Sunday, April 30, 2006

Exceptional Leadership Inspires the Best Effort in Others

Author: Michael Beck

There is a steady stream being written and taught about leadership these days. There are tips about leadership, courses about leadership, books, retreats, and continuing education – all focused on leadership. While all of this material is useful and can certainly enhance one’s leadership knowledge, for the most part it avoids asking and answering two questions:

1. Why does better leadership make a difference? , and 2. How does better leadership achieve those differences?

We all know we’re “supposed” to work to be better leaders, but why does it matter, what impact does it have, and how does this all work?

Whenever I ask the “Why” question, the answers that come to the mind of most people are something like “better leadership creates more productivity, higher profits, lower turnover, greater job satisfaction, more loyalty… you get the picture. But these responses bring us to the real question which is, “How does better leadership create those things? How does being a better leader lead to more productivity, higher profits, lower turnover, greater job satisfaction, more loyalty?” It is the answers to these two questions which elevate us from simply learning and understanding better leadership principles to pursuing a course of action which transforms us and our leadership abilities into something that really makes a difference.

I often suggest that my clients use their own experience as their best example. Ask yourself when, during your career, you felt the most satisfied, most productive, proudest, most focused, and most committed. When we reflect back on those times, most of us would acknowledge that we didn’t feel like we did because our “leader” had made a good decision, or that they had gone through “leadership training” (That term is in quotes because leaders need to be developed, not trained.), or that their leaders were efficient, met their goals, or had success in the past. No, typically we felt the way we did (satisfied, productive, proud, focused, and committed) because of what we did – what we accomplished. It all comes back to us and how we felt. It’s generally not about anything external – it comes down to our emotions. The key to exceptional leadership, therefore, lies within our ability to relate effectively with people and their emotions.

Imagine if everyone at work felt satisfied, productive, proud, focused, and committed! What would the consequences be? The consequences would be that everyone would create greater productivity, higher profits, lower turnover, greater job satisfaction, and more loyalty! The key then, to better performance, is helping people feel more satisfied, productive, proud, focused, and committed. Notice the absence of any technical or intelligence issues? Notice that we’ve haven’t brought up the idea of “motivating” people? We haven’t touched on motivating people for one simple reason… people can’t be motivated! Trying to motivate someone is analogous to physically trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do. You won’t succeed. What really works is when we’re self-motivated – when we do something because we want to. When we’re inspired, we enjoy our work. We’re productive and proud of our efforts. We remain focused and committed to the task at hand. In short, we put forth out best effort.

Exceptional leadership, therefore, is leadership that inspires people to give their best effort. Although, for a leader, being productive and having good time management skills are important and necessary, they are not sufficient. Having good judgment becomes increasingly important the higher in an organization we rise, however it too is insufficient for truly effective leadership. Exceptional leadership is about relating to people in such a way as to inspire them to give their best effort – for themselves, their organization, their community, their family, and/or their world.

How is this accomplished? The foundation of exceptional leadership – of inspiring others – comprises thee areas - Effective Leadership Philosophies (for yourself and your organization), Effective Purpose, Mission and Values, and Effective People Skills.


Leading by Example - Whether we acknowledge it or not, we always lead by example. In our words (what we say or don't say), in our actions (what we do or don't do), and in our expressions (what we show or don't show). The things we do and say, during moments of “apparent insignificance”, make an impression on those around us.

Servant Leader Philosophies - In our leadership workshops, I'll ask participants who the most important person is to a company. The answer, of course, is the customer. The question that follows next is, ""Who is the most important person in the company to that customer?"" Most people get that the person most important to the customer is the one they come in contact with - the ""frontline"". The question that follows is the real key to a better understanding of servant leadership. This question is, ""What, then, is the job of the manager of those frontline people?"" The job of the managers of the frontline folks is to make their job as easy and as effective as possible so that the customer has the best experience possible! If this leadership philosophy is adopted throughout an organization, it ends up with an organizational chart that looks like an inverted pyramid. It is an organization that acknowledges the importance of the frontline and reflects the philosophy of service throughout.


An organization which inspires the best effort in its people will attract the kind of employees it wants and needs, and will retain them. It has a Purpose, a Mission, and a set of Values that it lives by, it effectively communicates them, and it measures its actions and decisions against them.

- Purpose is the ""WHY"" of the equation. It defines why we do what we do. Each decision and policy should take the company closer to achieving its ""WHY"". When a company has a clearly defined purpose it begins to act as a magnet, attracting the kind of people who will further the purpose; people who are like-minded. Not only will having a purpose attract the right people, but it will also act to retain them.

- Mission is the ""WHAT"" of the equation. It defines what the company will be doing to achieve its Purpose. A mission can be fairly narrow or be somewhat broad. However, one that is too narrow can unduly restrict an organization from considering opportunities that would otherwise be an excellent fit and one that is too broad offers no guidance at all.

- Values are the ""HOW"" of the equation. Values define how the Mission will be carried out in an effort to achieve the Purpose. They define the “rules of the game”. Some of them will come to mind quite easily, things like honesty, courtesy, kindness, and ethics. But some other important values will only surface when brainstorming takes place - when different perspectives and voices are heard.


I’ll often ask clients or workshop attendees for the traits of the best boss they ever had and the traits of the worst boss. Inevitably, I’ll get answers like: (Best) respected my ideas, worked to develop me, challenged me, listened, empowered me and let me make my own mistakes,… and (Worst) micro-managed, was overly demanding, poor communicator, mistrustful, … What’s interesting is that in no case were the technical skills or the intelligence of a boss either praised or condemned. All the notable traits, both good and bad, had to do with people skills. The goal of effective people skills is good Relationship Management. Relationship Management encompasses the ability to develop others, inspire others, influence others, resolve conflict, and build teamwork and collaboration.


