slidedown

For Brands, Trust and Truth are the Most Important Games in Town

Posted on July 22, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Trust Handshake

The issue of leadership is an absolutely crucial one when brands are built on trust.

Today’s post is by Sean Pillot de Chenecey, author of The Post-Truth Business (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The issue of leadership is an absolutely crucial one when brands are built on trust.

This is because, in a post-truth world, businesses of all descriptions have a serious problem: a weakening of the vital trust connection between brands and consumers is causing enormous problems for businesses.

The ramifications for brands in sectors of all description are deeply serious, especially when ‘reputation capital’ is of such immense importance, regarding our belief in those core questions of ‘is a business honest, competent and reliable?’ Because if a brand isn’t trustworthy, it’ll be rejected in favor of one that is.

Because just running an advertising campaign stating that a brand is trustworthy isn’t good enough. This isn’t a marketing issue, this is a business-wide issue, involving every facet of the organization, hence leadership being so important.

Companies have to be consistent in their behavior, from top to bottom, and right along the supply chain, from the ‘first hand of production to the final hand of the consumer’. But a problem that’s becoming ever more visible is that some organizations have made authenticity their marketing strategy, rather than a business one. As a result, they come across as manufactured, the very opposite of authentic.

And this genuinely has to go all the way. Make no mistake, organizations and brands that want to earn and keep our trust have to ‘live it like they say it’. Because business has to be about more than just profit. ‘People plus Planet’ and to quote a much-derided word ‘Purpose’ have to be in there too.

The ‘actual’ difference between ethical brands with a moral code and those exposed as being without one, is increasingly a key factor in consumer brand adoption or rejection. This approach very much links to social innovation and indeed conspicuous altruism.

Read More…

Do you enjoy negotiating?

Posted on July 18, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Do you enjoy negotiating?

  • I love it! I’ll negotiate over everything: 10%
  • I like it especially for important things: 31%
  • It’s OK, but it doesn’t really excite me: 26%
  • Not really. I find it uncomfortable: 24%
  • Not at all. I hate every aspect of it: 9%

Let’s make a deal. A reasonably large number of you enjoy deal-making. For those who find it uninteresting or distasteful, consider the implications of that stance. Recognize everything is negotiable – salary, time off, times to hold meetings, office locations, etc. It’s not just about negotiating contract terms. When we dislike an activity, we avoid it. In this case, it might mean you avoid preparing for a negotiation or even paying attention to the fact that you’re in a negotiating situation. That can be disastrous. The party who comes to the table better prepared is significantly more likely to achieve the outcome they desire. Many times that will be at your expense if you’re unprepared. So while you might find negotiating distasteful, look at the cost of not doing it well. That might change the way you approach all the day-to-day negotiations you might be involved in without even realizing you’re negotiating.

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…

The Importance of Critical Thinking

Posted on July 17, 2019 | 2 Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Strategy

20190717 Critical Thinking

Stopping and considering decisions before you make them is only the start to critical thinking and building on those skills makes all the difference.

The importance of critical thinking

Let’s look at the importance of critical thinking. So many times when people ask us, “Can you go solve this problem,” we rush off and start solving it without stopping to think before we do.

We’re facing new demands that require extensive amounts of information before we can make a decision. There are multiple departments involved in all of your problem-solving efforts, and each department is contributing its own input. As part of your problem-solving process, there are going to be multiple stakeholders involved. This increases the complexity of trying to get to an answer.

When you do ultimately come up with a recommendation, those big decisions will involve numerous trade-offs. Not everyone is going to be happy with what you recommend. There are going to be long lag times in acquiring the required data to make your decision, and when you finally do make the call, there’s going to be high scrutiny over whether you were right or wrong. And a bad call can have both business, as well as, personal and professional implications. Add to this unforeseen bottlenecks in getting the process done of getting to that answer, multiply it by the number of problems you’re trying to solve every single day, and then divide by the limited amount of time you have to get to an answer.

The importance of stopping and thinking critically before you rush off and undertake all these very comprehensive efforts is very high. That critical thinking process is what’s going to differentiate you and the solutions you develop versus rushing off without any thought at all.

