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03.31.15

LeadershipNow 140: March 2015 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from March 2015 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:38 AM
| TrackBacks (0) | LeadershipNow 140

03.27.15

Getting the Attacker’s Advantage

Attackers Advantage
To Ram Charan, The Attacker’s Advantage is the ability to detect ahead of others those forces that are radically reshaping your marketplace, then position your business to make the next move first.

The key is not fearing uncertainty but immersing ourselves in it. It is in the uncertainty that we find the possibilities we can combine to create something new and immensely valuable. We miss the possibilities says Charan because we’re flying at low altitude—immersed in the daily minutia.

The other problem is that we gravitate towards being comfortable. Uncomfortable and uncertainty is where the growth is. Uncomfortable and uncertainty is where possibility exists.

What we are facing is structural uncertainties or uncertainties arising from our external environment. Charan says the opportunity in structural uncertainty was summed up for him by G. M. Rao, who said, “Every bend in the road contains a message about a future growth trajectory that someone could explore and exploit if he or she looked at it through a different lens without being controlled by an existing core competency.” A world in flux “creates new possibilities and lowers the entry barriers.”

Seeing what is happening requires that we develop sharp perceptual acuity. It is seeing in all of the noise the anomaly, the contradiction, the oddity. The more you start looking for these things in your own industry, but perhaps more importantly, in unrelated industries, the better you will get at it. Talk about what you see with others, ask questions, seek contrary viewpoints, ask what’s new daily, watch the social scene and read voraciously, are all ways to help you develop perceptual acuity.

Charan notes that “seizing the attacker’s advantage is not the same thing as seeking new ways to use your core competencies.” Attachment to your core competencies interferes with your ability to see clearly and make the right choices. Uncertainly will that we look for ways to grow and expand our competencies—not merely tweak our old ones.

“Trying to ignore uncertainty only increases fear, triggering a variety of symptoms, from withdrawal or losing control of your temper to suppressing bad news and blaming others.” Dean Stamoulis commented that “blaming and rationalizing is an extreme red flag….Blaming indicates a thinking style that is not effective in uncertainty, and it erodes the connection with whatever constituencies are taking the heat.” The more you embrace uncertainty the more you’ll be energized by it.

bend in the road

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:28 PM
| TrackBacks (0) | Creativity & Innovation

03.10.15

Being a Responsible Leader

Responsible Leader
There has always been a call for responsible leaders, but perhaps we just hear the call more clearly today.

In The Responsible Leader, author Tim Richardson begins with a well-written overview of how we got where we are in our leadership understanding and the forces that are shaping our leadership context today. It points to the need for more responsible leadership.

What is at the core of being a responsible leader?

What are the mindsets the shape the behavior of a responsible leader?

Richardson identifies four characteristics:

Internal Assuredness and Attractiveness

These leaders are confident but humble and their being—who they are—is attractive to others in the sense that they have a natural presence that engages with others and appeals to others at a deeper emotional level. “This is built on a real understanding and acceptance of one’s uniqueness—personality, motivations, strengths and weaknesses—and a confidence that means ‘I do not need to pretend to be someone I am not.’”

This is also demonstrated in consistent behavior. “A clear and established values and belief system also helps to smooth out irrational swings of behavior.” “Modern leaders need to be wiser than simply being caught up in the moment.”

Adaptability and Learning Orientation

We must be comfortable with not knowing and living with paradoxes. This means we must have a willingness to listen and learn—even from the mostly unlikely sources. Once we “know” something we tend to want to hear only from people like us—people who filter the world through the same eyes we do. And when we do, we miss a lot. “We become judgmental and evaluative rather than inquisitive.”

We also need to be confident and humble. When an inner confidence “is not balance with sober self-assessment or mature emotional intelligence, it becomes skewed and egocentric.”

This is more than intellectual learning, this is behavioral learning. We need to be able to connect what we (and others) are experiencing and connect it to what we know. When it doesn’t connect we need to dig deeper and learn from it. Unfortunately, “individuals may deny that the situation is any different and fail to notice that their normal patterns are proving unhelpful. They may succumb to a personal blindspot and fail to learn.”

Thinking and Operating Relationally

This is a major shift for most leaders. We tend to grow up thinking of leaders as independent of instead of interdependent with other people. More autocratic than co-creators. Responsible leaders view themselves in relation to others. “Those whose perspective of success relies on others’ success are becoming a stronger force than perhaps many realize.”

Purpose and Focus

Responsible leaders have a guiding purpose that enables them to focus their energy and activity. “Leaders with a strong driving purpose—that answers the ‘why am I doing this?’ question—need commensurate levels of focus to ensure that their dreams and visions do not remain out of reach. The question is: “Where do I need to focus my attention and my energy and therefore what are distractions to be avoided?”

