Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Trial to Prevent Error

This is a lesson about finding out the hard way.  I had the brilliant idea to record a computer training session on WebEx and then convert it to .mov or .wmv to import intoCamtasia for editing.  Seemed like a pretty easy process.  Except it didn’t work!
                        
After multiple attempts at converting, with the WebEx converter, I decided to look up the issue on online forums.  I didn’t see anything positive.  I then asked a couple of people I work with if they had ever tried to convert WebEx video.  They had . . . and it didn’t work.

Now this isn’t meant to be a WebEx bashing session, but if I had tested it out first, I would have realized that I should have recorded right to Camtasia instead of trying to convert the WebEx recording.  I could have saved myself a lot of time AND rework.  Now I have to go back and have the person who performed the training do it all over again.


Not a great outcome, but a great lesson in making sure that I try new things out ahead of time, no matter how good it sounds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dare to Serve . . . I Dare You


As soon as I read the table of contents I could tell I was going to like this book.  Part 1 -Whom will we serve? What is the daring destination?  Why do we do this work?  How will we work together?

I’m talking about Cheryl Bachelder’s new book, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others.  You may know her as the CEO of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.  A CEO with a new way to lead that, in seven years, increased profits by 40%.  Leadership style.  No fancy gimmicks.  Just Dare to Serve leadership.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the Starship exercise that "revealed some remarkably simple lessons in leading high-performance teams." These are five things that make me stop and shake my head, thinking, why don't more leaders do this? Focus on team member strengths, determine skill gaps, respect different talents. This is why Popeyes Franchise Owner Survey results changed so dramatically in five years.

With reflection questions throughout to keep you engaged and thinking, this is a book that any leader will gain insight from.  Some people just don’t grasp the idea of servant leadership, thinking they have to roll over and become submissive.  If this is you, pick up Dare to Serve and see what it’s really about.  Learn to serve others with humility, courage, and passion.  All while increasing productivity and profits.

As Cheryl says in the book, “avoid the spotlight”.  “A leader without personal responsibility remains stuck in the spotlight and fails to serve others well.”  Look at yourself in the mirror, and Dare to Serve others.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Close the Talent Gap

This week's guest blogger is Stacy Feiner, PsyD, author of the new book, Talent Mindset:
The Business Owner's Guide to Building Bench Strength.  This book is sure to help you get connected to your employee's and help you be able to better assess your talent pipeline.

Close the Talent Gap - People Drive the Numbers
Do you have a gap between wanting a bench of strong, talented individuals to take the company into the future, but realizing you do not have a system in place for building bench strength?

The big picture questions are:
  • ·    How will your business become agile and adaptable in our new economy?
  • ·    How can you hire the right people every time?
  • ·    Do you even believe you can?
  • ·    Can you build a bench that is ready to move into bigger roles without creating new holes?
  • ·    How can you get off the talent treadmill and break the cycle of hiring less than what your company needs to peak perform?

 The answer is Strategic Talent Management: By executing a full-circle process with people at the core, you can have a system for acquiring, developing, and engaging talent that is embedded within your overall business strategy.

Strategic Talent Management provides the mechanisms for bridging your culture with your strategy. We begin with a foundation (the philosophy of the owner), add the mechanics (the nine centers of excellence), and embed this process into the culture (engagement).

The process starts by exploring your beliefs about human nature and evolving a leadership philosophy, which compels you and empowers you to activate a strategy to attract, retain and engage people at your company. You will learn how to activate your team so they can evolve at the pace your business is growing because a common struggle for businesses is that their talent does not keep pace with the growth of the organization. Ultimately, Strategic Talent Management is the ability to shape a culture that fosters the attitude and behaviors that create an engine for success.

With a Strategic Talent Management mindset, you’re ready to apply the psychological strategies, not just the financial ones that will make your company agile and capable to weather economic storms or pull out in front when the conditions are smooth. This process helps you empower individuals to achieve their aspirations, increase productivity and drive to the bottom line. The process is ongoing. It’s a commitment to change the way you lead people, which changes the way you do everything. Strategic Talent Management is about building bench strength.

This is an excerpt from Talent Mindset (available on Amazon), and what you just read is merely the tip of the iceberg. I would love for you to visit me at stacyfeiner.com or connect on Twitter @stacyfeiner so that we can continue this conversation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Have Good Character?

Few parents REALLY know how to prepare their children for work life.  Even fewer take the
time. Joanie B. Connell’s new book, Flying Without a Helicopter, will give them a needed boost towards their child’s journey of self-awareness to prepare them for success, not requiring them to take years to figure it out.

