Friday Leadership Ideas to Help You Finish the Week Strong for August 7, 2015

put it in contextEvery week I share a few ideas to help you finish strong. A great ending sets the stage for success next week.

1. Reinforce the Importance of Your Team’s Efforts to Corporate Strategies and Goals

People do their best work when they have context for the importance and impact of their efforts. In too many organizations, corporate and functional goals are discussed at the beginning of the year and rarely referenced other than in financial language during the balance of the year. Over time, people lose a sense of connectivity between their work priorities and the big picture, allowing the cadence to slow to a crawl and inviting less relevant side-initiatives to take root.

Sit down with your team members and review the firm’s updated strategy content. Be certain to showcase how your team’s efforts connect to the core strategies and key goals. Tie your group’s core metrics to the bigger corporate health metrics. Add an executive to the discussion to talk about the challenges the firm is running into with key strategies and encourage your team members to ask questions or offer ideas on how they can increase their support for the big picture.

2. Reach Out and Connect with Remote Colleagues

Having live and worked outside of the home city of my firm for many years, I am sensitive to the sense of creeping isolation that often comes with this set-up. Make time today to reach out by phone or video with a number of your far flung colleagues and find out what they’re thinking. If they operate in customer-facing roles…e.g. sales, services or support, pick their brains on what they are hearing from customers. Ask about how coordination and communication is working with corporate-based teams and colleagues and discuss and agree on opportunities to visit corporate or connect at regional meetings in the near future.

In my experience, most remote workers are incredibly dedicated to their work and they are hungry to engage and help the firm improve. A bit of extra effort to connect with these individuals will help you uncover their great ideas and remind them they are part of something bigger than the view from their home office window.

3. Weekend Reading:

Yes, weekends are for reading and thinking. What’s teed up on your nightstand or e-reader? Next up for me:

  • Humans are Underrated—What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will, by Geoff Colvin
  • The New IT—How Technology Leaders are Enabling Business Strategy in the Digital Age, by Jill Dyché, foreword by Geoffrey Moore.

I’ll loop back and share my thoughts on these exciting new books in the next few weeks.

For some short and insightful leadership writing, check out the August, 2015 Leadership Development Carnival hosted by LeadChange Group. I’m honored to be included with some of the most inspiring and thoughtful leadership writers out there. Enjoy this great resource.

That’s it for now. Remember to finish strong and come back next week prepared to conquer the world! -Art

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.

 

New Leader Tuesday—The Hard Work of Leading Effectively

Text image with New Leader Tuesday and a variety of management termsThe New Leader Tuesday series is dedicated to helping first-time, early career and even experienced professionals with a “beginner’s mind” progress on their journey towards effective leadership.

Note from Art: this content is excerpted from my book with Rich Petro, Practical Lessons in Leadership—A Guidebook for Aspiring and Experienced Leaders.

If you’re new to the role of guiding others, here’s the preface to your real job description. Use it in good health and in pursuit of greatness!

At Least Nine Attributes of Great Leaders:

1. Great leaders realize that their role is less about themselves and more about what they can do to encourage and aid the development of the people around them.

2. Great leaders are driven every day to positively impact their business and their people.

3. Great leaders realize they are human and make mistakes. They understand that it is OK for everyone to see and learn from their own mistakes.

4. Great leaders understand that they are being constantly scrutinized to see if their actions match their words. The do of the leader must match the tell!

5. Great leaders are driven by a love of teaching and a passion for learning.

6. Great leaders understand the impact they have on the people around them and they keep this in mind when praising and criticizing.

7. Great leaders make decisions. They understand the power they wield to control progress through their decision-making.

8. Great leaders understand their primary role is to create the proper working environment necessary for success given the circumstances and talent at the time. They work at forming and framing this environment every day.

9. Great leaders understand that they need quality people to succeed. They constantly focus on the identification and development of these individuals.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Leading effectively is hard work. Slackers need not apply.

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

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register here

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

Order one or both books for your team. Contact Art.

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

Looking Ahead: Changes at the Management Excellence Blog in 2014

what is your mission?Fresh off the heels of running my annual post on the need for leaders to eschew annual resolutions in favor of a continuous refresh, I’m contradicting myself just a bit with my “blogging resolutions” for the year.

I like the idea of making the goals public. Nothing like visibility to promote accountability!

A Bit of Context:

Much like the fatigue I imagine a distance runner feels at times, constructing 943 posts in a few years takes its toll and requires one to find ways to refuel and push forward. While the runner and the writer both have the option of quitting to make the fatigue go away, there’s something deep inside both individuals that pushes them quietly forward towards a mostly personal goal.

I would just as soon quit breathing as cease writing about management, leadership and career development. Odd, but true I genuinely love supporting the pursuit of developing great firms, great management teams and great careers!

OK, with that out of the way, here’s how I intend to strengthen the blog and deliver more value to you in the upcoming period.

