slidedown

Overcoming Your Decision-Making Fears

Posted on April 2, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Fear Written With LightsA leader’s daily decision checklist is daunting: From hiring or firing to major business changes, every judgment call carries with it some level of risk. A bad choice could result in a toxic hire or a new product launch that crashes and burns. Perhaps more frightening, one poor decision could scar a career forever. And so fear of negative implications leads us to delay important decisions — or not make them at all.

We try to make more perfect decisions by gathering additional information. Great, except that amassing additional information takes time, energy, and resources. And by the time you finally have perfect information, the world has changed and introduced new sources of ambiguity, thereby rendering all of that precious information totally irrelevant.

In the immortal words of RUSH, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Failure to make a decision is almost as bad as making a bad decision — and in some cases it’s worse.

Define What’s Certain, What’s Predictable, and What’s Unknown

Why do we fear ambiguity? Because lurking within is the possibility of making an incorrect decision. To better understand how much risk you’re really assuming, break down the decision into factors that contribute to your unknown. Think of it as an equation, and you’re solving for a set of missing variables.

Read More…

The Six Roots of Healthy Leadership

Posted on March 31, 2014 | 2 Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Grounded by Bob RosenToday’s post is by Bob Rosen, author of Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

To understand the secret to great leadership, forget everything you’ve been taught until now.  What worked in the past simply won’t cut it anymore.

Until recently, the accepted wisdom has been that leaders should be judged by short-term results. But, we’ve found that, thanks to rapidly changing technological innovation, deepening globalization and an ever-present uncertainty, this perspective hasn’t kept up with the times.

In fact, another, completely different model is necessary, with a new, more personal focus: effective leadership results from deeper internal qualities, not actions. Who you are drives what you do and that, in turn, determines performance.

These qualities—what we call roots—form the foundation of healthy, grounded leadership.  We’ve pinpointed six:

Read More…

Are you concerned your top talent will look for better jobs?

Posted on March 27, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: As the economy shows signs of improvement, how concerned are you that your top talent will look for new and better jobs?

- Very concerned, 36.01%
- Somewhat concerned, 39.79%
- Not concerned, 24.20%

Hindsight is 20/20: Sure, economically, things have been tough for a while. Many firms hunkered down and chose not to invest in people during the cycle (training, raises, promotions, bonuses, etc.).  Now it’s time to pay up. If you signaled to your teams that you didn’t value them during tough times, they’re much more likely to seek greener pastures when things improve. For now, identify those top performers, demonstrate they mean a lot to the company, and do what you can (training, raises or giving them more important responsibilities) to let them know they have a bright future with your organization. Hopefully you’ll be able to mitigate some of the flight risk you face.

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…

How to Solve Big Problems by Creating Small Problems

Posted on March 26, 2014 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Innovation, Leadership, Training

Mike Figliuolo Teaching Problem Solving Logic MapsWe all face large, ambiguous problems every day.  The real challenge is getting our arms around that problem and understanding what’s really driving the issue.  Until we can do that, we’ll never be able to solve the challenge we’re facing.  To break those big issues down into smaller ones, I’d like to introduce you to a problem solving tool called the logic map.

If you’re really interested in getting better and faster at problem solving, you can either check out our problem solving course or you can learn our entire problem solving method in video form in 39 minutes and 3 seconds at lynda.com.  Just CLICK HERE to check out the video version of the course.  Now, let’s explore creating and using a logic map…

At one point, I worked for the financial services firm, and we had a program where we were making offers to consumers. And when that program first launched, we were making about $5 million a year. The problem was, after a few months, we started losing $5 million a year. This was a huge issue. And there were a lot of things that could contribute to it. We used the problem solving process to get a better understanding of what issues are really driving the problem before we rush off and solve it.

We broke it down into what’s called a logic map. We looked at technology. We looked at training. We looked at systems. We looked at hiring. We looked at processes. And we broke that really big problem down into smaller issues that we could bite off and actually solve. Now the good news is, once we broke the problem down, we identified the core issue, followed the rest of the problem-solving process, and turned that program around from losing $5 million a year to actually making $20 million a year a few years after that.

Let me walk you through what a logic map is, and how you can use it to break down your own problem solving. Read More…

The Day My Business Almost Went Up in Flames

Posted on March 24, 2014 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger

Firefighters Putting Out Fire at Burning BuildingToday’s post is by Mike Kappel, President of Patriot Software.

When you start a new business, you’re occupied by thoughts of your next sale, equipment investment, or whether you’ll have time to break for dinner. You’re generally not thinking about being sued, cited by OSHA, or arrested.

But in business, your fortunes can turn on a dime. Here’s what happened to me and my business.

My partner and I had started our network of executive recruiters four years earlier, and it looked like the business might finally take off. Still, we were essentially broke, with less that $250 in our account, on the day that our pressman, George, decided to go to the local laundromat to wash the rags that we used to clean our printing presses. (This was not our standard procedure; we advised George to manually clean and line-dry the rags. Instead, George decided to take a shortcut and go to the laundromat instead.)

And then George put the chemical-soaked rags in a gas dryer.

The pilot light from the gas dryer ignited the rags, throwing George over a row of washers and slamming him into the wall. The laundromat caught on fire.

After I got the call from George and arrived on the scene, I saw fire trucks blocking the streets, firefighters spraying down the building with a huge plume of water, police diverting traffic, lights, sirens, and barricades everywhere. Basically, a business owner’s nightmare.

