Welcome to The Leadership Corner

May 11, 2016

The purpose of The Leadership Corner is to provide valuable tips, research and connection to business leaders and managers who want to build their knowledge, skills and abilities together.  We also list free webinars and teleclasses on our Free Training Page.  Read more in About Us

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Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Collaboration, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Customer satisfaction, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, High performance team, Leadership, Leadership development, Morale, Peformance management, Personal development, Strategic planning, Teamwork.

Getting Smarter, Stronger and Richer

August 23, 2013

By Phil Humbert

I’m often amazed at how few people intentionally plan their own Personal Development. Even folks who have precise, written goals for their business and finances, or who work hard on physical fitness rarely assess their personal strengths and weaknesses and devise a plan to live their lives with power, style, and grace.

To me, that’s a shame.

Living a great life is no accident! None of us was born knowing how to set priorities, how to develop our best skills or knowing how to get along with difficult people. Life does not come with an “owners manual.” That is up to each of us.

For better or worse, most of us sort of “absorb” some basic social skills and community standards, and often that’s enough for most people. But that level of “automatic” learning will never get you to the top. It will never let you achieve or be your best. It will make you “average,” and who wants to be average and ordinary?

Last week I was talking with a client about her list of “dailies.” This is a term I use in my own life and with most of my clients to describe a set of “daily disciplines” that remind me to grow, to learn, to focus on my values and become my best. In her case, we talked about starting with a Daily Three based on the affirmation that, “Every day I am getting Smarter, Stronger, and Richer.”

Getting Smarter

For this client “Getting Smarter” refers to learning something new, every single day. She’s committed to reading or listening to audio programs, or watching DVD’s that will teach her about business and sales, about history and culture, or about being a better parent to her young son.

Her commitment requires a few minutes a day, but every single day she wants to develop new and better skills in areas that are important to her. Even ten or twenty minutes, repeated daily, will make a huge difference. And so, she affirms, “Every day I am getting Smarter.”

Getting Stronger

My client is also committed to health and wellness. She’s young and vibrant and recently gave birth and she wants to be strong, fit and energized. So every day, she rides her bike or does some stretching or exercising. It may be only fifteen minutes, but over time that small investment will pay dramatic dividends. But only if she persists. So, she affirms, “Every day I’m getting Stronger.”

Getting Richer

She and her husband own a small business, but business skills don’t come naturally for her. No one taught her as a child or in college, so she’s intentionally learning to make more sales, to manage the “back office” and run the business. She figures the tuition of learning by trial-and- error will take too long and cost far too much, so she studies. She reads. She has a coach, and she’s taking classes. She’s getting good at this! And she affirms, “Every day, I’m getting Richer.”

Her list of Daily Disciplines has only three items, but she’s determined to invest a few minutes every day to become the entrepreneur, the Mom and the Person she wants to be. To help her get there, she repeats the affirmation, “Every day I’m getting Smarter, Stronger and Richer.”

Are you the person you want to be? Personal Development is an art, a skill, and a delight. Over time and with persistence, it lets you live an amazing, on-purpose life of your own choice, a life that is consistent with your most important values and priorities. Develop you own plan and your own affirmation. Then, take action! What are your “Dailies?” Write them down, develop a plan and follow- through.

Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Change management.

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A Gift in Disguise

March 20, 2012

All of us have had, and continue to have people/situations/occurrences/events in our lives that we interpret as good or bad, happy or sad. We know how to handle the good and happy events in our lives. We enjoy!

In each event we interpret as bad or sad, there is a gift disguised as a problem. Each of us have had, and will periodically continue to have bad, sad or negative events/encounters in our lives. In each of those situations, there is a lesson for us to learn, an opportunity to grow.

We normally feel the emotion of the event, which is natural. However, many times we fail to learn the embedded lesson. Often, we continue to feel the emotion long past what is healthy for us. We re-live the situation over and over (Self-Talk).

It is said that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. If this is true, then we should view our mistakes or events in our lives as an opportunity to learn.

Certainly we need to feel the emotion. And the more severe the event, the longer we will naturally feel the emotion. However, at some point it is time to “Learn the Lesson” and move-on.

We are feeling beings. We are also problem solving beings with the gift of “Original Thought”. So, when the time is appropriate, we need to “Leave the Event” behind, and carry the lesson into our future. We can then put the lessons learned into our tool-box of experience to deal with future events.

