Why Great Leaders Value Reputation Before Revenue

How to Put Principles Into Practice

Reputation
 

In 1996, I walked away from my first million-dollar client. Anyone looking at my company’s profit and loss statements would have questioned my sanity.

We were less than a year old at the time, and this was by far our highest-profile customer. I made this seemingly crazy decision because I value my company’s reputation over its revenue.

Making Business Decisions

Many leaders rely on Excel spreadsheets to drive their decision-making. They think something is only worth doing if the numbers add up and the price is right. My company, on the other hand, uses a set of five core principles to gauge every business decision it makes:

  • Employees come first, always.
  • Work as a team; win as a team.
  • Reputation comes before revenue.
  • Commit to safety.
  • Make it happen!

Our big client didn’t share any of these values with us. Further, he was overly harsh with my team members and set unrealistic expectations. Our weekly status meetings with him became sources of dread because it didn’t matter how well the previous week went; it was never good enough.

The entire office’s morale suffered, and I had to make a decision:

Do I put my principles first, or do I put my revenue first?

I quickly realized that if I put revenue first, there didn’t seem to be much of a point in having principles. If I sacrificed our core values in the name of profit, how could my team ever respect me or our values again?

The decision became easy — we walked away.

Money is Fleeting. Reputation is Forever

As leaders, we’re often tempted to compromise things — be it ethics, principles, or happiness — to maximize short-term profits. While compromise might immediately boost our portfolios, it doesn’t necessarily help build our reputations.

I’d argue that a company’s reputation is all that really matters, and having a good one is the only way to ensure long-term success. It’s the reason my company has so many great clients today, and it’s the reason they constantly refer new business to us.

This is a philosophy that was instilled in me during my youth in the Midwest. We had a folksier way to sum it up, though:

Pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered.”

Everyone has a right to a living, but greed yields guaranteed downfalls — and I’m not interested in being a hog.

Staying on Course

The benefits of this approach aren’t just lasting. By removing immediate profits as sole drivers of business decisions, you’ll no longer be tempted to veer your company off course to accommodate difficult clients with deep pockets. This will solidify your brand as a stable, upstanding, and moral institution — and that reputation alone will drive your growth today and tomorrow.

The great corporate scandals of the world (think Enron) typically involve companies that value short-term revenues over all other considerations. And what does that earn them? Bankruptcy, bad press, and prison time.

Putting Principles Into Practice

Having personal principles is one thing, but having company-wide shared principles that guide every level of decision-making — from the corner office to the reception desk — is something that requires practice, patience, and communication.

Here are a few tips to help you instill this reputation-centric mindset into your company:

  • Provide mentorship and coaching. Look for opportunities to mentor, coach, and train your employees to make sure they have clear understandings of your company’s core values. Show them what it looks like, and feels like, to do the best quality work in your industry while maximizing your company’s reputation.
  • Ask great questions. There’s a management style called “inspect what you expect” that involves asking your employees quality questions to ensure the things you want completed are, in fact, being completed. It’s a low-impact form of oversight that’s more trusting and less stressful than full-on micromanagement — and it will help you determine what’s going on outside the walls of your office.
  • Align expectations. Meet with every employee and client to make sure they understand what your company is all about and how you got to where you are. Also provide them with a list of your core values, as well as specific examples of those values in action. This will give everyone a clear understanding of what to expect, and it will also show employees how to exceed expectations.
  • Make happiness your success metric. Don’t look at your bottom line to assess whether your company had a good year. Instead, look at the quality of your work, the happiness of your employees, the contentment of your clients, and the state of your recurring

Don’t let that one difficult, deep-pocketed client turn your business into something it isn’t. If you stay true to the values near and dear to your heart, the right clients will find you.

