Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time for Co-Active Leadership

Easy to read.  Quick to read.  Powerful learning.  Unlike so many leadership books, Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead, by Karen and Henry Kimsey-House breaks down
leadership into an easy to understand and implement model.  The Co-Active Leadership Model is broken down into the Co-Active Leader Within, in Front, Behind, Beside, and in the Field.  Before you even start reading, you have a good idea where it’s going which helps you understand even better.  A big focus on who we are, what matters, and making connections.

Leadership is not just about standing within your own bubble and outwardly directing.  This book shows us how to get over that, and to become a complete responsible leader that others want. It's just the size and type of book that's perfect to use for a leadership development program full of people who "don't have time". Once they read Co-Active Leadership they'll be asking for more. . . . . Maybe Co-Active Coaching?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Genius of Opposites

Opposites attract, right?  Sometimes in better ways than others.  Understand how introverts and extroverts can
work together and you’ve got a winning team.  We know that opposites have differences . . . duh.  The key is to understand what those differences are and enrich those different skills to understand and appreciate the other.

Jennifer Kahnweiler’s new book, The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together, shows us how to work, together, with someone who is our opposite.  This is a five-step plan to grow a cohesive partnership.  Conflict can be a good thing and Jennifer uses some excellent examples of famous opposites to explain.

Being an introvert myself, I found this book compelling and strengthening.  With the information, examples, tools, and techniques included in this book, it would make a great series of lunch and learns for your leaders and team members.

I'm pleased to have Jennifer Kahnweiler as my guest blogger today.

Email: a Multiplier of Misunderstandings?

When was the last time you came back to your office and listened to 100 voicemails?  More likely you responded to the many emails in your inbox.

I reached my saturation point a few weeks ago after I realized that I had not one live conversation all day.  That is an energy drain for an extrovert.  The real tipping point came during a back and forth email dialogue with an introverted work colleague.

As our email tennis match proceeded, I could see the misunderstandings multiply.  I wrote him an email to ask for a five minute phone call to clear up the issue.  He wrote back, asking me if we could “settle it on email”.  “No way,” I thought.  “It would take more time to write each other again that it will to talk.”

So, a bit nervously, I picked up the phone and dialed his number anyway.  We had a brief conversation in which he explained his position and we discussed several viable options.  The matter was resolved in four minutes.
I know that, as an introvert, he prefers to communicate via email.  As an extrovert, I agree — most of our communication can be handled that way.  I also believe that a personality preference is not a prescription for every situation.  There are times when we need to be able to ask each other questions, dig a little deeper, and listen to a person’s voice tone to better understand their point of view.  We also need to clearly express what we mean.

To what degree should the situation drive the communication mode?  How much do you moderate your preferred style to accommodate others?

Originally published 2/6//2009 on JenniferKahnweiler.com.
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., Certified Speaking Professional, is a bestselling author and global keynote speaker known as the “champion for introverts.” In addition to her latest book, The Genius of Opposites, she has written two bestselling books about introverts (Quiet Influence and The Introverted Leader), which have been translated into 14 languages.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Soft As A Brick and The Anatomy of Peace

The Anatomy of Peace, by The Arbinger Institute . . . what a great new (revised) book, for business
AND personal life.  I hear a lot about trying to separate work and home and the more I hear and read the more I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible.  This book will help with that balance.  After reading, you’ll look at everyday things and people so differently.  We cause conflict.  We hold on to conflict.  But we also have the ability to solve conflict.  It all comes from within and how WE relate to OTHERS.  We can’t sit back and wait for someone else to take the first step.  Be proactive and read this book and learn from deep within about the person that you can, and should be.

Today I have the honor of hosting Sam Whitney, Client Solutions Manager at The Arbinger Institute, with a great lesson for us all.

Soft As A Brick
Some time ago I worked as a trainer for a fairly large organization. As a trainer I had to coordinate with employee supervisors in order to obtain training topics and schedule training. One of my supervisors was not helping me; in fact he was sabotaging my trainings. And, it seemed clear, he was doing it on purpose. He would “forget” to schedule the sessions, not give me proper topics, and then undermine what I was saying during the training sessions. I was very close to making a formal complaint and I was hopeful I could get him fired.  I had been working with my training supervisor for months looking for a solution to all the problems he was causing me. I wasn’t treating him poorly, and I felt I was doing a great job as a trainer; I had no clue as to why he was being such a problem.

Soon the book The Anatomy of Peace fell into my lap with a recommendation that it might help solve my problem. My first reaction was “I don’t need this, I just need to get this supervisor out of my way.” But I was wrong. As I read the book I was impressed how the ideas challenged me to get outside of my own way of seeing. This was really hard for me to do because it forced me to see this supervisor as a person. There was one line in the book that changed the whole game for me, “We invite in others the very behaviors we say we hate.” When I read that I realized I needed to be responsible for my contribution to the problem I was having. I was finally able to see how I was actually provoking negative behavior from this supervisor. It turns out the way I was going about scheduling was not working for the supervisor; it was hindering his own scheduling. I was also training in a way that was not taking into account what the employees needed and what the supervisor needed. I found out that he thought I was the problem.

I decided to have a meeting. In this meeting I told the supervisor all the things I was doing that I thought were getting in his way or making his life harder. He was impressed and after discussing both of our needs and objectives we saw that neither of us was worthy of firing. We both were trying our best but had been blind to how we were affecting each other.

From that moment on our work changed dramatically. Training's improved. We held them more often and with better topics. The employees benefited, sales increased overall, and the company was able to see improved engagement from its employees.

Here at Arbinger we have a saying about The Anatomy of Peace—it’s about as soft as a brick. It hit me hard when I needed it most.

