Leading Blog



01.09.17

Shoe Dog: How to Succeed in Business with a Little Luck

Shoe Dog

PHIL KNIGHT'S memoir about creating Nike, Shoe Dog, covers the time from his “Crazy Idea” to going public in 1980. It is a down-to-earth account of the sacrifices and struggles, failures and successes of what it takes to succeed in business.

Any would-be entrepreneur would do well to read it before venturing out on their own.

Knight says that the act alone is the destination. “Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.” And that’s different from “giving up” as he explains: “Sometimes you have to give up. Sometimes knowing when to give up, when to try something else, is genius. Giving up doesn’t mean stopping. Don’t ever stop.”

He admits to the stress of it all. “The years of stress were taking their toll. When you see only problems, you’re not seeing clearly. At just the moment when I needed to be my sharpest, I was approaching burnout.” In the end he gives credit to hard work and luck. It’s not uncommon to see the IQ of successful entrepreneurs rise at least 50 points as they become experts on nearly every topic. But quite candidly, Knight writes:
Luck plays a big role. Yes, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the power of luck. Athletes get lucky, poets get lucky, businesses get lucky. Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome. Some people might not call it luck. They might call it Tao, or Logos, or Jñāna, or Dharma. Or spirit. Or God.

Put it this way. The harder you work, the better your Tao. And since no one has ever adequately defined Tao, I now to go regularly to mass. I would tell them: Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.

Shoe Dog is an amazing story of how he made that luck happen.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:03 AM
| Comments (0) | General Business

01.04.17

Ditch Lofty Outcome Goals and “Hit the Glove!”

WHEN IT COMES TO KEEPING New Year’s Resolutions, the stats aren’t good. Surveys show that while some 40 percent of us make them, only 8 percent of us keep them. We may feel exhilarated when we set a big goal, but that soon gives way to anxiety. While we all want to get better, lofty goals don’t always help.

There is a way to set goals and achieve them. It comes from Rick Peterson, the former Major League Baseball pitching coach (of Moneyball fame), who guided the New York Mets and the Oakland A’s to great success. He did it by getting his pitchers to scale back their goals from lofty to bite-sized, from outcome to process. His mantra, “Hit the glove,” was not only powerful and effective, it translates well beyond professional baseball.

At the beginning of spring training, Rick would ask his pitchers, “What’s your goal?” Most had the kind of long-term, outcome goals you find on the back of a baseball card — winning a certain number of games or pitching a certain number of innings.

The problem with focusing on great big goals is that you’re distracted into focusing on factors outside your control. Winning a ball game involves more than just the pitcher’s performance — it hinges on how many runs his team scores, how well his team fields, how well the opposing hitters handle good pitches, and even the umpire’s calls. When we don’t hit that big outcome goal we get demoralized, creating doubt and anxiety can hurt our performance.

Instead, Rick refocused his pitchers on short-term, bite-sized process goals. He told them they were professional glove hitters with one simple goal: Hit the catcher’s glove as often as possible — with the right pitch.

If a player focuses on hitting that glove, he can’t focus on the pressure of a loftier outcome goal. He has to concentrate on hitting that glove. He’s not distracted by things outside his control. Hitting the glove on a high percentage of pitches is also the most probable path to achieving larger, outcome-oriented individual and team goals.

How It Translates

We can all learn to refocus on hitting that glove. I’ve been in sales for decades. At the start of every year, salespeople’s anxieties peak. Whatever numbers they produced last year, they no longer matter. The scoreboard’s back to zero. Time to prove yourself all over again.

Many sales organizations try to motivate their sales forces with talk of raising the bar and hitting even bigger numbers. But that lofty-goal approach can trigger fear and worry instead. Just like pitchers, salespeople know there are parts of the sales game beyond our control. And it’s easy to lose focus amidst the cornucopia of daily distractions.

After I heard Rick’s mantra, “Hit the glove!” I thought of what that meant in terms of my day-to-day sales. I settled on high-quality interactions with customers and prospects, meaning one that advances a sale and/or our relationship. By focusing on having daily, high-quality interactions with customers, I would make great progress toward putting a dent in my quota.

Thinking about how many high-quality interactions I should have each day, I set the initial target at two. Before you laugh and ask what I was going to do after lunch, consider the math. Two high-quality interactions per day are 10 per week, and 40 per month. Assuming one month of vacation, that’s 440 per year — far more than I was averaging.

As soon as I started focusing on my new simple, short-term, bite-sized process goal — two high-quality interactions with customers each day — I began thinking about my day differently. I began prioritizing those two high-quality interactions with customers above everything else. As I considered how to invest my time, I regularly asked myself, “Is this helping me hit the glove?

As a result, my focus improved remarkably. I wasted less time. I didn’t give my quota a second thought. My numbers took off, and I finished the year more than 25 percent ahead of my previous year’s performance. Focusing on that one small change brought about big results. So ask yourself: What’s your version of hitting the glove?