So, do you have a client or supplier that has dramatically different values than your organization? If so, would you give them up despite the cost to save your reputation? How important is your reputation you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–

Steve Randazzo is the founder and president of Pro Motion Inc
He builds deep emotional connections with consumers to create lifelong relationships
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On Leadership, Threats and Operational Security

Navigating Cyber Insurance for Your Small Business

Hacking Threats
 

A few years ago, a small business in San Diego was hit my malicious cyber attacks over the internet that were launched from local IP addresses.

As they were protected as much as they felt they could be, they contacted the national carrier to deal with the denial-of-service component of the problem.

Too Small to Service

After going through several levels of management, the answer that they heard was that the carrier gets about 10 million threats per day on their network and it is pretty difficult to assume that they would be given some kind of priority as a small business to have your problem explored.

Understanding that type of threat, which was simply a script being run through several zombie computers, can escalate to actual specialists trying to actively access your Internet information was enough to drive the owners towards looking at specialized business insurance that could keep them safe from liability.

What is Cyber Insurance?

The most common way for small businesses to get protection is to first ensure that they have as industry security compliance on their cloud presence as possible. After they have done so, they can look at cyber insurance. Cyber insurance is a form of insurance that covers almost any type of business attack from hacking to data breaches.

If you lose a client’s data or valuable data of your own, you can recover some of your losses or offset the liability with an insurance claim. Some forms of coverage also cover the loss of work time due to denial of service attacks.

Small companies are fortunate that almost 90 percent of the policies that are available provide coverage to companies inside the United States. Another nice feature is that the bulk of the policies can be priced by getting insurance quotes online.

Preparing to Get a Policy

As mentioned, upgrading or validating that you have industry standard security compliance is an important part of qualifying for cyber insurance. If you have an online e-commerce site, you should have encryption, a good hosting provider, and potentially a third-party service that verifies your site security.

The cost of preparing for cyber insurance can be a consideration for small businesses, so if you are just starting you might consider talking to cyber insurance representatives about the requirements that they have so that you can focus on meeting their criteria.

Another area that comes into play is knowing the type of coverage that you think you will need. If you store client credit cards online in a database, you will likely focus on a different type of coverage than if you are a company that uses a third-party payment processor’s site to process transactions for published material that carries copyrights.

Are They Really Out There?

A lot of smaller companies have not formerly had too many problems that they know of when it comes to the information that they keep online. Two trends are changing that picture. The first trend is one that has more businesses relying exclusively on computing in the cloud.

The second is that security researchers are finding pieces of data from every size company imaginable online in what is known as the Internet ‘dark’, or an area that people use to store information that may be for sale. Gone are the days when hackers were exclusively interested in finding ways to beat security or promoting a cause. With billions of people online, the focus has shifted to money and information.

New Operational Threats

As far as attacks are concerned, in addition to outright hacking and employee theft, there are a couple other types of attack that are growing in popularity.

  • One is stealing the anonymity from people and putting together a trail of behavior that can be used as business intelligence.
  • The other is creating boiler rooms that are information clearinghouses of stolen data that goes on the market to whichever organization or person that will pay for it.

The net result for small businesses is a competitive disadvantage for their online offerings unless they have adequate security- and potentially some insurance protection in place. For the small business owner who hasn’t recently checked their security arrangements, 2016 is a great time to start looking at turning a disadvantage into a sales advantage by validating the notion that your client and internal data is secure.

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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On Leadership, Communication and the Personal Touch

Why Leaders Still Needs the Personal Touch In Today's Digital World

Electronic Communication
 

Digital channels like email, instant messaging, social media, and video conferencing can make communication within a business a lot easier easier.

It can allow leaders and teams to keep in touch with the office even if you are on the other side of the world.

However, it is important to realise that these methods cannot completely replace face-to-face conversation.

The Power of Person

Indeed, speaking to someone directly offers several benefits that cannot be recreated digitally. Personal communication remains the best method for delivering crucial information. If you need to get an important point across, inspire your workforce, handle a sensitive issue, or move people to action, face-to-face remains the best way to effective communicate.

