Sunday, March 9, 2014

How to Lead Like Ellen DeGeneres

Leadership Freak  and Part Deux

“Negative focus creates negative environments. But, successful leaders build energizing environments. Your primary influence is the environment you create.”  Peter Senge

Rituals establish predictability – predictability enables connection.

Make gratitude a ritual. Drop in on direct reports and say, “Thank you.”

1.     Name something they’ve done and say, “Thanks.”

2.     Name a character quality and say, “You’re awesome.”

3.     Explain how they’re making a difference and say, “Keep up the great work.”

7 ways to increasing influence the DeGeneres way:

1.      Avoid threatening behaviors.

2.      Enjoy the approval of others without being needy.

3.      Make it easy for others to be vulnerable by respecting vulnerability.

4.      Acknowledge the strength of others.

5.      Don’t pump yourself up.

6.      Choose humility – the place of service.

7.     Be vulnerable.


To Get The Boss You Deserve: Manage Up!


Managing up means managing your boss. It's at least as important as managing down or cooperating with peers. It's an inevitable prerequisite of building a sustainable career.

When approaching the relationship with your boss with an attitude of open-mindedness and cooperation, you have much better chances to become a more effective manager and person. I suggest that you take the following main principles into consideration:

·         Understand The Nature Of the Relationship With Your Boss

·         Get The Boss You Deserve

·         Organize Yourself and Your Work

·         Decode Your Boss’s Personality

·         Put Yourself In The Shoes Of Your Boss

·         Be Loyal, Respectful And Committed

·         Over-Communicate and Avoid (Bad) Surprises

·         Provide Solutions And Not problems

·         Disagree And Commit

·         Raise Your Concerns And Speak Up


Is Narrative the New Design?

Huffington Post

One of the most remarkable changes in the world of technology over the past decade-plus has been the new centrality of design as not just a product differentiator or branding device, but as an inherent part of the product development and distribution cycle: the linkage of design to both bottom and top line business prioritization in clear ways. Apple is of course the great leader and most obvious example of design as leading factor, to the point that analysts forget that at one time product design content -- like business narrative content today -- was considered a distracting cost for Silicon Valley businesses rather than a fundamental component of its challenge set.

The lavish photo layout of Yves Behar in a recent issue of Vanity FairF underpins how far the change in industry opinion of design has come. From consumer goods to -- increasingly -- industrial inputs, the mix of design attractiveness, functionality and sustainability have become important components of Silicon Valley business analysis.


Show, don’t tell: How to live your mission statement

The Next Web

How do you live your mission statement, honestly, thoughtfully, and with purpose?

The mission statement has become the cornerstone of corporations, higher education, CEO’s, and even families. Beginning in the 1970s the mission statement began its surge in popularity—dominating the corporate world for the next thirty-odd years. You couldn’t turn around without being assailed by books touting the benefits of mission statements.

Mission statements can provide a sense of purpose and clarity, but they mean nothing if you can’t fulfill the objectives of your mission statement. Here are five tips to help you live your companies mission statement:

1. Lose the hubris

2. Do be concise

3. Be inclusive and ask questions

4. Don’t hire someone to write your mission statement

5. Enough talk, do it


Two Rules: How Should a Leader Spend His or Her Time?

Michael Roberto blog

Several weeks ago, Adam Bryant of the New York Times interviewed David Rosenblatt, chief executive of 1stdibs, an online marketplace for high-end goods.  He asked Rosenblatt about some of the key lessons he has learned in his career.   Rosenblatt talked about struggling to determine how he should allocate his time during his early days as a chief executive.  He then explained that he had established some rules that helped him in this area. Here's an excerpt:


I learned Rule No. 1 from Irv Grousbeck, who teaches an entrepreneurship class at Stanford Business School. And that is, very simply, “You can hire people to do everything but hire people.” Rule No. 2 that I think about every day is, “Only do the things that only I can do.” So if it’s someone else’s job to do it, I try not to do it. If I find myself doing too many of those things that are actually someone else’s job, then it relates back to Rule No. 1 — I probably don’t have the right person in that role. But just like anyone in any role, it’s important to understand, where is my comparative advantage? What am I better at than almost anyone else? 


The article contains more on this subject.  I recommend taking a look.  The two rules are a great start though.  I think the second one needs to be an explicit question that each leader poses to himself or herself.  As the leader on a major program here at Bryant University, I know that I need to address this question.  As I launched the program, I was doing many things.  Now, as the program matures, I have to think about the way I'm spending my time.  I'm clearly not playing to my comparative advantage.   Many leaders find themselves doing a bit of everything when an organization is in start-up phase.  Then, as the firm grows, they need to focus on that comparative advantage question.  It's hard to let go, but you can't make the organization successful without addressing this issue. 