The essence of exceptional leadership is the ability to inspire the best effort in others. When people choose to give their best effort, satisfaction increases, pride develops, innovation is born, productivity improves, stability prevails, and profitability increases. The keys to a highly performing organization are creating an inspiring environment and personally becoming an exceptional leader. We can create an inspiring environment by adopting effective leadership philosophies and clarifying a Purpose, Mission and set of Values. We can personally become a more effective leader by honing and acquiring effective people skills. Become a leader who inspires the best effort in others.

About the author: Michael Beck is President of Exceptional Leadership, Inc., a leadership development and executive coaching firm dedicated to creating exceptional leadership for higher profits and greater job satisfaction. Michael can be reached at 877-977-8956 or, and you can learn more about the company and these ideas at

10 Ways to Beef up your Leadership Skills

Author: Megan Tough

Have you ever heard someone say, “Actually, I have to admit that I think I am really bad at managing other people. My staff all hate me and I’m incapable of doing my job”.

The answer is no, of course. No one says this either because they don’t believe it, or because they don’t want to appear incompetent. Unfortunately research tells us that from the employees’ perspective, there aren’t that many terrific managers out there.

What should we take out of this dichotomy? Perhaps at the least, we could all admit to ourselves that there is room for some improvement in the way we lead others. After all, it’s not the sort of skill that is easy to get 100% right all of the time. It might just be that we don’t specifically know what improvements to make, so here’s 10 ways to start:

1.Get a reality check Finding out what others think of our leadership style can be real eye-opener, and is often the most powerful driver for change. Using a 360 survey where you receive feedback from your staff, peers and manager, gives you some concrete information on a sometimes intangible subject. Use an existing tool (and there are some highly regarded ones out there) or else simply let your staff know that you are seeking feedback from them in order to improve your style.

A word of caution though, your staff may not feel safe in giving feedback if they believe you are going to use it against them, or become defensive about what they say. It’s up to you to create a safe environment so they feel comfortable in being open and honest with you.

2.Don’t use the power of your position to get things done If people are questioning why certain things are done, or the logic of decisions, never pull rank in response. A critical component of effective leadership is getting the buy-in from your team and colleagues. You don’t get buy-in by telling them that the decision is the right one because you are the boss and you made it. Your team may not always agree with what is being done, but they are more likely to respect you if you take the time to explain your rationale.

3.Don’t think of employees as things that need to be controlled or managed Instead, give them the latitude to take actions and make decisions. Trust is a vital component of leadership. If you can’t trust people to do their jobs well, then you either have the wrong people in the jobs, or you have the right people but you haven’t trained them sufficiently. Let them do what they are there to do, without leaning over their shoulders all the time, or demanind to know how they spend each minute of their time.

4.Listen, listen listen If there are unhappy or disgruntled people in your business, you can guarantee that at some stage they’ve tried to tell you what the problem is. It’s likely you weren’t listening (or didn’t want to listen), or perhaps your initial reaction made the person think twice about bringing the problem to you. Truly listening is one of the greatest skills to develop, regardless of your role. Good listeners are genuinely interested, convey empathy, and want to find out what’s behind the conversation. Great leaders are great listeners –without exception.

5.Stop providing solutions Managers often achieve their positions after being technical specialists, and so will have an opinion or view on how to ""fix"" situations or problems. They believe that it's faster to tell someone what to do, or do it themselves, than give their employees an opportunity to figure it out. By always providing the answers, managers take away opportunity for their employees to learn and come up with alternative (and potentially better) ways of doing things.

6.Always be constructive – always Language and communication skills set great leaders apart from mediocre ones. Don't patronise or be critical of others - take complete responsibility for how you are heard. If you catch yourself about to make negative remarks, take a breath and rephrase your words to get your message across without the emotional attachment. Great leaders always find a way to say things calmly and constructively.

7.Judge your success by the success of your team The true success of a leader can be measured by the success of the people that work for them. As a manager of others, your prime responsibility is to ensure the success and development of your team. If they are successful, you will automatically be successful. Focus on building their skills and removing obstacles in their way. If you can achieve this, you will see the results in the productivity, motivation and satisfaction of your employees. This in turn filters through to bottom-line results.

8.Don’t do things just because they will “look good”. Nothing is more transparent than managers who make decisions and behave in ways simply to look good to their superiors. If you want to improve as a leader, one of the qualities you need is integrity. The integrity to make decisions because they are right, and the integrity to stand up when you truly believe something is not in the best interests of the business. Whether or not it is in your personal best interests is much less of a consideration.

9.Include humour in your diet Nobody likes to work in an environment that is devoid of any fun. People are more productive when they are enjoying themselves. Creating a workplace where fun is permitted and encouraged can make a significant difference, and it’s even more effective when the boss participates. It increases team spirit, and encourages people to see you as a person, not simply as the boss.

10.Let people get to know the real you Being open about yourself helps to break down the barriers that hierarchy puts in place. When your employees know the person behind the façade, that’s when you start to build the foundations of good leadership - trust and respect.

About the author: Megan Tough, director of Action Plus, works with small business professionals who are ready to do more than ‘just get by’. Increase your income - decrease your stress! To learn more and to sign up for more FREE tips and articles like these, visit

A Whack Up 'Long Side The Head Of Human Resources: The Leadership Imperative

Author: Brent Filson

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resources, despite the function's complex activities, should have a fundamentally simple mission, yet it is a mission that is being neglected by many HR professionals. I call that mission the Leadership Imperative — helping the organization recruit, retain, and develop good leaders. Here is a three-step action plan to get the HR function off the sidelines and into the thick

A Whack Up ‘long Side The Head Of Human Resources: The Leadership Imperative by Brent Filson

When we perceive the simple center in the seemingly complex, we can change our world in powerful new ways.

Albert Einstein perceived the simple E=MC2 in the complexities of physical reality and changed the history of the 20th century.

Big Daddy Lipscomb, the Baltimore Colts 300 pound all-pro tackle in the 1960s perceived the simple center of what was perceived to be the complex game of football. ""I just wade into players,"" he said, ""until I come to the one with the ball. Him I keep!"" — and changed the way the game was played. Likewise, human resources, despite its complex activities, should have a fundamentally simple mission, yet it is a mission that is being neglected by many HR professionals. I call that mission the Leadership Imperative — helping the organization recruit, retain, and develop good leaders.