This is why leadership training should still contain a strong direct communication element.

This article looks at some of the reasons why a good leader in the digital world still needs the personal touch.

The Personal Touch

Personal Relationships

Despite the obvious convenience aspect of modern digital communication methods, a significant part of leadership involves forming personal relationships with the people you are leading.

This is much easier to do when you are in the same room as them, talking to them directly.

Furthermore, direct conversations allow you to give people your undivided attention. If you are on a video call, or using an online messaging system, you may become distracted by an email or by having multiple communication channels open at once.

Talking to someone on a one-to-one basis lets them know that you value them enough to drop everything else and allows more authentic, individual connections to form.

The importance of forming meaningful connections with your employees is often emphasised in management skills training and it is significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to do that through an electronic device.

Clarity and Nuance

One of the primary advantages of digital communication is said to be speed. And indeed, when it comes to simply getting a message to someone else, it can be extremely quick. However, that speed can be counter-balanced by a lack of clarity, ultimately making it less efficient than face-to-face conversation.

Mina Chang, CEO of Linking The World explains it this way:

It’s easy to misinterpret a text or email. For sensitive or otherwise important communication, having tone and body language for context makes a difference.”

Research shows that effective communication relies on non-verbal cues. Generally, digital communication removes these, along with nuance, increasing the chance of misinterpretation. Tone, for instance, cannot be conveyed through email or text messaging, while even video communication impacts upon the ability to read body language.

Sensitivity

Throughout their leadership career, people will encounter a number of serious or sensitive issues, which need to be dealt with carefully. For example, they may need to address an employee’s personal appearance, deal with a complaint about workplace bullying, or give a staff member a strong verbal warning about their conduct.

Dealing with such issues face-to-face demonstrates your personal commitment to reaching the best possible outcome. It helps to foster a greater level of trust between you and the employee in question and it is the best way to ensure that their dignity is preserved and your message is clear.

Reactions and Feedback

Finally, leadership often relies upon feedback and the ability to gauge reactions accurately, which can be done more easily through direct communication. You may notice hesitations or changes in facial expressions, which can act as a cue for you to develop points further or ask for opinions.

This ability is inevitably lost through digital communication channels.

Employees like to feel as though they are valued and their contributions to discussions matter. Once again, it is easier for them to make contributions during face-to-face conversations, which allow for interruptions or deviations.

Moreover, people pay closer attention and participate more actively in conversations if the person they are speaking to is actually present. This is partly because they are also aware that that person can pick up on their reactions.

So, what can you do to make your communications more effective by making them more personal? How can you create environments that make it easier for all team members to communicate confidently with personal tones and calm body language? What steps can you take to evaluate how you come across to others? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Alison Brattle

Alison Brattle is a marketing manager at Uk Based Company AchieveGlobal
She specialises in providing Exceptional Leadership Management Courses
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Employee Development: Who Should Take Responsibility?

Training Development
 

Having been on both sides of the manager-employee equation, I sometimes wonder who should take responsibility of an employee’s growth and development.

This because I am a firm believer of self-awareness and constant growth of an individual.

Finding the Way

The process of identifying a development area and then working on it is now ingrained in me and I consciously work on it. However, some aspects of an individual are harder to identify and work on, than others. Some habits if not identified and worked on in the nascent stage can become an annoying trait.

These annoying traits can come back to bite an individual in the most crucial times.

I believe that in addition to an employee taking responsibility for their growth, managers should also take the time to give timely and appropriate feedback.

On Strengths and Weaknesses

Of all of my personality traits I have worked on over the years, some were easily identifiable by me. However, there were a couple of weaknesses that if not pointed out by my manager, I would never have identified the root cause and possibly never worked on them.

From my experience, each and every aspect of an individual can be worked on by carefully identifying the root of the problem and then coming up with appropriate steps to correct it. Having an understanding mentor or coach is the key to this process especially for those problems that are harder to work on.

