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Change Management Is Dead: The Rise of Progress Leadership

Posted on August 13, 2018 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

The Word Change Spray Painted on a Wall

The way we traditionally define what it means to be brave can be our greatest obstacle. Simply shifting our focus can be the gateway to powerful results.

Today’s post is by Dean Lindsay, author of How to Achieve Big Phat Goals (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Change Management is a business term relating to initiating change within an organization. This could include anything from a change in work culture to increasing employee engagement and morale. The problem, however, with the term change management, is that no one really desires to change. Instead, we desire to plan to progress and we want leaders to lead us – creating Progress Leadership.

Committed leaders or Progress Agents, should not be apologizing for the change, but instead, they should focus on inspiring the progress of their organization. If Progress Agents include others in the process, they can shape and sustain the thoughts that in turn lead to desired results.

Companies are most successful when the goals of the company connect personally with the employees. If the goals don’t connect on a personal level with the individual, then the planned progress will be viewed as merely a change and will be resisted or at least not acted on.

Back in 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, and its wisdom still speaks to this point today. Packed with insight on leading strong relationships by lifting people up, the book encourages readers to genuinely care about people and their feelings. Not only does this encourage us to take actions for the benefit of the people we are respecting, but it makes clear that caring about others is good for the person who cares.

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Have you ever had a salesperson ask you to tell them a story so they can get to know you?

Posted on August 9, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll, Sales

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Have you ever had a salesperson ask you to tell them a story so they can get to know you?

  • Yes, it happens frequently: 20.6%
  • No, I’ve never been asked to tell a story: 79.4%

Stories tell more than the story. If you’re in sales – and let’s be clear, we’re all in sales since we’re always selling ideas – getting your buyer to tell you a story will give you insight into their challenges, their preferences, and their decision making approach. Asking buyers to tell stories also helps build a relationship and build trust. The more you know about the other person and their experiences, the easier it is to connect with them and understand their perspective. There are a few critical yet simple techniques to get your buyer to tell you stories like asking for specific events or prompting their story by asking about a specific problem. Who knows – the next story you hear might help you close that sale or get your idea approved!

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 Unexpected Places

Posted on August 8, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

Marathon Runner

Sometimes the best leadership lessons come from the most unexpected places. In this set of 6 podcasts, you’ll learn leadership lessons from an old man who ran 543 miles in 5 days, a chemical engineer specializing in dirt, and a comedian who toured all 50 states.  You’ll also learn how to give presentations you don’t believe in, if your leadership stories have to be true, and hear an interview on the courage and integrity of a leader with the former CEO of Dun & Bradstreet.

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.

Finding the Fire at Work: What We Can All Learn from the World’s Most Grueling Athletic Competition

You can’t run 543.7 miles in 5 days without learning a few things. Here’s one of them.

One Question that Led to an Innovation Breakthrough at Procter & Gamble and Can Do the Same for You

A think-outside-the-box story from Tide that can spur creativity and innovation in just about any industry.

“Do the stories I tell at work have to be true?”

As a storytelling coach, I’m often asked, “Do my leadership or sales stories have to be true?” Here’s my perhaps surprising answer. . .

3 Bad Jokes and 1 Important Lesson in Courage from Comedian Drew Tarvin

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Redefining What It Means to Be Brave

Posted on August 6, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Man Walking on Hot Coals

The way we traditionally define what it means to be brave can be our greatest obstacle. Simply shifting our focus can be the gateway to powerful results.

Today’s post is by Kimberly Davis, author of Brave Leadership (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Have you ever wondered why, when you think of needing to be brave – like when you need to have a difficult conversation that you don’t want to have, or give a big presentation, or meet with the C-Suite, or start something new, or put yourself out there in a new way – why just thinking about being brave seems to have the opposite effect? You get that queasiness in your stomach, your breathing might grow shallow, your muscles tighten. Why is it, when you most need to rally yourself, that you find you’re feeling more tense than ever?

“I don’t get it,” one senior executive said to me as we were talking about her upcoming presentation. “I speak all the time. I know my stuff. I’m a pretty confident woman. So why do I feel like I want to throw up just thinking about having to give this talk?”