By Michael Price

Categories: Attitude, Change management, Personal development.

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Curious Insight into Employee Motivation and the Pygmalion Effect

February 6, 2012

Great Performance Starts with Great Expectations No, by “great expectations,” I’m not referring to the Dickens book. Presumably when you hire or promote someone, you expect great things from them. You don’t think, “Yes, this warm body will be adequate enough, I suppose.” If so, then you’re probably not reading this article. Studies based on the … Read More

Categories: Accountability, Attitude, Change management, Culture, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, Leadership.

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Direction, Momentum & Goal Achievement

January 29, 2012

This week’s TIPS has two objectives — to give you a model for achievement in 2012, and to give you a loving but swift kick in the butt to get going! (Or a big hug and high five if you are already on your way!)

It’s the end of January! If you aren’t on your way to making 2012 your best year ever, it’s past time to get started! True, the year is only 8% completed, but that means you should be at least 8% of the way to your goal! As the poet said, it’s time to “be up and doing!”

So, let me ask some questions to help you focus. What, exactly, has changed since January 1st? What are you doing more of? Or less of? What has changed for the better? If I walked into your office, what would tell me (instantly and without any doubt) that you’re serious about your goals? If I were your spouse, how would our family routine have changed since January 1st?

Remember, “nothing changes until something changes.” And the primary thing that has to change is YOU. You either change your focus and your behavior, you develop new patterns or new skills and new priorities, or to be blunt, nothing is going to change for you. It’s the end of January. Let’s get this show on the road!

Which begs the question, How?

By now, many subscribers are probably noticing that the goals you set a few weeks ago have not, so far, resulted in the progress you would like. Perhaps, not much has changed…and that feels all too familiar! (If things have changed, WAY TO GO! Keep it up!)

I believe the great weakness of most goal-setting programs is their lack of daily detail, the lack of a recipe for incremental progress.

One of the quotes that inspires me was Jim Rohn’s definition of success. He said “success is making reasonable progress in reasonable time toward a worthwhile goal.” I like that!

It’s very rare that success happens over-night. Most of the time, success is an on-going process of becoming the person, and doing the things, and getting the things we want.

And that means daily action in the direction you want to go.

Let me be clear. I love BIG goals! I have BIG goals and I hope you do, too. But the bigger the goal, the more steps and the more time will likely be required to get there. So the real questions for big-time goal achievement are about “Daily Direction” and “Maintaining Momentum.”

Daily Direction is having absolute clarity about what you will do and, perhaps even more importantly, what you will no longer do. It’s about knowing that every single day you are either moving toward your goal, or you’re slightly off-course, moving away from our goal. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But the key is that a long journey also requires thousands of consecutive steps that all follow the same path!

Review and re-commit to your goals every day. Be absolutely clear about what it will take to get there, and then be sure you take some step, no matter how large or small, in pursuit of your goals every single day.

It’s rare (and wonderful!) when we can take giant leaps. But most days, we take smaller steps. We read something, or make one more phone call. We problem-solve, or practice a new skill one more time. Every day, make some progress!

And that’s what Maintaining Momentum is all about. Most people fail at this. They work really hard or do something dramatic for a day, but then they get distracted and take no action toward their goals for the next two weeks! That’s a set-up for failure. Don’t do it!

Start every day by reviewing your major goals and write down some action, big or small, that you will take TODAY. Move slightly closer every single day.

“Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch. Yard by yard, everything is hard!” To reach your goals in 2012, remember it’s not a sprint but a marathon. Every day, review and re-commit to your goals, check your direction, and take some action to Maintain Momentum. I think you’ll like the results.

by Phil Humbert

Categories: Accountability, Attitude, Change management, Leadership development, Personal development.

The Comfort Zone

December 21, 2011

As I set my personal and business goals for 2012, I’ve been thinking about what motivates me and what holds me back.   I ran across this poem about ‘My Comfort Zone and it made me think.  I’m sending it to you as food for thought as you reflect on last year and set your goals for next year.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Once you set your goals, write them down, post them and share them, you will still need to look at them daily or weekly to keep you focused.
  • While you are filling your calendar, consider how each of those activities will help you achieve your goals – or not.   Schedule your time wisely and recognize your priorities – don’t settle for what you already have.
  • Don’t move into your comfort zone.  Why not you ask?  As much as the comfort zone keeps us safe and doesn’t push us to do more, there’s a cost for not pushing us to do more.  See, the comfort zone limits us, ‘to protect us’.
  • If we are in our comfort zone, we can’t grow.  Just like a pot-bound plant, we can die or quit if we don’t have room to stretch, change and try new things.


