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How do you feel about your current level of responsibilities?

Posted on April 2, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Poll, Training

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you feel about your current level of responsibilities?

– I don’t have enough — they need to give me more: 32.27%
– I’m comfortable with my current responsibilities: 40.6%
– I have too much on my plate, and they need to lighten my load: 27.13%

Overworked or Underworked. It seems to be an even split between those of you who feel overworked versus those who feel underworked. The critical piece of either side of that equation is communicating with your manager. If you want additional responsibilities, make a clear case for what you’d like to take on and why it makes sense for you to own it. But beware – when you take on those additional projects, you might find yourself in the overworked camp. If you’re overworked, first prioritize your own projects and eliminate time sinks and low value projects. If that doesn’t lighten your load enough, speak with your manager about additional resources or reprioritizing what’s on your plate.

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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An Easy Trick for Getting the Resources You Need

Posted on April 1, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Leadership, Project Management

ResourcesResources are tough to come by.  By using a simple, logical approach, you can get your stakeholders to cough up those additional resources you need.  If they’re not willing to do so, at least they’ll understand why you can’t get everything they want done.

One of your greatest responsibilities as the leader of a high-performing team is making sure your people have the resources they need to execute against all the projects and initiatives you’ve put on the prioritization list. I’d like to offer you some techniques for getting those resources because resources are scarce. Just because you ask doesn’t mean people are going to give you more cash, more people, or more time.

You have to make a clear and compelling business case to get those resources allocated to you versus them being allocated to other parts of the organization. Just asking isn’t a viable strategy. First, take the list of your priorities with initiatives laid out from highest to lowest priority. Add to that list the “business-as-usual resources” you need to run the engine every single day and perform the tasks that are required of your team operationally.

Once you have that list, you’re ready to go to your stakeholders and ask for resources. It could be your boss. It could be a steering committee. It could be a monthly prioritization meeting. You’re going to go in and say, “Here’s the list of initiatives. Do you agree that this is the priority that we should pursue these in?” You want to get that explicit agreement from those stakeholders that “Yes, we want you to do this one first, and then this one, and then this one.” You also want their agreement that the business-as-usual work is work that they demand you do.

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The Secret Ingredient in Successful Hiring Practices

Posted on March 30, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Career, Guest Blogger, Training

Four Leaf CloverWhile many dismiss luck as an element of the hiring process, it can account for performance more than you think.  The good news is, there are ways to make your own luck.

Today’s post is by Tony Beshara, Ph.D., creator of The Job Search Solution and president of Babich & Associates

Most hiring authorities will not admit that luck plays an important role in the hiring process. In fact, most of the literature about hiring warns against relying too much on luck for a successful outcome. In my experience, however, luck is the secret ingredient.

The average hiring experience involves four hours of face-to-face meetings and, at best, an hour or two of testing, paperwork, contacting references and running background checks. In spite of the best intentions and exhaustive screening, the hiring process in and of itself doesn’t actually reveal what a potential employee will be like – or how they will perform. Our files are full of as many stories about people who far exceeded expectations as those who failed despite stellar qualifications.

For many new hires who fail, they may feel uncomfortable in the company culture or find themselves in over their heads. For those who succeed, they may have found a source of inspiration and feel driven to new heights of achievement.

Experienced senior managers understand the interplay of life and work, as well as the unpredictable factors and shifts in attitude that affect performance. Sometimes the most promising new hire becomes your worst nightmare: time-waster, incompetent, dishonest – or all three. And sometimes the sleeper becomes the super-star.

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How financially educated are the members of your team?

Posted on March 26, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our poll today asks: How financially educated are the members of your team?

– They understand our business’ economics very well: 15.67%
– They generally understand our business’ economics: 52.61%
– They’re somewhat unclear on our business’ economics: 19.4%
– They’re clueless about our business’ economics: 12.31%

Show them how they matter. It’s hard to be engaged and fulfilled if you don’t understand how your work has an impact on the broader organization. Helping your people understand the basic economics of your business is the first step in helping them see the impact their work has. Once they understand your economics, then they’re better able to align their activities with driving the financial results that are important to you. Invest the time in educating them on the dollars and cents – the return on that education can be tremendous.

