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11.30.13

LeadershipNow 140: November 2013 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from November 2013 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:10 PM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

11.28.13

Adversaries into Allies

Leadership
Adversaries into Allies is Leadership 101. Every leader that aspires to be a good leader should read Bob Burg’s book on influence. “Unless you are able to influence the way others think and act, your chances for success in any aspect of your life are limited.”

Leadership is intentional influence. Burg calls it Ultimate Influence or “the ability to get the results you want from others while making them feel genuinely good about themselves, about the process, and about you.” He adds, “Consciously shifting your focus away from yourself is about the very best way you can ever influence another.”

This is a guidebook to emotional intelligence and should be read from cover to cover. It’s the little things we forget. But here’s a caution: You can’t fake this stuff … for long. These ideas need to be practiced until they become part of who you are. If they are just tools to get what you want, people will know it and it won’t work for you.

Influence becomes manipulation when it is about you. “Manipulation aims at control, not cooperation. A manipulator will play on your negative emotions in order to elicit your compliance.” As leaders, we need to keep our motives in check.

Burg presents what leadership looks like when it isn’t about you; when the focus is others. While the title states that this book is about turning adversaries into allies, Burg points out that the job of leaders is to “make sure that a potentially difficult person doesn’t become an adversary in the first place.” Our ego often creates these situations.

Ultimate Influence is based on five key principles that occur on an ongoing basis:

1. Control your own emotions. When we have our emotions under control we are able to “act out of thought, out of consciousness, and help create a situation in which everyone involved can come away as winners.”
Your default setting to pressure situations is directly proportional to your ability to problem solve, to live in the solution, and to lead.
2. Understand the clash of belief systems. Learn to get out of your own head and into the head of the person you’re trying to influence.
Not only is it our responsibility to be certain our message is understood by the recipient, it’s just as important to be sure we understand their message, as well.
3. Acknowledge their ego. When dealing with others, remember that “their ego is highly sensitive, and if you want someone to agree with your wishes, you must handle it with extreme caution and care.”
Be a judge, not a lawyer. Whereas a lawyer is paid to win the case for his or her client by any legal and ethical means possible, a judge is not. A judge needs to understand both sides of the issue and be as impartial as possible. Human that we are, being impartial is difficult when the ego wants to win at all costs—even if you’re wrong. But the best way to overcome this unproductive desire is to practice being a judge.
4. Set the proper frame. The frame—the context—determines the direction of every interpersonal transaction. If you set the frame you are in control.
Expecting someone to be helpful doesn’t change them, it changes you. And that is what changes them.

The key point in all this is humility, which often leads to effective communication. When we are truly desirous of the truth and not just in winning an argument, people understand our intent and much quicker to accept our position.

Avoid negative framing. [“I don’t like what you do or how you do it.”] It’s interesting how often I hear someone begin a conversation in a way that’s almost guaranteed to upset the person whom they, for whatever reason, want or need to win over. Instead, ask yourself what you can do at this very moment to set the person at ease and make them as receptive as possible to you and your message.
5. Communicate with tact and empathy. “Tact is the ability to say something in a way that makes the other person feel less threatened or defensive and more open to you and your ideas.” It’s key to becoming an Ultimate Influencer. Empathy—the ability to identify with another’s feelings—and tact go hand-in-hand. “You will naturally display tact when you are truly empathetic to another’s situation. And speaking tactfully will communicate your empathy to that person.”
[Give people an out.] You have honored this person by removing pressure and giving him or her the option to escape through the back door. You are not giving them the out so they will take it. Your goal is to make them feel comfortable enough not to feel the need to take it.

