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Hugh Ballou on December 19th, 2014

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending December 19, 2014

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:

Dr. Dave Sharar

Role of Culture and Leadership in Employee Well-Being

Dr. Dave ShararThe recently reported domestic violence incidents involving two NFL players (Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson) sparked a lot of talk about the link between these kinds of violent acts and the league’s warrior culture, where athletes are perpetually “primed” for combat and are taught to maintain stoic in the face of injuries that would make it hard for lesser men to get out of bed in the morning. Nate Jackson vividly documents this in his superb memoir, “Slow Getting Up,” in which he catalogues the many injuries that dogged his 6 year NFL career. His matter-of-fact tone indicating his casual acceptance of the league’s underlying ethos: “Decide what you’re going to do and do it violently.” Regarding one’s injuries before taking the field, he says, “Every game a needle.” Pain, according to Jackson, is something you “shake off” — to do otherwise is to betray weakness, which is clearly not an option if you want to continue collecting paychecks in the NFL

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Graham Winfrey

Dumb Starbucks, Not-So-Smartphone, and Other Business Fails of 2014

Graham WinfreySome of 2013’s biggest business fails left American consumers scratching their heads. Remember founder Chip Wilson’s comment during a TV interview that “some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” with

Lululemon pants?

Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse than that, 2014 was another year with its fair share of gaffes and meltdowns from some of the most iconic brands and people in the business world that left us wondering, “What were they thinking?”

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Molly Page

Madeline Caldwell: Millennial Entrepreneur in Disguise?

Molly Page Although Millennials are often referred to as an entrepreneurial generation, not every one of them is starting his or her own business. Many Millennials are opting for more traditional career paths.

Because we’ve featured several entrepreneurs during this year’s Millennial Momentum series, I was excited to speak with Millennial leader Madeline Caldwell for a little different perspective. For the past four and a half years, Madeline has been working for TBC, a full service, marketing firm in Baltimore. I couldn’t wait to hear the perspective of a Millennial leader working within a larger organization.

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Jeff Bullas

The 10 Key Mistakes Many Bloggers and Writers Make

Jeff BullasI recently watched the final of the US Open women’s tennis and it was inspiring to see the endeavour, effort and expertise of each of the contestants. They slugged it out on center court with biceps bulging and lungs screaming as they battled to find an edge on their opponent.

The shots seem effortless and automatic and the speed and the strength of the athletes was on display for all to see and admire. The final prize… $1.8 million for the winner!

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Ray Wong

Research Report: Inside The 2015 Boardroom Priorities

R Ray WangBoardrooms In Market Leader And Fast Follower Organizations Rapidly Take Action To Address the Digital Chasm Ahead

Constellation Research surveyed over 200 CXO’s and identified 10 board room priorities for 2015. As anticipated, digital transformation has emerged as a significant board room topic and market leaders and fast followers seek guidance on what elements are required in the design to support digital business.

Digital Transformation is defined as methodology in which organizations transform and create new business models and culture with digital technologies. The driver for digital transformation stems from the fact that since 2000, 52 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or ceased to exist.

These market leaders and fast followers surfaced a theme of ten priorities heavily skewed towards the higher end of the Constellation Corporate Hierarchy of Needs.

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Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

OrchestraThe musical conductor is my example of an effective leader, especially when it comes to this topic of push vs. pull leadership. The conductor is perceived as a dictator by some. That’s not true. It’s not possible to make anyone do anything with a little white stick. The conductor is a person of influence and brings the music out of the participants. As musicians develop a higher functioning, they attain what’s called “ensemble.” Instead of giving up individual skills, the musicians attain an extra level of excellence in becoming and ensemble. This is an example of “pull” leadership.

Here are some examples of push leadership:

  • Ordering people to do things
  • Using the power of position
  • Leveraging compensation
  • Criticizing through performance reviews
  • Micromanaging

Push leaders make people do things and create negative feelings damaging the culture of collaboration. They manage by fear creating relationship that are not amicable.

