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Hugh Ballou on April 10th, 2015

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending April 10, 2015

5 blogs that matterEvery day I learn something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. Here are quotes from 5 blogs that got my attention this week. I don’t benefit from reposting any of these posts. Sometimes, I don’t even know the writer. However, I do read and personally grow my knowledge by reading posts that challenge my thinking and get me to think outside my old paradigm. It’s not important that you agree with any of these writers. It’s only important that you think. I hope you will find some new sources of inspiration with these posts. Here’s the next group of 5 in the series:

 

 

Tony Adams

Great Planning is a Journey. It Doesn’t Just Happen.

Tony AdamsPlanning. Why do we do it?

Why do we spend countless hours poring over our charts, our spreadsheets, our resource profiles and our budgets, trying to get them just right? Why do we tie ourselves in knots, working the plans backwards and forwards to make them as clean and…realistic…as possible?

Because the truth is that, at any point in time, we don’t know what will happen in the future.

We think we do, but in reality, we can’t see what is approaching from around the bend. Whilst we may “hope for the best and plan for the worst”, our planned outcomes rarely resemble reality.

Read the post…

 

Mark Sanborn

The Purpose of Passion

Mark SanbornPassion by itself is of little value (like having a gallon of gas without an engine to put it in), but used as fuel for one’s work, it has many benefits.

Passion…

Invigorates. Your alarm clock becomes your achievement clock. You’ll be waking up ready to get to the important work you believe in.

Inspires. You’ll find inspiration within rather than searching for it “out there.”

Read the post...

 

Alison Brattle

Top Reasons for Leadership Fails

Reducing the Risk of Leadership Failure 

Alison Brattle 2The world’s greatest leaders know that success is fleeting and that no amount of success in the present can prevent a future failure. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it can’t happen to you, but the truth is, it’s much easier to fail than you think. An essential part of leadership development is understanding the warning signs that indicate potential problems; learn what they are and how to combat them to reduce the risk of a leadership failure.

Your Focus Shifts

A focus shift can happen in many ways. Some leaders lose sight of what’s important; they get caught up by the pressure that leadership brings, and they lose the focus that they had on the job…

Read the post…

 

Jane Perdue

How To Move From Horrified To Humble To Celebratory

Jane PerdueMost of us have an inner critic, the little voice in our head that—depending on the degree of power we give to it—can be an inhibiting enemy or a good, supportive friend.

After a long career in business, I turned to writing as one part of my second act. Recently I read several early blog posts and was horrified. I knew I had lots to learn about the craft of writing when I began, and those old posts were dreadful evidence of how little I knew.

My inner critic accelerated to warp speed, chastising me for every dangling participle, adverb, and run-on sentence.

Read the post…

 

Joe Knight

The Most Common Mistake People Make In Calculating ROI

Joe KnightYour company is ready to make a big purchase — a fleet of cars, a piece of manufacturing equipment, a new computer system. But before anyone writes a check, you need to calculate the return on investment (ROI) by comparing the expected benefits with the costs. Analyzing ROI isn’t always as simple as it sounds and there’s one mistake that many managers make: confusing cash and profit.

This is an important distinction because if you mistake profit for cash in your ROI calculations, you’re likely to show a far better return that you can expect in reality. So keep in mind: Profit is not the same thing as cash.

Read the post…

 

 

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

― Robert Frost

ChoiceChoices are very important in leadership. Making the wrong choice costs money and potentially damages the organization. The burden is on the leader for making effective and wise choices.

Not making a decision is a choice. Sometimes, paralyzed by the gravity of the choice, leaders stall and can’t decide. Not making a choice is certainly a choice.

What’s the impact of the decision on the organization?

What’s the impact of the decision on relationships?

What’s the impact of the decision on revenue…customer satisfaction…client engagement…stakeholder involvement…?

Asking these questions before making a decision helps leaders recognize the consequences of the decision.

Maybe asking those questions before not making a choice would be good, as well.

Making wise, informed choices is the duty and delight of the leader. Making poor choices can cost a lot more and, certainly, waiting to make a decision increases the cost or impact of the problem to the culture or to the profit as the situation gets worse.

