Monthly Archives: December 2012

How to Improve Your Chances of Success

This short video from Arianna Huffington addresses the small, simple idea that will fuel our ability to make better decisions and get more done.

Arianna Huffington How to Succeed Get More Sleep from Ted Talks

Do you get enough sleep to prepare you for the day ahead?  Studies show that this is a key to being more effective and productive in your life.

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The Value of Introverts

Teams need diversity to be truly effective.  One form of diversity is extrovert / introvert.  Susan Cain makes a great case in this video talk about how introverts add to the success of teams.  They take the time to think through ideas and often find the most creative solutions to problems.

Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts from Ted Talks

Keep in mind that one out of 2 to 3 people is introverted so they are more common than we tend to recognize.  Tapping into their creativity can improve the quality of the team’s decisions and ideas.

How do you value the introverts around you?

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Leadership Quote Dec 27th

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
Theodore Roosevelt

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Compassion and Leadership

ConsolationAs a leader are you “in touch” with your team?  Leaders who stay tuned in to what is going on with their team have better success in achieving the organizations goals.  Does this mean that you have to be a pushover who listens to every sob story of each person on the team?  No, it means that you are aware of the overall state of your team and you address issues with kindness and caring.  Compassion has strength behind it; otherwise helping others can drain you.

Here are three key components to acting with compassion:

  1. Notice non-verbal cues.  Observing how the team is working and how they are acting will speak volumes about how things are going.  You may see that one person has withdrawn or is being avoided.  This is a problem spot.
  2. Listen carefully.  People will tell you a lot of information without telling you what is the real problem.  By listening carefully you can hear what is not being said and ask meaningful questions to get to the cause of the issue.
  3. Speak less.  Asking open ended questions and allowing time for the person to answer will help you find out what is going on and will show that you are interested in what they have to say.  People want to be heard and by asking and then listening you will demonstrate you are aware of their need to be heard.

When you take the time to demonstrate you are paying attention to the people who work for you they will respond better to the goals and objectives that are given to them.  Focusing only on results and performance without paying attention to the person doing the work gets you compliance not collaboration.  When teams collaborate the results are more than the sum of the parts.  More is achieved in less time when people work together.  Having a compassionate leader who is genuinely concerned about the individuals as well as the results will help to create a collaborative environment.

To read more on this topic see  6 Exercises to Strengthen Compassionate Leadership from Fast Company.

What do you do to show your compassion for your team?

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Quote for Dec 25th

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

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Are You Ready for 2013?

Goals & Plan“Big results require big ambitions.”  Heraclitus

Next week 2012 comes to an end and 2013 begins.  Are you ready for the New Year?  Have you taken the time to look at your goals and plans?  If not, why not?  Some people hate the idea of creating resolutions or writing down goals.  Here are the top five reasons for resisting setting goals:

  1. “I don’t know what I want”
  2. Setting the wrong goals
  3. Past disappointments
  4. Skepticism
  5. Fear

There has been a lot of discussion lately around the idea of not setting goals.  This is focused on the fact that setting the wrong goals leads to the wrong behavior.  The reality is that you get what you measure so be careful what you set as the goal.  I’ve seen supervisors who are judge by the number of defects their department records, so they stop recording the problems and just fix them.  That looks good but the problems aren’t addressed in a way that focuses on eliminating recurrence of the errors.

Setting goals does not have to be hard or limiting.  The idea is to create a vision of where you want to go.  When you decide to go on vacation you start with an idea of where you want to go and then create a plan of how to get there.  Why is your life any different?  Goals are visions of the future and what you want to achieve or have in life.  These can be very specific or they can be more like a big picture.  With the end in mind you can figure out the steps to take that will get you there.

The great thing about having goals is that once you start moving forward towards the things you want you will be surprised at how far you go.  Setting one or two really big goals that seem out of reach can be daunting, however breaking them down and getting started will create momentum that will carry you farther than you thought possible.   To get big results you need to know what you are striving for.

