slidedown

Become a Better Leader in Two Days

Posted on May 10, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Business Toolkit, Career, Communications, Entrepreneur, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy, Training, Upcoming Events

Executive Insight 16 by thoughtLEADERSYou can improve your leadership skills in two days and have a great time doing it. Learn tools and techniques related to leadership, strategy, communication, decision making, problem solving, storytelling, resilience, innovation, and more at Executive Insight 16.

Our firm rarely offers public sessions of our programs. Here’s an opportunity for you to attend one of those events. On November 10-11, we’re hosting Executive Insight 16 at the Waldorf Astoria in my original hometown of New York. We’re delivering 13 sessions on our most sought-after topics and you can be part of that session. Consider this your formal invitation to join us. Here are the details on the event:

Executive Insight 16

Read More…

How well do you communicate decisions and manage change?

Posted on August 25, 2016 | 1 Comment
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: How well do you communicate decisions and manage change?

– Very — My decisions are clear and I manage change well: 39%
– Somewhat — Most decisions are clear and I get through making change: 55%
– Not very — My decisions could be clearer and I struggle with change: 5%
– Not at all — My decisions are rarely executed effectively: 1%

The decision is just the start. All too often we mistakenly believe that once we’ve made a decision, things are final. Allow me to introduce the concept of “execution risk” – the possibility a decision you’ve made isn’t executed correctly or at all. Without proper change management, the execution risk you face can be quite high especially for controversial decisions. There are two key ways to minimize execution risk – effective communications and active change management. Make sure you invest in doing those well if you want to see your decisions carried out the way you expect them to be.

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!

Read More…

The Most Important Communications Tool Ever Made

Posted on August 24, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

The Elegant PitchAre you tired of not getting your recommendations approved? Sick of spending countless hours on useless analysis? Frustrated by stakeholders who won’t support your idea? There’s a simple explanation for all these issues – you’re not being thoughtful about constructing your recommendations.

This is a learnable skill. With the method I cover in my latest book The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved, you’ll be able to go from basic idea to approved recommendation more efficiently and effectively than you thought was possible. By using these methods, you can get to “yes” more quickly and drive the results that set you apart from the crowd.

Getting ideas or projects approved and securing the resources needed to implement them is one of the greatest challenges business leaders face. The Elegant Pitch provides a simple, proven process to go from idea to approval more quickly and effectively than ever before. This is the same method used by elite strategy consulting firms such as McKinsey & Co. and Bain Consulting. But you don’t have to be a high-priced consultant to master this process – you just need to read the book! With multiple stakeholders, constrained budgets, and competing agendas, it’s difficult to cut through the clutter and garner the required support. This book holds the keys to unlocking the stakeholder support you need.

Allow me to share a few thoughts on the method:

I use this method all the time. I’ve taught thousands of leaders around the world how to use it. I’m a passionate believer in its effectiveness. Now I’d like to share that method with you. The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved (CLICK HERE to get your copy) spells out a straightforward process you can immediately use to get your ideas approved.

If you’re interested in taking our course on the method, come check out our Structured Thought & Communications course. We’re happy to come to your organization and teach you and your team how to make clearer, more compelling recommendations.

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!

4 Keys to Organizing for Successful Leadership Development

Posted on August 22, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

OrganizerSuccessful leadership development must be personal, business-relevant, comprehensive and regular. Is your leadership development program organized for success?

Today’s post is by Niels-Peter van Doorn of Borderless.

If you do an online search for “leadership,” you get 493,000,000 results. That means that there is more material on leadership than you will ever be able to read. Almost every leadership expert – self-appointed or otherwise – is talking about example behaviors, coaching and inspiring people, as well as about demonstrating decisiveness and strength.

What is a lot harder to find is an explanation of how leadership development can best be organized. What can you do to make sure that leadership development doesn’t get snowed under the many priorities of everyday business life?

My firm Borderless recently conducted a survey among thousands of leaders worldwide. The results were shocking: Over half of the respondents claim that leadership development in their organization is ineffective and underfunded. Leadership is considered a nice-to-have rather than a business imperative. And although coaching is considered one of the best ways to develop leadership, one third of respondents are not aware of any type of coaching or mentoring going on within their organization.

Based on our own extensive experience in developing leadership in multinational organizations, we have seen a shift in the way leadership development is organized:

Closer to the business; with a double focus on business acumen and soft skills; and as part of everyday work, rather than as external classroom sessions. Here are our main recommendations to make sure your business profits from our experience.

  1. Make sure senior management is accountable for leadership development – and that it has an engaging vision on leadership.

Fifty-seven percent of the survey respondents think that support from top management is the critical success factor that most influences leadership development within their organization. At the same time, many people state that their C-suite executives do not ‘walk the talk.’ Senior leaders who have a relevant, inspiring view on leadership and leadership development tap into the collective desires of their workforce and set goals that are motivating for everyone involved.

