Category Archives: Leading Change

8 Ideas for Leadership Success


Image by UggBoy♥UggGirl via Flickr

Leadership success is based on a positive outlook and these eight ideas can help you achieve it. As leaders, we must keep our focus on the future and what it has in store for us. We must pursue a level of success that we want for ourselves and not be worried about what past failures signify. We must ask the right questions at the right times in order to achieve breakthroughs. Mark Sanborn discusses eight ideas that can be adapted to become a powerful and successful leader. 

1. You and I know how good we have become, but we don’t have any idea of how good we could be.

What great projects are you undertaking in your business? In your life? Many people go through life driving with their dome lights on instead of their headlights. What you have become is important, but not nearly as important as what you can be.

2. More important than achieving your goals is pursuing your potential.

It is satisfying to achieve your goals and objectives, but that’s no proof that you are living up to your true capabilities. Keep experimenting and trying new things in thepursuit of your true potential.

3. Losers make excuses. Winners make explanations.

Excuses don’t teach you anything and keep you from making needed changes. Explanations help you learn what went wrong and give you insights for needed changes.

…More at 8 Powerful Ideas for Achieving Success

Leadership success is measured in numbers and words. It can be difficult to quantify the specific impact that a leader has but we always look to do so. Success is more than just achieving a percentage growth for your company though. It is also about keeping focused forward and always working towards your potential. It is about learning from failures and implementing strategies to avoid the mistakes that caused these failures. Leadership success is achieved through maintaining a positive outlook with these eight powerful ideas.


Leadership and Employee Engagement in 2013

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place.  But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.  ~E.L. Konigsburg

Image by thephotographymuse via Flickr

Employee engagement should be a top priority for every leader in 2013. Studies have shown that engaged employees perform better at work. If you and your leadership team have not thought about your employee engagement strategy today and made steps to implement it then you are hurting your own bottom line. Take a look at your team as they finish up their day to gauge their well-being and make note of it. Do this for a week and then examine what you are seeing and contrast it with each individual's workload. Is there a pattern of stressed out employees struggling to finish a major launch? If so, action on your part is required. You, as a leader, owe it to your team to make their well-being a priority. Tony Schwartz discusses the benefits of employee engagement more below and at HBR.

What would contribute most to your being both happier and more productive at work? How about feeling truly taken care of, appreciated, and trusted by your employer?

More than 100 studies have affirmed the connection between employee engagement and performance, but the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study — 32,000 employees across 30 countries — makes the most powerful, bottom line case yet for the connection between how we feel at work and how we perform.

What's required now is something called “sustainable engagement.” The key factor, the study finds, is a work environment that more fully energizes employees by promoting their physical, emotional and social well-being. I'd add to that mental and spiritual well being — or more specifically, the added energy derived from the capacity for absorbed focus and a strong sense of purpose.

…More at New Research: How Employee Engagement Hits the Bottom Line

Is your engagement strategy sustainable? Are you enriching your team's lives by providing a sense of purpose and promoting well-rounded employees who are physically, emotionally and socially well? Leaders act as the catalyst for change in an organization and must be fully engaged to inspire a sustainable engagement strategy. It is a demanding task but one that reaps many rewards such as better operating margins, lower attrition rates and healthier employees. All of these improvements will be a boon to your business. Leaders must show the way and actively work to provide sustainable employee engagement in 2013 and beyond.


Leaders Should Focus on Organizational Well-Being AND The Bottom Line

Kodak VS

Image by kevin dooley via Flickr

Achieving organizational well-being and adhering to the bottom line are not mutually exclusive. Organizational well-being is about providing a working environment that produces smarter, healthier and happier employees while at the same time enhancing the community around them. Common practice among many companies around the world have done the bare minimum to achieve the appearance of organizational well-being while really serving the bottom line exclusively. Strict adherence to the bottom line without regard to other factors will become less prevalent as workers will flock to companies that value their contributions and the old guard will be forced to adapt or lose significant market share. Leadership in various industries have already spearheaded this effort around the globe. Morten T. Hansen, Herminia Ibarra, and Urs Peyer examine this trend and identify several companies that are outperforming in both financial and social efforts. 

Many management thinkers argue that it is no longer enough to do well financially; companies also need to improve the well-being of (or at least not harm) the communities in which they operate, the environment, and their employees. (See, for example, “Creating Shared Value,” by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer.) That's the good news. The bad news is that stellar performance on both dimensions is no common or easy feat.

...More at Can Companies Both Do Well and Do Good?

Leadership at these companies are making a conscientious effort to innovate and ensure that their practices are serving their financial and organizational goals. We see that more and more companies are striving to achieve organizational well-being through community engagement, employee enhancement, and generous benefits/perks packages. This push toward a well-rounded workforce can, and often will, lead toward enhanced productivity which helps boost the bottom line. Hansen et al. have shown that this is no guarantee and that there is a spectrum of achievement as each company works towards optimizing both their organizational well-being and their bottom line.


