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Breaking the Four-Minute Mile In Business

Posted on June 3, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

Team Coaching

You may not be the next Roger Bannister, but you can be the person who coaches him or her. Here’s how.

Today’s post is by Steve Farber, founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute.

Do you ever fantasize about being the first person on Mars or the next Steve Jobs? How about something more in the athletic realm, like the runner Roger Bannister, who famously broke the four-minute mile in 1954? He went the distance faster than anyone had done before him and achieved something once thought impossible. Surely you know him and his story well.

But have you ever heard of Franz Stampfl? He’s the unsung hero of track and field, an Austrian coach who mentored many of the athletes who gained fame for beating that record in the years since Bannister.

I recently read an archived profile of Stampfl in Sports Illustrated and was very impressed, but not by his aggressive approach or his specific coaching techniques. What struck me is that he transmitted love to those he was mentoring. You wouldn’t think that would be the important ingredient in getting people to run faster, but it was. One of the athletes, British two-time Olympian Brian Hewson, was quoted as saying:  “I never realized it was possible to work so hard in training and love every minute of it until I was coached by Franz. He makes running appear like an expression of beauty instead of a tough grind.”

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How effectively do you/your leaders run informal Q&A sessions with your associates?

Posted on May 30, 2019 | 1 Comment
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How Effectively Do You/your Leaders Run Informal Q&A Sessions With Your Associates?

  • Very: They’re authentic, approachable and listen as much as they talk: 24%
  • Kind of: Sometimes they don’t listen well, or they talk too much: 42%
  • Not at all: Those sessions turn into longwinded periods of them listening to themselves talk: 35%

You’re there for them. If you’re a leader who occasionally runs Q&A or “all hands” meetings with your teams, remember — you’re there for them, not for you. While it may be tempting to talk about a bunch of things of interest to you and it might feel good to have the spotlight on you, consider what your audience needs. Focus on addressing their questions rather than offering formally prepared remarks. Pay attention to body language and know when you’ve overstayed your welcome. Set aside ego, focus on your people, and give them what they want… then leave.  No one likes a blowhard and from the looks of this poll, many leaders out there are playing this role all too often.

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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Dealing with Emotional Trauma in the Workplace

Posted on May 27, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Statues Giving Support

Work and life are not entirely separate.  In fact, they are deeply intertwined, and each affects the other deeply, and should be taken into account.

Today’s post is by Ulrich Kellerer, business leader and mental health activist and co-author of The Soul of Success with Jack Canfield (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Mass shootings, devastating hurricanes and floods, the loss or illness of a loved one, or even the heated political environment – it’s not just workplace-related incidents that can have a negative emotional impact on your employees.

At its core, trauma is an emotional and physical response to a disturbing life event, like many of the ones described above. Oftentimes, following a traumatic incident, the human mind launches to temporarily numb a person by protecting them from the initial excruciating painful feelings of grief, helplessness, and anger.

For those employees who experience trauma, they often unknowingly bring it with them each day to work. Depending on the person, an office setting can either enhance recovery or, in some situations, be a place where trauma is exacerbated.

In many of today’s work environments, negative emotions tend to, unfortunately, get brushed aside or downplayed in an effort to keep things “strictly business.” In the short term, ignoring a team member’s negative emotions might be slightly more comfortable than dealing with them. And in many cases, there are just those managers that simply don’t know how to respond to employees’ negative or distressed feelings.

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Where does the most influence reside in your organization?

Posted on May 23, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  Where does the most influence reside in your organization?

  • Marketing is the top dog: 8%
  • Product is king: 13%
  • Finance rules all: 21%
  • Operations is in charge: 21%
  • R&D is above all others: 2%
  • Sales, sales, sales: 26%
  • Someone else: 9%

Know who the alpha is. There’s a broad spectrum of which function is top dog at your companies. Industry is likely a major determinant. Make sure you understand the implications of who the alpha is and how you get things approved. For the 21% of you where Finance is king, be careful that longer-term strategic work doesn’t fall victim to near-term budget pressures. While it’s important that a business make money, letting the numbers drive your strategy is a recipe for disaster. Stay focused on your customer and your products/services. The numbers will follow if you’re positioning yourself correctly in the market and driving great operational results.

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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Jumpstart Cashflow with 8 Simple Steps

Posted on May 20, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Business Toolkit, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Stacks of Coins

Premier business mentor Allison Maslan shares eight tips business owners can use to catapult cashflow, unlock scaling opportunities, and promote overall growth.

Today’s post is by Allison Maslan, author of Scale or Fail (CLICK HERE to get your copy)

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think about cashflow for your business? If you’re like most business owners, the thought probably makes you wince. Cashflow issues are some of the most common problems business owners face — but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are several steps that you can take to ensure that the cash is there when you need it.

Choose one or more of these steps and start creating the cashflow security your business needs to thrive. And before you do, get clear on one crucial element: You must believe that everything will come together with your business. Every business goes through ups and downs, but you won’t stay down as long as you remain focused on your big-picture vision for yourself and your company.

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What is your organization’s attitude toward paying its suppliers?

Posted on May 16, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What is your organization’s attitude toward paying its suppliers?

  • We see prompt payment as an important sign of partnership and professionalism: 75%
  • We try to pay promptly but it’s not that big of a deal if we don’t: 9%
  • We’ll pay when we pay. We have more important things to worry about: 6%
  • We deliberately pay slowly. That extra interest adds up!: 9%

Money over partnership. While the vast majority of you see paying vendor invoices promptly as a sign of professionalism (which it is), a discouraging portion of respondents think it’s fine to pay late or, even worse, deliberately do so. Now, if you’re still paying within contractual timelines, no big deal. But if you’re stretching beyond the timeframe you agreed to, consider the implications of your actions. You’re deliberately violating an agreement to advance your self-interests and doing so at someone else’s expense. Are a relationship and a reputation worth a few extra dollars in interest? There are people (especially small businesses) on the other end of those transactions counting on you to live up to what you agreed to. Perhaps its time to review your priorities if you’re deliberately paying late.

