Leading Blog



05.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for May 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in May.

  Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  Fix It: Getting Accountability Right by Roger Connors and Tom Smith
  The Power of the Other: The Startling Effect Other People Have on You, from the Boardroom to the Bedroom and Beyond—and What to do About It by Henry Cloud
  Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
  Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz

Learning Leadership Fix It Power of the Other Grit Never Split the Difference

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"Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all."
— Abraham Lincoln


Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:33 AM
| Comments (0) | Books

04.30.16

LeadershipNow 140: April 2016 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from April 2016 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:03 AM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

04.25.16

Making Sense of Speed, Agility and Innovation

Leading Forum
This is a post by Jeffrey Phillips and Alex Verjovsky authors of Outmaneuver: OutThink, don’t OutSpend

Every executive knows that speed is important. Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard declared recently that “the future belongs to the fast.” But is speed enough? If you can simply accelerate the current activities, products and strategies that your business implements, will that help you win in the future?

Or what about being more “agile.” Agile was originally a software technique, meant to shorten software development times and make the development team more accountable to customer needs. From there, everyone is adopting the concept of “agile.” There’s agile marketing, introduced by thought leaders at CMG. Can agile help you win more? Of course. Is it, by itself, enough? Probably not.

Or, think about innovation. There’s probably no other topic that has the same level of emphasis across industries and geographies. Everyone knows innovation is important. But again, if you can innovate successfully, is that enough? Do any of these factors, by themselves, help your company win?

We believe that each of these factors is important, but left to themselves, implemented in a discrete fashion, without integration or coordination they won’t make a significant difference. But if you could create a framework in which each of these activities were a vital component leading to a completely new way to compete, then you’d see a significant impact on your revenues, profits and market share.

Maneuver Strategy

Fortunately, such an integrated framework exists. In our book OutManeuver we detail a new competitive strategy that leverages speed, agility, insight and innovation to win the most at the least possible cost. Maneuver stands in opposition to existing “attrition” strategy, where firms fight expensive battles over small differences in market share based on essentially similar products. Feature to feature competition fought over a fixed market leads to commoditization and price wars, ignoring differentiators like speed, agility and innovation that may open new markets or create new alternatives.

Maneuver, like attrition, is a military strategy that has been adapted to business competition, yet to date attrition has been the predominant business strategy. That’s because attrition requires less planning and less insight, and is often easier to implement initially, because it simply copies what competitors are doing and seeks to damage or destroy competitors. Maneuver, on the other hand, seeks to identify and win valuable but unoccupied markets, segments or channels, or, if attacking a competitor is required, discovering vulnerabilities that can be exploited at the least possible cost. Thus, while attrition requires little upfront thinking, it has a high cost of implementation, while maneuver requires more reconnaissance and intelligence and has a lower cost of execution.

The “what” and the “why”

In truth, factors like speed, agility and innovation aren’t all that valuable by themselves. They are enablers to a larger capability – maneuver strategy. Many corporations are focusing on the “how” – more speed, more agility and more innovation, without thinking about the “why.” Speed, agility and innovation aren’t required in an attrition strategy, but are definitely important in a maneuver strategy. But without the appropriate strategy, speed, agility and innovation may not pay off. OutManeuver develops the importance and applicability of maneuver strategy, and demonstrates how to use enablers like speed, agility, insight and innovation to win more at the least possible cost. So, the next time someone tells you that the “future belongs to the fast,” or that you must increase your innovation output, ask them about their strategy. If your corporate strategy is based on attrition, there’s little need for more speed or innovation, because attrition is an expensive but broad based battle against incumbents. Instead, you could assist with a rethinking of strategy, to introduce maneuver strategy and tactics, which will leverage speed, agility and innovation and reinforce new strategic thinking, to win more at less cost.

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Leadership
Jeffrey Phillips and Alex Verjovsky are the authors of Outmaneuver: OutThink, don’t OutSpend. Phillips leads OVO Innovation, an innovation consulting company in Raleigh, NC. Verjovsky is a consultant, an entrepreneur, and a pioneer in the biodiesel market.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:58 PM
| Comments (0) | Leading Forum

04.12.16

Booknotes: Bob Benmosche - Good For the Money

Booknotes ☙ Bob Benmosche came out of retirement in August 2009 to lead American International Group’s turnaround. Although few doubted it was even possible, under his leadership, AIG repaid the $182.3 billion taxpayer bailout, with the government claiming a profit of more than $20 billion.

☙ His my-way-or-the-highway style worked well in this turnaround/crisis situation. He was just what AIG needed. A colorful and outspoken leader, his memoirs are full of colorful stories. Throughout his career he dedicated a great deal of time to leadership development throughout the organizations he led. Benmosche died of lung cancer on February 27, 2015 six months after he left AIG. Here are some quotes from his memoir, Good For the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America:

☙ Within any organization, leadership is indeed a shared responsibility. That idea must become part of the entire operation’s DNA. People must feel they have the freedom to do all kinds of things, including making mistakes, or they will never succeed.

☙ If it ain’t broke, break it and make it better.

Play the hand that’s dealt you. If there’s a less-than-perfect opportunity, but it’s the only one on the horizon, you grab it and make the best of it you can.

