Tag Archives: communication

Seven Keys to Effectively Manage Conflict

By Andy Stanley

The role of leadership is to leverage the tension to the benefit of the organization.  That’s your assignment as a leader.  You’ve got to learn through your personality, your position and your gifts to leverage these tensions for the benefit of the organization because these tensions result in progress, progress, progress when properly leveraged.

Here are seven quick suggestions.

A.  First, obviously, is to identify the tensions to be managed in your organization, and this isn’t really hard to do. Sit down and work through with your team members, “Hey, what are the tensions that in that aren’t going away?”  And here’s the key.  What are the tensions that shouldn’t go away that we have to learn how to properly manage?  If you don’t identify these tensions, you will spend hours trying to solve problems that can’t be solved and shouldn’t be solved.  And if you are a peacemaker by nature, if you are a conflict-avoider by nature you will lean in the direction of bringing about peace and giving up the tension, which will impede progress, and you will make everybody happy temporarily, but you may undermine the strength of your entire church or organization.  Identify the tensions.

B. Create terminology.  Create new terminology.  The terminology we use in our organization is simply this.  This is a tension to manage.  I’m telling you, in the midst of conflict, staff conflict, volunteer conflict, all of a sudden it’s bingo!  We’re trying to solve a problem that is actually tension we must learn to leverage.

Continue reading Seven Keys to Effectively Manage Conflict

How to Be an Inspiring Leader

By Eric Garton

When employees aren’t just engaged, but inspired, that’s when organizations see real breakthroughs. Inspired employees are themselves far more productive and, in turn, inspire those around them to strive for greater heights.

Our research shows that while anyone can become an inspiring leader (they’re made, not born), in most companies, there are far too few of them. In employer surveys that we conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit, we found that less than half of respondents said they agree or strongly agree that their leaders were inspiring or were unlocking motivation in employees. Even fewer felt that their leaders fostered engagement or commitment and modeled the culture and values of the corporation.

Exceptional managers find and capitalize on their employees’ unique strengths. Learn how they do it with this 6 minute video slide deck. Download a customizable version in Subscriber Exclusives.

To understand what makes a leader inspirational, Bain & Company launched a new research program, starting with a survey of 2,000 people. What we found surprised us. It turns out that inspiration alone is not enough. Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the troops but are undermined by mediocre outcomes. Instead, inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control. Here are some of our additional findings about how leaders both inspire, and get, great performance:

You only need one truly “inspiring” attribute

Continue reading How to Be an Inspiring Leader

The 9 Behaviors of Great Leaders

By Leading Blog

EASY PROBLEMS can often be solved by guessing. And we solve hundreds of these kinds of problems as we go throughout our week. The problem arises when we rely on our experience to guess at what might be wrong to try to solve hard problems—problems where the solution is obscured. The odds are against solving hard problems by guessing. And because we don’t apply the right approach to these problems they remain unsolved costing us time, money, and emotional wellbeing.

Naturally we like simple solutions. But a simple guess is not the same thing as a simple solution. A simple solution is easy to implement. But a simple guess that doesn’t get to the real issues is difficult, expensive, and wasteful to implement.

We need to stop guessing. “Every unsolved problem is bottlenecked by not understanding the root cause at a fundamental level.” In Stop Guessing, Nat Greene explains 9 behaviors that great problem-solvers use to solve hard problems. Here are his behavior summaries:

1. Stop Guessing
It’s natural for us to guess. The first thing you must do to start solving problems or keep from making them worse is to stop guessing.

2. Smell the Problem
Get out and walk around using your natural senses and tools available to you to develop a strong pattern of failure. Ask relevant, thought-provoking questions about the specific problem to guide you to collect information and look for very specific patterns, rather than shotgunning and looking at everything in the system.

3. Embrace You Ignorance
It’s what you don’t know that lies between you and the solution. Great problem-solvers not only admit their ignorance but also embrace it and ask questions others might find “stupid,” to shatter old assumptions about the problem.

4. Know What Problem you’re Solving
Often, people work on the wrong problem entirely by making some implicit assumption about what’s causing it. Great problem-solvers invest time upfront to make sure the problem they’re working on is well defined, measureable as a variable, and represents precisely what is wrong with the system or process.

5. Dig into the Fundamentals
This means learning how the process works, both by understanding the process itself and by understanding some of the fundamental science behind it. By focusing on what controls a problem, you’ll be able to limit your digging to the parts of the process and the science that are relevant, rather than trying to wrap your arms around the entire thing at once.

6. Don’t Rely on Experts
Utilizing subject-matter experts is crucial to understanding a complex system and its underlying functionality and science. Unfortunately, most people delegate responsibility for solving the problem to those subject-matter experts, rather than driving the problem-solving process themselves. Great problem-solvers always view experts as collaborators rather than saviors.

7. Believe in a Simple Solution
When confronting complex problems, it can be comforting to believe that the solution will be complex as well. But by not believing in a simple solution, people often give up long before they’ve gone through the rigor required to find the simple solution that lies at the root cause, to great cost and detriment. Great problem-solvers will have the belief and tenacity to keep solving until they’ve found the root cause.

