No. 134 - Leaders Are Constant Learners

leader-learning
To differentiate yourself, you don't have to have an especially high IQ. No matter who you are or what your background or current circumstance is, one thing is certain: you can always learn, explore, and experiment in new arenas. You only need to be reasonably intelligent and insatiably curious. You can never know too much, and you can never have t...
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No. 126 – You Can Mentor Millennials With This Wonderful Gift

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Mentor Millennials with the Gift of… Connections Recently I was quoted in a Forbes article on "the best presents for the millennials in your life." My suggestion was an introduction/meeting/connection with someone who could be important to the young person's career. It received a lot of positive reaction — especially among ambitious millennials eag...
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No. 119 – To Be Confident, Start by Acting Confident

Sometimes people take offense about "acting the part," as if doing so means that they are fakes. Anyone who has children knows parenting is a fake-it-til-you-make-it experience. Surely confidence deserves the same pass. Comparable fake-it-till-you-make-it action is also what most enterprises are built on. (By the way, a good time to start your acti...
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No. 118 – What Does Self-Confidence Look Like?

The person with confidence is the person we turn to when problems of any kind arise. One of the chiefs I interviewed put it this way: "The CEO weapon of choice is a display of self-confidence." In the business press, confident-appearing CEOs are written about with descriptions like these: •  "He spoke with such tremendous confidence and certai...
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No. 117 – You’re In Control of What Goes On Inside Your Head

Your mind manages all of your life: your outlook, how you approach situations, and how you interact and work with others. It's a feeling of great freedom to think whatever you want. Sure, there are random thoughts that come and go that you can't do anything about. But the ones you put in and hold, you control. Outside of having brain damage, diseas...
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No. 115 – Confidence or Arrogance?

It's arrogance, not confidence, when you: •  Assume you know it all •  Think you're smarter than others •  Don't listen and learn •  Are full of bluster; too sure of yourself in every situation without reason •  Abuse your power, or browbeat, demean, or put down other people •  Act superior •  Think "I'm special. ...
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No. 112 – Make Apology When Necessary

When you need to make an apology for something: •  Take action sooner rather than later. •  Don't avoid and skirt the issue (the way some politicians do when they routinely refer to their mistakes as "oversights") •  Think through what you want to say. •  Phrase it carefully, write it down, and rehearse it. •  Plan where, w...
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No. 111 – Leaders Project a Good Attitude

It's okay to wear an enthusiastic, upbeat attitude on your sleeve. That's a constructive and productive point of view when coupled with plans to make it happen. A positive, optimistic approach will improve the outcome of any situation you are in, even if you're the only one who has one. Yes, I know that life is frequently one darn negative thing af...
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No. 109 – What Pitfalls Should Virtual Executives Beware Of?

Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. workers do some form of telecommuting according to Gallup, which means that many executives are managing employees virtually at least part of the time. What should managers watch out for in the digital realm? Thinking they can get away with sloppy thinking, writing, responding, dress, planning, integrity, dispositio...
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No. 104 - International Personal Bonding

There is about a 100 percent possibility that in the course of your day you will be communicating with someone from a different country who has had a different cultural upbringing and who speaks a different first language than you do.As one of my coaching clients explained, “I was with team members on a call today in which one person was in California and one was in Nepal, and I was in Washington, D.C. I’ve worked with these people for three years, and I’ve never met them.”There are as many ways to behave toward and with people as there are countries on the earth. And even within each country, there are regional variations of the larger culture. You cannot cover every single base, but you can have an approach that works with every single constituent: Accept differences. Be respectful and extra polite in words and tone. Use an appropriate level of formal title: Dr., Professor, Mr.,Mrs., Ms., Madame, Mssr., and so on. Use lots of “pleases” and “thank-yous.” Don’t be loud and pushy. Minimize being overly direct and abrupt. Use straightforward terminology, not big words. Slow down; speak up.That same coaching client said, “My secret to success is to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the other person’s language. Even if my pronunciation is clumsy, people appreciate the effort.”~DebraP.S.  If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 103 - Slow Down and Have an Urgent Calm

Don’t be quick, fast, or in a hurry (all the time).Be unhurried (within reason, of course). Be markedly unrushed. Slow down when you talk, walk, respond, ask a question, enter a room, shake hands, and leave a room. Be confident enough to take time. Move only when necessary.If you slow down, you’ll go a lot faster.The more time you give yourself, the more status people will give you. Quick, jerky motions make you look nervous. Plus, when you talk and move fast, it’s hard for people to absorb what you’re saying. Pause as if you mean it. Don’t let other people take you out of your calm. Talk at a slowed-down pace, but think fast. Be quiet so you can see and hear more.One of my coaching clients told me, “Our CEO has a distinct sense of self-containment. He’s never in a hurry, but he’s still a beat faster than most people.”Your composure will be contagious. People will ask you fewer questions and challenge or attack you less when you’re calm and slowed down.~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 102 - What is Most Personal is Most Universal