☙ If you have no choking chain of debt around your neck, you don’t have to be obligated to do things that don’t make sense. If you do not have that financial freedom, you find yourself trapped in life.

☙ Could the nation’s crisis been handled differently? But we needed to do something. But instead of just acting, and moving forward and fixing, we started to play the blame game. That’s where we failed. We failed by saying we’re going to create laws, we’re going to put people in jail, there should be a law against people who make bad judgments. If that happened the entire country would be in jail because all of us made mistakes in our lives. That’s the issue I have. It’s not with the actions the nation took; it was the blaming and the viciousness that went on after the actions were taken.

☙ I needed employees to stay with proper compensation. The expertise of those who understood the deals was crucial to undoing the damage.

☙ I understood the public’s anger. But there is a difference between appreciating the outrage and becoming captive of it. There was no way we were going to save this company if I dwelled on it. My responsibility was to rebuild, not atone. Bad business practices got us into the mess, but the country had to be reassured that good practices could get us out of it again.

☙ These bonuses are not rewards at all; they’re part of one’s normal compensation.

☙ Being yourself is never a mistake. Even if what you do is sometimes taken the wrong way.

☙ When you talk to people about what you’re doing, just tell them the truth. Don’t sugarcoat it. Tell it like it is. And if you manage to do what you’re saying you’re going to do, if you can pull that part off, it will pay off for you over and over.

☙ Sometimes, the most obvious observations simply need to be verbalized.

Leadership Vertigo
Buy at AMZN

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:53 PM
| Comments (0) | Leaders

04.07.16

The One Ingredient You Must Demonstrate in Your Leadership

Perry Noble suggests that there is one ingredient that would make a lot of leadership issues go away. In The Most Excellent Way to Lead, he turns to the advice of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love
Paul had a lot to say about leadership and rightly so. Leadership comes to us naturally but without some guidance it’s not just easy to get it wrong, it's highly probable. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, he is discussing – in chapter 12 – how people should work together and points out that we all have roles but that none is more important or better than another. Just different.

And then at the end of chapter 12 he lists some of the roles needed in the church, but then he says in chapter 13 that no matter who you think you are or how gifted you think you are, if you can’t do it in love—outgoing concern for others—then you are nothing. Your leadership doesn't matter. You aren’t doing it right.

It sounds like Paul is just saying play nicer, but he’s talking about serving others in some of the most difficult ways possible.
“The most excellent way to lead is also the most difficult. It goes against our natural tendencies and the culture we live in, and it highlights the fact that leadership is ultimately about the leader.”
Paul is taking about being patient with others when your patience has run out.

Being kind when they don’t deserve it.

Being supportive of other people’s success and helpful when they stumble.

Looking out for the best interests of other’s before yourself.

Never keeping a tally of other people’s failures and wrong behaviors.

Always seeking the truth even when gossip is more believable.

Choosing to trust others when it would be easier to be suspicious of them.

Being optimistic even when circumstances compel you to do otherwise.

And never giving up on people even when you are discouraged.

Noble does a good job explaining each of these and more both on a personal level and organizationally. “The way we look at other people is important,” writes Noble, “and when we see them through the lens of love, our capacity to lead significantly increases.” Without love, as Simon Sinek has pointed out, “people are forced to spend too much time and energy protecting themselves from each other.”

Mark Sanborn adds, “when we allow love to define who we are as we work, we become irresistible leaders with a contagious passion for what we do.”

This is how we get things done through others. This is how we develop others and allow them to flourish under our leadership. It’s how we build more leaders to carry on after we are gone.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:02 AM
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04.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for April 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in April.

  The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future by Steve Case
  Good for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America by Bob Benmosche
  Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts by Daniel Shapiro
  The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues by Patrick M. Lencioni
  The Three-Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation by Vijay Govindarajan

Third Wave Benmosche Nonnegotiable Team Player Under New Management

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


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Build your leadership library with these specials on over 100 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.


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“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.”
— Abraham Lincoln


Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:29 AM
| Comments (0) | Books

03.31.16

LeadershipNow 140: March 2016 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from March 2016 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:11 AM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

03.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for March 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in March.

  Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff
  The Mindfulness Edge: How to Rewire Your Brain for Leadership and Personal Excellence Without Adding to Your Schedule by Matt Tenney and Tim Gard PhD
  The Art of Strategic Leadership: How to Guide Teams, Create Value, and Apply Techniques to Shape the Future by Steven J. Stowell and Stephanie S. Mead
  Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual by David Burkus

Google Bus Mindfulness Edge Strategic Leadership Smarter Faster Better Under New Management

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


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Build your leadership library with these specials on over 100 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.


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“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”
— Abraham Lincoln


Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:26 AM
| Comments (0) | Books

02.29.16

LeadershipNow 140: February 2016 Compilation

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:52 AM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

02.26.16

Originals or How Non-Conformists Move the World

Originals
THERE ARE SO FEW originals in life.

“We find surface ways of appearing original—donning a bow tie, wearing bright red shoes—without taking the risk of actually being original. When it comes to the powerful ideas in our heads and the core values in our hearts, we censor ourselves.”

Originals by Adam Grant—a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school—is about the people who choose to champion originality and move us forward. They are not that different from the rest of us, but in spite of inner doubts and a world geared toward uniformity, they press on and change the world.