8. Make Fact-Based Decisions
Avoid making opinion-based decisions: anything that relies on a vote, on authority, or on some subjective ranking system of what decision to make is one of these opinion-based decisions, and it leads problem-solvers astray.

9. Stay on Target
When problem-solvers dive deep into a problem, they too frequently seek to expand the number of possible root causes, so they can test them. Great problem-solvers measure the drivers that most immediately control the problem in order to determine whether those subvariables are in control, and in doing so are able to quickly eliminate most possible root causes and avenues of inquiry without having to dive deeper into them.

Greene digs deeper in to each of these in separate chapters. Strong problem-solving methods will discourage guessing, provide lots of structure to develop a pattern of failure, and guide you to understand how the process works. Begin problem solving and not solution-guessing.

Read the original article HERE


Become a Better Listener by Taking Notes

By Sabina Nawaz

Team dynamics can make or break a meeting. Have you ever been in a meeting where people interrupt each other, introduce new ideas when they should be building on the conversation, and repeat someone else’s point just to be heard? These communication issues waste time and energy, and usually lead to more meetings to correct misunderstandings, reiterate decisions, or soothe hurt feelings and interoffice tensions.

But there is one thing you can do that can make a significant difference to improving the quality of time you spend in meetings: Listen. By improving the way you listen and understand others in meetings, you can make that time more productive by reducing repetition and misunderstandings.


If simply listening can solve so many problems, why is it so hard to practice? One reason is we’re listening to interrupt with our ideas or rebuttals. We listen so we can jump in with our perspective. Or we’re worried we’ll forget what we want to say if we listen for too long. We focus on our own communication, rather than listening to understand others.

Through my work with executive teams, I’ve developed a simple technique that can help anyone listen more effectively in meetings. I call it Margin Notes. You may already take notes during meetings, but unless you’re using them wisely to understand others and plan your response, you may still fall into the same trap of speaking before you think. Margin Notes allows you to think, process information, make connections between points of discussion, and ask effective questions instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Continue reading Become a Better Listener by Taking Notes

The Dunning-Kruger Effect Helps Explain Why People Resist Hearing Constructive Criticism

By Mark Murphy 

Dan is a senior financial analyst and, in his mind, he’s the best one on the team. But according to his boss, while it’s true that Dan’s financial skills are very good, his emotional intelligence is virtually nonexistent. And Dan’s coworkers would describe him as smart but also narcissistic, abrasive and tone-deaf.

Dan could really benefit from constructive feedback to get his people skills closer to the level of his financial skills. If only Dan had better people skills, his career trajectory and compensation would be much better than they are today. But thus far, Dan’s been impervious to feedback. When his boss recently gave him some constructive criticism about increasing his emotional intelligence, Dan responded:

Oh, puh-leeze! How do you even measure emotional intelligence? What nonsense; you can’t rate my emotional intelligence low because I didn’t smile enough in the staff meeting. And even if it was a real concept, and I did rate low, it’s not relevant to being a great financial analyst. I’m not a social worker, I deal with numbers and data.

If Dan were a perfectly rational and unemotional robot, he’d hear the feedback and alter his behavior. But Dan’s got two problems (beyond his lack of people skills) that are impinging his ability to hear and accept his boss’ criticism.

First, Dan’s suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect. As I previously wrote on Forbes, coined by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias whereby people who are incompetent at something are both unable to recognize their own incompetence and likely to feel confident that they actually are competent.

And second, Dan is employing a type of defensiveness that Professor Dunning and his colleagues call expedient escape. I recently spoke with Professor Dunning, who now teaches at the University of Michigan, and he told me that many people find the most expedient avenue they can to reject the feedback.

They might question the accuracy of the feedback (e.g. “you can’t rate my emotional intelligence low because I didn’t smile enough in the staff meeting”) or they might challenge the relevance of the feedback (e.g. “emotional intelligence is not relevant to being a great financial analyst”). Either way, as Professor Dunning told me, you’re telling people things that may cause them to question what they believe and there’s a good chance they won’t take it very well.

Let’s take the study in which David Dunning and his colleagues discovered that MBA students greatly overestimate their emotional intelligence. First they were asked to rate how they thought they compared to American adults in general, and then they took an actual test of emotional intelligence.

When Dunning’s team looked at the worst performers, they found that students whose actual tests showed them at the 10th percentile (i.e. they only scored higher than 10% of American adults) had actually thought that their emotional intelligence was going to be around the 72nd percentile. In classic Dunning-Kruger fashion, the worst performers thought they were great and overestimated their emotional intelligence by 62 percentile points!

When these Dunning-Kruger sufferers were then given feedback about their poor results on the emotional intelligence test, they saw the test as less accurate and relevant than those who scored well on the test. They didn’t like the results of the test, so their expedient escape reaction was that the test must be inaccurate and/or irrelevant.