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Leading Forum
This post is by Judd Hoekstra. He is a leadership and human performance author, consultant and speaker. He serves as a Vice President at The Ken Blanchard Companies, a premier leadership training and coaching company. He is also a coauthor of the bestselling Leading at a Higher Level as well as Who Killed Change? He received his bachelor's from Cornell University, where he played hockey and baseball. He also graduated from the Advanced Business Management Program at Kellogg School of Management. For more information, go to www.juddhoekstra.com.

Rick Peterson has coached some of baseball’s best pitchers in the past twenty years, including Cy Young Award winners and Hall of Famers.
Crunch Time
He was the Oakland Athletics’ pitching coach during the famed Moneyball era and has served as a coach with the New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Milwaukee Brewers. He is currently director of pitching development with the Baltimore Orioles. He holds a combined degree in psychology and art. He and Judd Hoekstra are the authors of Crunch Time: How To Be Your Best When It Matters Most. For more information, go to www.rickpetersoncoaching.com.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:24 AM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development

01.01.17

First Look: Leadership Books for January 2017

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in January.

  Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age by Edward D. Hess and Katherine Ludwig
  The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith
  Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change by Frank Sesno
  Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies by Paul J. Zak
  Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos by Heidi K. Gardner

Humility Power of Meaning Ask More Trust Factor Smart Collaboration

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


discounted books


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 100 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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"You stay teachable most by reading books. By reading what other people went through."
— Retired Marine General James Mattis


Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:24 AM
| Comments (0) | Books

12.31.16

LeadershipNow 140: December 2016 Compilation

twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from December 2016 that you might have missed:
See more on twitter Twitter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:37 AM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

12.25.16

The Best Leadership Books of 2016

Best Leadership Books of 2016

ONCE AGAIN we see that despite our rhetoric, what we are is reflected in our leaders and leadership. Actions have consequences and continuity of character matters. We need to be “urgently” reflective because too often by the time we find out it’s broken, it’s been broken for a very long time.

As technology becomes more disruptive and we see more importance placed on big data and artificial intelligence, what will matter most are those things that make us human – the soft skills. Creating meaning, teaching, empathy, self control, creativity, emotional intelligence, and the ability to define consequences, will be indispensable skills to prosper in the future.

In this uncertain environment, including the mounting global economic concerns, a humble mindset will be the only thing that will unlock the most promising business, social and economic innovations. An oversized ego inevitably leads to blindness and an inability to formulate good answers.

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9781455586691
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport

To thrive in the new economy—the current information economy—you need to master these two core abilities: 1. The ability to quickly master hard things. (If you can’t learn you can’t thrive.) and 2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed. (To produce tangible results that people value.) These two abilities depend on your ability to perform deep work. “To succeed,” writes Newport, “you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing—a task that requires depth. A deep life is a good life.” (Blog Post)


9781591847830
Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent
by Sydney Finkelstein

Although Superbosses may differ in leadership styles, they share a playbook that leads to extraordinary success founded on making other people successful. Superbosses can be fierce or gentle, belligerent or self-depreciating, but whatever their style, they do a much better job inspiring and teaching because they get in their trenches with protégés, leading by example and giving them personalized attention they require to move up quickly. (Blog Post)


9780525429562
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
by Adam Grant

There are so few originals in life. “We find surface ways of appearing original—donning a bow tie, wearing bright red shoes—without taking the risk of actually being original. When it comes to the powerful ideas in our heads and the core values in our hearts, we censor ourselves.” Adam Grant demonstrates how originality, can and should be taught and nurtured. Anyone can innovate if given the opportunity and the support. He provides practical tools to “unleash” the hidden creativity in all of us. However, not just for ourselves but also to build cultures of originality both at home and at work. (Blog Post)


9781633690141
The Three-Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation
by Vijay Govindarajan

Ultimately our future is not in linear—incremental—improvements. It is in nonlinear—nonconforming, breakthrough—change. But the future is built in the now and that’s the problem. What should we be doing now to insure we have a future? Dartmouth professor Vijay Govindarajan writes, “As much as we might pay lip service to the fact that the future will differ dramatically from the past, we often behave as though it will be exactly the same.” There is a tension between and what we have to do now to continue on as an entity and what we need to be doing now to create our future along with the things that we are doing that get in our way of doing any of it. How do we create the future while managing the present? (Blog Post)


9781119144281
Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner have written a new book that examines a fundamental question: How do people learn leadership? How do they learn to become leaders? Learning Leadership is a comprehensive guide to unleashing the inner-leader in us all and to building a solid foundation for a lifetime of leadership growth and mastery. The book offers a concrete framework to help individuals of all levels, functions, and backgrounds take charge of their own leadership development and become the best leaders they can be. (Blog Post)


9781576877715
64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World
by Kevin Roberts

In 64 Shots, Roberts draws on the biggest ideas, toughest experiences and greatest influences of his life to present 16X4 stripped down, straight-forward and instantly-absorbable insights on how to bring order to the chaos of business and life. The punchy insights into winning - hitting readers lightly jab after jab - are an array of one-liners, sound bites, tweets, charts, quotes and historical reference points. They are loaded with Roberts' experience, story, brio, provocation and direction.


