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Hugh Ballou on February 5th, 2016

The Friday Five…The Best Of…The Best Blogs of the Week

February 5, 2016

 

The Friday Five

I’m constantly discovering something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. This series presents the best ideas and resources that I have discovered during the week. The list of the 5 best will vary randomly, featuring my top posts, the top posts from others, leadership books and resources, and top concepts.

I don’t benefit from promoting any of these posts unless noted. 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:

Memorable Blogs of the Week

 

Juntae DeLane

Video Is the New Face of Content Marketing

Juntae DeLaneVideo is the new face of content marketing and those who include video in their digital marketing strategies are seeing greater engagements with target consumers.

Twitter revolutionized the way in which we communicate by limiting our communications to 140 characters. This limitation complemented the shortened attention span of consumers by forcing users to be concise. As a result, consumers were able to quickly obtain and comprehend the message.

Today, video is becoming the new way to reach consumers as visual information is processed much faster than text. And the faster your consumers retain your marketing messages, the less you’ll have to market to them.

Read the post…

 

Dr. Henry Cloud

Everything You Know About Getting Things Done is Wrong

Dr. Henry CloudI remember finding out early in life that there were two kinds of people in the world: list makers and not. I was always in the “not” group. I could not understand why people would have to make a list to remember what to do in the day….didn’t you know you needed a haircut by looking in the mirror? Anyhow, I just put it in the “different strokes” category and went on.

Then I became a psychologist, and a performance consultant, and I got an entirely different view. First, I found that there were actually four types of people, not two. Those who made lists and got things done, those who made lists and didn’t accomplish much, those who didn’t make lists and got things done, and those who didn’t make list and didn’t accomplish much. This led me to getting interested again into the world of “to do” lists and what they actually do for us, or not. Turns out, the list makers were right…..and not right at the same time. Lists can help, or they can actually hurt.

Read the post…

 

Edgar Schein

So You Want to Create a Culture?

Edgar ScheinCulture is in these days, so I get a lot of inquiries about creating a culture, usually around “engagement” or “service” or “innovation.”  My typical response is “Why do you want to do that?” or, alternatively, “Can you give me an example of what you have in mind?”  Why don’t I just say, “Sure, and here is how you do it.”? 1 There are several reasons.

First, unless you are an entrepreneur founding a new enterprise you cannot “create” a culture.  Culture is what a group or organization has learned during its lifetime.  If you are a leader of an established organization you already have a culture.  In fact, if you have been around for a while, you are so embedded in your culture that you are not aware of how much it determines your daily behavior.  Culture for you and your employees is like water for the fish.

Read the post...

 

Darren Rowse

Where to Find Free Images Online

Darren Rowse1In a perfect world, we could all take amazing photos, edit them scrupulously, and somehow manage to have enough props and stylish flair to snap the exact image you need to illustrate your post.

In the real world, we have access to other talented people who do that instead!

I’ve lost count of the posts I’ve pinned, sent to Evernote, or emailed to myself that round up great places to find free images on the internet. To save myself that headache (and hopefully you too!) here they all are, finally, in one place. Pin it for yourself!

Read the post…

 

Whitney Johnson

40 Over 40: Celebrating 40 Women To Watch Over 40

Whitney JohnsonThis week’s Q & A is with Lisa Joy Rosner, Chief Marketing Officer at Neustar, Inc. Lisa previously held the title of CMO at NetBase, a social media analytics firms. Lisa began her career with Oracle and eventually hopes to transition all she’s learned in B2B marketing to B2C marketing.

1. What was a pivotal moment of reinvention for you?
Becoming a mother was a pivotal moment of reinvention for me. I found out I was pregnant with my first child the day after announcing the sale of the company I was working for at the time. I went through a major shift in how I prioritize. I became even more focused and efficient in my planning and execution and had to work on mastering work-life balance.

2. Who has been a valuable mentor or sponsor?

My mentor is Bob Runge, a high-tech marketing executive who developed Oracle University, and was the VP of Marketing who launched Silicon Valley companies, Gain Technology and BroadVision, to extraordinary success.

Read the post...

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2016 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

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Hugh Ballou on February 4th, 2016

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw

Did you get my email?