At some level, many leaders know that their employees will resist hearing tough feedback. According to the 166,000 leaders who’ve taken the online test “What’s Your Leadership Style?” around 70% of leaders try to make constructive criticism easier to hear by using compliment sandwiches (a nice compliment, followed by a bit of criticism, followed by another nice compliment). For example, we could say “Dan, your technical skills are really terrific, probably the best on the team, but I’d like you to be more open and sensitive to your colleagues’ feedback when we’re in meetings, because I want everyone to appreciate your technical skills.”

Unfortunately, this technique often backfires horribly for a number of reasons, including that by trying to soften the criticism we often leave wide-open avenues for the employee to escape (i.e. expedient escape). By using the compliment sandwich, we make it incredibly easy for Dan to devalue the importance and relevance of emotional intelligence. In essence, we offered him a ready-made path for expedient escape.

As I’ve written elsewhere, you need to close off some of those expedient escape routes. For example, before you launch into a big speech about everything the employee needs to improve, try engaging them with questions. Before we start giving constructive criticism, we could ask Dan “what skills does it take to be a top financial analyst here?” or “if we look at the financial analysts who enjoy the greatest success at this firm, what kinds of technical and people skills do they have?”

Once we’ve gotten Dan thinking about the various attributes required for success (including emotional intelligence), then we could ask him something like “if you discovered that your performance on one of those attributes was lacking, what are some steps you might take to correct that?”

When you’re trying to get someone to alter their behavior, one of your biggest jobs is ensuring that there aren’t expedient escape routes. When we deliver a criticism-laced tirade to an unwilling employee, we’re just begging them to resist, devalue or otherwise reject our feedback. Remember that lots of people have no idea that their performance is subpar (aka the Dunning-Kruger effect). So when we share that reality, be mindful of their natural inclination to resist.

Mark Murphy is the author of Truth At Work: The Science Of Delivering Tough MessagesHiring For Attitude and Hundred Percenters.

Read the original article HERE

Why Becoming A Leader Makes Some People More Unethical


The higher up the corporate ladder you climb, the more likely you might be to engage in unethical behavior.

That’s the findings of the latest study from Jessica Kennedy, assistant professor of management at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Kennedy says she had a hunch that high-ranking executives had more difficulty accurately perceiving ethical problems, even though previous studies suggested that they had the confidence, influence, and control of resources necessary to put a stop to unethical practices.

To find out if this was true, Kennedy studied archival survey data from more than 11,000 U.S. federal government agency employees. Then separate experiments were conducted in which about 300 participants were randomly assigned high- or low-ranking positions.

The experiments revealed that those who were given a position of high rank were 75% more likely to lie for financial gain. This result indicates that those at the top of the hierarchy are less likely to correct bad behavior, a concept referred to as “principled dissent” in the research.

The experiments also revealed the reason why those with higher rank were more likely to excuse and go along with bad behavior: They identified strongly with their group.

Further, the study says that the more strongly high-ranking individuals identified with being a part of the group they were leading, the likelier they were to view their group’s decision as more ethical—even if it wasn’t. Finally, the research suggests that low-ranking individuals may be better at perceiving and acting against unethical practices.

Read the original article HERE

Freeing Yourself from Yourself

By LeadingBlog

TOM ASACKER always makes you think.

Life is not scripted but we live it as though it were. In doing so, we create boxes that we operate within without ever really seeing the possibilities. “We’re confined in mental prisons of our own creation.”

We make these scripts up or others make them up for us and eventually we come to believe them. And the problem is we think that is reality. It’s that story inside our head that keeps us from flourishing as we should—a life that moves us. We are sabotaging ourselves.

We act more like Coleridge and less like Keats. In I Am Keats, Asacker develops a metaphor for two worldviews as expressed through the poetry of two 19th century poets: Coleridge and Keats.

Keats was passionate. He was moved by his senses and imagination. Capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries and doubts, he was uninhibited, open, and without judgment.

We are conditioned – perhaps predisposed – to live in Coleridge’s worldview. Coleridge wants to predict an unknowable future. He is logic, order, control and progress. Coleridge wants you to live a productive and mistake-free life. “He is an expert craftsman, skilled in the rights and wrongs of the world, and turned on by the desire for risk aversion, accumulation and conformity.”

Neither is right or wrong but we need to be aware of the dynamic between the two or we never really live. We never see the possibilities. Knowing is safe. Being is frightening – “a dynamic dance with reality.”

But we are held captive by our beliefs—what we believe to be reality. “Here’s the thing about our beliefs. We don’t want them pointed out to us. We don’t want to have our soothing stories interrupted. We don’t want to be woken up from our script, from our reassuring routines. Otherwise, we’ll have to think. And then, heaven forbid, we may have to change.

Asacker writes, “Let go of your incessant desire to know, to predict and influence, and instead be willing to experience the mystery of the present without corrupting it with questions.”

When you allow yourself to become more like Keats, “you find yourself being pulled deeper and deeper into a process that creates serendipitous connections and refines your perceptions. Your old eyes adjust to a new world, and you become more creative and discerning.”

Experience the moment. “Your present creates the meaning of your past.”

I Am Keats is a book for our times. It is a philosophy says Asacker. “Magic, then logic. Heart, then head.” Try it.

