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How often are you held back by self-limiting beliefs?

Posted on September 21, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Leadership, Poll, Training

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How often are you held back by self-limiting beliefs?

– Never — I believe I can do anything: 10%
– Sometimes — A few of my beliefs hold me back: 61%
– Often — Self-limiting beliefs get in my way frequently: 23%
– Always — I’m the biggest barrier to my own success: 5%

Set yourself free. Self-limiting beliefs rob you of opportunities and keep your organization from being as great as it could. When you run into these situations, consider the source of the belief, the likelihood of bad things happening if you take the action you’re afraid of, and the upside of overcoming that fear. Ask yourself if the source of your fear is realistic or rational. Once you get to the root of that fear, it’s much easier to overcome. After you confront the fear and take action, you can build momentum when you see your fears haven’t played out like you thought. It’s this constant positive reinforcement that will help you overcome your self-imposed limits.

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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Hey Entrepreneurs – No One Cares about Your Technology

Posted on September 20, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Innovation, Leadership, Sales, Strategy

The Word Execution and its DefinitionBuilding the technology that is the foundation of your business is the easy part of being an entrepreneur. If you want to build a great business, you need to focus on execution and operations. Without them, you’ve go nothing.

I recently spoke at a local entrepreneur event WakeUp StartUp and I was asked what matters most for entrepreneurs. My answer surprised a few people. Most folks think it’s all about having the coolest new technology. They’re wrong.

Tech is easy.  Execution is what matters.

There. I said it.

Why is it that so many entrepreneurs believe the tech is the be-all, end-all? Where did the notion come from that if you have nothing more than a killer application, website, algorithm, or any other combo of 01001010101110110 that you can build a multibillion dollar company? (I probably just dropped an f-bomb with that combo of digits).

Wrong.

It’s about executing, people (note the comma in this sentence is *very* important).

Sure, you need good tech. It must solve a problem. But once it’s built, you have to execute. That’s a whole different skill set than writing code and drawing wiring diagrams. Think about how many awesome technologies went the way of the dodo because the company simply failed to execute. Lots of them.

So how can you get better at execution? Here are a few thoughts:

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How willing are you to make sacrifices for your team?

Posted on September 14, 2017 | 1 Comment
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How willing are you to make sacrifices for your team?

– Very — They get everything I have regardless of the cost to me: 23%
– Mostly — I’ll make sacrifices for them up to a point: 68%
– Kind of — I’ll make a sacrifice if it isn’t too painful: 5%
– Not very — I’ll make sacrifices in rare instances: 1%
– Not at all — I don’t get paid enough to make sacrifices: 3%

Leaders sacrifice… to a point. The vast majority of you put yourselves out there for your teams. We love our people, right? Nothing we wouldn’t do for them! All around us are role models for sacrifice. We aspire to be that leader who gives their all for the team. Just be careful – remember your organization doesn’t love you as much as you love it. Your sacrifices can take a toll on your health and require extraordinary resilience on your part. If your sacrifices aren’t appreciated, you run the risk of being resentful. I’m not saying not to make sacrifices. I’m simply encouraging you to be mindful of the consequences of those choices.

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 it Really Takes to Run Your Own Firm

Posted on September 13, 2017 | 1 Comment
Categories: Career, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Sales, Strategy, Training

Businessman on Ladder Drawing Business Concepts on Wall

People tell me all the time “I want to do what you do.” They have some glorified vision of what it means to be an entrepreneur. The day to day grittiness of it is something that few understand. Here’s a view into that day to day.

Entrepreneurship is a great life – as long as you’re prepared for what that means. Running your own firm isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The day to day activities are the ones few people understand or appreciate. Add to that the complexity of running as simple a business as possible and you can have a real nightmare on your hands if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.

Recently I had occasion to speak with Will Bachman, the founder and Managing Partner at Umbrex about what it takes to run a successful training firm. I guess I’m allowed to declare my firm as being successful considering we just celebrated our 13th birthday and we continue to grow every year.