Clearly, without good leaders, few organizations can thrive over the long run. What characterizes a good leader? A good leader consistently gets results — in ethical and motivational ways. Because they interact with all business functions and usually provide education and training for those functions, human resource professionals should be focused primarily on recruiting, retaining, and developing leaders that get results. Any other focus is a footnote.

Yet working with human resource leaders in a variety of companies for the past two decades, I find that many of them are stumbling. Caught up in the tempests of downsizing, compliance demands, acquisitions, mergers, and reorganizations, they are engaged in activities that have little to do with their central mission. Ignoring or at least giving short shrift to the Leadership Imperative, they are too often viewed, especially by line leaders, as carrying out sideline endeavors.

Many HR leaders have nobody to blame for this situation but themselves. By neglecting the Imperative, they themselves have chosen to be sideline participants.

Here is a three-step action plan to get the HR function off the sidelines and into the thick of the game.

Recognize. Link. Execute.

Before I elaborate each step, let me define leadership as it ought to be. For your misunderstanding leadership will thwart you in applying the Imperative.

The word ""leadership"" comes from old Norse word-root meaning ""to make go."" Indeed, leadership is about making things go — making people go, making organizations go. But the misunderstanding comes in when leaders fail to understand who actually makes what go. Leaders often believe that they themselves must make things go, that if people must go from point A to point B, let's say, that they must order them to go. But order leadership founders today in fast-changing, highly competitive markets.

In this environment, a new kind of leadership must be cultivated — leadership that aims not to order others to go from point A to point B — but instead that aims to motivate them to want take the leadership in going from A to B.

That ""getting others to lead others"" is what leadership today should be about. And it is what we should inculcate in our clients. We must challenge them to lead, lead for results with this principle in mind, and accept nothing else from them but this leadership.

Furthermore, leadership today must be universal. To compete successfully in highly competitive, fast changing markets, organizations must be made up of employees who are all leaders in some way. All of us have leadership challenges thrust upon us many times daily. In the very moment that we are trying to persuade somebody to take action, we are a leader — even if that person we are trying to persuade is our boss. Persuasion is leadership. Furthermore, the most effective way to succeed in any endeavor is to take a leadership position in that endeavor.

The Imperative applies to all employees. Whatever activities you are being challenged to carry out, make the Imperative a lens through which you view those activities. Have your clients recognize that your work on the behalf of their leadership will pay large dividends toward advancing their careers.

Recognize: Recognize that recruiting, retaining, and developing good leaders ranks with earnings growth (or with nonprofit organizations: mission) in terms of being an organizational necessity. So most of your activities must be in some way tied to the Imperative.

For instance: HR executive directors who want to develop courses for enhancing the speaking abilities of their companies' leaders often blunder in the design phase. Not recognizing the Leadership Imperative, they err by describing them as ""presentation courses."" Instead, if they were guided by the Imperative, they would offer courses on ""leadership talks."" There is a big difference between presentations and leadership talks. Presentations communicate information. Presentation courses are a dime a dozen. But leadership talks motivate people to believe in you and follow you. Leaders must speak many times daily — to individuals or groups in a variety of settings. When you provide courses to help them learn practical ways for delivering effective talks, to have them speak better so that they can lead better, you are benefitting their job performance and their careers.

Today, in most organizations, the presentation is the conventional method of communication. But when you make the leadership talk the key method by instituting ""talk"" courses and monitoring and evaluation systems broadly and deeply within the organization, you will help make your company more effective and efficient.

Link: Though such recognition is the first step in getting off the sidelines, it won't get you into the game. To get into the center of things, you must link your activities with results. Not your results — their results.

Clearly, your clients are being challenged to get results: sales' closes, operations efficiencies, productivity advances, etc. Some results are crucial. But other results are absolutely indispensable. Your job is to help your clients achieve their results, especially the indispensable results. You must be their ""results partner."" Furthermore, you must help them get sizable increases in those results. The results that they get with your help should be more than the results that they would have gotten without your help.

For instance, when developing company-wide objectives for leadership talks, you should not aim to have participants win a speaking ""beauty contests"" but instead to speak so that they motivate others to get increases in measured results. When you change the focus of the courses from speaking appearance to the reality of results, you change the participants' view of and commitment to the courses and also their view of and commitment to you in providing those courses. So have the participants define their indispensable results and link the principles and processes they learned in the course to getting measured increases in those results.

Execute: It's not enough to recognize. It's not enough to link. You must execute. ""Execute"" comes from a Latin root exsequi meaning ""to follow continuously and vigorously to the end or even to ‘the grave.'"" Let's capture if not the letter at least the spirit of this lively root by insuring that your activities on behalf of your clients are well ""executed,"" that they are carried out vigorously and continuously in their daily work throughout their careers. If those activities are helping them get results, you are truly their ""results partner.""

For instance, in regard to the leadership talk courses, HR professionals can lead an ""initiative approach."" At the conclusion of the course, each participant selects an initiative to institute back on the job. The aim of each initiative is to get sizable increases in their indispensable results by using the principles and processes that they learned.

The initiatives and their results should be concrete and measurable, such as productivity gains, increases in sales, operations efficiencies, and reduced cycle times.

The participants should be challenged to get increases in results above and beyond what they would have gotten without having taken the course. They should be challenged to get those increases within a mutually agreed upon time, such as quarterly reports. In fact, if the participants don't achieve an increase in results that translates to at least ten times what the course costs, they should get their money back.

Don't stop there. Getting an increase in results is not the end of the course, it should be the beginning — the beginning of a new phase of getting results, the stepping up phase. The more results participants achieve, the more opportunities they have created to achieve even more results. The leadership talk course should have methods for instituting results' step-ups.

