Put Action Behind Your Decision

Making a major decision in your life is a big deal. Many times, it will come after long hours wrestling with options and quieting yourself to hear the voice of the Spirit and where It is guiding you. Now, when you do make your decision … make it 100%. Do not hold onto any doubts…

Making a major decision in your life is a big deal. Many times, it will come after long hours wrestling with options and quieting yourself to hear the voice of the Spirit and where It is guiding you.

Now, when you do make your decision … make it 100%. Do not hold onto any doubts or think about what could have been if you had chosen another path. You will find peace and serenity from committing yourself completely to the decision you have made for your life, your business, your family – whatever it is.

I have found in my personal life that when I say “YES” Absolutely to the decision The Universe has confirmed for me, I am blessed with greater abundance than I could have ever imagined on my own.

So, how do you commit to your decision with all of your being? Here are 4 steps to take you to this point:

Make your decision a definite one. There is no room for maybes here. Do not allow yourself even a 1% stake in another decision path, because you need to focus everything on this one decision that you have made.

Know that your decision will impact all areas of your life. You need to be ready to acknowledge the influence your decision will have on your whole life.

Say you make a big decision regarding your business, and you have committed yourself to starting a new venture. There may be things in your current life that will hold you back from dedicating yourself completely to this new life. It may be a relationship, a location, or even a material possession that will just remind you too much of your previous life before you made this big step forward.

Let it go.

Do not let anything hold you back from this new decision that you devoted yourself to now. It will likely be very difficult to let go, but if it's holding you back in repetitive patterns from your past … just release it.

Leave yourself no alternative. If you tell yourself, “Well, just in case, let me do this or plan for that …” – you are setting yourself up for failure. You are allowing your fear to oppose what you have already decided is right for you. Do not let this happen.

Build a new life around your decision. Your new path will likely bring many changes your way. Make sure that you welcome this and create a new lifestyle that pleases you and supports your decision.

It is important to maintain a positive environment during this time of change. Part of this will be fun – create a happy space for your new business, and fill it only with things that you TRULY like and enjoy. Part of this will be extremely tough – like moving out of state or leaving a relationship, if need be.

But, you are on a new path now, and the rewards of committing yourself fully to your decision will surprise you immensely.

Embracing Change – Change Management At Work

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) “Change we believe in” is a popular saying from Senator Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign. When a certain lifestyle or philosophy no longer caters to one's personal needs and wants, they will look to alter their situation for a better alternative.…

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“Change we believe in” is a popular saying from Senator Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign. When a certain lifestyle or philosophy no longer caters to one's personal needs and wants, they will look to alter their situation for a better alternative. When there is an opportunity for a better way of life people change to benefit them in particular and society in general.

Hardship is the most obvious reason that people change. The Obama campaign capitalized on this very trait of humans. Many Americans had lost jobs and means to living under the Bush administration. Senator Obama brave hard hitting speeches that pointed out the hopelessness of voting for the opposition. Voting for the opposition would mean voting for Status quo, the same leadership that led to America's decline. By appealing to voter's fear of an economic recession and looming hardships, Obama was able to clearly relay a message of necessity of change for the better.

On the contrary some conservationists believe modernization and change are harmful and will lead to radicalism and iconoclasts. For example, in Victorian Britain, novelists were shunned when they were first introduced. People then thought that novels impeded intellectual growth and widening of horizons. What they failed to foresee was the long-lasting and widespread impact novels had had on the lives of people all over the world.

Lastly but most importantly it is the very survival of a species that motivates it to change. From the beginning of life, survival of fittest, the greatest of all known to mankind, has managed evolution. Only those animals that adapted to their changing surroundings were chosen by nature to carry on in the grand scheme of the universe.

Change is situational, it is essential and it helps us survive. For a city dweller it could mean switching to a better paying job but to an animal in the jungle it could mean a new hunting ground! For both it is inevitable. So let's welcome change and embrace it wholeheartedly.

No matter who or what the circumstances, every person who is considering changing something about herself or himself has a reason, a motivation to change, that can reinforce and strengthen the resolve to change when change becomes difficult.

Over the years we have observed and understood that some people remain the same while others adapt and change because they are not able to withstand the pressure of pain, pull, or push forces. Without people experience one of them, they are pretty well likely to remain where they are currently at.

Pain-Motivated Change

Senator Obama focused on this change motivator to get people to elect him.

The point at which this happens varies broadly from person to person. We all experience pain in different ways, but some of us are very good at putting on blinkers and ignoring a situation that would drive someone else up the wall. Yet we all have a breaking point. Exactly where and when we reach that point varies from person to person.

Change Created by Being Pulled Toward New Behavior

People change if they are acted upon by forces of the universe that can pull them toward modifying their behavior and shifting their perspective of the world. These forces arise in three areas- The physiological push to grow and enter the next phase of life, different stages of development in life cycle & response to information and inspiration.

Change Forced by a Push From An External Source

When we look at the push from an external source, an excellent example is the change forced on people in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The lives of some of the people who were directly involved have had to change because their offices and homes were destroyed or they have lost an important member of their family.

In the end, your motivation to change something about yourself may come from a variety of sources, sometimes a little because of pain, a little because you're interested to be a better person, and a little because of your needs. Becoming aware of your primary motivation to change is the best source for setting off on a new path, a new direction in life.

Corporate Consciousness

Here are some short examples of Corporate Consciousness gone unconscious. She's a young executive promoted to lead a team in a multinational organization. Her compensation package is phenomenal, expectations are high. Within her team are defiant individuals who, through one course or another have secured their station within the company. They do not want to…

Here are some short examples of Corporate Consciousness gone unconscious.

  • She's a young executive promoted to lead a team in a multinational organization. Her compensation package is phenomenal, expectations are high. Within her team are defiant individuals who, through one course or another have secured their station within the company. They do not want to be led, and can not be fired. Their new leader presents an ultimatum, attempts to seduce those defiant individuals, but they are loud, protected by irrevocable laws, and our executive must capitulate and be dictated to by the lowest common denominator of her team. This is corruption in corporate consciousness.
  • Fifty people are placed on one single floor of an open plan office. They are separated by shoulder high walls, like cows waiting to be milked. The demands on each individual include the capacity to concentrate. Some people thrive in the setting, others fail. Another example of corporate unconsciousness where one shoe fits all Human Resource management acts in one direction and statements results in the other.
  • We meet in the lobby, a rather shabby lobby. She's obese, her ankles are swollen, obviously causing pain, she's three women wide and her eyes look tired from carrying the weight. She's feisty. She's the Director of one of Canada's leading public service divisions and wants me to inspire her team. I am here to do an audit of the team, but really, from this moment, most of the issues that face will derive from a cause beyond their control. I meet fifty people that morning, bedraggled people, tired people, angry people. The Consciousness of a Leader is the highest consciousness in a group, and in this situation, the leader is demanding from her team, more than she has to offer. Another case of Corporate Unconsciousness.
  • He's drinking heavily, having an affair with someone else at work. His collections know it and know that his performance is not what it seems. His boss keeps silent, covering for him. Compassion gone mad, consciousness destroyed. Sometimes his wife is damaged by the affair. Nobody says anything, he's given time off to get back on track. Poor leadership leads to family disaster but nobody in the HR department measures the impact of corporate governance and tolerance on spouses or family …

Imagine being asked to lift a tonne of lead and being offered $ 1million a year for doing it daily. The gold is there but the reality does not allow you to comply without bending the rules. So, you secretly negotiate to reduce the tonne to a weight you can handle, and the money is in your pocket. This is what happens when leadership is weak, expectations are false and Corporate Consciousness is ignored.

