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What’s the most important element of a great leadership conference?

Posted on December 1, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll, Training

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: What’s the most important element of a great leadership conference?

– Awesome speakers and topics: 62%
– Lots of vendors to interact with: 1%
– Great breakout sessions: 22%
– Social and networking activities: 13%
– Great venue and location: 2%
– Other aspects like cost and giveaways: 1%

Content is King. With time being so limited, it’s important to get the most out of learning events and conferences. Folks were pretty clear that the best conferences are about speakers and topics first and foremost. Breakout sessions were a distant second but still hold a draw. And of course, the ability to network with colleagues is important too. If you’re not focusing first on content above all other things, you might not be attending the best conferences out there. Check out the agendas and the speakers before writing a conference off because of cost. Clearly you get what you pay for.

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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What to Do When You Find Decision Making Challenging

Posted on November 30, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership

Railroad Track JunctionDecision making is one of the most important skills a leader needs to possess. A key determinant in how successful you are as a decision maker is your ability to communicate with and influence others.

There’s no getting around it that making decisions can be quite challenging – from mounds of data to review, inclusion of others (or not), knowing your audience, naysayers, fear of making the wrong decision, and fear of being called out on your decision. Need I say more?

Decision making can be difficult, yet every leader needs to develop their ability to do it wisely, efficiently and in a timely fashion.

I’ve worked hard to perfect the art of decision making. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss the topic with Steve Caldwell at Manager Mojo. We got together on his podcast to discuss the critical areas you should consider for improving your decision making process. There is no perfect process, and usually there are no perfect decisions, but this podcast will help you get clear on making your process quicker and simpler.

Listen to the podcast here:

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Failures Are Experiments, Not Failures

Posted on November 28, 2016 | 3 Comments
Categories: Books, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

FAIL StampThere’s a difference between experiencing failure and being a failure. Some of the greatest lessons come from failing – but only if you’re willing to learn them.

Today’s post is by Shawn Hunter, author of Small Acts of Leadership (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

On March 2, 1962, Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain had the highest scoring NBA basketball game of all time. He scored 100 points in that game, a feat likely never to be repeated. Chamberlain was the number two highest average scoring player in history, behind Michael Jordan. He would have easily been number one, had it not been for his free throws.

Wilt Chamberlain was terrible at free throws. Terrible. He was so bad that the coach wouldn’t play him at the end of a close game, since the opposing team only needed to foul him, and send him to the free throw line, where he would surely miss.

Meanwhile, Chamberlain’s teammate on the Golden State Warriors, Rick Barry, was the most accurate free throw shooter in the league. By the time he retired, Barry was the most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history, averaging 90.0 percent of his free-throw attempts. In his final season, Barry hit over 94% of his free throws. Rick Barry shot all of his free throws underhanded. That’s right, Barry shot “granny style.”

You might think since both Chamberlain and Barry were on the same team, Chamberlain would learn a thing or two about shooting free throws. Well, sort of. For a short period, Barry convinced, and taught, Chamberlain to shoot underhanded also. He improved his free throws remarkably. But it didn’t stick. Chamberlain said he couldn’t do it. He said he felt “like a sissy” shooting underhanded.

What other people think of us – or what we think other people think of us – means so much that we would often rather fall back on old habits, or abandon new thinking and new ideas, in favor of simply fitting in.

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Are you more of a talker or a listener?

Posted on November 24, 2016 | 1 Comment
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: Are you more of a talker or a listener?

– I talk way too much: 8%
– I talk a lot, but I listen too: 27%
– I strike a good balance between talking and listening: 27%
– I mostly listen but talk when required: 32%
– I listen too much and don’t talk enough: 6%

More listening, less talking. There are many aphorisms out there about listening. They exist because they’re true. You can’t learn unless you listen. But keeping quiet is a difficult skill to master. Once you accept you might have a “talking problem” there are simple techniques for dialing back the chatter ranging from focusing on learning instead of talking and replacing your urge to offer thoughts with asking questions. Once you master some of these tools, you’ll listen more and the talking you do will drive deeper, more meaningful conversations.

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 Likely and Unlikely Places

Posted on November 23, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

Silhouette of a GiantIt’s important to capture leadership lessons from the places you expect to learn them: a great leadership book or a failed presentation to the boss. But sometimes the best lessons come from the most unlikely of places: a child’s video games, office printers, or a folktale. We’ll draw on all of them below.  

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

Here’s an easy way to learn some new leadership skills in easy-to-digest 10-minute podcasts you can listen to at your convenience.

These podcasts are based on interviews with 100 executives and leaders at dozens of companies around the world. Each episode brings you an important leadership lesson through a single compelling story.

These next 6 episodes will help you find courage to face any task, design back office systems to actually improve customer service, develop a personal leadership philosophy, lead change, and harness the power of storytelling to make you a better leader.

Facing the Giant

A fanciful tale with a serious lesson. My hope is it will help you find the courage to tackle even the most impossible challenges.

What video games taught me about lousy customer service

How fighting with my 12-year-old over video games taught me my most valuable lesson about customer service.

16 Questions to a personal leadership philosophy that doesn’t suck

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Turning Your Potential into Tangible Success

Posted on November 21, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Training

The Potential MatrixAchieving greatness is a matter of mindset, action, and habit. The more you reflect on where you are and where you want to be then take action to move in that direction every day, the higher the likelihood you’ll achieve the success you desire.