For most of us we are not like the conceptual innovators that formulate a big idea early on in life and act on it. We are probably more like the experimental innovators that move through idea after idea, learning and evolving as they go. “While experimental innovation can require years or decades to accumulate the requisite knowledge and skill.” writes Grant, “it becomes a more sustainable source of originality.”

Interestingly, it is not the child prodigies that go on to change the world. While they are rich in talent an ambition, they don’t learn to be original. “Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.” Most prodigies never make the leap to originality. “They apply their extraordinary abilities in ordinary ways, mastering their jobs without questioning defaults and without making waves.”

How Do We Get More Original Ideas?

If you want to do original work, do more work. “On average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gave them more variation and a higher chance of originality.”

Quantity is the most predictable path to quality. Our most brilliant work will be found in the mass of our less brilliant work. It is important to mention also that originals expose themselves to influences far outside their official arena of expertise. Nobel Prize winners are “dramatically more likely to be involved in the arts than less accomplished scientists.” Notice more and look for connections.

How Do We Bridge the Gap between Insight and Action?

The best judges of creative ideas are fellow creators. Fellow creators are more open to original ideas. “The more expertise and experience people gain, the more entrenched they become in a particular way of viewing the world.”

Critical reviews are often viewed as better—more intelligent. “Prophets of doom and gloom appear wise and insightful.” Too much optimism comes across as salesmanship. No one wants to be sold. When you are trying to sell an original idea people are looking to reasons why it won’t work. Next time try presenting a candid discussion of your ideas weaknesses. In trying to sell investors on his company Babble, Rufus Griscom described the hurdles he faced in his own business. He came across not only as knowledgeable, but also honest and modest. “When I led with the factors that could kill the company, the response from the board was the exact opposite: oh, these things aren’t so bad.”

We often undercommunicate our ideas because we are so familiar with them that we think there is no need to repeat them. Our audience needs more exposure to accept them.

Developing Original Ideas

Procrastination can improve our creativity. In one example Grant notes, “It was only when they began thinking about the task and then deliberately procrastinated that they considered more remote possibilities and generated more creative ideas. Delaying progress enable them to spend more time considering different ways to accomplish it, rather than ‘seizing and freezing’ on one particular strategy.”

Being original doesn’t mean being first. “It just means being different and better.” When originals try to be first they tend to overstep. They move before the market can support their idea. They tend to take bigger risks and are prone to make impulsive decisions. “When you are the first to market, you have to make all of the mistakes yourself.” Those that follow can more easily learn from you mistakes and improve on your idea.

When presenting original ideas they can’t be seen as too radical or people will never accept them. When selling them you have to give people something to connect with. “Instead of assuming that others share our principles, or trying to convince them to adopt ours, we ought to present our values as a means of pursuing theirs. It’s hard to change other people’s ideals. It’s much easier to link our agendas to familiar values that people already hold.”

How to Build a Culture of Originality

Too many rules and they way we understand them can greatly affect our creativity. “In one study, parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for home work and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of less than one rule and tended to ‘place emphasis on moral values, rather than on specific rules.’” Grant also adds:
If parents do believe in enforcing a lot of regulations, the way they explain them matters a great deal. New research shows that teenagers defy rules when they’re enforced in a controlling manner, by yelling or threatening punishment. When mothers enforce many rules but offer a clear rationale for why they’re important, teenagers are substantially less likely to break them, because they internalize them.
In this regard, nouns are better than verbs. It’s better to ask children to be helpers than ask them to help. It speaks to their identity. In the same way being told not to cheat is not as effective than saying “Please don’t be a cheater.”

Dealing with Groupthink

Cohesion in a group doesn’t cause groupthink. “There’s a fine line between having a strong culture and operating like a cult.” When organizational performance is down, leaders tend to search for people who share their perspective. When what they need to do is look for advice that challenges them. “If you’re going to build a strong culture, it’s paramount to make diversity one of your core values.” It’s what separates a strong culture from a cult.

You need a loyal opposition. You need a devil’s advocate. But here’s the thing, you need to find one, not assign one. “When people are designated to dissent, they are just playing a role. This causes two problems: They don’t argue forcefully or consistently enough for the minority viewpoint, and group members are less likely to take them seriously. But when it is authentic, it stimulates thought; it clarifies and it emboldens.”

To keep this process constructive, organizations must prioritize their values. This provides a framework for new ideas. “The more principles you have, the greater the odds that employees focus on different values or interpret the same values differently.”

In Originals, Grant utilizes new examples and counterintuitive research to inspire us to lead—to change the world. He concludes with 30 Actions for Impact for unleashing originality. A 15 question Originality Assessment can be found at adamgrant.net.

Quote 
Adam Grant demonstrates how originality, can and should be taught and nurtured. Anyone can innovate if given the opportunity and the support. He provides practical tools to “unleash” the hidden creativity in all of us. However, not just for ourselves but also to build cultures of originality both at home and at work.

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Of Related Interest:
  Are You a Giver or a Taker?
  Hacking the Creative Process
  Be a Coach, Not a Critic
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:37 PM
| Comments (0) | Creativity & Innovation

02.24.16

10 Ways You Earn Respect

Truth Trust Tenacity
One of the critical lessons I’ve learned in life - and it extends beyond the workplace - is the importance of respect. This may seem old-fashioned or trite in the days of, “I got mine, go get yours,” but if you treat people right, you will get the results you want. This is especially true in business. Respect still matters!