One such method can be a quarterly leadership-talk round table. Participants who graduate from the course meet once a quarter to discuss the results they have gotten and provide best practices for getting more. Human resources should organize, direct and facilitate the round tables. In this way, the results the leaders are getting should increase quarter after quarter.

When HR professionals promote such leadership talk courses, courses that are linked to getting increases in indispensable results and that come with the ""results guarantee,"" those professionals are truly seen as results partners in their organizations. I have used the leadership talk as an example of how you can greatly enhance your contributions to the company by applying the Leadership Imperative. Don't just apply the Imperative to such courses alone. Apply it to whatever challenge confronts you.

When you recognize how that challenge can be met through the Imperative, when you link the challenge to getting increases in measured results, and when you execute for results, you can transform your function.

You don't have to be as distinguished as Einstein or as awesome as Big Daddy Lipscomb, but you will in your individual way perceive the simple, powerful center of things. You'll be in the thick of the most important game your company is playing — helping change your world and the world of your clients.

About the author: The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, ""49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,"" at

What is your leadership style?

Author: Kreg Enderson

What's Your Leadership Style?

Early in my career, I remember being asked in interviews, ""what is your leadership style"". At the time I thought I needed to have a single style so I would have an answer to this question. But it never seemed quite right to answer the question without asking ""who am I leading?"" Today, I know that my little voice was right, and as leaders we may have a 'preferred' style of leadership, but the correct answer is that it depends.

Each of us begins by leading in a style that matches our personality. If you are a control person you will start with a more directing style, telling more showing and asking. If you have a more laid back personality, you will begin with coaching, where you spend more time gaining consensus and approval. But there is a variable that comes into play that really forces leaders to adjust their style, and that is PEOPLE.

When you put people into the equation, you have to consider a few things. How much experience do they have? If you use the directive style of leadership, telling every step of the way, on a person that has been in their position for a long period of time you will soon have an opening to fill. This person should be provided with more room to make decisions on their own. A new team member with little experience needs direction. They lack knowledge and skills that you as the leader can provide.

You also need to find out just how your team members prefer to learn. Do they like to receive general information and just go out and do it? Do they like to have someone show them how to do something? Conducting one on ones on a regular basis will help in determining each team member's learning preference.

So the next time you are asked ""what is your leadership style"", you can respond and say ""it depends"".

About the author: Kreg Enderson is a certified coach and successful leader who works with leaders one on one and in small groups to help them become more effective with people. More information can be found at

Leading with Power and Authority: Energize Others with Deep Green Leadership

Author: James K. Hazy, Ed.D., Founder & CEO, Leadership Science, LLC

One of the most significant aspects of leadership involves the stewardship of resources both collective and individual. People instinctively want to understand how their needs will be met in the present and in the future. When they are confident their needs will be cared for, they experience a sense of control and a feeling of power. Ironically, in the process they must acknowledge a dependence upon collective action for success. They internalize the collective agenda as their own?a deep sense of trust in the organization and its leadership is the result. Leading by influencing people's belief in the fairness of resource flows and their trust that they will eventually benefit, is a powerful aspect of leadership.

Like the deep green of the rainforest canopy, when leadership provides its members with the resources they need to grow, the organizational canopy is teaming with life. In this second of a series of articles exploring the spectrum of leadership influence, I address the question: how does deep green leadership energize others?

The Story Part 1: The Conundrum One Thursday afternoon as a scheduled meeting was breaking up, Lynn, the CEO, realized he had time to stop by the field office in town. He had hoped he could as this office was one of the lower performing ones in the region. He sent his driver ahead with his luggage saying he would have the office manager drive him to the airport after his visit.

When he arrived at the plush offices, he was taken by the emptiness of the space, the quiet and relatively low energy level. The support staff seemed to be making themselves busy and the members of the outside sales team who were in the office, were busily doing paperwork between conversations with office mates. When questions were posed about how things could be run more effectively, Lynn was struck by the pervasive sense of powerlessness. Productive work was hard to identify against the backdrop of make-work activity.

Lynn regretted having become disconnected from the organization. He remembered a few months back when he visited a high performance office. It had seemed as though an ""invisible hand"" was guiding action, efficiently and effectively.

He remembered feeling that things were going well then, that actions seemed directed and everyone was excited and happy. They came in early and stayed late. The pace of action was quick and efficient. Now, in contrast, people seemed to be making work, active but without clear link to the organization's objectives. They were doing what they thought was right, but weren't sure. Morale, it seems, had sagged. As he left the office and headed for the airport, he made a mental note: ""Our leadership plan needs work,"" he thought.

Analysis and Perspective In his leadership role, Lynn was appropriately, if informally, monitoring a leading indicator of performance. When he noted the apparent confusion regarding efficient resource allocation and a pervasive sense of powerlessness he was observing an indicator of sagging leadership effectiveness. He appropriately hypothesized that this decline was related to a reduced ""velocity"" of leadership across the organization, the amount of time spent on leadership activities was declining. Because a pervasive sense of powerlessness and confusion about resource distribution are indicative of a decline in a specific type of leadership influence, called deep green leadershipSM, he realized that he needed to initiate programs to reenergize this type of leadership in the organization.

Lynn knew that three steps were required: first gather information about the current situation, diagnose the issues and formulate hypotheses; second, initiate specific leadership activities designed to shore-up the deeply held sense of fairness in resource distribution across the firm and the sense of potency or power that results; and third, institutionalize change by integrating these initiatives into the organization's culture.

Lynn realized this would not be easy. His leadership teams must find ways to influence members' deeply held beliefs about their relationship with the organization and their sense of the organization's fairness. The benefits of success are great, however, because a sense of fairness enables trust and clarity of action. Both focus action on collective benefits rather than on individual comforts.

