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Is your organization rigorous about succession planning?

Posted on October 19, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Leadership, Poll, Training

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Is your organization rigorous about succession planning?

– Yes. We have a thorough process for succession planning: 10%
– Kind of. We do succession planning only for key roles: 38%
– No. When there’s a hole, we’ll figure it out: 52%

Waiting for a crisis. It’s scary to think that over half of you don’t have a plan for what happens when someone departs your organization. A key player going down can cause massive disruptions to your business, lost customers, operational risks and a host of other issues. Leaders are responsible for the smooth operation of their organization. This means sitting down and doing contingency planning for events they know will happen. Every person will leave their role whether to quitting, promotion or reorganization. Spend some time laying out a backup plan for when each team member departs. It’ll help you fill those open spots more quickly when the crisis eventually occurs.

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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Can Thought Leadership Be Quantified and Measured? Oh YES!

Posted on October 16, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Sales

African American Man Thinking with Gears in His Head

The ROI of thought leadership can be hard to quantify but there is definitely a return on the investment. Positioning yourself as an expert carries huge benefits.

Today’s post is by Ken Lizotte, author of The Speaker’s Edge (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Positioning yourself and your firm as a leading edge thinker and practitioner in your field involves numerous “thoughtleading” actions, e.g., publishing your ideas, speaking to targeted groups, guesting on podcasts and radio, and so forth.

While all that may sound fun (or exhausting!), choosing to implement such a unique strategy may seem rife with risk, as in, ah … does it really work? Why go to the lengthy and daunting challenge of writing and publishing a book, or a series of books, if, in the end, nothing will come of it? The same holds true with speaking engagements, and media appearances. Will any or all of these tactics ever show concrete results? In other words, can a thoughtleading strategy be realistically quantified, measured and translated into a reliable return-on-investment?

Happily, the answer is to this last query is… YES!

Studies have shown that a quantifiable ROI of thoughtleading can in fact be discerned, although getting to the heart of the matter first requires understanding that traditional methods of measuring ROI may not always apply, due largely to the assumptions and procedures adopted by traditional ROI calculations. Instead, our current economy, with its growing emphasis on intellect-based services, as opposed to three-dimensional manufactured goods, demands alternative methods of measurement. This new equation involves the now well-recognized value of intellectual capital (or IC).

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How has your business shifted since the last time you wrote your strategic plan?

Posted on October 12, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll, Strategy

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How has your business shifted since the last time you wrote your strategic plan?

– Not at all: We’re right on plan: 6%
– A little: The plan is mostly intact: 32%
– A bunch: Parts have held but others haven’t: 32%
– A ton: The strategic plan is out the window: 16%
– What’s a strategic plan?: 13%

No plan survives first contact. Almost half of you have had major shifts to your strategic plan. That’s not unheard of. Markets move quickly and plans are constructed in states of ambiguity. What’s most important is your ability to anticipate and react to those shifts. Invest time in conducting a strategic plan update to account for these changes. For the scary 13% who don’t have a strategic plan, insist on creating one. Don’t fall into a “budget +10% is our plan” trap. You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going. A leader’s job is to define that path.

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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How to Lead Your Own Revolution

Posted on October 11, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

Silhouettes of Hands in Sky at Protest MarchThere’s a lot of unrest out there in the world. Social issues dominate the headlines and people are taking action. Some movements feel like small revolutions. The question is, as a leader, what revolution are you leading?

Revolution. It’s cleansing. It’s unsettling. It’s awesome.

The wonderful thing is you can start your own.

Revolution is that point in time when a critical mass of people get fed up with some kind of pervasive crap and collectively decide to do something about it. That “something” is usually scary, somewhat extreme, painful, brave, and life-altering.

The American Revolution. Occupy Wall Street. Civil Rights. Wakeup Startup. Revolutions large and small. They all center around a pile of crap, some fed-up people, a cause, and a spark.

When run correctly, a revolution can bring about fundamental societal change. When run poorly, a revolution can bring about fundamental societal change. It cuts both ways folks. The good news is you can start your own revolution pretty easily providing you can galvanize people around a few critical things.

Identify a Pile of Crap

To start a successful revolution, you first have to find a big pile of crap. It has to be something that’s not working in the system. From income inequality to tyrrany and unequal treatment to stupidity, there are plenty of piles of crap to choose from.