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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A Surefire Way to Screw Up a Reorg

Posted on March 25, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Organization ChartLeading your team through a reorganization is stressful and challenging.  If you’re not careful, you can screw things up – royally. Here’s the cautionary tale of a leader who did exactly that.

The following is an excerpt from Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (you can get your copy here). This post demonstrates the risks leaders face during a reorganization.

Quite often, departments are combined, split, or a team’s purpose is redefined. Reorganizations are disquieting. Leaders in this role face several challenges the Leadership Matrix can help them overcome. First, they have to evaluate the performance of team members with whom they haven’t worked before. Second, as responsibilities change, a team member who was a high performer on one set of tasks might find themselves struggling with their new role. The Leadership Matrix makes it easier for leaders to assess these new team dynamics and apply their energy appropriately.

You can use the Leadership Matrix to assess your new team members, especially if you haven’t worked with them before. One of your primary goals when you lead a team through a reorganization is defining roles quickly and in a manner that puts everyone’s talents to best use. The Leadership Matrix can be a powerful tool for making that happen.

During your assessment of the new team, watch out for negative impacts arising from changing someone’s role. As you shift around responsibilities, be aware of situations where you might be giving someone more than they can handle. We’re not saying you shouldn’t change their roles. Such changes can be great growth opportunities. What we are advocating is being aware of the possible shift in the person’s performance that is a result of their new responsibilities. If you know this risk exists, you can take mitigating actions before it becomes a major problem.

Sally serves as a great example of what can happen if a leader isn’t mindful of a reorganization’s impact on a team’s performance. Read More…

To Supercharge Innovation, Map your Customer’s Processes

Posted on March 23, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Customer Service, Guest Blogger, Innovation

Triangular Process FlowToday’s post is by David Hamme, author of Customer Focused Process Innovation (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Remember when you had to purchase your music via CDs, records, or cassettes at brick and mortar record stores? Prior to the iPod’s arrival, there was always a delay between the intent to purchase the songs we wanted and the time when we could actually enjoy them. The delay was either the travel time to and from a store to buy the album or the time waiting for an order placed online to arrive from the post office. There definitely wasn’t instant gratification in the process.

The purchasing channels were rigid – requiring us to buy in increments of albums instead of choosing the exact songs we wanted. But there wasn’t an outcry from consumers. We learned to live with the shortcomings of the process.

But then came revolutionary change. Apple uniquely understood the customer inconveniences better than anyone else and developed a digital music library (iTunes) and a physical device (the iPod) to eliminate the delay in the customer’s receipt of music and that allowed the consumer to purchase exactly the songs they wanted. iPods were a huge improvement over the status quo and the customer responded enthusiastically. In effect, Apple reengineered the customer’s processes and by doing so redefined the music industry.

Innovators like Apple find and exploit game changing opportunities at a more rapid pace than their competition. The question is how to systematically identify those opportunities that move the market without relying on pure genius or an extraordinary leader – because Steve Jobs type geniuses are in short supply.

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How well do you take care of your physical well-being?

Posted on March 19, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well do you take care of your own physical well-being?

– Very well — I’m a picture of fitness and healthy living: 9.15%
– Well — I invest time and energy in it but could do more: 51.3%
– Not well — my habits aren’t nearly what they should be: 31.52%
– Poorly — I do a miserable job of caring for my well-being: 8.03%

You can’t lead if you’re dead. Would you ever run your business without knowing your key metrics? Or without maintaining your equipment? Of course not. And I’m sure you invest ample time and energy into those activities and ensure appropriate time is carved out for them. You need to treat your body as well as you treat your business. You can take some pretty easy steps every day to do just that – carving out time, knowing your metrics, etc. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not taking care of 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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The 4 Key Approaches to Great Decision-Making

Posted on March 18, 2015 | 2 Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Person's Feet at Two ArrowsMaking great decisions is a key leadership responsibility. If you choose the wrong decision-making style, you could face a disaster.  Choose the right style and you’ll make decisions faster and more effectively.