We discussed my experience as an entrepreneur covering topics ranging from getting your business model right, dealing with clients, and making sure you’re taking care of yourself so you don’t run yourself into the ground.

Listen to the podcast here:

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This Hidden Enemy is Making Your Job Harder than Necessary

Posted on September 11, 2017 | 2 Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Stone WallWe can be victims of our own thoughts holding us back. False equivalencies limit our beliefs and can turn our greatest strengths into barriers and limitations.

Today’s post is by Elizabeth B. Crook, author of Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

As a business leader, you know the challenges of managing cash flow, dealing with personal issues or handling a customer who is dissatisfied – all problems we sign up for as leaders. Yet in my work as a business strategist for twenty-five years, there is an issue more common and potentially disabling to leaders than any of the above – limiting beliefs.

Back in the 50s Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip character Pogo, expressed it best, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

 One way limiting beliefs show up in our lives is in the form of false equivalencies. False equivalencies are defined by the belief that doing something or not doing something will make us “good” or “bad.”

Here are three common ones – you might recognize in yourself – I know I did!

Abandoning a project/goal/position = being a quitter

Tolerating unacceptable conditions = being patient

Taking time off/resting = being lazy

False equivalencies can keep us trapped in situations, limiting our options.

Mark, a CEO of a rapidly growing manufacturing company, came to me for some “next step” work when his company was going through a growing phase. He had a loyal team who had been with him since the company’s formative years, yet he was resisting trimming out the staffers who weren’t able to grow with the company and adding more experienced management to his team.

Puzzled at first, I recalled Mark’s telling me about the early years. “We had an investor, who was wise and eager for us to succeed. During his lifetime he supported us and mentored me to become the leader I am today. Not only that,” Mark continued, “but my father also gave me lots of runway to learn and grow. Even when I messed up, he cheered me on. Their loyalty and belief in me changed my life.”

Because of Mark’s positive experience with loyalty, he had an unwavering belief that if you cared about people, you stick with them, mentoring and training them into being the executives they needed to be.

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Are you exploratory or hypothesis-driven when you solve problems?

Posted on September 7, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: When solving problems, are you exploratory or hypothesis-driven in your search for answers?

– I explore broadly to try to find the best answer: 70%
– I’m hypothesis-driven so I can get an answer quickly: 30%

Exploring instead of driving. Clearly folks have a bias toward exploring and finding the “best” answer. This approach is dangerous. First, it can be time and resource intensive. Last I checked, time and resources are scarce commodities. Second, while you’re looking for the “best” answer, the world is changing and new variables enter the equation so by the time you get to “best” it’s not relevant anymore and you have to find a new answer. This gets you in an endless loop of doing analysis instead of executing ideas. Consider a hypothesis-driven approach. Take an educated guess at the answer. Prove or disprove the hypothesis quickly. If you’re right, execute. If wrong, move to the next idea and repeat the process. You’ll get more done in shorter periods of time.

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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Being an Authentic Leader Versus Just Being Different

Posted on September 6, 2017 | 2 Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership

Your Best Manager Podcast with Mike Figliuolo and Jamie NewmanAuthenticity isn’t difficult – just be yourself. Aha! Now that can be difficult. Authenticity requires us to make ourselves vulnerable. To share what makes us who we really are. While that may be scary, you’ll find the benefits of that vulnerability are immeasurable.

We sometimes mistake being different for being authentic. Being different is fine as long as it’s for the right reasons. If you’re being different for the sake of being different but not being true self in the process, you’ve failed to achieve authenticity. People can see right through it.

Recently I had the opportunity to discuss authenticity with Jamie Newman  at Your Best Manager. We got together on his podcast to discuss the thought of authenticity, what it means, how to achieve it, and mistakes you can make in the pursuit of it. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and hope you do too. I encourage you to consider what makes you authentic. What makes you, well… YOU!