What is Employee Engagement?

gate- free premade background

Image by Eddi van W. via Flickr

So you hear the term 'employee engagement' offhand several times and this last time you hear it you think to yourself 'what is employee engagement?' Employee engagement is a term that at its very core describes how much an employee cares about their work. There are differences between an employee who is engaged and one who is not that are readily visible if you watch them work side-by-side. An engaged employee is helpful and will support their teammates or co-workers if needed. An employee who is not engaged will keep track of the time and have their computer and work station shut down to make a quick exit at the end of the day. Kevin Kruse, a contributor for Forbes Magazine, brings us more information on what employee engagement is and is not. 

Definition: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.

When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.

…More at What is Employee Engagement? | Forbes

Employee engagement is a must-have to keep your business looking forward. Research shows that companies with engaged employees enjoy a profit margin above those without. Retaining a batch of engaged employees is one goal of any leadership team. Kruse points out that happiness and satisfaction are not what define employee engagement but I would argue that they are components that can engage employees and strengthen the emotional commitment they hold. Can you define employee engagement for your workforce? As yourself and the rest of your leadership team the question, what is employee engagement and what does it look like at our company?


Organizational Well-Being Through Proper Alignment

Zen Beach Stones at Home

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

A company that takes time to reflect and act on all aspects of their business and supply chain are working on organizational well-being through proper alignment. A company has to be in sync from the lowest man all the way to the CEO. Proper alignment involves many people and processes that are hardly ever in a one-to-one linear relationship with each other. There are many aspects of a business that must be coordinated to achieve success and vitality through good alignment. Integral Advisors bring us some thoughts on alignment of a company to bring about organizational well-being. 

Every organization faces a delicate balancing act: How do you align the objectives of the organization, with the capabilities of the management team, and the needs of the employees…while taking care of the customers?

It is the most common question I have wrestled with over the last 20 years as I have worked with hundreds of organizations to help them achieve the results and sense of well-being they desire.

Where there is alignment – things work well: stuff gets done and folks feel good.

Where there is not alignment – things don’t work well: stuff does not get done and folks feel lousy.

The three main tools or methods that organizations have available to them to create this desired alignment is Strategic Planning, Team Building and Leadership Development.

…More at A Delicate Balancing Act: Organizational Alignment « Integral Advisors 

Alignment of an organization to keep all parts driving towards: a greater purpose, delivering superior products and keeping employees healthy is not an easy task to accomplish. Proper alignment of a company is a time-consuming process and one that takes a concerted persistent effort. The process of re-aligning your company could be a challenging and painful one that will experience setbacks. It is a necessary step to keeping your company on the road to success though. Achieving organizational well-being through proper alignment is a truly great reward. 


Leaders Need To Promote These 11 Tactics for Productivity Output

Productivity: Wrapping up the First Stage of a Special Project

Image by orcmid via Flickr

Check out these 11 great ways to promote amazing productivity output from your team. Productivity is merely a function of time-management. Action towards a goal in a meaningful manner is the first step towards increasing your productivity. Productivity gains are important for companies that need to maximize the use of their workforce. Leadership can help with this by displaying a productivity model for themselves that their employees can emulate. Cody Wheeler brings us these 11 methods of elevating your work output and increasing your productivity. 

Whatever your goals are in life, it’s always going to be the case, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you’re going to need to get a large amount of things done on the way to that success. No one becomes successful sitting around just waiting for life to happen.

Therefore, it follows that one of the supreme building blocks of success is mastering the art of time management and productivity. The better you become at effectively managing your time and heightening your level of meaningful output, the higher your potential for success can ultimately rise.

…More at 11 Killer Productivity Tactics to Significantly Elevate Your Output | Academy

Productivity gains can be achieved through the effective use of time and organization. Optimizing your productivity by breaking projects down into smaller manageable steps is a great start to accomplishing tasks. Leadership plays a decisive role through their management style and behaviors in promoting a productive environment. Here are 11 tactics that leaders can present to their workforce to gain increased productivity and output. 


Accountability in the Workplace



Image by Neal. via Flickr

Accountability in the workplace is an oft overlooked aspect to a company's success. From the outside, a company might appear to be performing very well while internally the culture is a mess. Often companies find themselves in the mindset of 'failure is not an option' which puts employees in a position of not wanting to accept the responsibility of being held accountable. Questions such as “What if….?” and “Will I….?” start to allow doubt to creep into their mind. By allowing an employee to see failure as a viable option, a great leader will free their employees to be more successful. Deborah Mills-Scofield writes about how to bring back accountability: 

So, how do we help our cultures, ourselves, our people overcome the fear of failure and commit in a uncertain world? I have a few suggestions based on my experience in both accountable, and unaccountable, company cultures:

  • Communicate100. Communicate why the request is important to the organization, to both of you, and how it's fulfillment will make a difference. What may seem trivial to us may be profound to someone else. To commit, we need to believe in something bigger than just ourselves or the organization, such as the mission and purpose of the organization. That is how we start changing behavior and making new habits.
  • Make sure that you're present to support the request and remove or mitigate obstacles. Meet regularly to identify potential challenges and opportunities before they become a major problem.
  • Re-prioritize responsibilities and tasks to allow the person or team to complete the request. Don't just add on. Not everything is urgent and important. Seriously, show your commitment to the request you've made. If it's not worth re-prioritizing, then it isn't worth asking.
  • Create ways to eliminate or minimize the stigma of failure. Focus on what's been learned and how that applies, watch how you react to and treat the person, how you discuss it with others affected by the result and how you let it impact that person's future success in the organization. Even if you can't change the organization's performance management process, your own personal demeanor and handling has an enormous impact

….More at Let's Bring Back Accountability – Blogs – Harvard Business Review

Accountability is difficult to achieve because there is no clear path to success but following these guiding principles is a great way to get started on improving company culture. Creating an environment where accountability is valued should be of paramount importance to any leader.



