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Ten Things Great Leaders Do

Posted on November 12, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Are You Aware

If our businesses are to be successful, we need to move from an era of command and control to a system of “leadership by consent.” Here are ten things great leaders do to make that shift.

Today’s post is by Debra Corey, author of Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The role of leaders is changing. More than ever, our employees are demanding visible, accountable and valuable leadership. We’ve moved from an era of command and control to a system of “leadership by consent.”

The voice of our employees has never been more powerful, with social media, open communication and public reviews leaving nowhere for leaders to hide if they don’t meet their employees’ demands. Sites like Glassdoor, which has 41 million people visiting each month, allow employees, past and present, to easily leave anonymous reviews of a company and its leadership. And with 80 percent of candidates reading Glassdoor reviews before applying for a job, as well as customers and even external investors visiting the site, we can no longer ignore the influence and power of employee reviews.

In Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement, co-authored with Glenn Elliott, we address this new world of leaders, as well as other critical engagement elements, through our engagement model called The Engagement Bridge™. Using this model as a framework, we talk about the urgency for businesses to start treating employees differently in all areas in order to improve employee engagement and get better business results.

As part of our research, we conducted a study of 350 millennials, asking them what they wanted and expected of their leaders, and had them prioritize leadership traits. The result is what we call “Ten things great leaders do,” and they are:

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What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

Posted on November 8, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Innovation, Leadership, Poll, Project Management

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

  • It’s been great every time: 17.3%
  • It’s been OK most times: 40.7%
  • It’s been hit-or-miss: 32.0%
  • It’s been horrible: 3.3%
  • I’ve never worked on a cross-functional team:6.7%

Cross-functional teams function — most of the time. Most of you have had good experiences on cross-functional teams. For those who have had it be hit-or-miss, consider the following culprits for the misses: team members aren’t fully committed to provide time and effort, they don’t have their supervisor’s support, goals aren’t aligned or there’s no clear charter for the team. These are some of the most common dysfunctions of a cross-functional team. All of these can be solved during the initial stages of forming the team. Do all you can to drive commitment, alignment and direction as soon as the project starts. Skipping that step can spell disaster.

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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4 Ways to Help Work and Life Coexist

Posted on November 5, 2018 | 1 Comment
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

People Running Marathon

Studies show that the happier your team is, the more productive they will be. Here are simple strategies to keep them energized.

Today’s post is by William Vanderbloemen, author of Culture Wins (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

More and more studies are showing that how we feel about our work impacts how we feel about ourselves, our personal and professional relationships, and our job performance.

Successful companies are wising up to this and nurturing our mind/body connection and seeing a boost in higher quality work, retention and results.

Still not convinced?

Think of it this way: If you buy two pairs of running shoes and switch them off, they’ll last longer. The same is true with your staff. Give your team time to reset during busy work seasons, and they’ll be energized to do more work quicker and better.

Here are four simple strategies to having work and life not only coexist, but get along, and see great results:

Hit the gym

Organizations with a healthy work culture encourage their team members to be healthy themselves.

Give your employees the resources to take care of themselves. Provide a gym membership. Schedule a trainer to come to the office so people can work out while getting paid (not squeezing in during a lunch hour). Or, have a fitness challenge. People can train together for a race or see who can log the most steps in a month.

Encourage LONG lunches

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How often do you try to meet new people when you travel?

Posted on November 1, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll, Sales

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How often do you try to meet new people when you travel?

  • Very: planes, lounges and hotels are great places to meet new people: 18.0%
  • Sometimes: I’ll occasionally make an effort to meet new people: 40.1%
  • Not very: I’d rather keep to myself most of the time: 32.3%
  • Not at all: leave me alone: 9.6%

Networking opportunities abound. Look around you when you travel for work. You’ll notice many people who look like you. They’re business travelers too. Meeting them could create great new opportunities for you in the form of customers, partners, employees or future employers. But you have to make the effort to meet them. There are many examples of great connections to be made while traveling. All it takes to get started is a polite “hello” or a simple offer of assistance. The vast majority of you report that you don’t take these steps to expand your network. You could be missing out on your next big opportunity. Next time you travel, offer a kind greeting and introduce yourself to someone new. At the very worst, it will make the world a friendlier place.