9781626567153
The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves
by The Arbinger Institute

Unknowingly, too many of us operate from an inward mindset—a narrow-minded focus on self-centered goals and objectives. When faced with personal ineffectiveness or lagging organizational performance, most of us instinctively look for quick-fix behavioral band-aids, not recognizing the underlying mindset at the heart of our most persistent challenges. Through true stories and simple yet profound guidance and tools, The Outward Mindset enables individuals and organizations to make the one change that most dramatically improves performance, sparks collaboration, and accelerates innovation—a shift to an outward mindset.


9781501109799
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
by Robert Cialdini

The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered. What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, he explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.”


9781119116332
Hopping over the Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure into Success
by Anthony Scaramucci

So much of successful entrepreneurship is learning to lead yourself. It requires some luck, but more than anything it means always pressing forward and a good dose of creativity especially when things don’t look good. It’s not surprising then that Anthony Scaramucci’s book, Hopping Over The Rabbit Hole is not just an important read for would-be entrepreneurs but anyone who looking move through life in a forward direction. (Blog Post)


9781633691742
Managing in the Gray: Five Timeless Questions for Resolving Your Toughest Problems at Work
by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.

Joseph Badaracco offers five questions we should be asking to resolve the inevitable gray areas we will all face from time to time. Gray areas demand our best judgment. The five questions provide a way to get there. They are “a distinctive way of sizing up gray area issues, analyzing them carefully, grappling with their full, human complexity, and then—and only then—making final decisions.” (Blog Post)


9781591847755
Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways
by William C. Taylor

There's no such thing as an average or old-fashioned business, just average or old-fashioned ways to do business. In fact, the opportunity to reach for extraordinary may be most pronounced in settings that have been far too ordinary for far too long. The story of this book, its message for leaders who aim to do something important and build something great, is both simple and subversive: In a time of wrenching disruptions and exhilarating advances, of unrelenting turmoil and unlimited promise, the future is open to everybody. The thrill of breakthrough creativity and breakaway performance . . . can be summoned in all sorts of industries and all walks of life, if leaders can reimagine what’s possible in their fields.


9781119209591
The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues
by Patrick M. Lencioni

Beyond the fable, Lencioni presents a practical framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players. Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.



2016bestbookpick

Biographies:

9781501135910
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
by Phil Knight

Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. Knight details the many terrifying risks he encountered along the way, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors, the countless doubters and haters and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs and narrow escapes. Above all, he recalls the foundational relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike.


9780307959492
A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service
by Robert M Gates

In a time when change is not just inevitable, but must be encouraged and led, Robert Gates’ A Passion for Leadership is a must read. Gates offers from experience, strategies, techniques, and principles for implementing change. He includes many examples from the organizations he has served. (Blog Post)


9781613749531
Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow
by Steve Lehto

Steve Lehto tackles the story of Tucker's amazing rise and tragic fall, relying on a huge trove of documents that has been used by no other writer to date. It is the first comprehensive, authoritative account of Tucker's magnificent car and his battles with the government. And in this book, Lehto finally answers the questions automobile aficionados have wondered about for decades: Exactly how and why was the production of such an innovative car killed?


9781594204845
The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan
by Sebastian Mallaby

This is definitive biography of the most important economic statesman of our time. It is the product of over five years of research based on untrammeled access to his subject and his closest professional and personal intimates, brings into vivid focus the mysterious point where the government and the economy meet. To understand Greenspan's story is to see the economic and political landscape of the last 30 years—and the presidency from Reagan to George W. Bush—in a whole new light. As the most influential economic statesman of his age, Greenspan spent a lifetime grappling with a momentous shift: the transformation of finance from the fixed and regulated system of the post-war era to the free-for-all of the past quarter century. The story of Greenspan is also the story of the making of modern finance, for good and for ill.



Related Interest:
Best Leadership Books of 2015
Best Leadership Books of 2014
Best Leadership Books of 2013

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:32 AM
| Comments (0) | Books

12.22.16

How to Matter: The 5 Key Ways Companies Win


Matter

IN TODAY'S ECONOMY of volatility and velocity, the lifespan of a Fortune 500 company has plummeted from an average 50 years to a mere fifteen. When constant disruption is the new normal, how do companies succeed? They find a way to matter.

When we looked at thirty-plus case studies of successful companies, we found that they all share an audacious approach to disruption. Large to small, in fields from construction to tech to health care, they win hearts, minds and wallets by innovating ways to stay the obvious choice in the market. Here are five key ways that winning companies stay on top:

1. Embrace disruption. Great companies recognize disruption and face it. They don’t try to stick to business as usual. They see disruption as an opportunity to adapt and grow, staying the obvious choice in the changing marketplace.

Case in point: Burberry. When threatened by faster, cheaper online competitors, the legendary retail company confronted this digital disruption head-on. CEO Angela Arendt and her team created digital and omni-channel shopping experiences to stay relevant. By adding digital without compromising the quality of the 160-year-old brand, Burberry regained market superiority in the new retail economy.

