Leadership Caffeine Anniversary, Special Offers and a Coming Attraction

I continue to be slightly amazed and always humbled at the reception to my book/article collection, “Leadership Caffeine: Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.”

Today is the sixth anniversary of the publication this work, and the content on navigating change, uncertainty and developing and supporting great professionals and great teams is arguably more relevant today than ever before. The fact that groups from law enforcement, municipal government, not-for-profits and dozens of commercial enterprises use it as part of their leadership development programs is the humbling part!

I was asked at a keynote recently where the idea for this collection of my articles came from, and for the first time ever, I share the secret!

I am also thankful for my great friend Wally Bock who initially advised me against the format of this book and then updated his advice in “Book Writing Lessons from Leadership Caffeine.” 

3 Special Offers to Celebrate the Leadership Caffeine Anniversary

1. 5 Free Copies of Leadership Caffeine! 

(Note: I am thrilled to be sending out 5 copies to some great professionals. This promotion is concluded, however, #’s 2 and 3 are still open!)

In celebration of the anniversary of the publication of Leadership Caffeine, I am giving away one free book to the first 5 respondents (in the continental U.S.). Simply drop me a note indicating that you would like a copy and I will be happy to get one in the mail to you. (After the first 5 are gone, the offer concludes.)

2. Free Books to Jump-start your Leadership Discussion Group with Leadership Caffeine:

For the first respondent via e-mail who indicates he/she is starting a leadership discussion group at work and would like to use Leadership Caffeine as a resource, I will provide up to 5 copies at no charge. As an added bonus, I will be happy to join one session live for 30 minutes via telephone to field questions from your team. (Continental U.S. only.)

3. Arm your keynote/workshop audience with up to 100 free copies!

Book a keynote or workshop program with me before September 30, 2016 and receive up to 100 copies of the book free for your audience. (Note, this offer valid for organizations in the continental U.S. only, and subject to our mutual agreement on a speaking/program fee including travel expenses.) Drop me a note and we will set up a time to discuss your program needs.

Next! Coming Attraction: Leadership Caffeine for Project Managers

Inspired by my incredible MBA students in my project management course at DePaul University and the many audiences for my keynotes on project leadership, I am thrilled to pre-announce the forthcoming book, “Leadership Caffeine for Project Managers.”

This collection of articles focus on the issues and skills and behaviors that drive great performance with our project initiatives. The collection features 31 articles focused on the topics that keep project managers (or anyone who is leading a team/committee/group initiative) awake at night. The first edition will be an e-copy only, compatible with ibooks, Kindle, Nook or in pdf format. 

As in all of my management and leadership writing, every article offers ideas, insights and suggestions to help you strengthen performance in the workplace.

Learn more.

Look for more information on the planned September, 2016 release of this new work!

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Practical Lessons in Leadership

book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

Art Petty is a coachspeaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.

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The Checklist App for Living and Leading

Your Checklist for Professional GrowthThere are seemingly endless opportunities to waste our time in search of improved productivity, increased creativity and higher quality in our personal and working lives. The buffet of apps for our devices and seemingly endless articles offering tips to help us conquer our personal drift toward entropy are everywhere. It feels like everyone is looking for help and no one is truly finding what they need.

In my informal polling of people I encounter, most are not feeling better organized and prioritized and on-task as a result of their apps or the advice articles. Most people tend to look and act like their hair is perpetually on fire.

Perhaps we’re looking for technology to solve a distinctly analog (human) challenge.

The other day I observed a pilot at a small regional airport prepare to fly his private plane on a cross-country journey carrying his wife and infant child. Precious cargo.

He walked slowly around the plane looking it over and testing the various moveable parts. He made certain the gas caps were secure, ran his hands over the plane’s surface and then satisfied that all was good, he climbed into a cockpit filled with technology and proceeded to pull out the most fundamental of all personal productivity and quality tools, the checklist.

This pilot has thousands of hours of flight time gained in over 40 years of flying. I suspect he could recite the preflight checklist in his sleep. Nonetheless, he diligently checked every item on the list as if it was his first time preparing to fly.