By contrast, here are some examples of pull leadership:

  • Creating mutually shared values and guiding principles together
  • Appreciating the work and the individual
  • Mentoring
  • Cheerleading
  • Modeling

Pull leaders create a culture of cooperation inspiring individual initiative and collaboration creating an “ensemble of excellence” in a higher functioning team.

We have been taught that the leader is the expert and knows what to do and that delegation is a weakness in leadership rather than recognizing that it’s a strength in leadership. We don’t need to have all the right answers, we need to have good questions that inspire and motive the team to think, solve problems, and grow.

Facilitating meetings is somewhat like conducting a musical rehearsal. The leader guide the process, makes adjustments in the process and performance, and drives to previously defined outcomes. The leader creates the space for other to function up.

Rather than striving to always be right, it’s important for the leader to insure that others are always right. Creating the space and the process for others to grow is a primary goal of pull leadership.

Mentor, teach, encourage, and inspire others and everyone wins.

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

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Hugh Ballou on December 16th, 2014

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands, and hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. – John Wayne

Lessons

How many times have we all been discouraged by the events of one particular day and considered that day a wasted block of time? So many times the weight of perceived failure blocks the vision of opportunities to see the good side of anything and to be able to observe what really happened.

Trapped in an expectation mindset often blocks the opportunity to be objective. When failure is the mindset, then that mindset drives toward more failure if the leader is not aware of the dynamic of the Law of Attraction. So many leadership  writers position an entire theory around that law as an authority on attracting wealth and prosperity. In reality, we attract what we think about and our thought give energy to results. For example thinking of debt attracts debt. Thinking of failure results in failure. When I worked as a conductor and performer, I had to learn to manage my anxiety. Initially, I was paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes. I was afraid that I would lose my place, forget the notes, or lose control of the orchestra or choir – and I manifested that result simply by thinking about it.

In order to be a successful performer, I had to learn to manage that fear of failure. Once I discovered that the adrenaline rush provided extra abilities to hear and think, then I reversed my response from fear to empowerment. An added value that came along with the success was my higher level of personal satisfaction and enjoyment during the event. I didn’t realize it, but the intense attention to the potential of failure blocked me from being present in the moment and enjoying the experience fully. This was a huge learning experience for me that released my potential.

Applying this line of thinking to nonmusical leadership is easy. Our mental blocks keep us bound. James Allen wrote, “ Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” Improving our results depends on improving ourselves. Top leaders constantly work on improving their skills. A major part of improving performance depends on self awareness.

Being aware is not an easy task. One way to focus our thoughts on improvement in performance and to heighten self awareness, is to evaluate our performance at the end of each work day. Reflect on the activities of the day. Make note on what went well, what needs changing, and new things to consider. Reflecting on today provides learning opportunities and opportunity to reframe our thinking and to reset for the next day.

Each new day is a new opportunity for higher performance. Each new day is a change to do a better job of being a high functioning leader.

By the way, there’s no straight line to success. Some days are better than others. Take the long view. Learn from each day and learn to discipline our disappointment.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
Hugh Ballou on December 12th, 2014

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending December 12, 2014

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:

Sharlyn Lauby

Here’s What Happens When You Kill the Performance Appraisal

Sharlyn LaubyAs human resources professionals, we’ve seen plenty of articles about how we need to ditch the performance appraisal. Today, I want to share with you the story of a company that’s done just that.

Texas Roadhouse (aka Roadhouse) is a full-service, casual dining restaurant chain. They operate over 400 restaurants in 48 states and 3 countries. Their motto of “legendary food, legendary service” has led them to be recognized as one of the Employee’s Choice Best Places to Work by Glassdoor and one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies by Forbes Magazine.

These predictions about the future workforce made Roadhouse realize they needed to change the way they managed performance. Mark said the senior leadership team had been trying to figure out for some time how to separate the performance appraisal process from merit increases.

