The 360 Degree Assessment Process

As I coach innovative and successful leaders, I see the importance and impact of receiving honest “360 degree” feedback. Often it is a pivotal moment in a leader’s career, both regarding where they can improve, but also in hearing where they are currently making an impact and how they can use their strengths to be even more impactful. Here is a good summary article about the 360 process. Enjoy!

Want Your Office Back?

It is amazing how often I talk with executive leaders about their need for office organization and space to do work. Increasingly, I find this is a basic need that we address in terms of ability to concentrate, think strategically, and work and lead efficiently. Here is a thought-provoking article about how many CEOs, particularly in the tech industry, are changing their thinking (and organizing) on this topic. Enjoy!

CEOs Want Their Offices Back


The “Be’s” of Leadership

leadership-puzzleThis time of year is a great opportunity to reflect on the type of leader we want to be. The “3 Be’s” of Leadership provide a basis for thinking how to be most authentic in our relationships with our colleagues, team members and customers. Enjoy this holiday season and be sure to rest and rejuvenate as much as possible to prepare the great unknown of 2017!

All the best, Carolyn

Read the full article here

Build a Great Culture and Protect It – Advice from KIND President John Leahy

Hello! Here is a brief article on an inspiring leader who has great advice. KIND Healthy Snacks President John Leahy brings full commitment to whatever he is doing, and with that comes a willingness to say he was wrong. “The first thing that I personally do, and I really encourage my team to do from a leadership standpoint, is ‘the buck stops here,’ ” he says.

Read the article here.

Desire, Purpose, Talent

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” Rumi
As we take time to celebrate Labor Day and the contributions of the workers to American success and prosperity, I encourage you to contemplate your own desires regarding the work that you do. My hope is that your work is integrally connected to your heart’s desire, your purpose, and your talents. And  that you can continue to make these linkages even stronger as you move forward, so that you are an inspiration and light to others, giving them hope that they too can express their desires and talents through their work. And that together we can create organizations and workplaces that are safe and productive, and vehicles for positive change and innovation. Happy Labor Day!

Rules to Being the Best Boss

I am sure we all want to be great bosses. Here are some steps to remember. I particularly like #4 – making the tough choices to have the right people on your team- including letting go of ones that no longer fit –  is a key to being a great, courageous leader.

Enjoy!  Click here to read the full article

Unheralded Qualities of Leaders

Love this!  Enjoy! Scott Cochrane has been developing a list of overlooked traits he sees in great leaders and employees. These include small things like being prepared and early for meetings, showing gratitude and interest in others, and giving respect to all regardless of status.

Click here for the full article

Love Is All We Need

I have been thinking a lot about love lately. About “All We Need Is Love” in our country and the world right now, and also about how powerful love is in the workplace. About how much I love my work and yes, even how much I love my clients and colleagues. We don’t tend to think about “love” being at work, but look around you. Look at the people who you care about and who care about you. Look at how your team pours their heart and soul into their creative ideas and hard-won efforts. Look at how people make you laugh, and how they notice you and appreciate you. This article is a great one, that helps us remember that love is the most powerful motivator, even greater than fear. Enjoy!

Click here to read the full article

5 Steps to Leadership Growth: #4 Performance

The fourth step of the framework I use with leaders to help them build capacity is Performance. As you grow in your leadership – honing your “Power of One,” this framework can help both you and those you are developing to stay on course:

1. Purpose
2. Perception
3. Plan
4. Performance
5. Perpetuation

What are the most important elements of Leadership Performance?
Let’s turn to some experts for their definitions of Leadership*:

Peter Drucker: “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”
Or, in the words of the Afghan proverb: “If you think you’re leading and no one is following, you’re just taking a walk.” Your most important role as a leader is to make sure you have engaged your team and staff in your vision and direction. Putting time and energy into assuring your have a vision and strategy that others can follow needs to be one of your top priorities.

Warren Bennis: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
As a leadership coach, I often work with leaders who are either good at strategy and not so strong on implementation, or strong on “getting things done” and lack the big picture. When we are performing as effective leaders, we have both a clear strategy and a way to implement it – and most of the implementation is going to be done by others.

Bill Gates: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
The only way to grow a function, department, or organization is to build capacity. And the only real way to build capacity is to grow and empower others. When I tell leaders that their #1 responsibility is to grow and empower others, they often sometimes look at me like I have 3 eyes. But there it is, folks.

