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The May 2017 Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

I’m late posting this, but, as with anything of value, better late than never.

This month’s Carnival offers insights, how-to’s, direction, and support — all just a click away.

What are you waiting for? Start clicking.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided 8 Steps to Avoid Flipping Your Lid in Challenging Leadership Situations. Anne writes, “You’re flipping your lid because you and all other human beings are designed to do exactly that. Find out why we flip. Then discover 8 steps that will keep your lid un-flippped.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Make Appointments With Yourself. In the post, Beth provides a 2-minute HOPE Hint about the value of making appointments with yourself. Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided 5 Strategies to Address Conflict as a Manager. Bill recaps, “Conflict is inevitable, and part of being a leader is dealing with this conflict. If dealt with correctly, conflict can be an impetus for change. Here are five techniques to effectively deal with conflict.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Change: Drive Your Desired Culture. In this post, Chris gives pointers regarding how you, as a leader, can ensure you’re paying close enough attention to the quality of your team or company’s work culture. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Christopher Avery of Christopher Avery and the Leadership Gift provided Relearning How to Want. Christopher summarizes, ” Freedom, power, and choice come to us when we pursue what we truly want. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know what we truly want. This post reveals how relearning how to want drives self-leadership, and how you can achieve it.” Find Christopher on Twitter at @christopheraver.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership contributed How to Deal with the Toughest Resistor on Your Team. In the post, Cy explains the principle behind this thought: “Nobody does anything we don’t agree to” as it applies to the  most difficult people on our teams. Find Cy on Twitter at @cywakeman.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Improvisational Leadership: Use Improv to Avoid Leadership Pitfalls. Dan recaps, “In this guest post from Bob Kulhan, he describes a number of bad leadership characters and habits and how to use some simple improvisational techniques to help fix them.” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed 3 Things My Dog Reminded Me About Employee Performance and Employee Engagement. Dana writes, “Just like I had slipped into complacency with Mike and his last minute deadlines, and with Loki’s squirrel chasing, most of us slip into accepting low performance from employees until it’s too late. We write people off as “untrainable and uncoachable” when it’s really we who need to learn how to train and coach.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared Kick Email to the Curb Over Spring Break. David writes, “Why don’t we not leave email at the office when we’re on vacation? Because it’s hard. But the more we set up our teams and colleagues to be successful without us, the better we become, our colleagues become empowered, and we’re able to get some necessary R&R. Get tips and strategies today to help your next vacation be email free.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Eileen McDargh of The Resiliency Group provided Three-Letter Leaders Create Clarity. Eileen recaps, ” In the age of 140 character tweets and 12-minute Ted talks, much can be gained by considering what three-letter titles can do to clarify roles and responsibilities. Everyone knows the roles and responsibilities for a CEO, CFO and CTO but change the wording and a different picture emerges. Imagine, for example, a CEO tasked as the Chief Engagement Officer.” Find Eileen on Twitter at @macdarling.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided “Call Me Nick!” Leadership in Running Shoes. Jim shares, “Top leaders need to connect regularly with the people who get the work done in their organizations. Putting on a pair of running shoes will keep you more nimble. Don’t believe it? Read about ‘Call me Nick’!” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Six Team-Building Phrases Used by Great Leaders. Joel recaps: “To become a better leader, it’s essential to build team morale. You can achieve this by using these six team-building phrases.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted What’s the Score? . In his post, Jon takes the opportunity of spring (and the completion of March Madness) to suggest how you can know the score in your business. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided 4 Raises That Fit Any Budget. Julie recaps, “Effective leaders understand that limits on external motivators don’t have to limit their ability to tap internal sources of employee motivation. This brief post and animated video demonstrate that while pay raises might be in short supply, there are always four ‘raises’ available to leaders… and they cost literally nothing.