Here are five reasons to set goals for 2013:

  1. Help clarify what you want
  2. Build confidence
  3. Create a sense of control
  4. Make the impossible possible
  5. Expand your horizons

If you haven’t already set goals for the upcoming year, take some time this week and dream about what you would like to accomplish by this time next year.  Write your thoughts down.  Next start figuring out what has to be done to make them happen.  Now you have your goals and a plan for the year.  Good luck and go for it!

What is your favorite tip for setting goals?

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Team Celebrations

Team CelebrationThis is the time of the year that many companies take some time to celebrate the holidays.  This is a great tradition that can be used to catch your breath before year end activities, as well as celebrate the good of the past year and look forward to exciting things for next year.  Celebrating what went well is a great way to wrap up the year and set the stage for a strong start to the New Year.

To have the greatest positive impact think about recognizing the following things:

  1. Team successes.  What goals seemed out of reach but were met?
  2. Challenges overcome.  Where there things that could have been set backs, but ended up being success stories.
  3. Humorous moments.  Reflect on some funny moments (where you are the one being laughed at).
  4. Risks that paid off.  Remember events where bold action brought about great rewards.
  5. Say Thank You.  Thank the team as a whole and make a point to thank each individual for their efforts.
  6. Highlight the positive.  Focus on what went well and what looks promising in the future.

Taking the time to do these things, whether at a party or a lunch or in a note, will go a long ways to helping your team feel appreciated and set the stage for the new opportunities ahead.  People want to be sincerely appreciated for what they do each day.  This time of the year provides a natural setting for extending your thanks for what they do.

When communicating your appreciation remember to:

  1. Be sincere
  2. Use specific examples
  3. Focus on the individual
  4. Share excitement about future
  5. Stay positive

However you choose to end your year take a few moments to thank those around you and celebrate your team.  You would not be where you are without them so let them know that you recognized all they have done.  Have fun and enjoy the moment.


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Leadership Quote for Dec 20th

Don’t find fault, find a remedy.
Henry Ford

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Leading in Adversity

Jumping Over a Challenge to Achieve SuccessAs a leader how do you respond to adversity?  Throughout history great leaders handled adversity with calm, strength, and daring.  They were there for the people they who looked to them for guidance.  How you respond during a crisis will determine how people will view your effectiveness overall.

To lead well during difficult times:

  1. Be calm
  2. Stand tall and take the lead
  3. Lend a hand to those who are struggling
  4. Reassure people
  5. Take decisive action
  6.  Stay with your followers

When you do these things people will see you as someone who is standing with them and helping them during the difficult times.  Finding ways to improve the situation will help them believe you are there to support them and make things better.  These things take compassion, strength and courage.  It can be easy to run away, hide behind others and to place blame.  These are all signs of weakness in a leader.

Additionally, demonstrating compassion to those who are hit hardest by the adversity will show that you do care about those around you.  This must be sincere and genuine concern and caring.  False words and assurances without action look good in the moment but do nothing in the long run.  The leader who is willing to get down alongside those who need help will end up going the furthest.  People want to be heard and to know that leadership cares about their fate.   This cannot be done from a corner office; it must be done amongst the workers.

For those who are dealing with adversity but are not formal leaders you too can make a lasting mark on those around you.  Be calm, lend a hand, avoid judging, find solutions and focus on the future.  These actions will help you and those around you to respond in a positive way to the problems at hand.  A positive attitude will be hard to sustain but it will help keep things in perspective.   It maybe that the only positive thing you can believe is that eventually it will get better.  If so, start moving that direction.  Others will follow you.

Adversity strikes all of us differently but as leaders we must respond in a way that will instill trust and faith in our team.  Be kind, be sure, be decisive and be there.  This is what your team needs right now.

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Quote for Dec 18th

Assistance (with clipping path)We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
Ronald Reagan

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