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LeadershipNow 140: January 2012 Compilation


twitter Here are a selection of tweets from January 2012 that you might have missed: See more on twitter Twitter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:54 PM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140


Managing With a Conscience

We handicap our potential when we think we have to exploit others to get ahead. Succeeding is not a zero-sum game. We don’t look better when everyone else looks worse.

Frank Sonnenberg makes the case in Managing with a Conscience, that the only sustainable way to succeed is the right way—not cutting corners—emphasizing the intangibles like trust, creativity, focus, speed, flexibility, relationships, loyalty, and employee commitment. While not readily measureable, they can make or break leaders and organizations. Sonnenberg believes that leaders who have a jaded view of intangible assets will never make the commitment required to reap their full potential.

Sonnenberg discusses at length, nine critical success factors that need to be built into the organization:
  • Passion that develops commitment to the organization’s mission, values, and goals
  • An innovative and creative environment and mindset that reinvents itself every day
  • Effective, focused and consistent internal communication to set priorities that focus the organization’s efforts and people on the resources that provide the greatest potential return.
  • Devotion to service excellence
  • A learning organization that adapts well to change
  • Responds with speed
  • Maintains a flexible structure by collaborating both internally and externally
  • Emphasizes that personal networking is an efficient and effective way to solicit ideas, access new sources of information, increase business development, and attract new hires
  • Understands that trust is foundational; it is what binds us together and makes work possible.
Sonnenberg hits these issues head-on. Managing with a Conscience is both an analysis and a practical how-to book. He demonstrates how to take management platitudes beyond the letter of the law. Asking the right questions helps to take you beyond mere compliance. People often get cynical about the latest initiative because they are not implemented on a meaningful level—and consequently they never really get the results you’re looking for. Sonnenberg helps you get to the intent. From the employee bill of rights:
Employees have the right to approach management. Management should announce an open-door policy. But announcing is not enough. Employees should feel comfortable approaching management. Ask yourself if you’re in your office long enough to be approached. Are you available at convenient times or only at 7:00 a.m.? Has your administrative assistant done everything to screen you from “outsiders” except put barbed wire outside your office? When a concern was brought to your attention, in confidence, did you divulge any part of the information? Do you just go through the motions of listening? It is up to you to take the initiative and get out of your office to meet with employees. Been seen on a regular basis so people don’t think you’re avoiding them.
Sonnenberg writes, “If your organization isn’t focused, someone is probably undoing something you just completed.” How true. As he notes, when people don’t know or understand the organizational purpose, they end up going in different directions, often competing with each other. And this is true in the social media environment, too. It is not unusual to see social media participants undoing an organization’s values and beliefs because they simply don’t understand them or can’t live them. They create conflicting messages that undermine the purpose of the organization.

“The costs to society,” writes Sonnenberg, “of everyone acting like random molecules bouncing off one another is just too great. We have no time to think about what is important. We judge someone’s worth by what we see on the outside rather than their inner worth. We envy someone who has achieved success without thinking about what they did to earn it.” We can change that, if we begin with our own example first.

This comprehensive book is based on the idea that “what goes around comes around.” If you treat people right, they will treat you right. Sonnenberg believes that when you operate with the highest levels of trust and integrity, it makes you feel good about yourself, the people you work with, and the organization that you represent. It impacts how you view yourself and the way other people view you.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:34 PM
| Comments (0) | General Business , Human Resources , Leadership , Management


Leading Views: Resilience

Leading ViewsBecause we always make mistakes and always will, Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham, authors of Street Smarts say that the most important quality for business success is resilience—the ability to bounce back from failure, to turn around a bad situation, to profit from your mistakes.

Point One: Those who persevere win. Be resilient and welcome failure. That’s how you become a better businessperson.

Point Two: You learn by refusing to make excuses and looking inside yourself for the reason things have gone wrong.

Point Three: Focus and discipline are more important than identifying opportunities, but they have to be balanced with flexibility.

Point Four: The solutions are seldom right in front of you. You need to learn how to spot them out of the corner of your eye.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:52 PM
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The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect is a reminder of the law of cause and effect. Darren Hardy shares the impact it has had on his life and how you can make yourself accountable for your choices.