Communication Skill“Did you get my email?” is a typical question from those who think that communication is about data. Many times the email is sent just prior to a scheduled time for personal interaction. The question also reveals the person’s lack of social skill and knowledge about how communication works.

In the early days of personal computers, the computer would send a document to the printer without any error-checking capability or validating cue to know if the printer received the file, had paper and ink, and was, in fact, printing the document. Business computers had the ability to receive a “handshake” cue from the printer validating the information needed to know that the printer could complete the job. When the job was complete, the printer sent another cue to acknowledge that the job was finished. Now, all computers do this as a matter of routine. It’s expected.

We don’t have a similar process in human communications. We send an email with no validation that the recipient has actually gotten the message and was able to read it. We assume that they got it, read it, and actually cared about it.

The bottom line with this is that communication is not about data. Effective communication is based on relationship. Building relationship is good leadership and builds good communication. The message, including the necessary data is also essential for communication.

The email scenario I mentioned above is a toxic habit we have developed in our current era. We send data and don’t have any clue that it has been receive, understood, or accepted. We are buried in messages, many of which are not messages we want to read. Cutting through the noise of communication is essential.

Here is my list of skills needed to be an effective communicator:

Listening – As a musical conductor, I regard listening as a top leadership skill. Active listening is the key. Active listening includes the skills listed below, however, listening is the core skill. Communication is part transmission and part reception. When listening to someone, do not be afraid of leaving some silence after the other person finishes talking. Silence gives clarity. Silence validates that you have listened. Silence provides a time for preparing a thoughtful response. Listening is communication by caring and understanding.

Presenting – Leaders are people of influence. When leaders speak, it’s important to understand the influence that goes with the speaking, in fact, speaking is presenting as if to an audience. We present because we have valuable things to say. Be thoughtful and craft thoughts into meaningful, prepared presentations. There may be only one chance for getting a point across. Presenting is communicating with a message, a vision, and emotion.

Observing – Much happens in group interaction and in conversations that is missed. Leaders who observe what’s happening around them remain able to respond to what’s really happening. Observing is communication by recognizing what people have understood and what they need to understand.

Questioning – Effective leaders do not have to know all the right answers. Effective leaders ask good questions and then listen carefully to the response. Effective leaders lead by asking questions that help others develop skills and create their own answers, rather than telling others what to do. Telling others what to do shuts down their interaction and discourages independent thinking. Questioning is communication by stimulating individual thinking and problem solving.

Connecting – Leaders value team members as individuals, not only as functioning placeholders on the team. Connect to people as individuals and recognize them as a person first, and then a team member second. Connecting is communication through relationship building.

Focusing – Leading others depends on clarity of outcome and ability to focus on what is most important. Stay focused and others will respond in kind. Focus is communication through action.

This is a tall order. Leaders are not perfect. Leaders are always moving toward better, more complete systems and skills.

 

Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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(c) 2013 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Hugh Ballou on January 29th, 2016

The Friday Five…The Best Of…

January 29, 2016

 

The Friday FiveI’m constantly discovering something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. This series presents the best ideas and resources that I have discovered. The list of the 5 best will vary randomly, featuring my top posts, the top posts from others, leadership books and resources, and top concepts I’ve discovered.

I don’t benefit from promoting any of these posts unless noted. 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:

 Hugh’s 5 Top Book Recommendations

These books are all in my library and I read parts of them continually. The New IQ defines how integrity is good for business, Platform gives guidance on getting noticed, Master Leaders has a really great chapter on hiring, The 360º Leader resonates with my view that team members are all leaders, and As A Man Thinketh is a classic that should be in everyone’s library, helping to shape up our thinking.

 

The New IQ

The New IQ, Dr. David Gruder

At the beginning of the 21st Century we find ourselves dizzy with resources for conscious evolution. But how do we make sense of all the techniques and traditions? Where do we begin, and what takes top priority? In The New IQ, Dr. David Gruder provides a practical road map for personal growth that allows readers to move forward with informed integrity. By reviewing the wealth of psychological and spiritual wisdom from across history and culture, secular and sacred aspects of human experience, Gruder identifies the three core human drives: for authentic self-expression, connection with others, and to make a positive difference in the world. Providing more than just a compendious survey, he also streamlines this breadth of information into a user-friendly version of the personal development process, helping readers to identify which methods are best for them at each stage of their own work.The teachings and techniques are all out there, but not until now have they been organized and reframed for the contemporary seeker.