Sam Whitney is Client Solutions Manager at the Arbinger Institute, the organization-author of the bestsellers Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace, which teach concepts and models designed around the idea that seeing people as people can dramatically impact the results we achieve in organizations, in relationships, and in the world. Click here to learn more.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Treasure in Books

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island
and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."

This is one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes.  A lot of quotes we see, no matter who they come from, tend to be just soundbites.  But they're just comments with little actual meaning and left up to the reader to interpret.

But this quote leaves little to figure out.  Reading is important.  It's important all the way through school . . . and beyond.  Anything you want to learn more about is probably in a book.  The Internet can be a great resource, but it doesn't take the place of a great book.

Whether we're trying or not, learning never ends and we all need to feed that learning.  I'm always talking about this with leaders.  Things change, people change, cultures change, and there are a number of author's out there that keep up on these changes for us.  All we need to do is pick up a book here and there.

Take a look at some of these author's writings and build your loot:  Mark Miller, Bill Treasurer, Julie Winkle Giulioni, Lee Cockerell, Cheryl Bachelder, Ken Blanchard, Chris Edmonds, Kevin Eikenberry.  Now get out there and pick up a book.

Monday, June 15, 2015

“To Do” or “To Stop?”

Well, I've been away from the blogosphere for about a month, but what a great way to
jump back in.  Today's guest blogger is John Manning, author of the brand new book, The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus onWhat Really Matters.  Whether your leadership is in need of focus or refocus, this book is the place to go.  John gives you the tools to prioritize and create the right balance of activities to achieve the most successful results.

“To Do” or “To Stop?”
If you’re struggling with time management and feeling overwhelmed by the trivial many, it’s time to create a “To Stop” list.

Include activities on your list that aren’t vital to your professional and personal life and that can either be terminated or delegated to others. Consider involving your staff members in helping you develop this list, asking for their input. You may have people on your team who are happy to step up and assume more responsibility to improve their own skills. Lose what lacks real value in your life, and you’ll free up more time to focus on the “vital few” factors that drive your success.

Here are four steps to help you develop your “To Stop” list:

Evaluate where you spend your time. Pick an average week or month and chart your activities — write down what you are doing and what percentage of time you are spending on various tasks and responsibilities, e.g., answering emails, conference calls, putting out proverbial fires, etc. Within that snapshot, analyze when you were most productive — what did that look like? When were you least productive — what did that look like? Of everything you’ve listed, what really matters? Anything that qualifies as “noise” or is extraneous to your company’s mission and core strategies isn’t vital. Those are the items that belong on your “To Stop” list.

Understand the impact. Once you’ve charted what you’re truly doing with your precious time, it will be impossible to ignore or overlook the correlation between the “trivial many” and lost productivity. Let that discovery and any associated revelations (good or bad!) get under your skin and motivate you. Embrace this very natural catalyst to jumpstart the changes you’ll personally need to make.

Challenge yourself to let go. Just as you would with an unhealthy relationship or a bad habit, call upon self-discipline to let go of the work habits undermining your progress, productivity and profit. Take your “To Stop” list and start acting on it. Challenge your team and ask them to step up and take on some added responsibility. Simply put, to stop what’s on your “To Stop” list! Either find someone else to do it or quit it altogether.

Stay focused on the “Vital Few.” Once you’ve eliminated the “trivial many” from your daily agenda, be proactive about doing more of what’s essential to your success. How? Dedicate your free minutes to the “Vital Few,” whatever is directly related to your core mission, critical goals, or only what you can or should do. Stay the course, centered in this way, and you’ll find it’s much easier to avoid the temptation to slip back into old habits or get derailed by those ever-new distracters.

What are some of the “trivial” things you do that you could assign to others?

Originally published February 9. 2015

John Manning is the president of Management Action Programs, Inc. (MAP), and author of The Disciplined Leader - now available on Amazon. Learn more about his work at www.disciplinedleader.com, or connect with him on Twitter @JohnMManning.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Tuna Sandwich Named Kevin

I just recently saw one of those cute little sayings on Facebook that said, “Strange new trend at the
office. People putting names on food in the company fridge. Today I had a tuna sandwich named Kevin”.
As funny as that sounds, it’s actually pretty accurate. And that’s not so funny. Whether it’s a sandwich, an employee or personal space in the “cube farm”, R-E-S-P-E-C-T seems to be often missing. With a lack of respect comes a lack of trust. With a lack of trust comes an unproductive office. Oh yes, creativity also takes a hit.

Did I mention that teamwork suffers, as does enthusiasm and commitment to the organization? Let's not forget that customer service suffers. Motivation decreases, and so does communication.

Seems to be a trend here. Instead of having to deal with all of these negatives, why not show some respect for your employees and colleagues and turn those negatives into positives?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The NEW One Minute Manager

leaders.  It doesn’t matter if you read the original or not, you’re going to want to catch up with the new updated edition.  The underlying principles remain the same, however the book describes how effective leadership is now based more on side-by-side relationships instead of the dying top-down interpretation.

The One Minute Manager has been a staple on any leadership book list since 1982, and the revised edition is going to ensure that it stays there.  A lot has changed, technologically and professionally, since the ‘80’s, so it just makes sense that “One Minute” changes.

The three “secrets” of,
  • One Minute Goals - keep them front and center
  • One Minute Praisings - be honest
  • One Minute Re-Directs (formerly Reprimand) - for the learner (which we all should be)
have been updated, to make huge differences for a new generation of leaders.

There are so many quotes in this book that will become classic all over again.  “Never punish a learner - re-direct their behavior.”  “The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.”

The book is still an easy 100 page read, so take advantage of an afternoon to make a difference for yourself and for those you lead.  One minute really CAN make a difference.