When you make decisions, there are four decision-making styles that you can use. There’s an Autocratic style, a Participatory one, a Democratic style, and a Consensus-based decision-making style. Your choice of which of those four styles to use is driven by two things. First, the urgency of making the decision – from low urgency where you’ve got plenty of time to make the call, to high urgency where you need a decision right now.

The second dimension to consider is the size or impact of the decision, from small decisions that won’t have a large impact, to big decisions that are going to have a huge impact. As you look at which style of decision making to use, you need to consider both of these dimensions.

Autocratic Decision-Making

For situations where you have low impact and they’re reasonably small decisions, but they get larger as urgency goes up, an Autocratic decision-making style is the most appropriate. In Autocratic decision-making, decisions are made at the top. Buy-in is not seen as an important aspect of making this decision. And actually, it may be counterproductive to involve a lot of people in making the call. Typically, in an environment where you’re making Autocratic decisions, work activities and roles are very tightly structured, they’re monitored and well controlled. Command and control is very important in these situations.

Participatory Decision-Making

For larger decisions where there’s higher urgency and you need to make a call soon, but the impact is going to be big, you’re looking at a situation where you need to use a Participatory decision-making style. This is where you’re going to make a decision with input from the people who are going to be impacted in that final call. Remember, Participatory decisions are made when the decision is much bigger and there’s a lot more risk involved. Getting that additional information from more people is going to reduce that decision making risk. Also by getting that buy-in, you’re reducing execution risk because people have had an opportunity to give their input and have a say in the final call that’s made.

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5 Characteristics of Great Leaders

Posted on March 16, 2015 | 2 Comments
Categories: Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

Number 5 Roughly PaintedToday’s post is by Abby Perkins, Editor in Chief at Talent Tribune.

When you think of characteristics of a great leader, what comes to mind? It’s probably something like dedication, perseverance or charisma. Maybe it’s the ability to think of big ideas, or the ability to get people to follow.

All those things are great – and they certainly help make great leaders. But less flashy traits can have an even bigger impact, especially when it comes to leading businesses. They’re the kinds of traits you’ll find in successful CEOs, presidents, and team leaders.

Below, we’ve picked a list of five of the best traits that great leaders share. What traits do you think are important for leaders to have? Let us know in the comments!

1. They don’t micromanage

Effective leaders are usually bursting at the seams with great ideas, but that doesn’t mean it’s their way or the highway. When someone in charge micromanages those beneath them, they stifles creativity and prevent others from finding their own best way (or perhaps a different, better way ) of doing things.

In short, a great leader trusts her employees to do what’s right. How can they trust them? Because they take the time to hire talented people who are well-suited for their roles, and who they can trust to do the right thing. This environment of trust breeds great ideas – ones that don’t always come from the top, either.

2. They show their human side

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How aware are you of negative perceptions of your actions?

Posted on March 12, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How aware are you of the negative perceptions others might have of your actions?

– Very aware — I always know how my actions can be seen negatively: 29.66%
– Aware — I know the perceptions of major actions but miss seeing others: 56.51%
– Not very aware — I know about negative perceptions after they’re pointed out: 11.62%
– Oblivious — I rarely see the negative perceptions others can have of my actions: 2.2%

Look through a new lens. Perceptions are tricky. We think we know how others see us but the lens we look through is often rose colored. If you want to mitigate negative perceptions, you first have to see what they might be. The fastest way to do that is simply ask “what’s the worst way my words or actions could be perceived right now?” Once you know that worst case, you can better see how others might see you and take appropriate steps to ensure you’re seen in the light you want to be seen in. And if you’re really interested in changing perceptions about yourself, you have to invest the time and energy in changing the way you’re seen.

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…

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