This book is broken down into Problems, Solutions, and Exercises, making it easy to follow and to understand.  Whether you’re a parent, a young adult, or even a manager or business owner, you’re going to read this book and end up with some much needed insight into the TRUE meaning of work and life skills.


My guest blogger today just happens to be Joanie Connell. Think about your own character. Is it appropriate for teaching your children?


Why Have Good Character?
By Joanie Connell
One evening several years back, my husband, daughter and I were sitting around the kitchen table after dinner. My husband got up and went into the pantry and shut the door behind him. I heard a bunch of rustling noises, like plastic bags being handled. I couldn’t for the life of me think of why my husband would go into the pantry and shut the door, and what he could possibly be doing in there. Then all of a sudden I remembered that I had hidden all of the Halloween candy in there! He was eating it! What do you think I did? I covered for him in front of my daughter then I took a turn!

Yes, I still do feel guilty about it, 8 years later. It just doesn’t seem right to tell my daughter that she can’t eat candy but I can. But how many of us do this? How many parents hold their children to different standards than they hold themselves? It occurs in various forms.
  • The children should get all A’s, even though the parents didn’t.
  • The children should cross at the crosswalk, even though the parents don’t.
  • The children should never lie, even though the parents do.
  • The children should not drink alcohol before the legal age, even though the parents did.
  • The children should perform community service, but the parents don’t.

Children learn character from their parents. They catch us in a lie. They ask why it is okay to tell Grandma that her cake was delicious even though we threw it away. They hear us yelling at other drivers from the car. They see whether we return the shopping cart, whether we come to a full stop at the intersection, whether we download music from iTunes or someone else’s computer.

But we shouldn’t just have good character for our kids. We should have it for ourselves first and foremost. And if we don’t have good character for ourselves or our kids, we should have it because society needs people of character for it to succeed. If we all let ourselves go, looking out for no one but ourselves, cheating the rules, and ignoring requests, we will all lose. Humans are social beings; we need each other to survive. Why not treat each other well in the process?


Joanie B. Connell, Ph.D., is a talent management expert and career coach for people across job levels, ages, and industries. She works with companies to attract, develop, and retain top talent and she works with individuals to improve their success and happiness in their careers. Learn more about Joanie and her new book, Flying without a Helicopter online at flyingwithout.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sprinkles - It's What They Want

What an absolute joy to read.  Chip Bell’s new book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service, kept a smile on my face the whole way through.


As a customer service program/training developer, I’m always looking for new ideas and twists.  Looking at it from the perspective of a fun food that (most) everyone likes is brilliant.  It’s so easy to identify with.  Customers aren’t so brand loyal anymore.  They don’t want just everyday service.  They want it “a la mode”.  They want crushed graham crackers (my favorite), cherry’s, chocolate, candy, . . . they want sprinkles.

Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends”.  People will talk about your great service.  They won’t talk about you if you’re just, meh.  You have to add that extra sprinkle.

There are so many wonderfully entertaining stories, examples, and inspirations in this book that you’ll want to share it with others.  You won’t just want to share the book but actually start implementing some of the ideas Chip speaks about.  This is the type of book that reignites.  Reignites thinking, reignites desire, reignites the spirit of why you’re in business in the first place.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Hidden Leader

Monday launched the new book, The Hidden Leader, by Steve Edinger and Laurie Sain.  It definitely hits the nail on the head and should be read by anyone who searches out leaders.  Future leaders aren't always the most confident extroverts.  They're the ones taking the initiative to get the job done.  Today I'm happy to host a blog post by author Steve Edinger.  Enjoy.

This post was originally published at www.edingergroup.com on August 1, 2014
On July 14th, 2014, I was running with the bulls in Pamplona. The running of the bulls is part of the Festival of San Fermin, which has been held annually since the middle ages, honoring the patron saint of the city. I ran on the last day of the festival with a small group of friends. On the return flight home I couldn’t help but reflect on the experience, and some parallels to my work with clients designing and implementing successful strategies. Here they are.

1. Clearly define your strategy in specific detail. We wanted to complete the run safely by:
Holding off on our start until the bulls ran by. Nobody can keep up with a bull running 22-24 mph and we wanted to run with the bulls (behind them really), not in front of the bulls.

Running as close to the left side of the street as possible. (In our observation of the run on the previous day, and video footage of past races, it seemed that because of the turn before the area of our starting position, they tended to drift to the right side.)
Sticking together in pairs. We used the buddy system to look out for each other.