Public and Client relations are only a small fragment of Corporate Consciousness. Spin can create a public image and good marketing can present products that are immune from the energy that created them. But internal corruption, where the internal mechanisms of a company are dysfunctional, can not be hidden. The cost comes in the language of loss. Lost potential, lost time, lost family, lost opportunity. in other words, Corporate Unconsciousness.

Corporate Consciousness

It takes courage to be a leader in a corporate world obsessed with equality, comfort and continuity. The compromises made by weak leaders who, like a couple in a relationship who fail to duly bring their individuality to flourish, do not understand the real differences between compassion and compassion. Between nature and nurture.

This unconsciousness is endemic in larger companies, but is non existent in entrepreneurial firms where, less theory and more practicality is present to lead by results. In entrepreneurial firms there are no spaces for free rides and unconscious managers. False expectations in entrepreneurial cultures are soon leveled.

Conscious Corporations are possible, but the key, an entrepreneurial approach and a deep respect for the real nature of human behavior is essential. Such knowledge does not come from any university or law book.

Maintaining Organizational Success Through Succession Planning

In an era where organizations are forced to operate in environments marked by extreme instability the value of success planning is tantamount to survival and continued success. Rothwell (2005) sided with this notification when he stated that the lack of succession planning sets drawback and eventual organizational failure. No organization irrespective of magnitude is safe.…

In an era where organizations are forced to operate in environments marked by extreme instability the value of success planning is tantamount to survival and continued success. Rothwell (2005) sided with this notification when he stated that the lack of succession planning sets drawback and eventual organizational failure. No organization irrespective of magnitude is safe. An absence of succession planning indications defective leadership with no strategic foresight and little knowledge of scenario planning. In today's environment such negligence is an invitation to organizational failure.

This paper analyzes the value of success planning in organizations. It examines ways in which leaders can prepare employees in their organizations to fulfill critical leadership positions. It also draws parallels to success planning as evidenced in the early church; plans which have allowed Christianity to remain on the cutting edge of success. In culminating the paper issues a plea for leaders to incorporate succession planning as an essential part of their organizational development in order to ensure survivability but also very importantly to maintain a competitive advantage. This call is supported by Rothwell (2005) when he stated that for organization to survive in a ferociously competitive environment they must adhere to the organizational succession plan.

The characterization of succession planning and management

For over two hundred years the United States has developed a massive second to none Army. How? Their emphasis on succession planning plays a key role in their ability to remain competitive. The military identifies critical positions and examines the best techniques and strategies to ensure the continuous filling of these positions. Their interest in succession planning stems from the notification that all positions have the potential to be vacant, because the military ensures that there are alternate employees that act as backup for all primary positions. Robbert (1997) asserts that success planning in the military ensures that personnel in the organization are identified and developed with the intent to takeover critical positions. Such a view is supported by Rothwell when he postulated that succession planning is the manner in which critical management positions are identified and measures taken to ensure the permanence of the tenure of personnel within these positions (2005). This planning for possibilities is not limited to one type of organization. In the 2008 season of the National Football League the New England Patriot lost their powerhouse quarterback in the first game, another player immediately stepped in, leading the team to a successful season. When Jack Welch the former CEO of General Electric decided it was time to retire he ensured that there were a minimum of three possible personnel to take over his position (Business Week, 2007). This is the key to success planning planning making sure that the organization will remain viable in an environment where change is a constant.

The determining the need for succession planning

The diversity characterizing the environments in which contemporary organizations operate is astounding. As globalization and technology continue to create an extremely competitive environment for businesses; as sections of the economy crumble under the weight of poor financial decisions by bankers; as job loss, business closures, acquisitions, mergers continue to define businesses; as the pressure for organizations survival and success mounts; in order to maintain a competitive advantage, success planning becomes necessary. Failure to fill critical positions of leadership within an organization fosters doubt and creates credibility issues for shareholders. To this extensive Lawson (2008) calls for the continuity of leadership through a smooth transition in the hiring of the right individuals in order to avoid disruptions. Failure to heed Lawson's call may result in falling shares, disgruntled shareholders, lowered employees morale, reduced productivity and the possibility of business loss. What can organizations do to prevent such a dilemma? Have a talent pool of potential leaders. How?

Strategies such as a buddy system, acting positions, workshops and the creation of e-learning communities can be utilized in preparing current employees to fill critical leadership roles. In the first scenario employees are paired with senior leaders. Such a move reflects a job-shadowing or mentoring experience where knowledge is passed on. In the second scenario employees are given the opportunity to act in a senior position. This gives the employees a hands-on approach to tackling organizational challenges. Workshops are a traditional way of passing information within an organization. The advent of technology has provided a niche for the creation of e-learning communities, once more, knowledge is shared and the organizational talent pool is maximized.

These techniques not only prepare employees to undertake key roles in the event of imminent vacancies but increase the capacity and performance of employees as well as improve employee support throughout tenure and likely may increase employee retention. This is an immaculate way to increase the organizational talent pool while at the same time ensuring leadership continuity. Rothwell (2005) concurs with the latter argument as he urged leaders to understand the need of success planning when he stated that it is a deliberate systematic effort of leadership continuity. Bieschke (2006) believes that success planning is a matter of discipleship, an assessment of biblical pattern laid out by Jesus. An examination of the gospels highlighted numerous mentoring and job shadowing strategies as Jesus prepared His disciples to be His successors. Woolfe (2002) posits that this was no coincidence by Jesus and His disciples; it was a process of development and potential leadership-building and preparation in the making.

As the early church established itself, the pattern of succession planning initiated by Jesus took root. In the book of 2 Tim 1, the Apostle Paul made a deliberate attempt to train Timothy to follow his footstep through mentoring and coaching ensuring that he would become a good steward of biblical principals. 1 Corinthians 4:17 alluded to Paul as Timothy's father in faith (Couch, 2004). Such substantial commentary is an indication of the depth of succession planning and the extent to which leaders should go to ensure leadership continuity. It is there natural to assert that preparation through succession planning is a Godly principle. It epitomizes the principles of strategic foresight and embryos planning for possibilities -scenario planning. It shows that leadership is aware of the instability of current organizational scenarios and has plans in place to meet potential vacant critical positions, critical to a successful organization.

Conclusion

The onus resides with leaders to identify critical positions within their organizations, and how best to ensure the continuous filling of these positions. Leaders must be willing to buy into the ideology that effective succession planning is an ongoing process. They must also continually look at organization long term growth, how best to advance the organization competency, preparing workers to assess critical roles and at the same time placing focus on the permanence of leadership.

The basic financial in ensuring a viable succession plan is personnel-training and comprehension of what is expected in the event that a position becomes vacant. Succession planning is not a new phenomenon. A study of the operations within the early church demonstrated that Jesus and his disciples as well as the apostles used such plan to develop and continue Christianity; a religion which survived many centuries of unprepented changes and continue to be a success even today. It is a similar plan that is needed in modern time. Contemporary leaders should mirror the succession plan of the early church, and understand the importance for such plan as they develop long term goals for their organizations.

References:

Bieschke, MD (2006). Five Succession Planning values ​​to you're your organization
alive: Retrieved January 4, 2010: http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/lao/issue_6/pdf/Bieschke_%20five_succession.pdf .

Couch, M. (2004). A Bible handbook to the Acts of the Apostles: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

Jacobs, S. (2009). Ken Lewis retiring: Bank of America CEO to step down by end of 2009: The Huffington Post: January 17, 2009: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/30/ken-lewis-retiring-source_n_305423.html .