Great leaders appreciate every job that is done well; it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the C-suite or the mailroom. Great leaders also understand that respect isn’t an entitlement linked to a particular job title. They need to respect others before others will respect them.

So, how do you earn respect in business? Here are 10 ways:
  1. Lead by example. Embody the qualities and traits you expect from the people you lead and people you deal with. You want your workers and peers to be honest, so be honest yourself in all your business dealings. If you want your employees to be hardworking, set that example and quit taking long lunches or leaving the office early all the time. Model the traits you want others to show, such as integrity, kindness, creativity, inventiveness and industriousness.
  2. Be humble. Don’t expect anyone to care about where you went to college or your past successes. Plenty of businesspeople went to top universities and graduated with honors, and plenty more win awards and honors from chambers of commerce all the time. Braggarts are boring and turn people off. Get over yourself and do it quickly. Avoid self-promotion and publicity stunts. They are obvious and obnoxious and can damage your reputation.
  3. Show your commitment every single day. Work alongside the people you lead. Work longer and harder than they do. Get in the trenches and get your hands dirty once in a while. If you manage a warehouse, manufacturing plant or factory, make it a point on a regular basis to get off the phone, get out of your office and visit the production floor. Talk to the employees, get to know their names so you can address them personally, ask them how things are going, and pitch in if needed. Ask them if there are any glitches that need correcting.
  4. Help people succeed and advance. Promote your staff. Help your employees gain exposure and give them opportunities for development and advancement. Great leaders let their teams shine and are confident enough not to need the spotlight.
  5. Be a teacher or mentor. People always have other work or educational opportunities regardless of the economy and will leave your business unless they see an investment is being made in their future. Focus on those people who are bright, hardworking, dedicated, reliable and creative, and have skill sets that you don’t, or those who show potential. Mentor them at work or support programs that allow them to earn a new skill certification or degree.
  6. Strike a balance between delegating and being hands-on. An excessive delegator is opting out of responsibility, but keeping too tight control of everything deflates employees and tells them that you don’t value or trust their judgment. Find the middle ground.
  7. Encourage creativity. Take chances to come up with new ideas. Teach people how to take calculated risks, and then let them test their wings. Don’t punish failure. Learn from mistakes. A leader has to create a setting where there is a full vetting of ideas, where everyone is expected to provide suggestions, and where nothing is necessarily wrong.
  8. Share your expectations of others. People want to know what is expected of them so they can work to meet or exceed expectations. Help your employees succeed by letting them know what’s expected of them.
  9. Reward success. If it’s a small business, thank those who do a good job with a personal handwritten note, a lunch out or a small gift card. Large businesses should have an employee reward or recognition program to acknowledge employee successes on a regular basis. People want to be acknowledged for a job well done and will appreciate being called out for respect in front of their peers.
  10. Build coalitions and maintain civility in all business dealings. The “divide and conquer” approach doesn’t work in the private sector or in government. Nothing gets done! Civility and compromise are essential. Lots of people think that if you compromise, you’re weak. Nothing could be further from the truth. Leaders who compromise come across as caring leaders who are able to put others before themselves and who go out of their way to spend time understanding a differing point of view, even if they don’t act on it. Incivility impedes productivity - and profits.

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Leading Forum
This post is by Ritch K. Eich. He is the former Chief of Public Affairs for Blue Shield of CA and is a Captain, U.S. Naval Reserve (Ret.). He is the author of three books: “Truth, Trust + Tenacity: How Ordinary People Become Extraordinary Leaders” (2015); “Leadership Requires Extra Innings: Lessons on Leading from a Life in the Trenches” (2013); “Real Leaders Don’t Boss: Inspire, Motivate and Earn Respect from Employees and Watch Your Organization Soar” (2012).

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:51 PM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development

02.22.16

5 Leadership Lessons: What if the Rules to Winning Were Different than You Thought?


Remarkable

WHAT IF GIVING VALUE beat extracting value every time? What is seeing others succeed was the greatest reward?

It is a Remarkable! culture that does that every time.

A Remarkable! culture is one where people believe the best in one another, want the best for one another, and expect the best from one another.

5 Leadership Lessons
In this business fable—Remarkable!—authors Randy Ross and David Salyers present how to build a workplace culture that inspires your team members to bring the best of who they are to the table every day, creating an environment that maximizes value creation in every endeavor. It requires shifting into “growth gear.” Importantly, they point out that if we want something to change, we need to add fresh oil—humility. “Where there is defensiveness and resistance, people pull away from one another and erect emotional barriers. When authenticity and humility are present, unity is often the result.”

1  If you have an engagement problem, then you have a clutch problem. The clutch is the mechanism that provides for the engagement of two or more components to produce motion. A clutch situation is any encounter that requires the engagement of two or more people to create progress. The clutch, as you well know, provides the linkage between the engine and the transmission, which ultimately provides power to the drive shaft. When the clutch is engaged, the power produced by the engine is harnesses and transferred to the drive shaft to produce motion. If the clutch is disengaged, then the engine continues to produce power, but it’s uncoupled from the drive shaft, rendering it incapable of turning wheels and garnering traction. You literally cannot “get things into gear” when the clutch is malfunctioning.