Sometimes a couple of different solutions may have to be tried before one can completely fix a problem but the key is to keep trying.

Performance Reviews

What I have often seen is that most managers (if not all) dread when the time comes to giving performance evaluations to their employees.

This begs the question why?

  • Evaluating an employee’s performance should not be such a fearful process.
  • After all aren’t managers are also supposed to be coaches for their direct reports?
  • Isn’t annual review the time for employee growth and development?
  • Shouldn’t performance evaluation be the time where managers can be proud of their coaching skills?

Well, there is only one explanation of why this happens. These managers don’t give direct feedback to the employees all-year-round and wait for the yearly performance evaluation cycle. Some companies conduct mid-year evaluations. Even if companies don’t mandate a mid-year performance evaluation, managers should make it a habit to give feedback to their employees throughout the course of the working year.

Be Wise, No Surprise

Another important aspect of the review process is that any feedback should not come as a surprise to the employee at the performance evaluation time. If the feedback is a surprise, it would certainly make the process difficult and dreadful.

Coaching employees is one of the most rewarding skills for a manager and they should make it work to everyone’s advantage.

I would urge all managers to not let any annoying habit fester in an employee. Help them identify the root cause and work with them to correct it. It is quite possible that they may not be fully aware of the issue and simply need an empathetic guidance.

So how are you doing at identifying your personal and professional needs for growth? And better yet, how well are you doing this same thing for the people that you lead? What can you start doing TODAY to provide the helpful feedback your people need to help them learn, grow, and develop better performance? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Aditi Chopra
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry
She is a consultant, writer and a leader
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Leading Individuals for Organizational Health

Help Your Employees Navigate Healthcare

Healthcare Costs
 

Today, employees need quite a bit of help staying and keeping healthy in order to live a good life and keep your organization healthy.

But with seismic shifts in the landscape of healthcare costs and options, many employees can get lost in all the confusion.

Costs and Care

The Affordable Care Act has made remarkable strides toward improving Americans’ access to care. Since its 2010 debut, about 16.4 million previously uninsured Americans have obtained coverage. Those gains stem from healthcare marketplace purchases and young adults receiving coverage through parents’ plans until age 26.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, while the law has reduced America’s uninsured rate from a little more than 16 percent in 2013 to barely 10 percent today, it hasn’t been so effective at reducing costs — affordable care is still out of reach for many Americans.

A Families USA report found a quarter of insured adults skipped necessary care to avoid costs. The Kaiser Family Foundation cited 48 percent of uninsured adults said care is unaffordable, even though more than 70 percent had at least one full-time worker in their households.

And because so many Americans receive employer-sponsored coverage, businesses are feeling the hurt, too. With the average annual premium for employer-sponsored family coverage reaching $17, 545 in 2015, company leaders are struggling to provide workers with reasonably priced coverage.

Without proper care, workers are less reliable and less productive.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that can significantly diminish the burdens of care for employers and low-income working Americans.

Healthy Options

Medicaid for American Families and Businesses

The ACA expanded Medicaid to those with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but it remains underutilized by working families.

Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage comparable to or better than most private plans. Enrollees enjoy minimal to no premiums, deductibles, copays, or pharmacy costs, as well as benefits like vision and dental care, non-emergency transportation, and substance abuse treatment.

When a parent enrolls, their children and spouse are also covered. Unsurprisingly, Medicaid recipients are just as satisfied, or more satisfied, than those with private coverage.

Medicaid expansion has also brought opportunity to business owners. Employers in the 31 Medicaid expansion states can transition eligible employees off of company-sponsored plans and onto Medicaid, freeing up thousands of dollars in premium costs per year.