Case Study Examples Many organizations face periods where change in the environment or to the organization's structure disrupts the flow of resources through the system. The organization's members begin to wonder what these changes mean to them and whether they will be treated fairly. During these periods, the organization's members do not feel in control of their own situation and of their organization's success. They spend time and energy trying to understand what the situation means to them and attempting to position themselves to benefit or simply to protect their interests. Sometimes they even consider leaving. To prepare for possible inequity, some members use the organization's resources to feather their nests and accumulate power in order to feel in control. Upon reflection, Lynn realized that he himself had used his driver to satisfy his personal needs even as those of the organization were not best served. When the sense of unfairness or lack of control occurs broadly across the organization, leadership intervention is required.

The success of Intel in the microprocessor business is legendary, but it didn't have to be that way. The Intel story might have been quite different if some of its managers had not been skilled at gaining access to firm resources, that is, at deep green leadership.

From the moment he joined Intel, technologist Les Kohn believed the firm should enter the reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processor market pioneered by competitors Sun Microsystems and Motorola. However, strategically, Intel had decided not to enter the market and had not allocated resources to the product.

Kohn knew he needed to garner firm resources if his dream was to be realized. He also knew that a skunk works project would not have sufficient scale and scope to build the team he needed. Therefore, he decided to ""sell"" the project to top-management as a co-processor to be sold along with Intel's core products, rather than as a stand-alone processor that would have competed with Intel's core product line.

With the product funded, resources flowed to the project and to those working on it. Fortunately, market momentum grew and because the product had good margins, Intel's production rules ensured adequate fabrication capacity and other resources were supplied to the product. With his focus on providing the needed resources to his project and his team, Kohn exhibited deep green leadership influence. Likewise, Intel prospered in a new market with growing revenue1.

* * * Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computer Corporation is a master of deep green leadership. His organization is famous for aligning resources with strategy and leads its industry with power and authority. In his memoirs Dell emphasizes how important it is for all employees to understand the organizations value creation strategy and to realize that their rewards are related to actions that directly support this strategy. ""We explained specifically how everyone could contribute.... And we make it the core of our incentive compensation plan for all employees.2"" At Dell Computer, power and authority, not to mention impressive returns over many years, were the direct result of the deep green leadershipSM programs that provided clarity and alignment about resource flows.

These stories demonstrate the power of deep green leadership and its impact on people, whether in a division or across the firm. When leadership operates to reinforce people's deeply held sense fairness with respect to resources and their access to them, they are empowered. This energizes them, so that everyone organizes the collective effort, not just a few people at the top of the pyramid.

The Story Part 2: Resolution When Lynn arrived in his office, he immediately asked some tough questions. ""How well do people understand their decision authority? and do they understand how our business works? how resources flow and decisions are made? Are we passionate that everyone has the tools and resources they need to do their jobs? Do we critically review project plans and budgets and make sure everyone controls the resources they need? Do people feel they share in our collective success? How does the situation compare with six months ago? How engaged are our people?

These were difficult questions, but ones that could be answered. The process took several weeks, but once the data was gathered and preliminary analysis was completed, the trend was clear?leadership activity aimed at clarifying the resource distribution flows in the organization, deep green leadershipSM activity, had fallen off in the organization.

When he had these answers, Lynn called his leadership team together to share the findings and express his concerns. ""We seem to have lost our edge,"" he said. ""I don't see the same level of self-motivation and energy in our people that I did six months ago. Data showing reduced activity levels in this area across the firm support my belief that there is cause for concern. Our leadership velocitySM in the areas of resources, decision authority and reward distribution has dropped off. To be the strong company we need to be, we have to do better.""

The team had a difficult time at first, uncomfortable that all members of the organization could ever feel they were being treated fairly and had what they needed to do their jobs. It seemed a bit ambitious and perhaps naïve to believe everyone could be made to think the organization was fair in its resource distribution. ""Life isn't fair"", some managers argued.

What began as a one-hour discussion, continued into the evening. Follow-up meetings were held with a much broader array of leaders. It became clear from the interaction that even among the leadership, there was a sense that there was an unevenness or arbitrariness in decision making, and tellingly, that this was okay. Renewal was needed. As Lynn knew, it had already begun.

In the course of the discussion, it was agreed that a key objective over the next six months was to greatly clarify the decision-making authorities and resource flows across the organization. Each group agreed to work within their teams to clarify and document their value creation strategies and the decision making process at all levels of their organization. Monthly town meetings were planned with the sole focus on how the firm did business, what drove success and how each person's work fit into the process. In parallel, the compensation programs of the firm were reviewed and communication plans developed to further everyone's understanding of how resources were used and distributed in the organization. The process cascaded into the organization until a consistent and clear picture of the business began to emerge across the organization. The quarterly cultural survey in use was modified to include targeted questions to provide on-going feedback.

After six months, the results of this initiative were documented in a new section of on the firm's employee website. As appropriate, aspects were also integrated into the organizations planning process thus providing much greater clarity and visibility to into the process. All managers were asked to communicate the process with their teams and provide feedback. After several months, the changes to the process dwindled to a manageable level, and enthusiasm was up. Excitement was evident and morale was improving.

To close out the cycle of leadership, Lynn asked his teams to propose ways to be proactive, with continuous feedback and action. He realized that leadership requires discipline and vigilance and that nothing works forever. At the same time, he didn't want to wait for the same problem to surface again.

Epilogue On a recent visit to the same sales office he had visited earlier, Lynn shared a ride with a sales manager who was also heading to the airport. He found it was a good opportunity to learn what a junior manager was thinking and how she thought about the organization. ""You know"", she said a bit timidly, ""I'm glad to know you're sharing your ride to the airport. We are pretty close to hitting out stretch objective this quarter and we need to save every dime we can. I'm hoping to have a little extra spending money at Disney World this spring!""

As he pulled his luggage from the trunk with a loud ""thump!"", Lynn smiled to himself. He was happy to share his car if it helped her have a little more fun with her family. She deserved it. _____________________________________

1Burgelman, R.A. (1991). Intra-organizational ecology of strategy making and organizational adaptation: Theory and field research. Organization Science, 2(3), 239-262.

2Dell, Michael with Catherine Fredman. (1999) Direct from Dell: Strategies that revolutionized an industry. New York; Harper Business. p.135.

