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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Leadership Caffeine™—The Book and Coming Attractions!

stackofbooksrenderfileAs I mention in the video below, an off-hand comment from my brilliant webmaster, Bob, at DigiSage, gave life to the collection of essays in Leadership Caffeine—Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development. While Bob’s idea turned out to be a lot of work in culling down from 1,000 essays into the final 84, and then editing, annotating, and organizing them for publication, I am grateful for his brainstorm.

The best testament to any leadership and professional development book is that readers find it useful for advancing their cause.

The primary audience for this book has been groups, including: corporations, teams, departments, and industry associations, and the feedback I regularly receive assures me that readers find help for their most vexing challenges somewhere between the covers of this collection. I hope you do as well.

In celebration of the upcoming publication anniversary, I am pleased to offer an updated video overview of the book. For anyone interested in ordering 10 or more copies for their team, drop me a note for pricing information.

The Leadership Caffeine Family is Expanding: 

Last winter, I introduced the free e-book: A Bold Cup of Leadership Caffeine: A Short Guide to Stimulate High Performance  featuring all-new content beyond the book. This free resource blasted off on day one and continues to be downloaded at an impressive clip every day. Please share it far and wide with your team members and with my appreciation for your readership.

Incoming-Focusing on Project Leadership: 

In a few weeks, I will launch: Leadership Caffeine for Project Managers: Ideas and Inspiration to Help You Survive, Sustain and Succeed!

Many of you know that I have spent much of my professional time in the world of high tech and software project management and that I serve as a graduate management instructor in the topic. This collection is a direct outgrowth of my experience and work as an educator and team developer in this arena and as a testament to my regard and belief in the professionals in this great and critical role. I cannot wait to make it available to you!

Look for details on pre-launch pricing in the upcoming weeks as well as information on the  webinars and the keynote and workshop offerings that correspond with the book.

Yours in professional development and success,

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Art Petty serves senior executives and management teams as a performance coach and strategy facilitator. Art is a popular speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


Art’s Leadership & Management Writing for the Week Ending 1/2/16

NewsflashIn case you missed it:

At the Management Excellence Blog:

Writing as the Management and Leadership Expert at About.com:

  • Everything I Know About Managing I Learned Playing Video Games: OK, while the title is a stretch, perhaps we as managers can take a lesson or three from the game designers who have turned work into fun, cracked the code on engagement and possibly enabled the most powerful problem-solving approach known to human-kind.
  • Seven Ideas to Strengthen Your Team’s Performance: In today’s workplace, teams are the engines of innovation, problem-solving and everything new. However, high performance teams don’t spontaneously generate. As a leader, you’re accountable for the hard work of building the environment for performance to emerge. Here are some tips to help your cause.
  • Want to Lead? Consider Becoming a Project Manager. Project Managers are the unsung heroes of our corporate world for all of their efforts and results to translate ideas and customer needs into reality by guiding and groups in pursuit of something unique. The role is also a remarkable leadership training ground. Here are some thoughts on focusing your leadership development efforts in this remarkable field.
  •  Developing as a Manager in an Era of Uncertainty. Today’s and tomorrow’s managers face some profoundly complicated challenges. In my lead-off post as the Management and Leadership Expert at About.com, I share some thoughts on cultivating the skills needed for success in this difficult role.

That’s all for the week. It’s forward and onward with the new year and new week. And remember that success as a leader is built one encounter at a time. Make them all count! 

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You can catch all of the latest by subscribing to the Management Excellence blog (e-mail or RSS) or visit/subscribe to the Management and Leadership section at About.com.

For subscriber-only content, register for the Leadership Caffeine or New Leader’s e-news.


Just One Thing—Hug a Project Manager

Just One ThingThe “Just One Thing” Series at Management Excellence is intended to provoke ideas and actions around topics relevant to our success and professional growth. Use them in good health and great performance!

My wife informed me that June 4 was officially, “Hug Your Cat Day.” (Who decides this?) While dog lovers everywhere were likely nauseous over this seeming waste of energy, it was a nice sentiment, albeit, one wasted on a creature that would clearly let you know if and when he/she required you to extend a hug. When it was darned well ready of course.

Perhaps a better use of this date and gesture might be to encourage those of us in our jobs and firms dependent upon big things getting done to seek out and either genuinely or metaphorically hug a project manager.

One of the core takeaways my MBA students express after investing 10 weeks immersed in the art and science of this discipline is new found appreciation for the role project managers play in our organizations. Few come into the course understanding the importance of the role; the complexity of the people and process challenges and the nature of the leadership and execution challenges faced by these individuals.

They leave understanding that innovation occurs in the form of projects…as does strategy execution, new product development…new infrastructure implementation…and the reality that almost everything we depend upon to do our jobs originated in the form of one or more projects. They develop an appreciation for the tools of project management…not as magical answers to our problems…but literally as tools to help us get work done.

They also leave the course understanding that project managers are the consummate integrator leaders…working across boundaries, often with little authority but much of the accountability. It’s a role that is perpetually on the hot seat…often with little support.

Firms that get project management use it as a tool to pursue competitive advantage…to spearhead innovation efforts they can commercialize and to ensure they are able to deploy the latest and best technologies to serve their customers and optimize their efficiencies.

In my travels across firms large and small, it’s common for me to encounter situations where the role is poorly defined…the practices loose with little leveraging of the tools and methodologies available to support project success.