Leading an Increase in Productivity

Productivity: Wrapping up the First Stage of a Special Project

Image by orcmid via Flickr

Less man power, over loaded schedules, constant connection to electronic communication and stimuli, tight deadlines = higher expectations in productivity. Do you feel you are leading an increase in productivity for your team? If not, what can you do?

In this excerpt Dolly Garland suggests awareness is a key factor

Before you can improve anything, you must have awareness of where you are.  Awareness is the first essential step in any kind of development, and you could break it down into various types. But there are three particular types of awareness which relate to productivity, and journaling can help you achieve these.

. . .

Time Awareness

Many of us do things on auto-pilot. If you are always driving on the same route, at the same time, you probably don’t even think about where you are going. You sit in your car, get lost in your thoughts, and arrive at your destination. That applies to how you spend your time. You have to do certain things during the day, and most of the time, you do them the way you know how.

. . .

Task Awareness

How aware are you of the things you do daily? You might have a big to-do list, and you are diligently crossing things off it, but are they the right things?

Are those things taking you closer to the things you really want to achieve, values you want to nurture, and the life you want to live? Are you applying the 80/20 rule?

. . .

Result Awareness

You are filling your days doing tons of things. You are always busy, and your schedule feels like it’s unending. But what are you achieving? What are the tangible end results you can claim? Most good things take time to achieve, but if we are always in transit, working towards something but never quite getting there, then there is something wrong. For example, if you want to write a book, maybe it will take you 6 months to a year to write 90K words novel. But by the end of that year, you should at least have a finished first draft. That is your end result….More at 3 Types of Awareness That Can Improve Productivity

Productivity is not just about the end product your company presents. Your values and happiness are part of productivity. I challenge you to be aware of how you are leading an increase in productivity.

More Reading


Cultivating Leadership at All Levels

Stephanie Lischke and Joel Wright hit the nail on the head when they suggested organizations need to Cultivate Leadership at All Levels. Whether new or experienced, leaders exist all around us, not just at the top of the company.

French Garden at Duke Farms

Image by nosha via Flickr

Worried about a leadership shortage? Gazing at a thin management pipeline? Wondering how to get the most out of the talent you have?

It’s time to expand and amplify your organization’s leadership by looking beyond your proven superstars and management-track talent.

Young professionals and experienced individual contributors need to be part of the leadership equation, too. These overlooked leaders are the people who are working on project teams, influencing others and taking on ever-larger and more complex assignments.

Consider the role of highly experienced professionals. As individual contributors, they play critical roles as engineers, designers, medical professionals, marketing or logistics experts, and so on. They are expected to take on project-management roles and be key players on cross-functional teams. As their role expands and they increasingly work with others, subject-matter expertise is no longer a guarantee of their success or effectiveness.

Meanwhile, early-career professionals are looking for ways to engage, interact and gain skills. As they navigate their work and your organization, they have many opportunities to lead, even before they step into formal management roles.

Both groups are in the right place to leverage leadership skills, but they need the nod from you. So, here are four messages that you – and your fellow leaders – can send to the skilled experts, up-and-coming professionals and, in fact, the entire organization….For more read 4 Leadership Messages Your Talent Needs to Hear

Leadership comes from different parts of the whole organization whether formal or not. It is important to cultivate those that naturally lead others as you would a garden.

Unfortunately, most people tend to treat their gardens with a one-size-fits-all approach, ignoring the fact that the various plants in their garden have different light, watering, feeding and pruning needs.

Your employees are no different. While they may carry out similar functions or roles, the kind of feedback, recognition and support they need will vary. Like successful gardeners, the key is to learn and understand the differences in these needs and then finding ways to provide them despite your limitations on resources and time.

Whether you want to create a thriving garden or organization, in both cases it’s not just in the early stages of planning, delegating and nurturing that you need to focus on the health of your garden or organization.

As time passes and your organization grows and matures, it becomes even more important for leaders to take stock of their organization’s culture and make the necessary changes to encourage a renewal in your employees’ sense of purpose. Through implementing the measures above, leaders can continue to provide the necessary conditions to strengthen your organizational culture as well as your collective drive to grow and succeed….More at 5 Key Steps To Cultivating Success In Your Organization

Whether experienced guidance or fresh ideas are needed in your organization, cultivate leadership at all levels in your organization today.

More Reading