2. Offer more value. By solving challenges their costumers, employees and stakeholders face, companies become the ones that matter. They offer value by identifying an authentic need and meeting it.

Case in point: Blueshore Financial. This former working-class credit union in British Columbia seized an opportunity that bigger banks missed: unique customer experience. Financial “spas” with personalized, concierge service and expert advice transformed Blueshore into the bank of choice for affluent clients. In 2014, it had more than twice the administration assets of its closest competitors.

3. Seek out the right partners. Smart companies create strategic partnerships to help mitigate the volatility and velocity that disrupt the marketplace.

Case in point: DeBeers. New Russian mines began producing a bumper crop of diamonds that threatened to flood the market. DeBeers worked out a partnership to become their sole distributor, and control supply. The legacy firm continues to innovate and form key partnerships to sustain the health of the marketplace.

4. Care about more than profits. Successful organizations embrace a broad perspective when tackling challenges and align company values with strategic initiatives to improve lives.

Case in point: Unilever. When the soap giant wanted to cross into nonwestern markets, it identified a cultural gap and a serious social need. Washing hands was not a habit, and children’s rates of fatal infections and diarrhea were high as a result. Unilever partnered with Red Cross and UNICEF hygiene initiatives including a grassroots, mother-to-mother campaign. The soap giant was instrumental in a marked improvement in children’s health.

5. Identify future needs. Disruption in the tech market is relentless. Without constant innovation, one-time market giants quickly find themselves irrelevant. Winning companies take a long view and use disruption to pinpoint the needs of the future.

Case in point: Adobe. Countless rivals and the emergence of the Cloud diminished Adobe’s primacy in design software and products. It bypassed its original customer base (art directors and designers), and retooled as a strategic partner to marketing executives. Adobe reshaped the market by offering design services, social media help, and subscriptions in an all-in-one creative, cloud-based solution.

Companies that boldly embrace the disturbances that threaten to derail them are the ones that prevail, as we found out. And their success is far less about products, and far more about value. These are the firms that raise the bar.

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Leading Forum
This post is by Peter Sheahan and Julie Williamson authors of Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, Create More Value, and Become the Obvious Choice. Peter Sheahan, Founder and CEO of global consultancy Karrikins Group, is known internationally for innovative business thinking and thought leadership. Having successfully grown his own global company, Peter has first-hand experience in the challenges of building a business in a volatile, disruptive world. He has worked with some of the world’s powerhouse brands, including Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, and Wells Fargo. Julie Williamson, PhD, Chief Growth Enabler of Karrikins Group, responsible for strategy and research. She is a leading voice in how organizations create sustainable growth by linking communication, design, strategy, sales, marketing, and service. Julie is a grounded theory researcher, and she uses traditional and progressive resources in her strategy and transformation work.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:14 PM
| Comments (0) | Management

12.05.16

Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole

SO MUCH OF SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURSHIP is learning to lead yourself. It requires some luck, but more than anything it means always pressing forward and a good dose of creativity especially when things don’t look good.

It’s not surprising then that Anthony Scaramucci’s book, Hopping Over The Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure Into Success is not just an important read for would-be entrepreneurs but anyone who looking move through life in a forward direction.

Scaramucci is the founder of SkyBridge Capital, a global investment firm with around $12 billion in assets. The firm also produces the annual SkyBridge Alternatives (“SALT”) Conference, a premier global investment and thought leadership forum. But his road to success has not been without a number of failures and near-misses. And he shares many of them to our benefit. He points out that SkyBridge’s success was ultimately defined by “our ability to learn from mistakes and turn failures into success.”

He writes: “I’m a firm believer in the idea that you’re either moving forward or backward. You’re either growing in confidence or swelling with hubris. The moment you become complacent is the moment you lose your edge. There is always somebody working harder than you, and there are always copycats ready to take the model you’ve built and make it better.”

So “we need to put our egos on the floor, get outside of our comfort zones, and push ourselves, while maintaining some level of gracious audacity.”

Life and business bring with it regrets. But we can learn from them or let them hold us back. The danger is to look for to blame and not taking responsibility for your outcomes.
What regrets really speak to is a measure of self-awareness. The trick is how we chose to deal with them. Successful people have the ability to accept the past, embrace it, learn from it, and ultimately move forward. Less successful individuals tend to wallow in regrets, constantly reliving a series of events and asking themselves over and over what could have been, what should have been, and ultimately what ought to have been.

Whatever series of events conspired to separate what “ought” to have happened from what actually happened is ultimately your responsibility.
When he was fired from Goldman Sachs his impulse was to lash out. But his boss told him that he would be angry, but “This is important Anthony. You’ve got to move through that stuff. And you’ve got to accept this is happening to you.”

By sharing his own shortcomings throughout this book, he helps us identify where we also fall short. He then shares practical solutions.

He points out that “starting your own business is the most terrifying and nausea-inducing thing you can do. The dream comes first, and if you’re lucky, smart, and work your tail off, money will follow. Success should never be viewed as a given. If you are afraid of failure, don’t become an entrepreneur.”

