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Ducks in a Row: It’s NOT The Pipeline

July 25th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

https://www.flickr.com/photos/billjacobus1/467939137/

There’s a standard response to why there aren’t more women CEOs: a lack of talent in the pipeline.

This is the same excuse used to explain the lack of women/minorities in tech or any profession, for that matter.

Typically, the response comes from white guys — mostly those from middle, upper-middle, and privileged backgrounds.

It’s the pipeline.

For years I thought it was a pipeline question,” said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. “But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change.

Conscious, intentional bias is bad enough, but girls also have to contend with an unconsciously biased society and a dearth of powerful role models.

Women rarely consider themselves experts, unlike men, who will claim expertise on any subject, no matter how ridiculous.

A presenter asked a group of men and women whether anyone had expertise in breast-feeding. A man raised his hand. He had watched his wife for three months. The women in the crowd, mothers among them, didn’t come forward as experts.

Ellen Kullman, the former chief executive of DuPont sums up a large piece of the problem.

“We are never taught to fight for ourselves.”

Back in 2015, the brand Always showed an ad during Super Bowl that focused on what a putdown the phrase “like a girl” actually is.

A young boy’s response when asked if “like a girl” insulted his sister is telling.

“No, I mean yeah… insulted girls, but not my sister.”

What does the phrase sound like to a young girl?

It sounds like you’re trying to humiliate someone.

Britain, for one, is fighting back.

The UK’s advertising industry regulator has announced that portrayals of little girls aspiring to be, say, a ballerina while boys hope to be, for instance, a scientist or doctor will be banned from the country’s ads. Many of these air during kids’ programs and target teens through social media.

And if you think this example is extreme it is actually drawn from this Aptamil baby formula ad.

Can bias actually be addressed beyond training and conversation?

Join me tomorrow for a look at how a corporate sexist poster child became a lodestar for gender equity.

Image credit: Bill Jacobus

Golden Oldies: Incentive Doubleheader

July 24th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Companies constantly talk about what they are doing to incentivize productivity and innovation. Incentives are supposed to help drive performance. Recognition is very important as are financial rewards — as long as they are seen as fair. If not, they act more as disincentives, as seen in the first post.

The second focuses on sales incentives.Maximizing revenue generation, AKA, sales, is a top priority for every business, from micro startups through the Fortune 10. Commissions have always played a significant role incentivizing salespeople  — until they don’t.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

The Reward Should Fit the Act

1095615_success_wayAre you familiar with the saying “let the punishment fit the crime?”

It’s a valid approach, but it’s just as true that the reward should fit the action.

A friend of mine works for a Fortune 1000 company in a tech support role. He’s well respected lead tech in his group.

Last year he developed an idea on his own time and gave it to his company.

As a result, he was flown to annual dinner and presented with an award and a $5000 bonus.

Sound impressive?

His idea will save his company $5 million or more each year.

Still impressed?

My friend isn’t.

He has a friend who is very impressed, but that’s because his company doe nothing; no recognition whatsoever.

My friend feels that a $5K reward for saving the company $5M or more every year, while being better than nothing, is still just short of an insult.

Other than being disappointed what’s the fallout?

He likes his job and his boss, so he’s not planning on leaving, but…

He has another idea that he’s not going to bother developing.

He’s still one of the most productive people they have, but that extra edge is gone.

What do you think his employer should have done?

Join me tomorrow for another look at how, to quote another old saying, companies keep cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

Image credit: dinny

 

Ducks in a Row: Incentive Stupidity Knows No Bounds

http://www.flickr.com/photos/finsec/354260437/Yesterday I told you how a company squashed my friend’s initiative by giving him a bonus that had no relationship to the value he provided them in annual savings.

This reminded me of something that happened back in the early 1980s when sales was truly dependent on the skill, relationships and reputations of salespeople.

Another guy friend, another incredibly stupid company.

