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What is your organization’s approach to metrics?

Posted on April 17, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What is your organization’s approach to metrics?

- We measure everything and anything, but we lack focus: 28%
- We measure a handful of key metrics to achieve some degree of focus: 48%
- We measure one or two key metrics rigorously and in a focused way: 10%
- We don’t measure anything rigorously — it’s all ad hoc or not measured: 14%

The old adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” cuts both ways. It seems 60% of you have a good balance between rigorous management and focus. You’re achieving this by measuring the most important metrics and not worrying about the rest. For those who don’t measure at all, pick two to four key metrics and track them consistently. You might learn something from the results. For those of you in analysis paralysis, take a long, hard look at that plethora of metrics and ask yourself which ones really matter. Keep measuring those and ditch the rest. Spend your new-found free time managing the business instead of measuring it.

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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Building Individual and Organizational Resilience

Posted on April 16, 2014 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Maureen MetcalfToday’s post is by Maureen Metcalf – a thoughtLEADERS instructor and author of The Innovative Leadership Fieldbook. and the newly-released Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Here’s Maureen:

In leadership terms, we define resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of multiple changes while continuing to persevere toward strategic goals. In the current environment where change is the norm and time to bounce back between stressors is minimal at best, we, as leaders, need to think about how we manage our personal resilience and also how we support our organization in adapting to the changes it is facing.

We break resilience into four primary categories:
1. Maintain physical well-being
2. Manage thinking
3. Fulfill life purpose using emotional intelligence
4. Harness the power of human connection

Each of these categories is interlinked with the others and has a domino effect. It’s hard to think clearly if you are physically exhausted and so on. Resilience is an essential element of leadership that becomes increasingly important during times of change when uncertainty can cause high-performing people to become distracted and uncertain.

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Why Your Resident Loudmouth is a Big Asset

Posted on April 14, 2014 | 4 Comments
Categories: Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Man ShoutingToday’s post is by Rod Miller, Head of New Program Development of Corporate Award Source.

All groups have at least one so-called “loudmouth” among them; the person who can be counted on to ask questions, raise concerns and share their opinions on everything, every time.

These people tend to get a bad rap, from both peers and leaders.

Their comments often cause meetings to go on longer than planned, and they sometimes make others a bit squirmy with their frequent boat-rocking.  But, are they actually detrimental to a workplace?

On the contrary, I’d say that they are assets.  Instead of trying to squelch your opinionated employees’ expression, you should harness their power and appreciate their potential influence on morale and productivity.

A Forum for Expression

In my experience, the group’s resident loudmouths tends to become even louder when they are not given a forum for expression.  Companies that are run like monarchies are much more susceptible to mutiny than ones that seek and value everyone’s voices.

Regularly scheduled open forums are a great place to start.  Not only do open forums communicate that you want to hear your team’s voices, but they are an ideal way to brainstorm creative solutions to tough problems.  Great ideas often come from unexpected sources, and good leaders know that.

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How rigid is your organization’s decision-making hierarchy?

Posted on April 10, 2014 | 2 Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How rigid is your organization’s decision-making hierarchy?

- Most power is consolidated at the top but some occurs at lower levels: 44%
- Power is distributed evenly according to capability and responsibility: 30%
- We have true command-and-control — all decisions come from the top: 24%
- Our hierarchy is very flat and decision-making power is broadly distributed: 3%

Consolidating decision-making power at the top cuts both ways. It can reduce risk for your organization by vesting that power with more senior and experienced people. It can also frustrate junior members of the team and slow down your decision-making process because everyone has to wait for a few people to make decisions. To achieve a better balance, evaluate decisions based on their size and risk. Push that decision-making authority as low in the organization as you can without increasing risk too much. You’ll be nimbler with less frustration and not as much risk as you might initially think.

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 Pope Francis Could Save Obama’s Approval Rating

Posted on April 9, 2014 | 3 Comments
Categories: Leadership

Pope FrancisThe Pope and the President walk into a bar. The President says, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. My approval rating is 41 percent.” To which the Pope says…

Oh to be a fly on the Vatican wall at last week’s historic meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama. On their agenda was reportedly global economic inequality, but I wonder if President Obama shouldn’t have used the opportunity to get some leadership pearls of wisdom from His Holiness. Based on the Pope’s beliefs and leadership style, here’s how I think his guidance could help the President fix his troubled approval ratings — and the bigger issues lingering beneath.

1. Obamacare

From a broken web site to broken promises to much higher premiums for millions of Americans, the Obamacare launch has no doubt damaged the President’s image.

Pope Francis — who’s received accolades and criticism for washing the feet of prisoners among others — might offer President Obama guidance on walking the talk. I could imagine him saying this: “Require all government employees (including Senators and Congressmen) to enroll in the program. No loopholes or exceptions.

“Setting a standard for you and your team that is different than the standard you set for those you serve sends the wrong message. It tells them you are in a separate class. They resent your privilege and the perception that you ask of them something you would not do yourself. Witness my refusal to live in the papal residence or drive a fancy car. The message those actions send tells Catholics around the world that I am no better than they are. I am their equal and they are mine. Go use the website you built and register for the very programs you mandated millions of people to sign up for.”

