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LeadershipNow 140: February 2016 Compilation


twitter Here are a selection of tweets from February 2016 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:52 AM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140


Originals or How Non-Conformists Move the World


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.

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


10 Ways You Earn Respect

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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Grace to Show Respect 12 Rules of Respect

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


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


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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Culture Engine Our Iceberg is Melting

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:56 AM
| Comments (0) | Five Lessons


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 (PDF) 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 as 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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Disruption Brought Order Disrupt You

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


The Superboss Playbook


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.

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

Available too, is The Superbosses Playbook: A Workbook Companion to Superbosses. It shows readers how to apply the tactics of these "superbosses" in their own organizations. It features assessments, case studies, and exercises designed to help anyone recruit talent, lead performance, inspire teams, and even part with great people like a true superboss.

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


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



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