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed Four Questions to Keep Your Team Focused and Working on What Matters Most. In the post, Karin gives pointers about staying in tune with the MIT—the most important thing. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared “Great Leaders” Find Gold Within. Linda recaps: “Great leadership is often defined based on efficiency, effectiveness or profitability, but that’s no way to define a journey of character building and authenticity. There’s much more to the story that needs to be told.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted It’s One of the Hardest Things to Say But the Best Leaders Say It. In this post, Lisa shares three little words that can help you be the best leader you can be. Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided The Positive Mindset – to broaden your view. Marcella recaps, “In this blog post, I compare the conventional mental map and the positive mindset of possibilities. When you add the positive mindset you broaden your view and your repertory of responses. It is both/and rather than either/or. Highly recommended for all leaders: positive thinking and learning to see the positive potential of situations and people!” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting provided 3 Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Hires. Mary recaps, “Whether you are a company of three or a company of 30,000, onboarding can make or break employee engagement and retention even before day one. Having an onboarding strategy that is executed well starts with a plan. In this post, Mary Ila shares 3 tips for leaders to successfully onboard new hires.” Find Mary on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided When to Work With an Executive Coach. Mary Jo recaps, “Coaching takes time and energy. Consider this “Top Ten” list before committing to working with an executive coach.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Mike Hoban of Development Dimensions International (DDI) provided Could Siri Become Your Leadership Coach?. Mike recaps, “What if you had a personal advisor that could help you be a better leader? An advisor with great listening skills, who knows you extremely well and is available 24/7? But here’s the catch: that resource would be a machine.” Find Mike on Twitter at @ddiworld.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Psychological Manipulation: The Popular New Management Tool. Miki writes, “60 years ago companies were condemned for using psychological manipulation on their customers via ads.These days it’s an accepted practice to design your products and ads to be as addictive as possible. Now psychological manipulation has moved on to the management arena, with Uber leading the rush.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Molly Page of Thin Difference contributed The Power of 3 Simple Words. Molly summarizes, “It’s been said that we don’t only learn from good examples. Recently we’ve seen several public relation debacles play out in the news, these can serve as lessons for all of us about the power of 3 simple words..” Follow Thin Difference on Twitter at @thindifference and Molly at @mollypg.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Connecting Your Leadership with Your Employees. Neal recaps, “The connection leaders have with their employees has been found to increase productivity and performance. If you don’t have a connection with employees they won’t feel they own the work they produce. Therefore, they won’t put a lot of effort into doing work for you.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Lessons on Centeredness from a Missing Cardboard Tube. Paula recaps, “There is so much talk about mindfulness and staying centered these days. One of the best analogies I found came from a rather mundane source.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 4 Ways to Get Your Followers to Know You as a REAL Person. Randy writes, “Research shows that many employees don’t see their leaders as real people; they form mental images of the leader based on limited interactions and random pieces of information. Using the acronym REAL, Randy Conley provides four ways leaders can develop authentic relationships with their employees that foster trust, loyalty, and engagement.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Three Steps to True Consensus: It’s More Than Flip Charts and Colored Dots. In the post, Shelley shares what it means to develop true consensus on your team. You will better understand what consensus truly is. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided 9 Ways a Leader Can Earn Trust. Susan explains, “When it comes to earning trust as a leader, your actions speak far more loudly than your words. Here are 9 actions you can take on a daily basis to actively earn the trust of those you lead and greatly increase your chances of being trusted with the things that really matter.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Beware of These Three Leadership Traps. Wally recaps, “One reason leadership traps are so dangerous is that you set them for yourself.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Ducks in a Row: The Cult Of Me

