“There is nothing so useless…

We-are-too-busy
…as doing efficiently what should not be done at all.”I spend a good bit of time in my practice working with businesses on their business planning and people development initiatives. A few of these clients have also invested their time in what is likely the least appreciated part of achieving sustainable success in business ~ process improvement! Peter Drucker’s quote above is a reminder to all business leaders, regardless of size of business, industry or profit status, that everything we do is a process and we should well be aware of whether we are doing the right things well versus just doing anything well.All successful organizations use the same basic processes regardless of whether they sell services, products or both. Their core processes are the ones that directly influence revenue acquisition and the supporting processes are those that have an indirect influence on revenue acquisition. These supporting processes included functions such...
Continue reading
  5186 Hits
  0 Comments
5186 Hits
0 Comments

“I’m a much different Athlete…

Habit-change How will you be a better leader in the next two years?
…than I was two years ago!”These were the words of a world-class competitor just before competing in the most recent World Cross-Fit Games. Two years ago at the same games, he tore his quad halfway through the competition and had to withdraw. This year he stood on the podium winning the Bronze Medal in the 50-54 year age bracket! He would be the first to acknowledge that what changed in those two years was less about his physical abilities and more about his mental approach. A different attitude took him to the status of third best in the world!What does this tell us about being successful lifelong leaders? Plenty, and more than most of us realize! I would argue most people acknowledge the value of a positive mental attitude and mindset as a key element of success. This is especially true for those who have ever participated in activities (athletics, music,...
Continue reading
  2374 Hits
  0 Comments
2374 Hits
0 Comments

“Don’t Make Excuses…

No-More-Excuses1
…Make Changes.”I came across this quote in a recent book I was reading called “Hacking Leadership” by Mike Myatt. It is mentioned in the context of hacking the status quo and it struck me how straightforward a statement it is yet so telling and powerful in its underlying message. It also got me thinking about how many leaders get derailed with excuses rather than making the changes necessary for their businesses. Just as troubling are the leaders who accept excuses from their teams when changes are not effectively executed.By most definitions, excuses are used to deflect accountability. They are typically not factual or logical and may be only remotely related to the actual issue (who hasn’t heard “my dog ate it”!). Excuses don’t exist in nature and are created by humans to rationalize their own accountability gaps. There is no greater environment for accountability to falter than during times of change....
Continue reading
  2593 Hits
  2 Comments
2593 Hits
2 Comments

“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen…

Thinking-Differentl_20210624-191556_1 How are you thinking differently about your business today?
…and thinking what no one else has thought.”This idea posed by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, a Hungarian Biochemist who won the 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine, is one of my go-to quotes whenever I need to re-energize my mindset. It reminds me that it is not what people see that drives their behaviors as much as it is what they are thinking, their attitude, that is driving their actions. In the world of constant change, it is our leadership attitudes that will determine our success as leaders, regardless of profession, status or industry.Why is this concept so important? By way of example, let’s look back at any inspirational story we have heard or read about someone who was diagnosed with a debilitating or terminal affliction. The diagnosis is usually clear on what the affliction is and is generally accompanied with a verdict associated with the diagnosis. The inspiration comes from the person accepting...
Continue reading
  2270 Hits
  0 Comments
2270 Hits
0 Comments

Leadership is responsible for 94% of quality problems...

business-quality-control How are you gaining 94% improvement in your organization?
...so it is leadership's responsibility to help people work smarter, not harder.These words by W. Edwards Deming are a call to action for today’s leaders to help them focus on the right business goals to execute their business strategies. You may recall Deming as the statistician who made popular the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle and considered the father of modern quality control. It is also relevant we consider his thoughts as today’s leaders address the challenges of achieving their business strategies in an unstable economy, an uncertain regulatory environment and untapped globalization.Against this backdrop are elements of the alignment process that fall between Strategy and Goals in the Business Alignment Maturity Model. These layers often go unnoticed and unattended by leaders until it is far too late. The focus here is the Structure layer of the Business Alignment Maturity Model. The Structure layer prompts leaders to look at their People, Processes and Technology...
Continue reading
  3174 Hits
  0 Comments
3174 Hits
0 Comments