My Comfort Zone – Author Unknown

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much.
I said I didn’t care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.
If you’re in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!

What are your goals for 2012?  Who do you want to become and what do you want to be known for?  What will you do to step out of your comfort zone this year?

Categories: Accountability, Attitude, Change management, Personal development.

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Managing All Employees Alike Can Be a Recipe for Disaster

January 26, 2011

By Mark Powers and Andy Kanefield

It has been said that good people don’t leave good companies — they leave poor managers. No one wants to lose their best people, but in the midst of time pressures to produce better results, managers often cut corners — one of which is acknowledging the importance of managing according to the strengths of their people. 

Many parents understand that their children are unique individuals and know when to treat one child differently than the others. Managing employees needs to be a similar journey of better understanding their unique strengths and learning how to maximize those strengths within the context of the shared goals of teams within the organization.

Consider the following broad categories of people within an organization and the accompanying guidelines on how to manage them. 

Futurist employees: These are employees who need to know what’s next. They have a directional focus; they’re looking at the horizon. While there are different types of futurists, there are certain principles that are important to manage any futurist.     
•    Respecting their strengths means giving them an opportunity to help shape the future. Managers can give them roles that allow them to co-create what comes next for the team.
•    Understanding their limitations means recognizing that some may need help implementing their ideas. Place them on teams with people who are good at execution.
•    Helping them develop may mean reminding them that not everyone can see the same things they can and that they need to paint tangible pictures of what the future could look like. 

Analysts: These are employees who excel at execution because they can see the steps needed to get things done. They’re the ones people depend on to get things done. How does one manage analysts?

•    Respecting their strengths means giving them clear instructions of what your desired endpoint is and then giving them the opportunity to create the steps to get there.
•    Understanding their limitations means recognizing that managers may need to check in with them occasionally to ensure the steps being executed are still leading toward the desired end result.
•    Helping them develop may mean reminding them of the necessity to change at times and that the tried-and-true approaches of yesterday were at one time the new approaches. 

Connectors: These are employees who view organizations as a network of people with a common cause, who see the need for a common rally cry or mantra that provides focus and energy. They are the cheerleaders of the organization.

1.    Respecting their strengths means making sure that the team has a clearly articulated shared purpose and that they have a role in reinforcing it and helping keep people focused on it.
2.    Understanding their limitations means avoiding overly conceptual and theoretical discussions that don’t directly relate to improving organizational or individual performance.
3.    Helping them develop means reminding them that other members of the team can still be team players by contributing strengths in isolation that contribute toward team success. 

Interpreters: These are employees who think first about the needs of customers or clients. If the organization is anticipating or going through a change, the first question an interpreter will ask is, “How will this affect our clients?”

1.    Respecting their strengths means ensuring that the team listens to their customer insights. They may not have organized, empirical data for each conclusion, but don’t dismiss their conclusions due to lack of numbers.
2.    Understanding their limitations means making sure that project priorities are clear. Interpreters want to help, and as such, they will overcommit. They need to understand the highest priorities and have timelines based in reality.
3.    Helping them develop means reminding them that great ideas are truly great when you put them into practice. 

Action plan

1.  Look at your employees and your interactions with each of them.  Determine which of these  characteristics best describes each of them. 

2. During your next interaction, modify your management style and see what happens. 

 Question:  What characteristics best describe YOUR style (Futurist, Analyst, Connector, Interpreter)? 

Categories: Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Communication, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, Leadership, Leadership development, Peformance management.

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Negative Feedback – Good, Bad or Gift?

January 26, 2011

Nothing makes for a bad day like negative feedback.  However, there is a role for positive negative feedback in your life, and according to Sam Chapman, CEO and author of The No Gossip Zone, negative feedback should be seen as a gift.

“Without negative feedback, we would never improve ourselves and our lives,” said Sam Chapman. “And after enough practice at accepting negative feedback, you might even find yourself letting out an involuntary “hmm” noise as you realize the truth in a bit of negative feedback.”