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joannaleeosborn/9802436943/

The “cult of me” isn’t new.

Through time, all generations were self-absorbed, but due to sheer size, the Boomers are the original me generation.

Gen X wasn’t much better and in 1982 Steve Wozniak financed The US Festival. According to Glenn Aveni, director of a recently released documentary about the festival,

“Woz felt the 1970’s were The ‘Me’ Generation and that it was time for the world to embrace a less selfish credo, one of unity and togetherness.”

Great music, but little effect.

Millennials come next, slightly more of them (75.4 M to 74.9) and most happily carry on the focus on me.

Tech has driven that focus across all generations via selfies and social media to the point that for millions their experiences, meals and even their lives exist only if they constantly post them online and they are liked, shared, and retweeted.

There was a time when I allowed myself to be more than what could fit onto a 2-by-4-inch screen. When I wasn’t so self-conscious about how I was seen. When I embraced my contradictions and desires with less fear of embarrassment or rejection.

The focus on me has led to a focus on being happy — polls and articles measuring happiness, and comparing happiness.

Back in the day, the Boomers considered everything a challenge that must be overcome. Fast forward to now and Millennials, especially those in Silicon Valley, see the world as a series of problems to be “hacked” (modern times call for modern words).

Which, to put it politely, is a crock.

Andrew Taggart thinks most of this is nonsense. A PhD in philosophy, Taggart practices the art of gadfly-for-hire. He disabuses founders, executives, and others in Silicon Valley of the notion that life is a problem to be solved, and happiness awaits those who do it. Indeed, Taggart argues that optimizing one’s life and business is actually a formula for misery.

This is important, because, in many ways, it’s Silicon Valley that is shaping much of our world — even for those of us who choose not to actively participate.

But I doubt Taggart and his ilk will change that attitude or the obsessive focus on “my world.”

Scott Berkun, a former Microsoft manager and philosophy major who has written multiple business books on the subject, says philosophy’s lessons are lost on most in Silicon Valley. Many focus on aggrandizing the self, rather than pursuing a well-examined purpose. “If you put Socrates in a room during a pitch session, I think he’d be dismayed at so many young people investing their time in ways that do not make the world or themselves any better,” he said.

I never saw life as a challenge or a problem. I prefer a different mantra.

Life is a mystery to be lived — not a challenge/problem to be overcome.

It’s a happy way to live.

Image credit: Joanna Lee Osborn

Ryan’s Journal: How To Establish Culture With Asymmetrical Information

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecorey/14292160302/Public image for both companies and people has always been important and even more so with the availability of information at our disposal. But even with these tools we are still dealing with asymmetrical information when making decisions and establishing culture.

I spoke to a friend over dinner the other night who travels overseas for work quite a bit. As a result he is not up to speed on current US events and was unaware of the string of crisis that have impacted Uber.

He was shocked to learn that they were involved in lawsuits, scandals and more. It was actually a bit like hearing it for the first time myself as I had a chance to see his emotions as he learned the news.

His opinion of Uber was shaped on asymmetrical information.

I had mentioned in a previous post that some local companies that tout their high employee reviews are not as shiny from the inside. Again, asymmetrical information.

The director of the FBI has been fired, we as the public are dealing with asymmetrical information for the reasons behind it.

I state all of this to say that we must constantly strive to learn, ingest and understand as much as we can when making decisions about the companies we deal with and people we hire.

I recently took part in a process where a new employee was terminated. It was unfortunate but they were not a good fit for the role, exaggerated a bit during the interview process and then didn’t make up for it after being hired.

This person is someone that I wouldn’t mind being friends with, but they were not suited for the role they were in. The hire was a result of asymmetrical information.

I have looked back on my own life at times when I made foolish mistakes due to my lack of information. Rash decisions that cost me time and money. How do we learn from them?

Here are a few ways I have dealt with this moving forward.

  • Have trusted friends or mentors to bounce ideas off of.
  • Take a day or two when making big decisions.
  • Try to remove emotion from the decisions to ensure you’re not swayed.

These all may be basic (I am not as lofty as I would like), but they can make an impact for the positive.

Image credit: Steve Corey

If The Shoe Fits: Expediency Is The New Core Value

Friday, May 5th, 2017

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

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mThere is much talk these days about ‘values’ and how companies need to base their cultures on them.

Many say that “cultural fit” is used to discriminate against older candidates, people of color, and women.

And that’s likely true if the company doesn’t included diversity and meritocracy as an integral part of their core values.

One recently added core value that isn’t talked about is expediency.

Here’s a great example from Facebook.

On May First, Facebook was accused of sharing information on how/when to reach “emotionally “insecure” and vulnerable teens on its network.” Naturally, the company denied doing it, but just the fact that they can should be very disturbing.

Even if Facebook hasn’t allowed advertisers to target young people based on their emotions, its sharing of related research highlights the kind of data the company collects about its nearly 2 billion users.

Also on May first Facebook announced a new effort to fight fake news — definitely expedient considering how angry people are — better late than never.

Facebook has appointed a veteran from The New York Times to lead its news products division, which is responsible for stopping the spread of fake news and helping publishers make money.