Sometimes the most influential thing we can ever do is listen. Just listen.
Burg ends with character. “Even more important that what you say and what you do is who you are.” Your character is what ultimately determines your long-term influence. Be who you say you are. Say little and do much.
Develop a reputation as a person who, rather than talking a good game, actually plays a good game. One who, instead of talking about being honest, is honest. Instead of talking about thinking of others, thinks of others.
These ideas aren’t rocket science, but they do take work and thought. The problem is we get lazy and resort to command-and-control in a desire to push our own agenda and ideas. Real leadership—ultimate influence—is not easy but it is rewarding.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:25 PM
| Comments (0) | Leadership Development

11.21.13

Leading Views: Intuition is about Listening

Leading Views Ray Davis, CEO of Umpqua Bank, writes in Leading Through Uncertainty, that following your intuition is important at any time, but especially so in uncertain conditions. Intuition shouldn’t be thought of as being irrational but rather a “powerful, heightened state of awareness.” Intuition isn’t a magical process that happens inside of you. Its quality is dependent on how well you are informed by the reality of what’s happening around you. The only way to accomplish that is to listen and pay attention. He writes:
At its core intuition is about listening; it’s not some magical thing that you either have or don’t have. It’s being focused and zeroing in on people. When you’re intuitive, you’re listening closely to what others have to say, and watching and feeling intently. You’re observing everything that’s going on around you and taking it all in, increasing the amount of data that you’re gathering and processing. This all becomes fuel for your intuition.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:15 PM
| Comments (0) | Creativity & Innovation , Leading Views

11.19.13

Booknotes: 16 quotes from Die Empty

Booknotes“Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you.” In another remarkable book, Die Empty, Todd Henry encourages you to “embrace the importance of now and refuse to allow the lull of comfort fear, familiarity, and ego to prevent you from taking action on your ambitions.” Eventually all of our tomorrows will be gone, is how we choose to spend our time today is significant. Here are some ideas from Die Empty to reflect on:
  1. An ounce of preventative discipline today is worth a pound of corrective action later.
  2. Emptying yourself of your best work isn’t just about checking off tasks on your to-do list; it’s about making steady, critical progress each day on the projects that matter, in all areas of life.
  3. The love of comfort is often the enemy of greatness.
  4. No one charts a course for mediocrity, yet it is still a destination of choice.
  5. To countermand ego, you must adopt a posture of adaptability. This means being in a state of continual learning and openness to correction.
  6. People sell their souls by running away from the battles they know they should be fighting.
  7. If assumptions weren’t challenged, innovation would cease.
  8. How would you act differently tomorrow if you knew that your actions and attitude on that one day were going to be a permanent testament to your life?
  9. You must define how you want to grow, then establish a plan to get there.
  10. You cannot pursue comfort and greatness at the same time.
  11. You want to choose attributes to emulate that they will help you become more of who you are, not more of who they are. It does you no good to simply pull off the mask you’re wearing and put on a slightly more desirable one. Quote
  12. The key counterpoint to ego is adaptability.
  13. Control is all about my needs, my ego, and my desire to feel like the center of my environment. I wish to impose my will on everyone else around me, and expect them to fall in line with how I believe things should be.
  14. Discovering your voice is rarely a linear path, but instead is the culmination of a lifelong process of observation, course correction, and risk-taking that eventually leads to the recognition of a valuable contribution.
  15. Over the next several decades, people who are especially adept at problem finding will define the world of work.
  16. Creating a culture of transparent trust requires that you be able to speak difficult truth to one another.
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Of Related Interest:
  Hacking the Creative Process

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:15 PM
| Comments (0) | Creativity & Innovation

11.18.13

What Does it Mean to Follow Your Passion?

We’ve all heard that we should “follow your passion” or “find the right job and you’ll never work a day in your life.” We tend to take this advice to mean that when we get what we want, then we will find meaning and happiness. The problem with this “I-am-the-center-of-the-universe” mind-set is that we are approaching the problem in the wrong way says Todd Henry, author of Die Empty. We will ultimately spend our life chasing the next buzz when things get dull.

Henry is not suggesting that we shouldn’t follow our passion, but that we should get it straight exactly what we are talking about. It doesn’t mean to follow our whims.