Distinguish causes vs. consequences

As you begin your critical thinking efforts I’d like you to think about causes and consequences. One of the biggest challenges we’re going to face with any problem solving is that desire to rush off and get to an answer quickly because we feel like we’re being responsive to our stakeholders when we do.  But think about it.

Have you ever solved a symptom only to find out there are other symptom’s that arise after you solve it? Have you ever put in place a recommendation only to find out you created new problems down the road? When you’re going through this critical thinking process, first, consider causes.

Look at the symptom that is problematic. Then figure out the real reason it’s happening. And come at that possible symptom from multiple perspectives. Once you generate a recommendation, stop and think critically. What new problems can you create, if you implement this recommendation? What are the new symptoms that will be caused? Think that through before you implement your recommendation.

Let me offer an example. I know a client situation where the organization was going to roll out a brand-new website that would be facing their customers. The problem was they continued to miss deadlines for rolling the website out and going live. Now let’s look at causes and consequences.  What was the cause of the website not rolling out?  Well, the code wasn’t ready. Yeah, but that’s a symptom. That’s a symptom of a problem. Why wasn’t the code ready? Well, the specifications weren’t done. Okay. Well, that’s also a symptom.  Why weren’t the specs done? Well, because they didn’t agree on the features and functionality of the new website. But let’s not stop there. Why was that symptom happening? Well, they weren’t given clarity by leadership around one aspect that was a major strategic decision in terms of how they would roll the website out. That was the cause of all these issues and why the rollout wasn’t happening.

Now let’s think through, once that strategic decision is made, what are the consequences of it? So leadership finally decided to make the website a closed network. Therefore, new customers would have to call in to register, instead of registering on a website.  But let’s look at the consequences of that decision and the new problems that can emerge. New customers are now going to have to call a call center associate. That’s then going to flood the call center with incremental calls. The consequence of that is the staff in the call center is going to be over-worked.  And then the consequence of that is current customers are going to experience service issues.  They won’t get their calls answered as quickly. And then the consequence of that is we might lose current customers.

By stopping and thinking about causes first and then consequences, once you do make a recommendation, you’re going to identify the true problem that you need to solve and, hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid causing future problems.  When you go out to solve a problem, think backwards about the causes, think forward about the consequences.

As you go to apply these notions to your critical thinking processes, I’d like you to think about a problem you’re working on. Look at the causes. Spend some time thinking about what’s really causing this issue. Continue to work backward until it’s clear you’re solving a problem and not a symptom. Then, once you’ve generated a recommendation, think through the consequences.  What are the new problems that could emerge, if you implement your recommendation? Think about a problem that you made a recommendation on where it didn’t go so well. Which of these two did you miss?  Did you miss the real root cause? Did you miss possible consequences of your recommendation?

By spending this extra time thinking about these aspects and putting in the critical thought, there’s a much higher likelihood that whatever recommendation you come up with is going to solve the true problem and you’re going to account for some of the possible consequences down the road.

Want to learn more about critical thinking, and how to really think about the effects it will have on your business?  Check out the video below or you can go directly to the course and start learning how to improve all different aspects of your business every week. The entire course is available at LinkedIn Learning. Enjoy!

Distinguish causes vs. consequences from Critical Thinking by Mike Figliuolo

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!

Communicate With Skill For Positive Outcomes

Posted on July 15, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Coworkers Talking

Taking the training and communication skills you learn at work doesn’t have to end at the office, you can use your new found communication skills across your entire life.

Today’s post is by David Hiatt, author of FROM THE BOARDROOM TO THE LIVING ROOM (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

As trainers, we have all heard something similar to, “I wish my family or co-workers could learn this material!”  It may not have been those exact words, but the message was the same.  You train excellent content and people want to share it with those with whom they communicate on a regular basis.

I have found some of my best training insights have come in the hallways during breaks. A participant once asked me how to convey this material to her spouse (Bob).  My first piece of advice was to decide on exactly which strategy or skill she wanted to share.  If you have a specific goal of what you want to communicate to the other person, it is easier to keep the conversation on track.

My second insight was to suggest getting an agreement with the other person to take the time to engage in the discussion.  Let the other person know why you want to have the conversation, how much time you need, what topic you want to cover and if they have anything to add, and the outcome you are expecting. Get agreement on those four (or five based on how you count the third item) items and your conversation will get off to a great start.