The Compound Effect is the ripple effect you get from the choices you make. In life, you not only reap what you sow, you reap more than you sow. The seemingly insignificant choices we make daily, will create major changes in your life for good or bad. These are the things we don’t think about because they have no immediate effect. They don’t seem to matter. But over time, they can take you places you never intended. Hardy encourages us to make conscious choices—daily.

Given the fact that we have a limited lifespan, the earlier we start consciously making small changes in our behavior, the more powerfully the Compound Effect works in our favor.

Since your outcomes are all a result of your moment-to-moment choices, you have incredible power to change your life by changing your choices. Step-by-step, day by day, your choices will shape you actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.

Creating habits isn’t easy. Hardy says you have to begin by thinking your way out of the instant gratification trap. “The problem is that the payoff or instant gratification derived from bad habits often far outweighs what’s going on in your rational mind concerning long-term consequences. Indulging in our bad habits doesn’t seem to have any negative effects at all in the moment. But it doesn’t mean you haven’t activated the Compound Effect.

Hardy also recommends that when we try to change a habit we should focus on what we are adding-in rather than what we are taking-out. Instead of thinking about all of the TV you will miss in the evening, think about the experience and fulfillment you will gain by adding-in a hobby instead. Instead of focusing on what you have to sacrifice, focus on what you get to add-in.

It harder to get started than it is to keep going, so you must be consistent to keep your momentum going. “When you start thinking about slacking off on your routines and rhythms, consider the massive cost of inconsistency. It is not the loss of the single action and tiny results it creates; it is the utter collapse and loss of momentum your entire progress will suffer.”

In this regard, it is important to look at what is influencing you. What you feed your mind, the people you spend time with, and your environment will all conspire to bring you closer or further from your goals. Stand guard.

Finally, Hardy says to multiply your results by going beyond the expectations; doing the unexpected. Uncommon things deliver uncommon results.

Hardy says what stands between you and your goal is your behavior. Your life comes down to this formula:

Compound Effect

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:47 PM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development


12 Reasons You Will Be a Better Leader this Year

12 Reasons Better Leader

1. Because you are generous with information. You know it enables and values others.

2. Because you eschew the trappings of power. You respect your position too much to let yourself become self-absorbed and disconnected from those you serve.

3. Because you know leadership isn’t about how well you are appreciated, but it’s about endlessly showing your appreciation of others. Leadership isn’t about how you feel, but how you make others feel.

4. Because you are honored to lead, you genuinely respect and care for the people you serve.

5. Because you avoid the trivial and stay focused on your core values and the vision they enable. You will always pay attention to what matters most and you communicate it tirelessly and with clarity.

6. Because you are driven to produce and are accountable for it and expect the same from others.

7. Because you take time to reflect to keep yourself aligned and to continually evaluate your impact.

8. Because you exercise. You know that regular exercise not only makes you feel better physically and it has a profound impact on your cognitive abilities and mental health.

9. Because you are curious, you are committed to being a lifelong learner and building a learning culture within your team and organization. You won’t rely on what worked for you in the past.

10. Because you are humble enough to know that you don’t have all the answers and it doesn’t have to be your way and it is in fact, unhealthy for you to insist on it.

11. Because you are committed to building others greater than yourself. You are validated not by your own knowledge and accomplishments but by those you help to succeed. You are passionate about and energized by the people you serve.

12. Because you know that you are setting an example for others to follow. Everything you do matters. You know it’s not about you.

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Newtons First Law Lifestorming

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:02 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership Development


Why are Organizations Slow to Respond?

Organizations are only human.

Organizations share many characteristics with the people that populate them. Organizations are born, they mature, they age, and they die. The life expectancy of most is about 15 years and only 5% last longer than 50 years.

They begin with an innovative idea—even developing beyond all expectations—but eventually they begin to show signs of aging. Claudio Feser writes in Serial Innovators, “Some firms become blinded by success and begin to resist external views and challenges. Some are locked into mental models and become driven by habits. Some lose the sense of purpose that pervaded them in the early days. Some become bureaucratic. Some have processes and incentive systems that have put them on an autopilot, leading in a dangerous direction. Some develop dysfunctional organizational cultures.”