2  As human beings we are designed to create value in life. There are essentially two approaches to life: one seeks to extract value from every endeavor, and the other seeks to create and bring value to every endeavor. We want our presence to make a positive difference. We want to be appreciated and affirmed for our work. We want to leave a lasting legacy. But this desire to bring value can often become twisted into a drive to achieve. Some people think life is defined and measured by pay scale and material possessions. But that’s a perversion of a natural longing for significance that comes through creating value. A sense of satisfaction and significance comes from understanding who you are and how you can best bring value to every relationship and every endeavor in life.

3  For any company, a primary consideration should always be, “How do we structure our organization to allow everyone to think and act like owners?” Taking ownership for your actions and seeking to strengthen relationships in everything you do make a world of difference. The emphasis shifts to doing what’s right and what will bring the most value to life. It becomes less about comparison and more about contribution. It becomes less about competition and more about collaboration.

4  To move out of a focus on the self] you must focus on bringing the greatest value to everyone whom the decision may impact. Such a decision-making process is others-focused. Also, we must focus on long-term value generation versus the immediate benefits of any decision. The clutch question is what is the superior choice? The superior choice is always the one that creates the greatest value.

5  What we need to do to reach our full potential is allow our values to drive our business. We need to define, articulate, and embody our values. When I say “values,” I’m referring to how people evaluate certain aspects of the world around them. Values are shaped by how much importance an individual places on certain elements in a decision-making process. [For instance, if you have to make a choice between safety and timeliness, your decision shows what you place more value on.] The problem is that many companies do not clarify what is of greater importance.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:56 AM
| Comments (1) | Five Lessons

02.19.16

9 Ways We Sabotage Ourselves


Simple Sabotage

FROM PEOPLE whose job it is to sabotage the efforts of others, we can take a lesson or two.

In Simple Sabotage, authors Robert Galford, Bob Frisch and Cary Greene explain that in January 1944 the OSS (Office of Strategic Services—predecessor of the CIA) published the Simple Sabotage Field Manual to train resistance members in the art of sabotage. “The Manual detailed easy ways to disrupt and demoralize the enemy’s institutions without being detected.”

One section of the Manual provided eight tactics specifically designed to disrupt the enemy’s organizations. The authors have added a ninth in keeping with the times.

One thing you will notice from each of these tactics or behaviors is that none of them are all that bad on the surface. One could easily find a rational explanation for engaging in them—to a point. And that’s the problem. That’s why these are insidious.

Too often we insist on reproducing a behavior long after the sell-by date. We don’t let it go when we should and so we unwittingly sabotage our best efforts. Here are nine acts of sabotage we unintentionally get caught up in:

Sabotage by Obedience
Insist on doing everything through channels. Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

Sabotage by Speech
Make “speeches.” Talk frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “point” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.

Sabotage by Committee
When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible—never less than five.

Sabotage by Irrelevant Issues
Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

Sabotage by Haggling
Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

Sabotage by Reopening Decisions
Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to reopen the question of the advisability of that decision.

Sabotage by Excessive Caution
Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste, which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

Sabotage by Is-It-Really-Our-Call?
Be worried about the propriety of any decision—raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Sabotage by CC: Everyone
CC: Everyone. Send updates as frequently as possible, including in the distribution list anyone even peripherally involved.

In each chapter the authors use examples to help you identify the behavior and root it out—which is not as simple as you might think. Perpetrators can easily defend their behavior, but that’s what makes these behaviors so effective. For the same reason it is also difficult to see in ourselves.
Simple Sabotage is about the day-to-day routine interactions and processes we rely on as we work that are undermined by unintentional sabotage. By identifying and removing the hundreds or even thousands of small, barely perceptible irritants—the “sand” that clogs the machinery—you will transform your workplace or workgroup experience and the experience of those around you.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:15 AM
| Comments (0) | Human Resources , Management

02.16.16

The Superboss Playbook


Superboss

IMAGINE A WORLD a world where the person who you call your boss changed your life by helping you accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

In every industry there is a leader that stands out. A Superboss.

Superbosses
What is their secret?

In Superbosses, Sydney Finkelstein discovered that although they may differ in leadership styles, they share a playbook that leads to extraordinary success founded on making other people successful.
Superbosses can be fierce or gentle, belligerent or self-depreciating, but whatever their style, they do a much better job inspiring and teaching because they get in their trenches with protégés, leading by example and giving them personalized attention they require to move up quickly.
Here then is the outline of The Superboss Playbook – Techniques, Mind-Sets, Philosophies, and Secrets of the World’s Best Bosses:

Superbosses recruit people who “get it.”
They look for people who are drivers of change. They are unusually smart (Ralph Lauren looked for people with a kind of fashion sense), creative (people who see things differently), extremely flexible (people who can do more than one thing). “One critical way superbosses do that is by adapting the job description to fit the person, rather than make the person fit the job.”

Superbosses motivate exceptional people to do the impossible.
They inject possibility into their workforce. They give them the confidence to believe that they can make things happen. Superboss Michael Milken said, “We are all capable of performing at a far higher level than we have. Faced with a challenge, we can do it. Maybe we’re not challenging ourselves enough.” Finkelstein adds, “Superbosses credibly push others into their discomfort zones because they model high performance themselves.”