When beginning a business it is easy to begin spending money on the wrong things. Thriftiness is key.
This is an important lesson for any entrepreneur—if you are starting a new business, you should maintain the appearance of a start-up. You want people to know that you are hungry and focused on one thing: work. Your customers come first. Your employees come a close second. Always keep your expenses down.
Pressing forward and never giving up requires a special mindset regarding negative feedback:
If you can take ridicule and negative opinions roll off you like raindrops, don’t be afraid to take a chance and be an entrepreneur.

Most people—myself included—care what others think. But what you can’t do is allow that to impact your business, your performance, your potential.

You have to believe you are going to be successful. You need to think positively if you want a positive outcome.
In the beginning you need the right kind of people:
Start-ups don’t have the luxury of hiring people to fit specific job functions. They typically lack the money to fill specialized roles. Instead, start-ups look for people who are problem solvers. People who can do a little bit of everything.

You need staff that have the entrepreneurial mind-set to lead your company’s evolution. I value a self-starter mentality.

You can be right about everything or you can be in a partnership.

True leadership requires personal subordination. True empowerment requires trust and personal subordination.
Finally, Scaramucci says, “There is no skill more vital to an entrepreneur than networking. Your ability to connect with people on a personal level will differentiate you from your peers.” And you need to get comfortable with public speaking.

If you want to get to where you want to be, he says you have to believe that you are enough. You will do what it takes to get the job done. “It’s your attitude that will make you.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:27 PM
| Comments (0) | General Business

12.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for December 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in December.

  Speed: How Leaders Accelerate Successful Execution by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman
  Killing It: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart by Sheryl O'Loughlin
  Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter by Evan Carmichael
  Win at Losing: How Our Biggest Setbacks Can Lead to Our Greatest Gains by Sam Weinman
  Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace by Christine Porath

Speed Killing It Your One Word Win at Losing Rabbit Hole

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


discounted books


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 100 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.


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"A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others."
— Abraham Lincoln


Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:30 PM
| Comments (0) | Books

11.30.16

LeadershipNow 140: November 2016 Compilation

twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from November 2016 that you might have missed:
See more on twitter Twitter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:17 PM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

11.24.16

Gratitude is Good for You Too

Gratitude

WE KNOW GRATITUDE makes relationships thrive and makes trust possible. Gratitude encourages, clarifies, motivates, includes, and unifies.

When we show gratitude, people feel valued, they know what’s important, they want to do more, and they feel part of something bigger than themselves.

But gratitude is good for you too.

Gratitude puts you in the right mindset to lead. Gratitude and humility are interconnected. They reinforce each other. Gratitude says, “I didn’t do this alone.” French philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville wrote, The narcissistic leader or “the egoist is ungrateful because he doesn’t like to acknowledge his debt to others and gratitude is this acknowledgement.” A lack of gratitude is at the core of narcissism. We alone are not responsible for who we are and what we do and that is the essence of leadership. We are never truly self-sufficient.

In a practical way, gratitude provides guardrails in our life. Gratitude helps us to protect from ourselves. It is amazing how much gratitude plays into avoiding poor behavior and wrong thinking. Gratitude sets a boundary on our thoughts by making us mindful of others. It helps us to avoid going where we should not go because we are more self-aware.

Gratitude requires that we slow down and reflect. Gratitude is the basis of emotional intelligence. It puts other people first. It says you know and you care. While empathy has been found to be essential to leadership, empathy is not empathy if it is silent. It must be expressed.

Gratefulness helps to curb unproductive emotions such as frustration, resentment, and revenge. Studies have shown that it is an antidote to depression. It has the power to heal and move us forward.

It improves relationships and is a remedy to envy and greed. Instead of trying to strive with others we are thankful for what they do. It eliminates a leader’s tendency towards entitlement. Grateful people find more meaning in life and feel more connected to others.

In these changing and uncertain times, gratitude is a leaders ally. Gratitude looks at the long term and doesn’t focus on the present situation. Life is a continuum. Gratitude allows a leader to appreciate where they are and the resources they have at their disposal to face what life throws at them. A habit of gratitude gives us perspective. It doesn’t blind us to the negative but it facilitates a solution.

Gratitude can’t just be something we do is has to be who we are as a leader. More than a behavior it must come from the heart. It must be the mindset we lead from, manage from, and make decisions from. Gratefulness is grounded in reality because ultimately we must realize that everything good in our life is a gift.

Leadership begins and ends with gratefulness.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:34 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership Development , Personal Development

11.07.16

5 Leadership Lessons: To Pixar and Beyond

Pixar

FROM A PICTURE IN A MAGAZINE, Lawrence Levy was asked by Steve Jobs to become the CFO of Pixar and structure it in a way that investors could understand it. The trick was to preserve whatever it was about Pixar that enabled great stories to happen in the process. And he captures well how that was done.