 

The 360 Leader

The 360º Leader, John C. Maxwell

People who desire to lead from the middle of organizations face unique challenges, and they are often held back by myths that prevent them from developing their influence. Dr. Maxwell, one of the globe’s most trusted leadership mentors, debunks the myths, shows you how to overcome the challenges, and teaches you the skills you need to become a 360° leader.

If you have found yourself trying to lead from the middle of the organization, as the vast majority of professionals do, then you need Maxwell’s insights. You have a unique opportunity to exercise influence in all directions—up (to the boss), across (among your peers), and down (to those you lead). The good news is that your influence is greater than you know.

 

As a Man ThinkethAs A Man Thinketh, James Allen

As a Man Thinketh is one of the all-time bestselling and most widely read works in the new thought movement. Read the book that inspired The Secret with powerful quotes such as: “As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.” “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” “Right thinking begins with the words we say to ourselves.” “Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.” “The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors, that which it loves, and also that which it fears. It reaches the height of its cherished aspirations. It falls to the level of its unchastened desires – and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.” “Men do not attract what they want, but what they are.”

 

Master Leaders, George BarnaMaster Leaders

Imagine the chance to sit down with 30 of the world’s best-known and most-respected leaders as they share their secrets to success. That’s Master Leaders―the most valuable leadership book of the decade, now available in softcover. Based on personal interviews and conversations with “the greats” (including Ken Blanchard, Colleen Barrett, Ben Carson, Tony Dungy, Newt Gingrich, Seth Godin, Patrick Lencioni, and many others), Master Leaders offers 16 key distinctions that you need to know in order to be a successful leader. Coauthored by George Barna (Revolution) and Bill Dallas (Lessons from San Quentin), Master Leaders contains top-of-the-line insider information on leading wisely and well . . . from the people who know.

 

PlatformPlatform: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt

In Platform, Hyatt will teach readers not only how to extend their influence, but also how to monetize it and build a sustainable career. The key? By building a platform. It has never been easier, less expensive, or more possible than right now. . .  The book includes:

  • proven strategies
  • easy-to-replicate formulas
  • practical tips

Social media technologies have changed everything. Now, for the first time in history, non-celebrities can get noticed—and win big!—in an increasingly noisy world.

 

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou on January 26th, 2016

AuthenticI once saw a reporter stop a man on the street and ask him what he thought about apathy and indifference. He responded with, “I don’t know and I don’t care!”

A friend once told me, humorously, that I should be sincere whether or not I meant it. Funny, but not funny. I know people who might have this as an internal script. They tell me one thing and proceed to do another one. It’s almost like they give me an answer to “please” me and do what they were planning to do before.

In my list of Transformational Leadership traits, the transformational leader:

  1. Clearly Articulates Vision And Goals
  2. Defines Things Others Can Do
  3. Builds Leaders Within Teams
  4. Effectively Delegates
  5. Encourages Boldness
  6. Gives Information And Support
  7. Affirms And Celebrates Competence
  8. Respects The Individual
  9. Avoids Micromanaging
  10. Models What They Preach

Attribute #10, even though last, is crucial. The leader is primarily the influencer. It’s critical that the leader model behaviors and functions that will influence others in the system. Leadership is a system and the leader sets the standard.

Not only is it critical the the leader model integrity and ethics, it’s critical to be authentic. All too often, leaders behave in ways not consistent with their inner values and not in line with their personality. Authenticity inspires authenticity.

When planning to go public with Dollar General, Cal Turner, Jr., went to his leadership team and asked them to step in in areas that were not in his skill set. He claimed the vision and asked the team to provide the skills needed to achieve that vision. He was authentic in sharing that he had inherited his job as President and Board Chairman, and didn’t get it because of a unique skill set. His transparency allowed others to fill in the gaps and work together in achieving the vision that Cal had articulated.

After sharing that story with me, Cal told me that he viewed leadership as defining personal gaps and allowing others to fill those gaps. His authentic approach to leadership opened up opportunities for others to engage.

Some leaders would rather pretend that they knew all the answers and could dictate all the actions when, in fact, they don’t and can’t. The response might prove to the leader that he or she is wrong. This is not only a waste of time, it’s damaging to the relationships within the team.