Get Employees Covered

Business leaders can assist in transitioning eligible employees to Medicaid by following a few simple steps:

1. Arm employees with facts.

Medicaid is sometimes stigmatized as being only for poor, unemployed individuals. However, this attitude is based on misinformation; millions of hard-working, employed Americans receive Medicaid. Clear up misconceptions by providing employees with reputable information:

  • Display comparisons between Medicaid’s costs and the costs of the company plan. For a family on a budget, these costs speak for themselves.
  • Explain that family coverage comes without additional dependent costs; outline Medicaid’s benefits for children.
  • Avoid stigmatizing terms like “welfare” or “charity care,” and answer employees’ questions calmly and factually.
  • Send or summarize studies explaining Medicaid’s benefits to skeptical employees; encourage them to do their own research.

2. Begin with new hires, then expand.

Rather than transitioning all eligible, interested employees at once, have HR first discuss Medicaid with new hires. It’s the perfect opportunity to get happy, compliant workers. Just don’t coerce employees to opt out of the company plan — it’s illegal.

Then, have HR set up one-on-one meetings to help other employees determine eligibility based on income information. If this proves too cumbersome for HR, consider contracting with a third-party enrollment service.

3. Cross the T’s and dot the I’s.

Make sure you, HR, or your third-party vendor follow up with employees after the process has begun.

Offer employees time and resources to complete their application at work — a time when they are much more likely to give their full attention, rather than during off hours. Have HR check that enrollees received mailed Medicaid cards; this part is crucial to maximizing the company’s savings.

4. Assist with annual renewal.

Many Medicaid enrollees don’t realize they need to renew coverage on a yearly basis, and this process leads to significant attrition. This could mean employees end up right back on company plans — an unnecessary financial burden for the employee and the company.

Keep employees covered by alerting them when the renewal period is approaching. Remind them to bring renewal forms to work for assistance from HR or your third-party vendor.

Health insurance enrollment is open until Jan. 31, so now is the perfect time for business leaders to introduce employees to the Medicaid option. Medicaid isn’t something to be ashamed of — it could be your team’s path to better health.

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Benjamin Geyerhahn

Benjamin Geyerhahn is the founder and CEO of BeneStream
Benestream guides employers and employees through the Medicaid process
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Imaginary Leadership (Part 2 of 2)

Ending the Persecution of People, Productivity and Profit

Empty Suit
 

Many leaders may be imaginary, but the pain, problems and privation they cause to people, productivity and profit are all too real!

In part one of the two-part series, I compared the profile of Imaginary Leaders to that of Real Leaders—a distinction with a profound difference—and introduced what I consider to be the top three practices of Imaginary Leaders:

  • The persecution of people by proxy
  • The persecution of productivity by process
  • The persecution of profit by policy

Now I want to spend some time breaking these down a bit, so they’ll be easier to spot for Real Leaders and those who endeavor to make the transformation to Real Leadership.

Persecution of People by Proxy

A “proxy” has the authority or power to act as a substitute and, in this case, it is the Imaginary Leader playing the part. It could also be the Manager who confuses his roles and supplants Real Leadership with Managership. In either case, the persecution of people occurs when their:

Personal strategies related to aspirations and conduct

Interpersonal strategies related to one-on-one interactions with others

And organizational strategies related to using systems, structures and resources to influence the thinking, behavior and performance of others actually promote a defensive/unadaptive operating culture.

Punishing Pratices

I’ve written elsewhere about these types of unhealthy cultures and the damaging effects they have, so I won’t go into detail here other than to reinforce the idea that they devastate people through the Leadership-Culture-Performance Connection.

Below are a few of the more popular punishing practices that emerge in a cause-effect layout, along some ideas on alternatives for your consideration:

Personal

  • Withholding information from someone who could learn, change and grow from it or could actually fix/ improve the system as a result of having it.
    • Effect: “An individual without information can’t take responsibility. An individual with information can’t help but take responsibility.” – Jan Carlzon
    • Alternative: Follow Meg Wheatley’s advice in Leadership and the New Science: “…create much freer access to it….everybody needs information to do their work….it is no wonder that employees site poor communication as one of their greatest problems. People know it is critical to their ability to do good work. They know when they are starving.”