5 Leadership Lessons
While the nuts and bolts of this story has been told before, Levy creates from his perspective, a very readable account by weaving his own growth along the way. To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History is a personal story. It's hard to put down. Here are some of the key takeaways:

1  There’s nothing you can do about where the pieces are. It’s only your next move that matters.

2  Corporations are like living creatures. They have personalities, emotions, and habits. The person at the top might seem to be calling all the shots but is often imprisoned in a culture he or she can do little to change. s corporations, succeed, they generally become more conservative. The flames of creativity on which a company is built can easily cool as pressures to perform mount. Success brings something to defend, something to lose. Fear can easily trump courage.

3  I felt really proud of our decision [to give control to the creative team and not the executive team]. We had chosen to truly empower talent, to send a signal to Pixar’s creative leaders that we trusted them. I cannot say this approach would be right for every company. But I can say that whether you’re making bottled water, mobile games, or computer chips, the decision of who has control over the creative elements is among the most important any team will make. Fear and ego conspire to rein in creativity, and it is easy to allow creative inspiration to take a back seat to safety. It is one thing to cite the adage “Story is king.” It is another thing entirely to live by it.

4  The natural tendency in negotiation is to engage in positional bargaining. This means taking a position knowing that it is not a final position, and holding in reserve a backup position. The danger of positional bargaining is that it forces you to think about backup positions, which weakens your conviction in your original position. It’s like negotiating against yourself. Plan A may be your optimal outcome, but inwardly you have already convinced yourself to settle on Plan B.

Both Steve and I had a strong distaste for approaching negotiations this way. We preferred to develop our positions without thinking through a backup… Once Steve decided what he wanted in a negotiation, he developed something akin to a religious conviction about it. In his mind, if he didn’t get what he wanted, nothing else would take its place, so he’d walk away…. The risk, however, was in so overreaching that we would end up with nothing. If we were not going to have a backup plan, we had to be very careful about knowing what we wanted.

5  We can build extraordinary organizations that foster creativity, dignity, and humanity while respecting business disciplines. We just have to be tuned to it; we have to be willing to balance bureaucracy with the depth and subtlety of creative inspiration, and awareness of the human dimension of our endeavors.

We humans do better when we have something to ground us, a deep source from which we can draw wisdom, insight, and inspiration. The goal of that source is to empower us, to bring depth and fulfillment to our lives, to give us the means to soar.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:36 AM
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11.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for November 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in November.

  To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History by Lawrence Levy
  Worth Doing Wrong: The Quest to Build a Culture That Rocks by Arnie Malham
  The Mosaic Principle: The Six Dimensions of a Remarkable Life and Career by Nick Lovegrove
  Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman
  Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People by Alan Willett

To Pixar and Beyond Worth Doing Wrong Mosaic Principle Thank You for Being Late Rabbit Hole

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10.31.16

LeadershipNow 140: October 2016 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from October 2016 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:58 PM
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10.10.16

Todd Durkin on Leadership & People

Todd Durkin

TODD DURKIN is one of America's top fitness trainers helping people move beyond their perceived limits from the inside out. The principles he uses in his approach to his work are something all leaders can consider and apply. Durkin brings servant leadership to all that he does. He has been motivating others with his Word of the Week (WOW) since 2011 and has now compiled them in a single book, The WOW Book.

His WOW chapter titled Leadership and People is on–target. He writes:

I love studying great coaches. In any sport. And on all levels.

One of those coaches is Dick Vermeil. Coach Vermeil coached three different NFL teams. The Philadelphia Eagles. The St. Louis Rams. And the Kansas City Chiefs.

In 1999, he led the Rams to a Super Bowl championship. He amassed 126 wins in his 29-year NFL head-coaching career. And he was a three-time NFL Coach of the Year. He has positively impacted thousands of men in his coaching tenure.

On this one particular evening in 2013, I had the opportunity to hear him speak to a few hundred fitness trainers/pros at a Perform Better conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

And he was awesome!

Coach Vermeil revealed his “Seven Common Sense Coaching Points” that make the foundation for any team, business, company, or family. In all seven points, there was ONE commonality: PEOPLE.

Without great PEOPLE, there are no great businesses, no great TEAMS, no great organizations, no great families, no great companies, and no great brands.

Coach Vermeil talked about how the most important resource of any company is its PEOPLE: their personal dignity, pride in what they do, and the trust that they have in management.

At the end of every business/calendar year an important and first question a LEADER should ask is:

Do we have better people in our company?

Do we have better people on December 31st (the year’s end), than we did on January first (the year’s beginning)?

Are we better TODAY than we were at the start of the year?

Think about what Ford says in its MISSION statement: “Our PEOPLE are the source of our strength.”

Think about what Hilton Hotels says in its VALUES statement: “PEOPLE are our most important asset.”

YOU are a LEADER of your business, your TEAM, your family, your organization . . . regardless of your title!

Your PEOPLE need to know what to expect.
Your PEOPLE need to be kept informed.
Your PEOPLE need to be trained.
Your PEOPLE need to be challenged.
Your PEOPLE need to be held accountable.
Your PEOPLE need to be appreciated.
Your PEOPLE need to feel that you care about them.
Your PEOPLE need to be recognized and celebrated.
Your PEOPLE need to be LED.
Your PEOPLE need to be able to grow and advance.
Your PEOPLE need your feedback and coaching.
Your PEOPLE need to be LISTENED to and HEARD.
Your PEOPLE need to be TRUSTED, and they must TRUST YOU!
Your PEOPLE must be LOVED and LOVE each other.