Occasionally, some organizations resist these all too human tendencies and thrive. They continually reinvent themselves. They confront rigidity. They become serial innovators.

We create over time, our own and our organization’s rigidities. Individually, we develop rigidities in the form of biases, lack of self-confidence, and habits. The human mind is quite adept at this in order to create efficiencies. We can only process so much. Organizationally, we create rigidities like structures, performance management and reward systems, supporting cultures and capabilities that while necessary to some degree, often prevent us from adapting rapidly. Worse still, we add complexities to existing structures, processes, values and norms, without ever rethinking and possibly eliminating obsolete ideas and procedures. All of this can cause entropy and our demise.

Rigidities are not going to go away, but we can learn to manage them better. Feser says that organizations that want to become serial innovators must do the following:
  1. Cultivate the organizations members’ desire to make a difference.
  2. Build a team of learners at the top.
  3. Frame the organization’s vision and strategy positively.
  4. Build on self-managed performance cells.
  5. Promote the organization’s members’ drive to perform and grow.
  6. Invest in capabilities to quickly develop new assets and skills.
  7. Cultivate a culture that fosters execution and promotes challenge.
Again, it is a leadership issue with a leadership solution.
If company leaders do not accept challenge and diverging views, neither will the organization.

If company leaders do not show self-confidence, do not have a positive mindset, and do not role-model resilience, the organization will not develop the confidence to adapt to ever-changing and dynamic markets.

If company leaders do not change their behavior when confronted with new situations, the company will run on autopilot.

If company leaders do not clearly define the structure of the organization and fight organizational complexity, complexity will creep throughout the organization.

If company leaders do not thoughtfully review and reward performance, behaviors fostering collaboration and innovation will become rare and–over time—disappear.
After all, organizations are only human.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:11 AM
| Comments (0) | Change , Creativity & Innovation , Management


What You Need to Know About Why People Fail

“There are thousands of books on success. But very few on failure,” begins Siimon Reynolds in Why People Fail. “Yet mastering failure is surely a vital step in achieving your aims, hopes, and dreams.”

He is passionately driven to take the "taboo" out of failure. As Reynolds suggests it is a "forbidden subject. We're not supposed to fail and if we do, we're supposed to hide it from everybody. It gives people the wrong impression about what it takes to be successful."

Failure leads to success—if you see it as a process. “If someone has achieved more than you, it’s not usually because they are better than you or smarter than you. It’s because they have discovered a better strategy for success.”

Reynolds has identified 16 reasons for failure. They are:

1. Unclear purpose
Reynolds claims that the reason average people are average is because they have no clear purpose. “It is not unusual to see people working 12 hours a day and still not getting anything substantial done. Why? At the heart of it, their lack of clarity about the best use of their time leads them to work on what’s urgent, not what’s important.” Foggy purpose leads to mediocre results, says Reynolds. Zig Ziglar remarked, “Most people are a wandering generality rather than a meaningful specific.”

2. Destructive thinking
Not surprisingly, destructive thinking has a dramatic impact on both our health and our behavior. Reynolds recommends the SCORE technique created by Jim Fannin. Before you begin a new task, ask yourself: Are you working toward your goals? (Self-Discipline), Are you focused? (Concentration), Are you positive? (Optimism), Are you calm? (Relaxation), and Are you choosing to have fun? (Enjoyment).

3. Low productivity
Getting productive begins with planning before you start. Make a list. Break your work down into blocks of time. Reynolds says that when he’s feeling down or lazy, he likes to separate his day into 10-minute blocks. Working in short bursts boosts his momentum and increased his concentration. This technique he learned from Igvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA. Kamprad says, “Divide your life into 10-minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity.”

4. Fixed mindset
People with a fixed mindset believe that their capabilities are set in stone. They tend to not try hard, give up early, and don’t try new things. In contrast, people with a growth mindset believe that with dedication and effort you can get better. They tend to forgive more, see problems as temporary, learn from their mistakes, and have faith in the future. What would happen if you worked a little harder at something you feel you’re not good at?