The Values Schism And How It’s Draining The Brains From Corporate America

InPower Consulting

Something insidious is happening in the cubicles and hallways of America’s big and midsized companies.

Employees who have attained a chunk of the America dream — a steady paycheck, benefits and a rung on the upwardly mobile ladder — are risking an uncertain job market and quitting their jobs in astonishing numbers (more than 2 million a month). Why?

On the surface, they will tell you that they are in search of personal and professional fulfillment they can’t find in their current positions. Underneath this trend, however, is a deeper motivation. Employees are discovering that their values are misaligned with the companies they work for and that one of their highest values, a deepening appreciation for themselves as integrated human beings, has almost no value to their employers.

Over the last five years, this schism has grown so much that the number of people intending to quit and start their own business has grown by 50%.


You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a leader


Recently many of my clients have been introverts. I can tell because, as they share with me that they need to speak up in meetings more, that they need to get their voice in the fray, they then invariably say something like, “But all those people are just talking because they like to hear their own voices. They’ve got nothing to share but they’re talking anyway.” And I invariably say something like, “Why would you want to speak up more in meetings if that’s what you really believe about the people who are talking? If you think they’re just taking up space, why would you do that too?” But it does seem like extroversion is an expected part of leadership. That leaders are expected to voice an opinion or to “own” the room. Which was why I was especially pleased to come across this post on by Sue Shellenbarger, Shaking Off a Shy Reputation at Work.



When Running Away is Running Toward

Let’s Grow Leaders

Sometimes running away is running toward.

…running toward  authenticity, wholeness, adventure, integrity and peace.

Your turn.  How do you know the difference between running away and running toward?  Are they ever in the same direction?


Tending the Garden of Your Mind

Random Acts of Leadership

Sustained success requires that you learn to tend the garden of your mind lovingly and wisely.

While there are countless tools and techniques available, there are 3 things you can do every day to sow the seeds of an abundant harvest and keep the weeds at bay.

Sift Your Thoughts for the Gold

Choose Your Words Wisely

Engage in Conversations that Matter


Moment of Trust – How to Give Feedback That Builds Trust, Not Destroys It

Leading with Trust

Giving feedback to someone is a “moment of trust” – an opportunity to either build or erode trust in the relationship. If you deliver the feedback with competence and care, the level of trust in your relationship can leap forward. Fumble the opportunity and you can expect to lose trust and confidence in your leadership.


For most leaders, giving feedback is not our most pleasurable task. Having been on both sides of the conversation, giving feedback and receiving it, I know it can be awkward and uncomfortable. However, I’ve also come to learn and believe that people not only need to hear the honest truth about their performance, they deserve it. Most people don’t go to work in the morning and say to themselves, “I can’t wait to be a poor performer today!” We do a disservice to our people if we don’t give them candid and caring feedback about their performance


Harbingers of Doom

Three Star Leadership

A harbinger is "anything that foreshadows a future event." When you see or hear one, the future event won't be far behind. Think of harbingers as early warning signs. They can alert you to impending doom in time for you to take action to prevent it. Here are some harbingers of doom.

We really don't have any competition. That's what the old Bell System thought. After all, they had the network.

No one will notice. Usually said when a company reduces quality to make more money. Alas, people usually do notice.

We'll do it just this once. Usually said when someone is about to do something shady. This is a slippery slope, indeed. Remember Enron.

Nothing can go wrong. Remember Murphy's Law: "Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you expect. And if anything can go wrong it will, at the worst possible time." My experience is that Murphy was optimistic.


Leading through the Power of “And”

Tanveer Naseer

When it comes to discussions on leadership, there are certain constants or inevitable statements that you’re likely to come across. One of the most common of these stems from the ongoing debate over whether culture is more important than strategy in terms of the organization’s long-term success and viability.

Unfortunately, the popularity of debating the merits of one tactic over the other has recently given rise to a whole new set of either/or scenarios where leaders are encouraged to adopt one approach at the expense of the other. To date, some of the either/or scenarios I’ve seen debated include:

·         vision vs. strategy

·         knowledge vs. action

·         people vs. results

·         thinking vs. doing

·         managing Millennials vs. every other workplace generation

Of course, it’s understandable why there’s a growing appeal for this approach – given the increasing complexity of leading organizations in today’s interconnected global economy, it’s only natural that we want to find quick answers to help us navigate these often choppy waters.