The most difficult of choices typically centers on people issues, such as when to terminate the employee, when to give a salary increase, when to correct their behavior, when to challenge a nonparticipating board member, etc. Each of these scenarios causes leaders to shy away from confronting controversial issues.

Pay the upfront cost and deal with the situation as soon as practical. That might be before you get the chance to confront someone on an issue. Waiting only complicates things and provides an opportunity for the conflict, if that’s the issue, to get worse. A small matter becomes nuclear over time.

Delegate action items so you can free up your schedule and your mind to think effectively about complex leadership decisions.

To decide or not…that’s the question.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Hugh Ballou on April 6th, 2015

“The basic building block of any emotional system is the triangle.” – Murray Bowen

TrianglesTriangles are…

It’s quite simple. Triangles in human relationships and personal interactions exist. They are neither bad nor good. They just exist.

Having said that, triangles can, and often do, cause problems in the culture. Let’s define culture as any group that’s in relationship. Culture can be family, social organization, religious organization, work team, board, committed partners, and even friends. We are leaders who work in group emotional systems, and knowing how those systems work provides information for us to make better decisions.

Triangles exist when 3 people are in relationship, in conversation, and share information. When anxiety enters in, then the triangle gets complicated. If someone wants power, then they create a triangle to put the third person on the outside, or the powerless position. It’s our job as leaders to recognize situations like this and to pull the sides of the triangle together.

Some people in the groups we lead have trouble speaking directly to another person about something that’s controversial or sensitive, especially when there’s a feeling that someone has behaved badly or at least behaved outside the bounds of the guidelines of the organization. It’s easier to unload on a third party than to speak directly to the person who needs to hear the comments. This creates a power side for the triangle; if the leader gets involved in the conversation without the third party, the triangle can become toxic to the culture.

Here are my personal guiding principles for triangles:

  1. Observe First: Many times the triangle exists and does no harm. The leader’s duty is to observe. If the situation does not work itself out with information sharing on all sides of the triangle, then it’s time to insist on transparency.
  2. Don’t Play the Game: If someone approaches you complaining about a third person, then it’s time to stop the conversation and connect those two people directly in conversation. Listening to the whole complaint puts you at risk of assumed agreement. If you just listen and empathize (not good), there’s an assumption on the part of the complainer that you agree. They sometimes tell others that you agree, when you actually don’t agree. It’s also unlikely that the complainer will contact the other person. They typically don’t have the skills to face them directly. I choose to connect the third person to the complainer without offering any information about the issue, but say that there’s a need to talk directly. And then I get out of the conversation.
  3. Don’t Create Triangles: Yes, I did say that triangles exist. Therefore, when we don’t belong in a conversation, we should ask why we are placing ourselves in the triangle and if it’s a good idea. I prefer to gather the other parties and have the conversation together, first eliminating extra work in undoing the triangle and managing anxiety of the unknown.
  4. Watch Out for Overlapping (Interlocking) Triangles: Triangles that involve some of the same people on the same topics or in the same culture overlap. This complicates communications. The more overlapping triangles there are, the more things can get out of hand.
  5. Use Triangles for Good: Going the other way with triangles can create positive results. When seeing that you are in a triangle and that there’s a misunderstanding or some anxiety spread in the triangle, then push back the other way with information, connecting the other two sides (people) or connecting all three sides (you with them). More often than not, conflict exists because of gaps in knowledge and lack of relationship. Communication is based on relationship and not solely on sharing data.

Developing leadership skills and systems depends on management of self, which is an ongoing journey of capacity building and discovery. Continue working on self by developing and refining your personal and organizational guiding principles.

Hugh’s post on Guiding Principles: http://transformationalstrategist.com/principles/

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

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Hugh Ballou on April 3rd, 2015

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending April 3, 2015

5 blogs that matterEvery day I learn something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. Here are quotes from 5 blogs that got my attention this week. I don’t benefit from reposting any of these posts. Sometimes, I don’t even know the writer. However, I do read and personally grow my knowledge by reading posts that challenge my thinking and get me to think outside my old paradigm. It’s not important that you agree with any of these writers. It’s only important that you think. I hope you will find some new sources of inspiration with these posts. Here’s the next group of 5 in the series:

 

 

Kevan Lee

The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post

Kevan LeePhew! Talk about pressure. Writing a blog post about how to write a perfect blog post is the most meta of burdens. It’s a bit different than writing about perfect tweets or ideal Facebook posts. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re blogging about perfect blogging.