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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The Ultimate Sales Strategy is to Engage Your Employees

Posted on October 29, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Wad of Cash

There are three areas in which the leaders can focus their efforts in order to ensure exponential growth in sales, revenue, and customers: focus on the vision, drive open communication, and be a great mentor.

Today’s post is by Shawn Casemore, author of The Unstoppable Organization (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

What if an investment in your employees was the single greatest contributor a leader could make in order to grow their revenue and improve customer satisfaction? I’m not suggesting hiring more salespeople, or investing in new marketing campaigns, but rather making an investment of time, energy, and even money to support the ability of employees who work in the organization to be effective in their roles.

Does this even sound reasonable?

According to the nearly one dozen CEOs that I interviewed recently, for leaders who are dominating their markets in terms of growth, revenue, and overall market share in their sector, an investment in people is their single greatest contributor to boosting their bottom line.

It’s long been thought that revenue and growth of any organization comes directly from the organization’s ability to both market and sell its products or services effectively. By investing more money and time directly into marketing and selling, an organization will grow, right? Unfortunately, this is not true. Sure you might invest in a new marketing campaign that will yield several leads, but the campaign itself doesn’t ensure that you can close the leads. An investment in developing a sales team might lead to closing more deals, but it doesn’t ensure that customers you sell to are and remain satisfied with your products or services, to the extent that they will buy them again and again.

There are essentially three areas in which the leaders can focus their efforts in order to ensure exponential growth in sales, revenue, and customers, most of which might come as a surprise as they are counter to what we’ve historically believed to be true.

Alignment with the Vision

First off, growing revenue starts in having all employees aligned with the vision of the organization. Where is it going, and what specifically does the role of each employee need to be in order to support reaching the vision? I once stopped by to see a client and asked reception how her day was going. She immediately identified that she had spoken with ten customers, four prospective customers, and several referral sources that day. Shocked at her response, I asked how she was so sure of the status of her calls. She responded quickly, saying, “My role is not to answer phones, but to be the first point of contact for all of our customers, existing and new, and ensure their experience is beyond their expectations.” She went on to share her strategies for connecting with people and learning of their connection to the company. My jaw was likely on the floor as she spoke, but it reinforced what I’ve heard from CEOs and executives of organizations that seem unstoppable when it comes to growth: connecting employees’ roles and responsibilities with that of achieving goals ensures everyone is placing their efforts and energy in the right direction.

Clear and Open Communication

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How effective are you at using found pockets of time to get work done?

Posted on October 25, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Business Toolkit, Career, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How effective are you at using “found” pockets of time — 10 to 30 minutes — to get work done?

  • Very: I always have a ready list of tasks to do in these small moments. 47.6%
  • Somewhat: Sometimes I use it productively and others I waste the time. 32.8%
  • Not very: Most of that found time goes to waste. 14.8%
  • Not at all: I never get anything done in those pockets of time. 4.7%

Make a list of small tasks. Most of you are somewhat effective — or less than somewhat — at using small time slots of “found time” to get things done. This occurs because when we find 15 or 20 minutes, we spend 10 of it trying to figure out what to work on and then 10 minutes saying we don’t have enough time to finish the task. An effective way to use this time is to maintain a list of small tasks that can be done in 15-, 30- and 60-minute spans. When you are given the gift of some found time because a meeting ends early or is cancelled, you can immediately turn to your list, pick a task and get it done. This small productivity enhancer will help you fill these times effectively and get a lot more work finished in a given day.

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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Five Essential Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs

Posted on October 22, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Business Toolkit, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Leaders Written on Chalk Board

Becoming a great start-up leader takes work. Every entrepreneur faces a unique set of hurdles. Regardless of the type of enterprise, the five underlying leadership skills required for success are the same.

Today’s post is by Derek Lidow, author of Building on Bedrock (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Every entrepreneur faces a unique set of hurdles, depending on whether they want to sell sausages, software, services, smartphone apps, or whatever. But regardless of the type of enterprise, the five underlying leadership skills required for success are the same. No one is born with them and each requires work. They include:

Self-Awareness

The students to whom I teach entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurs who seek my advice are almost always surprised to hear that self-awareness is a skill. They assume it’s a trait you’re born with. But the fact is you can learn it—learn how to identify your capabilities and your personal modes of learning and self-improvement.