Here’s my short list defining authenticity in leaders. Authentic leaders:

  • Focus on the Vision and Not on Themselves – Allowing the team to focus on outcomes and not on pleasing the leader builds team synergy and collaboration.
  • Share Honestly – Telling the truth and telling the truth always, no matter how bad, builds trust. Leadership is founded in relationship.
  • Communicate – Sharing the vision and specific objectives in writing and checking for understanding creates two-way dialogue. The culture of high performance creates an organizational chart that consists of overlapping circles and not lines with hierarchy.
  • Value People – Considering the individual means knowing them and understanding how they think, and knowing their passions for the common work. Treating people as expendable does not build trust. Leading with trust and care for the individual trumps leading by fear any day and most especially in the long-term.
  • Get Out of the Way – Authenticity is delegating and getting out of the way. This is way different from assigning tasks and forgetting about the tasks until the due date. Delegation is not managed by micromanaging. Delegation is working out the action items collaboratively and then mentoring the person and the process, building relationship and trust.

The authentic leader is the respected leader.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou on January 22nd, 2016

The Friday Five…The Best Of…

…Thought Leaders’ Concepts

January 22, 2016

 

The Friday Five

I’m constantly discovering something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. This series presents the best ideas and resources that I have discovered during the week. The list of the 5 best will vary randomly, featuring my top posts, the top posts from others, leadership books and resources, and top concepts.

I don’t benefit from promoting any of these posts unless noted. 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:

 Here’s My Top 5 Thought Leader Concepts

Here are some of the leaders that I follow. All of them have influenced my thinking…some more than others. Mostly, these people inspire me to think outside of my ordinary routine and simple perspective.

John Maxwell: The Law of the LidJohn Maxwell Law of the Lid

1. The Law of the Lid.

Your leadership is like a lid or a ceiling on your organisation. Your church or business will not rise beyond the level your leadership allows. That’s why when a corporation or team needs to be fixed, they fire the leader.

Read about it here…

 

Dan Pallotta: The Way We Think About Charity is Dead WrongDan Pallotta

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.

View the Video

 

Dr. David Gruder: The Hijack at TEDxEncinitasGruder TEDx

Dr. David Gruder is the Leader & Business Peak Performance Psychologist, integrity expert, and 8 book-award-winning author who has been hailed by the media as “America’s Integrity Expert.” A clinical & organizational development psychologist by training, Dr. Gruder brings the wisdom of psychology to business, the wisdom of entrepreneurship to professionals, and the best of both to education, governance & social change. He converts values like integrity and collaboration into mindsets, mindsets into skills, and skills into procedures that produce sustainable productivity, profitability & job satisfaction.

View the Video

 

Seth Godin: The Really Bad PowerPoint

Really Bad PowerPoint BannerI wrote this about four years ago, originally as an ebook. I figured the idea might spread and then the problem would go away–we’d no longer see thousands of hours wasted, every single day, by boring PowerPoint presentations filled with bullets.

Not only has it not gone away, it’s gotten a lot worse. Last week I got a template from a conference organizer. It seems they want every single presenter to not only use bullets for their presentations, but for all of us to use the same format! Shudder.

Get the free ebook here.

Blog Post on the topic

 

 

Dan Forbes: Lead With Giants CommunityLead With Giants

The Vision of the Lead With Giants Community is to create a movement of 10,000 leaders who pledge to be UpLifting Leaders.

We do that by connecting, engaging, serving, learning, and leading one another.

We invite you to join with other Leaders who desire to be part of this movement by joining our community on Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, and Facebook.

Join or read about it here.

 

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou on January 20th, 2016

Everybody talks about poor communication, but few do anything about it. – Hugh Ballou

Communication is a Leadership Skill

Communication SkillBuild good habits and skills for personal communication. Inspire others by your caring actions. This is a process that will take time, but it is worth it. Every group has complications with communications – they talk about communication, but are not effective in addressing the problems.

Healthy organizations have healthy communication systems. The systems do not happen automatically, but with a lot of planning and evaluation and changes to allow the plan to fit the particular organizations. One size does not fit all!

Healthy communication systems fall into the following categories:

  1. Communication Skills: Defining the skills that leaders need to be effective communicators
  2. Communication Systems: Defining how communication flows and to whom
  3. Communication Plan: Defining the communication for specific programs, events, and/or campaigns.