Making money is the number one priority — no matter how often a company says otherwise.

That’s what underlies expediency.

And I doubt it will change any time soon.

Image credit: QuotesEverlasting

Ryan’s Journal: How Do You Set A Standard?

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/planeta/11371243606/

I recently switched jobs to a company that is smaller than my last but where I have the ability to truly achieve success or crash and burn. It’s slightly terrifying but I try to follow Richard Branson’s example of just saying yes to things first and then figuring it out as I go along.

One thing I realized after taking the role is I am the one that must set the cultural standard. It’s not that the company doesn’t have one, but most of the employees are remote and we rarely see each other.

As a result there is not really a zeitgeist in the office that tends to guide everyone’s actions. It took me a couple of weeks to reach this conclusion, but once I did I sought out some resources on how to set a standard.

I was not blessed with an iron will. For me I must work every day at maintaining discipline and work ethic. It’s not a battle, but it’s something I am very much aware of and I take steps to ensure I set myself up for success.

One way I do this is through emulation of others. I realize this may not be groundbreaking but I think it’s important to remember.

When I was growing up I would see people at the top of their game or profession and a lot of times not think about the work it took to get there. As I have matured I realize it takes great effort to achieve success and we must make it a priority. There are several people I follow on LinkedIn that hold influence. I try to emulate what they have done to form my own identity and culture.

I have also sought out mentors throughout my career. Some of these are formal, but some are not. I reach out to them for specific needs or learning opportunities.

What do you use for guidance when setting a culture? Is it a company, ideal or person?

I believe all can benefit when creating an identity, as long as we are choosing the right example to emulate.  

Image credit: Ron Mader

Story Power

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Ask any 21st Century marketer about brand building and they will tell you ‘it’s all about the story’.

Every brand works to tell stories that draw people in; that they want to share.

The obvious social deafness of major brands is hard to fathom, with Nivea and Pepsi being two of the most recent.

Nivea’s “White is Purity” ad was pulled and the entire campaign canceled two days after its appearance on Facebook.

The company provided what has come to be a boilerplate apology.

“We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post,” the company said in a statement. “Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea.”

Within days it was Pepsi on the social media hot seat for an incredibly insensitive, incredibly white ad focusing on the Black Lives Matter protests.

The ad was pulled in hours, although, as you can see, nothing posted is ever truly deleted; here is Pepsi’s gussied up version of the boilerplate apology.

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”

Nivea’s story was from an agency, while Pepsi’s was developed in-house.

While I’m no fan of social media in general and its penchant for spreading fake news, in this case the lightening reactions actually did some good.

Heineken is another story (pun intended) entirely and has the awards to prove it, so it isn’t surprising that it was Heineken that successfully created the story the others screwed up so badly.

The take-away is that stories are a two-edged sword, so be sure to do them outside the echo chamber or don’t do them.

Image credit: Heineken and Team cast

If The Shoe Fits: Today’s CEO Cowboys

Friday, April 28th, 2017

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

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mWay back in 2009 I wrote Leaders Should NOT Be Cowboys. While the advice was accurate at the time, it made the basic assumption that founders were adults.

I suppose it was naïve to assume that anybody starting a company, let alone being handed millions of dollars to do it, would have a certain level of mental and emotional maturity — or at least know when to shut up.

But the world has changed drastically.

It’s now a world where nothing is private and letting it all hang out has been take to extremes; where sharing all aspects of your life is expected and the resulting personally identifiable data packaged and sold; where sex/sexism in one form or another is prevalent; where anybody can freely and anonymously critique/shame/bully/insult whomever they please; where frat boy culture/attitude/thinking is the new norm, where etc., etc., etc.

Doubt me?

Take a look at Uber, Thinx, Tanium, or the US president; the list goes on even when the actions are well camouflaged, as they are at Google and Facebook.

These new CEOs aren’t necessarily cowboys in the previous sense.

They have moved past that and are more aligned with the back end of their horses.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ryan’s Journal: Thoughts About Tanium

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

A few days ago Miki sent me an article about Tanium giving prospective customers a look into their client hospital’s live network, but without permission or protecting the identity of the hospital completely.

I wrote her back today as follows.