Today’s post is by Michael Teoh, co-author of The Potential Matrix (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

In the pursuit of success in life, the potential to do great things is presently available in each and every one of us. At birth we are gifted with a unique tendency to do something spectacularly well that no one else is able to do. However this potential within us often times goes to waste as we are unable to get past the stage of just great potential.

There are many reasons as to why an individual is unable to unlock their greatest potential with the main reason being their inability to see their own potential for themselves. Many young people in the current generation spend their days wondering about their life’s purpose but are not actively putting themselves out there enough to be able to really discover their true path.

The road to success may seem like a treacherous and dangerous journey. However with the right tools and proper mindset the journey become less painful and will seem worthwhile to those who takes the road less travelled. No matter what potential an individual has or what the pursuit an individual is currently persevering, there are three cores in which every aspiring young individual must unlock before they are able to fully attain success. These three cores are the self-programming core, the self-action core, and the self-impact core.

First Core: Self-Programming

Who we are as individuals is all a product of what we believe to be true and what we believe to be false. For us to truly get to where we are going we first need to believe that success is something within our grasps instead of something only a select few are given the privilege to have. You may think that you already believe that. But if your mindset was already geared towards success the proof can already be found in the actions you choose to take every day.

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How effective are you at celebrating and learning from failure?

Posted on November 17, 2016 | 2 Comments
Categories: Innovation, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: How effective are you at celebrating and learning from failure?

– Very — Every failure is a learning opportunity 43%
– Somewhat — Sometimes I celebrate failure but not always: 38%
– Not very — I focus more on consequences than learning: 12%
– Not at all — There’s nothing to celebrate about failure: 6%

Learn something every day. I acknowledge it’s hard to “accept” failure. It’s more a matter of mindset. While a pattern of failure is clearly unacceptable, not learning something from every failure is a missed opportunity. The strongest leaders I know are great at both celebrating success and learning from failure. If you’re in the minority of this poll, reevaluate your approach to failure. Some of the greatest insights are to be had from our worst moments.

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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550 Billion Reasons You Need Better Teammates

Posted on November 14, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Softball TeammatesIf you want a better and more engaged team, you need to set the example and be a better teammate yourself. Your behaviors will be contagious if you put the team first.

Today’s post is by Sean Glaze, author of The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Unhappy workers cost the U.S. between $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity each year, according to a 2013 report on the state of the U.S. workplace conducted by research and polling company Gallup.

That isn’t a drip.

It is a fire-hydrant sized leak of money lost each year by businesses – and that includes yours.

In an earlier study, the Corporate Leadership Council studied the engagement level of 50,000 employees around the world to determine the direct impact on both employee performance and retention.

They found that:

– Engaged companies grow profits as much as 3X faster than their competitors.

– Highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization

And in a third study, McLean & Company found that a disengaged employee will cost an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.

The reality is that people often make mistakes and disappoint their clients and coworkers because they continue to indulge in excuses and complaints. Too many employees are uncoachable, show a lack of enthusiasm, or neglect to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the people around them.

But winning organizations are different. They embrace the value of extra effort, concern for others, and claiming personal responsibility.

The goal of effective leaders has always been to help people achieve better results, better relationships, and better experiences. They want to build a winning team.

Unfortunately, disengaged and unhappy employees do not make a winning team.

Winning teams require winning teammates.

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How do you drive accountability in your organization?

Posted on November 10, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll, Project Management

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: How do you drive accountability in your organization?

– Primarily through incentives: 17%
– Primarily through consequences: 20%
– Through an even balance of incentives and consequences: 50%
– I don’t drive accountability in a consistent manner: 13%

Where’s the accountability? A balanced mix of you are using incentives and consequences to drive accountability. The striking number is the 13% who aren’t consistently driving accountability at all. If you’re in this group, ask yourself if you’re getting the performance and results you desire. If not, I’m pretty sure there’s a causal link between those results and how you’re not consistently holding people accountable. Without clear incentives and consequences, you’ll find it hard to change performance.

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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Communication is the Key to Reducing Execution Risk

Posted on November 9, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Entrepreneur, Leadership

The Word Change on a Road SignDifficult decisions aren’t done once you’ve made them. The biggest risks you’ll face with any decision is the result of execution risk – does your decision get carried out the way you wanted it to? The key to successful execution is good change management.

If you want to make a successful executive decision, communicate the rationale for the decision to the broader organization. Lay out the context you’re making the decision in. Tell people what the decision was and why it was made. Explain the goals for the making the decision. Tell people how you’re going to monitor execution. And also that you’re willing to make new decisions as you get more information. Perhaps even tell them what some of the contingency plans are.

The better people understand why you made the decision, the less they’re going to second guess it and the more they’re going to support it. Their support is critical to reducing the execution risks of making the decision. Their support helps you get the decision made and executed quickly because they’re bought into it and they’re not going to be obstacles.

For example, at one company I worked for, we did a large layoff. Those are always difficult decisions. Most of the time, layoffs are kept quiet and people don’t know they’re coming. This CEO did it differently. He laid out a complete presentation that explained the rationale for the layoff. He explained the strategic implications and the market dynamics that were driving this change. He also explained “here’s what happens if we don’t act. This is a possible future reality if we don’t do something today.”

Of course, people didn’t like the idea of a downsizing. Their friends were going to be laid off. Some of these people were going to be laid off. But they understood the strategic rationale for making the decision and they supported and executed the plan. They did so very well because they were bought into the rationale from the beginning.

As you’re looking at the executive decisions you’re going to make, be sure you put that context around it, tell people why you’re making the decision and how you’re going to measure success.

Managing Change

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