Khurana, R. (2002). Searching for a Corporate Savior. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Lawson, K. (2008). Leadership development basics: Alexandria, VA: ASTD.

Robbert, AA, Keltner, BR, Reynolds, K., Spranca, M., & Benjamin, BA (1997). Differentiation in military human resource management: Monica, CA: RAND.

Rothwell, W. (2005). Effective success planning: New York, NY AMACOM.

Wolfe, L. (2002). The Bible on leadership: From Moses to Matthew: Management Lessons for contemporary leaders: New York, NY: AMACOM.

The Essential Ingredients for Successful Business Change Management

Any manager who is struggling through a business change should know that employee buy-in is very important. It is also important to keep in mind that it can be time-consuming and very difficult to secure. The following are the three ways that would enable you to get employee buy-in during a business change: Create a…

Any manager who is struggling through a business change should know that employee buy-in is very important. It is also important to keep in mind that it can be time-consuming and very difficult to secure. The following are the three ways that would enable you to get employee buy-in during a business change:

Create a Dialogue

A lot of managers think that communication is only a staff function that should be taken care of by the human resources or perhaps the public relations departments. This is a misconception because communication should be a manager's top priority at every company level from the top down. As a manager, organizing discussions through the organization makes it possible to spread the company's vision as well as the competitive situation so that all individuals and teams can align their activities with the new direction of the company in an accurate manner.

Create Targets

In business change management, a business leader should break down his or her main target into different sub-targets and make sure that this is communicated to the entire organization. This is done so that the employees will be able to see who and what they can contribute to the main overall target of the company. By sharing this information with employees, you will be able to increase the sense of ownership for each employee. However, make sure that these employees are trained to understand different financial statements and have insight towards their own job so that they will be able to affect the numbers.

Create Wins

People do not usually believe in a new direction when talking about change. This is because they have the tendency to suspend their disbelief to the whole idea. In order for you to change this and make them believe in the change is to let them see actual behavior, results, and actions so that it will lead them to a conclusion that the program that you are implementing actually works.

If you want real transformation by using business change management, bear in mind that this will take a lot of time and there is a need for a renewal of effort so that there would be no risk when it comes to losing momentum. For you to be able to do this, make sure that you have short-term goals that you will be able to meet and celebrate about once in a while. That is because without these short-term achievements, a lot of people may give up or they could also ever join those people who have been resisting the change from the very start.

Driving Employee Value Through Proper Evaluation

Why businesses invest in communication and create metrics for proper employee evaluation? Introduction In Fortune 500 companies, the key to financial success lies in the consistency of day-to-day operations and communication. The even larger Fortune 100 firms such as Google have succeeded by deploying effective and consistent management skills while offering a compelling product. However,…

Why businesses invest in communication and create metrics for proper employee evaluation?

Introduction
In Fortune 500 companies, the key to financial success lies in the consistency of day-to-day operations and communication. The even larger Fortune 100 firms such as Google have succeeded by deploying effective and consistent management skills while offering a compelling product. However, small and medium sized businesses often lack the proper internal management structures that can carry them to success. A key success metric for small to medium businesses is the utilization of effective and consistent managers who understand the core business strategies, employee management and customer demands. Coupling this understanding with proper communication techniques, organizations can enhance their ability to retain employees through the presentation of a cohesive message. By investing, broadening, and harnessing proper communicative techniques, problems that once appeared divisive can be resolved in amicably while retaining employee loyalty.

Problem Area
An owner-operator practice with fifteen employees in the Dallas-Fort Worth area established an annual evaluation process for its employees to monitor progress and compensate accordingly. Every year all employees sat down with the physician to evaluate their work and compensation packages. The first step involved filling out a questionnaire detailing the employee's achievements. Upon its completion, it would be handed to the physician for review prior to the one-on-one interview. This is the case of Nancy, a key employee of the practice which interview process somehow had become derailed. During Nancy's interview, the conversation was very casual, complementary and placid revolving around her achievements over the past year and the practices overall satisfaction with her. Areas of growth were established and her role as a leader was re-confirmed. Great appreciation was shown for her activities outside the practice that correlated directly to its success. The conversation ended in a very passive and collaborative tone, and Nancy walked away from the interview feeling satisfied.

After the meeting, the physician provided a three page written evaluation of the employee and a response to the financial package. The physician's response to the questionnaire and financial package was blunt, aggressive, and derogatory with generalized behavioral change mandates which were never mentioned in the interview. The tone and content of the written evaluation criticized Nancy in areas that were not mentioned in the meeting. Nancy had not been employed as support staff, but rather in the capacity of a financial producer. She was a leader and added value beyond her core competency within her field of practice. Other employees often relied on her for advice and guidance, and her leadership skills had a positive effect on the practice. Within the letter, the physician demanded that she take a step back and become less active within the practice to allow others to step up to the plate.

The two mixed messages caused grave confusion to Nancy and sent conflicting messages to the staff. Which message should Nancy reply to: the written criticism or the passive one-on-one conversation? Nancy was being sent two contradictory messages by her employer. Was she a valued member of the practice, or was the employee setting the stage for her dismissal? After a week of confusion, Nancy contacted the physician and requested clarification on this matter. The physician pointed to the letter as the lead reference. Nancy accepted the criticism and moved to change her behavior as requested by her employer. She proceeded to become passive and allowed others to step up to the plate. By her passage a leadership vacuum formed that lead to other team members resenting her. The lack of guidance and her passivity led others to perceive that she no longer cared about their problems or the practice as a whole. Five weeks after the interview process, Nancy had fully complied with the behavior changes requested by the physician.

After the sixth week, to make things yet more confusing, the physician and other office staff filled her aside and admonished her for being passive. The physician requested an immediate response and wanted know whether she was on the verge of quitting. Nancy explained that it was mandated by the physician and that she had acted accordingly. The physician was shocked by Nancy's response and requested that she revert back to her old self. Subsequently, a three hour conversation ensued and apologies were offered by the physician and the miscommunication appeared to be resolved. However, on Monday morning, Nancy was written up for her behavior and a three month assessment period was set. The practice was once more sending two very distinct and contradictory messages to the employee.

Core Principle
Communication is based on the personal experiences that each of us has had with the world around us as well as the perception of such. People act or react on the basis of the way in which they perceive the external world. Perception is a process by which an individual selects, evaluates, and organizes stimuli from the external world. Humans experience the world despite the microcosm of perception. Thus, it is imperative to note that humans experience everything not as it is but rather as we filter it through our sensory receptors. These receptors take the stimuli to our brain where the collective glossary of our individual lives is stored and organized.

When tonality, word emphasis, and contrast are not present, the transmission of data can change our perception. A good example of contrast-less communication is e-mail where tons, word emphasis, and proper framing can not be conveyed, thus leading to the potential of ineffective contextual communication. Empirical data proves this point given that only seven (7%) percent of communication is composed of the actual verbal content of the messages, thirty-eight (38%) percent vocal content, and the remaining fifty five (55%) percent in domestic features during data transmission (Exhibit 1). In light of such empirical evidence, it must be stressed that effective communication is a skill that must be learned from actual practice in a controlled environment. Business owners should not use their day-to-day operations as a testing ground for practicing this craft.

Problem Tree All companies establishing an annual evaluation system must understand the key goals of the evaluation process and convey that process to the employees. Ensuring that both the employer and the employee are on the same footing is the basis of its success. Employers have the ability to measure employee value in real-terms and compensate accordingly. The process should deepen trust between managers and staff as well as promote employee loyalty. Thus, understanding employee needs and addressing them via a comprehensive compensation package can create a great return on investment.