Read More…

How likely are you to overcommit yourself and run yourself down from doing so?

Posted on July 11, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How likely are you to overcommit yourself and run yourself down from doing so?

  • Very. I do it all the time: 42%
  • Somewhat. I try not to overcommit but it happens occasionally: 46%
  • Not very. I rarely find myself overcommitted: 7%
  • Not at all. I manage commitments rigorously so I’m not stretched too thin: 4%

Overcommit and underdeliver. Many of you report overcommitting sometimes to all the time. Those are alarming numbers. You’re not impressing people by taking on too much work and then either failing to deliver on it to an expected standard or running yourself into the ground in the process of getting the work done. If you’re burned out, you’re worthless to the organization, your friends and family, and to yourself. Get comfortable with saying “no” or pushing back on deadlines. Take baby steps at first. When someone says they need something “right now” get clarity on the date. Oftentimes things can be pushed out. The more comfortable you get with pushing back, saying “no,” and delegating, the less likely you are to disappoint those around you and wear yourself out.​

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…

Six Ways To Prepare Your Team For A Digital Transformation

Posted on July 10, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

20190605 Digital Transformation

The digital age has been here for quite some time now and will only continue to grow and become more advanced, so making sure your team is ready for a digital change is key.

Today’s post is by Maureen Metcalf, a thoughtLEADERS principle.

Experts have been discussing technological changes, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, for a while now. I believe many professionals have accepted that this is how the world is unfolding, but they don’t necessarily have a clear view of what it means for their employees.

Many of the leaders I work with are curious about digital transformation and would like to be proactive, but they aren’t sure where to start. My role is to help them with a range of activities, including understanding opportunities and connecting them with our expert partners who can help them accomplish their goals.

I predict that many (if not all) industries will feel the effects of these technological advances, some at different rates and with different specifics. According to the 2018 jobs report by the World Economic Forum, at least half of the U.S. workforce will require significant reskilling by 2022.

I’ve developed a few ways leaders can become proactive and stay on top of these changes in the workplace:

Continually update your mindset to demystify changes.

I’ve observed that many of the changes we are facing involve the automation of tasks in our lives. In my experience, keeping up with these changes can be as simple as taking the time to read articles from credible sources that explain the adoption of more technology. Make a conscious effort to understand more about what this tech is and how it could impact your organization.

Take a look at what could be automated.

Ask yourself which aspects of your role or company can be automated by technology. As you explore the landscape of current and future software, do you see routine parts of your organization’s work that can be more effectively done by technology? I’ve found that this frees people to process the difficult cases that require more unique analysis. Plan any future changes in your company over time so you can schedule skill-building exercises that intersect with when these changes will occur.

Determine a strategic approach to reskilling.

The World Economic Forum’s job survey also reported that the time it takes to reskill workers can vary among organizations. So, define and enable a plan for continuous reskilling. One plan, for example, might include using software that offers a range of content that is aligned with your development goals. Or, you could consider using a combination of online training and mentoring with coaching. I’ve found this can help provide more flexibility for busy employees, as well as combat the cost of in-person training so that you still receive hands-on guidance and strong learning outcomes.

Read More…

Not Getting the Interview? Your Résumé is Almost Certainly the Problem

Posted on July 8, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Resume Writing

When you’re looking for your next job, take a minute to review your resume just one more time, there may be a few things to consider that might just be the difference between you getting the job or not.

Today’s post is by Martin Darke, author of The 30-Second Impact Résumé (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

I well remember the first résumé I ever wrote for anyone, and got paid. It was in 2002. Kate (name changed) was a waitress at a café I visited regularly. She hated her chosen profession of teaching and wanted to get a job in adventure tourism. Kate showed me her résumé and said she had sent it to a target company she admired. There had been no reply. That did not surprise me.

I asked her to forget that application and told her we would start all over again with a different résumé. I re-wrote it, Kate sent it to the same company, got an interview, and got the job.

Kate asked me how I did it. I told her it was simple. All I did was re-arrange the information she already had on her old résumé, add a heading, tell a short story, and that was that.