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Mary Jo Asmus

No ham please! What your employees really want for the holidays

Mary Jo AsmusThe company I worked for in my first professional position gave all of the employees a ham for the holidays. Although I was grateful and surprised to receive anything at all, there was a bit of dismay for this gift because:

  • They didn’t ask me what I wanted
  • My salary was barely a living wage
  • Management treated employees as a commodity with firings for minor transgressions
  • I was vegetarian (but was able to donate my ham to someone who could use it)

The next company I worked for was a wonderful place to work.

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Kathy Caprino

What Thought Leadership Is…And Is Not, Says Thought Leader and PR Expert Cheryl Snapp Conner

Kathy CaprinoEvery once in a while, a person comes along in life who is so helpful, generous, and kind-spirited that you feel blessed they fell in your path. You can’t believe your good fortune to have them as a mentor, teacher and a guide. For me, that person is Cheryl Snapp Conner – Forbes contributor and CEO of the thought leadership and PR firm Snapp Conner PR.

Cheryl and I sat down this week to talk about thought leadership – what it is and isn’t, and how to develop your writing, thought leadership and expertise so that it informs and enlivens others. Cheryl knows a great deal about this, and supports professionals, emerging organizations, startups and entrepreneurs develop their thought leadership. We also share an exciting honor: Both of us were named by writer Larry Kim to Inc.’s list of the 16 Best Entrepreneurship and Business Leadership Articles of the Year. Cheryl has also recently authored an e-book, The Definitive Guide To Thought Leadership.

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David Witt

Is It Time to Rethink Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

David WittMost human resource and organizational development professionals are familiar with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  In his 1954 book, Motivation and Personality, Maslow’s proposed that people are motivated by satisfying lower-level needs such as food, water, shelter, and security, before they can move on to being motivated by higher-level needs such as self-actualization.

In a new article for Harvard Business Review Online, What Maslow’s Hierarchy Won’t Tell You About Motivation, Blanchard author Susan Fowler suggests that despite the popularity of Maslow’s model it might be time to take a second look at the idea of a needs hierarchy.

In conducting research for her new book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … And What Does, Fowler found that instead of a hierarchy, contemporary science points to three universal psychological needs common to all people at all times:  autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

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Brian Sooy

Taking Time for Time

Brian SooyI grew up in a home full of reminders of the brevity of time. My father, a collector and restorer of antique timepieces, filled the walls with clocks of every shape and size.

As a child, I quickly learned the meaning of tempus fugit. As a leader, I embrace the awareness of its reality in every moment.

Time is a non-renewable resource; a fixed asset. If you’re diligent, you can earn more money—but time, once it’s spent—is gone.

Each of us is allotted the exact same amount every day. We either pass through it, or it flows around us…

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Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou on December 10th, 2014

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas A. Edison

 

Personal GrowthHow do you continue to grow in your professional skills?

When a question is presented to 10 leaders, there are typically more than 10  responses, because each of them has a unique perspective on what leadership really is about. Many times, when that question is followed up with one about what’s missing in their skill set or what they wish could be different, those answers are even more diverse. All of the answers are astounding in that many people who lead organizations have a gap in recognizing and understanding their own personal gaps.

All of us have had people from whom we have learned leadership. We have also inherited leadership systems and cultures when assuming the leadership role in an organization. Both of these sources are flawed. We learn leadership methods that don’t work, and we are immersed into a dysfunctional or low-functioning culture to create different results than the previous leader – many times, when change is not a desired element.

It’s time to break this cycle which exists in corporate America big time, as well as in the social benefit sector of nonprofits and religious organizations.

First of all, we have been taught wrong!

Here’s what we have been taught about leadership:

  • The leader is a dictator
  • The leader always has the right answers
  • The leader defines the goal and the action items for others to implement
  • The leader can say, “Do as I say and not as I do”
  • The leader can change others in the culture

If those are your paradigms for leadership – how’s it working for you?