Failure to do so, as exemplified in Nancy's case, lies in the contradictory messaging provided to the employee and the lack of proper definition of behavioral change. The physician could have guided the changes in behavior rather than disenfranchising the employee with brutal verbal confrontation. Proper communication and clear definition in behavioral change are vital to operational effectiveness. The content of the data as well as the tone and the manner by which it is conveyed are as important as the actual message. Thus consistency and clarity in all communications as well as establishment of clear evaluation goals are vital to operational effectiveness.

It is imperative to note that the cost of ineffective communication not only destroys morale, but can also lead to a direct loss in net revenue. Employees who produce income within the organization no longer become evangelists for the products or services being sold. This lack of product and service promotion is matched by the end user and then sales can be adversely affected. Beside the need based product or service purchases, in an open market space clients have a plethora of options from which to purchase from. However, the value proposition that each company provides is a key element of trust in the product, service or company. The human relationships that each one of us have with our service or product provider are a key factor that drives our purchasing behavior. Thus, once the employee stops believing in the organization, the financial losses spread across a larger group. The problem is no longer contained to a single employee, rather it spreads like a virus to other elements of the organization such as customers, suppliers, and co-workers. If said employee leaves, the byproducts of such an emotional roller coaster are deeply engrained in the perceptive glossary of our brains. Thus, the financial losses are no longer contained to employee replacement and retraining, but also in rebuilding employee trust and morale. It is important to note that high employee churn rate can also promote high customer churn rates costing business a lot of income.

Solution
Organizations must work hard to ensure effective and consistent communications both in action and words. Managers must educate themselves and actively develop their management skills. Effective managers understand the overall business strategy, vision, and mission enabling them to develop a roadmap that addresses these needs. With today's knowledge base and high skill employment structure, the roadmap set by managers must be clear and communicated effectively. If the roadmap lacks clarity, the divergence in employee commitment to the enterprise places the organization at risk of an internal tug-of-war. The enterprise is thru folded into confining quarters, and management can fractionalize. As the above case illustrates, the lack of proper communication and specifying behavioral change that are understood by all employees led to a key employee being disenfranchised. These actions lead to the organization being financially in-effective for more one month. The organizational structure failed and all employees were affected by the behavioral change because it was not framed correctly and no guidance was given on the behavioral changes. Furthermore, the financial losses and the disenfranchisement of the employee will have consequent ramifications in the future.

In today's modern enterprise we have a convergence of high knowledge and skill sets. Determining how to maximize employee output, with their vast knowledge base and skill sets within the current business unit, is essential to a cohesive and effective organization. This is especially true given that in the modern enterprise structure, risk is undertaken at the lower levels of management. Although establishing a cohesive strategy for employee evaluation is important, the manner in which it is conducted is far more important than the overall strategy. Managers must first understand the requirements of the organization as a whole and what role the employee plays in fulfilling the overarching goals of the organization. Metrics need to be set in place to create a value analysis of the employees return on investment. The metrics allow organizations to understand the value each employee provides to the business and pay accordingly while maintaining the employee overall commitment to the organization.

Do Women Lack Ambition?

Have you recently observed the steam coming out of the ears of a few women over forty? Not sure what's up and what started it all? Let me clue you in. It's a reaction to a just published McKinsey & Company report in conjunction (some would say cahoots) with The Wall Street Journal. In the…

Have you recently observed the steam coming out of the ears of a few women over forty? Not sure what's up and what started it all? Let me clue you in. It's a reaction to a just published McKinsey & Company report in conjunction (some would say cahoots) with The Wall Street Journal. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit I am a WSJ subscriber and have been quoted by the publication a number of times. The title of the research is “Women in the Economy – a Blueprint for Change.” Staff writer Joanne Lublin was the one to give us a hint of what was to become a special section of the newspaper on April 11 of this year. She called her piece, “Coaching Urged for Women.”

Do not get wrong, it was not the discussions about women getting stuck in middle management because females are measured on performance and men on their potential that got me, and a few colleges and clients, riled. We already know and understand that working hard now does not needlessly get you on next year's roster. It was not the continuing salary inequality, which has not gotten better in decades. Or even the battle cry that women have to support women – yes, we know that. Some of us have even practiced it for years, much to our satisfaction and delight. No, it was the statistics that claimed women's ambition significantly diminished with age. What!?!

I was so incensed I e-mailed Ms. Lublin and questioned the “who,” “what,” and “why” of the research. I even suggested maybe it was not lack of ambition but an overwhelming sense of discouragement over the lack of advancement that had kept the female of the species stuck in upper middle management and other do bee jobs, and it was the reason they were far more likely to start their own businesses.

Women entrepreneurs – you know them – the full-time mother with a road warrior husband, a few kids in tow, an aging parent (s) on the sofa, and ailing pets. That same woman is starting up an Internet marketing or service company from the left hand corner of her kitchen table. And you know what? She's succeeding. Of course you could always talk to Sara Blakely the founder of Spanx. She started Spanx on her dining room table and raked in over a billion dollars in revenue last year. (If you do not know what Spanxs are, ask a very thin, fit woman, and do not suggest she wears them, though she probably does.) Ask Oprah if she regrets not staying with the news broadcast and getting that piece of the corporate pie. Is she considered ambitious? She's surely middle-age.

After I hit the send button and my thoughts were off to Ms. Lublin, I cooled down andave this topic of waving ambition more thought. In the mid of the process, Ms. Lublin contacted me and asked if she could send my e-mail to McKinsey & Company. I replied, “Knock yourself out!” Then I came up with some questions.

What is ambition? Consensus is it has something to do with mastery and recognition of mastery. Okay, I'll buy that. Unfortunately, “money and fame” did not hit me as the best examples to use as benchmarks for the level of ambition a woman has – simply because these have a good chance of being too narrow. I then asked myself, “Is it possible that women view ambition in a broader context, outside, as well as inside, their careers?” If this is so, perhaps the most ambitious women were not even counted in the research.

Can you imagine, for certain people, an inner sense of achievement is pure, more socially acceptable, and desirable than a public display? If, in fact, acceptance is something you even care about. What if the biring gender has chosen to engage in multiple roles and is exercising options rather than ambivalence (or shifting or missing in ambition as some would claim).

Is there a chance that once the children are out of the house, relationships are settled into whatever they are to become, estrogen has decided to deplete, and people start using words like “wise” instead of “smart” to describe you that it's not the perfect time to find out what you've really got? Live the dream, express those passions, take some risks? Can you also imagine that in most careers and professions those words are seen as “soft,” “lacking focus,” and “without a profit and loss statement?” Maybe there is immeasurable profit, but is there any question as to the ROI? Ask a middle aged woman.

Here are some actions you might want to take.

Hold people accountable for promoting women. You're a stockholder, donor, and a voter, exercise your voice.

Get a daughter. Ask yourself, “Could I tell her, 'you've got twenty years and you're finished'?”

Raise your hand with a woman or man for the hard or turnaround projects, be a change agent, and encourage other women to join you.

Pursue profit and loss responsibilities. Get your teeth into the meat of the business. Sit with the guys (or guys, show a woman a chair).

Insist everyone talk about the potential in everyone, not just measure how hard others work.

Mentor, sponsor, and promote women.

In tough times we need all the brain power and leadership we can get. Why would we decide that 50% of the work (and 80% of adult consumers) are not interested or ready? Or worse, why would we think they wear out or give up before men?

(c) Jane Cranston.