We all think we’re different, but there are more similarities than differences between us. What is most universal is most personal. Most people: Feel not fully understood Are the center of their own universe Want to see what they own go up in value all of the time Want to be appreciated, feel powerful, and appear clever or smart Want to be happy Want to make their children laugh Have a dark side, a part of them the world doesn’t seeIn a time of trouble, most people will assess their own exposure first, then gradually assess the implications for their friends, their town, the social fabric, and their country.We are more similar than dissimilar; understanding that helps you relate and get along with diverse demographics in your workplace.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 101- Prepare Before You Meet, Talk or Click

You can be anything and do anything with enough preparation and work. To be effective in what message you want to get across to others, you must prepare. If you painstakingly prepare more than most people bother to, it will measurably improve your chances of affecting people the way you want. Some CEOs tell me that for every hour they expect to be in front of someone, they give themselves two to three hours of preparation.(The rule of thumb of courtiers in Buckingham Palace is that “a one-minute visit with the queen requires three hours of planning.")Preparation increases confidence and optimism, and makes you more interesting to whomever you are speaking with. People respond well to someone who is sure of what he or she wants and goes for it. Before you communicate, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish in this exchange? What are the reasons to do this—both implicit and explicit? Why should she give a darn? What is the likely outcome of this exchange?” And then, after it’s done ask, “Did I accomplish what I set out to?”~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 97 - The Similarities In Our Differences

Today’s workforce is made up of mixed generations from boomers to millenials and from a multitude of demographics. Despite the differences we are more similar than dissimilar.I’m an avid cook, and was wondering about a new use of a package of wonton wrappers that I had left over after making dim sum. In a Saturday morning of research I found recipes to use the same “Chinese” wrapper to make maultaschensuppe (a German dumpling), Russian Ramen, Tibetan Momos, Georgian Khinkali, Jewish Kreplach, Sichuan Chili wontons, Pierogi, Ukranian Manti, Slovenian dumplings, Italian Tortellini, and Montreal Peanut Butter Dumplings.Each recipe had the same “outside” but the insides changed a little with geography, history, culture, tastes, available items, etc. All recipes achieved the same goal of satisfying taste and providing nourishment: the same outside wrapper but different inside the wrapper techniques and ingredients.There is an analogy to today’s work force. We are humans who are made up of differences on the inside, but with the same outside goal of the pursuit of happiness – whether with food or a career.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 95 - How to Keep Your Good People

Companies have long recognized the importance of smart employee recruiting. Now they are discovering that it’s just as important to spend their time on retention. This may involve financial factors, of course. AON Consulting studied 1,140 high-tech workers and found that 56 percent would stay at their current job longer if offered a similar job with slightly higher pay.But issues related to job satisfaction are at least as crucial as financial incentives. “You rehire your employees every single day,” says Gloree Parker-Roden, senior vice president of Enterprise Services at Pearson Technology Centre. “We had no problem with retention until a time period where we went into a maintenance program without a major initiative going. Things felt slow to people. We found that the same people who complained about long hours and overwork really didn’t want to underwork either.” In other words, high retention of valuable employees requires keeping them challenged and interested as well as rewarding them financially.In a research project, Watson Wyatt Worldwide found that the number-one driver of employee commitment is trust in senior management. If a manager fails to provide the necessary leadership, then people leave. Gloree Parker-Roden speaks for many when she says, “The important thing to me is being able to work with managers I respect and trust. If that was broken, then I would go.”The Watson Wyatt survey identified other factors that caused people to leave an employer. Here they are, starting with the most commonly cited: Higher salaries offered by other organizations Dissatisfaction with potential career grow Feeling unappreciated Rising acceptability of job-hopping Difficulty balancing work/life issues Burnout Benefits offered by other organizations Perceived lack of job security Conflicts with supervisor or co-workers Viability of the organization Conflicts with the organization’s mission or valuesSalary is clearly an important factor, but it’s far from the only one. Any manager who has a high turnover rate shouldn’t blamed the company pay scale alone; instead, the manager should examine his or her own practices in the work environment.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 91 - 4-Step Secret to Success from Top CEOs