Here’s the better way:

  • The leader is the person of influence
  • The leader asks good questions and listens carefully to the responses
  • The leader defines the vision and milestones in specific measurable terms and lets the team co-create the action plan
  • The leader models what they want to see in others
  • The leader changes the behavior of others by changing themselves

As I have stated in many previous articles and presentations, I define a leader as:

  1. Person who gets things done
  2. Person who knows how things get done (or learns now)
  3. Person of influence (both positive and negative – Gandhi vs. Hitler)

So, how does a leader transform this situation?

  • Begin by transforming themselves: Become a serious student of a different paradigm in leading. I suggest that Transformational Leadership is the key. Check out my intensive self-study online program that is now available for continuing education credits from many organizations. Get the free overview here: http://theleaderaccelerator.com (the free report is “Building the Business of Your Dreams,” targeted to start-up entrepreneurs; however, the principles are the same if you run a multinational company or a local church or nonprofit. Free videos are included.)
  • Enroll in Roberta Gilbert’s Extraordinary Leadership Seminar. It changed my perspective and supercharged my leadership work around the globe. Her organization is the Center for the Study of Human Systems. Here’s the link for information: http://hsystems.org
  • Enroll in CEO Space, a Business Growth Conference. It’s the most amazing event you will ever attend! It’s not just a conference. It’s a membership in an exclusive organization of cooperative leadership. Here’s the link for more information: http://ceospaceinternational.com
  • Hire a personal coach. There’s no substitute for having a confidential advisor who will speak the truth directly, and help achieve progress and set accountability standards. Think about the most successful athletes, performers, public speakers, and others who have achieved and maintain a high level of excellence and income. If you want a free consultation from me, book it here: hughcalendar.com

Whatever you do, do not go it on your own to save money. That strategy will actually cost you more money and waste valuable time. Spend the money and enjoy the results. By the way, you have to do the work. There is no shortcut.

Successful people do what others are not willing to do.

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

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Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. – James Allen

Studying Leadership

Being or becoming an effective leader means being a serious student of leadership, and not being a leadership expert. A plan for constant reflection, evaluation, study, and planning is common among great leaders. Let’s reflect on our own skills today.

Look at the list and ask yourself, “Is there a pattern here?” Then ask, “Am I willing to do something about it?”

  • You are doing too much and your team is accomplishing too little
  • You set goals that don’t happen and you constantly revise the due dates
  • Your vision is inspiring to you, but no one else gets it
  • You can’t get your to-dos finished on most days
  • You are giving up days off and holidays

Believe it or not, these are very, very common problems with leaders in many types of organizations. When I ask if they are willing to do something about it, I get a wide variety of answers, including the following:

  • I don’t have time to do anything more…
  • My team just isn’t up to par…
  • It will cost too much to work on it…
  • I’m doing everything possible and nothing works…
  • And…It doesn’t matter, the situation is hopeless and nobody will change…

These answers are what I classify as denial. I define it as denial because the leader has a lack of self-awareness and is not thinking about the consequences of his or her actions or lack of actions. The leader typically is not willing to change his or her patterns due to this denial.

Here’s the first question to ask yourself: “Am I willing to change myself and to begin a journey of personal growth and self-discovery to achieve my vision?” Next ask, “Am I willing to do what it takes to improve myself in order to improve my results?”

I’d like to hear your answers. Please comment below, then let’s schedule a time to talk about your revelations or lack thereof.

I learn something from every person I meet. How about you?

 

Will you respond to me on my networks?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hughballou

Facebook: http://facebook.com/hugh.ballou

LinkedIn: http://LinkedIn.com/in/hballou

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

 

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Hugh Ballou on December 5th, 2014

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending December 5, 2014

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:

Cheryl Conner

The 10 Communication Commandments That Drive Reputation And Business

Cheryl ConnorI have come to a bold realization this week: Researchers predict that reputation score will soon matter more than credit scores for individuals and businesses in the burgeoning “reputation economy” now emerging online.

However, a new SaaS software company, The World Table, believes the issues of bad or insufficient reputation are entirely fixable. All it would take is adherence to 10 easy rules. The curator of these practices is my personal friend Randall Paul who has quietly been refining these principles (along with a new technology platform) together with co-founder and partner Bryan Hall over the last several years.