Sound Leadership Practices Never Go Out of Style

The demographics of today's work create opportunities and challenges for business owners and managers, no matter the size of the organization. Much has been made of the conflict between Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y regarding workplace environment, attitudes towards work / life balance, reward and recognition, and opportunities for promotion. If, and where, these…

The demographics of today's work create opportunities and challenges for business owners and managers, no matter the size of the organization. Much has been made of the conflict between Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y regarding workplace environment, attitudes towards work / life balance, reward and recognition, and opportunities for promotion. If, and where, these conflicts exist leaders should view these as opportunities by tapping in to the interests and strengths of each of these groups. By surfacing their interests and strengths, leaders can begin to utilize both to grow their business.

First of all, a quick review of the interests and strengths of each of these demographic groups.

Boomers have lived a work life focused on setting goals, building plans, and driving home results. Loyalty and dedication to the organization and its work products was encouraged and rewarded. And since they are task-oriented, results-oriented, loyal, and tend to view work as their life, they spend many hours at work delivering on these work products. They see a clear distinction between work and home life, with work being what defines them – to themselves, their families, and their peers. They want to be recognized for their contribution – in the workplace – with promotional opportunities.

Generation X is focused on balancing work life with personal life. They feel they are more productive and engaged if they have time for family, friends and an interesting social life. Many of them grow up to find their boomer parents' loyalty to their companies pay off with downsizing or forced retirement – suggesting to this generation that loyalty does not pay. They are less likely to define them according to where they work or what they do at work. They are more interested in working so that they are able to buy what they want when they want. Similar to the preferences of Generation Y, they have a need for immediate recognition, being rewarded as they perform.

Generation Y values ​​interaction with others in the workplace, but also, with their extended network of 'friends'. They feel being able to manage their social networking worlds as important as managing their workplace relationships so they want, and will take, work time to keep up their social networking relationships. Building a large network of friends and sharing all their thoughts, opinions and successes (whether business or personal) with this large network gains their view of themselves. They tend to evaluate their worth based on the size of this 'personal' network. There is little, if no, separation between work and personal life when it comes to social networking. And work is viewed as a means to deliver on a better personal life.

Given the differences in working life preferences, it is expected some conflict will arise between members of these generations, currently required to work together. However, sound leadership practices should reduce the effects of these differences and conflicts. In the Ken Blanchard Companies' 2011 Corporate Issues Survey of top management challenges, the challenge of understanding generational effects ranked tenth for the past five years of the survey. This suggests either that management is not paying enough attention to this issue or that focusing on understanding generational differences is not important enough to be considered a major challenge by the leaders who completed the survey. Whatever the reason, it is clear that challenges related to change management and creating an engaged workforce rank much higher, the two top items. This suggests other factors are more important to leaders addressing business challenges than the birth date of their employees.

Three sound leadership practices can be employed to drive up employee commitment, engagement and facilitation integration of the interests and strengths of all three generations. And the size or type of your business or organization does not matter. Sound leadership practices apply to all types of organizations.

1. Develop a sound strategy – for both the bottom line and the organization.

When management thinks about strategic development, the priority, understandably, is business growth, capturing the best methods to secure more profit for the shareholders by analyzing and scoping out the marketplace. However, sound leadership practice plans strategic development activities also take into consideration the growth and development of the organization, the infrastructure. What is the composition of the current work, demographics, expertise, competencies and what will the future strategic direction demand in terms of expertise, competencies and organizational structure? How solid is the human resource strategy to attract and retain the best and the brightest? What types of tools need to be in place to attract the right type of high performers and what will the opportunities offered to recognize and reward solid performance?

2. Develop othersbuild development plans into your business goals.

Strong leaders take responsibility for developing the next group of leaders for their organization. Leaders have accountability for the growth of their organization and for their organization to grow, their employees need to grow. Although there may be differences, due to life experiences, between the work / life attitudes, preferences, and characteristics of each of the three generations, sound leadership practice guarantees providing development opportunities for employees, no matter which generation. Building a training and development strategy, as part of the human resource strategy is critical. Members of all three generations seek opportunities to develop and move forward on their career path. This strategy can be as general or as specific as appropriate for the organization, but it should incorporate a variety of training methods and styles to accommodate the different training exercises preferences of these generations.

The human resource strategy should have a performance management component. Each employee should clearly understand their role in the performance of the organization and have specific goals to achieve and specific action plans to ensure they achieve the goals. Without incorporating a performance management component, the leader takes a risk that employees will not be motivated and productive. All three generations are results-oriented, products of a results-oriented society. By employing a performance management component of the workplace culture, leaders ensure all three generations are clear about expectations of performance and how they measure up to these expectations.

3. Develop Yourselffind a mentor and a successor.

The third sound leadership practice is self-development, on a continuous basis. Strong leaders recognize that for others in their organization to grow and develop, they themselves need to grow and develop. And a sure sign that the leader understands this is their commitment to seeking feedback on their own performance. Strong leaders surround themselves with other strong leaders, those who will challenge their direction, constructively, and work with them to achieve whatever goals have been set. Strong leaders understand that to continually grow, they, too, need a coach, a guide, a mentor, someone who clearly understands the strategic direction being pursued as well as the competencies of the leader pursuing this direction.

Reflection is a key skill required for self-development. Strong leaders reflect on the actions taken, what they have learned, and how to tackle the next challenge given what they have learned. Reflection is sometimes a personal action, taken individually, but leaders also need to practice reflection with the guidance and support of a mentor. Mentors are there to provide encouragement, advice and support, without judgment. With a mentor in their life, the leader has a safe place to go when under pressure, struggling with results, or just seeking someone to help clear out the cobwebs.

Sound leadership practice means knowing who to develop to take over in the future. Succession planning is a must but oftentimes, in the heat of the daily business grind or with the size of the leader's ego, it does not occur. Again, no matter what generation the leader belongs to, there will always be a requirement to name and develop a successor. At some point, the leader will move on, to another organization or phase of life, and it is imperative that their nationality (for the organization) be a strong leader to succeed them.

There will always be multiple generations of employees within the workforce. As each generation matures, their working style, preferences and characteristics may change and their working environment will continue to change, influenced by both internal and external factors. Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y employees may have varying views of the workplace and how they want to be managed, but a strong leader will quickly assess the interests and strengths of the various generations employed in their organization and realize that to effectively manage these different employee groups, sound leadership practices never go out of style.

Sapere Aude – Dare to Know

Introduction In today's society we are taught to get in, sit down, hold on, and shut up! In point keep quiet about anything lest you will suffer the consequences. Your state government sends a tax notice demanding payment for payments already made. Even when proof is provided the state still claims payment. Your insurance company…

Introduction

In today's society we are taught to get in, sit down, hold on, and shut up! In point keep quiet about anything lest you will suffer the consequences. Your state government sends a tax notice demanding payment for payments already made. Even when proof is provided the state still claims payment. Your insurance company says that your premium must be increased because your age has increased. You send proof that your age has not reached the level the agency noted, but you still receive increases. Organizations seem to be grounded in the assumption that the population is immature to the point that they will follow whatever they are being told to do. Organizations represent parents and whatever parents say the child must obey.

Those that fail to follow the be quiet rule and actually complain find themselves in the newest controlling mechanism to keep the population quiet, the SLAPP suit or Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. If one dares to lodge a complaint against an organization which failed to deliver on a product or service the organization may just turn your complaint into grounds for a product disparagement lawsuit. Here the organization sends a team of attorneys to attack the complaining person with 40 months of submitting documents, court appearances, costs, and a total disruption of their life simply because the complaining person opened his or her mouth.