John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”
Influence is important because others, many of whom have no direct reporting relationship to us, do so much for what we are responsible. It is incredibly important for leaders to understand how to use our personal strengths and power to collaborate with others to get the results we desire. Once you are in the role of leader, Leadership Performance and success often means taking a higher, broader view, and using your influence and knowledge and skill to affect positive change through others.

Here are some quick tips on keeping your Leadership Performance effective:

? Build interdependence with peers – Scott Eblin, in his book The Next Level, reminds leaders to remember that at the upper levels, success depends more on interdependence than independence. Get to your executive peers by asking them open-ended questions that demonstrate your interest and willingness to help. Move past arguing over positions by taking the time to understand each other’s underlying interests.

? Lead your team – Strong leadership performance is often making the transition from “doer” to leader. It is making a shift in sense of self, and reprioritizing what is most important in the job. It is moving from doing what you are so good at that it got you elevated to this role, only to realise that, as leaderhip expert Marshall Goldsmith says in the title of his seminal book: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Build trust by conducting regular group meetings to share information and touch base.

? Collaborate and influence – More advice from Scott Eblin – Build in your influence through collaboration, not from accumulating or hoarding information or resources. Recognize when you may have to sacrifice or contribute key resources for the good of the whole. Focus on expanding the size of the pie and not just getting the biggest slice for yourself.

? Manage your emotions – Make sure to keep your emotions in check by responding rather than reacting to input or actions with which you don’t agree. You may need to learn how to count to ten, implement “active listening” skills, and use stress management techniques so you keep your cool. Be willing to choose an effective outcome with your peers over the desire to demonstrate that you’re right on a particular point.

? Use your personal presence – Remember that 75% of our communication is non-verbal, so use your “mantle of leadership” to maximize your leadership capacity. As my mother used to say, stand up straight. Walk into a room with confidence and sit in the front of the room to show enthusiasm. Keep your door open when possible to encourage open exchange of ideas, and when you need to focus, close the door and put in friendly but clear sign on the door. And remember, a smile is worth a thousand words.

*From “What is Leadership?” Kevin Kruse, contributor, Forbes, April 9, 2013

5 Steps to Leadership Growth: #3 Plan

“What exactly is your plan?” I bet you hear that all of the time – as leaders we are constantly being pushed to concretely devise and deliver a step by step description of what we are going to do next.

Why is this important?

In the framework I use with leaders in their development, it’s the third step. As you grow in your leadership – honing your “Power of One,” this framework can help both you and those you are developing to stay on course:

1. Purpose
2. Perception
3. Plan
4. Performance
5. Perpetuation

We hear a lot about the importance of goal-setting, but most of us don’t have clear and measurable goals to work towards. Even fewer of us actually have those goals written down. Lewis Carroll says, “any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you are going,” but how important are goals really and if they are vital, how can we make them most effective? There was a fascinating study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program where graduate students were asked “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”  The result, only 3% had written goals and plans, 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing and 84% had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely mind-blowing.The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined! While this study only looks at earnings to quantify success, I still find it to be an extremely motivating example of why creating clear and measurable goals and writing them down is a key to success. Feeling motivated? Here are four steps to creating clear and measurable goals that will lead you to huge success.

Create a Vision

The first step to creating a goal is to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what you need to achieve to get there. This is actually the fun part. You get to dream. What do you really want to create for yourself? What does your ideal life look like? Don’t be afraid to think big. Take fifteen minutes and document your vision. Take note of the details. What does your day look like? Where are you living? Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it most effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day?

Source:  What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack

Helping Our Team Members Develop a Plan

Even if you don’t have a coach, you and your team members can get into the habit of having honest conversations about one another’s strengths and opportunities to improve. I often will suggest that leadership teams adopt the practice that Patrick Lencioni suggests in Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team. On a regular basis, the members of the team go around the table and ask one another, “What is one thing I am doing really well? What is one area in which I can improve that would really help the team?” And then everyone makes a commitment to take that feedback and apply the suggestions.

Of course, performance reviews are an excellent opportunity to get and provide feedback on a 6 – 12 month basis. But my advice is, don’t wait for that. Start asking the questions now from the people who know you well, and take their input to heart. Enjoy!