Communication Skills

Having the best communication system in the world will not work unless the members are skilled in basic communication skills. One reason that the majority of organizations recognize communication as a major issue is two-fold: first, there is no thought-out plan and, second, the people do not have basic skills necessary to ensure effective communication. A program of communication skills training should be included in every leadership training program. The following list of skills is only a beginning for discovering the skills necessary to promote and maintain a healthy communication program.

  • Personal connection
    • Speak directly to the person
    • Arrange a time for delivering important messages, don’t catch someone on the fly
    • Deliver sensitive messages privately
    • Use email only to communicate facts; deliver criticism or sensitive information in person, never use email for negative messages
  • Always be respectful
    • People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care – show that you care
    • Choose words thoughtfully  – use “please”, “would you consider,” etc., and stay away from “you have to understand,” etc.
    • Look directly at the other person
    • Have a positive tone and physical stance
  • Be clear and concise
    • Ask “was that clear?” and wait for a response
    • Get directly to the point and use fewer rather than more words
    • Use words that clearly deliver the message
  • Be inclusive
    • Consider who needs to know and what they need to know
    • Deliver the same message to everyone
  • Build consensus
    • Allow for input from those you communicate to
    • Ask for and receive feedback
    • Consider other perspectives
    • If you ask for an opinion, then receive the opinion without being defensive
  • Listen
    • Allow for silence when the other person has finished speaking for clarity
    • Do not be thinking of your response before the other person has finished talking – listen to the entire message
    • Maintain eye contact
    • Ask questions or comment for clarity and to validate that you heard correctly

Communication Systems

Defining a healthy communication system is the first step. After the system is defined, then, and only then, can a communication plan be developed to fit into the system. The system has three parts: 1. Specific Messages; 2. Channels of Communication; and 3. Who needs to Know  – target groups!

Specific Messages

The messages themselves need to be very specific and complete – what, when, where, sometimes: who and why. There are two kinds of messages, one-way and two-way. Each has a different function and carries a different message. Be sure not to confuse the two functions.

One-way messages keep the community informed and aligned on specific activities, functions, and projects. It is essential to keep members up to date on current activities and facts. This builds support and groups energy for the organization. This is not interactive communication. It is informational communication. Examples of one-way communications are date and time announcements for concerts, meetings, fellowship activities, etc., updates on projects, financial updates, and updates on operations such as search committees, construction, financial campaigns, and recruitment programs.

Two-way messages encourage input and dialogue from a specific target group. This builds community and ownership for projects and campaigns. More complex issues need two-way conversations and dialogue such as vision and value formation, financial planning and evaluation, program evaluation and revision, and volunteer recruitment.

Never use email for two-way dialogue. Some people are not comfortable with computers. Some personalities use the opportunity for personal needs and indirect criticism. Email feedback gives opportunities for and actually empowers passive-aggressive behavior. The same rule applies to surveys. Getting input on issues is an opportunity to engage members in process and build relationships. It is an opportunity for education and ministry for leaders.

Using focus groups to gain support and get feedback is far more effective than surveys, anyway. Developing a strong program for focus groups will strengthen any organization by connecting members as stakeholders and flushing out potential leaders.

Empower healthy behavior and create healthy systems.

Summary of the two types of specific messages:

  1. One-way messages
    • Informational
    • No need or opportunity for discussion
    • Meeting dates and times
    • Project updates
    • Financial issues
    • Operations updates
  2. Two-way messages
    • Invite dialogue
    • Complex and not easy to talk about
    • Vision
    • Values
    • Strategic issues

Practical solution finding

  1. Channels of Communication
    • Personal Channels
      • Events
      • Staff meetings
      • Committee meetings
      • Board meetings
      • Organizational meetings
      • Called meetings
      • Personal relationships and conversations
    • System Channels
      • Website
      • Email
      • Newsletter
      • Flyers
      • External Media
      • Signage
  2. Who needs to Know
  • Internal Target Groups
    • Employees (be specific)
    • Members
    • Board
    • Committees
    • Management
    • Projects or groups
    • Different departments
    • Geographic areas
  • External Target Groups
    • Media
    • Other similar organizations
    • Organizations: civic, service, etc.
    • Government: libraries, schools, legislature
    • Community leaders
    • Other nonprofits

Communication Plan

An effective communication plan is essential for every program in the organization. For example, when a planning meeting or a long-range plan or strategic plan is concluding, take time to identify the specific messages from that session. Many groups overlook this item because they think it is obvious or they don’t think about this detail. In the absence of information, members make up their own information, which is typically incorrect. So why not give them the correct information?