It changed her life. The last time I saw her she was supervising bungee jumps and had a big smile on her face. It was a far cry from teaching.

Frustrated job seekers are too numerous to mention. I would estimate that over 90% of job seekers have poor-quality résumés which simply don’t present them in the best light, so their applications go straight in the bin.

Read More…

How effectively do you feel you navigate office politics?

Posted on July 4, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How effectively do you feel you navigate office politics?

  • Extremely. I’m a master at navigating office political intrigue: 7%
  • Very. I navigate politics pretty well most of the time: 37%
  • Somewhat. I sometimes miss important political issues: 33%
  • Not very. I’m not very savvy at navigating political challenges: 16%
  • Not at all. I’m at a total loss for how to navigate office politics: 7%

Politics are a big challenge. While a large portion (44%) of you feel relatively politically savvy at work, an even larger portion struggle to navigate the daily challenges and intrigue of the modern office. I’d submit that you have two choices — join into the political fray and approach it like you’re working at the Capitol or in a TV drama. This approach will tune you in to more of the political landscape and help you navigate those waters. The downside is it will consume a lot of your time and energy that could be spent on more productive pursuits — not to mention being extremely stressful. The other option is to rise above the political fray. When people try to suck you in, let them know you’re too busy working on meaningful efforts to invest time in the drama. While this approach creates political risk for you, it generates more value for the organization and keeps you out of energy-draining daily dramatic situations.

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…

Setting Team and Employee Goals

Posted on July 3, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Strategy

20190703 Chess

Creating goals for your business that link through the entire organization is the key to successful goal setting from all sides of your business.

Link goals to strategy

For a goal to be really relevant, it has to tie to the broader purpose and goals of the entire organization. Your strategy is going to help drive that. The strategy consists of a desired future state and definition of how you’re going to get there.

You should break that strategy down into smaller interim goals on that path. Every goal that gets set in the organization should be linked to that broader element of your strategy. How do you do that?

Take your vision and your mission. Look at where you’re going as an organization. Break that down into major themes over the course of the strategic planning period. For each theme, break that down into actions you’ll have to take to achieve that theme. For each action, break that down into sub-actions until you can set an individual goal for each of those actions.

I worked for a lawn and garden company at one point and I was in the strategic planning group. We said, “We’re no longer going to “just be a lawn and garden company. “We’re going to move into outdoor living.”  It was a much broader expansion strategy.

For each part of the organization, we set goals that were tied to that outdoor living strategy. Our consumer packaged goods business had goals for new product line expansion and getting into new categories. Our services business had goals for offering new services. Even in the strategy group, we had goals for achieving that outdoor living strategy. We had goals for how many acquisitions we would do, what categories we were going to enter, and for each acquisition we had goals related to targets we were going to make offers to. We had a time for when we were going to make the offer. We had deadlines for making a deal. We had deadlines and goals around integration, execution of the plan, and expansion of those businesses once they were acquired. Every single one of those goals tied to a broader strategic theme, and those themes tied to the broader strategy of getting into outdoor living.

We all knew how we were contributing to the broader strategy.  Therefore, our goals made sense and they were meaningful and relevant to the mission of the organization. When you set your goals, make sure that you can go from strategy to themes to actions to goals, and then explain to the members of your team how those goals roll up to the broader strategy.  It will give their work meaning and help them understand how they fit in.

Learn to build goals from the top down

Goals shouldn’t just tie from your strategy down to the individual goals. When you add your goals up, they also need to align from corporate goals down to the individual. Ensure everyone’s work is headed in the same direction and people know how they fit in, how their work contributes to the broader goals we’re trying to achieve.

The way you do this is to work from the vision down to subcomponents, then down to subcomponents below that, all the way down to individual goals. Goals should cascade from the highest levels down, and when you add them all up, hopefully it’s more than you’re trying to get to at the top level. Why? Well, you want to make sure that you hit that goal. By over-allocating that goal across the organization, you’re going to increase the chances that you hit the big goal.

I worked for an operating division at one point and we had a goal of $200 million of revenue. There were five regions in the organization. Each region was given a goal of $42 million. Now, that’s $210 million. Within those regions, each branch was given a goal, and when you totaled up all the branches, it came to $215 million worth of goals. We then looked at the individual sales reps, and every sales rep was given a goal. When we totaled up all the sales rep goals, it was $220 million. Adding up those individual goals exceeded the division goal by 10%, by $20 million.