5. Weak energy
Success takes energy. Success requires good sleep, a proper diet, exercise, and a balanced lifestyle.

6. Not asking the right questions
The questions you are create the things you think about and the direction of your life. You should be asking yourself the following questions frequently: What are my values? What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? What could go wrong? How could I make 10 times more money? What would X do? Should I even be involved with this? How would my competition defeat me? What’s the best use of my time right now? When I die, what kind of life would I like to have lived? How could I improve that performance?

7. Poor presentation skills
“Presenting well will increase your confidence and your salary faster than almost any other skill. Your boss will want you to lead more and your clients will trust you more. You’ll feel in command and in control, and others will sense that they’re dealing with someone highly capable and dynamic.”

8. Mistaking IQ for EQ
A priceless ability for leaders, those with a strong EQ (emotional intelligence) are able to perceive emotions, use emotions, understand emotions, and manage emotions. “When it comes to everyday practical living, EQ beats IQ every time.”

9. Poor self-image
Self-image is important because it determines what actions you will take and how you will feel each and every day. It’s like your “mental operating software…a mental blueprint of what’s possible for you.” Mostly, you are not your conscious thought. According to Deepak Chopra, about 70% of your thoughts are not new. They are the same thoughts you had yesterday. “The truth is, because of their low self-image most people are selling themselves short.” Think about your self-image and focus on building it up. Act-as-if. Consider the people you socialize with. Are they building you up? Visualize who you could be.

10. Not enough thinking
We are obsessed with doing and don’t spend enough time thinking. Brainstorm regularly.

11. No daily rituals
Daily rituals enable even average people to become champions of life and ultimately outperform others who seemingly have more talent. “If you can add a structure to your goals, a ritual you do daily, you will increase the chances of achieving them by 1000%.” If you’re not getting the results you want in any area of your life, Reynolds attributes it to a lack of ritual.

12. Stress
Stress can kill. Relieve stress with deep breathing and the practice of releasing. You might try list making, dividing your stress into things you can do something about and things you can’t, cleaning and simplifying your environment, getting outside, eating properly and creating order in your life.

13. Few relationships
You can’t get there alone. You must enlist the help of many others along the way. Develop your ability to develop strong personal relationships.

14. Lack of persistence
Giving up too soon is at the heart of many failures for two reasons. The first is a poor self-image. “Deep down they don’t have the faith that they are capable of pulling off a great victory, so when they try, they do so in a tentative, half-hearted manner and are ready to give up at the first sign of difficulty.” And second, they think there is something wrong with failure. Champions know they are going to fail numerous times, so they get on with it.

15. Money obsession
Professor Tim Kasser remarked, “The more materialistic values are at the center of our lives, the more our quality of life is diminished.” Research shows that people who focus on the material things are less satisfied with their lives. There is nothing wrong with money, but we shouldn’t build our life around it. Better to focus on relationships, community, serving others, and appreciation.

16. Not focusing on strengths
Know your strengths to maximize you natural strengths. Not everything you need to do can be centered around your strengths, but the more you do, the more successful and enjoyable your life will be.

If you are struggling, you can probably identify with at least one of the above reasons. Actually, all of us can identify with some of them and could benefit from designing a ritual to overcome them one by one. It’s not always easy but it is doable. Pick one and make a commitment to conquer it.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:31 PM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development


What if Everything is Perfect?

Leading Forum
This is a guest post by Scott Hunter. Hunter asks us to take another perspective. What if everything that is happening is happening for our own good? What would happen if we chose to look at everything as a learning experience?

As a leader and someone that your team looks to for guidance and advice, has the question occurred to you… What if everything is perfect? What if everything that happens, everything that has happened, and everything that will happen is exactly what had to happen, is happening and needs to happen for your benefit and the benefit of your organization.

Now I’m not asking you to take this on as “the truth,” even though it might be. I’m asking you to take this on for your benefit, as something that will empower you as you move forward in your position as a leader in your organization and in your life. Because to not take this on, what you don’t realize is that you turn yourself into a victim. And I must say that being a victim is a very popular game. Don’t take responsibility; it’s always something or someone else doing it to you. It’s never your fault. You’re just this helpless weather vane in the wind of life. Sound familiar?