Distributing the specific messages to the correct people builds trust and creates ownership for projects and campaigns, such as strategic planning or a financial campaign.

It is important to identify the specific message and, then, who needs to know. Don’t let the process die here. Identify who will send the message and how they will do it. Distinguish messages that are confidential and must stay within the group and messages that need to be distributed internally and externally with the target audience identified.

The intentionality of planning communications will not only save time, prevent duplicated or overlooked tasks and hurt feelings (for those feeling left out of the process), it will create interest and synergy within the membership for the process or campaign.

The key components of a communication plan are as follows:

  • Specific Message
  • Who Needs to Know?
  • Who Will Tell Them?
  • How Will They Tell Them?
  • When Will They Tell Them?

Resources

Communication Plan Template: http://www.hughballou.com/CommunicationPlan.pdf 

Publicity Article: http://www.hughballou.com/DesigningKillerPublicity.pdf 

Publicity Templates (PSA, Press Release): http://www.hughballou.com/Publicity.pdf 

Creating and Sustaining Healthy Teams: http://www.theleaderaccelerator.com/healthy-teams/

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2016 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
* Affiliate fees benefit SynerVision Leadership Foundation.

 

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Hugh Ballou on January 15th, 2016

The Friday Five…The Best Of…My Most Read Blog Posts

January 15, 2016

 

The Friday Five

I’m constantly discovering something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. This series presents the best ideas and resources that I have discovered during the week. The list of the 5 best will vary randomly, featuring my top posts, the top posts from others, leadership books and resources, and top concepts.

I don’t benefit from promoting any of these posts unless noted. 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:

 Hugh’s 5 Top Blog Posts on Changing the Paradigm

 

Leadership Skills: Validating, Learning from the Data Validation

We are learning from interviews and field tests. It’s not only that we are right or wrong…there are shades of grey and it’s a process of discovery. It’s validating the data and interpreting it that makes the difference.

 

 

Leadership Perspective: Reverse Paradigms – Excellence vs. MediocrityExcellence

As a musical conductor, I understand that concert goers want excellence every time we perform…every time. We are only as good as our last performance. Performance is a skill, as well as an art. It’s not striving for perfection. It’s maintaining excellence in standards.

 

 

Leadership Perspective: Reverse Paradigms – Leading vs. ManagingManaging vs Leading

Are you a true leader, or are you following the pattern you have been taught? Leaders think for themselves and forge new pathways, breaking the low-functioning patterns that we have learned.

 

 

Leadership Perspective: Reverse Paradigms – Responding vs ReactingRespond React

We want to identify and solve problems instantly, when, in fact, we are not really sure what the problem really is. Our reaction is to solve problems and to move ahead, rather than creating a process to respond.

 

 

Leadership Skills: Embracing OppositesOpposites copy

Leaders struggle with apparent conflicts and opposite strategies. Transformational Leadership is about transforming thoughts as well as cultures.

 

 

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou on January 11th, 2016
The world is starving for original and decisive leadership. – Bryant H. McGill

 

Decisiveness

 

Decisiveness

 Nick Tasler, in his book Why Quitters Win,* defines three primary sources of decisiveness – nature, training, and incentive. Leaders make effective decisions for different reasons. Not being able to make decisions is a decision in itself, which can set up negative dynamics…mostly unintended consequences. How many traffic accidents have happened because of an indecisive driver? Another driver anticipates what’s transmitted and then changed, then it’s a wreck, as we say. I’m not skilled at driving in snow. When I stop to decide what to do, I then get stuck.

I have written about having a strategy for the enterprises that we lead. This is a foundation for making effective decisions. Just making a decision is not really the point, is it? The point is making an effective decision and then evaluating that decision in action. Decide, evaluate, revise, and recommit is my motto.