Interpersonal

  • Using fear to manipulate performance (e.g., annual performance/ merit review, management by numbers/ objectives, as well as outright threats, intimidation, bullying, etc.) or allowing fear to be propagated by others.
    • Effect: Personally, fear is an extremely limiting emotion. According to Dwoskin in The Sedona Method (Chapter 3), it is just above Apathy and Grief in the hierarchy of suppressed emotions, limiting our energy to the point it is mostly painful. Organizationally, it creates loss from “…an inability to serve the best interests of the company through necessity to satisfy specified rules, or…a quota” and “…where there is fear, there will be wrong figures.” – Deming, Out of the Crisis (Chapter 8).
    • Alternative: Deming suggests driving out fear (Point # 8 of 14, Chapter 2) through embracing new knowledge—to discover by calculation whether performance deviations are out of control with respect to other conditions—for improving the system and also eliminating annual performance appraisals/ merit reviews (Deadly Disease #3, Chapter 3).

Organizational

  • Applying extrinsic motivators, otherwise known as reward and reprimand or “carrots and sticks.”
    • Effect: Destroys intrinsic motivation and any value in the work itself, as well as pride and joy in workmanship.
    • Alternative: Commit to removing the demotivators (e.g., micro-managing the down-line, telling them that their “job is to make you look good” and holding them accountable for things they can’t control) and barriers to successful work that exist. Use the Deming/ Scholtes-style of MBWA—not just walking around, but knowing what questions to ask and stopping long enough to talk to the right people and get the right answers (e.g., Genchi Genbutsu or Gemba)—as a strategy for finding out what those demotivators are. This “go and see at the real place” approach will provide feedback from the voice of the customer (i.e., the employees) and the voice of the system (i.e., the process) that will invariably require something the leader must work on improving, whether related to him/her self or the system.

Stop and ask yourself this:

To what extent am I relying on these strategies as part of my personal leadership platform?”

Then yield to an awareness that produces learning, acceptance that produces change, action that produces growth and achievement that produces new levels of Real Leadership.

Persecution of Productivity by Process

The persecution of productivity (and I include quality and competitive position in my use of the term) occurs when Imaginary Leadership doesn’t understand the work that they or their down-line are responsible for and, as a result, can’t do much of anything to measure or improve performance.

Deming once quipped:

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”

He also said in The New Economics:

We should work on our process, not the outcome of our processes.”

The Heart of Quality

As Scholtes taught in principle number two of his six Principles at the Heart of Quality:

Leaders must understand their systems, processes and methods in terms of capability and variation. Data gathered on the variation of systems and processes over time will help leaders understand the characteristics of work performance in their organization.

When managers don’t understand the variation inherent in their systems and processes, they make themselves vulnerable to some serious problems:

  • They miss trends where there are trends.
  • They see trends where there are none.
  • They attribute to employees–individually or collectively–problems that are inherent in the system and that will continue regardless of which employees are doing the work.
  • They won’t understand past performance or be able to predict future performance.”

Understanding Process

But how many leaders today still don’t understand processes—not to mention the system; what Deming defined as “a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish the aim of the system—or, if they do, still focus more on process outcomes (results) than on the process (effort) itself?

This isn’t a hard question to answer. Just check to see how many of your current metrics are defined around outputs vs process or inputs. Better yet, just think about where you spend most of your time.

Is it truly on understanding characteristics of work performance like variation around materials, methods, equipment/ machinery built into the end-to-end process or on trying to improve certain outcomes of a sub-process (usually by focusing on the attentiveness, carefulness and speed of individual workers) that you know “the boss” is going to ask about?

Deming would again suggest that this invariably leads to optimizing the sub-system at the expense of the total overall system.