So I hope you’ll still trust the advice here even if you don’t find this post itself to be flawless. I’m sure we’d all love for each of our blog posts to be absolute perfection—however it is that you measure perfection—so I researched all the necessary info to get us started on the path to perfection. I’ll cover headlines and length and visuals and so much more below. How close are you to creating the perfect post already?

The 7 essential elements of a perfect blog post 

I can often get wrapped up in making sure that every little detail of a blog post is perfect….

Read the post…

 

Adam Lashinsky

Apple’s Tim Cook leads different

Adam LashinskySince replacing the legendary Steve Jobs, Cook has led the iBehemoth to even greater financial success. Along the way he’s changed the culture of the company—and found his public voice as a leader.

Tim Cook assumed he was ready for the harsh glare that shines on Apple’s ( AAPL up 0.86%)  CEO. He had, after all, filled in for Jobs three times during the Apple founder’s medical leaves of absence. Cook ultimately became the company’s chief executive six weeks before Jobs died, in October 2011.

What Cook found out instead is that there is no preparation for the scrutiny that comes with succeeding a legend. “I have thick skin,” he says, “but it got thicker. What I learned after Steve passed away, what I had known only at a theoretical level, an academic level maybe, was that he was an incredible heat shield for us, his executive team…

Read the post…

 

Rebecca Knight

How to Overcome Burnout and Stay Motivated

Rebecca KnightEven if you love your job, it’s common to feel burnt out from time to time. Perhaps you just wrapped up a big project and are having trouble mustering motivation for the next one. It could be that your home life is taking up more of your energy than usual. Or maybe you’re just bored. What’s the best way to recharge? Are some forms of rejuvenation better than others? How do you know if what you’re feeling is ordinary burnout or something else, like chronic dissatisfaction?

What the Experts Say

Burnout — the mental and physical exhaustion you experience when the demands of your work consistently exceed the amount of energy you have available — has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace. “There’s no question that we’re at greater risk of burnout today than we were 10 years ago,” says Ron Friedman, the founder of ignite80, the consulting firm, and the author of the book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace. “In large part, it’s because we’re surrounded by devices that are designed to grab our attention and make everything feel urgent.” Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social psychologist and the author of No One Understands You and What to Do About It, agrees….

Read the post…

 

Jesse Lyn Stoner

The 9 Essential Leadership Strategies in The Age of Information

Jesse Lyn StonerOnce upon a time, in a land called Industrial Age, the leaders of organizations resided at the top of a hierarchy, managers were in the middle, and workers were supervised.

It was the job of leaders to do the important thinking and the job of managers and supervisors to make sure it was implemented.

Because no one cared what the managers, supervisors and workers thought, many of them parked their brains at the door as they came to work.

Others only used part of their brains, limiting their focus to implementation without regard for the impact on the larger organization.

Read the post…

 

WARREN CASSELL, JR.

To Grow Your Business, Start Creating Solutions Instead of Just Managing Problems

WARREN CASSELL, JR.As humans, we often get distracted with supervising and conserving the extent and intricacies of what we have, but at some point management only gets us so far. Nature, at its core, creates. It creates and does it well and if it were sentient, it’d probably encourage you to do it too.

Whether it is time, money or clients, too many entrepreneurs focus their efforts on protecting and managing what they have rather than creating even more. At one point I have been guilty of this myself. However, over time I realized that this mindset only keeps entrepreneurs and their businesses back from reaching their true potential. In order to grow, one must create.

Read the post…

 

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Hugh Ballou on March 30th, 2015

“A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”

– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.”  

Lee Iacocca

HaringOne of the most dysfunctional activities in organizations is the hiring process. Sometimes this process is managed by a search committee…that’s even worse, if it’s not done well. The second dysfunctional process is the annual review. See my post on that here.

