Some Very Tangible Intangibles!

OK, let’s pretend the nearly 275% increase in profit that we just looked at doesn’t make a strong enough case for being intentional about focusing on ongoing professional development… I mean those particular numbers were only based on the study referenced by the Association for Training and Development, showing the impact on revenue per employee and overall profitability. But other areas of a business can ongoing professional development impact?

Over the last two decades, I've taken part in the orientation process with more new employees at the various companies I’ve worked with than I can count. It’s pretty exciting when hiring happens because the company is growing, but it’s far less of a thrill when the push is to fill the spots of people who leave the company voluntarily. And more often than not, this is a significant cost that’s not tracked all that effectively - with regards to the direct costs of recruiting or the total indirect...

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Speaking of Benjamin Franklin...

I closed the last post with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” and I promised to circle back with a look at how we can each expect to get a solid return on what we invest, personally and in our organizations. Interestingly enough, that same idea was the topic of conversation for me and Cindy earlier today as we filtered through a massive amount of junk mail and looked at the two pieces that actually had a bit of relevance; our quarterly IRA statements…

As we each made career changes over the last several years, we’ve rolled what we had in our respective 401(k) plans into IRAs; partly to avoid the crazy tax hit we’d take with an early withdrawal and partly to maintain some potential to recognize some level of ongoing interest. While our risk tolerance for our investments are nearly as different as our behavioral styles, the historic return on our plans have been nearly identical. Cindy’s,...

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Why is Professional Development Important?

So you have a title that carries some authority, not to mention more than a fair amount of responsibility; what do you need to do now?

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen someone land themselves a position with a fancy title, be it fresh out of school or after several years with their company, and dig their heels in so they can enjoy the ride. All too often though, they immediately abandon exactly what got them there; the professional development process…

A quick internet search landed me on a page titled Sobering Statistics About Readers Today, stating that “33% of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives and 42% of college grads never read another book after college.” By the time I was 23 years old, I was well on my way to being one of those statistics! Interestingly enough, I only remember reading one book from cover to cover all through high school - The Hobbit - and I really think that was because it...

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My Way or the Highway!

We started down this path by looking at some Essential Qualities of Leadership, then we looked at just how critical Leadership in Management really is, and we’ve worked through several Qualities of a Bad Leader - which I believe provide us with great insight on what NOT to do! Let’s look at one final example to close the loop and tie this all together...

While each of the qualities of a bad leader that we’ve looked at to this point can certainly drive a wedge between someone with positional authority and the team they’re responsible for, there’s one thing that I’ve seen serve as that final proverbial nail in the coffin: the my way or the highway approach to basically anything and everything that needs to be done…

One of the tasks I was involved with frequently while I still worked in manufacturing was developing something called “Standardized Work Sheets” for various processes in the facility. Regardless of the name, it’s...

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How High Are You Setting the Bar?

Any time Cindy and I provide teams with tools to build more effective communication into their organizational culture, I emphasize how the most Outgoing and Task-Oriented folks often come across as being very DEMANDING but they almost always expect far more from themselves than they expect of anyone on their team. As we build on the qualities of a bad leader that we looked at in Do as I Say, Not as I Do and It’s Not My Problem, let’s up the ante a little bit…

Skirting a few of the rules is bad enough, especially when we hold the people around us accountable to comply with the letter of the law. And failing to accept responsibility for the things that absolutely depend on whether or not we perform effectively is a quick way of forfeiting any positional influence we may have based on our title. But if we demand an extreme level of performance from our team on a daily basis and we’re not delivering anything even close to that, we may soon be facing a mutiny!

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It’s Not MY Problem!

I’m probably having more fun than I should be as I pick the images I use when posting these. Still thinking of Shrek and the Lord Farquaad character, I used a donkey for the last one; partly because I liked the movie that much and partly because someone acting like that in a leadership role is typically thought of as a real, well, donkey… But enough of my nonsense, let’s move on.

That last quality of a bad leader we looked at, the idea of Do as I Say, Not as I Do, is really tough to swallow when it’s someone we report to. They may have some level of authority but they’re certainly not leading. And that ties right in with the next quality of a bad leader: not accepting responsibility…

I still do a fair amount of interviews and one of the most frequent things I hear when asking candidates why they’re considering a change is that the person they report to routinely takes credit for their successes but is quick to place all them when something...

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Do as I Say, Not as I Do...

As I uploaded the last post, I had to force myself not to use a fairly recent mugshot of one of the folks I referenced. I opted for an image that reminded me a bit of the Lord Farquaad character in Shrek… With the picture of that vertically challenged villain now in your head, let’s move on to another example of qualities of a bad leader…

I remember sitting in a business unit action planning session while I still worked in manufacturing. Most of us had been responsible enough to show up on time and get the meeting started. We had just discussed the staffing needs of that department and started on the next agenda item when the engineering manager, who was actually supposed to be running the meeting, decided to grace us with his presence. His stature resembled the little fellow from the 1980’s show Fantasy Island and his demeanor was 100% Lord Farquaad, which was actually a really interesting blend! A few minutes after he made his entrance, the topic being...

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Qualities of a Bad Leader

We started down this path by looking at some of the Essential Qualities of Leadership then we took a hard look at the importance of Leadership in Management. Since we have the foundation in mind, let’s dig into a few of the qualities of a bad leader so we have just as clear a picture of what we don’t want…

Let’s be honest, we can learn from every single person we interact with! Sometimes we’re provided with amazing lessons of how we can develop ourselves in order to make a lasting positive impact on everyone around. But we have just as many, if not more, examples we should avoid duplicating at all cost…

Just about a decade ago, a few situations were brought to my attention where someone in a role with a moderate amount of position had used their title to put a few folks in a very inappropriate spot. Because I believed it completely unacceptable, I took the details I had about these scenarios to the closest point of contact I had access to who...

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The New Sheriff in Town?

Last time we looked at some of the challenges we may face when we move into a new position of authority, and leadership responsibility, for a team of folks who had previously been our peers. But what if that’s not the situation we’re in? What if our first day with the organization is also the day we have to start managing processes and leading our new team?

If you’ve more than a few of these posts, you’ve likely seen me quote John Maxwell as saying that “Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership!” Since leadership is so critical to achieving results through a team of people, someone new to an organization really needs to be prepared to flex their leadership muscles from day one, right?

Before we jump right into showing everyone that there’s a new sheriff in town, we should probably consider what I’ve heard John share just as frequently, “Leadership is Influence. Nothing more, nothing less!” And it’s highly unlikely...

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Show’em Who’s Boss!?

I closed last time by promising to share some things that just about anyone can apply to earn genuine influence and lead the team they supervise or manage more effectively. While that may seem like a pretty lofty promise, I really believe it’s much simpler than it’s usually made out to be…

Just to make sure we’re on the same page though, let’s start with a few examples…

You recently finished up some classes in your off time while working your full time role. You apply for and are offered a position managing the department that you’ve been a part of for the last several years. You’ve always gotten along well with everyone you worked with but they’ve never had to follow your instructions. But starting next Monday, you’re going to need to establish some boundaries and make sure they respect you in this new position. The work environment has always been fairly relaxed but you know productivity could be better if there was...

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