After years as a real estate entrepreneur, Paul obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought where he developed a way to improve the most intractable cases of social conflict. He calls his practices for difficult conversations between rivals or critics The Way of Openness. I promptly tagged it The 10 Communication Commandments, as they resonate so fully with the vision of authentic PR and reputation I’ve been writing about as of late.

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Juntae DeLane

6 Things That Can Hurt Your Brand

Juntae DeLaneAre you aware of how you may be hurting your brand? You may feel you’re doing business as usual but your customers may differ. Here is a list of 6 things that can hurt your brand.

1. Having A Bad Social Reputation

Balancing your brink-in-mortar brand with your online brand may be challenging but critical to when developing a solid social reputation. Consumers’ may favor a brand based upon the level of engagement with its followers.

Since consumers do business with brands they like and trust, establishing a great social reputation is key.

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Jacob Morgan

This Is the Single Greatest Cause of Employee Disengagement

Jacob MorganWe all lead “double lives.” We have our personal lives where we can: control the technologies and devices we want to use, build and shape communities, share and collaborate with who we want where we want, easily access information, take out loans on a house and make purchases, and have the freedom and flexibility to live how we want. Then we have our professional lives where we: commute an hour each way, use company sanctioned technology, sit in cubicles, get 200+ emails a day, are not able to effectively communicate and collaborate, operate under a command and control hierarchy, feel like a cog, and need to get approvals for buying a $100 office chair.

Should we be shocked that synonyms for employee include “cog” or “slave ?” Or that synonyms for managers include “slave-driver” and “zookeeper.” My favorite synonyms are for “work” which include “drudgery” and “daily-grind.” We spend more hours working than doing anything else in our lives so in 2014 and beyond it’s completely unacceptable that we spend the majority of our time on this earth doing things that are beyond our control.

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Travis Thorpe

The Four Best Online Marketing Strategies For Your Business

Travis ThorpeIt’s common knowledge that an online presence is an absolute requirement in today’s business world. How you use that resource will determine how successful your online presence is for your business. The best strategy is to craft your strategy to ensure that each of your online marketing actions draws more traffic to your website, thereby increasing your rankings and revenue, as follows:

1. Aim High

If you want more people to visit your site, you need to get your site to the top of the search engine results page. A study by Search Engine Watch shows that 33% of searchers click on the top search result and 93% of searchers never go past the first page of search results. To get on the first page of the search results, you simply need to actively employ current SEO tactics (many of which I list in the following sections). Think outside of the box for tactics to drive traffic to your website (traffic itself drives up rankings as well); there are many creative ways to achieve SEO. As a hint, most of the effective SEO tactics are content-based.

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Cristina Fernandez

FIVE LESSONS IN BUILDING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES 

Christina FernandezOn Sunday, November 23, leaders of the Startup Nations (SN) network met for their annual Summit (SNS). Co-hosted this year by the Banks Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Startup Korea, the Summit gathered champions of 45 national and city initiatives to build startup ecosystems.

Diverse experiences from starting and scaling entrepreneurship support initiatives were shared from across the world. Here are the five common recommendations that emerged from the discussions among the Startup Nations peers:

1. Engage policymakers

A lot of entrepreneurship programs and initiatives focus exclusively on creating a culture more supportive of risk-taking at the grassroots level, and while it is true that an entrepreneurship ecosystem cannot exist without entrepreneurs, it is also true that there can’t be a critical mass of startups where there are high barriers to entry or bankruptcy is severely penalized. For entrepreneurs to have impact on the economy some basic systemic conditions need to exist, argued Hugo Kantis, co-author of the Index of Systemic Conditions for Dynamic Entrepreneurship: A Tool for action in Latin America, at the Summit in Seoul.

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Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. – Henry Ford

Problems:SolutionsSo, it’s not going as you planned? You are doing too much and your team is accomplishing too little. The work is more intense and the income is down. It’s difficult to see anything but obstacles.

It might be time to reframe those obstacles and attempt to define a way forward. Those obstacles can become opportunities if you can rethink strategy.