Pick the one that upsets you the most. The more unfair or inefficient the crap is, the better. Be able to name it (“I’m really mad about how much time and effort we waste talking about building startups in Columbus but never really making big things happen.” or “I don’t appreciate that Group A has one set of rules while Group B has to abide by another.”). You have to explain what’s wrong in the first place in order to build a revolution around it.

Find Fed-Up People

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3 Simple Tools to Create the Needed Commitment to Change

Posted on October 9, 2017 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Project Management

Change Button

Any major change initiative requires effort to bring people along and get them committed. The keys to doing so are stakeholder involvement, communication, and involvement.

Today’s post is by R. Kendall Lyman and Tony C. Daloisio, authors of Change the Way You Change (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

A few years ago, we were asked by a large pharmaceutical manufacturing company to help transition ten of its fifteen plants to a just-in-time inventory system. The technical aspect of change was led by another consulting firm. But as the “go live” date approached, senior leaders realized that front-line operators weren’t as committed to the new system as those who had been involved in the analysis.

We weren’t surprised by this finding for two reasons. First, not everyone can participate in the scoping, diagnosis, planning, and design phases of such a large project. Diagnosis and design teams are often formed with representatives to ensure perspective from across the organization. But those not asked to participate can feel left out, confused, or even unaware of the change.

Second, because of the complexity of the technical change to processes and systems, very little resource had been allocated towards the human side of the change. There was a video in the lunchroom streaming information about the project in two different languages. But it felt more like a sales pitch than an interactive dissemination of information that operators needed.

When we were hired, they were only six weeks from “go live.” Not enough time to get real commitment from so many employees. Ultimately it took another six months to get the commitment necessary before any significant change could happen.

The ability to accelerate organizational change is arguably the most important role of a leader, yet one of the least understood. While the leaders at the pharmaceutical company had a long-range strategy and were executing on their short-term plans, few had mastered the art of getting people to change the way they would need to approach their new jobs.

Great leaders of change positively impact business performance by making change part of their leadership agenda. During this process, we were reminded of the importance of three simple yet effective tools in enabling change—tools that if used consistently will change how leaders lead change.

Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement

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Contemporary Leaders Know How They Impact Others

Posted on October 6, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Businesswoman Looking in the MirrorAwareness of what you’re good at and what’s holding you back can help you grow as a leader and play to strengths you already have. Focus on your best characteristics to unlock your true potential.

Today’s post is by Diana Jones, author of Leadership Material: how personal experience shapes executive presence (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

360-degree feedback was introduced as a corrective to traditional one-way communication, which took the form of directives from leaders to staff. 360-degree feedback was a chance for bosses, peers, and staff to anonymously share how they saw the leader along a number of parameters. The idea that staff could give feedback to their manager without fear of retribution was a revelation. Leaders ceased to be islands unto themselves and were given fresh recognition that the views of those around them mattered.

While 360-degree feedback was a great concept; in practice it turned out to rarely be helpful. The eight killers where feedback loses its power are:

  • It’s rarely personalized
  • It’s rarely context related
  • It overlooks what the leader has developed
  • There are too many items
  • Bosses use it to avoid talking directly to their staff
  • Fearful staff rely on it to alert leaders to development areas
  • Result are filed and therefore not truly confidential
  • The results translator frequently has little or no relationship with the recipient

Managers’ reliance on formal systems to implement feedback missed the point. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to developing leaders. Contexts vary, and leaders’ development goals are highly personalized. The choice of person delivering feedback dramatically affects the leader’s willingness to accept feedback and act on it.

Discover how you impact others

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How easily do you get overwhelmed by spikes in your workload?

Posted on October 5, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How easily do you get overwhelmed by spikes in your workload?

– Not at all. I can handle anything that comes at me: 48%
– Somewhat. A big spike can overwhelm me: 49%
– Very. It doesn’t take much to make me feel overwhelmed: 3%

Bring it on (mostly)! Workload spikes happen all the time. Whether it’s a crisis, new project, sick colleague, or just a busy day, getting overwhelmed can happen in the blink of an eye. Your ability to manage the spike comes down to perspective, prioritization, and focus. Perspective matters because it helps you mitigate stress. Stress hampers performance and you need to be at your peak during a workload spike. Figure out techniques for maintaining perspective in crises. Remember what’s important. Be ruthless in your prioritization and execute one task at a time. Multitasking creates friction and you lose efficiency. Focus on a task, get it done, and move on to the next. You’ll find spikes are easier to handle when you follow these simple principles.