In a nutshell,

  • Guy outsold every salesperson both internally and at the competition. He had years of experience; relationships with customers that didn’t quit and unmatched skill at understanding customers and convincing them that his company (whichever it was) had the best solution available.
  • One day guy was called into the CFOs office and told that his commission was being capped.
  • He was on track to earn more than the president and that was unacceptable; he asked if they were sure that was the only solution and told yes.
  • Guy proceeded to write a resignation letter on a sheet of paper he borrowed from the CFO.
  • He left the offices without speaking to anyone.
  • By the time he reached home there were three name-your-own-terms offers from competitors on his voicemail.
  • He started with his new company the next day.

Over the years I’ve found that actions like these usually come from the company’s bean counters. (In this instance, ‘bean counters’ is definitely a derogatory term.)

Apparently, some bean counters involved never learned to do the math.

In both cases the actual cost was zero, since they were funded from direct actions well beyond anything expected of the employees involved.

The lesson here is that you never cap a commission and the reward for saving $5 million annually should be at least 1% of one year ($50,000) as opposed to .001% ($5,000).

I realize it’s difficult for some financial types, executives and managers to understand, but that is why bonuses and commissions are called incentives—not disincentives.

Image credit: Finsec

If The Shoe Fits: Another Silicon Valley Myth

July 21st, 2017 by Miki Saxon

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mDo you believe that Silicon Valley is the best (only?) place to start a company? That there is some almost magical ingredient that isn’t duplicated anywhere else?

Many people do and more did back in 2010.

Demis Hassabis, co-founder of high-flying DeepMind didn’t believe the myth.

“I was born in London and I’m a proud born and bred Londoner. I obviously visited Silicon Valley and knew people out there and also I’d been to MIT and Harvard and seen the East Coast. There is this view over there that these kind of deep technology companies can only be created in Silicon Valley. Certainly back in 2010 that was definitely the prevailing view. I felt that that just wasn’t true.”

Investor Peter Thiel was one of the true believers.

“At that time he’d never invested outside of the US, maybe not even outside of the West Coast. He felt the power of Silicon Valley was sort of mythical, that you couldn’t create a successful big technology company anywhere else. Eventually we convinced him that there were good reasons to be in London.”

Hassabis convinced Thiel to invest; Google acquired it for $400 million, and DeepMind is still making AI history.

One of the major reasons Hassabis wanted to stay in London was the availability of incredible talent.

“One of the things was I thought it [staying in London] was going to be a competitive advantage in terms of talent acquisition,” said Hassabis. He went on to claim that there weren’t that many intellectually stimulating jobs for physics PhDs out of Cambridge at the time that didn’t want to work for a hedge fund in the city.

Unlike Silicon Valley which, in addition to its normal talent shortage, suffers a severe talent crunch in whatever tech is hottest.

Silicon Valley may be a great place to start a company if you are connected, but for the majority who aren’t there are plenty of locations that are just as good, if not better.

Of course, that depends on whether your goal is to found a company valued for funds raised, which is best done in Silicon Valley, or to found a company that is valued on actual revenue, which can be done anywhere.

In fact, for the latter, anywhere could even be preferable to Silicon Valley.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ducks in a Row: Personal Brand / Personal Culture

July 18th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

https://www.flickr.com/photos/phploveme/4684039656/Everywhere you turn these days you’re told to use social media to create an easily recognized persona that becomes your “personal brand.”

It’s supposed to be the “real” you, i.e., authentic.

It’s also supposed to be the best you, which usually means inauthentic.

Inauthentic, because people typically share all their upside, but rarely the downside.

They post all the fabulous pictures (even helping them along via photoshop-type editing).

Non-fabulous pics are a rarity, unless they are meant to be funny, e.g., morning bedhead before coffee, and those are screened carefully.

We’re not talking spontaneous, rather faux spontaneous.

In fact, everything is carefully curated to enhance and extend one’s personal brand.

But what about personal culture?

As with company culture, your personal culture is based on your personal values.

Values are much harder to curate, since they underlie all actions.

Fred Destin is the latest VC to apologize for his actions, along with Binary Capital’s Justin Caldbeck, 500 Startups founder Dave McLure, and Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca.

Apparently it didn’t occur to any of them that their actions towards women were unacceptable, which makes you wonder about their values.