It’s also time to rethink your own skill set, as well. To transform an organization or to transform a team, it’s important to begin that transformation with yourself. Basically, none of us can see our own blind spots – hence, that name.

Let’s do a situation analysis…

Analysis:

  • Are the perceived obstacles really obstacles, or it is your mindset?
  • Are you defining the problem accurately?
  • Are you attempting to solve a problem before understanding what caused the problem?
  • Is the market telling you that your concept needs to change?
  • Are you too tied up with your own idea to admit that it’s flawed?
  • Is the obstacle the idea or the strategy (the vision or the tactics)?
  • Is the obstacle defining the limit to your ability?
  • Is it time to work on your own self awareness and team management?

Let’s look at a basic problem-solving model. It works as follows:

  1. Clearly define the problem (obstacle) and get feedback from your team – be very sure that you have defined the correct problem. Many times, leaders solve problems that are not problems. What is the obstacle keeping you from success, and is it clearly and accurately defined?
  2. Identify ALL the parts of the problem setting up or causing the obstacle. Make a comprehensive list of everything that impacts the situation. This is the largest set of data. It’s important to do this activity with the team members – after everyone has agreed on #1 to ensure that everyone sees the problem the same way. If the group is not comfortable with the word “Problem,” consider using the topic header of “Pieces of the Puzzle.”
  3. Group the items created in #2. (I use storyboards and half sheets of letter-sized paper to create separate idea cards to place on a board sprayed with repositionable spray mount.) If you can, group (cluster) the cards together by topic or subject to get an idea of what you are really dealing with. This sets up defining a way forward and helps to gain clarity of the accuracy of your perceptions.
  4. List potential solutions. Just list them without priority. Next, see if some of these ideas can be combined for strength or create a sequence of steps. In this process, you will gain perspective and be able to see opportunities emerge.
  5. Create the final solution or sequence of steps to the solution. Get consensus from the group and set accountability mechanisms for the process going forward.

What I have defined is a process for separating feelings/emotions and moving to thinking. Many times, our emotions color our decisions and we can’t make accurate judgments. Approach problems calmly and directly. Look at the facts and leave emotions aside. Anxiety spreads to everyone in any group.

As identified in the quote from Henry Ford, we see obstacles when we take our eyes off our goals. However, ignoring problems creates obstacles that can be threatening to our success.

As the leader, you set the standard…obstacles are really opportunities in disguise.

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
Hugh Ballou on December 1st, 2014

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. - Vince Lombardi

PracticeAs a leadership strategist and coach, I practice what I preach – management of self. One of the top leadership traits, as I define leadership, is getting things done. To get things done, a leader must be organized. Being organized creates good habits and ultimately creates success, that is, if things are actually accomplished – the big difference is accomplishment, not activity.

Here are some things that I know to be true:

Successful leaders have successful routines.

Successful leaders plan for results and work their plan.

High-functioning leaders review progress at the end of each day and evaluate their performance.

Successful leaders ask for input.

Successful leaders have a coach and an accountability partner.

Successful leaders form habits that produce results.

Habits, in my world, are functions and not attitudes. Covey identifies his top 7 habits of highly successful people, which are mental positioning for excellence. Musicians rehearse effectively in order to constantly perform at the highest standard. You can say the same for many professionals, such as athletes, actors, magicians, chefs, and many more. It’s the rehearsal that makes the difference in the results. Mentally positioning yourself is essential. Forming good habits is crucial – especially for creative people.