When Henry Ford started manufacturing the Model T-Ford, he not only pioneered conveyor-belt production processes, he also knew that the American people valued one thing above all else: their individual freedom. In essence, Ford did not manufacture and market cars; he offered freedom and mobility to American consumers on an unparalleled scale. Ford’s strategy demonstrates a phenomenal vision on leadership. By linking the products of his business to a fundamental need of consumers and a fundamental value of society, Ford created a long-term demand for his products. By making efficiency the second leg his company stood on, he also secured financial success. Such a comprehensive vision is a prerequisite for successful leadership development. Executives should develop their own unique, relevant strategic vision and the related leadership principles.

  1. Link leadership development to real-life business challenges.

Read More…

How effective are you at getting your recommendations approved?

Posted on August 18, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: How effective are you at getting your recommendations approved?

– Extremely — I always get approval on the first try: 7%
– Very — I usually get approval but sometimes it takes a few tries: 69%
– Somewhat — I get approval but it’s a challenge: 18%
– Not very — I rarely get my recommendations approved: 5%
– Not at all — My recommendations never get approved: 2%

It’s all in the pitch. You’re pitching ideas all the time. The key to getting that pitch approved is making sure your communication approach is tailored to your audience. This includes thinking through that stakeholder’s “button” to determine what will spur them on to action. Remember – different stakeholders have different buttons. That means you’ll need separate communications for each. Focus on what gets their attention because that’s how you get their support. One size doesn’t fit all – it usually fits none.

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!

Read More…

How a Core Idea is the Key to Getting Your Pitch Approved

Posted on August 17, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

The Elegant PitchGetting your idea approved requires a clear recommendation that’s paired with a compelling reason for your stakeholder to approve your idea. If you can combine that idea with a powerful rationale, you’ll get to “yes” before you know it.

The following is an excerpt from my latest book The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved (CLICK HERE to get your copy). The book spells out a straightforward process you can immediately use to get your ideas approved.

Make Your Audience Care

At the heart of getting your pitch approved is making your audience care about it. The best way to make them care is to explain how your idea advances their agenda. Show them how your recommendation drives a result they’re interested in. The way you make this linkage is through the creation of the Core Idea.

A Core Idea is sometimes referred to as an “elevator pitch.” The reason it’s called an “elevator pitch” is because you have approximately 30 seconds to deliver your message. That’s the amount of time you’d be on the elevator with the stakeholder going from one floor to another. Imagine you get on an elevator and a senior stakeholder boards your elevator on the next floor. They proceed to ask you what you’re working on. You can either ramble on about all the data you’re gathering and the analysis you’re doing or you can give them a brief yet powerful explanation of the idea you’re pursuing and why it’s exciting. Ideally the reason it’s exciting is related to a metric or objective that stakeholder cares about. The latter approach is obviously preferable. By the time you finish your elevator ride together, the stakeholder knows what you’re working on and they’re supportive of you pursuing the idea.

A Core Idea is composed of two elements. The first half entails you explaining the “what we should do” part of your recommendation. The second half is the “why we should do it” part of your pitch. The “what we should do” component is your hypothesis as to what your best answer is. The “why we should do it” component depends upon your stakeholder. I refer to this component as “the button” – that metric or objective that makes your stakeholder sit up and take notice. Let’s look at a hypothesis about expanding our business into Italy and Germany. Let’s turn that hypothesis into a Core Idea. Below I’ve listed a few stakeholders and corresponding Core Ideas to pitch to them regarding the European market entry:

Read More…

Have you ever struggled with using the power of your position?

Posted on August 11, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: Have you ever struggled with the right way to use the power of your position?

– Never — I’ve always wielded power very responsibly: 22%
– Sometimes — I’ve made an occasional mistake: 72%
– Often — I have trouble wielding power appropriately: 4%
– All the time — I tend to abuse the power of my position: 1%

The Perils of Power. Being in a leadership role brings great responsibility with the power that comes along with it. While you might not abuse your power on a regular basis, even one small slip can be devastating. To avoid those issues, be aware of the major power mistakes you can make and actively avoid them. Put policies, practices, processes, and procedures in place to maintain fairness and prevent overstepping your bounds. It only takes one bad decision to change people’s perceptions of you and see you as a power-hungry tyrant.

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!

Read More…

Books are Like Babies

Posted on August 10, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Newborn Baby CryingPeople ask me what it’s like to write a book. I guess my answer depends upon what stage of the writing process I’m in. To all the moms out there, please forgive this analogy but writing a book is kind of like having a baby.

Everyone has had the experience of encountering an expectant mother at some point in her pregnancy. From the highs to the lows, they experience a range of emotions. Those emotions are similar to those I’ve felt each time I’ve written a book (albeit on a much more amplified level for the moms).

My most recent book The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved has just been released. I hope you’ll grab a copy and learn how to communicate more efficiently and effectively. In the meantime while you wait for Amazon to ship it to you, learn why I’m saying writing a book is like having a baby.

Not convinced? Check it out.

You’re pregnant!

The elation a mom feels when she finds out she’s pregnant is similar to the joy an author feels when a publishing house offers to buy their book and they sign the contract. It’s an exciting time full of wonder and possibilities. And much like moms, when you get the news of a book deal for a second and third time, it’s as exciting but comes with a sense of dread full well knowing the work and pain that is ahead of you.

