2 Steps To Getting Lean Enough To Succeed

There are things that we carry around in our organizations and in our mentality that make things more cumbersome than they need to be. Treat your leadership like you would treat a manufacturing floor and get leaner now. Here’s the two fastest ways to achieve this.

Come out of hiding. 

Many people avoiding sticky issues saying that they like to allow time to let things work out on their own. Sure, that could be a legitimate hands-off leadership approach, but it can also be the mantra of procrastination or worse, avoidance. The problem is that a leader who avoids making decisions is also giving up control. By addressing the issue directly and not avoiding, there was less stress on everyone involved and a better outcome was created.

Move on, even when you’re right. 

Far too often I see leaders get tangled up in pursuing a matter on principle. This can be as tangible as money they’re rightfully owed, or as conceptual as an acknowledgement of error.

In the end, it’s about being right and getting admission from the person who has wronged them. The question is how far they’re willing to win. If the best revenge is living well, then the ultimate loss is being driven by anger, frustration, and bitterness no matter how things turn out in the end.

Letting go of money is certainly a big deal, but bad debt is also the cost of doing business. Tally up the hours spent pursuing it in thought and action, then add that cost to whatever effort you put into earning the money in the first place through your goods and services. It may be a hefty amount.

Now add in the very significant cost of placing your focus on the past instead of the future. You may find that you can make up the bad debt and more by pursuing new business and creating new opportunities. Now the cost of pursuit becomes staggering.

I’m not advocating walking away from a tough situation–that would be avoiding. Instead my message is to fight for a while, then assess the situation pragmatically and move on when the time is right. You’ll definitely feel better and your performance will improve when you let go of old injuries. I’ve never had a client do this and regret giving up being angry too soon. The opposite is far too often the case.

If you’re in this kind of situation now, I recommend doing the following: figure out your ideal outcome; assess the lengths to which you’re willing to pursue it; create a measurement so you know when you’re reached the point of diminishing returns; and if you hit it, then move on.

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6 Steps To Outperforming Your Competition In A Lukewarm Recovery

These are the 6 steps to outperform your competition in this economy:

  1. Be an Agile Leader
  2. Execute a Crystal-Clear Strategy
  3. Leverage New Capital Sources
  4. Hire Aggressively
  5. Boldly Develop Your People
  6. Go Global

When all is said and done, outperforming your competition in the recovery really boils down to four actions.

• Get clear. Develop a crystal-clear strategy and direction that’s integrated into the organization.

• Get moving. Implement the strategy every day at every level of the organization.

• Get better. Lead an organization faced with extreme ambiguity with agility. Accelerate your organizations’ trajectory by hiring and developing the best people.

• Get expansive. Embrace opportunities that may have been overlooked in the past.

This may not be the recovery we hoped for, but it is, nonetheless, rife with opportunity. Will your competition make the most of it? Will you?

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Are You Surrounding Yourself With Fools? (You Should Be.)

The global marketplace is incredibly competitive. The top of the corporate pyramid gets pretty narrow. Generations of authoritative monarchs were enlightened enough to understand the value of Fools, how about you? Take a good look at the people you surround yourself with. Who do you trust to give you the kind of feedback that can shake you to your core and set you on the right track? Who has actually done this for you in the last three months? If you cannot name at least two people, or don’t see the point, then I’m afraid you may be playing yourself as the fool.

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Around the Block or Around the World

I was having trouble finding what I was looking for on recent visit to a Target store, so I asked a woman stocking the shelves for help. She also couldn’t find the elusive item, then asked a number of her colleagues for their assistance.

It’s a normal scene in customer service, except there was one difference. She was only speaking English with me—all conversations with her fellow Target employees were in Spanish.

When the topic of cultural agility comes up, most people assume it is only needed to work across national borders. “Intranational” cultural differences are seen as the domain of “diversity,” where managers are trained to include everyone’s different viewpoints to make a stronger team.

This experience at my local hometown Target highlights the significant cultural borders that managers and business leaders must skillfully navigate in order to lead high performing teams. These are the same cultural agility skills whether the team is spread around the world or around the store.

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Assumptions

I wonder how our decisions and interactions could be different if we engaged the key people in our lives with fresh eyes and no assumptions. And of course what it would require of us to relinquish our safe and well-developed assumptions in the first place.

If this sounds interesting, here’s an approach you could take:

1. Start with one person who is important to you, and the relationship with them that you would like to improve.

2. Take a few moments to observe the assumptions you have about her (i.e. “my sister always takes my stuff” – well, maybe in high school, but now she’s 43…). Write these down.

3. Consider what it will take of you to let go of these assumptions, and stop collecting evidence to prove your assumptions right. Write these down too.

4. Choose to give up your assumptions for the time being, say for one holiday or maybe the duration of the holiday season, and observe your thinking for old assumptions cropping up.

5. Approach this person with a beginner’s mind, enjoy yourself and feel the difference that can show up in your body as well, relaxed shoulders, feeling calmer and more centered.

And once you’ve given this a test drive in the personal realm, you can take it on the road at work. Imagine what letting go of your assumptions can create for your professional relationships as well.

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Generating Thought Leadership To Grow Your Career and Company

Being a thought leader makes you a person of interest, whether within your department at your company, within your industry, or on a global level.  How big you think is up to you.  The key is to develop your reputation as the obvious go-to person when people are seeking expertise in your area of leadership.  Doing so will increase your visibility within your organization and potentially within your industry, and as a result, job offers and your job security will both increase. As you develop into a standout expert, ideal clients will flock to your company, having heard others refer to you as a leader in the industry.

To start, consider whether you are already a thought leader. Do you have unique approaches, insight and expertise, preferably gained through experience? Avoid striving for encyclopedic knowledge of your area. Instead, uncover a deep level of expertise that you already have, delve into your insight on improving processes that you are familiar with, or consider something that you already do very well.

To more simply identify your own area of leadership, ask yourself the following questions.  What do your colleagues regularly come to you for?  What do your competitors fear?  Why do your customers buy from you?  What do your fans treasure about you?

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Healthy Impatience

If patience is a virtue and we’re living and working at breakneck speed, do we have to give up our virtue in the name of profitability? The surprising answer is probably not. If you and your employees have a healthy impatience, you will refuse to remain stuck because when people put their ego aside and don’t have to be the one with the answers, they can reach out for help and get unstuck quickly. And it creates results – in fact, American Express is just one company rating its managers on healthy impatience.

And the focus isn’t solely on impatience. It’s also on healthfulness.

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Making Mentor Relationships Work

 

Mentor relationships begin with plenty of promise. Often they don’t deliver because the mentor and mentee don’t know how to make the most of the relationship.

Here are three keys to creating a successful mentoring relationship:

  1. Don’t believe everything the other person has to say
  2. Be willing to be dumb
  3. Break Miss Manners’ rules

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Making the Highest Possible Contribution

Although the weak economy has people clinging to their jobs, recent studies show that 6 out of 10 employees are looking to change jobs. That’s a costly amount of disengagement. The heart of the matter is that many employees are not making their highest possible contribution to their organizations, which are contributions only they can make, by virtue of their unique talents, skills, interests and relationships. Once employers shift the focus of an employee’s engagement to making the highest level of contribution possible, the improvement in results is remarkable.

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