About the author: (c) Copyright 2004 James K. Hazy, Ed.D. Leadership Science offers a unique mix of practical application and research in all areas of organizational leadership. We offer custom and canned seminars, speakers and intervention programs built upon the research in how leadership impacts results. To learn more about Leadership Science, visit our website:

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Leadership Development And Jumping Out of Airships

Author: Brent Filson

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to:

Word count: 885

Leadership Development function in many a corporation has often been viewed as a sideline when compared to such functions as sales and marketing. Yet Leadership Development can and should be seen as integral to a company's bottom and top lines. Here are two simple ways to make it happen. Development And Jumping Out of Airships by Brent Filson A German silent film melodrama depicts an airship bombing London during World War I. Lit up by searchlights and strafed by fighters, the crippled airship loses altitude as the captain frantically jettisons dispensable gear to lighten weight. Eventually, the only weight left is human. So the captain orders members of the crew overboard. A grisly scene unfolds as the airmen, one by one, without parachutes, step up to the hatch, salute the captain and the first mate, then jump to their deaths. Lightened, the airship returns safely to Germany. That scene is not a relic. It's happening in corporations frequently these days, clearly not as fact but metaphor. Companies, shot up in the cross fires of increasingly competitive markets, must lighten their loads to get earnings' growth buoyancy. The captains are jettisoning all but the indispensable employees. Commonly, one of the first functions to be ordered out is the training function -- in particular, leadership training or leadership development. Many company heads view such training as dispensable as the airship crew in the melodrama. Yet leadership isn't dispensable to business success. It's absolutely indispensable. Good leaders are far more important to the long term success of companies than good products. All organizations that fail to get, keep, and develop good leaders eventually founder. This isn't a secret. Most leaders know this. Here's the secret: The fact that leadership development is viewed as dispensable is not the captain's making. It's the crew's making. The blame lies with the people in charge of the leadership development. They simply have not defined leadership development in indispensable ways for results. Sure, they have defined such development for training results but not for the results that really count, business results. And when training people focus on training results not business results, they are always put at the front when the superfluous are told to line up to leap. What is leadership but results -- not training results, business results. If leaders are not getting their business results, they are not leading. Results can be defined in many ways, productivity, operating efficiencies, sales growth, cost reductions, etc., but leadership development has no real value unless it is helping the leaders get those results. Here are two simple ways to position your role to notably increase your value to your company.

1. Define results. Forget about training results. Forget about training objectives. They're dispensable gear. Throw them overboard. What are the business results of the leaders you are developing? If you are dealing with people in manufacturing, then focus on having your development programs help improve operating efficiencies. If you have sales people in those programs, focus on their getting increased sales results within a certain time after they complete your program. Whoever has signed up for your programs, challenge them to use the tools you give them to get results short and long term. For instance, at the beginning of your programs, ask participants, ""What results do you have to get? And what are the most important challenges you have in getting them?"" Then bring them the tools to help them get those results. What they learn is worthless unless it is tied to what is most valuable in their jobs and careers. It's worse than worthless, it's a downright stumbling block since that learning demands that they spend their time away from pursuing their real job objectives. 2. Measure those results. There is no value in business without measurements. Trainers who ignore this truth are put in the line before the open hatch when the company starts going down. Those trainers typically show their value by demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of their programs. Cost-effective, baloney! I don't know of any organization where ""cost-effective"" ultimately doesn't mean ""cheap."" Cost-effectiveness is the worst way to position leadership development programs. Cost-effective programs are the least valuable programs of all. Once we start defining our programs by how cheap they are, we show that we don't understand leadership or development -- and so cheapen our value to the company. Don't make leadership programs inexpensive. Make them expensive! -- expensive to the company if those programs are not instituted. We can only show their true importance by demonstrating the hard, measured, business-focused results participants achieve after taking the programs. At the end of your sessions, have participants write a ""value received"" letter in which they detail the hard measured results that they intend to get when they use your leadership tools. Follow up 35-days later to insure they have gotten those results or are about to get them. If participants in a leadership course don't receive an R.O. I. that is at least five to ten times greater than the investment they made in that course, give them their money back. And why not? If they can't get big increases in their hard, measured results, it's the course's fault. It hasn't helped them develop as leaders. Without results, leadership has no meaning. Leadership development is too important to be demeaned by having it fulfill training objectives. Enhance its importance by having it fulfill business objectives. In doing so, we will change the scenario on our metaphorical airship. Instead of ordering the crew out, the captain will say, ""We can't afford to lose this crew member. Stay here! First mate, jump!""

About the author: The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, ""49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,"" at

Turn Your Speech Into A Leadership Talk

Author: Brent Filson

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to:

Word count: 1949

Summary: Most leaders are sabotaging their careers because they are giving presentations and speeches rather than leadership talks. In terms of being a results-generator, the leadership talk far surpasses the presentation or speech. Here are three questions you must ask and answer before you can give a leadership talk. If you answer ""no"" to any one of the questions, you can't give one. SABOTAGING YOUR CAREER? by Brent Filson

My experience working with thousands of leaders world wide for the past two decades teaches me that most leaders are screwing up their careers.

On a daily basis, these leaders are getting the wrong results or the right results in the wrong ways.

Interestingly, they themselves are choosing to fail. They're actively sabotaging their own careers.

Leaders commit this sabotage for a simple reason: They make the fatal mistake of choosing to communicate with presentations and speeches -- not leadership talks.

In terms of boosting one's career, the difference between the two methods of leadership communication is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

Speeches/presentations primarily communicate information. Leadership talks, on the other hand, not only communicate information, they do more: They establish a deep, human emotional connection with the audience.

Why is the later connection necessary in leadership?

Look at it this way: Leaders do nothing more important than get results. There are generally two ways that leaders get results: They can order people to go from point A to point B; or they can have people WANT TO go from A to B.

Clearly, leaders who can instill ""want to"" in people, who motivate those people, are much more effective than leaders who can't or won't.