The first trimester

Things are good. Still exciting to embark upon a new adventure. The occasional woozy and ill moments but hey… you’ve got this. No big deal. I can handle this pregnancy/book writing thing.

The second trimester Read More…

How Crowdsourcing Can Help Your Business

Posted on August 8, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Innovation

Crowd in AuditoriumWhen budgets are tight and innovation is hard to find, crowdsourcing ideas and expertise is a viable option for companies large and small. Learn how you can get the most out of experts by learning from them in areas beyond their expertise.

Today’s post is by Michael Volkin, founder of Crowdsourcia.

You’re an entrepreneur and you have a vision that drives you. Fantastic. The problem is, as a small company, the content you produce is often reviewed by one or two people. Hiring a consultant to fill in the gap will help a little. Yet even with this solution, the process is finite and contains the opinions and experience of only one person.

But there’s another way – a way that is more dynamic and expansive. It’s more impactful and it optimizes your results. I’m talking about crowdsourcing.

This article will not only show you the benefits of crowdsourcing, but how your company can access a universe of expertise for pennies on the dollar.

Please note: Crowdsourcing is Not Crowdfunding

We’ve all heard about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the crowdfunding sites. However, crowdfunding is only a small subset of the big universe that is crowdsourcing.  Instead of being about money, crowdsourcing focuses on intellectual capital. It’s the collective knowledge, experiences, and insight of a group of people, working toward a common goal.

The Business Crowd

You’ve already seen crowdsourcing in action on platforms like Wikipedia. When applied to the world of business, the outcomes can be just as bountiful with high-quality results. In fact, Forbes magazine reports that there may be “no better way” then crowdsourcing to get feedback or “evolve your good idea into the next big thing.”

Crowdsourcing helps you solve a problem quickly, and can be a great tool when your resources are limited and you need help promoting your business.

So, how can crowdsourcing help your business? Check out this case study:

Read More…

What’s your perspective on hiring veterans?

Posted on August 4, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Leadership, Poll, Training

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: What’s your perspective on hiring veterans?

– They’re great hires! I love their leadership and operating skills: 63%
– They’re OK — on par with other candidates I consider: 32%
– They’re not that good — they don’t fit well with business culture: 3%
– They’re poor — their skills don’t translate and they don’t fit in: 1%

Vets Welcome Here. It’s encouraging to see such a strong, favorable view of bringing veterans in to be members of a corporate team. Sure I’m biased being a veteran myself but the results of the poll speak for themselves. The better you understand veterans and the challenges they face, the more effectively you can lead them. Spend time exploring their military backgrounds and understanding their perspectives. You might find issues that are holding them back that you can then coach them on or you might find skills you never imagined they’d have. Either way, please continue considering them for roles on your team. They appreciate the opportunity more than you realize.

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!

Read More…

How to Lead a Steamroller on Your Team

Posted on August 2, 2016 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

SteamrollerSteamrollers get things done but they run people over in the process. Leading them is an exercise in reducing the friction they cause. Learn the key techniques for dealing with their challenges and make your team interactions smoother and less stressful.

Today’s post is by Victor Prince, thoughtLEADERS instructor and co-author of Lead Inside the Box. He’s also a featured speaker at Executive Insight 16.

Hank joined your team six months ago. You hired him because his résumé was great and he projected high levels of competence and confidence in the interview. He was clearly the best candidate for the job. The only warning flag you saw was from your calls to Hank’s references. While they confirmed the glowing results on his résumé you sensed reticence on their part. You heard their answers trail off leaving an unsaid “but…” hanging at the end. You attributed it to your inner pessimist looking to find flaw with the outstanding candidate you were hiring.

Hank got off to a fast start once hired, immediately producing great results and even instituting new, best practices he learned from prior experiences. However, within a few months, every single one of his peers mentioned Hank was challenging to work with and creating problems for them. They said he tended to barrel along and do his work without coordinating with others. What you saw as confidence in his interview came across to others as arrogance and an unwillingness to listen. The angst and problems he produced eroded your team’s morale and performance and piled stress on you. You found yourself making excuses for his behavior and soothing hurt feelings. You got the sense the frustration your team felt toward Hank began to apply to you as well. Hank was performing like a “Steamroller” high-cost producer – he produced results, but also produced a lot of unnecessary cost in his wake.

How to Lead a “Steamroller”

The goal with Steamrollers is to “reduce friction.” You want to continue getting great results from them while reducing the toll their actions take on others.

Read More…

  • ©Copyright thoughtLEADERS, LLC. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in whole or in part without the EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF thoughtLEADERS, LLC. Content may not be republished, reproduced or distributed in whole or in part without the proper attribution of the work and disclosure of its source including a direct link back to the original content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content nor can you modify the content in any way. However, you may download material from this website for your personal, noncommercial use only. Links to websites other than those owned by thoughtLEADERS, LLC are offered as a service to readers. thoughtLEADERS, LLC was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC has worked to ensure the accuracy of the information included herein. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services beyond training, coaching, and consulting. Its reports or articles should not be construed as professional advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in our reports or reliance upon any recommendation or advice provided by thoughtLEADERS, LLC.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC is committed to protecting your privacy. You can read our privacy policy by clicking here.