly matrixed environments. The importance of clear accountability, proper goal setting, and constant prioritization of efforts is paramount. If you have lack of clarity on who is responsible for what or if goals are in conflict, your life will be a nightmare. If you haven’t been given that clarity, seek it out. Take a proposal to your multiple bosses for how you and your colleagues want to divide responsibilities and offer perspectives on how to reconcile goals that are in conflict. Many times your leaders don’t understand those conflicts as well as you do because you’re at the intersection of those issues. The more effectively you drive clarity, the easier it will be to execute well and achieve your goals.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Leadership Lessons from Tragedies, Near-Misses, Hardships, and Mistakes

Posted on February 13, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

Hiking on a Long Trail

Great leaders learn from even the worst situations – perhaps especially the worst. Find out what some great leaders learned from holding a man’s hand as he took his dying breath at work, a falling crate smashing to bits on the factory floor a few feet from visitors, a painstaking walk across the entire country of Spain, and a lost driver’s license that threatened to derail an entire 2-day business trip.

Today’s post is by Paul Smith, thoughtLEADERS principal and bestselling author of Lead With a Story and  Sell With a Story.

Here’s an easy way to learn some new leadership skills – in easy-to-digest podcasts you can listen to at your convenience.
These podcasts are based on interviews with 100 executives, leaders, authors, and experts at dozens of companies around the world. Each episode brings you an important leadership lesson through a single compelling story.

Does customer service this amazing ever happen at your company? If so, would you even know it?

Probably the most outrageously positive customer service story I’ve ever heard. Maybe too good. You decide. Then ask yourself these five questions…

Compensating Behavior: A Leader’s Guide to Finding Problems You Don’t Know You Have

The most dangerous problems are the ones you don’t know you have. Here’s a creative way to find them.

Two Leadership Lessons from an American Author’s Walk across Spain

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How To Be a Great Innovator in Your Field

Posted on February 11, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

Innovation Poster

Innovation in today’s society can be a difficult idea to grasp and an even more difficult idea to implement.  In order to truly lead forward as an innovator there are a few key concepts to hold onto.

Today’s post is by Dr. Joseph Walker, author of No Opportunity Wasted (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Lately, the term “innovator” conjures up the image of a young entrepreneur disrupting an industry with concepts like ridesharing, e-currency or meal-kit delivery. But it doesn’t have to. Whether you are 35 or 65, leading a start-up or a multi-generational business, you can be an innovator. In fact, you have to be if you’re going to keep succeeding. Being an innovator doesn’t just mean introducing a new idea; it also means tirelessly improving processes, finding solutions and refining techniques.

And to truly lead with an innovative mindset, you must change the way you think – about success, about yourself and about your team. It won’t be easy. But it can be done. Here are the basics:

Embrace Discomfort

One of the biggest roadblocks to innovative thinking is discomfort. People – particularly people who already are successful – tend to shy away from it. After all, you achieved so much, and things have been working fine for you, so why change? But tradition is frozen success, not a roadmap for future opportunity. You can’t maintain success unless you adapt. Things change quickly today – tastes, priorities, people and peoples’ needs. So let go of any illusions that what worked in the past will work just as effectively today. It won’t.

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When you have a high performer whose performance starts dropping, how do you handle it?

Posted on February 7, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  When you have a high performer whose performance starts dropping, how do you handle it?

  • I let it sort itself out — they know what they’re supposed to do: 6%
  • I give them a pretty long leash but intervene before it goes too far: 47%
  • I nudge them early to let them know something is off: 44%
  • I jump in and start managing them much more closely: 3%

To nudge or not? Folks seem evenly split on whether to nudge a high performer when they see something off in terms of performance. While many of you opt to not say anything, a large portion (44%) will make a small prod when they see performance slightly off track. Either approach is likely fine provided you give that high performer room to fix the issue. Sometimes just making them aware of something being amiss is more than enough to get things back on track. Regardless of which tack you take, know when they need to be bailed out. It’s a pretty terrible outcome to lose a high performer because you let their performance deteriorate beyond something they could correct on their own.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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You Might Consider Improving Your Executive Presence

Posted on February 6, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

Man Checking Tie

Executive presence is an element of leadership that’s easy to recognize but difficult to develop, but might be the difference in your career progressing forward.

Today’s post is by Rob Salafia, a principal at thoughtLEADERS and author of Leading from Your Best Self (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Executive presence is an element of leadership that’s easy to recognize but difficult to develop. In fact, in a recent study by the Center for Talent Innovation, it was found that feedback on executive presence is often contradictory and confusing and that 81% of those who are instructed to improve their executive presence are unclear on how to act on it.

For instance, can you relate to any of the situations below?

You have been passed up for a promotion—even though your record demonstrates that you’re smart enough and capable enough. No one can put a finger on exactly what the issue is, but it’s enough to hold you back.

Your boss or someone higher on the food chain has mentioned to you that, “you might consider improving your executive presence.” You walk away thinking to yourself, ok, now what?

You’re a manager with a team member who you know has the capability to shine but is struggling to find their voice.

Having spent the last 20 years helping executives develop executive presence, I have found the process to be something that people (regardless of gender, industry, country, and culture) struggle to understand and develop.

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Great Associate Experiences Start with Choice and Flexibility

Posted on February 4, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

Office Space

The biggest change in the office environment is choice and flexibility. People are finding different ways and spaces in which to work that make them happy.

Today’s post is by Ira Sharfin, CEO, Continental Office.

It’s not a question of if the workplace will change. It’s a matter of when. The days of mundane 8 to 5’s while stuck in a grey, uninspired cubical are rapidly becoming obsolete. Today’s workforce is finding different ways and spaces in which to work that make them happy and more productive.