Dare to Know

While those in power would like us to keep quiet, and 99% of the population does keep quiet, some do not. One man who did not hide by the obedience directive was Immanuel Kant. Kant, living in the 18th century, noted that if we want to live a meaningful life one must have the courage to confront those individuals, and organizations such as the government, church, and the chosen mouthpieces of society, (the current batch of celebrity writers and literati), with knowledge we have ascertained by our own intellectual prowess.

While Kant wanted the individual to do his own homework and not just be a couch potato leaving important judgments up to others, he demanded that any knowledge obtained must be scrutinized for truth and authenticity. Dare to know requires that one take a stand in gained knowledge. Keeping quiet is not a manifestation of Sapere Aude . Kant expected that one transmits such knowledge to others and even confront those entities who expect obedience and silence.

The Era of Non-Enlightenment

Instead of our present cultural period taking us further in gaining knowledge, present technologies and information seems to be creating a higher door to opening our need to know. Almost all the mass media looks to be selling contradictions, and useless information. The main news of the day has to do with celebrities, TV shows, and how the economy is really moving out of the present recession (depression really). The facts of the matter are that the economy seems to have imploded, society is no longer creating anything useful, and the only thing waiting for students graduating from colleges is a very large debt known as a student loan.

Concretizing the movement of non-enlightenment is a computer revolution of new gadgets and application games soft pedaled to our young as increasing their intelligence. The applications for the most part do nothing except fall into the category of furthering the juvenile of the population favoring such applications. The potential of gaining knowledge has been usurped by dumbing devices more technologically advanced but no better than our old Pac Man game. It is becoming more difficult to know when Lego heroes are easily available on your iPhone or IPad 24/7. Virtual reality has become the reality and one could not find a better mechanism to maintain the immaturity of the population.

Sapere Aude and its Consequences

As the owner of a few small businesses over the last 26 years I have come to recognize that Kant's concept of Dare to know rings strong. Surrounded by a slew of vendors and government agencies demanding payments for low quality products and services, or taxes already paid, the juvenile business person ends up handing over monies simply because he or she failed to Dare to Know. Business alliances and connections often work to the disadvantage to the unknowing owner. Unknowing even with the courage to defy uptentimes fail. Challenging without having done the required research to support the challenge is a wasted effort. The combination of knowledge and courage oftentimes succeeds. From taxing authorities, to insurance companies, to those supplying services the presence of knowledge in the end wins the battles.

A recent case is instructive: An insurance company reviewing the books of a corporation noted to the owners that despite the owners were retired, provided no services, and not on the books of the company, the insurance company was going to require additional payments since the state laws require payments even if the owners are not active – here we have the keep quiet and just pay the bill. The owner noted to the insurance examiner that no payments would have been made for the so called mandated increase. The examiner left, the owner reviewed the law and the law was unequivocally clear that no payments were required. The insurance company was just following the sit down and shut up directive. The insurance company received a copy of the statute and its reference and claimed that no additional payments would be generated. Kant's Sapere Aude developed in the late 1700s is still applicable even after 200 years.

Making Conscious Decisions Through Business Change Management

Good business change management helps in establishing conscious decisions for the organization that you are handling. This is because these decisions are made by considering the data that is available while understanding the risks as well as the implications of the risks that come with difficult decisions that need to be made. These decisions are…

Good business change management helps in establishing conscious decisions for the organization that you are handling. This is because these decisions are made by considering the data that is available while understanding the risks as well as the implications of the risks that come with difficult decisions that need to be made. These decisions are still made every day even if the risk is high because the leader of an organization knows the rewards that the company might gain while still taking the risk.

Making these conscious decisions does not often require the leader to exert any courage though; there are certain cases wherein it is needed. At some point, a leader needs to make a difficult decision even if it's going against the trend or advice because as the head of the organization, he or she knows that it is the right thing to do. This is the time when the person exhibits courage. A leader is someone who is able to make hard decisions based on facts in a timely manner.

As a part of business change management, a leader or committee chairman should review even the most minor matter every time data is presented. This is for the company to avoid any kind of unconscious decisions and also to delay any potential benefit that the company should be getting. If this continues to happen, the organization will eventually be prevented from gathering any data regarding the impact of the decision and will not be able to refine it through experience.

The impact of making unconscious decisions can be far reaching. If a business leader continues on this path, there is a big potential that the market share gains, the income, the ability to invest the said income, and the brand awareness is foregone. In order for you to always establish good conscious decision making for your company, make sure that you know a lot about business change management. This will allow you to do contingency planning with every decision that you have to make. Aside from this, change management will help you develop a decision tree that is definitely a good practice in case you encounter any high risk projects in the future.

Always keep in mind that each decision should be made on its own. Your approach as a leader should be to anticipate any decision that needs to be made while consciously deciding and considering the merits of the current facts each and every time.

Characteristics of Effective Change Management

Changing the culture of an organization requires effective management. Peter Drucker, one of the most influential management thinkers of the past century, said 'management is about human beings' and advocated leadership by effective management. “Management Effectiveness” means having the perspective and judgment to do the right things. It is about leveraging the power of people…

Changing the culture of an organization requires effective management. Peter Drucker, one of the most influential management thinkers of the past century, said 'management is about human beings' and advocated leadership by effective management.

“Management Effectiveness” means having the perspective and judgment to do the right things. It is about leveraging the power of people and their creativity in doing so through the repeating cycle of vision, execution, and output. Far from blind execution of orders, effectiveness requires synthesizing information and stepping up to challenge conventional wisdom. Effectiveness is the wholeness of the decisions – it's synthesizing and balancing multiple, often competitive, objectives in a manner that enhances individuals and society with no negative impact. Effectiveness also means the ability to make mistakes and learn from them.

With this backdrop from Peter Drucker I suggest that there are six C's for effective change management:

Commitment – Empathy and support from the top levels with the ability to persevere through the inevitable resistance to change. The willingness to assign good personal and the time and money required for the improvement effort.

Communication – The skill to communicate to the entire work on how, and and why change is going to occur, combined with the ability to gain their input, ownership and buy-in. Clear and frequent communication is the key to dissipate uncertainty and fear.

Consensus – An agreement on the best path to take forward for success. Involvement of the people concerned to create ownership and alignment of vision. The greater the connection to the change the greater the willingness to change will be.

Consistency – People need to understand that this is not just a fad that will pass, but that you are serious about sticking to it. Repeated desirable thinking, behaviors, and practices form the basis of an organization's culture.

Cultivation – Encourage and foster learning and teaching at all levels in the organization. Refine the culture of the organization as needs and opportunities change. Make the change relevant to everyone within the organization

Constantly – Regular uninterrupted activity is required for all people in the organization for all the C's above. Always looking to improve all aspects of what we do to add value and eliminate waste.

The effectiveness of change (E) is the product of the quality of change (Q), time the acceptance of change (A): E = Q x A. Excelling in either quality or acceptance is not all it takes; both factors complement each other.

There is no quick solution for changing the culture of an organization. With effective management to focus on the quality of change and the six C's to aid in the acceptance of change you will be well on your way to transforming your organization.