I had not seen this on my own, but I have been reading about the company for a few days now.

Coming from the medtech industry and security specifically I will say this.

The fact that he and his company used live hospital data without their consent will be a deathblow to them.

Hospitals take this very seriously because they are the ones who are held responsible by the Office for Civil Rights under Health and Human Services.

The hospital will be shown to have a vulnerability and will be forced to pay fines, lose out on government funds and potentially face sanctions. 

As a result the rest of the healthcare industry will treat Tanium like a pariah because they will not want to face repercussions.

Regardless of the industry it’s shocking to see how folks think it’s ok to manipulate or abuse customer relationships for their own profit, it always ends badly.  

Miki responded.

Sadly, I think they will find a way to smooth it over. Google, Facebook, etc sell customer data all the time. It’s how so many make their money and no one seems to care.

I know HIPPA is supposed to prevent this stuff, but I’m sure companies are getting around that, too, they just haven’t been caught, yet.

That’s the key, not being caught.

Every company that is caught, or just challenged, cries that they take their customer’s privacy seriously or that that’s not what their culture stands for, etc.

But only when they are caught.
I sincerely hope you are correct and that Tanium takes a major blow and, more importantly, that the CEO is forced out, but I’m not holding my breath. I guess I’ve finally gotten pretty cynical about this stuff.

So now I’m trying to decide if Miki’s cynicism is warranted or if I’m right and the publicized results of Tanium’s actions will have the effect they should.

I’ll keep you informed as there are more developments.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Ducks in a Row: The Secret Of Good Process

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/4455027620/Continuing yesterday’s conversation regarding the need for good process in every size organization — the key word being “good.”

Good process, like all good things, starts with its ability to change, which, in turn, enables all kinds of good stuff.

Process won’t calcify if questioning fundamentals and avoiding the tradition trap is baked into your company DNA and you don’t forget that there are no absolutes.

Just as MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) is the why, process is the how.

And because MAP is constantly growing and changing, process must constantly develop to support it.

In short, process changes to make things happen, whereas bureaucracy is carved in stone and stops them.

Image credit: Dennis Jarvis

Golden Oldies: Process vs. Bureaucracy

Monday, April 24th, 2017

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.

The interest in some subjects is eternal — like avoiding bureaucracy. This post dates to 2006 (before I added pictures) and the subject is still a hot topic.

Too many bosses and founders confuse organizing business segments with becoming bureaucratic and everyone hates bureaucracy.

In reality, not organizing and developing a process to accomplish each function facilitates a wild west mentality, which usually results in a bullet in the foot or worse.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

People sometimes confuse process and bureaucracy. Process is good—it helps to get things done smoothly and efficiently; bureaucracy is bad—it’s process calcified, convoluted, politically corrupted, or just plain unnecessary.

Good process is an easy-to-use and flexible method of accomplishing various business functions. It is informal without being haphazard, and neither ambiguous or confusing.

Occasional surveys (internally asking staff and externally asking vendors and customers how things are working) alert you to when processes start to mutate.

By creating a skeletal process and a corresponding graphic in areas where it is needed (financial controls, hiring, purchasing, etc.), you lay the framework for your growth in the future, no matter how hectic.

Bureaucracy may stem from a manager, whether CEO or first level supervisor, who believes that his staff is so incompetent that it is necessary for him to spell out exactly how every individual action needs to be done. To correct this, the manager responsible must

  • reduce his own insecurity,
  • increase his belief in his current staff, or
  • hire people he thinks are smart!

Bureaucracy is often fed by people’s fear of change, “We’ve always done it like that.” and similar comments are dead giveaways.

Another significant factor that contributes to unnecessary bureaucracy is the failure to align responsibility and authority.

If a person has the responsibility to get something done (design a product, create a Human Resources department, meet a sales quota), she should have enough authority (spend money, hire people, negotiate with outside vendors) to get the job done.

Giving people responsibility without concomitant authority forces them to constantly ask their superiors for permission, thus reducing productivity, and lowering moral.

The final, and most important difference between process and bureaucracy is that people like working for companies with good process in place, and hate working for those mired in bureaucracy, but not for long—they leave—making bureaucracy-eradication a major tool in the retention game.

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