There is no wondering about Donald Trump’s values, since he stated publicly that he could do as he pleased, because he is rich.

The take away here is that no matter how carefully you curate your brand your personal culture will eventually trip you up if your curation doesn’t accurately reflect your values.

Image credit: Jinho Jung

Golden Oldies: Leaders, Leaders Everywhere, But Which Ones Should You Follow?

July 17th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Considering the accusations/confessions, resignations, terminations, mea culpas, etc., I thought this post from 2009 and its supporting links should be front and center once again, since nothing has changed in the intervening eight years.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Oh goody. Another CEO study. I haven’t seen the study, but David Brooks (NY Times) gives an overview (whatever you do, don’t miss the comments), while Dan McCarthy (Great Leadership laments the fascination with such studies.

I pretty much ignore them, except for their amusement value—sort of like all the food studies that tell us which food that was recommended last year will kill us this year.

Speaking of which, I wish someone would do a study like that on CEOs.

A ranking of CEOs who were lauded for x amount of time before they crashed and burned for the same traits that were their supposed strengths.

And a corollary ranking of all the pundits, gurus and executive coaches who did the lauding and how many have come forward to apologize for mistaking hubris for competence.

Of course, that would be a very long list.

Image credit: Beeeeezzz on flickr

If The Shoe Fits: Power, Control And Insecure Male Egos

July 14th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mAssuming you don’t live in a different galaxy, you’ve followed the aftermath at Uber, since Susan Fowler posted her experiences there.

You just saw the co-founder of Binary Capital resign after women founders claimed harassment and a woman who works at Tesla called the factory a “predator zone.”

So many women coming forward has led to headlines that the Silicon Valley old boy power elite is being toppled.

Ha! Not going to happen in my lifetime — and probably not in yours.

Especially when the bias is so ingrained that even the funding questions, including from women, carry that bias, as do professors of both sexes on college admission evaluations.

And consider this comment on a NYT article.

Laura Castaneda
WA July 1, 2017
These women do themselves a disservice by choosing to appear bare legged, in shorts and casual clothing for this article. Rather, all three ought to have posed in business professional clothing. Women say they want to be accepted as professionals and peers while simultaneously choosing to participate in age old ways of competing: showing some skin. They have even chosen to do it for this article which is about the very acts photos like these encourage. Women who want to be treated equally should hide their sexuality (skin) in the business setting. It’s always been accepted that women who stoop to short skirts and low cut blouses at work are not to be taken seriously. What has changed to make that untrue today, exactly? Magical thinking?

What skin? One woman has on cutoffs? Her partners are in jeans and a skirt (no stockings) and all have on T-shirts. Typical Silicon Valley startup garb.

The comment reminds me of the ageless rape defense: dressed like that she was asking for it.

An op-ed piece in Bloomberg makes a telling point.

But do the people with the least power have to shoulder responsibility for weeding out misconduct by people with the most?

Ryan Pew, who writes Ryan’s Journal here on Thursday, is a former Marine and a millennial father of three girls. I asked him what he thought.

As a father of girls, by my very nature I want them to succeed without their gender being an issue. I understand the differences between the sexes but do see us as equal. However I have also seen how, as a man, you see other men who believe otherwise and are not afraid of speaking to a woman a certain way. One of these posts talks about how one of the VC’s was pushing alcohol and then used that as leverage when he tried his moves. Sounds very frat boy to me. 

Hey, Ryan, it IS frat-boy, AKA, bro culture.

What I’ve never understood, and I’ve asked directly, is why these jerks think what they do is “NBD, business as usual,” but condemn anyone who treats their wife/mother/daughter/friend/etc. the same way.

One more thing. For some phenomenal satire on the subject out Sarah Cooper on Medium, especially Why Do All These Women Keep Accusing Me of Sexual Harassment?

Hi. My name is Brad. You may not have heard of me before, but don’t worry, I’m rich. (…)  Obviously I’m a smart guy, but one thing I can’t for the life of me understand is: why do all these women keep accusing me of sexual harassment? (…) And yeah, I use my position of power to get laid, but who wouldn’t?  (…)  Do I want them to fuck me? Sure I do. Will it affect whether or not I fund their company? Yes, it will. Does that mean I don’t respect them? No! Well yes. But it’s not personal, it’s business.