The Characteristics of a Lean Enterprise

While Lean can be beneficial applied to any process within an organization, its greatest benefit comes when it is applied across the enterprise. In The Machine That Changed the Worldin 1990, Jim Womack, et al., Emphasized “that Lean thinking can be applied by any company anywhere in the world but that the full power of…

While Lean can be beneficial applied to any process within an organization, its greatest benefit comes when it is applied across the enterprise. In The Machine That Changed the Worldin 1990, Jim Womack, et al., Emphasized “that Lean thinking can be applied by any company anywhere in the world but that the full power of the system is only realized when it is applied to all elements of the enterprise. ”

Over time, it can be said that an organization that implements Lean becomes a Lean Enterprise. While there is no precise definition of a Lean Enterprise, I believe those organizations share common characteristics. A Lean Enterprise can be defined by these 15 characteristics:

  1. Customer Focus – The external customer is both the starting point and ending point. Maximize value to the customer. Optimize not around internal operations, but around the customer. Seek to understand not only the customer's requirements but also their expectations of quality, delivery, and price.
  2. Purpose – The purpose of an organization encompasses your vision (where you want to go), your mission (what you do), and your strategies (how you do it). Focus on purpose, not tools.
  3. Organizational Alignment – You want people to understand their purpose, not just their job description or the tasks that are assigned to them. All the people involved need to have a common understanding of the organization's purpose, and practical understanding of the consequences of failure and the benefits of success.
  4. Knowledge – People are the engine of the company, so it is vital to build knowledge and share it. This includes explicit knowledge (like that from books) as well as tacit knowledge, incorporating soft skills. Knowledge is built through the scientific method of PDCA.
  5. Questioning – Encourage a questioning culture. Ask why several times to try to get to the root cause. Encourage everyone to question. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” said Stephen Covey.
  6. Humility – The more you strive for Lean, the more you realize how little you know, and how much there is yet to learn. Learning begins with humility
  7. Trust – Build confidence in your promises and commitments. Building trust takes time.
  8. Empowered employees – Give frontline employees the first opportunity to solve problems. All employees should share in the responsibility for success and failure.
  9. Flexible work – As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “The only constant is change.” Flexibility is the ability to react to changes in customer demand. The key to success is to maintain redundancy and hence flexibility within the core competency.
  10. Partnership – Use teams, not individuals, internally between functions and externally with suppliers. Employees are partners too. As Covey says, “You must find a win-win, never win-loose, solution and if you can not you should walk away.”
  11. Simplicity – Lean is not simple, but simplicity pervades. Simplicity is best achieved through the avoidance of complexity, than by 'rationalization' exercises.
  12. Process – Organize and think by end-to-end process. Think horizontal, not vertical. Concentrate on the way the product moves, not on the way the machines, people, or customers move.
  13. Improvement – Continuous improvement is everyone's concern. Improvement should go beyond incremental waste reduction to include innovation breakthrough.
  14. Prevention – Seek to prevent problems and waste, rather than to inspect and fix. Shift the emphasis from failure and evaluation to prevention. Inspecting the process, not the product, is prevention. Use poka yoke to mistake proof process errors.
  15. Visualization – Visuals translate performance of every process into expected versus actual, through the management systems. It is regular, frequent, and factual data driven. Visuals provide the opportunity to quickly spot and take action at the earliest point that performance has not met what was expected.

A Lean Enterprise is not created quickly. When a business applies lean thinking, culture, and methods throughout the entire organization and beyond its four walls to customers and suppliers a Lean Enterprise is formed.

Are You a Narcissistic Leader?

Do you work with someone, or are you someone, who has maintained a higher public profile than some of your other collections, or precedors? Are you empowered to take your company in new directions and move on to new challenges, no matter how hard they appear to be? Do you often listen to what other…

Do you work with someone, or are you someone, who has maintained a higher public profile than some of your other collections, or precedors? Are you empowered to take your company in new directions and move on to new challenges, no matter how hard they appear to be? Do you often listen to what other people have to say and then do your own thing, regardless of what others told you to do? Do you only step up to the plate to lead when it is required of you to do so? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may just be a narcissistic leader.

I know, it sounds a little devious and not deem itself as an appropriate adjective to be in conjunction with the word “leader”. However, it is not necessarily a bad thing. I once thought that it was a demonic description of someone who always wanted to talk about themselves, or do their own thing, because they thought they were always right about everything. So when I was approached one day by a former college, and they asked me whether they were seen as a narcissist by others, I was shocked because I would never see this college in this way. I asked him, “Why would you be concerned with a title, such as this, or feel as if others feel this way?” My college took a step back and said, “Well, I feel as if every time I object to something that is being implemented, or perceive a new change as unnecessary, I feel as if I am leaving a legal of hatred in my wake. ” I laughed and then realized that I too, do the same thing. Wow! I had to think about this further, and take a step back and realize whether I could actually channel this into good and bad waves of energy that could have been used as effective or productive entities for my organization. Heck, I was right there with the greatest personalities of all time, that of Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and many more.

I was taking a class in online teaching and instruction, where I was posed a question of thought, “Do adults learn differently based on their socio-economic standards, cultural differences, or backgrounds? And, if so, should an instructor account for these issues when devising and implementing a course syllabus and accommodate these individuals within the classroom setting? ” This was a cumbersome topic to write about; however I had many insights, as I always do. So in comparison to this approach, does the personality of a leader matter, and should they have to tailor their style to fit the situation they are in? Again, interesting thoughts were pummeling through my head.

As with learning styles and learning formats, the two go hand in hand. The style of the learner / leader is always going to be different and is always going to change based on external factors that may or may not be out of their control to change. However, the format in which they lead / learn can be adapted and should change to accommodate a specific situation. We have all heard the cliché, that character is a man's fate. The question is can a character change to alter the output of one's fate, whether good or bad?

Do you ever take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I treat everyone the same in every situation, or do I change the way in which I manage and lead the individuals in my organization, based on their personality?” It is a hard question to think about and understand, let alone to articulate. Of course, the way in which you handle each situation, is sometimes better than other times. However, most of us think that we adaptable in this extent, and can be at most times, or at least to a certain degree. But we need to also ask our employees, or those of what we manage / lead, if they feel as if we really are adaptable to their specific needs and personalities. A good leader needs to act as if they are like a chameleon, and can change at the drop of a dime. Although, most of us did not make it to the top of our career ladder because we listened to the voices and demands of others. We closed out those voices telling us what to do, or what not to do, so that we could begin to forge ahead on our own path of life, liberty, and the pursuit of our own happiness, whatever that may be. Those of us, who are narcissists, never listen and typically challenge the status quo. What we choose to do with these options, and how we channel these feelings, insights, and motivations, into what we do best, is the difference between being a narcissist who is deemed demonic in their presence, or one who pursues the issues at hand , or the social demands, and is reinforced and encouraged by his colleagues.

After further discussion with my college about this topic, I challenged him to ask his self, whether he perceived the title of “narcissist” to be a good or bad title for himself, because it is not always a negative adjective that goes in conjunction with being a leader. What are you perceived as?

Do You Ever Feel Like Your Leadership Training Is Only Focused on You?

On a daily basis, I receive numerous e-mails, mail subscriptions, text messages, and phone calls regarding the opportunity to join in specific leadership challenges, webinars, podcasts, seminars, or blogs. I do not mind receiving this information on a regular basis; in fact I have discovered that I am quite the addict for it. However, I…

On a daily basis, I receive numerous e-mails, mail subscriptions, text messages, and phone calls regarding the opportunity to join in specific leadership challenges, webinars, podcasts, seminars, or blogs. I do not mind receiving this information on a regular basis; in fact I have discovered that I am quite the addict for it. However, I do feel as if I receive these specific opportunities because they are geared towards my specialty or desired field of interest. If any of you are feeling this same pain, then you will understand that this is not unnecessarily wrong, but should we not be focusing on leadership in a slogan and learn from all industries and market trends?