More at: IAmKeats.com

Companies Are Bad at Identifying High-Potential Employees

By Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman

A high-potential employee is usually in the top 5% of employees in an organization. These people are thought to be the organization’s most capable, most motivated, and most likely to ascend to positions of responsibility and power. To help these employees prepare for leadership roles in a thoughtful, efficient manner, companies often institute formal high-potential (HIPO) programs.

And yet, according to our data, more than 40% of individuals in HIPO programs may not belong there. We collected information on 1,964 employees from three organizations who were designated as high potentials, measuring their leadership capability using a 360-degree assessment that consisted of feedback from their immediate manager, several peers, all direct reports, and often several other individuals who were former colleagues or who worked two levels below them. On average, each leader had been given feedback from 13 assessors. Previous work we’d done with these organizations had shown that this assessment technique was highly correlated with organizational outcomes such as employee engagement, lower turnover, and higher productivity. The higher the leader scored, the better the outcomes.

But when we looked at the participants in the HIPO programs, 12% were in their organization’s bottom quartile of leadership effectiveness. Overall, 42% were below average. That is a long way from the top 5% to which they supposedly belong.

So how were these individuals chosen? What we found was that, in all three organizations, there were four characteristics that these individuals possessed:

  • Technical and professional expertise. It is often said that the person most likely to be promoted is the best engineer, chemist, programmer, or accountant. Having deep knowledge and expertise goes a long way in terms of getting a person noticed and valued. And it’s true that technical expertise does matter for managers. However, it’s essential to understand that what got you invited to the party is not enough to keep you at the party. People who are skilled technically but lack excellent leadership capabilities need to develop those skills.
  • Taking initiative and delivering results. Senior leaders in an organization were willing to look beyond poor leadership skills for a person who was consistently self-motivated and productive. Perhaps this is not surprising — when we asked over 85,000 managers what was most important for their direct reports to do to be successful, their number one choice was “drive for results.” Results do matter, but sometimes a top individual contributor should stay an individual contributor and not become the boss.
  • Consistently honoring commitments. When they say “It will be done,” it gets done. Inevitably, this creates trust in an individual and a willingness to look past other skills that are not excellent. There is no apparent downside to this skill until a person gets promoted and they become overwhelmed with too many assignments they have committed to achieving. We find that people who lack leadership skills don’t trust direct reports enough to delegate assignments and involve others. This leaves them drowning in commitments.
  • Fitting in to the culture of the organization. In addition to these skills, we found that underperforming people in HIPO programs tended to emphasize a specific trait valued by their organization. One organization, for example, had culture that placed a great deal of weight on being nice. Employees who showed consideration and concern for others would occasionally be considered HIPOs even though they lacked other leadership skills. The other two organizations valued people who volunteered for new programs or initiatives. People with that attitude were rewarded by being included in the HIPO program, even when they weren’t effective in other parts of their jobs. Paying attention to what is valued in an organization can help an individual get noticed.

We also noticed that the underperforming HIPOs were especially lacking in two skills: strategic vision and ability to motivate others. When filling their HIPO programs, organizations should look for people who show signs of having these skills — which are very important as you climb the organizational ladder — and not place quite so much emphasis on things like cultural fit and individual results.

For the organization, there are several risks to filling your HIPO program with people who don’t actually possess leadership potential. Leaders may well be lulled into assuming that they have an adequate leadership pipeline when in reality they have less than half the pipeline they thought. Just as bad, the organization may be missing out on the people who would make great leaders, even if they don’t fit the stereotype of a high-potential leader.

The situation is hardly any better for the people in the HIPO program who aren’t likely to flourish in senior management roles. These people may assume that their career is on track when in reality they may have been steered in a career direction that is less than ideal for them. These misplaced members of the HIPO group were often extremely effective individual contributors, even if they weren’t equipped for a senior role. These are people the organization wants to retain (which may be another reason they’d been funneled into the HIPO program — perhaps senior management has no more imaginative way to reward top contributors). When organizations push their top contributors into management roles in which they won’t thrive, however, they are running the risk of losing a top individual contributor and demotivating the people who are now reporting to an incompetent boss — and losing them as well.

But all is not necessarily lost. The underqualified people in the HIPO program who truly do aspire to senior positions in the organization should focus on learning and practicing the leadership skills required. We strongly believe that HIPOs with leadership deficiencies can eventually develop excellent skills, but the majority of those with poor skills don’t realize their deficiency. Being part of the HIPO program masks their shortcomings. So take an honest look in the mirror at what you need to learn.

As for the managers running the HIPO program and selecting people to be in it, we suggest they be a little more careful in whom they anoint.


25 of the Most Inspiring Books Everyone Should Read


Whether you turn pages, tap a tablet, or listen to audio, a good book can be a perfect relaxation aid, tutor, or source of inspiration. Here are quotes from more than two dozen executives who name their favorite book and explain why it’s worth your attention.

1. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

“A quick and illustrative book that shows just how powerful well-designed and properly implemented checklists can be in reducing mistakes in all kinds of fields. I’ve been on many mountaineering adventures where your life depends on a good checklist to make sure ropes, harnesses, and equipment are properly set up. Not everything in life needs a checklist, but we see every day how they can deliver results. When you’re boarding a plane, you see pilots working through a number of preflight checklists to make sure everything is in order and no steps are overlooked. At our fast-growing business, checklists that we continue to tweak are critical in building repeatable and scalable processes. Gawande sums it up well: ‘You want people to make sure to get the stupid stuff right. Yet you also want to leave room for craft and judgment and the ability to respond to unexpected difficulties that arise along the way.’ No matter how good the checklists, they themselves cannot make anyone follow them.”

–Tom Martin, CEO of Glance, a visual engagement solutions software company

2. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

“The book is marketed as ‘a practical guide to personal freedom,’ but in a work setting I use it to check myself when I’m trying to solve a problem, listen to criticism, give constructive feedback, or resolve a conflict. The agreements–don’t gossip, don’t take things personally, don’t make assumptions, and do your best–help me start from a rational position of trying to understand the issue at hand, without bringing any negative mental baggage that may come along naturally if I weren’t aware of them. I also use the Four Agreements framework to analyze conflicts, so I can understand why someone may be reacting in a negative or emotional way and to help me remain calm if I’m involved in the conflict.”

–Bob Armour, CMO of interactive employee communication software company Jellyvision

3. The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse by Mohamed A. El-Erian

“During my time on Wall Street, I witnessed both high and low times. If you want to understand the modern global economy, you should read this book. El-Erian is an incredibly clear thinker and explains complex ideas in an articulate way that is understandable to the financial novice while engaging to a seasoned industry veteran. Although no one can predict the future, this book comes close.”

–Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of digital investment platform Ellevest and author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work

4. The Varieties of Human Experience by William James

“I graduated from high school at age 16. I honestly think the teachers pushed me ahead because they couldn’t put up with me anymore! I used my GI Bill benefits to enroll in college. In one of my psychology classes, I was exposed to William James, the father of modern psychology. He once said, ‘If you can change your thinking, you can change your life.’ And that really resonated with me, so I sought to begin a program in self-mastery. I started reading everything I could get my hands on about successful people. What were their thoughts, habits, and philosophies? It didn’t take long to discover that my upbringing wasn’t in alignment. Once I realized that, I gradually shifted into an entrepreneurial mindset, and I proved James’s theory correct. William James really made me aware of what I had been thinking and truly opened my eyes to examining the crippling power and control of the past.”

–Dan Lee, director of NextDesk, a company that creates power-adjustable desks that can be quietly raised from sitting to standing height

5. Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

“An amazing investigation into the world of competitive memorization that turns into an in-depth study on the capacity, and limitations, of the human mind. The book provides a real appreciation for how our brains work that I find massively applicable in both my work and personal life. A must-read!”

–Adam Tishman, CEO of Helix, a direct-to-consumer sleep brand that uses personalization technology to individually design and custom build mattresses based on customer preferences

6. A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards

“This masterfully written book highlights three leadership styles, culled from the lives of three kings mentioned in the Bible: Saul, David, and Absalom. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or a young entrepreneur, this book is a priceless treatise on the art of identifying and dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly attitudes of those who sit in the big chair at the office.”

–Michael Tyrrell, author, composer, and producer of Wholetones, a healing frequency music project aiming to help people improve their health, sleep, creativity, productivity at work, and well-being

7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

“A very good friend of mine recently gave me a copy. It’s not a sit-down-and-read-it-in-one session type of book. But I was facing some challenging moments, and she left a copy on my desk with a note that said, ‘You need this.’ I opened a page randomly, and read, ‘Know yourself, and you will win all battles.’ It resonated immediately with me. Sometimes founding a company is like a war–you need discipline, a game plan, confidence, and to understand the enemy (competition). I keep it on my desk for moments when I’m finding things tough. It’s not always relevant, but sometimes it’s a better pep talk than any inspirational Instagram post.”

–Michelle Kennedy, founder and CEO of Peanut, an app launched in beta to help mobile-first mamas connect with other like-minded women

8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

“It goes without saying that leading a company is hard and leading a fast-growing company is even harder. The challenge for me–and for many business leaders–is why does it always seem harder than it should be? This book does a great job of being therapist and consultant–from someone who’s been there and done that–to those of us who have asked ourselves this very question. Ben’s ability to convey, in an easy-to-read, engaging, and thought-provoking way, his thoughts, fears, and struggles about raising money, rapidly growing, restructuring, and ultimately selling his company makes this a must-read for any CEO who wants to build and run a great business. At the end of the day, success in business comes down to persistence and the willingness to make the hard decisions, day in and day out. To succeed, we must, as Ben suggests, ’embrace the struggle.'”

–Chris Sullens, president and CEO of WorkWave, cloud-based field service management and “last mile” fleet management software solutions

9. Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story by Sam Walton

“I read this book more than 25 years ago and so much of it is still with me. My main takeaway was when he talked about how he would go to his warehouse at 5 a.m. to talk with the warehouse and delivery teams. He felt that was where he was able to get the best information about what was going on with his business. Remember, they didn’t have advanced inventory data programs and tracking systems to the level we have now. To this day, I continuously travel to our factories, warehouses, and fulfillment centers and talk with the folks who build, ship, and deliver our products. Sam was right. That’s where I get the most important information about my business.”