Myers BriggsAfter taking a preference test, the Myers-Briggs, I discovered that I was an ENFJ. The “J” in the formula means that when I make a decision, it releases my stress. The other perspective is that of the “P” who feels stress when making a decision. The “P” constantly wants more information to make a decision. The “J” is good with the information at hand and makes the decision to get on with it.

There is a weakness in both of those paradigms. The “P” might wait too long to make a decision while gathering even more information, and the opportunity might disappear. The “J” might make a decision prematurely without all the necessary information. The best balance is created with both of these preferences working together to create the right formula for making effective decisions.

Music conductor

As a musical conductor, I know that being definitive with motions, looks, and emotions creates a similar response. In effect, the conductor gets what the ensemble sees. This principle is not very different in the boardroom or workplace. The culture responds to the leader in kind.

A decisive and inclusive leader inspires decisiveness as a cultural norm in a high-performing culture.

Confusion or decisiveness. What’s the preferred choice?

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2016 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
* Affiliate fees benefit SynerVision Leadership Foundation.

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Hugh Ballou on January 8th, 2016

The Friday Five…The Best Of…The Best Blogs of the Week

January 8, 2016

 

The Friday Five

I’m constantly discovering something that advances my leadership knowledge and competency. This series presents the best ideas and resources that I have discovered during the week. The list of the 5 best will vary randomly, featuring my top posts, the top posts from others, leadership books and resources, and top concepts.

I don’t benefit from promoting any of these posts unless noted. 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:

Memorable Blogs of the Week

 

Richard Beck 

Experimental Theology 2015 Year in Review

Richard BeckBecause of the regularity of my posting over the last few years–we’re here every Monday-Friday at 5:00 am CST–the question I get more than any other about the blog is this:

How are you able to write so much?

I don’t have a great answer to that question. All I can say is that this blog remains what it has always been, a place to collect my thoughts. This blog is my journal and daybook, a place where I work through my ideas, share stories, write poems and collect quotations I want to keep. I hope you’ve enjoyed the eclectic mix you find here each day. I’m looking forward to 2016.

And now, our annual tradition, the Experimental Theology 2015 Year in Review:

1. The Psychology of How We Read the Bible

Two of the most shared posts from 2015 were posts I wrote about how psychology affects how we read the bible.

Read the post…

 

 

Stacey Roberts 

Reading Roundup: What’s Happening in Blogging Lately?

Stacey RobertsIt’s here! The first roundup for the new year.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited and motivated for a brand new year of learning, growing and enjoying my blog. Nothing like a frest start to get a fresh perspective on something we may sort of, kind of be stuck in a bit of a rut with.

I hope you find something useful here to kickstart your 2016!

Instagram Advertising: What’s Working? // Marketing Land

Have you tried Instagram ads? I have seen a few of them roll out in my feed, and I think it must be much easier to create one now that they’ve integrated that option to your Facebook Page dashboard. The “have a good image” bit is a no-brainer (Instagram is such a visual platform) but it’s interesting to see the research behind these tips.

Read the post...

 

 

Sharlyn Lauby 

Skills Gap Negatively Impacting Business [infographic] – Friday Distraction

Sharlyn LaubyAccording to the latest white paper from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Public Policy Council, organizations are turning down business because they don’t have qualified people to do the work. 87 percent of respondents said the skills gap was affecting business performance in the areas of customer service, growth and service delivery. I’m not sure that the challenge of finding qualified candidates is surprising, it’s been brewing for a while. But the statement that companies are turning down business as a result is, or at least should be, a wakeup call.

One of the things I found very interesting in the white paper was the distinction in defining the skills gap.

Read the post…

 

 

Tim Kuppler 

Culture: From Word of the Year to a Driver of Sustainable Results

Tim KupplerIn support of this issue’s focus on sustainment, Tim Kuppler, co-founder of CultureUniversity.com and Director of Culture and Organization Development with Human Synergistics, shares with us his thoughts on how culture and sustainment are interwoven. He also provides 10 tips that can help organizations achieve sustainable culture change and achieve greater business results via constructive behavior.

“Culture” was the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year for 2014, but it remains an elusive topic. Culture is a hot subject for good reason since it impacts every major strategy or plan and is the key to delivering sustainable results (profitability, growth, customer experience, employee satisfaction, etc.).

The good news is that the interest in workplace culture is growing fast after 15 years where many organizations focused on the highly visible measure of employee engagement.