Most of us have inner fears that hold us back from wanting to learn different areas of our market, industry, or even from others. This is an innate process that can be changed, but sometimes it is not only difficult to do, but also sometimes difficult for us to realize. We tend to get heard up in our own mindset, or our own way of thinking. Once we have established a baseline of processes that work for us, we implement them as our standard benchmark to succumb to. But are we only hindering ourselves by doing this? I am a firm believer of lifelong learning and professional development, which in turn drives me to consistently read and learn from other leaders in the world, not just my own industry. I continue to want to connect and sustain a basic prominence of established relationships with others that will enable me to lead myself and my team down a path of greater understanding of ourselves and what drives us, and not just what drives our needs for more effective productivity .

As I do so, I find that people are still inhibited by their own fears, procrastination, weaknesses in ignoring the truth about themselves or others, and sometimes even their own path to chasing the wrong fulfillment they are in need of wanting to indulge upon. If someone wants to be concupiscent enough to want to learn from others, then one should really know themselves and what they are capable of. Henry Massinger once said, “He that would govern others should first be the master of himself.” I find this to be so true of myself and how I perceive myself to need and want to be. I have a perspicacious mindset to know and understand leadership. However, some of us limit ourselves to the out of the box thinking of learning techniques and using resources and tools from those leaders and their principles of which may not be in our particular field of interest or employment. The more we grow and expand our leadership skills, the more opportunities we will have to influence others and to be able to be loquacious at times about this subject.

To truly understand leadership, one must be able to influence. Let me provide you a very laymen's example for comparison; think of yourself as an elephant trying to learn a new trick. In the new movie and best selling book by Sara Gruen (2006), Water for Elephants, t he head trainer, August, is a brutal man who abuses the animals in his care (such as the new elephant Rosie) as well as the people around him. Jacob, is the new addition to the circus crew who decides that he will take what he has learned from others, and instead of poking and prodding the elephant in a harmful way, and imposing upon the elephant the old way of training of a specific skill , he uses a more practical application by applying what he has learned when trying to become a veterinarian, to the appropriate situation of becoming an animal trainer. In doing so, this shared vision and influence over the elephant, the care and concern that he showed within his techniques, and the strength and determination he showed in training the elephant, provests that he was certainly a leader in the circus and amongstst his fellow circus cronies.

Sometimes, we need to take a step back and realize that we can not and should not always be the “August” in our organizations, by implementing only what we feel is the way in which our team should be led, and how they should feel and act. What you think you know and understand, may not always be the only thing that should be articulated to your team. As a leader, we have much to learn from others. There is a need to know that what we learn should be applied in a specific style and format to those around us, and to understand that not everyone learns or acquires knowledge in the same way as we do. Therefore, what we offer up as 'leadership' can sometimes be seen as a Pecksniffian way of appropriating leadership skills within our industry. So I encourage you to sit down with your team, and ask them what they feel they really need from us / management. Learn from your own past mistakes, and ensure that you really know how you are perceived by others, how you are able to influence those around you, and what those are actually in need of? It is not always what you think! Give them the tools to write their own success stories and to create the path of leadership within them and for others. Be adaptable like Rosie, and not antediluvian like August, but as perspicacious as Jacob!

Gruen, S. (2006). Water for Elephants. Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

As Seth Godin Would Say, “Are You Developing a Tribe to Follow You?”

Think about this, when you are leading, do you actually have followers? When you are using your social media and marketing sites, are you Facebook'ing, Tweeting, or Link'ing, and creating a “tribe” of followers, or just trying to make a connection? I have been researching and trying to connect with the world of opportunities within…

Think about this, when you are leading, do you actually have followers? When you are using your social media and marketing sites, are you Facebook'ing, Tweeting, or Link'ing, and creating a “tribe” of followers, or just trying to make a connection?

I have been researching and trying to connect with the world of opportunities within the social media marketing venue, higher ed, management and leadership, for a few months now, and it is, and can be, very overwhelming. There is a myriad of options to log-in to, create, implement, join, share, or just publish stories or communications in which you come across on a daily basis. Sometimes I ask myself, is there enough time in one day to actually “stay connected” as much as you need to? What is considered “enough”? It is a huge plethora of an atmosphere to tap in and to understand. As I continue to try to make my connections and to stay abreast of this new and crazy, yet fast and always changing world, I am learning things on a daily basis. I have created my personal / social pages and my professional pages, and sometimes I even get them both confused when I am posting, depending on what site I am logged into, or what site I am logged in 'as', or should it be @, #, etc. Some things I want friends to see, and other items I want to share and connect with my collections and business connections. But geez, if I am not logged in to the correct version of the site, I am posting business for pleasure, and pleasure for business. Talk about overwhelming and confusing! It is absolutely nuts! But I have become such an addict at it now that I am not sure how to stop.

Until one day when I realized that just “connecting” is not enough. Developing a “tribe” of followers, and determining what it is that I am trying to point out, or who it is I am trying to connect with and what our shared vision is, is more difficult then it sounds. When I look at company Facebook pages, and try to refer to a brand, a logo, or a product, most of the time I find that the message is missing. Why do I want to look at a site that posts pictures only, but does not create a shared mission or vision with the audience in which they are trying to connect with. Do I care that a particular drink company posts their new logo, but does not tell me why I should drink this particular product? I compared this same philosophy to that of the organizations of which I have worked, and I found some similar issues. Does our site have a brand, does our logo stand out, and do our followers “follow” us for a reason? What is our message, why are we trying to network with others in the first place? It is so much more than a broader picture than having these questions answered by someone in a marketing / advertising department, because everyone shares in the insights that should go into building a particular company / product site to meet these expectations.

This same thing correlates to those who we are trying to connect with. Instead of sending a basic message to connect, stating how you think, or feel, you know him / her, send a brief message stating the shared interest you have with one another, or why you are wanting to stay connected with them; ie looking for recruiters who have connections in my area, looking to hire, my mission / vision matches your mission / vision, our products are similar, etc. I think we can all attest to the fact that we get “connected” on a daily basis, by a basic e-mail, or invite increasingly more and more every day, but can we answer the question as to why we want to connect with that person, or what we have in common? Those of us in the higher education industry, or sales industry, know that we are always focusing on the “WIIFM” (What's In It For Me) approach to closing a sale. So why can not we, or why should we not be doing the same with our connections? And when we do connect to a group, or a company, or a person, should we not have regular communication with them so that we are staying abreast of one another?

“The market wants you to be remarkable. The most important tribulations are bored with yesterday and demand tomorrow. Most of all, the market has demonstrated that ideas that spread win, and the ideas that are spreading are the remarkable ones” (Godin, 2008) ). So let's be remarkable with one another and stay in touch with our “tribe” in which we have created. Our tribe follows us for a reason, so if we are not creating reasons to follow us regularly then why are we spending the time on these social networking sites. We all do things for a reason. Managing and leading take time, but we do this because we enjoy those who follow us and the path we have created for them to walk on behind us. Our footprints are laid out for a reason, and this is why someone chooses to jump on our prints and walk with us. For instance, I Follow Fidelity Investments via Linked In. I do so because their brand and their vision stands out and matches that of my own. The lime green arrow that paves the way towards my stable financial future by investing with them correlates to the arrow / path that I have created for my future in making sure I stay on track and follow my vision to be financially stable. I look for leaders / leading companies that share an image, or a connection, with that of my own. So if we want to be followed and we want to follow others, we can not be mind-numbing, dull, or monotonous. So be better, be great, and create your tribe so that you can lead them and communicate with them! A tribe follows someone or something that is willing to make things happen for them!

Godin, S. (2008). Tribes.We Need You to lead us. Penguin Group, (USA) Inc. New York, NY, p. 31.