Wednesday, October 21, 2009

5 Traits of the New Creative Leader

Yesterday's leadership skills will not work in today's fast-moving and evolving world. Only creative leaders who are visionary and empathetic will succeed. Here are five things you can do to succeed as a creative leader:
1. Instead of commanding, coach your team and organization toward success.
2.Don't manage people, empower them. The know-how, experience, and solutions are often out there; it's a matter of helping people discover them.
3.Cultivate respect by giving it, instead of demanding it.
4.Know how to manage both success and failure.
5.Show graciousness in your management rather than greediness. Be humble about your successes and whenever possible, give someone else the opportunity to shine.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "Why Are Creative Leaders So Rare?" by Navi Radjou.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

3 Tips to Making Sustainability a Core Part of Your Business

Sustainability is here to stay. Yet too many organizations treat sustainability as a temporary compliance issue. Use these three tips to make sustainability central to your business:
1. Elevate responsibility for sustainability to the C-suite. Everyone at the top of the organization should be focused on sustainability, but ultimately, responsibility should lie with one person. Establish a Chief Sustainability Officer and fill the position with someone who has the expertise and power to make it an influential role.
2. Treat sustainability like a product or service. Incorporate the "triple bottom line" into the company lexicon. Ask people to think about economic, ecological, and social returns.
3. Establish permanent partnerships with the sustainability community. Identify the NGOs who have influence in your field. Treat them like critical customer accounts and cultivate relationships that allow you to identify win-win solutions to problems
Written by Bob Lurie

How do you "Out Do" the Competition

Out think. Whatever big companies are thinking, it isn’t enough. You don’t have to go very far to beat them in this department. In most cases just think “for the customer” rather that yourself, your job, or your shareholders. Think “invest,” not “cut.” Think “value,” not “price.” Think “be your best.”
Out hustle. This is easy. Most big companies are about as agile as the Queen Mary. And their employees have a sense of urgency about them that’s somewhere between zero and minus zero. Employees of large companies typically have an attitude of “someone else will do it.” This is your game plan: Get up early. Stay up late. Talk to every customer you have ever had. Schedule breakfasts and lunches six weeks in advance. Let your customers know your new hours start before they get there and end after they leave.
Out sell. Be there for the business, and be there when your customer is ready to do business. This means you also have to be there when they are NOT ready to do business. You can’t just hang around for orders. You have to be a consistent value provider in order to be able to earn the business when the time is right and the time is ripe.
Out serve. Now is the time for all good companies to come to the aid of their customer. (With homage to typing teachers.)Now is the time to INCREASE service and service offerings, not cut back.IDEA: Next time a customer calls and asks for help or a favor, before they can say a word, you interrupt and say, “Whatever you want, the answer is yes!” This will make them smile, and feel great about asking. Set the tone for positive action with your words, and follow it up with your deeds.
Out deliver. Cut your delivery times in half. No longer is the excuse “The trucks are already loaded” a valid one. Do whatever it takes to deliver what they need, when they need it.
Out humanize. Throw away your computerized answering service before and after hours. And throw away your voicemail. When the phone rings, answer it. This will put you ahead of 99% of all other businesses in the world. Big businesses answer their phones with a computer and say, “In order to serve you better…” Who the hell are they kidding? (Answer: themselves.)
Out communicate. Throw away the “policy manual” and your “corporate speak.” It’s no longer valid in these times. Any fool quoting “policy” or avoiding direct answers in times of economic chaos is certain to lose now and into the future.
Out truth. One day the bank says they’re in great shape. The next day they lay off 30,000 people. All truths are eventually revealed. Why not just start with it? The more truth you tell your customers BOTH external and internal, the more they will respect you, and remain loyal to you.
Out Google. This is the easiest one of all. When your customers go shopping for whatever it is you sell, make certain you’re number one in your name, and at or near the top in your product or service. This is solely dependent on your “Googlejuice” – not your size. When your customer needs an answer or a resource, they Google it – just like you do.
Out surprise. Even in these times you can still be memorable. Create a budget to surprise customers. Anything from a pizza, to lending an employee for a day or two, will be appreciated. And remembered.
Written by Jeffery Gitomer

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Truth

The bitter taste of poor quality lingers far longer then the initial sweatness of a cheap price

5 Steps to Defusing Discord on Your Team

Team disagreements can be constructive, but as a leader, you need to make sure they don't devolve into discord. Prolonged conflict on a team can be bad for morale, retention, and productivity. Use these five steps to address discord before it hurts your team:

1. Diagnose the root cause. What people are seemingly disagreeing over is likely not the real reason for the conflict. Often the problem is the result of something that happened long ago. Find the underlying cause first.
2. Don't take sides. As the leader, taking sides will only deepen the conflict and feed resentment.
3. Defuse the conflict. Make clear that cooperation in the solution is mandatory and that grudges will not be tolerated.
4. Find common ground. Focus team members on what they have in common and what they want and need to achieve together.
5. Follow through. Your work isn't over yet. Continue to monitor the situation and address any residual issues promptly

Written by John Baldoni

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Need to be Better at Leading Change.......Start Small

Change is a constant in today's organizations. Leaders need to be adaptive, flexible, and innovative. However, trying to be "better at leading change" can be an overwhelming and vague challenge. Instead of taking on a leadership style full force, start with small experiments: try out a new way of delegating; test different approaches to communicating your vision and expectations; experiment with new ways of giving feedback. Reflect on what works and what doesn't. These small steps are manageable and what you learn from these experiments will help you shape your leadership skills, while modeling how change happens.
Written by Stew Friedman

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

3 Survival Lessons for Small Business

We hear daily reports of small businesses going bankrupt. But for every small business that goes belly up, there are dozens more that are thriving. Here are three lessons from them on how you can operate your business to survive even the deepest of downturns:

1. Agility. Small businesses have a great advantage in a fast-changing world: they adapt quickly. Without layers of bureaucracy slowing them down, small businesses can act fast to changing circumstances.
2. Rapid testing and refining. Social media and online marketing tools allow even the smallest of businesses to do real-time market testing. They can also engage customers and build a community around their business.
3. Planning. Plans are often outdated as soon as they come out of the printer. Small businesses tend to focus more on planning and less on plans. They watch their surroundings and act accordingly.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "How Small Businesses Win Big in Tough Economies" by Jeff Stibel