And it’s no wonder. If you look at how we traditionally define what it means to be brave – ready to face and endure danger or pain – it’s not something most of us get terribly excited about. But the bigger question is, does it serve us? I would argue no.

Because our focus triggers our feelings, which triggers our behavior.

And really, is this definition sufficient? We tend to think of “brave” as an admirable quality. We aspire to be brave. And yet how many people can you think of who seem to have no problem with being “ready to face danger and pain” yet their behavior is anything but admirable? I can think of many times in my life when I’ve jumped into the fray. I’ve said what needed to be said (damn the torpedoes!), but it hasn’t always been a reflection of my best and highest self. Perhaps it’s time for a definition that will better set us up for success.

The way I’ve come to define brave is: To be and bring your best, most authentic, and powerful self. For isn’t this the greatest challenge we face? But what does that really mean?

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How often do you see candidates bomb their interview because of a single big mistake during the interview?

Posted on August 2, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How often do you see candidates bomb their interview because of a single big mistake during the interview?

  • All the time
  • Frequently
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never

Interviews are stressful. These are high-risk situations for a candidate. It’s not surprising that 85% of you see a candidate make a catastrophic mistake that tanks the interview. While common interview mistakes like candidates checking their phone or watch are bad, bigger mistakes like poor answers to common questions are definite interview-enders. Your job as an interviewer is to make the conversation as relaxed as possible. You’re looking to really get to know this person. If you can reduce the stress level surrounding the discussion, you’ll get better responses from candidates and ultimately make better hiring decisions.

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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The Critical Importance of Leadership During Boring Times

Posted on August 1, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Mike Figliuolo and His Tank Crew

Leading during a crisis is easy. Adrenaline leads to focus and higher performance. But how do you lead during the doldrums when nothing “important” is going on? Those slow times are the ones that affect performance during the crisis. Failure to lead during slow times leads to failures during crisis.

I recently spoke with Todd De Voe of EM Weekly. We discussed leadership, management, and how to lead people who deal with crisis situations on a regular basis. You can listen to the entire interview by CLICKING HERE. You can also listen to the entire interview below.

We had a great conversation and I’d like to share an excerpt of our discussion where we discuss the importance of leading people during the boring, day-to-day situations that reside in between the crises we invariable face. Here is my perspective on that situation.

The day-to-day stuff is an easy place to get lazy and not do it well. Everybody is going to lead well in a crisis because we respond in those exciting moments. The adrenaline kicks in. We see the stakes are high, we get focused, and we understand the importance of leading well in those situations.

I argue that it’s easier to lead in a crisis situation than it is during periods of calm.

From a military perspective, it’s easier to lead in the field than it is to lead in garrison. I think, back to my platoon leader days and my soldiers were awesome in the field. I loved taking those guys to the field because they were focused. They were on it. They were doing the right things. They understood the mission and how they contributed. Incidentally, the photo is me and my tank crew – SGT Villarreal, PV2 Bundy and PV2 Dick. Yes, my driver’s name was Private Dan Dick. Stop giggling.

When I got them back to garrison… oh my gosh… what a nightmare! They were constantly doing stupid stuff in the motor pool, getting drunk, and other assorted tomfoolery. I always asked “why are you guys so good out in the field and you’re so bad here?”

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Recognizing Innovation Right in Front of You

Posted on July 30, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

Innovation Written on Wall in Tile

Breakthrough innovation virtually always builds upon other existing ideas or innovations. Your organization is full of ideas that simply haven’t materialized yet. Changing the way you look at and think about innovation can help unlock their potential.

Today’s post is by Dr. Kumar Mehta, author of The Innovation Biome (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Establishing the conditions that encourage innovation is the best way for your company to consciously develop an environment that consistently lets you produce offerings with new and novel value – innovations in the eyes of your users. The most innovative companies do this instinctively – perhaps because of the culture instilled by superstar leaders, a conscious and successful effort, or the emergence of the right conditions after things just fell into place.

But the fact is that every company can develop this innate innovation capability – something I call an Innovation Biome. Companies are inherently innovative, and their employees often have great ideas that can become market winners. The problem is that companies do not have an environment to support, nurture and germinate the great ideas as they believe that the great ideas are “out there” somewhere. It is critical that your organization focus on innovation from within by recognizing the innovation in front of you.