Persecution of Profit by Policy

This may seem harsh, but research and reality suggest that, as mission and operating philosophy (e.g., goals, strategies and policies) emerge as part of any organizations maturation and development process, ways of people relating to each other and their work are collated into a comprehensive framework of “the way to do things,” and much of that operating philosophy is not conducive to improving financial performance.

The persecution of profit occurs when Imaginary Leadership continues to deploy policies that constrain organizational value-creation for customers, whether related to innovation, quality/ service, speed or cost.

These include policies that are intended to govern/ control who, what, where, when, why, how and how much a company purchases in products/ services, attracts/ trains/ retains talent, measures/ improves performance, et al., and the outcomes typically effected include things like teamwork, turnover, earnings/ sales volatility and net profit after taxes (NPAT).

For what to do instead, I’ll simply refer the reader to an article on The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog by John Hunter: Nobody Gives a Hoot about Profit, which includes an incredible video with Dr. Russell Ackoff about Values, Leadership and Implementing the Deming Philosophy.

Ending the Practices of Persecution

It is not going to be easy, but it is worthwhile. It starts with changing your point of view and I’d refer the reader back to Continual Improvement (CI) in part one of the two-part series. This commitment to transformation must come from you, personally…there is nothing anyone else can do.

Personal transformation can’t occur without your permission. It is a choice, and herein lies a danger that both Deming and Drucker pointed out. It is not mandatory. No one has to change. Survival is, and always will be, optional.

Choose wisely!

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Richard Dillard

Richard S. Dillard is Founder/ Managing Partner at Dillard Partners, LLC
Pursuing Success at the Speed of Leadership!
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Leaders: You Do Not Need to Be Nice to Be Kind

Chess Move
 

Kindness is not softness, it is not weakness, and it doesn’t always have to be nice.

In fact, sometimes kindness requires you to be tough and direct. I have seen the misinterpretation of this word negatively impact many organizations.

Leadership Mistakes

Leaders, in an attempt to be kind, move under-performing employees from position to position in the hopes that they will finally succeed or at least survive. Others allow deadlines to pass without repercussion or avoid having that fierce conversation that is needed in order to drive improvement and productivity.

Many of these leaders have adopted this style of kindness out of a reaction from working with or for a tyrannical ruler. They have witnessed how ineffective fear is in motivating people and driving an organization forward.

However, in an effort to be the antithesis of what they witnessed, they too have become ineffective.

Some are just new to their leadership role and worry about being liked. They lack the self-confidence needed and therefore, spend much of their time trying to please who that work for them.

But, neither of these is true kindness.

Leadership Wisdom

People need to understand where they stand, how they need to improve and what is at risk if they don’t.

Kindness requires empathy, honesty and trust. It means that at times you must be a mirror, reflecting back to a person the impact of their habits and behaviors.

Feedback, constructive criticism and accountability are all forms of kindness. People need to understand where they stand, how they need to improve and what is at risk if they don’t.

Leadership Looking Glass

It means that at times you must be a mirror, reflecting back to a person the impact of their habits and behaviors.

It may be counterintuitive, but letting someone go from their job could be a great act of kindness. For that individual, it very well may be that you are releasing them from the pain of being in the wrong job, giving them the freedom to finally pursue one that better fits their skills.

It could also be that difficult but teachable moment, where someone with a sense of entitlement finally realizes in fact they are not. Although no longer employed by you, they are now much better prepared for their next employment opportunity.

Maybe most importantly, it is an act of kindness to the rest of the organization.

It can be so demoralizing to be hard-working, a driven performer and not see those who aren’t be held accountable for their lack of performance.

Leadership Courage

When we care about others, we don’t want to be the cause of any pain or suffering.

No one relishes having difficult conversations or enjoys taking tough action. When we care about others, we don’t want to be the cause of any pain or suffering. But, avoiding those conversations and failing to take the needed action can be far more damaging in the long run.

Not only damaging to that individual, but also, to the efficacy of your own leadership and to the organization as a whole. Kindness requires that you push past your own discomfort and insecurity to take the needed action that best serves the interest of the company you help to lead.