Superbosses are uncompromisingly open.
While superbosses protect the “why,” they invite people to rethink everything else about the work they do. Most bosses are not really open to new ideas. “Rather than weaving innovation into the fabric of daily work, they contain and limit it by setting up special task forces, committees, and project teams devoted to adaptation and change. They ‘carve out’ time for innovation rather than living and breathing it every minute. It is particularly difficult to find bosses who are uncompromising in what they do and open to almost constant change.”

Superbosses embrace the apprenticeship model.
They “use this informal manner of instruction not only to convey knowledge but also to exert a powerful, almost parental influence on their protégés.” Operating a masters, they forge sustained, all-encompassing, intense, and intimate” relationships with the people that work for them.

Superbosses are traders in opportunities.
They trust their people and delegate. In the process they compress learning and growth. “Superboss organizations are widely regarded in their industries as launching pads—places where employees can, in word of their protégés, ‘find themselves’ and become ‘capable of doing what we were ultimately meant to do.” They give people the chance to succeed.

Superbosses fashion teams that function as a “band of brothers.”
They “inculcate a cultish sense of difference in their protégés.” Protégés are treated as leaders. “For superbosses, extreme collaboration and meaningful competition aren’t opposites; they go hand in hand.” Finkelstein explains: “One reason healthy, balanced competition is so valuable for organizations is that it generates a ‘cohort effect’ when it comes to talent; the more you help people become better, the more they help one another get better.”

Superbosses create a strategic alumni network.
“Superbosses make an effort to stay in touch with their disciples, even years after they have left.” When an employee walks out the door, the superboss does not consider the relationship over. It’s in their best interests to do so. It increases their own prestige and influence. Successful protégés in their alumni network attract more talent to the superboss.

We need new approaches to nurturing people and the Superboss Playbook presented by Finklestein, is completely learnable by any leader who is fearless, competitive, imaginative, credible, and authentic.

Superbosses is a fascinating look at the leaders that flourish and often change their industries by developing a future generation of leaders.

If you are not working for one, this book will help you to become one.

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The Three Types of Superbosses

Glorious Bastards: These superbosses care about one thing: winning. They’re the ultimate hard drivers, yet they realize that to get the very best results, they need to develop the world’s best people and teams. So they do.
Examples: Larry Ellison, Michael Milken, Bonnie Fuller, Julian Robertson, Jay Chiat

Nurturers: These coaches and teachers resemble traditional mentors the most. They take pride in bringing others along and care deeply about the success of their protégés. They help people accomplish more than they ever thought possible.
Examples: Mary Kay Ash, Bill Walsh, Michael Miles, Norman Brinker, Tommy Frist

Iconoclasts: These executives usually operate in creative fields, where their single-minded passion for their work inspires their protégés.
Examples: Ralph Lauren, Alice Waters, George Lucas, Jon Stewart, Lorne Michaels, Robert Noyce

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:40 PM
| Comments (0) | Leaders , Leadership , Management

02.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for February 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in February.

  The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
  Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap by Paul Leinwand and Cesare R. Mainardi
  Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
  Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sydney Finkelstein
  Remarkable! Maximizing Results through Value Creation by David Salyers and Randy Ross

Industries Strategy Originals Superbosses Remarkable

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


discounted books


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 100 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.


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“Seeing a book on my shelf reconnects me to the ideas inside. And that’s why I read.”
— Michael Hyatt


Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:37 PM
| Comments (0) | Books

01.31.16

LeadershipNow 140: January 2016 Compilation

twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from January 2016 that you might have missed:
See more on twitter Twitter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:30 PM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

01.29.16

4 Rules for Getting Valuable Work Done

Deep Work

TO THRIVE IN the new economy—the current information economy—you need to master these two core abilities:
  1. The ability to quickly master hard things. (If you can’t learn you can’t thrive.)
  2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed. (To produce tangible results that people value. What Seth Godin calls the ability to “ship.”)
These two abilities depend on your ability to perform deep work.

Cal Newport bases his book Deep Work on the Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

Learning is an act of deep work. An act of intense focus. “To produce at a peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.”

The reason deep work is rare is because we encourage distractions by the way we design our life. “An interruption, even if short, delays the total time required to complete a task by a significant fraction.” Deep work is not a priority. We are what we focus on and that is increasingly, the superficial.

Shallow work adds to our sense of meaninglessness. Science writer Winifred Gallagher observed that “when you lose focus, you mind tends to fix on what could be wrong with your life instead of what’s right.” Newport adds: “A workday driven by the shallow, from a neurological perspective, is likely to be a draining and upsetting day, even if most of the shallow things that capture your attention seem harmless or fun.”

To fight the drift into the superficial we need to cultivate some strategies to develop a deep work habit. Here are a few Newport suggests:

Find Your Deep Work Philosophy
Newport describes four approaches to making time for deep work. There is the Monastic approach that eliminates or radically minimizes shallow obligations. The Bimodal approach that suggests binging on deep work for various lengths of time. The Rhythmic approach makes deep work a habit by scheduling a regular chain of deep work in your day. The last approach and the one Newport prefers, is called the Journalistic approach. Using this approach you fit deep work wherever you can into your schedule. This last approach however, requires a great deal of willpower and practice. The Rhythmic approach may work best to get you started.