Art’s 5 “Management Excellence” Blogging Resolutions (In no particular order):

1. Refocus on the Core Purpose. I said it above. The focus is on promoting the development of great management teams, great leaders and great careers. Every post must support this lofty but achievable mission. The guidance must be fresh, practical and actionable.

2. Deeper Focus for Specific Audiences. The content is applicable for professionals at all levels, however, my own coaching/teaching/writing focus is on the following three audiences:

  • The “Level Up” audience of mid-career professionals striving for or just embarking upon  their first role with a seat at the executive table. While a promotion to the executive team is a success milestone, the reality is that many professionals struggle and some fail to make the transition. I want to help improve your odds of success.
  • The Management Team striving for high performance. Every member of senior management plays a role in the group developing as an effective team. The content here will focus on challenging CEOs and executives to uncover their core priorities when they are “at the table” and to push them to develop as a functioning team directly supporting improved organizational performance and health.
  • The First-Time Manager/Front-Line Leader. Organizations are often at their worst when it comes to cultivating these critical front-line leaders and the cost to the firm in reduced performance, poor customer satisfaction and loss of leadership bench strength is nearly catastrophic. I’m on a mission to help strengthen the world one effective new leader at a time.

3. Just the Right Number of Unique Voices.  Some bloggers lapse into a routine that incorporates an endless stream of guest posts…in part to take the pressure off the obligation to come up with fresh content and in part to drive traffic. While neither of those are inherently wrong, this is a mission focused blog, not a newspaper. I will bring fresh voices to the blog that address the issues of the core audiences.

4. A Splash of Fiction. Much like Goldratt, Lencioni and  Blanchard do such a great job with the story or fable approach to leadership content (they embed valuable leadership and management lessons inside a fictional story narrative), I intend on adding a story-line to our material. My first stab at this inside Practical Lessons in Leadership (with Rich Petro) received positive feedback and it’s time for this frustrated fiction writer to blend the genres. Look for the upcoming Saturday Serial. (OK, it’s a play on words but I like the sound of an on-going Saturday story that tackles the tough topics of management and leadership in a unique way.)

5. New Media. This may be the hardest resolution to live up to. I loved the earlier podcasting work with the Leadership Caffeine podcast and want to revitalize it as well as add video blogging to the content. Both take time and dedication and I found ways to quit making time for the podcasting in spite of the popularity of the series. Some people like to read, others view or listen, and I want to find as many ways as possible to deliver on the mission of the blog and support your success.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

I’ll report back on progress and results and I appreciate your feedback and ideas along the way. Thanks for your readership and your support. It’s great to be on a journey together in pursuit of management excellence.

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

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register here

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

Order one or both books for your team. Contact Art.

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

 

 

 

Leadership Caffeine™-Of Crucibles and Leadership Character

image of a coffee cup“…the crucible experience was a trial and a test, a point of deep self-reflection that forced them to question who they were and what mattered to them. It required them to examine their values, questions their assumptions, hone their judgment.”  -Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas in Crucibles of Leadership (subscription may be required).

Two job candidates walk into a coffee shop. One has a spotless record of achievement and accomplishments and a career that runs upward like a steep staircase from early career until now. His life reads like a storybook we can all smile about and wish ourselves to be so fortunate. This is a solid professional.

The other candidate’s record is good, however, there are several points in time when things went wrong. A start-up failure is the first warning flag. A few years of seeming under-employment after the start-up raises another flag. However, even under-employed, there’s visible growth into a leadership role. And then there’s a gap in the work history of 18 months followed by more underemployment. Still, there’s a quick quick progression to a level of significant responsibility. It turns out that this time spent outside the workforce was time she spent caring for a loved one struggling with a terminal disease.

The first candidate is compelling, but the second candidate is likely my choice. And it’s not because I have a soft spot for hiring people who have encountered hardship during their lives. It’s because I want to field the absolute best talent to help our people grow and our organization survive and succeed. The individual who has fought through hardship and displayed signs of survival and success brings a level of personal and leadership depth far beyond that of our more traditional and successful candidate.

I know that at some point we’ll face a crisis we didn’t see coming…something that threatens our business and even our continued existence. This is beyond the quarterly sales shortfall or the delayed product launch date. It’s a crucible moment in the life of a business and we either rethink and change or we risk becoming corporate road kill. 

It’s at this point in time…the seemingly dark moments, that I want leaders who understand what it takes to walk into the fire and emerge out the other side changed and stronger.  It’s their leadership and resolve that will see us through the dark hours towards survival and strengthening.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Your struggles and even your failures are important elements of who you are as a leader.  A track-record of chronic failures is different than having encountered and survived a profound setback. It’s the setbacks, the unexpected crises and your approach to surviving and persevering through these crucible moments that forge your character as a leader. Learn, live and lead. And as a hiring manager responsible for building your team’s and your organization’s leadership future, open your eyes to people who understand what it means to struggle and then win.

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

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register here

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

New to leading or responsible for first time leader’s 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.

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy this Holiday Season! Merry Christmas!