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1,000 Blog Posts and the Lessons Learned without the Cheering Crowds or Champagne

Success One Step at a TimeA few years ago during a hot Chicago summer, I set a goal to ride my bicycle 1,000 miles. While modest for many hardcore riders, this was a non-trivial challenge for me given time pressures and many other family obligations. Oh yeah, and age and my relative level of fitness may have added just a bit of drama to this personal goal.

As the miles crept closer to the magical number, I motivated myself by imagining the exhilaration of riding the last mile of this personal fitness milestone. It’s possible as I struggled with oxygen deprivation and sweat blurring my eyesight that visions of cheering neighbors hoisting champagne glasses during my last mile may have entered my mind.

The reality was that I goaded my wife and younger son into riding the last mile with me and then we went home and got on with our Saturday. No cheering neighbors. No darned champagne. Nothing but the solid satisfaction of a goal achieved. Priceless. 

Imagine my surprise a few months ago when I noticed the blog counter here at Management Excellence ticking closer to the number 1,000. Again, nothing magical about this number in the world of blogging, and in this case, the post count has never been a goal. The focus of my work here has been and always will be to explore the challenges of managing and leading effectively and to offer ideas, guidance and a bit of inspiration to strengthen personal and organizational performance.

And like any craft that you labor at for an appreciable amount of time, you’re bound to learn a few things along the way. Here are a few of my lessons learned in writing 1,000 posts on management and leadership.

At Least 8 Lessons Learned While Writing 1,000 Management and Leadership Posts:

1. I discovered that I’m not as good of a writer as I thought I was. Ouch! I work hard to presentable to the world in this medium. Oh, and I suck at proofreading. For all of the typos, please accept my sincere apology!

2. My interest in effective leadership and competent management has evolved over time into a burning passion for the pursuit of great leadership and remarkable management. It’s hard to explain, but I love this stuff! (My sixth grade teacher would punish us mercilessly if we ever used the word “stuff.” I trot it out every chance I get!)

3. There’s a reason I called it Management Excellence and not Leadership Excellence. While the pursuit of and practice of great leadership is all too rare in our world and leadership is always an issue or even the issue, it’s the promise of the tools of management to create that keeps my fingers glued to the keyboard and my brain in overdrive. From developing high performance project and management teams to developing and driving great strategies to teaching teams, individuals and organizations to learn how to make better decisions, I’m convinced that we’ve barely scratched the surface of this topic of management…a topic that Gary Hamel calls, “the technology of human achievement.” (I agree with Gary.)

4. I write to help. I’m grateful for the many of you who have reached back to let me know that something here prompted an idea that helped you in your own cause. There are over 1 million words here at Management Excellence, and every one of them is offered up as help.

5. The work of writing this blog has changed the way I learn and create. Every post is an exploration prompted by something in the business environment. The kernel of an idea remains just that until I put fingers to keyboard and think and write. I’m practically helpless without the keyboard or a really big whiteboard.

6. The people I’ve met through this work are truly remarkable. A number of you I hold dear as friends. Thank you for your friendship!

7. This work of writing has transformed me as a professional. Yeah, that sounds corny, but it’s true. This has been the single most powerful, sustained personal professional development activity of my lifetime. I love it. I highly recommend that you try it. With apologies to the original author of this quote, writing is simple, all you do is stare at a blank page (screen) until drops of blood form on your forehead.

8. I’ve learned that I’m long winded and I need to work harder at getting to the point and then tying things off. Therefore…

The Bottom-Line for Now:

That’s enough time reflecting. There’s work to be done in the world of management. Thanks for being here and I’ll see you during the next 1,000.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Management Excellence Blog

#FollowFriday The Blog Version: Two Pros Worth Following

Every Friday on Twitter there’s an informal and fun custom to identify those individuals whom you appreciate, and then encourage others to follow their tweets and blogs.

This #FollowFriday  or #FF  is both fun and heart-warming.  It’s great to showcase the skills of others and it’s a nice way to find others to follow.  It is of course, humbling and gratifying when people you hold in high regard encourage others to follow you as well.

(Sidenote: Imagine what the workplace might be like if every Friday, people walked around offering their thanks and encouragement for your efforts. Hmmmm.)

My only challenge with the #FF process is the inability in 140 characters to share why some people are so remarkable and worth paying attention to on a regular basis. Consider this my long form of the #FF convention.

Mom Was Right! (Mom is always right):

I most enjoy connecting with individuals who motivate, inspire, encourage, challenge and generally push us to think and act in ways that make us better as professionals and as human beings. Mom’s old advice of picking the right crowd to hang around with, was spot on.

I thought it might be nice to share a few thoughts beyond 140 characters from time-to-time about some remarkable individuals worth following. I look forward to continuing this process and helping us all live Mom’s advice!

Erin Schreyer

I met Erin Schreyer for the first time on the phone just this week, although I’ve long been a regular reader of her blog and an admirer of her efforts to promote character-based leadership.

Talking with Erin was a lot like receiving a massive infusion of energy, enthusiasm and “can do” positive encouragement.

From her commitment to serving her clients to her passion for and success in spearheading the evolution of the LinkedIn Group (Authentic Leadership Cincinnati) into an active, formal non-profit organization and community, she is truly remarkable.  Her skills and gifts as a professional are enhanced all the more by her genuineness and humility.

Erin’s great and thoughtful blog posts offer encouragement and guidance, and her work to spread the practice of character-based, authentic leadership, truly helps make the world a better place.

You’ll find Erin on Twitter at: @ErinSchreyer

Mary Jo Asmus

Regular readers of my blog know my regard for Mary Jo Asmus. She’s a remarkable coach and writer who shares insights and guidance that make us better people and stronger professionals.

Mary Jo and I have collaborated on a number of blog posts, and from time-to-time, we’re able to get planets and schedules to align and catch-up on the phone.  I’ve yet to come away from a conversation with Mary Jo where I didn’t benefit from her wisdom, and find myself practically exhausted from smiling and laughing from the beginning to the end of our conversation.

From her “Thoughtful Thursday” posts offering inspirational quotes and compelling questions to her always strong content on dealing with the challenges of leading and of developing ourselves, spending time on Mary Jo’s blog is a great habit to adopt!

After you get to know her through her writing, you’ll quickly understand why she’s such a successful person and in-demand coach!

You’ll find Mary Jo on Twitter at: @mjasmus

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Surround yourself with great people, read great and challenging content, and work hard to improve your own habits and practices, and you’ll find yourself in a good place.  Both Erin and Mary Jo are great places to start!

Two Great Blogs and a Best of Leadership Caffeine post

Note from Art: I’m taking a few days off over the holidays to focus on family and recharge my writing batteries. I plan on completing the second round edits of my next book, aptly titled, Leadership Caffeine, and I’m preparing a few other blogging surprises for the new year. However, if you happen to be hungry for stimulating content, here are a few suggestions to help you through this typically quiet week. Enjoy!

Two Great Blogs to Check Out:

1. Sramana Mitra-if your interests range from high technology and strategy to entrepreneurial considerations on a global basis, this incredibly smart professional has some great posts, guest posts and interviews for you. I keep tabs on Sramana’s writing as a way of keeping in touch with one of the leading entrepreneurial and business strategy thinkers on the plant.

2. Lead Change Group blog: (note: I am a member of Lead Change)…this new organization is dedicated to promoting character-based leadership and offers up several fresh posts per week from some truly thoughtful and inspired leadership writers and thinkers.

And finally, in case you need your weekly jolt of Leadership Caffeine, here’s one timed to help you think long and hard about pushing yourself in the new year: In Pursuit of Your Potential