–Ron Rudzin, co-founder and CEO of luxury online mattress company Saatva

10. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer

“Danny Meyer is the restaurateur behind Gramercy Tavern, the Modern, and even Shake Shack. He shares how his focus on generous hospitality has led to his restaurants’ resonating with customers. I find the intense focus on the details of the diners’ experiences and the great respect and care shown to make their dining special incredibly applicable to businesses beyond restaurants. People want to be taken care of and remembered by the companies they do business with. Danny shares how he developed this philosophy and how he implements it across his various restaurants, from fine dining to fast casual burgers.”

–Caleb Elston, co-founder and CEO of Delighted, which uses the Net Promoter System to help companies measure the voice of the customer over time

11. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“Paulo Coelho leverages the myth, one of my favorite genres, to provide inspiration for all readers, but perhaps entrepreneurs will be affected especially. First, it challenges you to have a big vision, but teaches that creating and pursuing it is hard work and likely to take you on a very long journey. Second, you must learn by observing nature. To me, observation is the most important skill of an innovator. And the observation of nature is central to technological change throughout the ages. A 2016 robotics project at UC Berkeley mimicking cockroaches is just one modern example. Furthermore, understanding human nature is essential to being a good manager. In all his writings, Coelho reinforces that true inspiration comes from a quiet and calm place. Clearly, this is not possible if we never allow our minds and bodies some time away from emails, texts, and busy work. Finally, the book comes full circle, reminding us that the power to achieve our dreams is within us and was within us from the beginning. Think of it as a variation on the Star Wars theme: ‘The Force is within you.'”

–Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon, which provides business intelligence from social media analysis

12. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt

“This is a story about a business executive dealing with serious challenges at work and in his personal life. It is a good read as a novel, but more interestingly, it is a great business and leadership book. Its theme is that, in life and in business, you should constantly ask ‘What’s the goal?’ before taking any action when faced with a task or challenge. If you establish clear goals and a method of measurement, your action plan is more likely to line up with achieving the goal. The character, Herbie, becomes a metaphor for how to identify constraints and define processes based on these constraints.”

–Jim Dicso, CEO of SundaySky, which provides personalized video engagement for brands

13. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub

“Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub shares fascinating firsthand stories and useful advice about how to get what you want in life. His book is based on his decades of experience producing music and movies for Elvis, Sinatra, George Clooney, and more. It’s the 21st-century version of How to Win Friends and Influence People. And it’s a fun read.”

–Karl Sakas, agency consultant and author of Made to Lead

14. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim

“How to leverage, how to differentiate, and how to hedge–this classic business book inspires me on how to compete in the overcrowded optical and eyewear business. In today’s fast-changing environment, what used to be your strength and competitiveness can be your biggest obstacle in growth and change. One must constantly question, learn, and keep an open mind.”

–Jenny Ma, founder and CEO of eyewear brands Brooklyn Spectacles and Luxeye Optical

15. The Widow Cliquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo

“For anyone interested in true business pioneers, or indeed one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of all time, this biography is a great read. It recounts the inspiring story of the widow Veuve Cliquot’s struggle to grow her fledgling champagne business in the early 1800s following the death of her husband. Set against the backdrop of Napoleonic France, Veuve Cliquot conquered not only the glass ceiling of sexism, but political and financial turmoil to grow Veuve Cliquot into a remarkable empire. As similar issues resurface in the modern era, her battle is a timely reminder that determination and daring can win the day. A beautifully written account that I couldn’t put down.”

–Abi Weeds, founder of organic natural skin care and makeup company Odylique

16. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

“It was my first real exposure to Western literature and really opened my eyes. I was probably 11 or 12 years old, living in South Korea before we immigrated. Since then, I have reread it many times. The main inspiration for me is the utmost perseverance, planning, and dogged determination required to achieve one’s goals despite encountering many hardships and setbacks.”

–Lucas Roh, founder and CEO of the big-data platform Bigstep

17. I Love You All the Time by Jessica Elin Hirchman and Jennifer Elin Cole

“This is a children’s book that I used to read to my daughters when they were three or four years old, and for some reason it has stuck with me even as they enter young adulthood. The message is simple: Remember those who have unconditionally loved and supported you through thick and thin; find the time, make the time. For me, it’s namely my wife and kids. It’s so easy to read one more email, take one more call, or work one more hour at the expense of those who have been there for me whether I’m successful or not. My ability to create lasting memories with my family will not be judged by how successful I’ve been, but by how successful I’ve helped them be. That single phase has entered my thoughts many times and is a good reminder of what’s ultimately most important.”