Responsible leadership requires an “other” focus, humility and awareness. “To be a responsible leader is to step forward into the space and the moment with an ‘I can and I will’ mindset to impact situations and systems for the greater good.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:16 PM
| TrackBacks (0) | Leadership Development

03.09.15

How to Build ROPE Teams in Sales Organizations

Leading Forum
This is a post by Susan Ershler co-author of Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales.

Neil Armstrong’s historic step onto the lunar surface was not his achievement alone, but the result of decades of effort by a team of thousands. In this, as in most complex human endeavors, teams outperform individuals.

Teams have also played a central role in my life by ensuring that I received the support needed to achieve two cherished goals: leading sales organizations at several of the nation’s largest technology firms and climbing the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Along the way, I learned a great deal about team development and leadership. I saw that successful leaders compensate for their personal shortcomings by recruiting team members with complementary skills and temperaments. I observed how they motivated and inspired their teams to achieve something ambitious and meaningful. And then I put those lessons to work in my own business and climbing careers.

One of the most critical lessons I learned from climbing mountains and the corporate ladder is that every member of a well-constructed sales team should have a specific role, skillset, and set of responsibilities that aligns with the exigencies of the business being pursued. Equally important, each member should meet the essential “ROPE” criteria I developed over decades of climbing. In other words, they should be:

• Reliable and Responsible
• Opportunity-driven and Organized
• Professional and Practical
• Enthusiastic and Expert

Inside ROPE Teams

As a sales leader, I was responsible for assembling both “Inside” and “Outside” ROPE teams. Our Inside ROPE teams were comprised of colleagues in our company’s marketing, accounting, finance, engineering, support, purchasing, and other functional units. I knew I would need their cooperation and support in order to successfully orchestrate a complex, months-long sales campaign.

Inside ROPE teams provide another important benefit. In most companies today, employees are under constant pressure to do more with less. They may feel overburdened and resistant to shouldering new responsibilities. But the members of your team will be much more likely to go the extra mile if you demonstrate a sincere commitment to helping them succeed in their own careers. Once motivated in this way, your Inside ROPE team members will become invaluable assets in helping you to compete successfully for the scarce company resources you’ll need to bring a long and arduous sales campaign to a successful conclusion.

Outside ROPE Teams

Outside ROPE teams are equally essential to the success of any campaign. To recruit these team members, you’ll want to reach outside your company to forge mutually-beneficial relationships with industry experts, business executives, and other community leaders who can help you expand your industry knowledge, stay abreast of emerging business and technology trends, and secure personal referrals to new prospects. Your Outside ROPE team will play an essential role in helping you find and close business.

Keep in mind that Inside and Outside ROPE teams cannot be assembled instantaneously. They must be cultivated over time, using the same strategies you apply to nurture new client relationships. First, you’ll need to identify the most viable prospects, learn what motivates them, and help them become successful. Then, you’ll have to set specific team-building goals and track your progress.

Generally speaking, it’s easier to recruit Inside ROPE team members since you’ll be drawing from a limited pool of fellow employees and will have more opportunities for face-to-face interactions. However, you can create ongoing opportunities to build your Outside ROPE teams by networking with members of your local civic or business communities. Kemper Freeman, CEO of Kemper Development Corporation, for example, has been an active member of the Rotary Club for decades.

Finally, as a leader, it will be your responsibility to ensure that your relationship with every member of your Inside and Outside ROPE teams is positive and mutually beneficial. After completing a successful sales campaign, for example, I made sure to inform our executive leadership team about the contributions each of our Inside ROPE team members made to our collective success. I was also careful to fulfill every commitment I made to members of our Outside ROPE teams and to proactively pursue opportunities to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

By effectively leading your Inside and Outside ROPE teams, you will build enduring communities that will sustain you throughout your career. Kemper Freeman said it best: “My entire life, I’ve lived by the principle that building a community is one of life’s greatest rewards. To me, building a community means working together, understanding each other, and creating opportunities that are mutually beneficial for everyone.”

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Conquering the Seven Summits
Susan Ershler is co-author of Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales: From Everest to Every Business, which illustrates the principles that lead to high achievement with anecdotes drawn from her sales and climbing careers. In 2002, she and her husband, Phil, became the first couple in history to climb the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents. Today, Susan is a renowned keynote speaker, inspiring business professionals to push past perceived boundaries to achieve their most ambitious dreams and helping Fortune 500 companies transform their sales organizations into dynamic forces for revenue growth. For more information, visit her web site: Reaching New Heights

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:14 PM
| TrackBacks (0) | General Business



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