Let’s address the situation since most leaders must hire people on a regular basis. For this post, hiring means internal personnel, external support like consultants, and other entities such as board members. Having the wrong person is worse than not having anyone at all. Having the wrong person can cost time, money, and relationships. Having the wrong person may damage the culture.

Here are my 4 steps I teach for designing a hiring process:

  1. Competency: This is the accuracy step. Does the candidate have the skills and experience for the position, or do they have the education and desire to learn? Define their skill and potential to grow. Define a minimum baseline for competency and then determine if that person can grow. Sometimes a candidate is nothing but potential. The wisdom is knowing that they are the best choice. Training and time getting up to speed cost money. Paying a higher salary for a qualified candidate will actually save money and time.
  2. Clarity: This is the affirmation step. Once the candidate passes the competency step, then it’s important to meet them in person and to understand how they think. Ask open-ended questions that reveal how the person thinks creatively or analytically, solves problems, and turns concepts into processes. This is the time to understand who the person is and how they process information. Ask good questions that reveal what you need to know and listen carefully to the answers. By the way, observing mannerisms and emotions and expressions is priceless, as well.
  3. Commitment: This is the alignment step. This is the step following which the job offer is extended. You will have completed the background check and called the references. Review the responses from step two and talk about values and principles. Share your organizational values and guiding principles to see if you are in alignment. Make the job offer and define the key dates moving forward. Have an offer letter ready to share.
  4. Connection: This is the assimilation step. You have the best person for the position; now be sure that they have the best chance to succeed. This process should take 60-90 days with weekly check-in points. Involve other members of the organization in the process and be transparent about the process. Encourage the new person to be open about their challenges. Typically there is a 90-day trial period for new hires. Be sure to monitor the time and validate that the person has finished the trial period and is now a permanent employee…or not.

Leaving out any step sets the leader up for missing an important piece of information. It’s not worth skipping any of these steps. Building a high-performing culture depends on hiring the best.

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Hugh Ballou on March 27th, 2015

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending March 27, 2015

5 blogs that matterEvery day I learn something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. Here are quotes from 5 blogs that got my attention this week. I don’t benefit from reposting any of these posts. Sometimes, I don’t even know the writer. However, I do read and personally grow my knowledge by reading posts that challenge my thinking and get me to think outside my old paradigm. It’s not important that you agree with any of these writers. It’s only important that you think. I hope you will find some new sources of inspiration with these posts. Here’s the next group of 5 in the series:

 

 Tatyana Kapkan

 5 Lessons To Learn From The Most Creative Non-Profit Fundraisers!

Tatyana KapkanAfter Analyzing These Challenges, Here Are The 5 Essential Lessons That Should Be Taken From These Creative Non-Profit Fundraisers:

1. Identify Your Cause And Message.

Nowadays, people need to feel a little bit better about themselves, so many of us look for helping others in need. However, raising money for non-profit’s general expenses is not so attractive, as supporting a specific cause with a goal.

The goal of a Polar Bear Plunge is to raise money and awareness for local Special Olympics programs to support athletes. The challenge doesn’t require much effort from participants: jumping into freezing water during their local Polar Plunge event and asking family and friends to support their fundraising campaign.

Read the post…

 

Gary Dek

How To Create A Successful Blog For A Business or E-Commerce Website

Gary DekMany business owners and e-commerce site operators overlook the power of blogging, mostly because the traffic isn’t directed to their product or services pages, so they wonder “why bother?”

Yet, have you ever tried to promote or build links to your product pages? It’s not easy. How many Twitter or Facebook users do you imagine want to click-through to a page selling webinars or cloud accounting services? And how many reputable publications will let you insert a promotional pitch and link back to your product pages? Unless you have a beautiful, unique and creative product, getting exposure can sometimes be difficult.

Blogging can help you overcome those challenges. Consider these statistics:

  • 57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer through their blog
  • 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog’s recommendation
  • 81% of US customers trust information from blogs
  • 82% of customers enjoy reading relevant content from brands
  • 70% of customers learn about a company through articles versus ads
  • Companies that blog have 80% more new visits, and thus more exposure to their products and services
  • 52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook in 2013.
  • 43% of all marketers found a customer via LinkedIn.
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads.