Here’s my list of daily habits that drive success:

  • Schedule a time to plan each day and review at the end – If planning time is not placed on the calendar, it will not happen. Schedule time to plan, time to rest, time to review, time to evaluate, and time to think. Thinking is good.
  • Schedule activities to focus on the task at hand – It’s called “Time Activation.” Activate to-dos on your calendar. I set up reminder alerts to stay on track. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s likely to be overlooked.
  • Define achievable daily accomplishments (DVDs) the day BEFORE – This is the “Now;”  also create transition time between each “Now.” Too tight a schedule conflicts with productivity. We need time to finish up from calls and meetings and to create the follow-up items that create success. The secret is in the follow-up. The day’s DVDs (Daily Valuable Deliverables) are created the day before. Waiting until the day of is a formula for failure. Often, the day is over before getting to the activity task formation. Also, creating the DVD list the day before means that the brain is already working on them and ready to move forward.
  • Begin and end activity as scheduled – Learn to plan appropriate activity for the appropriate amount of time. This takes practice. The daily evaluation provides reflecting time to improve the planning process. Being too bold and falling short on results creates negative emotions and does not produce results.
  • Care for the body – posture, water, light, movement, and food – Brain food, water and movement keep the thinking active and minimize mistakes. Being tired and hungry create a longer process with too many errors. Learning to create a pace and rhythm for work is important. Burn-out might seem like something that shows maximum effort and dedication to a cause – not true, it’s a sign of poor planning and poor management of self.

Here’s my list of the top mental skills:

  • Clarity – Define the desired outcomes, macro and micro, and develop a work plan from those outcomes. Being clear in results drives effective work.
  • Focus – Eliminate distractions. Find a workplace without distractions. Turn off email notifications when email is not on the current task list. Move around 5 minutes each half hour. Find tools for focus that work for you.
  • Influence – By producing results, the focus on achievement, and not on activity, will influence others to do the same. The best way to raise the function of your team is to function at a higher standard yourself. High functioning is not overfunctioning for others.
  • Boundaries – Define what is not on the daily schedule and stick to the schedule – regardless. However, do leave room for “sliding priorities” which come up in any business. Leave room for these additional things that must happen. You can always dig into future deliverables if you have extra time.
  • Orchestration – Getting things done is my #1 description of leadership. Knowing how things get done is #2. Orchestrating success takes work. It’s a skill set in addition to all the others. Have a process coach to help learn what is missing, and learn about process from a person knowledgeable in that area.
  • Reframing – If something’s not working, then reverse your thinking. Reframe the question or rethink the strategy. Getting stuck in a rut by attempting the same thing with more force is not going to help.
  • Questioning – Not having all the answers is OK – we are not supposed to have all the answers. Asking good questions of team members provides answers to leadership blind spots that everyone has.
  • Listening – This is a lost leadership skill. Listening is the other half of questioning. Listen carefully without interruption, and then leave at least 3 seconds of silence after the other person speaks. It’s amazing what happens when leaders pay attention to what’s happening to discover why it is happening.
  • Thinking – Along with listening, this is the most neglected leadership skill. Schedule time for thinking. Create silence and eliminate all distractions. Just think.
  • Commitment – Define the benefits of achieving each goal. Then commit to achieving that benefit and not to just accomplishing the goal. The WHY is very important. Commitment to the why allows the leader to reflect on their own personal commitment in achieving the goal.
  • Timing - Define how many activities are happening and how many deliverables are due in an interval of time. One too many activities can compromise the rest of the goals. Are there too many, and is each timely in the life of the enterprise and the flow of everyday life?

My typical work day (days not on site with clients):

  • Coffee, and review daily DVDs and schedule
  • Devotional and inspirational time – reading, meditation, prayer, thinking
  • Move to scheduled daily activities
  • Review the day and evaluate effectiveness – make notes
  • Schedule the following day’s DVDs (at the end of the week, evaluate the week and set priorities for the following week)

 

All my activities are within my business strategy and monthly goals for my business.

To be successful, it’s important to function successfully.

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
Hugh Ballou on November 28th, 2014

Blogs of Note for the Week Ending November 28, 2014

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:

Jeff Harmon

The Most Powerful Leadership Question

Jeff HarmonNothing can animate the future quite like a question.  For leaders, living in questions instead of giving answers or having something to say is a powerful place to be.  Questions makes us learners, open ourselves and those we’re leading to possibilities and creates a more safe, level playing field between you and your team.  I have a number of favorite questions in my leadership that animate the future for those I ask, but the most powerful leadership questions are those I ask myself.