“This accountability crap is for the birds...

accountability-savage-chickens
However, without it I would never get anything done.”This was an actual quote in an email from a client of mine earlier this year.  They were going through a dramatic change in their business and recognized the value of accountability, no matter how painful it might be.  It also reminded me how crucial it is for leaders to hold themselves, and those around them, accountable in order to achieve sustainable success.In their 2012 book, Challenging Coaching: Going beyond traditional coaching to face the FACTS, consultants John Blakely and Ian Day suggested accountability falls into three major categories.  Personal Accountability which focuses on one’s personal values, beliefs and attitudes that drive them toward action; Interpersonal Accountability which focuses on common goals, responsibility and shared work; and Organizational Accountability which focuses on standards, norms and measurements that apply to the entire organizational system.  Let’s explore each one a little deeper.Personal Accountability – accountability...
Continue reading
  2253 Hits
  2 Comments
2253 Hits
2 Comments

We are not Hard of Hearing...

Im-not-listening If “Listening is wanting to hear”, what are you wanting to hear?
...We are Hard of Listening!It’s true! Most of us hear everything around us. We hear the familiar noises of our day (traffic, radio, family etc.) and it reminds us of where we are and what we are doing. But are we truly listening to what we hear when it matters most and how do we know if we are or not?Jim Cathcart once said, “Listening is wanting to hear”. The implication in his words is listening is a choice, a choice to truly listen to what is being heard. When I conduct Leadership Communications workshops, the topic of listening is always part of the agenda. Listed below are five ways a leader can choose to become a more effective active listener.Take Time to Listen – It does take time to listen effectively as a discussion cut short due to distractions or interruptions will not yield its full implications. Taking time to listen...
Continue reading
  2531 Hits
  0 Comments
2531 Hits
0 Comments

75% of College Students Admittedly Cheat in School...

...and 45% of College Professors Turn a Blind Eye To It! Several years ago, I was preparing a presentation on business ethics for a local high school business class. Given the audience, I decided to see what the current mindset was among high school students around cheating – arguably a key indicator of ethical attitudes. The results, including those in the title, were shocking to me. Being a Visiting Professor myself at both undergraduate and graduate level, the toleration statistic was particularly galling.  Even more frustrating is the school district the local high school above belongs to recently reported 54% of their high school students reported cheating in some capacity and 58% reported that cheating could be justified in some cases! What does this have to do with Leadership as a Way of Life? Everything! Not a week goes by I do not hear self-proclaimed statements about the positive ethical attitudes...
Continue reading
  2700 Hits
  0 Comments
2700 Hits
0 Comments

"The best preparation for tomorrow...

...is to do today’s work superbly well"These words of wisdom from Sir William Osler are timely on two levels. First, many of you are personally and/or professionally preparing for an uncertain tomorrow – planning your goals for 2013 and beyond.  Secondly, doing today’s work superbly well speaks to, among other things, making every interaction with your customers a Moment of Truth. During this current economy, moments of truth are significant to every business owner, corporate and non-profit leader that recognizes the importance of loyal customers and donors.So what is a loyal customer? Over the years in many customer-facing positions in business services and non-profit organizations, I see the following traits as indicative of loyal customers compared to the satisfied customers we traditionally strive for:• A loyal customer will proactively tell others about your service to others. A satisfied customer will tell others if you ask – maybe. • A loyal customer...
Continue reading
  2696 Hits
  0 Comments
2696 Hits
0 Comments

The best way to find out if you can trust someone...

trust2 Who do you trust and, more importantly, who trusts you?
…is to trust them.In the past several months, the subject of trust was the most underlying theme in conversations with clients, graduate students and workshop participants.  As I reflect on these conversations, it became apparent there are a good number of potential leaders waiting for others to make the first “trust” move.  It is this contradiction that prompted the title quote above from Ernest Hemingway as the lead to this discussion of trust. So how do we trust someone?  While there are many ideas around this topic, my experience tells me there are two key elements to successfully trusting others; Integrity and Attitude.Integrity occurs when our beliefs, actions and words all tell the same story.  When we actually do what we say we are going to do, we engender trust in others.  I have coached students and clients alike to pay little attention to the words of others but pay very...
Continue reading
  2352 Hits
  3 Comments
2352 Hits
3 Comments

Leadership is a Habit.