No other tool so clearly focuses our attention and requires us to acknowledge completion.

As a lifesaving tool, the use of the checklist is probably responsible for the overall great safety record in the aviation industry.

What We Need is A Checklist for Living and Leading:

Perhaps the app we are all looking for to ensure we do the right things in the right order to improve our productivity and quality is the tried and true checklist.

Here are some ideas for your own “preflight” checklists:

  • The life checklist reminds us to love our families, treat everyone we encounter with kindness and respect, take care of our physical and mental health and strive to learn from our copious personal mistakes. Some of us should include the reminder to not take ourselves too seriously.
  • The leadership checklist draws on the life checklist and reminds us of our responsibility to create value with every encounter—to strive to make someone’s situation better while helping them to do their best. The most potent reminder on this list is to “make meaning” through our actions.
  • The citizen’s checklist reminds us of our responsibilities as individuals living in a free land. It includes our obligation to serve our country, engage in civil discourse about civic issues and to never take our freedoms for granted.

The Bottom Line for Now:

Much like my pilot friend relying on this checklist to safely shepherd his family home, our own checklists will help us focus on what matters. Of course, like the pilot, you have to use it daily and diligently. Oh, and the best things about this checklist app: you don’t need to charge a device to run it, it doesn’t require you to invest in cloud storage and there’s no cost for upgrades ever.

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Practical Lessons in Leadership

book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

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Art Petty is a coachspeaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.

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We All Make the Choice to Transact or Transform

water-1117700__180As leaders, managers, and contributors, we make the choice every day to transact or transform in our encounters with colleagues and customers.  Many opt for the former, exhibiting the bare minimum amount of energy to reasonably fulfill their obligation to the other party. These people transact. In most cases their firms perpetuate a transactional culture that flows from the corporate offices out into the customer environment.

You see the transaction effect in the big, impersonal retail stores where cashiers seem to be trained to not make eye contact and almost never smile. You experience it at the airline counter and your doctor’s office and in so many other encounters in your daily life. These organizations and those in them who run the business simply don’t care.

That’s too bad, because the cost of striving to transform is negligible and the returns remarkable. It’s the best risk-reward ratio you will ever encounter. And if there is added cost to identifying and training people to give more than the bare minimum or, in spending more time in their encounters, it’s the best investment return available

Consider the small but transformational effect on someone’s mood and loyalty based on a smile, direct eye contact or a genuine offer to help. The clerk at the local ACE Hardware hooked me for life when she asked for my shopping list for my latest project and led me around the store for each item, offering guidance on the right and wrong choices. I would have spent hours mulling options and more time dealing with the wrong items and project slowdowns.

I drive to Rochester, MN for medical issues at the Mayo Clinic because their values and their hiring and training practices ensure that all their employees give more than the bare minimum for patients and families. When my son faced a serious challenge, the doctor and his team spent hours with us exploring options and answering questions. When we departed,the lights were off in the Clinic. It was two hours after closing time.

Consider the ripple effect of offering clear, timely positive and constructive feedback on a person’s growth and development. It’s a transformational discussion, not transactional content.

Consider the seismic impact of giving a good but inexperienced person a first-time chance to do something new. You are giving them an admission ticket to growth and learning that supports career development and transformation.

Consider the profoundly personal experience you are offering to someone who has made a mistake when you let them learn from the mistake versus punishing them.

The ripples from transformational behaviors spread far and wide.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

The good news is that each of us chooses whether to be transactional or transformational in our encounters. Even if your firm is transactional, strive to make the right choice and do your part to give more than the bare minimum for those you encounter on your daily journey. You never know how far out the ripples will reach. Perhaps they will touch you when you need them most.

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Practical Lessons in Leadership

book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

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Art Petty is a coachspeaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.

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What Story are You Telling?

bodymindspiritMost of us are telling the wrong story about ourselves and our work.