Read the post…

 

Jamie Notter

Engagement is Not About Being Happy

Jamie NotterI was at a great session yesterday at the SXSW conference, moderated by William Tincup, on the subject of organizational culture. The official title was “Quantifying Workplace Happiness and Culture Fit,” and the panelists talked a lot about culture, hiring for cultural fit, and some of the challenges within the HR field as it balances administrative duties with working on culture internally.

Many of the participants were from large companies, who are clearly struggling with this. In fact, one panelist stated that this issue is what all the CEOs are worrying about. But several of the questions focused on what those companies could do to make their employees more happy. This frustrates me, because I don’t think it’s really about “happiness.”

Read the post...

 

Maddie Grant

When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business

Maddie GrantA lot has been written about the Millennial generation in the last ten years or so, and to be frank, a lot of it is really not helpful, especially in a business context. So, why is the focus of our new book squarely on the Millennials and the way they might be changing just about every aspect of how we learn, lead and grow in organizations? They just happen to be at the right place at the right time. The Millennials are entering young adulthood at a unique point in our history, where society is poised for a tectonic shift, particularly around business, leadership, and management. There is a “perfect storm” of trends converging in a way that will generate an actual revolution in business – affecting organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Yes, a revolution. Our approach to management has been stuck in a rut—not just for the last few years, but for the last several decades. We have been running our organizations like machines, and today’s lack of engagement and lack of agility to meet the shifting needs of customers, members and employees are indications of how our machine approach to management is crumbling. Add to this the shake-up that the social internet has brought to business and society (that we wrote about in Humanize), and you’d think the revolution would have happened by now.

Read the post…

 

Lisa Chatroop

These Hiring Tactics May Seem Downright Crazy, But They Actually Work!

Lisa ChatroopMore than ever, companies are looking to make the right hire. In fact, they’re even willing to extend their time to hire in order to improve culture fit. Consequently, many are relying on interesting (read: awesomely unique) hiring tactics for making sure that applicants aren’t just tire kickers, but instead are the perfect match. Below are just a few of the unusual tactics we were able to dig up.

Pay the public

Bloomington, Minnesota-based web design firm, The Nerdery, has gone to the public seeking employee referrals. But they didn’t just ask for names and leave it at that. Instead, they offered a $100 reward for those referrals that got an interview and $400 for those who were eventually hired. If a few hundred bucks doesn’t make your ears perk up, perhaps this will – Hubspot recently offered a whopping $30,000 to whomever refers a software developer that gets hired. Talk about incentivizing the sharing of good contacts!

Read the post…

 

 

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.

― Mahatma Gandhi

DiversityWe hear lots of noise in conversations and in the media about striving for equality of gender, nationality, and race – equal opportunity – equal rights – equal pay, etc.

Recently in Blacksburg, Virginia, in a session called “Dialogue on Race,” a young African-American presenter used the phrase “Diversity of Excellence” in his presentation. That phrase made so much sense to me. I have adopted the idea and reversed the words to get “Excellence of Diversity.”

The media make up sound bites and promote phrases to get attention and ultimately to get ratings and make money. We all get sucked into this diatribe of mediocrity. We are driven to the bottom…the lowest common denominator…the drivel of sameness.

I say to women leaders, “Why do you want to be equal with men when, in fact, you are better? You offer a different paradigm for leadership and a fresh perspective. You have a skill set that is different. Why not claim your excellence and move to the top rather than attempting to be equal?” Most agree and react as if they feel empowered.

I repeat this question to minority groups and get the same response.

In a society where we have dumbed down our educational system with standardized testing and set the bar to the lowest point in striving for equality, we are teaching each other that mediocrity is the norm. In an address to educators, I heard Alfie Kohn* describe standardized testing as an “Ethnic cleansing of the society.” In Marva Dawn’s book, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, the first chapter is the history of how education has been dumbed down over the years. She then describes how churches have dumbed down to attract new members when, in fact, the mainline denominations are now losing members at an alarming rate. We have clergy working as consultants, teaching pastors what to do as a simple formula for success, rather than reaching out of the broken paradigm and getting wisdom from a different source.