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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Making a Big Change? Avoid These Four Common Leadership Mistakes

Posted on May 13, 2019 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Broken Lightbulb

Many leaders make easily preventable mistakes when launching major organizational change initiatives, including: not reaching out to key stakeholders for feedback; making key decisions unilaterally, without consulting the team; dropping major issues on the team without warning; and not reinforcing the reasons for change and soliciting feedback once the change is underway.

Today’s post is by David Mattson, is CEO and President of Sandler Training, and author of The Road To Excellence (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

A change in the physical location of your company headquarters.

A major revision to your sales team’s commission plan.

The restructuring of your product line and/or your marketing and promotional plan to accommodate new technologies.

These are all major change initiatives. If you’re a company leader, you are inevitably going to reach a point where a decision will be required from you in a sensitive, high-impact area of transition for your business, like one of those just mentioned. How can you ensure the decisions you make are the right ones? How can you be sure that, once they are made, they don’t cause chaos and internal turmoil on your team? To begin with, you will want to avoid four extremely common mistakes we’ve seen repeatedly in the area of change management:

Mistake #1: Not looking at the issue from the perspective of all the stakeholders. If your immediate concern is reducing expenses, slashing your production department’s budgets by 25% may seem to make sense at first … but what will the effect be on product quality, and what will be the impact on your customers? Don’t guess. Find out. (This is the kind of thing customer councils, whether formally or informally constituted, are for.) Your decision about whether you do and how to make a major change – whatever it happens to be – is likely to have some kind of impact on your customers, your suppliers, your shareholders, and any number of others who are invested in the success of your business. You owe it to yourself, and your company, to find out how they will react to what you are considering. Getting plenty of external feedback will help you to put things in perspective, and perhaps even help you to reframe your change initiative. When in doubt, ask yourself and others: “What would the ripple effect of this course of action be?”

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How prevalent is online learning in your organization?

Posted on May 9, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How prevalent is online learning in your organization?

  • Extremely — almost all of us are using online learning platforms: 26%
  • Very — we do a lot of online learning: 34%
  • Kind of — there are a few common online learning opportunities 23%
  • Not very — it’s rare that we use online learning: 13%
  • Not at all — we never use online learning platforms: 4%

Migrating online… Slowly. 60% of you are actively using online learning platforms but there’s still a large percentage of you who haven’t fully moved in that direction. This isn’t to say online learning supplants in-person learning. It’s actually a great complement to it. On top of that, your employees see access to online learning tools as a benefit of working for you. With great platforms out there like LinkedIn Learning, you have more access than ever to great content that you can deliver at the point of need. If you haven’t done so already, get familiar with the offerings that are out there and see what your employees have interest in. You may be surprised with how quickly they latch onto those opportunities.

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 Leaders Need to Know (But Their Teams Won’t Tell Them)

Posted on May 6, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Outdoor Coffee Shop Meeting

Leadership experts, Karin Hurt and David Dye, share what leaders need to know (but their teams won’t tell them).  

Today’s post is by Karin Hurt and David award-winning authors of Winning Well (CLICK HERE to get your copy)

Laura, an IT Vice President at a mid-sized financial services company, was excited to be headed to the field for a few skip level meetings to see their new system in action.

Her team had been holding user-experience calls every week and all the feedback had been positive. She was hoping to collect some great stories to share with her boss about how the new system was making things easier for the customer service reps and ultimately for their customers.

She did a little MBWA (management by walking around) before the meeting. She sat next to one rep and said, “Can you show me your favorite parts of the new system?”

The rep attempted to pull up the first screen. But after 5 minutes they were both still staring at an hourglass waiting for the page to load.

The rep looked at Laura apologetically. “Oh, I’m sorry to waste your time. This usually takes a while.”

Laura’s jaw dropped. The vendor had promised the new system would be 7 times faster, not slower.

“Can you show me another page?”

Same issue.

“Is it always like this?”

“Oh, yeah. We’re used to it at this point, but the system has some other nice features.”

Laura thanked the rep and ran off to call IT.

After 10 minutes of testing, they realized that the servers in that center didn’t have the capacity needed to run the new system.

Hundreds of reps had been suffering through a ridiculous wait that was wasting their and their customers’ time. Week after week, supervisors had sat on user experience calls, fully aware of the issue, and had not said a word. No one ever raised the issue.

After replacing the server and ensuring everything was back on track, Laura went back to the reps on the user experience team and asked why they had never brought this up.

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How do you accommodate people with learning disabilities on your team?

Posted on May 2, 2019 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you accommodate people with learning disabilities on your team?

  • I’ve never dealt with someone with a learning disability: 40%
  • I do all I can to accommodate their needs: 43%
  • I sometimes accommodate but business goals are more important: 8%
  • I don’t accommodate. If they can’t keep up, they need to find another role: 9%

Humanity over productivity. While many of you have never dealt with someone who has a learning disability, for those of you who have, almost 30% put business goals ahead of accommodations. Consider that position — a set of arbitrary business numbers is more important than accommodating the physical or mental disabilities of someone seeking gainful employment. Ask yourself how you’d feel if it was your child or sibling or parent who wasn’t being accommodated. What would you tell them if they felt left out or left behind because market share is more important than their role in society? I invite you to look at those with learning disabilities through a lens of helping them contribute with dignity. Help them belong. You may be surprised by how much their enthusiasm and other abilities contribute to your team.

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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