Listen to the podcast here:

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Five Actions You Can Take to Enhance Employee Engagement

Posted on September 4, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Engaged Status on Lever

If you want more engaged employees, start from day one with their onboarding, meet their needs on flexibility, and treat them with dignity – always.

Today’s post is by Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, authors of The Big Book of HR (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

In today’s competitive environment, leaders want to make sure they are doing all that they can to engage and retain their employees. Think of the time, effort and money the organization has put into recruiting and hiring great talent. These are five actions leaders can take to support employee engagement:

Onboarding new employees

A well-crafted onboarding process is the first step toward engaging and retaining your new hires. It should start when the candidate accepts the job offer. Use this time between acceptance and start date to communicate with new hires. Email them welcome messages and things they need to know: arrival time, where to park, whom to ask for when they arrive, and a schedule of the first day’s activities.

Have their workspace ready with all the tools and equipment they’ll need. Leave your schedule free to spend as much time as possible with them. Introduce them to other team members and the leadership team. Discuss the organization’s history, vision, values and mission.

Build in checkpoints to follow up at 30-60-90 days following their start date. Onboarding is all about making new hires feel as welcome and become as productive as possible. It takes some work, but the payoff can be huge.

Flexibility

A culture that encourages balance between personal and business obligations is an advantage in attracting and retaining the best employees. The prevalence of flexible work arrangements – flextime, telework – continues in order to meet the needs of today’s changing workforce.

Advances in technology, especially the introduction of mobile computing devices and cloud-based storage, make these programs possible and affordable. Leaders should approach them as a business strategy ensuring they fit the organization’s and employee’s needs. For example, is work your employees perform suitable for telecommuting – independent in nature rather than requiring constant, personal interaction with others?

If you implement these programs, everyone involved must understands them and have the tools and technologies in place to communicate and collaborate with virtual employees.

Rewards and compensation

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How well do you challenge assumptions when problem-solving?

Posted on August 31, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well do you challenge assumptions when problem-solving?

– Very — I make sure all assumptions are explicit and understand their impact: 43%
– Mostly — I’ll accept some assumptions at face value: 54%
– Not very — I take assumptions at face value and often fail to challenge them: 3%
– Not at all — Assumptions are there to save time. I don’t question them: 1%

Assume Nothing. Assumptions can be a great shortcut. They save time. They eliminate unnecessary analysis. They can also be dangerous. Get a major assumption even a little bit wrong (or a minor assumption very wrong) and your entire plan can crumble. When crafting assumptions and deciding whether or not to validate them, use others as a sounding board. You might be bringing unconscious bias into the situation. That bias can lead you to overestimate your knowledge of the situation as well as get you to view your assumption too optimistically. Oftentimes it’s that “face value” assumption we blindly accept that proves to be our undoing.

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…

Breaking Out of Silos to Operate in the Matrix

Posted on August 30, 2017 | 2 Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership

SilosWe’re increasingly asked to operate in complex matrix environments but face the challenge of breaking down the silos. It takes a different approach to communication if you want to work in the matrix instead of being stuck in a silo.

The more complex our organizations get, the more dependent we are upon one another to get our work done. The challenge arises when people operate in silos in order to retain control over their domain. Silos and the matrix cannot coexist peacefully.

I recently spoke with my good friends Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos of The Leadership Podcast and discussed the challenges of breaking down silos and improving communications.

The format for this particular podcast was a little different – it was less of an interview and more of an open conversation like you’d overhear three guys having over a coffee (or, in my case, green tea on account of my heart attacks).

Give the podcast a listen while you sip your coffee this morning. I’m hopeful it will change the way you look at working in a matrixed environment and breaking down silos.

You can listen to the podcast by CLICKING HERE.

If you enjoyed that podcast, here are two more I recorded with Jan and Jim previously. Enjoy!

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