–Tracey Wiedmeyer, co-founder and CTO of InContext Solutions, a Web-based virtual reality solutions provider for retail

18. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

“Lencioni’s work reads like a script for a Mission Impossible movie. In this case, he takes a very talented protagonist, Kathryn Petersen, and drops her into a Silicon Valley company in turmoil. Her mission: Take a highly dysfunctional set of executives and turn them into a highly functioning leadership team before the company implodes or she gets fired. I have a particular passion for understanding how to transform a group of individuals into a high-performing team, as a great team does more for a company’s results than anything else. Yet I’ve also struggled with how to communicate what makes great teams great and how to internalize that message. Lencioni takes a bit of the opposite approach, where he explains what makes a team not so great: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. His lessons are simple and inspired, and I’ve found the book to be a road map for building great teams, drawing on the story countless times in my career.”

–Jeff Somers, president and head of retail for small-business insurance company Insureon

19. The Power of Broke by Daymond John

“[It] is essential reading for every aspiring entrepreneur with a big idea and limited resources. So many people assume that you need to have money to succeed–that’s a false presumption. JR and I are living proof that passion and tenacity are more important than money to realize your goals. The Power of Broke, which I am lucky enough to be featured in, truly provides the tools and information needed to help you realize people of all financial statuses can find success, as long as you work hard and trust in yourself.”

–Loren Ridinger, founder of Motives Cosmetics and SEVP of e-commerce platform Market America and Shop.com

20. American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman

“This book really resonated with me, because it’s almost a mirror image of what we did with the Sparkling Ice brand. Hoffman dives into how Alan Mulally went into Ford and took a look at the organization as a whole. He shifted the focus to the consumer and recognized the importance of delivering quality products and services. Mulally honored the heritage of the company and used Ford’s identity as a strength to reinvigorate a culture. If you need to enact change in your company without losing its values, this book will be perfect to pull inspiration and tactics from.”

–Kevin Klock, president and CEO of beverage company Talking Rain

21. Double Your Profits in 6 Months or Less by Bob Fifer

“This book was the most impactful on my career. Other than a small section on technology (that I don’t fully agree with), the book is a blueprint for how an effective and efficient business should be run. Fifer’s teachings are ingrained in nearly all of TransPerfect’s business systems, and he has personally come and participated in training conferences with our senior management team.”

–Phil Shawe, co-CEO and founder of TransPerfect, a translation and content management company

22. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

“I read this book when it was first published and I was a first-time CEO at Cobalt Networks. The book, which focuses on how to bridge the chasms that occur in the transition from a market solely for innovators and early adopters to one that reaches a mainstream audience, proved to be my personal manual for building disruptive companies. For those in management, marketing, and sales at B2B tech companies, this book is a must-read.”

–Stephen DeWitt, CEO of Work Market, a freelance management system

23. The Wu-Tang Manual by the RZA

“There are a number of core lessons I have pulled from this book over the years. First, follow your dreams–don’t chase someone else’s. Wu Tang could only have happened on Staten Island, just like Godzilla could only have appeared on a remote radioactive island in Japan. No distractions, no envy. Be like ODB: There’s no father to his style. Second, location matters. In an era when everyone chases careers and dollars, the Wu represented Shaolin (Staten Island)–pride of place and people, and a commitment to draw from, but built on what’s strategic around you. Third, build a platform of success for others as your legacy. There have always been great rap duos (EPMD, Eric B. & Rakim, Run-D.M.C., and more), but Wu Tang was the first rap dynasty. While many companies claim to be a great place to work, we want Duo to also be a great company to have worked for, and we support our colleagues in their success at and beyond our company. Fourth, a team needs shared values and cultural contribution, not cultural fit. From Kung Fu and Bushido, to Nietzsche and Lao Tzu, the Wu drank deep from the well of history to draw wisdom from both the profound and the profane.”

–Dug Song, co-founder and CEO, Duo Security, a cloud-based information security provider

24. Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers by Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie

“It provides a practical approach on how companies can drive innovation. This is something we’re always focused on here at Wayfair, where employees are encouraged to share innovative and out-of-the-box ideas, test their theories, analyze data, and learn and iterate to find the best, most effective solutions.”

–Brad Johnson, VP of Castlegate Fulfillment for the online home store Wayfair

25. Ten Types of Innovation by Brian Quinn, Helen Walters, Larry Keeley, and Ryan Pikkel

“The framework is organized into three categories: configuration, offering, and experience. The author uses a theatrical metaphor, backstage, to describe the configuration phase, its steps being more distant to the customer, such as the profit model, structure, and process. The experience phase is described as onstage and is more obvious to end users: brand, service, and customer engagement. This book has been a great reference for our team as we create our own Ten Types that we call the stages of Human-Centered Design, a creative approach to problem solving. And similar to the Ten Types, only when you include every important step in the process will you end with a truly innovative solution.”

–Bob Niemiec, managing partner of Twisthink, a product innovation and business strategy consultancy

Read the original article HERE


There Are 4 Personality Types. Here Is How Each Will Lead to Great Success (or Massive Failure)


It never fails. Whenever I’m asked to do a client intervention to help diffuse a conflict of some sort, the first thing I do is have the parties involved take a personality inventory.

I’m doing this because 90 percent of the time, I find, conflicts are due to how we are wired at our very core. Our personality typologies hear differently, speak differently, and work differently.