Durkin has put together 52 chapters in The WOW Book and each ends with an action step. Good value for any leader.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:26 PM
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10.06.16

The Five Friends Business Summit


Five Friends

You probably have seen the 5 Friends Insights on Business and Life videos.

Now they bring you the Five Friends Business Summit on November 2-3, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. At this business summit you will receive the same high-level, intensive content usually reserved to the Fortune 500 clients of the Five Friends.5 Friends Logo

The Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies are:

Joe Calloway is an expert on branding and competitive positioning and the author of Becoming A Category of One, Be The Best At What Matters Most and the Unlocking Maximum Potential blog.

Scott McKain is an authority how organizations create distinction and author of Create Distinction, 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry and the Create Distinction blog.

Randy Pennington is a business performance expert and author of Make Change Work, Results Rule! and the Results Rule! blog.

Mark Sanborn is an expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. He is the author of The Fred Factor, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, The Encore Effect, and hosts a leadership blog.

Larry Winget is the “Pitbull of Personal Development.” He is the author of Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get A Life, You’re Broke Because You Want To Be, Your Kids Are Your Own Fault and Larry’s Blog.

Together they will cover:
  • What are You Willing to Do to Get What You Want? led by Larry Winget
  • How to Focus Your Resources to Reach Your Results Goals led by Mark Sanborn
  • How Simplicity and Focus Can Create Customers and Grow Your Business led by Joe Calloway
  • The Four Steps Required to Create Distinction in Your Marketplace led by Scott McKain
  • Turn Intention into Action: Making Changes and Building Your Culture led by Randy Pennington
I’ve seen them all in person and I know any one of them would be worth the price of admission, but all five is a real bargain. Leverage it for your own success.

Go to the Five Friends Business Summit web site and sign up today!

Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:57 PM
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10.05.16

5 Questions to Ask When Managing in the Gray

Managing Gray

JOSEPH BADARACCO PROVIDES A WAY to resolve the inevitable gray areas we will all face from time to time in Managing in the Gray. It is the core of a leaders work.

Gray areas demand our best judgment. The five questions provide a way to get there. They are “a distinctive way of sizing up gray area issues, analyzing them carefully, grappling with their full, human complexity, and then—and only then—making final decisions.”

Avoid the temptation to skip a question or pick a favorite. “This approach improves deliberation and judgment because the questions complement, correct, and strengthen each other.”

5 Questions to work through the gray of difficult decisions:

What are the net, net consequences?
The critical first step requires thinking deeply putting aside your own self-interest. Don’t oversimplify. That means don’t just think about those things you can put a number to. “Life is a rich canvas, not a cartoon.” Understanding the net, net consequences means thinking in terms of “everything that matters to us as human beings: hope, joy, security, freedom from hazards, health, friendship, and love, risk, suffering, and dreams.” What are we trying to do for people, not to them?

Keep in mind we have a strong self-enhancement bias. We tend to see too quickly. The process is important when working on gray area problems. “How you work on a problem can be as important as what you ultimately decide to do.”

Get the right people in the room. Assign a couple people to play devil’s advocate. Begin by developing a list of things you could do as opposed to what you should do. Then work out the possible outcomes of each possibility.

What are my core obligations?
“When trying to resolve a gray area problem, you have to develop an answer—for yourself—to the question of what your core human obligations require you to do and not do in the situation you face.” In a business situation it is important to take a hard look at the economics but at the same time you need to look past the economics and try resolving the issue like a human being. When looking at a gray area problem you must awaken your moral imagination. Edmund Burke described it as a “reaction to a situation that the heart owns and the understanding ratifies.” Again, make it part of the process.

What will work in the world as it is?
More than what will work. What will work in the world as it is? Don’t let idealistic notions distort your thinking. “If you have serious responsibilities, you must avoid the trap of seeing the world as you want it to be.” “The question asks managers if they are prepared to do what is necessary in this world—to serve the interests of people who depend on them and also protect themselves and advance their own objectives.” The question becomes, “How resilient is my plan and how resilient am I?” Badaracco offers five step to help you answer with eyes-wide-open realism.

Who are we?
This questions guides leaders to see their identities as woven into the fabric of their surrounding communities. “It then encourages them to seek options that will reflect, express, and give reality to the norms and values of the communities to which they belong.” We are social creatures. “It is relationships, values, and norms that make us who we are.” See the problem in context. “When you face a hard gray area issue, you should spend a few minutes stepping back and trying to understand the situation in terms of some of the defining experiences in your organization’s history that matter to you and help you understand what your organization stands for.”