One of the core assumptions about innovation that every leader needs to understand is that ideas always build on other ideas. Breakthrough innovation is never something that comes out of the blue. Nothing is independent. Progress breeds progress. Improvements lead to other improvements. Just like the Internet – everything is connected. Creativity and innovation are about improving on what is out there and connecting dots in an original way to create new value.

Innovations are rarely, if ever, unique breakthroughs with no history. They come from interconnected, networked ideas. They come from expanding on the lessons of the past. The one common truth across all innovations throughout history is that if an innovation had not happened as we know it, it would still have happened, only with a different set of players and circumstances. We would still have antibiotics if Alexander Fleming had not observed that mold kills bacteria, and we would still be flying had the Wright brothers not pioneered flight, and we would still have mass produced automobiles and light bulbs had Henry Ford or Thomas Edison not made the contributions they did.

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How effectively do you use data to tell stories?

Posted on July 26, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How effectively do you use data to tell stories?

  • Very: my data always tells a story: 52.8%
  • Kind of: sometimes my data tells a story: 39.1%
  • Not very: it’s rare that my data tells stories: 6.1%
  • Not at all: it’s always just a data dump: 2.0%

Tell me a story. Clearly many of you think about the story you’re trying to tell with your data. When you understand how to structure a story and what elements to include, it’s much easier to use data to fit your narrative. Invest that extra time thinking through the story before you jump into the analysis. That extra time will clarify your message and help move your audience to take the actions you want them to take. If you’re not thinking about the story your data is telling, find people who are good storytellers and ask them how they craft those narratives. Storytelling isn’t hard. It just requires discipline and the use of a solid storytelling method.

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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Feedback across the Generations, from Millennials to Baby Boomers

Posted on July 23, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Employers constantly have to give feedback to multi-generational employees, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. By doing it well, they can build a stronger culture, drive greater productivity and create and maintain better relationships.

Today’s post is by Margie Mauldin, author of Feedback Revolution (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The term, “generation gap,” became popular in the 1960s. And today, more than ever, it’s showing up in the workplace, where differences among the generations – and the communications challenges those differences present – are increasing with a record number of generations working together.  People are living longer and, therefore, working longer. As a result, it’s possible to find four and five generations in one work environment today.

The opportunities and benefits of this situation are huge, yet sometimes ignored. And the confusion between a “generation gap” and a “communications gap” are often misunderstood. By understanding generational differences, employers can provide more relevant feedback to their employees thereby building greater productivity, better relationships and more collaborative cultures.

In this multi-generational workforce, a manager must know how to reach each age group with effective feedback. If you approach the modern, multi-generational workforce with these thoughts in mind, you will be able to tailor your feedback to both the employee’s particular needs and that that same employee’s generational expectations. From the Millennial to the Baby Boomer generations, following is insight on how they best receive feedback, as well as tips for their employers to effectively deliver that feedback:

Millennials

Be specific with all feedback, and get to the point quickly. Use Millennials’ impatience to your advantage, setting up goals and deliverables that can be achieved quickly. Conversely, use your feedback sessions to show them that in some cases, slow and steady can also be effective. Use Millennial’s technology comfort levels to your advantage – and to the advantage of your feedback. Email, text messages, video chats and PowerPoint presentations can be effective with this generation. Make lists and summaries of feedback, have the millennial employee do the same, and then compare lists. Add humor and, if appropriate, irony, to your feedback session. They appreciate humor!

Generation X

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How actively do you seek to build personal resilience?

Posted on July 19, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How actively do you seek to build personal resilience?

  • Very: it’s a big focus of mine.: 49.4%
  • Somewhat: I’ll focus on it from time to time.: 34.9%
  • Not very: If I build the skill, it’s not intentional.: 9.1%
  • Not at all: I rarely even think about resilience.: 6.6%

Resilience is a differentiator. A large proportion of you focus on building your personal and leadership resilience. That’s great! The ability to stay strong and thrive during turbulent times is the hallmark of a great leader. If you want to increase your resilience, consider focusing on four critical areas: maintaining your physical well-being, managing your thinking, fulfilling your purpose and harnessing the power of connections. A deliberate approach to building resilience will go much further than letting resilience just happen.

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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