And the best way to instill ""want to"" is not simply to relate to people as if they are information receptacles but to relate to them on a deep, human, emotional way.

And you do it with leadership talks.

Here are a few examples of leadership talks.

When Churchill said, ""We will fight on the beaches ... "" That was a leadership talk.

When Kennedy said, ""Ask not what your country can do for you ... "" that was a leadership talk.

When Reagan said, ""Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"" That was a leadership talk.

You can come up with a lot of examples too. Go back to those moments when the words of a leader inspired people to take ardent action, and you've probably put your finger on an authentic leadership talk.

Mind you, I'm not just talking about great leaders of history. I'm also talking about the leaders in your organizations. After all, leaders speak 15 to 20 times a day: everything from formal speeches to informal chats. When those interactions are leadership talks, not just speeches or presentations, the effectiveness of those leaders is dramatically increased. How do we put together leadership talks? It's not easy. Mastering leadership talks takes a rigorous application of many specific processes. As Clement Atlee said of that great master of leadership talks, Winston Churchill, ""Winston spent the best years of his life preparing his impromptu talks."" Churchill, Kennedy, Reagan and others who were masters at giving leadership talks didn't actually call their communications ""leadership talks"", but they must have been conscious to some degree of the processes one must employ in putting a leadership talk together.

Here's how to start. If you plan to give a leadership talk, there are three questions you should ask. If you answer ""no"" to any one of those questions, you can't give one. You may be able to give a speech or presentation, but certainly not a leadership talk.

(1) DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS? Winston Churchill said, ""We must face the facts or they'll stab us in the back.""

When you are trying to motivate people, the real facts are THEIR facts, their reality.

Their reality is composed of their needs. In many cases, their needs have nothing to do with your needs.

Most leaders don't get this. They think that their own needs, their organization's needs, are reality. That's okay if you're into ordering. As an order leader, you only need work with your reality. You simply have to tell people to get the job done. You don't have to know where they're coming from. But if you want to motivate them, you must work within their reality, not yours.

I call it ""playing the game in the people's home park"". There is no other way to motivate them consistently. If you insist on playing the game in your park, you'll be disappointed in the motivational outcome. (2) CAN YOU BRING DEEP BELIEF TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? Nobody wants to follow a leader who doesn't believe the job can get done. If you can't feel it, they won't do it.

But though you yourself must ""want to"" when it comes to the challenge you face, your motivation isn't the point. It's simply a given. If you're not motivated, you shouldn't be leading.

Here's the point: Can you TRANSFER your motivation to the people so they become as motivated as you are?

I call it THE MOTIVATIONAL TRANSFER, and it is one of the least understood and most important leadership determinants of all.

There are three ways you can make the transfer happen.

* CONVEY INFORMATION. Often, this is enough to get people motivated. For instance, many people have quit smoking because of information on the harmful effects of the habit

* MAKE SENSE. To be motivated, people must understand the rationality behind your challenge. Re: smoking: People have been motivated to quit because the information makes sense.

* TRANSMIT EXPERIENCE. This entails having the leader's experience become the people's experience. This can be the most effective method of all, for when the speaker's experience becomes the audience's experience, a deep sharing of emotions and ideas, a communing, can take place.

There are plenty of presentation and speech courses devoted to the first two methods, so I won't talk about those.

Here's a few thoughts on the third method. Generally speaking, humans learn in two ways: by acquiring intellectual understanding and through experience. In our schooling, the former predominates, but it is the latter which is most powerful in terms of inducing a deep sharing of emotions and ideas; for our experiences, which can be life's teachings, often lead us to profound awareness and purposeful action.

Look back at your schooling. Was it your book learning or your experiences, your interactions with teachers and students, that you remember most? In most cases, your experiences made the most telling impressions upon you.

To transfer your motivation to others, use what I call my ""defining moment"" technique, which I describe fully in my book, DEFINING MOMENT: MOTIVATING PEOPLE TO TAKE ACTION.

In brief, the technique is this: Put into sharp focus a particular experience of yours then communicate that focused experience to the people by describing the physical facts that gave you the emotion.

Now, here's the secret to the defining moment. That experience of yours must provide a lesson and that lesson is a solution to the needs of the people. Otherwise, they'll think you're just talking about yourself.

For the defining moment to work (i.e., for it to transfer your motivation to them), the experience must be about them. The experience happened to you, of course. But that experience becomes their experience when the lesson it communicates is a solution to their needs.

(3) CAN YOU HAVE THE AUDIENCE TAKE RIGHT ACTION? Results don't happen unless people take action. After all, it's not what you say that's important in your leadership communications, it's what the people do after you have had your say.

Yet the vast majority of leaders don't have a clue as to what action truly is.

They get people taking the wrong action at the wrong time in the wrong way for the wrong results.

A key reason for this failure is they don't know how to deliver the all-important ""leadership talk Call-to-action"".

""Call"" comes from an Old English word meaning ""to shout."" A Call-to-Action is a ""shout for action."" Implicit in the concept is urgency and forcefulness. But most leaders don't deliver the most effective Calls-to-action because they make three errors regarding it.

First, they err by mistaking the Call-to-Action as an order. Within the context of The Leadership Talk, a Call-to-action is not an order. Leave the order for the order leader.

Second, leaders err by mistaking the Call as theirs to give. The best Call-to-action is not the leader's to give. It's the people's to give. It's the people's to give to themselves. A true Call-to-action prompts people to motivate themselves to take action.

The most effective Call-to-action then is not from the leader to the people but from the people to the people themselves!

Third, they error by not priming their Call. There are two parts to the Call-to-Action, the primer and the Call itself. Most leaders omit the all-important primer.

The primer sets up the Call, which is to prompt people to motivate themselves to take action. You yourself control the primer. The people control the Call.

The primer/Call is critical because every leadership communication situation is in essence a problem situation. There is the problem the leader has. And there is the problem the people have. In many cases, they are two different problems. But leaders get into trouble regarding the Call-to-action when they think it's only one problem, mainly theirs.