Effective leadership starts on the inside.  Before we can hope to possibly lead anybody else, we first have to lead ourselves.  We self-lead to shift our focus from “what about me?” to a perspective that is outwardly focused on serving and leading others with character and intention.

The most powerful self-leadership question you can ask yourself is, “What is life like for those I’m leading?”

Read the post…

 

Kate Nasser

Leadership Self-Awareness: 13 Lies Weak Leaders Bequeath to Everyone

Kate NasserGreat leaders prevent their weaknesses from becoming paralyzing blind spots. This leadership self-awareness fosters employee self-awareness and creates a high performance culture

When leaders are not self-aware, they hold the organization back from its true potential. Let’s When leaders are not self-aware, they hold the organization back from its true potential. Let’s consider some of the common examples.

  1. I hired the arrogant overbearing candidate because I can be up front with them. With excellent people skills, you can be up front with all your employees. Why do you think you can’t be? Organizational success depends on respectful openness and conversations that move things forward. Develop some leadership self-awareness so you don’t bequeath your fear to the organization.
  2. I make all the decisions because my team is immature. Well then who is developing them? Immaturity doesn’t mean people can’t mature. Great leaders model and mentor. Show courage to be accountable even when you are not directly responsible. Otherwise you leave a legacy of un-empowered employees.

Read the post… 

 

 

Gregory Ciotti

10 Classic Studies on Pricing Psychology

Gregory CiottiUtilizing smart pricing when selling your wares, be they products, services or subscriptions, is a must if you want to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

The worst thing you can do is to try to wing it when it comes to pricing. Yet this is a mistake I see many entrepreneurs making.

Today we will take a look at some fascinating studies in behavioral economics that paint a clear picture of how you should properly set your prices–without the guesswork.

Let’s take a look.

1. Similarity Can Cost You Sales

One of the concepts we continually obsess over at Help Scout is “analysis paralysis.” Sometimes marketing (and pricing) needs to help customers get the difference between products, because as it turns out, too many options can be demotivating to consumers. Since this is the case, you would expect that having identical price points for multiple products would be ideal, right?

Read the post…

 

Brian Solis

Customer experience is meant to be evocative, not reactive

Brian SolisWe are entering an era of customer-centricity, mostly because we have to. But also, because employing a customer focus is the right thing to do. I guess businesses lost their way at some point. Blame quarterly earnings. Blame technology. Blame politics. But over the years, we overlooked the importance of the “C” and “R” in Customer Relationship Management and instead sought to scale and optimize the “M” in CRM. It didn’t hurt that we found ways to save time and money in the process of promoting management, cost-control, and efficiency over customer experiences.

I really don’t believe executives aim to deliver substandard experiences. In fact, 88% of all businesses actually believe that they deliver great customer service. Yet only 8% of their customers agree. Saying that there’s a disconnect is an understatement at best. But it is representative of a significant experience gap that exists between the experience we promise and the experiences people have and share.

Read the post…

 

David Burkus

Is Your Focus Actually Distracting You?

David BurkusYou’ve probably seen the video at some point. Six people, three clad in white shirts and three in black shirts, pass a basketball back and forth on screen. Your task is to count the number of times a white shirt-clad player passes the ball. It’s a pretty simple task; it’s so simple in fact that, while you may have seen the video, you might not have seen the gorilla. Midway through this infamous video clip, a person in a gorilla suit strolls on to screen, pounds its chest, and strolls back off screen.

It’s hard to imagine that you wouldn’t have noticed something as obvious as a person in a gorilla suit. However, when a team of researchers led by Daniel Simons (co-author, with Christopher Chabris, of the suitably titled book, The Invisible Gorilla) showed this video to a group of Harvard University students, half of the participants watching the video and counting the passes failed to notice the gorilla. Chabris and his colleagues argue that the video demonstrates two important lessons: 1) that we are blind to a lot of what happens around us and 2) that we are blind to our own blindness.

Read the post…

 

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email

(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.