2. Russia and Crimea

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Collateral Value is the Key to Your Business’ Success

Posted on April 7, 2014 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Sales

Bullhorn with the word value written on itToday’s post is by John Cameron, author of ROCK SOLID – How to Strengthen Your Company (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

What is collateral value and more to the point, why is it important? It’s easier to understand this concept by contrasting it with direct value. Direct value is what your customers actually pay for. Collateral value is what happens around the transaction.

When you get new tires on your vehicle you pay for the tires and the technician’s time to install them. That’s direct value. What you don’t directly pay for is the expert advice or the friendliness of the staff. You also don’t directly pay for the nicely laid out showroom with a good selection of tires on display. That’s an example of collateral value.

It’s important to define the concept because the small business world is naturally competitive on the direct value front. There is always somebody, somewhere who does what you do. To compete and win business on direct value alone you have to provide more for less. That erodes your profits – unless you have a structural cost advantage over your competition.

I know a real estate agent who has built a very profitable career. He makes everyone he meets feel important by giving them his full attention. It doesn’t matter where it’s at, a restaurant, a golf course or at a community meeting. That’s his collateral value. He rarely talks about real estate unless you bring it up, but when people need real estate advice they regularly go to him first. It works.

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What is your organization’s appetite for risk-taking?

Posted on April 3, 2014 | No Comments
Categories: Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What is your organization’s appetite for risk-taking?

- We allow some controlled risk-taking but make few big bets: 52.31%
- We restrict risk-taking to infrequent or low-risk situations: 23.66%
- We encourage people to take large risks if rewards are appropriate: 12.38%
- We are completely risk-averse: 11.65%

Slow, but steady: It seems there’s a mindset of slow and steady wins the race (or at least guarantees you’ll finish it). Very few folks are making big bets and taking large risks. Perhaps, in an environment of increased regulatory scrutiny and in a shaky economic environment, the appetite for risk is much lower. That said, there seems to be a reasonable amount of controlled risk-taking. Risk truly boils down to uncertainty. The less certainty you have of the outcome, the higher the risk. Do everything you can to reduce uncertainty — test, research, break big decisions into smaller ones, etc. — and hopefully, you can take more risks without taking bigger risks. In the end, those who take the biggest risks will be the game-changers and the flame-outs. Living between those extremes, you likely won’t set the world on fire, but you won’t burst into flames either.

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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Overcoming Your Decision-Making Fears

Posted on April 2, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Fear Written With LightsA leader’s daily decision checklist is daunting: From hiring or firing to major business changes, every judgment call carries with it some level of risk. A bad choice could result in a toxic hire or a new product launch that crashes and burns. Perhaps more frightening, one poor decision could scar a career forever. And so fear of negative implications leads us to delay important decisions — or not make them at all.

We try to make more perfect decisions by gathering additional information. Great, except that amassing additional information takes time, energy, and resources. And by the time you finally have perfect information, the world has changed and introduced new sources of ambiguity, thereby rendering all of that precious information totally irrelevant.

In the immortal words of RUSH, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Failure to make a decision is almost as bad as making a bad decision — and in some cases it’s worse.

Define What’s Certain, What’s Predictable, and What’s Unknown

Why do we fear ambiguity? Because lurking within is the possibility of making an incorrect decision. To better understand how much risk you’re really assuming, break down the decision into factors that contribute to your unknown. Think of it as an equation, and you’re solving for a set of missing variables.

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The Six Roots of Healthy Leadership

Posted on March 31, 2014 | 2 Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Grounded by Bob RosenToday’s post is by Bob Rosen, author of Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

To understand the secret to great leadership, forget everything you’ve been taught until now.  What worked in the past simply won’t cut it anymore.

Until recently, the accepted wisdom has been that leaders should be judged by short-term results. But, we’ve found that, thanks to rapidly changing technological innovation, deepening globalization and an ever-present uncertainty, this perspective hasn’t kept up with the times.

In fact, another, completely different model is necessary, with a new, more personal focus: effective leadership results from deeper internal qualities, not actions. Who you are drives what you do and that, in turn, determines performance.

These qualities—what we call roots—form the foundation of healthy, grounded leadership.  We’ve pinpointed six:

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Are you concerned your top talent will look for better jobs?

Posted on March 27, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: As the economy shows signs of improvement, how concerned are you that your top talent will look for new and better jobs?

- Very concerned, 36.01%
- Somewhat concerned, 39.79%
- Not concerned, 24.20%

Hindsight is 20/20: Sure, economically, things have been tough for a while. Many firms hunkered down and chose not to invest in people during the cycle (training, raises, promotions, bonuses, etc.).  Now it’s time to pay up. If you signaled to your teams that you didn’t value them during tough times, they’re much more likely to seek greener pastures when things improve. For now, identify those top performers, demonstrate they mean a lot to the company, and do what you can (training, raises or giving them more important responsibilities) to let them know they have a bright future with your organization. Hopefully you’ll be able to mitigate some of the flight risk you face.

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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