Take Breaks from Focus
Make deep work a priority by taking breaks from focus, not from distraction. “The idea motivating this strategy is that use of a distracting service does not, by itself, reduce your brain’s ability to focus. It’s instead the constant switching from low-stimuli/high-value activities to high-stimuli/low value activities, at the slightest hint of boredom or cognitive challenge, that teaches your mind to never tolerate an absence of novelty.”

Quit Social Media
Network tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and infotainment sites like Business Insider and Buzzfeed, “fragment our time and reduce our ability to concentrate.” The overuse of social media unwittingly cripples our ability to succeed in the world of knowledge work. “To master the art of deep work, therefore, you must take back control of your time and attention from the many diversions that attempt to steal them.” Newport recommends that we only use a tool if its positive impact on the core factors that determine our success and happiness, substantially outweigh it negative impacts.
If you give your mind something meaningful to do throughout all your waking hours, you’ll end the day more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, than if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours in semiconscious and unstructured Web surfing.

Be Intentional with Your Time
Have a plan for your day. Confine the shallow work you must do, don’t eliminate it. If you start your day with blocks of deep work scheduled in, you stand a much better chance of actually getting some deep work done. “Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward—even if those decisions are reworked again and again as the day unfolds.”

“To succeed,” writes Newport, “you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing—a task that requires depth. A deep life is a good life.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:54 AM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development

01.27.16

Leadership Value is Defined by the Receiver

WE ALL RESONATE with the clarion call for leaders to build on their strengths, be authentic, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. We can envision these noble, resonant, and genuine leaders as icons of effective leadership. But these virtuous leadership attributes are not the essence of leadership effectiveness.

Building on one’s strengths is incomplete unless one’s strengths strengthen someone else. Authenticity without a positive impact on someone else is more narcissism than leadership. Effective leaders turn their emotional intelligence into helping others find their purpose and meaning.

An underlying principle of effective leadership is that value is defined by the receiver more than the giver. This value-added principle applies in almost every relationship. When I give my wife a gift, she defines the value of the gift. When I was newly wed, I got her tickets to sporting events and she often suggested I enjoy myself. I have learned that the real gift is figuring out what will be meaningful to her, not me. Likewise, effective leaders recognize and serve the stakeholders who are impacted by their strengths, authenticity, and emotional style. They then work to deliver value to these stakeholders in ways that matter to the stakeholders.

When leaders focus on the value they create for others, they think less about who they are and how who they are, will make others better. They realize that the value of their values is in that others will achieve what matters to them. Ultimately, leaders are measured by what they leave behind and how their present actions shape future success.

Leaders should be asking themselves, “Who are the stakeholders I care about? Who do I want to make better because of what I do? Who will benefit from my choices today? How will my actions be seen by and affect others?” When pondering and responding to these questions, leaders matter because they create sustained leadership in others.

Value creating leaders talk more about “we” than “I”; they build on what is right more than what is wrong; they help others feel better about themselves when leaving an interaction with them; the work to institutionalize their ideas so that they are sustained; and they relish success in those they mentor.

It is time to look beyond a leader’s personal strengths, authenticity, and emotional well being to define how leaders’ build value for others.

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Leading Forum
This post is by Dave Ulrich. He is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. He studies how organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability, and talent through leveraging human resources. He has helped generate award winning data bases that assess alignment between strategies, organization capabilities, HR practices, HR competencies, and customer and investor results. He has published more than 200 articles and book chapters and 23 books, such as Leadership Code, Leadership Brand, Results Based Leadership and most recently The Leadership Capital Index: Realizing the Market Value of Leadership.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:07 PM
| Comments (0) | Human Resources , Leadership

01.22.16

Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes

Black Box Thinking
Black Box Thinking is about how success happens. Progress hinges on how we react to failure.

In two of the most safety-critical industries – aviation and health care – the approach to failure is very different. And the results highlight the problem. For commercial aviation on Western-built jets, they have only one accident per 2.4 million flights. In health care the equivalent of two jumbo jets are falling out of the sky every twenty-four hours making preventable medical error in hospitals the third biggest killer in the United Sates behind only heart disease and cancer.

The problem lies in how they approach failure. “A failure to learn from mistakes has been one of the single greatest obstacles to human progress.” For all of the talk about not being afraid of failure, we are not learning what we should. Our organizational and personal cultures tend to evade and cover-up the issues.

How do we react when something has gone wrong?

Black Box
Black Box Thinking refers to the flight recorder found on every aircraft in the airline industry. The idea of course, is that if an accident occurs, the data can be retrieved and analyzed. Any issues uncovered can then be dealt with so that the same problem does not occur again.

The author, Matthew Syed, describes black box thinking as “the willingness and tenacity to investigate the lessons that often exist when we fail, but which we rarely exploit. It is about creating systems and cultures that enable organizations to learn from errors, rather than being threatened by them.”

Why? “Failure is rich in learning opportunities for a simple reason: in many of its guises, it represents a violation of expectation. It is showing us that the world is in some sense different from the way we imagined.” Nicely put.