Finishing the run by breaking left toward the 9 o’clock position of the bullring as soon as we entered.

Defining the outcomes with specificity is much harder than it seems, and good strategies are clarified so that they are easily understood. They are precise and specific as it relates to objectives, and how those objectives are going to be achieved. This is the most difficult part of executive work, as it requires patience, making tough decisions and judgments, as well as a lot of critical thinking. Because of that, leaders are often in a rush to just get this work done. It is much easier to read and respond to emails, attend meetings and focus on the tactical work that doesn’t require as much thought.

2. Be prepared for your strategy not to go according to plan. How many projects or initiatives in your business have turned out exactly as they were planned? My experience has been that it is rare. On the morning of the run there was a light rain, which made the streets a little more slick than usual. Instead of the bulls running together in a pack (which is the best case) they got separated as they came around one of the turns. On this day, they were running closer to the left side of the street.  Despite your best efforts and research, you will never be able to rely completely on it, and you will never have all of the facts. For example, we learned only on the morning of the race that the Miura Bulls, renowned as Spain’s largest and fastest bulls, were reserved for the final day. Imagine how that made us feel.

Even if the assumptions we make in formulating strategies are incorrect, it is critically important to go through the progression of doing so. In the process you become keenly aware of different alternatives, capabilities, and scenarios, and if necessary can adapt quickly and make adjustments in real time. As Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said, “plans are nothing; planning is everything.”

3. Getting everyone in your company to understand and behave consistently with your culture is the most important thing you can do to get your strategy implemented.  Most of the runners in Pamplona shared the same goal—to finish without being punctured, pierced, or steamrolled. While there are always a few with different goals (some want to touch or run in between them), the vast majority shared that objective. But as soon as the rocket to start the race went off, things got pretty chaotic with runners of different speeds getting in each other’s way, and often hindering one another in their own rational self-interest.

Even when people in an organization have the same overall goals for the company to succeed, individual approaches can vary greatly. This tends to reduce quality of work and productivity, as well as create conflict. To prevent this, people must understand what is expected of them in your culture, and how they fulfill your strategy. Further, they need to have exemplars to look to as role models, and appropriate rewards and consequences.

4. Take time to evaluate your performance. For the entire day following the run as we traveled from Pamplona to Madrid before heading home, we relived every moment. The emotions leading up to the run, what happened during the run, what others saw from their vantage point and so forth. We only ran once, and in your organization the run is continuous.

My most successful clients are unquestionably those who review their strategy at regular intervals, make adjustments, and keep it dynamic. It doesn’t sit on a shelf in a binder. They work hard to integrate strategic perspective into all of the work they do and for any projects or initiatives.  They ask the question “how will this help us to achieve our strategy?”

The running of the bulls is an extraordinary and unique experience. While I’ll never do it again, I found valuable insights from the run that illustrated what is critical when creating and executing a strategy. Done well, you can still succeed even when everything doesn’t go as you expected. All 8 of us completed the running of the bulls, unscathed.


Scott Edinger is co-author of the new book The Hidden Leader. As founder of Edinger Consulting Group, Scott has worked with leaders in nearly every industry sector, helping them formulate and implement growth strategies, increase revenue and profit, develop leadership capacity, drive employee engagement, and attract and retain talent.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Refire! Don't Retire

Age is an attitude, not a number.  Anyone who’s “getting older” should read Ken Blanchard and Morton Schaevitz new book, Refire! Don’t Retire.

Too many people use age as an excuse to slow down, stop learning, and retire.  You’ve got a lot more time and adventure in you than you think.  Too many people just give in to time.  Here, you have an outline to refiring emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.

This book is so full of thought provoking ideas, you’re not going to want to put it down.  I know, I know, “I don’t like to read”.  Well, fine.  Get the book anyway and just go through the Pause, Reflect, Take Action questions at the end of each section.  I guarantee you’ll have a number of “a-ha” moments.

Not thinking about retirement yet?  Read it anyway.  There are many doors waiting in your future (and present) besides the retirement door.  Start your renewal now.  Enhance relationships, stimulate minds, and revitalize bodies.  You have the knowledge and ability in you, you just need some help pulling it out and putting it all together.  Blanchard and Shaevitz are going to guide you.

Don’t plan on getting old.  Plan on living life.  If you’re living too well to look at the clock, you won’t need to know what time it is.  You’ve got the steps to a more fulfilling life, now put it all together and live!