There are two ways of looking at the world—give and get. Give is sustainable; get is not. The surest way to build a meaningful life is to approach everything you do from the standpoint of “What can I give?” The reason we struggle with following our passion is that we think of it as “What can I get?” Henry explains the issue eloquently:
“Passion” has its roots in the Latin word pati, which means “to suffer or endure.” Therefore, at the root of passion is suffering. This is a far cry from the way we casually toss around the word in our day-to-day conversations. Instead of asking, “What would bring me enjoyment?” which is how many people think about following their passion, we should instead ask “What work am I willing to suffer for today?

Great work requires suffering for something beyond yourself. It’s created when you bend your life around a mission and spend yourself on something you deem worthy of your best effort.
Henry really gets to the heart of the matter. What he's talking about requires some concerted effort, vigilance, and courage to maintain this orientation as we go about our business. Otherwise it is easy to slip into the activities that only bring us comfort rather than meaning and purpose. Henry suggests sources to find what he terms “productive passion, the sort of passion that motivates you and is beneficial to others.” The focus is on “Where can I serve?”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:10 PM
| Comments (0) | Human Resources

11.15.13

The White Knight Syndrome

white knight
As a leader it is easy to think that we alone possess all anyone needs to know; to think that our view of the world is the right one. After all, the view looks pretty good from where we sit. We’ve thought everything through. We have access to more information than anyone else. We have a way of doing things and it works—for us. So what rational person would question you? What could they possibly know that you don’t?

We can get a little self-important and think that we need to mount our white horse and begin a crusade to save the kingdom—charging through the organization bringing everyone in line with our way of thinking and our way of doing things. We know best and if they can see it, well then, they’re wrong. But before we do we should consider these questions:

Is this about me? Of course not. But before you get on your high horse, ask yourself if the issue is truly a right-wrong issue or simply a matter of opinion or approach? No one likes to be questioned, but the questions serve as a tool to help us grow. They keep us in check. If we're not being questioned, we have an even bigger problem. We have made our leadership about us—and everyone around us knows it. Only we are deluded enough to think otherwise.

Is there a connection I can build on? Find connection with the other side—even if you have only their intentions to consider. Rarely is anyone going out of their way to do the wrong thing. Most often it is their execution that is bad. Their timing can also be at the core of the problem. All these things can be fixed without diminishing the other side. Finding areas where you agree gives you something to build on and shows respect.

Am I motivated by the desire to establish my authority? If you have to correct someone, you should never leave them there. As a leader, your job is to build up not to put down. There are times when you have to correct but it should only be done in an effort to grow others and not to control them. If correction is about control, it’s about you—and you’ve lost before you’ve even gotten out of the gate.

Most crusades are about ego. They are designed to leverage differences. Stamp out opposition. Differences of opinion and approach serve to sharpen us, grow us, and open our thinking. If it is different it will make you uncomfortable. But that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. Growth is risky, uncomfortable, and messy. Over time our own thinking numbs us if it is not challenged. It desensitizes us to the reality around us.

The most valuable people we have around us are those people who are willing to question us, consider another approach, and test our assumptions. We need these people if we are to grow into the leader we could be. It’s not about us.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:49 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership

11.13.13

Speaking with Presence

Speaking
Good communication is at the core of good leadership. And speaking from who you are gives you credibility—an earned authority—and opens the door for you to turn listeners into followers.

When you connect with an audience from who you are, you are speaking authentically. You have leadership presence. In The Leader’s Guide to Speaking with Presence, John Baldoni has gathered together what he has learned from his own experience and from others he works with.

It is a valuable collection of principles to help us develop our leadership presence when speaking. Like a good speech, it is clear, concise, friendly, and can be put to use immediately.

He begins with the sound of our speech. He asks us to think of our speech as a piece of music delivering variations in melody (rises and lowers according to the words), harmony (facts and stories blended for meaning), and rhythm (tempo, fast slow, matches mood and meaning). Speech delivery is an art that can be mastered if we practice. (Yes, the best practice their speeches.)
Presenting effectively can be a huge challenge for many of us. But learning a few simple techniques about connecting with the audience can go a long way toward establishing a platform for confident delivery, and, more importantly, it can put the audience in a mood to listen to you. Most importantly, it affirms your leadership strengths and gives people a reason to follow your lead.
Baldoni has an eye for the easily overlooked fine points of communication.