Mastering self-awareness requires that you understand what you are capable of achieving, given your combination of traits, motivations, and skills, all of which are interdependent. You cannot change your traits, but you can change your skills and some of your motivations.

Once you understand your traits, motivations, and skills you can adopt straightforward strategies for leveraging your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses. For instance, if one of your traits is headlong risk-taking you might hire a second-in-command who is by nature more cautious and analytical. Further, you need to understand your deepest motivations (and that what drives you may not drive the people who work for you). Confidence based on a clear understanding of yourself is empowering; delusional self-confidence is hubris, and it’s likely to be fatal to your business.

Build Relationships

Entrepreneurial leaders virtually never act alone in getting the world to adopt their ideas—they build strong relationships with the people who can help them. Unfortunately, relationship building is rarely taught in school, though you can read about in many places. Some life skills coaches know how to help people practice relationship building. One way to master it is to deliberately practice with people from whom you want cooperation. Set a goal of getting to know somebody, make contact, and then figure out how you can do it better the next time.

Motivate Others

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How many close personal advisors do you have that you can go to for guidance in challenging times?

Posted on October 18, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How many close personal advisors do you have that you can go to for guidance in challenging times?

  • 5 or more: 3.0%
  • 2 to 4: 55.7%
  • 1: 21.0%
  • None: 20.3%

Build your personal advisory board. We don’t have all the answers. Getting fresh, objective and outside perspectives can help you make better decisions. Consider creating your own personal board of directors. Find people you respect and trust and, most important, who think differently than you do. They’ll push your thinking, offer good ideas, challenge your assumptions, and help you make better choices. The board doesn’t have to be large but it should be larger than the zero to one people 41% of you have (or don’t have) as advisors. Investing time in these relationships can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

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 13 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 Deal with Imposter Syndrome at Work

Posted on October 15, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Business Toolkit, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Porcelain Mask

Imposter Syndrome is the belief that we don’t believe we deserve the job we’re in or the success we achieve. To overcome it, become aware of what’s letting you down and allowing these intrusive thoughts into your mind. That awareness enables you to shift your perspective and start being kinder to, and more patient with, yourself.

Today’s post is by Ethan Lee of Inspiring Interns.

Imposter Syndrome is a term that was coined in the late 1970’s from research carried out by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Their researched showed that many high-achieving women tended to believe they were not intelligent enough and were being over-evaluated by others. Imposter Syndrome has therefore come to describe the feelings of people who, quite simply, don’t believe they deserve their job. Those exhibiting the syndrome believe that deep down they are frauds, and fear that sooner or later they’ll be exposed.

It’s thought that most of us will feel like an imposter at some point or another in our careers, with studies suggesting around 70% of us will experience the feeling sooner or later. While it’s not necessarily harmful in and of itself, the dangers arise when these feelings make you apprehensive, and hold you back from fulfilling the upper echelons of your potential.

Like all problems in both your personal and professional lives, understanding where they may be stemming from is a great place to start. There are myriad reasons that could be causing your imposter syndrome, but here are just some ideas:

You feel inexperienced

This is a likely scenario for younger workers, graduates, career changers and generally people who are prone to a weakened sense of self-worth or self-appreciation. The notion that you’re not automatically worthy of something can be a good thing in moderation, keeping you grounded, humble, and realistic about your goals and capabilities. When these thoughts are consistent and intrusive, however, they’ll certainly begin to be a distraction, and damage your performance in the long term.

You’re a perfectionist

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How frequently do you get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?

Posted on October 11, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How frequently do you get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?

  • All the time: 11.1%
  • Frequently: 29.3%
  • Sometimes: 36.6%
  • Not often: 19.2%
  • Never: 3.8%

We all get overwhelmed. The question is: how do you deal with it? 77% of you report you’re overwhelmed “sometimes” or more frequently. The pace of business won’t let up. Change and complexity are ever-present. Your ability to cope with stress is a key determinant of how successfully you’ll manage the chaos you deal with every day. Resilient leaders perform better and are generally happier and healthier. Do you have techniques you use to build resilience? Do you have practices to help you cope with stress every day? If not, build them into your routine. Working out, meditating, pursuing a hobby and building strong personal relationships are just a few ideas for how you can become a more resilient leader.

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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