People are always surprised when I tell them the biggest change I’ve seen emerge isn’t, in fact, the open office. The most notable change over the past decade has been the arrival of choice and flexibility in the workplace. Truth be told, the open office plan does happen to be a popular design given the amount of buzz in recent years. But what’s most important is giving people control over “where” and “how” they work. By creating dynamic settings, we can have the most positive impact on today’s workforce.

I’ve seen what the addition of choice and flexibility can do for both our clients and our own team. I remember when I first came to Continental Office. I wanted to change a traditional conference room by removing the large board room table and 12 chairs surrounding it. I enlisted the help of Nick, our EVP of Design. We brought in several new pieces, including couches and a white Eames lounge chair. We installed embedded LED panels in the wall and created a whole new environment. Some people thought it was a bit crazy. Others asked for the old furniture to be brought back in. Most believed no one would ever use the updated room.

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Have you heard the term “insecure overachiever” and if so, would you consider yourself one?

Posted on January 31, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  Have you heard the term “insecure overachiever” and if so, would you consider yourself one?

  • Yes. I have heard it, but I am not one: 18%
  • Yes. I have heard it, and I definitely am one: 29%
  • No. I have never heard the term: 53%

Insecurity driving achievement. A term that’s been around for a long time is being an “insecure overachiever.” These people (myself included) have insecurities about their performance or their position and those insecurities lead them to invest disproportionate effort into their work. That effort often leads to great achievements. When kept in check, these dynamics can be stressful yet yield great results. Unchecked, they can lead to a complete loss of work-life balance and a loss of perspective on what’s really important. If you’re an insecure overachiever, set boundaries for your work efforts. Cut back on weekend work and late nights. Believe what they’re telling you in your great performance reviews. If you manage one of these people, be sure to let them know where they stand and how solid their work is. Keep an eye out for them losing a sense of balance. Burn out can lead to severe consequences.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Is Your Executive Team Stressed? Then Move!

Posted on January 30, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Our brains are under constant assault from stressors. To reduce the amount of stress you feel and to improve your resilience, move. Move around physically. Exercise. Walk while on conference calls. Move. Movement has huge benefits in terms of stress reduction and resilience.

Today’s post is by Jon Wortmann, thoughtLEADERS principal and author of Hijacked by Your Brain. He’s our primary instructor for our Building Leadership Resilience course.

A data breach impacting millions. A failure of your core systems due to too much volume leaving users stranded. Two key executives leaving without successors in place.

If you are a leader, imagining each of the aforementioned, true, situations, is enough to double your heart rate. And it should. Thinking about attacks, major human errors, and poor planning triggers the region of your brain that causes stress.

Your amygdala, which I call your alarm, is a tiny, almond shaped region in the middle, left, and right sides of your brain. Bears have alarms. So do iguanas. Our ancestors a thousand years ago did too. Animals and old-timers needed their alarms to stay safe. To avoid danger, they had to be able to run and hide from nastier creatures or avoid the wrong food or water.

Our problem today is that too many moments in life feel like a Sabre-tooth tiger approaching, as we sit safely in our offices, drive comfortably in our cars, and have full fridges of healthy, nutritious food (in addition to cake, wine, and cheese).

That’s why you and your execs are stressed. Their alarms are on all the time. The risk from hackers has never been higher. Our technology is more powerful and more complicated than ever, and only continues to become more so of each. Our teams are made of independent, smart colleagues who will take a better job. As we think about these realities, unlike danger from which you can fight or flee, we need modern solutions. So many of our stressors are stuck in our head and we don’t know what to do.

What is also common with our ancestors is that they too sought relief from the things that stressed them out. What used to be the purview of shaman and healers is now the focus of neuroscientists and applied psychologists. Many of the answers that the ancients discovered intuitively, we now have empirical data to back up. You don’t have to let the stress you feel last. You can inoculate yourself from the real triggers that may, in fact, get worse in the years to come.

How?

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Leading Remote and Outsourced Employees So They Too Can be Part of the Team

Posted on January 28, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Business Toolkit, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Coffee Shop Girl Working

Outsourced and remote employees often are expected to share the company vision but are not part of the team. Leaders take action to bring these workers into the team.

Today’s post is by Dr. Richard Nongard, author of Viral Leadership (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

As I walked by the reception desk in my executive center to get to the copy machine, the receptionist stopped me and said, “You know, I really am thankful for the Christmas gift you gave me in December.” The comment came from left field, it was May now, and I had only given her a red envelope with $100 in it almost six months ago. It was nothing extravagant, and she certainly deserved it for all the help she had given me over the past year.

“Oh. Your welcome.” I responded, “And thank-you for always being so helpful.“ I took the next step forward to get to the copy machine, and she blurted out, “You know, it was a bigger bonus than I have gotten from corporate in more than five years.”

“Really?” I questioned. She retorted, “Sometimes I think they don’t even know I exist. I am the only employee in this building; everyone else who works for the company is at the big office across town. They haven’t even invited me to the Christmas party ever!”

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How well do your people behave as stewards of your organization’s resources?

Posted on January 24, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks:  How well do your people behave as stewards of your organization’s resources?

  • Crises are harder to lead in: 17.%
  • Day-to-day environments are harder to lead in: 83.0%

Harder to lead during the calm. It makes sense that it’s harder to lead a team during day-to-day calm periods. There’s no “enemy” to galvanize your efforts. There’s no crisis to rally the team around. It’s just the boring daily operations that have to be done, but they also have to be done well. Just remember the old military aphorism that how you train in peace defines how you fight in war. If you’re not maintaining standards and holding people accountable during the slow times, they’re more prone to mistakes that can be costly during a crisis. If you place the right focus on the details when things are slow, that will be one less thing to worry about during the crisis that’s inevitably going to come your way.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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