We have no clearly written guiding principles for personal empowerment in leadership for our organizations.

My guiding principle is to strive for excellence through diversity and let the best people do the best work.

Do we get stuck because we are threatened by the excellence of someone who doesn’t look like us?

What’s your opinion?

* The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools, Alfie Kohn

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

 

Resources

Let’s Chat About Leadership…

This blog series appears on Tuesdays, and focuses on resources that I use as I pace my ability to continually strive for my greatest effectiveness. Leaders get things done. In order to accomplish this objective, it’s important to have the necessary skills and systems in place. I have tried many things over many years and have settled on what’s simple, reliable, and consistent.

Each resource will appear under one or more of my four leadership principles:
  1. Foundations: Clarity of purpose and outcomes, and equipping oneself for excellence;
  2. Relationships: Building and maintaining healthy and effective relationships;
  3. Systems: Tools and processes for leading and empowering transformation; and
  4. Balance: Managing multiple priorities and managing self.

Each resource I blog about is one I have tested and used personally. I do not make money on these referrals unless specifically stated in the post.

Today’s resource:

Exercise

Running solo

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com – Running Photo

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is good for us in the following ways: Exercise controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves health, puts the spark back into your sex life, can be fun.

I know these benefits are true. I also know that exercise allows me to be a better leader in the following ways:

  1. Exercise helps dissipate the effects of stress: Leadership is stressful. That’s an unavoidable fact, so we must deal with it. Running is my exercise of choice. My body temperature rises, I eliminate toxins from my system chemically and emotionally, and I can relax after a 2-3 mile run. This allows me to refocus and approach whatever is causing my stress from a fresh perspective.
  2. Exercise is time for prayer and meditation: I do not carry a device that puts sound into my ears. I appreciate the sounds around me and the smells and temperature nuances. I clear my mind of any programming or pre-set thoughts. I allow God’s healing presence to fill my mind and spirit. It’s a personal alone time with my creator. I am in a state of gratitude and open for receiving inspired thoughts.
  3. Exercise is brain stimulation: I allow time for prayer and meditation, and then allow time for thinking. Thinking is relevant to my day ahead. I’m able to think clearer because more blood is circulating through my brain. I can simply think about a problem and my brain begins to create solutions. It’s really quite amazing. I must sometimes stop running and dictate into my iPhone what thoughts come into my mind. There are so many of them and they come so fast, I can’t retain them all unless I find a way to record them.

A few years ago, I created a series of posts on running and leadership. Here are the links:

What benefits do you receive from exercise?

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email

(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Hugh Ballou on March 23rd, 2015
John Maxwell defines the “Law of the Lid” what I define as a leadership ceiling. Our organization cannot grow beyond our ability to lead it. The skill to learn is how to raise the ceiling.
CeilingI have never been without ideas. I have so many good ideas that others get dizzy just hearing about them. I can’t possibly complete all my objectives if I can’t set priorities and define what’s practical. I can do anything I put my mind to achieving. I can’t do everything that I conceive, however. Therefore, I must set some boundaries. In fact, I need to raise the bar constantly on my personal abilities. I continue to hit my own ceiling of ability, therefore, I am constantly working on my own skill set.
Here are my 3 principles for self-awareness and personal growth:
  1. Don’t ignore the signs – I met with a friend today who spoke of a multi-year project that cost him all of his wealth because he ignored the signs that it wasn’t going to work. Having faith in your vision is not the same as ignoring signs that it’s not working. Pay attention to what the market is saying to you when they don’t buy. Correct or stop before wasting too many resources on the failure.
  2. Have a trusted advisor – I constantly have people around me who challenge my thinking and help me revise and vet my ideas. I also have someone I pay as a trusted advisor. That person provides consistent feedback and council, and helps me reveal my blind spots. As coach, strategist, and trusted advisor, I can’t do those things for myself that I can do for others. This is too important to leave to volunteers. It’s a priority to pay for this helpful perspective.
  3. Define objective measurement standards – define ways to measure success that are basically black or white. The evidence is clear and not skewed by emotion or passion. Measure and evaluate. Using a balance scorecard is useful here.
Everyone is good at something and no one is good at everything, or at least not their best at everything. Define your gaps and delegate. Work on top skills. Surround yourself with smart people who provide accurate information and speak the truth in love. Ditch the ego.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Hugh Ballou on March 20th, 2015

