A Plan for Immediate Action

Every session Cindy and I do, be it in person, virtual, or for any of our digital resources, closes with a call to action; a challenge for participants to identify what they can apply immediately from whatever we just shared. That call to action is really based on two things… First was the expectation that had always been placed on me to produce a measure impact on productivity from any training I had attended. The second thing was a comment I heard someone make in a training session just a few years back. One of the participants commented on all the take-aways they had learned and made notes on through the two day event. The trainer was quick to push back by suggesting that those take-aways wouldn’t do much if they never put them in play

Consider this; you’re away from work for a training event. It doesn’t really matter if that’s half a day of a full week, it’s extremely rare to have anyone cover for us while we’re gone… But...

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More Than Just a Catchy Phrase

In 2015, I invested a hefty amount of money and an even heftier amount of time into getting licensed to teach, speak, and coach using some of John Maxwell’s work. I was super excited about this since I had been studying everything I could get my hands on from John for over a dozen years leading up to that. The opportunity to pass just a few of the lessons along, since they had been so influential in my career progression to that point, was one of the most motivating things I had ever experienced!

In complete transparency though, there was one part of the licensing that just didn’t create a spark in me. I had been teaching teams how to build successful behavioral-based safety processes for years and I had spoken in front of groups all over the country at that point, but I was struggling with the coaching piece… As I looked around, coaches of all shapes and sizes were popping up all over the place; health coaches who weren’t in shape, life coaches who were...

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Challenging the Status-Quo

Sharing best practices with other business owners and executives, then bouncing around ideas on how to solve current issues, can provide resources few in these roles ever have access to. When this happens within a group that’s been built strategically to ensure there’s no conflict of interest, or even the perception of direct competition, there can be an unguarded openness that rarely happens in any other setting. And if that’s all that goes on in this type of setting, the juice is already worth the squeeze! But what if there’s also an intentional focus on pushing each member of such an executive leadership council beyond their current situation and toward their desired future states for their respective organizations?

As Cindy and I worked to map out exactly what the quarterly half-day sessions in our Executive Leadership Elite Think Tank would consist of, we knew we had to make sure every single minute we had with the group would have to deliver significant...

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Executive Leadership Solutions

I heard John Maxwell say, “Anyone can find a problem, but it takes a leader to find a solution,” (or something along those lines) for the first time nearly twenty years ago. In fact, I remember him sharing a story about the time he started requiring anyone on his team bringing him a problem to present at least three possible solutions to that problem. He went on to explain that there were a few team members who never brought him a problem again!

Whether we’re leading a small group of people or an entire organization, we’ve likely all experienced something similar to what prompted John to take that stance. As a supervisor, manager, or owner, our team often expects us to have all the answers! To that end, have you ever heard anyone who wasn’t in a leadership role say “they don’t pay me to think”? Each time I hear something like that, I’m flooded with a mix of frustration that anyone is willing to accept such a low level of...

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Intense Pressure to Deliver Results!

I remember a Friday evening phone call a few years back with a friend who was serving as CEO for a locally owned company that was experiencing almost unbelievable growth. He had been very tuned into the topline and bottomline revenue the entire time I knew him. I had also seen firsthand how effective he was at developing relationships with the customers and clients his organization served. In spite of all the growth and how great he was at connecting with folks outside the organization, about half of the managers who reported directly to him were ready to throw him overboard. As our discussion moved to some of the challenges he was dealing with inside the organization, he made a statement that I don’t think I’ll ever forget: “My job is to grow the business. I don’t have time for all that touchy-feely stuff!”

I closed last time by referencing how frequently business owners and executives have typically face intense pressure to deliver results. Whether...

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What’s Driving Your Team?

Last time, I shared an example that I hoped would help make the case for the clear difference between managing and leading an organization. One is just as important as the other and neither can be overlooked, but we cannot mistakenly consider those two very different actions to be one in the same! That said, I’m sure you’ve seen that exact thing happen just as frequently as I have…

Let me be clear here; I don’t believe the terms - leadership and management - are interchanged with the intention of creating confusion (most of the time). In the majority of the scenarios I’m picturing, supervisors and managers definitely hold responsibility for leading their teams. But all too often, they’ve never been provided with the tools necessary for combining any kind of effective leadership with the technical steps of managing the outcomes of the processes they’re overseeing. We’ll circle back to that shortly…

Before that though, I want to...

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Who’s Really Leading?

The entire time I was in manufacturing, nearly twenty years, the facility I worked in held a meeting each Tuesday afternoon that was often referred to as The Leadership Team Meeting. The plant manager led this meeting and each of the department managers participated, reviewing the metrics they were each responsible for tracking, discussing issues they were facing, and whether or not they were within budget to that point in the quarter. If one of those managers happened to be out of the plant, they would tap someone on their team to attend in their place…

Sound familiar? I expect it does since nearly every company I’ve interacted with in the years since holds similar meetings. But are those really leadership team meetings?

When Cindy and I had a conversation with Carly Fiorina a while back, she shared this with us regarding the difference between managing and leading, “Managers produce results within existing constraints and conditions. Leadership CHANGE or ...

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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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Leadership In Management

As we looked at some of the most Essential Qualities of Leadership recently, I made a few references to things we’ve likely all seen folks with authority do that pushes a team away from them rather than earning the kind of influence necessary to truly lead. While I believe possessing leadership qualities, and being very intentional about actually using them, can help anyone in a position of authority be more effective, holding a title alone does not equate to being a leader!

I can’t count the number of times over the last twenty years where I’ve heard an organization’s senior managers referred to as the leadership team. There are certainly plenty of examples where the folks in management roles have also earned the kind of influence necessary to truly lead the people reporting to them but I’ve seen just as many scenarios where someone supervising or managing a department has struggled leading silent prayer. In many of those situations, it only takes a...

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Communication Skills in the Workplace

We closed the loop on Why is Effective Communication Important? by looking at how quickly we can see the results show up with the team members around us. It’s rare for me and Cindy to have a conversation about the importance of effective communication with any of the business leaders we support and not reference the Salesforce.com study citing that “86% of the executives surveyed attributed lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the primary reasons for workplace failure.” Couple that with the detail shared by the Harvard Business Review showing that an engaged employee contributes up to 57% additional discretionary effort yielding as much as 20% great individual performance and the reasons for building strong communication skills into an organization’s culture becomes far more than just a neat idea… Developing communication skills in the workplace rapidly turns into one of those things that can’t happen soon enough! 

Before I...

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