We are hardly ever conscious of the impact we have on people and as a result, our narrative—the story we project that describes why we do what we do is usually off. If we truly understood how we help—how we take burden away from others we might change our own narrative in the here and now. Getting your narrative right is essential for growth and success.

Is He a Trainer or Someone Who Helps Transform Others?

My wife and I attended the wedding of a great young couple recently. The groom is a personal trainer. He views his role through the eyes of a trainer and his narrative is about diet and exercise. His clients know otherwise.

While a few come to him simply for exercise, most seek him out because they have problems they want to solve. Big problems. Staving off diabetes and heart disease or overcoming the debilitating effects of prior physical trauma are the real drivers. Coping with depression or recovering from career trauma are others. One of his clients shared with me that the training and support he received from this young man helped him rediscover his soul as he detoxed from a career in corporate. Oh, and as a byproduct, he got in shape.

Exercise is his vehicle, but it should not be his narrative. His own story is much bigger and more important than exercise.

Although I have told him his impact transcends the guidance on exercise, I suspect he will not fully understand his impact for a number of years. Once it sinks in, the knowledge will transform him and his view of his role in the world. His work will no longer be a job but a calling and his narrative will evolve to focus on how he is truly able to help people transform.

Don’t Let Your Story Fade When You Walk Through the Door:

Mostly, our corporate narratives are crap and our own personal narratives when we are immersed in that environment earn the same label. We leave our homes as humans and we walk through the doors at work as automatons focused on the pursuit of numbers that have no meaning. We sublimate our own personal story or narrative to someone else’s whose focus is on the numbers. We also forget that numbers are always outcomes and we mistakenly look to them for motivation and inspiration.

No one was ever motivated or inspired by a number alone. It’s the quest behind the number that provides the fuel to act. It’s everyone’s understanding of the quest and their role in contributing to the process that sets the stage for the group’s success. To get this right, people have to be tuned in to their real purpose and comfortable with their narratives.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

The best managers and leaders understand what my trainer is still learning—that their purpose transcends the work and the measurements and instead focuses on capturing and stimulating the hearts and minds of their team members. Their narratives and their behaviors reflect their conviction in this purpose.

Get the narrative right and the right numbers follow.

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Practical Lessons in Leadership

book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

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Art Petty is a coachspeaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.

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When it Pays to Invest in Yourself

mindsetA good friend of mine was lamenting the small thinking on professional development he was encountering from some of his sales representatives. The issue was an upcoming industry conference and training opportunity. All of the representatives had the opportunity to attend, but there was a twist.

Depending upon the individual’s sales performance to-date, the firm would underwrite some, all or none of the costs. This was an extraordinary opportunity to gain access to industry leaders and highly regarded training. While the incentive was designed to reward top performers for their performance,  there was no intent to exclude those interested in improving their skills. They were welcome to attend at their own cost. (Note: all of the positions offer high levels of compensation commensurate with objective achievement.)

Several representatives who had not performed at a level that made them eligible for complete support had decided to forego the opportunity to attend this prestigious and educational event. “If the company is not paying for me to attend, I’m not going,” offered one individual.

The irony is not too hard to discern in this situation. The representatives refusing to underwrite a portion of their training are the ones that need it the most. They should be the first in line to invest. After all, they would be investing in themselves, and the upside from any improved sales performance would pay for itself many times over.

Working professionals who choose to not invest in their own skills development and knowledge expansion are effectively saying, “I know enough.” They are defaulting on their futures.” In this world of change, that view is naïve and personally destructive.

There is no stock, bond, real estate holding or lottery ticket that will ever offer you a better potential return than investing in yourself. And no, your company is not responsible for your development or your success in life.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Whether it is skills development, refreshing on technical expertise or simply refueling and recharging your creative batteries, it always pays to invest in yourself. And while not all learning experiences are created equal, all you need is one good idea or one good technique that you apply to make a profound difference in your future performance.

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Related Post:

How to Get the Most Out of Leadership Training

Practical Lessons in Leadership

book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

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Art Petty is a coachspeaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.

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