Here’s why it’s empowering to act as if everything is perfect: because then you will learn and grow from the experiences of life and constantly become more of who you could be. And, I assert, becoming more of who you could be is exactly what you want to use this life for.

How does this work? First you have to start from the proposition that life and business is not about winning or losing. Rather, it’s about winning or having learning experiences. So you look at everything either as a win, in which case you celebrate the win and learn how to continue winning, or as a learning experience, not a win, in which case you also learn how to do a better job next time so that you increase the likelihood of winning. Either way, you win.

Here’s a common example: you have a conversation with someone and it doesn’t go very well, maybe it actually turns into an argument, maybe you leave with your feelings hurt, whatever. From the perspective of a victim, you blame the other, they blame you, you dig deeper into your position and you plan your next attack.

But if you look from the perspective of perfection, you look to see what went wrong in the conversation, how come it turned into an argument, what you did to contribute to that, what you could do in the future so that things like that don’t happen again, and you even look to see that maybe you need to apologize to the other and get the conversation cleaned up.

Trust me on this one and give it a try. You will discover a power within yourself that you didn’t know was there if you look at everything as perfect and take responsibility for it all.

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Scott Hunter has been transforming organizations for over two decades, through his innovative programs that enable people in leadership positions to master the “being” of leadership rather than the “doing” of it. His keynote speeches, workshops, retreats and management team coaching enable senior managers to shift the paradigm in which they operate so that they achieve breakthrough results and outstanding performance. Scott is the originator of the Unshackled Leadership philosophy and author of the groundbreaking book Unshackled Leadership: Building Businesses Based on Faith, Trust, Possibility and Abundance.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:42 PM
| Comments (0) | Leading Forum


Leading Views: James Stockdale on Leadership

Leading ViewsIn A Vietnam Experience: Ten Years of Reflection (1984) by James Stockdale, he writes:

Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and most tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:51 PM
| Comments (0) | Leading Views


Power Corrupts Sooner than You Think

In a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887, Lord Acton observed that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” British Prime Minister William Pitt also observed, “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” Power is a tricky thing and we rely on it more than we should.

In a study by Adam Galinsky and others, they found that when people where power primed—temporarily made to feel powerful—they demonstrated a reduced tendency to comprehend how others see, think, and feel as compared with those that were primed with low power. They relied too heavily on their own vantage points and demonstrated less accuracy when assessing the emotions and thoughts of others. The possession of power or even the feeling of power tends to very quickly change how we think. We easily slip into thinking we are something we are not, to become absorbed with ourselves, to think, “It’s all about me.”

Our ego can quickly blind us to reality—self-deception sets in very quickly. We lose self-awareness and therefore our sense of the impact we are having on others. We would do well to remember the Stripes Rule. Denny Strigl, former CEO and president of Verizon Wireless, recalls in Managers, Can You Hear Me Now?:
When I became president of Ameritech’s cellular subsidiary, Ameritech Mobile, the chairman of Ameritech told me something that has stayed with me ever since. He said I would be managing an entire company, and as the company’s most senior manager, I should always remember that the “stripes” I have been given are on the coat I wear, not on the person who wears the coat. He cautioned me not to let the job go to my head because when I take the coat off, I will just be a person like any other.
Power, it seems, can easily become a handicap and not a blessing to leading well. But it often comes with the territory. A wise leader might keep Lord Acton’s words front and center.

Very soon after we become aware of our own power, our thoughts begin to turn inward and we lose touch with those we are to serve. Power becomes a barrier reducing our ability to lead properly. Awareness of this fact is the first step toward managing it.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:25 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership , Management , Thinking


First Look: Leadership Books for January 2012

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

  What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation by Gary Hamel
  Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link with Rebecca R. Merrill
  The Shaping of an Effective Leader: Eight Formative Principles of Leadership by Gayle D. Beebe
  Amplified Leadership: 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime by Dan Reiland
  Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen by David Novak

What Matters Now Smart Trust Shaping of an Effective Leader Amplified Leadership Taking People With You

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273

discounted books

Build your leadership library with these specials on over 120 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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"He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes."
— Isaac Barrow

Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:26 PM
| Comments (0) | Books



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