Read More…

What do you do when you know an initiative is doomed?

Posted on March 20, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Leadership, Poll, Project Management

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: When you know an initiative is doomed regardless of what you do, how does your organization respond?

- We immediately cut our losses, learn from it, and move on: 38%
- We keep trying to make it work through heroic efforts: 24%
- We stop working on it and let it wither without explicitly killing it: 19%
- We make some effort to make it work but eventually declare defeat: 19%

Losses are painful to take.  I applaud the 38% of you who see the lost cause and act decisively.  Throwing good money (and time and effort) after bad only compounds the problem.  Try to look at the problem objectively and realize it is a sunk cost.  Ask yourself: “Knowing what I know today, is it a good investment to put another dollar or hour into this project?”  If the answer is no, step up as a leader and stop the bleeding. Go invest your resources in other more promising ventures.  Your organization will be better off when you do.

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…

How to Drive Decisions Without Saying a Word

Posted on March 19, 2014 | 2 Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership

Woman Wearing Sunglasses with Finger on Mouth Saying ShhhAll too often, leaders seek to build support for an idea by talking – a lot. They go on and on about why the decision is a good one – detailing its benefits, the reasons others should support it, and the path forward. There’s passion and excitement behind the talk and the leader lets it show through in the form of focused enthusiasm. At best, the leader is pegged as long-winded, overbearing, and insecure. At worst, the decision doesn’t get made because no one buys in or it’s pushed through despite active resistance that will almost certainly derail implementation.

Here’s a more effective way to make decisions and get people to support their implementation: be quiet.

Know Your Destination

Heading into your meeting, be clear about the desired outcome. Are you there to secure overarching support for your recommendation? Or are you simply looking to sell a few key stakeholders? Are you seeking approval for a pilot? A full roll-out? By being explicit about the meeting’s objectives, you’ll increase the likelihood of achieving them.

Kick off the meeting by clearing stating the objective in an affirmative way: “We’re here to approve the full roll out of the new compensation plan.” In other words, point everyone in the right direction.

Know When to Ride…

Read More…

4 Tips to Up Your Leadership Capacity

Posted on March 17, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Number 4 Painted in Gold on a WallToday’s post is by Brad Farris, founder of EnMast.

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying?” For the most part, I feel that statement is true. When you get lost in the day-to-day details, the ability to think “big picture” starts to diminish quickly. Thinking ahead and planning for the future is what helps your business move forward. Capacity building needs to be at the top of your list. Write that down. I’m serious.

I’m a list-checker. I push hard throughout the day and love the satisfaction that comes with each swift checkmark. Can’t you just hear that crisp swipe of the pen?

But as much as I love working on that list, I also make time to think strategically and step away from my project-based work each day. It keeps me sane and is extremely important to for me as a leader—and for those whom I’m supposed to be providing direction. Really, it’s good for all of us.

I’m not saying capacity building has to take the same form for everyone; but allow your brain to recharge for a moment–with whatever it is that makes you reflective. For me, it’s a few moments early in the morning before I dive in that I devote solely to being quiet. After that, my brain is like a gerbil on a wheel until it’s quitting time.

Here are a few helpful tips for building leadership capacity.

Read More…

How do you deal with disruptive colleagues?

Posted on March 13, 2014 | 3 Comments
Categories: Communications, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you deal with colleagues who are disruptive in meetings?

- I don’t say anything in the meeting but do provide feedback afterward: 49%
- I call them out and confront them directly in the meeting: 35%
- I don’t say anything but I let their managers know about the problem: 12%
- I don’t do anything and figure someone else will fix the problem: 5%

It’s a good thing the vast majority of you are nipping a problem early.  Not only do disruptive colleagues get your meeting off track, they can poison your culture.  It’s one thing to dissent and problem solve productively in a meeting and another thing entirely to be rude.  Direct feedback that is timely is the most powerful tool you have.  For the 12% of you passing it on to the person’s manager, I suggest when you do so you ask that manager to give you an update after the feedback has been delivered because in many cases, that manager will not provide the feedback to your colleague since they weren’t in the meeting and they’re likely “busier with other things” (translation: avoiding giving the feedback).

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…

How to Lead People Who Have Never Followed

Posted on March 12, 2014 | 1 Comment
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership

Ducklings Swimming Behind Mother DuckWhat’s the biggest risk facing the leaders of most entrepreneurial ventures? It’s not closing that first round of funding or landing a cornerstone customer. As with most things, it all comes back to people — and your ability to lead those who don’t have much practice following.

It’s easy to get seduced by the investors, the technology, the contracts, and the customers. It’s even easier to focus on those things when you don’t want to take on the challenge of leading a green team. But, in the end, it’s your people who hold the fate of your venture in their hands, and leading them well may be the most important work you do.

Whether you earned your stripes in corporate America or as a serial entrepreneur, you carry many embedded assumptions about the way people should follow their leaders. Unfortunately, no one has ever explained that to the members of your team. That’s your job. You have to teach them how to be good followers and team members.

It’s Not About Hierarchy

Most of your team members are part of your entrepreneurial venture because they enjoy the absence of excessive structure and bureaucracy. Try to teach the art of following by enforcing a hierarchy, and you’ve taken the first step toward killing your company culture.

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.