Learning from failure is easier said than done. The more we have at stake (especially our egos) the more likely we are to manipulate the evidence. Consider this:
When we’re confronted with evidence that challenges our deeply held beliefs we are more likely to reframe the evidence than we are to alter our beliefs. We simply invent new reasons, new justifications, new explanations. Sometimes we ignore the evidence altogether.

Most failure can be given a makeover. Self-justification is more insidious. Lying to oneself destroys the very possibility of learning. The most effective cover-ups are perpetrated not by those who are covering their backs, but by those who don’t even realize that they have anything to hide.

Memory, it turns out, is not as reliable as we think. We often assemble fragments of entirely different experiences and weave them together into what seems like a coherent whole. With each recollection, we engage in editing.

Clinging to cherished ideas because you are personally associated with them is tantamount to ossification. As the great British economist John Maynard Keynes put it: “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do sir?”
One of the difficulties we have when analyzing failures (and analyzing success for that matter) is that we rely on information based on hunches. Our intuitions are often wrong. We need to get down to into the details so we can isolate the effect of any action so we are solving the right problem.

David Brailsford, the general manager of the British cycling Team Sky put it this way: “People think it is exhausting to think about success at such a high level of detail. But it would be far more exhausting, for me anyway, to neglect doing the analysis. I would much rather have clear answers than to delude myself that I have the ‘right’ answers.”

An organization (and even individuals) can go on for decades thinking that their success is linked to a particular factor when in reality it is the cause of their failures. And they never make the connection because their assumptions have never been tested or analyzed.

We must change our relationship with failure. We are not born with a fear of failure. It’s how we learn. It’s only over time that we are taught a fear of failure and lose our growth mindset. We can only improve in environments where we have the right kind of meaningful feedback. Fear of failure is not the real enemy; it is recrimination and defeatism that often accompanies failure. We need to eradicate blame and encourage growth responsibility.

Syed writes: “If we drop out when we encounter problems, progress is prevented, no matter how talented we are. If we interpret difficulties as indictments of who we are, rather than pathway to progress, we will run a mile from failure. Grit, then, is strongly related to the Growth Mindset; it is about the way we conceptualize success and failure.”

Through the use of a wide variety of examples, Syed pushes you to think differently about failure and success. More importantly, he teaches us how to look beyond our easy answers and effectively get to the real issues and causations.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:13 AM
| Comments (0) | Problem Solving , Thinking

01.18.16

Now is the Time to Find Your Sweet Spot

As a twenty-something, Paul Sohn said his life looked so good on paper. But a growing feeling of disappointment overwhelmed him. He wondered, “Is this all there is?”

He was experiencing a quarter–life crisis.

Leadership
It can happen at any age especially when you get caught up in these five approaches that he identifies in Quarter-Life Calling: How to Find Your Sweet Spot in Your Twenties:

Fear and Anxiety: Instead of enjoying where you are at you allow the uncertainty of the world around you to overwhelm you with stress and a sense of trepidation.

The Choice Overload: We allow the choice we have to paralyze us. This is brought on “by a recent phenomenon called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Twentysomethings live in a 24/7 plugged-in culture. We live in an era where we are accosted by the incessant meals, vacations, parties, and sheer awesomeness people are experiencing—thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. According to a new study by Eventbrite, 69 percent of millennials experience FOMO when they can’t attend something that their family or friends are going to.”

Too Busy to Slow Down: Are we doing the things we really should be doing? We are overscheduled, overworked and over committed.

The Obsessive Comparison Disorder: We can always find people who are doing better than us and we want what everyone else has. ‘Millennial expert Paul Angone calls this Obsessive Comparison Disorder (OCD). He says, “OCD is the smallpox of our generation.” This is an epidemic that is producing unwanted thoughts and feelings, driving us into depression, consumption, anxiety, and all-around discontent. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

The YOLO/FOMO Generation: You only live once. It’s easy to get stuck in the moment. Social media encourages this thinking and the resulting drift into instant gratification and self-absorption.

Paul Sohn is talking to twenty-somethings but we all can learn from his experience. The context changes but the principles are the same.

The answer is to find your sweet spot—that place where you are living out your calling. Sohn says it is found at the intersection of your personality (who you are wired to be), gifts (that which you are naturally gifted in), passions (that which ignites a fire in your soul), and life story (what doors have opened and closed in your life). It is here that you will find your purpose that will lead you to a meaningful life.

Sweet Spot

In a noisy world it is hard to slow down enough to know yourself. Finding your sweet-spot begins with getting outside of yourself—seeing yourself from another perspective. A meaningful life comes from something outside yourself. Sohn found that in the Bible. It allowed him to integrate his life around a concept outside of his present. It makes all the difference.

For twenty-somethings, Sohn says the key is to start well. Start early.
As a clinical psychologist who specializes in twentysomethings, Meg Jay [author of Defining Decade] has observed how twentysomethings have considered this time as a throwaway decade, paying the price, professionally, personally, spiritually, and economically later in life. This is the biggest myth out there. No more procrastination. No more wasting away your time, talent, and treasure believing you can make it up later in life.

Keep learning. Find mentors. Life isn’t meant to be a rat-race. You were meant to flourish. Begin today.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:33 PM
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