Do You Believe It and are you Practicing It?Everyone has leadership potential but not everyone uses that potential to its fullest measure. More often than not, it is because leadership, and I mean great leadership takes us on a journey requiring repetitive practice and an unwavering attitude towards changing our performance.But is it possible to create new leadership habits? Research tells us that once old habits are burned into the part of the brain responsible for short term memory (the hippocampus) they are there to stay. We also know that over 75% of these permanent habits are negatively influenced as we grew up (don't color outside the lines and don't talk to strangers come to mind). New habits come from getting out of our comfort zone and reaching into our stretch zone - where true change occurs. If we focus on incremental and continuous change, what the Japanese call "kaizen" we...
Continue reading
  2607 Hits
  0 Comments
2607 Hits
0 Comments

To Be a Better Leader...

Integrity What will your leadership destiny be?
…Be a Better Person and Lead Naturally. I came across these words many years ago and they are one of the key influences behind the RPC Leadership Associates, Inc. Vision of “Making Leadership a Way of Life”.  Far too many people rely solely on a class, a book or a workshop to become better leaders.  What they fail to fully realize is the importance of understanding who they are as a foundation for effective leadership development. So what do we mean by being a better person as a foundation for being a better leader?  In a word, integrity!  More specifically, personal integrity defined as our beliefs, our words and our actions all telling the same story.  We all know people from our past or present who we know believe in one thing and say another, or those who say one thing and do another.  These people are "out of integrity" as there...
Continue reading
  2901 Hits
  3 Comments
2901 Hits
3 Comments

Change Occurs At The Outer Edge of Your Comfort Zone

Comfort-Zone
As we wind down 2012, many of us are reflecting on what we accomplished in 2012 and what changes we will make to continue our successes into 2013. In my own work with small and medium businesses as well as non-profit organizations, managing change is the most common topic of conversation; and why not? The uncertainty that remains in the economic and political environments have leaders in the unenviable position of making the next right strategic decision in the face of all this uncertainty.How do leaders mitigate this uncertainty enough to make the crucial decisions before them? While there are many moving parts to a successful business strategy, two elements of leading any organization is understanding the general environment you are competing in as well as knowing how your current capabilities match up to that environment. Key to a leader’s strategic thinking process includes a recurring assessment of their general environment...
Continue reading
  2512 Hits
  0 Comments
2512 Hits
0 Comments

It is Choice not Chance, that Determines Your Destiny

Integrity-copy-2
"It is Choice not Chance, that Determines Your Destiny" ~ Jean NidetchI recently came across two separate events in the last several months promoting this month’s topic on Choice. The first was several conversations with people who were talking about how they had let chance govern their career choices and how they now were struggling to make their own choices about where their careers would go from here. The second was several graduate students caught turning in papers as their own when they had, in fact, purchased them online. The first group had the opportunity to choose, but couldn’t. The second group had the opportunity to choose and chose poorly. It had me thinking, why are these choices so difficult?Alfred Montepart once said, “Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” Being an effective leader in today’s global business environment requires a multitude of daily choices and every...
Continue reading
  4328 Hits
  0 Comments
4328 Hits
0 Comments

“Who was that masked man?”

lone-ranger How much of the real you will the rest of us see?
Those who remember this famous line from the early radio and television show “The Lone Ranger” recall it fondly as quite arguably the very first masked superhero (five years ahead of Superman!). This time of year we see more than a few masks on adults and children alike with Halloween right around the corner. This line also brought to my mind a related leadership question. How many leaders are also wearing a mask, a mask that many of us cannot see yet it hides the real leaders, the real person, inside?Of course, what I am referring to is being an authentic leader. In our current challenging environment it is not uncommon for people to take on whatever persona they feel will provide them the greatest possibility of retaining or advancing in their current role. They, in essence, “mask” their true attitudes and behaviors and replace them with behaviors they believe will...
Continue reading
  1579 Hits
  0 Comments
1579 Hits
0 Comments