The reason we did this was to ensure that we hit that top-level $200 million goal. Over the course of the year, obviously, some sales reps exceeded their goals, some met their goals, and some fell short.  Working from the top down, ensured the primary goal was focused on. Everyone was focused on driving sales, and by over-allocating that goal from top down to individual helped us achieve that goal.  Now, when you do this, if you’re going to go with an over-allocating approach to setting these goals from the big goal down to individuals, be careful about overplaying that hand because you may make it such that that goal is not achievable.

One time I’ve seen this dynamic is when I was in the army and we had to be at formation at a certain time. Our company commander would say, “I want everybody at formation at 6 am.” The lieutenants would then go to the organization and say, “I want everybody at formation at 5:30 am.” The platoon sergeants then went to the teams and said, “I want everybody in formation at 5 am.” The squad leaders then said, “I want everybody in formation at 4:30 am.” The next thing you know, you’ve got this poor private standing out there in a parking lot at 4 am waiting for a formation that happens two hours from now.

Bad things can happen when you over-allocate a goal down to the individual level so balance it out. Look at the high-level goal. Break it down into subcomponents. Look at the individual goals that are going to add up to that broader goal. Make sure the goals you set at the individual level are still achievable and they’re directly tied to the broader goal you’re trying to achieve. By doing so, people know how they contribute, how they fit in, and you’re going to make sure that you hit those top-level goals if everybody hits their individual goals.

Want to learn more about goal setting, and how to really think about the effects it will have on your business?  Check out the video below or you can go directly to the course and start learning how to improve all different aspects of your business every week. The entire course is available at LinkedIn Learning. Enjoy!

Welcome to how to set team and employee goals from Setting Team and Employee Goals by Mike Figliuolo

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!

To Thrive in Business, Think Like an Entrepreneur

Posted on July 1, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Bakery Shop

To thrive as an employee-leader or as an entrepreneur, one must possess self-efficacy and proactivity, be innovative, have a need for achievement and be confident through stress, uncertainty and risk.

Today’s post is by Jill Ferguson, author of Creating a Freelance Career (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

When we are young and don’t realize what we don’t know or what can’t or hasn’t been done, we are more open to possibilities. When I was 14, I helped out at a bakery, owned by a family friend, around Easter. One particular batch of paska bread was left a few moments too long in the oven so they browned a little more than usual on the top. The baker was distraught and cursed at his employees. In my naiveté  and teenage confidence, I said to him, “We could put icing on them and sell them.”

He stared at me in what seemed like a mix of anger, confusion and wonder, and he said nothing for seconds that felt a lot like minutes. Finally, he said, “Let’s do a few and see what happens.” Those breads sold out quickly so we applied a clear, sweet glaze to  a few dozen more loaves, and iced paska became a holiday staple at this bakery for the rest of its business life.

What I didn’t know then, but I learned later, is that incident is an example of how an entrepreneur thinks and behaves. Harvard Business School researchers have spent decades studying entrepreneurial personalities and mindsets and have identified five common traits: self-efficacy and proactivity, innovativeness, a certain amount of tolerance for stress and uncertainty, a tolerance for risk, and the need for achievement.  While these traits are common in the self-employed and in business owners, these traits are invaluable in employees who want to distinguish themselves as leaders.

Read More…

  • ©Copyright thoughtLEADERS, LLC. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in whole or in part without the EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF thoughtLEADERS, LLC. Content may not be republished, reproduced or distributed in whole or in part without the proper attribution of the work and disclosure of its source including a direct link back to the original content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content nor can you modify the content in any way. However, you may download material from this website for your personal, noncommercial use only. Links to websites other than those owned by thoughtLEADERS, LLC are offered as a service to readers. thoughtLEADERS, LLC was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC has worked to ensure the accuracy of the information included herein. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services beyond training, coaching, and consulting. Its reports or articles should not be construed as professional advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in our reports or reliance upon any recommendation or advice provided by thoughtLEADERS, LLC.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC is committed to protecting your privacy. You can read our privacy policy by clicking here.