What can I live with?
Not what is best or right, but what you can live with. After all is said and done It is quite possible—even probable—that you will not find a solution. If that’s the case you have to create an answer you can live with. It means “you did all you could, but you’ve only met a minimum standard of acceptability.” And of course, you have to take responsibility for it. “Gray area decisions inevitably reflect and reveal the personal priorities of the person who makes them.” And so these kinds of tough questions push you to reflect on what you can live with. They test competence and character. What are your convictions? Alfred P. Sloan wrote in his autobiography, “The final act of business judgment is, of course, intuitive.”

Badaracco concludes: “Men and women should approach gray area issues as managers and resolve them as human beings.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:09 PM
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10.03.16

Richard Koch on Principles

Principles

PRINCIPLES ARE WONDERFUL THINGS, because if they are really powerful they can save us enormous effort and stop us going down dead ends. In science and business there are just a few such principles; but whereas most scientists are aware of the beautiful principles in their field, few business people are guided by principles in their daily work, preferring to rely on methods—the next level down.

Yet as the nineteenth-century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

To qualify, a principle must be so overwhelmingly powerful that ordinary mortals—such as you or me—can reliable create ordinary results, not through personal brilliance, but just by following the principle carefully and with a modicum of common sense.

Adapted from Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed by Richard Koch and Greg Lockwood.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:19 PM
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10.01.16

First Look: Leadership Books for October 2016

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in October.

  Rock Bottom to Rock Star: Lessons from the Business School of Hard Knocks by Ryan Blair
  Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed by Richard Koch, Greg Lockwood and Perry Marshall
  Becoming a Leader of Character: 6 Habits That Make or Break a Leader at Work and at Home by James L. Anderson and Dave Anderson
  Small Acts of Leadership: 12 Intentional Behaviors that Lead to Big Impact by G. Shawn Hunter
  Hopping over the Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure into Success by Anthony Scaramucci

Rock Bottom to Rock Star Simplify Art of Community Cheat Code Rabbit Hole

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:31 AM
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09.30.16

LeadershipNow 140: September 2016 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from September 2016 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:56 PM
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09.27.16

The 10 Laws of Trust

10 Laws of Trust

IN The 10 Laws of Trust, JetBlue Chairman and Stanford Professor Joel Peterson begins by reminding us that “when it comes to building great companies, a leader’s job isn’t to make it to the top of the mountain alone. Instead, the task is to help others reach peaks they want to climb but might not be able to without the help of the leader.” That leaves no room for distrust.

“Trust is a leap of faith rooted in optimism.” It means giving away some control.

Trust levels differ from organization to organization. While trust levels are not fixed, ‘what tends to motivate people within any organization tells you what level of trust you might realistically hope for.” So low-trust organizations rely on fear and high-trust organizations are motivated by duty and love.

Trust Levels

The goal of a leader is to move their organization to the high-trust duty and love end of the spectrum.

Peterson offers 10 steps how to establish and maintain a culture of trust:

1. Start with personal integrity.
Doing what you say you will do. Promise less and do more. On and off the job. “Even if you’re not where you want to be, team members who see leaders working on shortcomings will tend to trust them, and enterprise-wide trust will grow.”

2. Invest in respect.
Respect is how trust is expressed. Listening well signals respect in others. “Honoring those who aren’t present is an ideal way to show respect for those who are.”

3. Empower others.
Trust is a choice. “Mistrustful organizations are preoccupied with keeping people from doing their worst, while high-trust organizations focus on empowering people to do their best.” People will make mistakes but accepting that fact comes with the decision to trust. After sharing a personal story from his childhood, Peterson said, “Being trusted after having failed was indelibly empowering.” That’s when it matters most.

4. Measure what you want to achieve.
What am I being trusted to do? “Trust comes with a scoreboard, with clarity around how results will be measured.”

5. Create a common dream.
Your mission statement should express unique ways people can be respected members of a winning team doing something meaningful. “When people can rally around a common goal, reaching for a summit that’s consistent with their values, they’ll sacrifice together, life each others’ burdens, and do their utmost not to let each other down.”

6. Keep everyone informed.
In low-trust cultures, communication is lacking. You are always communicating so be intentional. “Leaders should avoid the trust-destroying silence, secrecy, and doublespeak so damaging to organizations.”

7. Embrace respectful conflict.
Conflict is always with us. What separates low-trust from high-trust is how we deal with it. Create an environment where the best ideas win not the best presenters. Run toward the fire. “When you chose to ignore or run away from bad news, you’re only doing a disservice to yourself, your colleagues, and your family—and you’re violating their trust in you.”

8. Show humility.
“To be effective, high-trust leaders must see themselves as both vital and dispensable….If you want to be a high-trust leader, you’ve got to be in the center—without being the center.”

9. Strive for win-win negotiations.
Think long-term. It’s an ongoing conversation that either builds or diminishes your reputation. “You’re not obligated to make sure those on the other side get a great deal, but you do want them to walk away feeling respected.”

10. Proceed with care.
People do betray our trust. “But if one grants trust only after carefully evaluating Character, Competence, and Authority, betrayal is less likely.”

Building or rebuilding a high-trust culture is a “patient, one-person-at-a-time, conversation-by-conversation process.” And forgive.

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