He explains how and why to connect with an audience before, during and after a presentation.

He advises on the proper use of stories to inform, to involve and to inspire.

How to show optimism without looking like you don’t really know what’s going on.

He includes nine key steps for developing a speech.

How to use PowerPoint so it doesn’t look like a crutch but rather a well-crafted learning aid.

He explains the importance of clarity over nuance for leaders.

This guidebook is full of practical tips and insights to help you speak authentically—with leadership presence. Each chapter ends with questions to apply to your presentation or delivery—little details that make a big difference. His approach is founded on respect for your audience. Because ultimately it’s about them, it’s so important that you are aware of how you are coming across. This book will explain the mindset of leadership presence and the mechanics that make it work.
Standing up in front of a live audience requires practice. The more you do it, the better and more comfortable you are likely to become. Keep one key point in mind. The audience wants you to succeed. No one likes to see a speaker “die” onstage. So be cool, be brief, and keep smiling. You will do just fine.


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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:10 AM
| Comments (0) | Communication

11.04.13

Xceptional Execution

You don’t need to be a guru. You don’t need to be rich. You don’t need to invent the next big thing to be a success. What you need to do, says Kevin Kelly is find an ordinary idea and implement that idea with xceptional execution. You can start with what you have from where you are.

The list of reasons why we shouldn’t do something is often long and persuasive. We are predisposed to accept it. And so we let our ideas die. The combination of fear and knowledge is all too often lethal to our best ideas.

DO
Kevin Kelly writes in DO! The Pursuit of Xceptional Execution, “the antidote for too much knowledge is execution. Why? Execution helps to work through fear and build confidence. Knowledge will always give you enough reasons not to act. Execution is taking the next step in spite of that knowledge.” Have you ever seen someone doing something that you’ve always wanted to do even though you know they should know better? And yet they’re doing it and you’re not. Maybe it should be, “Those who know teach, those who don’t do.” Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

This doesn’t mean that we jump into something without thinking. That’s unwise. Kelly says execution rests on two pillars: Awareness (Self) and Attention (Others).

Part of awareness is being able to receive negative feedback, learn from it and apply it in a way that you grow. Anyone you come into contact with is a potential teacher. Kelly says, “You will find that there are zero degrees of separation from potential teachers.”

One of the things that holds us back is not that we can’t solve the problem, it’s that we don’t see the problem. Who we are is obvious to others—our co-workers and customers. You’ve got to know what you are projecting to others.

The other pillar is attention. “People crave genuine, authentic, undivided attention, the side effect of which is extremely positive: loyalty, engagement and positive word-of-mouth promotion.” Kelly advises that we “focus on building friendships, not customer relationships.”

We don’t always know exactly what to do or where we are going, but Kelly insists that the xceptional execution ethos will take you places you never imagined. Xceptional Execution = Opportunity.

Kelly talks to nine xceptionalists to understand their story—how they did what they did and how they executed in spite of the ups and downs. Throughout these examples will find mindsets and actions that resonate with your own situation. DO! will expand your mind and broaden your approach.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:32 PM
| Comments (0) | Management , Motivation

11.01.13

First Look: Leadership Books for November 2013

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

  Leading Through Uncertainty: How Umpqua Bank Emerged from the Great Recession Better and Stronger than Ever by Raymond P. Davis
  Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
  The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World's Greatest Management Thinker by William A. Cohen
  The Talent Equation: Big Data Lessons for Navigating the Skills Gap and Building a Competitive Workforce by Matt Ferguson, Lorin Hitt and Prasanna Tambe
  Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy

Leading Through Uncertainty Hatching Twitter Practical Drucker Talent Equation Choosing Change

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


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“He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.”
— Isaac Barrow (1630–1677)


Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:40 AM
| Comments (0) | Books



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