From ‘77 to ‘97 I was a tech recruiter and can’t count the times I was hit on by VCs and managers. I’m here to tell you that harassment isn’t about sex any more than rape is.

It’s about power, control, money, and insecure male egos that are terrified of women who dare.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ryan’s Journal: Perhaps We Could Bring More Love To The World

July 13th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

https://www.flickr.com/photos/149902454@N08/34776732853/

This past week has been a whirlwind for me. My wife and I had our third beautiful baby girl and as a result I am sleeping less than the required 11-12 hours that I prefer.

My wife has handled this whole event with grace and I have been humbled by the respect I have for her.

Those of you may already know, but if you don’t, I have three girls now. It’s a true joy and I feel privileged and honored to have them in my life.

Being a parent can be tough today. There is a lot of pressure to be on top of the right trends, expand your baby’s horizons and ensure you’re not feeding them the wrong foods.

Of course all of this is captured on social media for the chance for the world to judge in realtime. What a time to be alive!

I say all of that a bit tongue I cheek as there are some things I have learned as well.

Mark Zuckerberg posted a stat today that towns that have a disproportionate amount of men to women have higher crime rates.

I say that to highlight something that comes from being the father of three girls, love. It is unfiltered and abundant.

If I am having a bad day I can walk in my door and be surrounded by girls that just want to hug me and spend time. Now this is more of a personal lesson but I believe it can be expanded to the business world.

If you look at the latest company scandals you tend to see some common threads. Hyper masculinity, extreme competition and a zero sum attitude towards life.

These tend to be hallmarks of a male dominated organization that lacks balance.

This post is more about observations than solutions.

My observation in my personal life is that the unfiltered love helps me to try and be my best self. It also builds up self esteem which leads to more creativity, problem solving and so on.

Perhaps if we incorporate that trait, love, into our daily lives it will have a profound effect on those around us.

I may be saying things that have been said before, but all I can share is my experience and try to build upon it.

Image credit: Hamza Butt

Culture On Purpose

July 12th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

https://www.flickr.com/photos/richardofengland/6788829651/

Back in 2013 I wrote a post about intentional culture quoting Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson.

“If you don’t create a culture at your company, a culture will create itself. And it won’t be good. I sometimes hear people say ‘We don’t have a culture at our company.’ They have one. But if it hasn’t been nurtured, if no one has spent on any time on it, you can assume it’s the wrong culture.”

It’s well recognized that good culture doesn’t just happen — it requires conscious intention from day one and never ending vigilance ever after.

Sustaining culture requires a tough stance on hiring and a willingness to walk away from candidates who aren’t aligned with and enthusiastic about your culture.

However, no amount of vigilance and effort assures that the resulting culture will be what is termed ‘good’.

Whether the intentioal from the top or is allowed to rise from the ranks, the culture will reflect the values of the source and will be propagated by attracting candidates with similar values.

Uber’s bro culture reflects Trvis Kalanick’s values.

Zappos reflects Tony Hsieh’s.

For a great read on intentional culture and how to do it, check out Making Culture a Tangible Metric by Eric Blondeel and Moufeed Kaddoura, co-founders of ExVivo Labs.

Hat tip to the CB Insights newsletter for sharing this article.

Image credit: Richard Matthews

Ducks in a Row: Jerks and “Culture Fit”

July 11th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

https://www.flickr.com/photos/forsterfoto/168970168/Although both articles I refer to are aimed at startup founders, I believe they are applicable to bosses at any level and in any company.

First, no boss ever accomplished their goals by being a jerk.

As Bob Sutton explains in The Asshole Survival Guide, treating people like dirt hurts their focus and saps their motivation. (…)  In the podcast, Reid [Hoffman] describes his test of a great culture: Does every employee feel that they personally own the culture?

Most jerks point to Steve Jobs to justify their actions, but consider how much more he could have done if he had been a better leader/manager.