Read the post…

 

 

Dan Forbes 

What Would Einstein Do? The Key to Better Decision Making 

Dan ForbesMaking better decisions should be a high priority goal for every leader. Bad decisions are costly and can sometimes take years to overcome — in life and in business. Leaders can make better decisions by asking,

What would Einstein do?

On the subject of decision making Einstein said,

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first fifty-five minutes to formulate the right question. Once I’ve identified the right question, I can solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Ask Better Questions

So, from Einstein we learn that one key to better decision making is asking better questions. The next time you are faced with a big decision try asking yourself the following questions.

Read the post…

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou on January 4th, 2016

The head and heart cannot function without a unifying principle. That principle is to be found at the crossroads through which each element must pass. That crossroad stands at—and is—the center.—James Conlon in the Foreword to Toward Center, p. xv

Centering, which I discuss in this book, is a severe and thrilling discipline, often acutely unpleasant. In my own efforts, I become weak, discouraged, exhausted, angry, frustrated, unhappy, and confused. But someone within me is resolute, and I try again. Within us lives a merciful being who helps us to our feet however many times we fall. — M. C. Richards in Centering

Balance

 

Being centered means managing self. The Transformational Leader creates high functioning, high performing cultures by influence. Being centered is essential to the tone and mood of that influence. Transformational Leaders get results by personal influence, not by power of position.

In his book, The Musician’s Soul, James Jordan points out that the conductor must be centered on the podium to be effective. Being centered means physical, mental, and spiritual grounding. Being fully present as one’s self is the beginning of influence. The same paradigm is true for leaders in any field.

In his eight leadership concepts, Murray Bowen defines one concept as “Differentiation of Self.” Under this concept come many items including managing self, which includes managing one’s own anxiety. Anxiety is a form of influence, and it is not a desired form of influence.

Anxiety breeds anxiety: Just like when a cow in a herd of cows gets anxious when hitting the electric fence, and spreads that anxiety to the rest of the herd, anxious leaders create anxiety within any group emotional culture. Anxiety spreads even when the leader attempts to hide it.

Anxiety clouds rational thinking: When we move our being into an emotional state, the brain gets flooded with emotion and pushes aside rational thinking. The effective leader manages emotions and retains rational thinking.

Anxiety creates doubt: Clouded thinking and anxious thinking are the downfall of effective group process. The anxious leader appears to be unsure and transmits that sense of doubt to the others in the group. When not knowing what to do or what is happening, it’s best to pause and observe, asking good questions and listening to the answers, and observing what is happening with the team. Pausing and observing allows for clarity of intent to manifest in the team. Learning when to manage process and when to allow the team to struggle with finding their answer is a mature leadership skill and only comes with trusted relationships and experience.

Centered means confidence knowing that you don’t need to have all the answers or solve all problems. Being centered is being fully present. The leader always ensures that the team is implementing the vision of the organization and reserves veto power for any decisions. Success comes with not having to use that veto power due to effective and clear principles and strategies. It’s the integration of strategy and performance that builds the DNA of high functioning in teams.

Musicians learn to be centered by managing their nerves. Being nervous paralyzes the inexperienced performer, whether musician, actor, speaker, etc., while the experienced performer learns to utilize the adrenaline that comes with the nervousness, providing a greater presence and enhanced sensitivities. This success comes with much experience and intentional rehearsal – perfect practice makes for perfect performance.

Centered is being balanced:

  • Balance is managing multiple priorities
  • Balance is not overfunctioning
  • Balance is managing self
  • Balance is knowing and connecting with inner self
  • Balance has nothing to do with equal
  • Balance is setting and managing reasonable expectations

Here’s what Richard Rohr wrote in his daily meditation on December 30, 2015: Say to yourself: “I don’t know anything.” Imagine you are an erased blackboard, ready to be written on, a tabula rasa. For by and large, what blocks spiritual learning is the assumption that we already know, or that we don’t need to know. We have to pray for the immense guidance that is offered us in the beginner’s mind. We need to say with the blind man, “Lord, I want to see.”

This is true of leadership. If we assume we know, then we block our learning. Centering begins with emptying one’s self and becoming aware.

Leadership is continuing to learn, continuing to grow, and continuing to expand awareness.

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2016 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved

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