And all too often, I find over-worked, under-compensated and under-developed but well-intended people fighting an uphill battle for resources while navigating too many initiatives. Sponsorship and career or skills development are often absent. This is wrong. A great project manager is a difference maker and project competency is critical to organizational success.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

So instead of waiting for your cat to decide it needs a hug, find a way to support your project manager. Work on serving as a better team member. If you’re an executive, figure out what it means to be a sponsor for projects and invest your energy in getting it right. If you’re a manager or someone responsible for project managers, ensure that you are investing in and supporting the development of these critical resources. If you’re firm is operating in an ad hoc mode on initiatives, you are leaving money on the table. Fix this.

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register herebook cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

For more ideas on professional development-one sound bite at a time, check out: Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.

New to leading or responsible for first time leaders on your team? Subscribe to Art’s New Leader’s e-News.

An ideal book for anyone starting out in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.

Art of Managing—Humility, Teamwork and Focus

Graphic with the words of Art of Managing and other management termsThe Art of Managing series is dedicated to exploring the critical issues we face in guiding our firms and teams to success in today’s volatile world.

Note from Art: this post inspired by the excellent new book, “The Navy Seal Art of War—Leadership Lessons from the World’s Most Elite Fighting Force,” by Rob Roy with Chris Lawson.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, the late, great quality and management guru, W. Edwards Deming responded with, “I probably won’t be remembered.” After thinking about it, he added, “I would like to be remembered for trying to keep (American) businesses from committing suicide.”

While wrong on the former…although I’m finding less and less familiarity with Deming and his work with my ready-to-graduate MBA students, his emphasis on railing against and eliminating the sloppy management approaches that destroy potential and confound otherwise motivated employees (regardless of country affiliation) is still very relevant. Perhaps now more than ever, given the complexity of today’s world versus the world that rose from the ashes of World War II that Deming experienced.

In a sea of books and articles published regularly on navigating complexity in our world today, few capture the solution as succinctly as the three words: humility, teamwork and focus. (Roy uses the appropriate military appropriate term, “mission” in place of my choice of the word focus.)

One defines the attitude required for success from the top to the bottom; one defines the essential obligation of each and every individual engaged in any initiative and the other describes the need for context or common purpose. Misfire on one or more of these and the results range from poor to disastrous.

The New Ingredients for Organizational Success:

The firms and teams I’m finding that are succeeding in this world characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity and risk have re-thought 3 core issues tied to these terms:

1. The role of the leader. Today’s effective leader exists primarily to serve the team. The role is very little about command and control and much more about serving and supporting and importantly, working relentlessly to realize an environment that allows a true team to emerge and sustain. It’s less about authority and much more about recruiting and developing talent, establishing and reinforcing expectations and accountability and about serving and protecting the team members. And, it’s about ensuring that team members are able to step up and lead if the situation demands it. This leader…today’s effective team leader in my view is one who is good with people…not one who leads solely based on title and level in a hierarchy. I like this leader. It feels like we’re finally getting this role right for this world we live and work in.

2. The critical importance of the team. Look at the reported statistics on failure rates with the two most relevant team challenges in our organizations: strategy execution and project management (McKinsey on strategy execution failure; Standish Group Chaos Report on project failure), and it is safe to conclude that many of us haven’t cracked the code on deriving value from the sum of the parts with our teams.

In my observations of many different organizations who are winning in today’s environment, at least part of their success stems from having fundamentally rethought everything about the nature, purpose, structure, leadership and support of the team. Gone from these environments are the loose confederations of resources, replaced instead by lean groups comprised of cognitively diverse individuals focused on a single mission. Focus is key…and in my experience, it is almost always missing with groups who are flailing or who have failed. And of course, where I’m finding teams that are working…succeeding with innovation, product development, IT infrastructure deployment and strategy execution, I don’t have to look far to find a leader that fits the description above. Often they are the quietest ones in the room. Humble but fierce.

3. The attitude about risk. Risk has long been something we strive to tame, but much like the weather, we’re better off doing everything we can to anticipate changes and adverse events and then learning to quickly respond or adapt. Teams that are winning have invited risk to their parties in the form of fast-to-fail or the positive form, fast-to-learn type approaches. Instead of giving lip-service to experimentation (which demands failure on the path to success), they are living it and learning from it at a hyper pace. The focus on team; the right leadership and the focus on the mission are essential ingredients to enabling successful experimentation.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

I’m growing fatigued with firms frozen in place as they watch their world change while they grow more obsolete by the minute. This is an outcome of leadership failure at the top and chronic organizational laziness. Similarly, while the work products (books, articles) that describe the complexities of today’s and tomorrow’s worlds are fascinating… they do a great job describing the ever-changing weather, they often fail to offer much help on how to survive, adapt and succeed. At least part of the answer is simple…but not simplistic. Rethink the role of the leader; rethink and accept risk as essential to learning in your environment and strive to realize true teams versus those imposter groups that bungle so many of our initiatives. Humility, teamwork and focus are three powerful starter ingredients.

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! (All new subscriber-only content!) Register herebook cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

For more ideas on professional development-one sound bite at a time, check out: Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.

New to leading or responsible for first time leaders on your team? Subscribe to Art’s New Leader’s e-News.

An ideal book for anyone starting out in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.