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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Treat Your People Like Individuals to Get Better Engagement

Posted on October 4, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

One Red Apple in a Group of Green ApplesThe following is an excerpt from One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership (CLICK HERE to get your copy). This post focuses on the importance of knowing and treating the members of your team as individuals.

The better you understand your people, the better you will relate to them. First you must treat them like individuals. No one wants to be a nameless cog in a big machine. All too often we inadvertently make people feel that way. You disagree, you say? Have you ever heard or said things like the following?

“She’s my analyst.”

“Talk to my project manager.”

“My VP thinks we should do this.”

Where are the faces that go with those statements? How different would the culture of our organizations be if “she,” “project manager,” and “VP” were replaced with “Terri,” “Jack,” or “Kim?” People lose their identities when we refer to them by title alone. They begin to feel interchangeable, one-dimensional, and replaceable. If you do not agree with this assessment, go home and refer to your spouse as “husband” or “wife” or your significant other as “fiancée,” “boyfriend,” or “girlfriend.” That would not go over too well, would it?

Referring to someone by position or title alone dehumanizes them. Harkening back to the “manage things, lead people” mantra, I would like to call your attention to the word “people” – not “positions.” Leading people requires you to treat and understand them as the unique beings they are. The personal foundation of the relationship between leader and led creates the common ground of trust and respect necessary for a good leadership environment. Leadership without personal understanding is superficial, impersonal, and ineffective.

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Stop Worrying about People Leaving and Start Greening Your Own Grass

Posted on October 2, 2017 | 3 Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Fence

Instead of worrying about your people leaving and having problems with your Millennial population, invest in their development in a personalized and meaningful way.

Today’s post is by Lee Caraher, CEO and Author of The Boomerang Principle (CLICK HERE to get your copy). 

Today, the managers’ lamentations of “Millennials aren’t loyal!” and “why should I put any time into training these people when they’re going to leave soon and I’ll have to start all over again?” are loud and frequent. Job hopping, disloyal Millennials seem to be at the center of all complaints in talent discussions no matter what region or industry.

The conversation is misplaced. In general, Millennials have learned by watching their parents and the news that no company will automatically “take care” of any one employee over the long haul. Moving from place to place and position to position is a well-informed career strategy for this generation.

The day we hire someone, we know they are going to leave; what we really don’t want is someone to leave before we want them to. Stop worrying about good people leaving “early” and start worrying about mediocre performers staying. Focus on ensuring that the “lowest” performers have the training, mentorship, and feedback loop they need to improve and thrive. The byproduct of this approach will be that the higher-performers will stay longer in this type of green-your-own-grass environment.

Green Your Own Pasture

Mentoring

The number one request by Millennials in the workplace is help finding a mentor – over 73% rank “getting a mentor” as “extremely important.” This isn’t that surprising when we factor in the close relationship so many Millennials have with their parents through and after college. They are used to, and seek, beneficial relationships with older people from whom they can get input.

By matching up our teams into mentor-mentee relationships we are providing a significant dynamic for everyone that helps maintain an association to our organizations.

Specific and Timely Feedback

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What’s your current view of your boss?

Posted on September 28, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What’s your current view of your boss?

– They’re amazing! Best boss ever!: 18%
– They’re good. We work well together: 44%
– They’re OK. Nothing special: 19%
– They’re poor. I need a new boss: 13%
– Worst boss ever! Get me out of here: 6%

Lots of good bosses. Most of you seem pretty pleased with the person you work for (62%). That said, there are plenty of mediocre or poor bosses out there. Ask yourself some tough questions given these results. Where would your people put you on this scale as their boss? Have you provided your boss with feedback as to what they can do better? If they’re not aware of what’s not working well, they can’t change it. For those of you who are in that bottom 19%, what are you doing about your situation? Are you looking for a new role? Building your skills to create more opportunities for yourself? If your situation isn’t changing, consider changing your situation.

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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