In my executive coaching of 30+ years I’ve worked with over a thousand chief executives from eighteen different countries and in every industry. Once a week someone asks my take on the secret to success in business. I can answer with four points:1. Smile2. Ask questions3. Make decisions4. Take blameSmile because you have to look and act confident. An open expression engaging your eyes and your attitude work universally. Lips turned upward make you look awake, alive, and approachable.Ask questions because everyone dislikes a know-it-all and know one does know it all. You empower people when you ask their opinion, experience, advice, etc. and when you empower them they respect and trust you.Make decisions before someone makes them for you, because they will. And they likely won’t be the decisions you want. It takes courage to put a stake in the ground and decide but again, someone’s going to do it and it might as well be you.Take blame early and often when things don’t go well. Do not have a whiff of blaming others even when it was their fault. Find out why they failed and help where you can so it doesn’t happen again. But if you blame them for mistakes you’ll never get their trust or respect.Successful people take the responsibility to look confident and comfortable so as to make others feel that way around them. Then they ask questions to fill in what they don’t know or confirm what they do so as to make better decisions, sooner. And when things go wrong they take responsibility; when things go well they always give credit to others.~DebraP.S.  If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 82 - Lavish Praise on Your People

Praise, or recognition, is a debt you owe to people who are making an effort and performing effectively. If you reinforce the actions that you want to see, you will likely get more of the same. If you don’t acknowledge them, people won’t know your degree of satisfaction.Naturally you praise what you admire the most, adding your reason for it. On occasion, give your people a little more praise than is their due. Mark Twain wrote, "I can live for two months on a good compliment.”More than one CEO admitted that he or she wasn’t skilled at giving recognition. “I personally don’t need it, so I’m not very good at giving it,” they profess. That’s no reason not to give positive feedback to those who deserve it.The following steps will help you to appreciate and praise people.1. Be honest and be specific.2. Be brief.3. “Note it” to others.4. Do it in a timely manner.5. Give kudos in a variety of ways.6. Back it up.A pay raise is one way a boss frequently thinks of as a way of providing recognition. But people need to be appreciated in different ways. One female executive told me, “I was ready to quit because I wasn’t receiving recognition. They just keep throwing more money at me. But that’s not what I work for alone.”~ DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 81 - How to Give Constructive Feedback

Just as you owe it to people praise them, you owe it to them to provide critique. Face it. People will disappoint you. Regardless of your great example, careful delegation, and optimistic blind hope, people will disappoint.The first rule is to not shoot the messenger when you learn about a problem. You shouldn’t punish the deliverer of bad news. He or she will clam up next time or sugarcoat information, and you’ll end up not hearing about a problem at a time when you could possibly do something about it.Before you find fault, double-check yourself: Are you responding to cronyism or favoritism? Are you looking at all sides? Do you have as many of the facts as possible? Are you being fair?The following steps will help you give constructive criticism in a way that will help the recipient hear and process it..1. Don’t attack.2. Give it in private.3. Avoid being repetitious or nagging.4. Be specific and be brief.5. Explain the consequences of their action.The goal is to present the idea that constructive criticism and feedback is the “breakfast of champions.” In reality it is, but in the heat of the moment, it can look like a personal attack if it’s not handled well.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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No. 74 - How to Increase Your Value Today

People who are intellectually curious and constantly learning have greater economic value to themselves and their organizations. So learn a little (at least) about everything that you can. Take advantage of every opportunity your supervisor offers (and ask for more). But most importantly, make learning your responsibility.Those who make a habit of learning things they need to know as well as things not directly related to them:· Tend to be more imaginative, creative, and innovative· Can do more things more quickly and effectively· Have more to offer their teammates and colleagues· Are able to make more of their productive abilities· Are likely flexible, versatile, and forward-looking· Can respond promptly to shifts in customer/superivor needs and preferencesConstantly learning new things isn’t just nice to do; it’s a must-do for anyone seeking lasting success. A good nighttime exercise is to jot down at least one thing new that you learned today. If you can’t, you have to come up with two tomorrow!~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me. Photo: Got Credit
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No. 72 - Make Business Personal

People like to say business isn’t personal, but it is personal. All of life is people personally interacting with other people. Work is people interacting with people but with money and title attached to it. Personal doesn’t mean inappropriately intimate; you needn’t border on sexting.If you connect on a human level, you more quickly connect on a business one. How? Simply ask the person about his interests, goals, and objectives; listen and remember what she said; later, bring it up. Connect human to human, not role to role, or gadget to gadget, or mano to monitor.Who, what , when, why, and how are good words to use. Your tone must be one of honest interest and sincere inquisitiveness, not interrogation. Get to know the person behind the computer or the cell phone. Volunteer information about yourself as you ask about others. Every conversation, add a little bit more connection between you aside from the business purpose.Find out, make note, and remember names of spouses, children, hobbies, and things going on in the person’s life. Remembering a small thing like a company anniversary, promotion, birthday, child’s name or interest will put you miles ahead of others.Some hesitate to volunteer personal information or hang back when asked. They are not sure yet as to whether they can trust you. Over time they will learn they can. Even if they hesitate, inquire anyway. Give your own answer to the questions you ask of her, even if she doesn’t ask. Provide it nonetheless. You make it easy for her to get to know you and therefore be more open with you.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.
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