This is when things get sketchy, if you work in teams or across functions. What I’ve learned is that each personality type (there are four, I’ll get to them in a minute) has its distinct strengths, but also opportunities for development, or blind spots.

These blind spots are our “Achilles Heel”– what limits us from communicating, relating, and working with others at an optimum level. And every person on the planet has them.

In order to build better working relationships at all levels of your organization, minimize conflict and work with others to reach goals, you have to develop your people skills. This means understanding not only your own type and how you roll, but understanding other people’s types and how they roll.

The 4 Personality Types — Which Are You?

As you look over the strengths and blind spots of each type, take notice of which TWO types come closest to defining who you truly are. Reason being is that most of us have a primary type, and a secondary type. They will show up in different situations, sometimes benefiting you, other times holding you back.

Here they are…

Leader Type

Strengths that make them shine: The No.1 need of the Leader Type is to get results. They see the big picture, and focus on the bottom line. They are driven, communicate with urgency, and always follow through to get the job done. Their propensity for “winning” and high need for achievement comes through strong due to their competitive nature.They are take-charge people, even if they’re not your boss, or a boss.

Blind spots that hold them back: They are seen as too controlling or aggressive, and not sensitive to the needs of others, often valuing the job over people. They make decisions too quickly, and can come across as critical and unsupportive of other people’s ideas. Because they are hard nosed, they have poor listening skills. They want to solve a problem and move on. Their biggest fault, perhaps, is lacking a collaborative work style which tends to demoralize others. You’ll find Leader Types frequently clashing and stepping on other’s toes, especially the People Type.

People Type

Strengths that make them shine: The No.1 need of the People Type is to connect. They enjoy creative outlets often in service to others. They also have a strong desire to know and understand themselves. They want to know who they are.Of the four types, they are the best communicators. They can relate to all other types much easier and their concern for others is high. They are excellent facilitators of other people’s growth, so think about that as you identify potential managers to develop teams. People Types like jobs that involve a high degree of social interaction. They do not like to be alone in a job. Examples of chosen careers are sales, human resources, social work, teaching, and various medical professions.

Blind spots that hold them back: People Types are seen as non-assertive and avoiding conflict, typically holding things inside. They tend to put the needs of others ahead of their own and are overly sensitive to criticism. They make popular decisions versus the “right one.” They can be easily influenced by others (accommodating) when their tendency to please others is running on high.

Free-Spirit Type

Strengths that make them shine: The No.1 need of the Free Spirit type is for personal freedom and adventure. They crave excitement in all areas of life–home, work, and play. Free Spirit Types do not like to be tied down by convention even if this is required by regulation or rules. They see life as offering a myriad of opportunities and experiences, and they need to sample them all. Mutual freedom is their philosophy. They’ve thought or said, “You do your thing and I’ll do mine.” They set and achieve ambitious goals, and they do not like to be told “You can’t.” They bring a sense of flair, looking at old situations and problems in new ways that others may not see. Free Spirit Types are drawn to careers that provides adventure, excitement and autonomy. They cannot be tied down to normal 9 to 5 jobs. So you’ll often see Free Spirits working as stock brokers, actors, entrepreneurs, and camp directors.

Blind spots that hold them back: They are seen as lacking discipline and follow through, and quite disorganized. They grow bored easily and want to change things up, sometimes on a whim. Their constant need for “the next challenge” can cause conflict with other team members. They start many jobs and finish few. They often do not plan ahead–they live for today. They ignore details and become sloppy. They’ll resist and rebel against authority.

Task Type

Strengths that make them shine: The No.1 need of the Task Type is for structure. They are all about getting the job done well. They are extremely hard working, dependable, reliable, and take a no-nonsense approach to life. They enjoy being organized. They structure their day from the time they get up to the time they go to bed. They feel wonderful when they accomplish everything on the lists they are constantly writing to themselves. Their major strengths are a strong personal commitment to their work, being precise, punctual, and seeing that others do the same to get the job done right. Their stick-to-it-ness and perseverance to get the job done or overcoming a challenge is extraordinary. They take responsibility very seriously.

Blind spots that hold them back: They are seen as having difficulty dealing with change. Their need for structure makes them too rigid, not flexible. They are workaholics and have trouble having fun. They can be too demanding of self and others. They often need too much direction and prodding to move things along, causing conflict with co-workers.

What Do You Do with All This Information?

Well, for starters, companies need to train their employees to develop their people skills to complement their technical and “hard” skills and abilities.

As employees, when you better understand the personality types of those around you (including yourself), you can leverage the strengths of each member to work and communicate better.

I have personally seen whole departments and offices boost morale, increase productivity, and decrease conflict in a major way, leading to these outcomes:

  • Better working relationships between management and staff.
  • Better working relationships between teams and across functions.
  • Better working relationships with the executive team.
  • Better working relationships between sales and/or customer service and clients/customers.

How have you used your own personality type strength to work better with others unlike you? How have you overcome your own blind spots? Leave me a comment or feel free to hit me up on Twitter.

Read the original article HERE

Empowering Leaders to Lead