It’s hard to find any boss who doesn’t recognize that culture is the most critical element in a company’s success.

However, what “culture” is has been twisted and warped out of all recognition.

These days “cultural fit” is the excuse of choice to indulge whatever biases, prejudices, and bigotry moves the hiring boss.

So, what does cultural fit really mean?

To answer that you have to understand what culture really is.

Culture is a reflection of the values of the boss.

Values have nothing to do with perks, food, or office buildings and everything to do with attitudes such as fairness, merit, transparency, trust, etc.

The point of cultural fit is to hire people whose personal values are, at the least, synergistic with the cultural values of the company.

Period.

That means that if the boss is biased, bigoted or a jerk, they will hire people who have similar values.

Image credit: Matthias Forster

Reading To Grow

July 10th, 2017 by Miki Saxon

We’re halfway through the year, which makes it a good time to take a step back and objectively consider how well you are doing achieving your personal growth goals for 2017.

We, the authors of the following, all hope that the monthly Leadership Dev Carnival provides you with different perspectives, ideas approaches, and tools to move forward.

Here is July’s wisdom.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided Leadership Manifesto – Why You Need One and How to Get Started. Anne writes, “Your leadership manifesto ensures you stay the course in challenging times and focus on what’s most important at all times.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Four Types of Virtual Assistance. Beth explains four different models of virtual assistant services and provides suggestions for finding a good VA fit. Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided How to Choose a Great Mentor. Bill recaps, “Having a good mentor can take you far in your leadership journey. Learn what traits to look for in a good mentor.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Don’t Bump the Fishbowl. In this post, Chris introduces “three steps to serving, validating, and celebrating employees’ ideas and contributions every day.” Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Leadership Tips from Mankind’s Best Friend, the Dog. Dan recaps, “This lighthearted guest post from Dr. Garry McDaniel gives us 7 leadership tips learned from mankind’s best friend, the dog!” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed How Long Should You Stay At Your Job?. Dana writes, “No matter how well matched you and your job are at first, every employer and every person reach a point where it’s time to reconsider or renegotiate you agreement in order to support your continued growth.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared The Four Fs of Feedback. David writes, “If you were to give yourself a grade for how effective you are at giving feedback, what grade would you choose? Many of the executives I work with are brutally honest and give themselves an F. Move from an F to an A with the Four Fs of Feedback” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jane Perdue of The Jane Group provided How to develop deep diversity with 9 learning styles. Jane shares, “Insightful guest post from author and coach Kay Peterson that guides leaders in increasing diversity by leveraging nine ways that people learn. Processes shared give leaders and their entire team a model they can use to understand and appreciate everyone’s strengths and differences.” Find Jane on Twitter at @thehrgoddess.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center provided How to Recognize a Leader. Jesse summarizes, “How do you recognize a leader? Hint: It’s not because of their title.” Find Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Leading in a Virtualized World: 10 Traits of a Cyber Leader. In the post, Jim explains, “To be a true Cyber Leader requires a strong and sustained commitment. Technology is proving to be a powerful enabler to bringing people together from around the globe. While Cyber Leadership brings with it exciting opportunities for personal growth, it’s also accompanied by certain challenges.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Four Solutions if You’re Feeling Overworked and Underappreciated at Work. Joel shares: “If you’re feeling overworked and underappreciated at work, you’re not alone. It’s easy to begin to feel bitter and resentment toward your job. But, there are things you can do to change how you feel.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of Curious Cat submitted Technological Innovation and Management. John recaps: “Technological innovation brings great opportunity for improving results and our quality of life.  But transforming potential benefits into real results comes with many challenges.” Discover John on Twitter at @ajohnhunter.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference submitted The Need for More Sadness, Less Anger. Jon shares, “Anger rises, stifling collaboration. We need more sadness and less anger. From our sadness, we renew our focus on fulfillment rather than happiness.” Discover Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon Verbeck of  Jon Verbeck contributed Business Owner Mistake: The Basic Profit Model is Not Leveraged Link:. In this post, Jon shared how slight improvements over many transactions can have a huge impact. Follow Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided The FUEL that Propels Today’s Organizatons. Julie recaps, “In today’s business environment, only the most energized organizations and individuals will be prepared to power forward toward that ever-moving finish line. And the key to high quality results is high-quality FUEL (in the form of feedback, an understanding what’s most important, and a culture of experimentation and learning).” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of  Let’s Grow Leaders contributed Before You Forget, Stop and Do This Immediately. In this post, Karin explored this question: “Who consistently takes the time to sweat the small stuff so you don’t have to?”. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Ken Downer of  Rapid Start Leadership contributed Leader Isolation: 6 Ways to Conquer Loneliness at the Top. Ken summarizes, “The challenges and responsibilities of leadership can sometimes leave us feeling isolated and lonely.  But leading well doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit.  In fact the opposite is true – the higher you rise, the more important your connections become.  These six approaches to getting connected can help you find friends while improving your effectiveness as a leader.” Follow Ken on Twitter at @rapidstartldr.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared 4 Connected Trends Shaping the Future of Leadership. Linda recaps: “The greatest challenge leaders face is keeping up as the bar continues to be raised. Adaptability is no longer just a competitive advantage. It’s an ethical imperative” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided How Do I Relate to Others? . Marcella recaps, “Martin Buber states there are two different ways of being in the world: the I-it or I-thou way. I-it means that I am a person – but I see other people as objects or means to my ends. I-thou means that I see you as a person, too. You are equal and I acknowledge your humanity. These two ways profoundly influence how you relate to others and, thus, the results you achieve. How do you relate to others?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided How to avoid starring in your own drama. Mary Jo recaps, “Leaders often create their own drama, and then take the starring role. Here are some ways to avoid getting caught up in your own drama.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Ducks in a Row: Educating For The Future. Miki writes, “There is a sad result from the current intense focus on STEM curriculum, with enterprise pushing its own short-term hiring agenda, and media hype that a tech career is the be-all and end-all. The real role education must play in a future of unimaginable careers that AI can’t do ends up being ignored.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Michael Lee Stallard of the Connection Culture Group contributed 3 Practices to Improve the Contributions of Your Core Employees. He writes, “Core employees comprise the majority of the workforce, yet are often overlooked. Here are three ways to engage the group that is critical to every organization’s success. ” Discover him on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leaders Encouraging Creative Risks. Neal recaps, “How can a leader experiment and foster risk taking?The idea is not to run out and take any risk. Think about how you want to take the risk you need on a small scale first. Test it out before taking a bigger leap with a bigger risk.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided A Late Cleanup. Paula recaps, “Making a decision to stop procrastinating on a long-overdue ‘cleanup’ ended up providing a physical and mental lift.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared We Don’t Have a Crisis of Trust – We Have a Crisis of Untrustworthy Leaders. Randy writes, “The statistics on the state of trust in our world are dismal. Yet Randy Conley believes the core issue isn’t with trust itself, but with untrustworthy leaders of our organizations. In his post, We Don’t Have a Crisis of Trust – We Have a Crisis of Untrustworthy Leaders, Randy shares the four characteristics that define trustworthy leaders.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Robyn McLeod of Chatsworth Consulting submitted Your Strengths Can Hurt You. In this post, Robyn shares four easy tips to avoid having your strengths turn into derailers. Discover Robyn on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Perfect is Over-Rated. In the post, Shelley encourages leaders to stop fixating on what’s wrong in order to really appreciate the fact that the majority of things that are right. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided The Secret to Getting What You Want. Susan explains, “There’s a saying that, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. The same applies in life and business. Knowing what you want, and how to get it, is the key to being in the driver’s seat of your life, your career, and your business.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided How Failure Taught Me To Become A Better Listener. Tanveer says this post is the story of one leader’s failure reveals a powerful lesson on the importance of effective listening to leadership success. Follow Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Lessons From My Father’s Reading Plan. Wally recaps, “You’ll get more from your summer reading if you have a plan. Here’s how my father did his.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

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Always donate what you can whenever you can.

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