Step One: The Giver Is Not Your Enemy
By accepting that everyone has something valuable they can teach us about who we are, we open up to a realm of creativity, growth and success that we never thought possible. This means accepting negative feedback with an open mind and discovering what it is that you need to improve about your performance.

Step Two: Curb Your Natural Reaction to Be Defensive
This will take some practice. It is our natural reaction to immediately leap to our own defense whenever someone puts us down. We immediately come up with several different rebuttals, all of which are aimed to prevent us from taking a single iota of responsibility for the situation at hand. However, if you can take a step back, a deep breath and remove yourself from the situation for a moment, you might realize that you are being told something worthwhile, something that can help you grow personally and professionally.

Step Three: Allow Yourself to Feel Emotions, But Don’t Get Stuck
You have the right to get upset whenever you hear negative feedback. It is perfectly natural to feel sad, angry or any variation thereof when you hear that your performance or behavior needs work. Allow yourself to feel those emotions, but don’t allow yourself to become them. Otherwise, you will be so busy “being” angry or sad that you won’t have the emotional energy or wherewithal to realize where you stand to improve.

Step Four: Turn Your Complaint Into Requests
At the end of this process, you are more than welcome to share your feedback with your giver; just make sure your feedback isn’t in the form of a complaint. The gift is much easier to receive when it’s in the form of a request rather than a complaint.

Question:  How do you respond to negative feedback?

Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Collaboration, Communication, Conflict, Leadership, Morale, Personal development.

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Time for Your Annual Tune-up

December 29, 2010

In a few days we’ll begin a brand new year and two key questions are whether and how you will make it a better, fulfilled and more successful year than this one?  I hope you’ll answer these questions for your business and personal life.  Today, we’ll focus on the business side. 

One important step to achieve a better, fulfilled and more successful business year is to have a solid plan.  Another is to engage your employees.  This week we’ll focus on the plan.  Next week, we’ll share some tips on best ways to engage your employees. 

The most essential pieces to both of these plans are involvement and alignment

6 Steps to a More Effective Annual Plan

If you’ve done annual planning and goal setting as a ‘check-the-box’ exercise in the past, you know that it can be unnecessarily complex and marginally useful.  Here are 6 steps to help you create a more effective plan that gets you the intended results.  

1.  Keep the plan simple and alive.  An effective annual plan provides clear direction for all employees.  It shows the goals as the target (the bulls-eye) and helps guide employee actions (the arrows) day to day.  As Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems once said, a good plan puts “all the wood behind one arrow”.   

2.  Involve key stakeholders.  Ensure that the plan reflects the voice of the organization by including key stakeholders in the planning and goal setting process.  When you invite others to participate, they feel ownership of the plan and are more willing to focus their efforts on achieving the results.   

3.  Clearly outline responsibilities and accountability.  If everyone owns it, no one owns it.  Without goal “owners” who develop and drive the action plan, the goals become everybody’s job with no clear accountability. An owner will take the lead in identifying a team, implementing tactics, monitoring progress and rewarding and recognizing desired behaviors and results.  

4.  Review organizational performance frequently.  Ensure that measurement of actual performance against goals is agreed to at the time the goals are set.  Every measure should have a defined measurement interval (e.g. daily, monthly, quarterly) in order to correct and modify the plan along the way and ensure achievement.  If we only look at our performance at the end of the quarter, it is too late to take corrective action and hit the target.  

5.  Assess your organization’s capabilities and capacities before setting goals.  Do you have the right people in the right jobs with the right skills to set aggressive goals?  Are senior leaders aligned and engaged in the journey?  Do you have the right tools and systems in place?   These answers will determine how aggressive your goals can be.  Part of your plan may include building new capabilities within the organization.  

6.  Link company goals to all employees.  To ensure organizational alignment, every employee needs to have a clear line-of-sight as to how their job impacts the annual plan and the customer experience.   Use your formal and informal communication and performance management processes to ensure this insight and alignment.   

Action Plan

  1. Review your plan and identify potential obstacles to success (personal and business).
  2. Determine what you can and will do to overcome them if these obstacles appear. 

Question:  Which of your 2011 goals are the most important to you?

Categories: Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Communication, Culture, Leadership, Leadership development, Peformance management, Strategic planning.

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