You do not need to be nice to be kind. But, you must make people feel heard, cared for, valued and respected.

It is also essential that you always act with integrity and honesty and, that you have the conversations and take the action needed to best serve the organization you represent.

If you do all that, you are in fact a kind leader.

Remember: You do not need to be nice to be kind.

Thanks for reading.

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Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
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L2L Infographic: 7 Ways to Improve Your Email Signature

Email Signature
 

Infographic Courtesy of Cloud Pages

3 Sacrificial Ways to Conquer This Year’s Goals…or Not

Leading with Honor Video Coaching from Lee Ellis

 

Should you set any personal or professional goals this year? Why or why not? Lee shares his valuable guidance in this clip.

If you’re feeling some anxiety or struggle about goals for the New Year, here’s my advice for relieving that pressure: fail fast and avoid the drama. Just avoid making goals altogether.

Seriously, you say?”

However if you decide to make New Year goals, these 3 sacrificial ways reveal the most successful path between goals and success…

Read Now

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders
——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Use Time Inefficiently

Stop Wasting Time
 

Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream that many people have. However, it is more difficult than many people on the outside understand.

There are a lot of different things that people who start their own business must do in order to succeed. Learning how to manage time efficiently is one of the most important aspect of owning your own business. Here are five ways that entrepreneurs use time inefficiently.

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Use Time Inefficiently

1) Urgent Issues

Many business owners spend all of their time on the urgent issues of the day. Although it may seem important, many issues that are faced are really more urgent than anything. Understanding this difference is a huge step forward for anyone who wants to improve their time management.

There are a lot of people who want to have more time during the day. If this is something that applies to you, start by concentrating on things that are important more than urgent. Over the long-term, this will make a huge difference in the amount of time you have to use on other aspects of your company.

2) Social Media

Another area that many people waste time in is social media. Many business owners understand that social media can be a great tool that drives in a lot of business. However, many people who own their own business get distracted in what they do on social media.

Instead of doing this, make sure that you set time limits in the amount of time that you spend on social media.

If you are a business owner, you do not have time to waste. If you want to take your business to the next level, this is an essential element of the time management process. There are many people who simply take breaks from social media for several weeks at a time. This may be something that applies in your situation.

3) Worrying About Minor Issues

Worrying about minor issues is something that many business owners deal with. Anyone who has the ambition to start their own business probably has a personality where they want to be perfect. However, worrying about minor issues detracts from other things that you could be working on.

Taking on a mindset that is more long-term is something that is essential.

Anyone who wants to start getting more done needs to quit worrying about minor issues in the business.

4) Not Enough Training

Many entrepreneurs feel as though they do not have enough time to train workers. However, when looking at this over the long-term, influence training is one of the most important aspects of running a business. No matter how talented an entrepreneur is, they need to have help in various areas of their life.

There are many people who are interested in training within various companies. Use the talents of people who are naturally inclined to train other people in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.

5) Valuing Money Over Time

There are many people who say they value time over money, but there are few people who actually practice it. Many entrepreneurs have a really bad habit of valuing their money over their time. Although this will lead to more money in the short-term, over the long-term it will decrease the effectiveness of your business.

There are many people who are unable to build companies that scale.

As a business owner, it is important to concentrate on the process that is going to be used in order to take your business to the next level. Instead of just running around trying to sell customers on your products and services, take some time to get above the issue and build systems that scale.

Although this will take time and energy in the short-term, over the long-term this will lead to more free time that you can use to concentrate on other areas of your business.

So, how many of these five time-wasters are you guilty of? What can you do to rearrange your thought patterns so that you can get out of these type of traps? Do you see other areas in your business that could be changed to be more efficient? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————
Dennis Hung

Dennis Hung is a Business Consultant specializing in Mobile Technology and IoT
He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America
Email | LinkedIn | Web

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