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending March 20, 2015

5 blogs that matterEvery day I learn something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. Here are quotes from 5 blogs that got my attention this week. I don’t benefit from reposting any of these posts. Sometimes, I don’t even know the writer. However, I do read and personally grow my knowledge by reading posts that challenge my thinking and get me to think outside my old paradigm. It’s not important that you agree with any of these writers. It’s only important that you think. I hope you will find some new sources of inspiration with these posts. Here’s the next group of 5 in the series:

 

J.D. Harrison

No, entrepreneurs, most of you don’t need angel investors or venture capitalists

J D HarrisonAUSTIN, Texas–It’s understandable, perhaps even inevitable, to walk away from events like South by Southwest with the impression that entrepreneurs must persuade investors to write them a big fat check in order to succeed in today’s start-up world. In many cases, it’s as much about validation as it is the money and with some of the most renowned investors strolling the streets of Austin in search of hot new companies, you could be forgiven for assuming something must be wrong when a new company mentions it’s – gasp – self-funded.

Only, that simply isn’t true. Not by a long shot.

During an event in Austin on Monday, the Kauffman Foundation outlined research dispelling some of the most common myths that distort America’s idea of the business-building process, tops among them the notion that most successful start-ups raise money from outside investors.

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Neil Patel

11 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Outsource to Survive

Neil PatelYou can’t do everything. You shouldn’t do everything. And if you try to do everything, you will die.

This is wisdom. I wish I could label it as some Chinese proverb, handed down by generations of wise sages. In reality, this is a lesson I learned in the crucible of entrepreneurship.

As an entrepreneur, you don’t have any extra time.

Every minute is crammed to capacity. Every day is scheduled to the hilt. Every moment has something–usually a lot of somethings–screaming for your attention.

How do you overcome this incredible challenge?

The solution is easy. Really easy. Simply do less.

How can you afford to do less? Outsource more

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Thomas Oppong

Do You Have What It Takes To Successfully Run A Small Business?

Thomas OppongRegardless of whether the idea of running a business appeals to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have what it takes to do it.

To make a success out of your business, you will need to put in lots of time and effort, as well as money from your own pocket. And even after all that, it can still take years to get your business up and running properly. That is why before starting your own business, you need to make sure that you have what it takes to be successful.

To learn more about what it takes to make a success out of a new business, keep reading below.

Are you a good multi-tasker?

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Sue Grafton

An Idea’s Execution, Not Its Uniqueness, Yields Success

Sue GraftonI hate to rain on your parade, but your idea is not special. There are likely other entrepreneurs or companies with “your” idea, equally inspired to dominate the business world and to make millions.

And when your idea becomes a solid business generating lots of revenue, you can be sure that someone is just waiting to capitalize on your idea, too. In Silicon Valley, copycat companies are called “me-too” companies. You know them. For instance, once Groupon became popular, all sorts of me-too companies sprang up. According to a recent MSNBC.com report, over six hundred companies have the same business model as Groupon or a variation on it.

Despite the fact that your idea is not unique and thus for the taking, you can still boost your probability of success over your competitors. How? Focus on the execution of your idea and make it work better than anyone else on the planet.

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Neal Schaffer

How to Write Your First Blog Post on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform

Neal SchafferAre you ready to take your first baby steps in publishing your voice on LinkedIn?

I’ve already blogged here on LinkedIn about how to use the LinkedIn publishing platform for various professional objectives as well as tips on how to write posts on LinkedIn that will get read. Now it’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and learn the mechanics of the platform itself.

First of all, not all of you have access to the LinkedIn publishing platform yet, and LinkedIn acknowledges that it will take awhile before everyone has access. I might have gotten access before or after you, but you will gain access sooner or later.

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Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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