For instance, a leader might be talking about the organization needing to be more productive. So, the leader talks PRODUCTIVITY.

On the other hand, the people, hearing PRODUCTIVITY, think, YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE ME MORE WORK!

If the leader thinks that productivity is the people's problem and ignores the ""more work"" aspect, h/she's Call-to-action will probably be a bust, resulting in the people avoiding committed action.

Let's apply the primer/Call dynamic to the productivity case. The leader talks PRODUCTIVITY: but this time uses a PRIMER. The primer's purpose is to establish a ""critical confluence"" – the union of your problem with the problem of the people.

In this case, the leader creates a critical confluence by couching productivity within the framework of MORE MEANINGFUL WORK.



The actual Call is from the people to themselves: LET'S INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY BY WORKING AT WHAT'S MEANINGFUL.

With that Call, the leader moves from just getting average results (YOU MUST BE MORE PRODUCTIVE: i.e., you're going to solve MY problem) to getting great results (YOU COME UP WITH WAYS TO TIE PRODUCTIVITY INTO MEANINGFUL WORK: i.e., you're also going to solve your problem.) So, here's what the leadership talk Call-to-action is truly about: It's not an order; it's best manifested when the people give themselves the Call; and it is always primed by your creating the ""critical confluence"" -- they'll be solving their problem as well as yours.

The vast majority of leaders I've worked with are hampering their careers for one simple reason: They're giving presentations and speeches -- not leadership talks.

You have a great opportunity to turbo charge your career by recognizing the power of leadership talks. Before you give a leadership talk, ask three basic questions. Do you know what the people need? Can you bring deep belief to what you're saying? Can you have the people take the right take action?

If you say ""no"" to any one of those questions you cannot give a leadership talk. But the questions aren't meant to be stumbling blocks to your leadership but stepping stones. If you answer ""no"", work on the questions until you can say, ""yes"". In that way, you'll start getting the right results in the right way on a consistent basis.

2004 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the author: The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, ""49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,"" at

MLM Success Requires Leadership and Professionalism

Author: Linda J Bruton

MLM can be a viable, wonderful business that enables you to reach any goals in life you wish to attain.

If you want to be successful at MLM, it is time to start thinking of yourself as the professional that you aspire to be - not as someone who sends out a different hyped-up email every week or works one of those ""MLM deals.""

I know that you have a burning desire to succeed because you are reading this blog. And because you do want to succeed, it is time to start thinking of yourself as the professional that every one of your prospects will expect you to be. The sooner you start thinking of yourself as a professional doing professional things, the sooner you will become one.

As a professional network marketer - a heavy-hitter in the making - you are a leader, an entrepreneur, someone who believes in what you are doing. A leader is a self-starter, not someone who sits around waiting for his or her upline to do the work. A leader takes responsibility for his or her own success. They don't blame their sponsor or the program when they fail.

There are thousands of very successful people in this business who had very poor sponsors, and yet they are making thousands of dollars a month! (And you can count me as one of those). An MLM leader likes people and is concerned for their success and well being, and this is evident in the way they treat their downline and the prospects they communicate with.

It is also very evident in the programs they choose to promote. If you are concerned about the well-being of the prospects you bring into this business, you won't offer them scams or get-rich-quick schemes. You will offer programs that they can be proud of, that will offer them an income for many years to come!

A leader is self-confident and enjoys what they are doing. A leader is someone who knows their own strengths and how to take advantage of them, their weaknesses and how to compensate. A leader is a continual learner as well as being a teacher.

Leaders don't wait for some guru to take them to the Promised Land. They get the best map they can find, prepare themselves for the journey, and start out a step at a time.

And they keep going, even when it gets rough or they have to make adjustments to their route. I am convinced that most people can become a leader by simply deciding to be one! Once you make the decision, you'll start doing the work it requires.

It's no accident that some of the most successful network marketers were first managers or professionals in other fields. They already have the background knowledge of how successful businesses are run. They already know how to be leaders, and they bring this with them.

Most of these people also understand the kind of ongoing investment required to make a business work. They joined this industry because they wanted to keep the profits they produced, rather than giving them back to their boss or corporation. These are the very people who can make the most difference in your downline, the kind of prospects who can cause a literal recruiting explosion and make you a lot of money! If you want to attract this kind of prospect, you must first be a professional yourself, not someone playing a money game!

These people know how to ask the right questions when evaluating a business opportunity, and they will expect a lot out of you as a business partner. If you can deliver, you will profit greatly.

I challenge you right now to start thinking of yourself as the leader you aspire to be. You are a professional in a wonderful industry with a lot to offer, particularly in this era of layoffs and downsizing.

You have financial freedom, security, and a more ""people friendly"" lifestyle to offer. You provide a life-enhancing service that is needed by a lot of people, just as surely as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, or computer programmer offers a needed service.

And unlike these other professionals, your service can truly change the lives of those you work with in some very profound and lasting ways! Be proud of what you do and what you have to offer!

The network marketing industry is in great need of professionals who operate their businesses with integrity. The ""money gamers,"" the scam artists, and those who go through the revolving door give us all a bad name and make our work harder.

By becoming the leader you were meant to be, you will not only make a lot more money. But you'll also be doing your part to preserve the industry that can earn you a terrific living!

About the author: Linda Bruton has been a full-time network marketer for over 15 years. Be sure to visit her MLM Millionaire website for weekly tips, tricks, secrets and resources for building a full-time MLM business online:

Following Successful Leadership Strategies

Author: Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required. Mail to:

Management Consultant Suzanne Howard believes that leaders need not live a stressful life. So do I.

To help you maximize your leadership potential, here is a ten-point strategy she suggests:

* 1. Success: Most leaders have a sense of purpose, a mission that sets their standards for success. Develop and follow your own high standards.

* 2. Knowledge: Start with knowing yourself. Maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

* 3. Information: A manager has to know how to do something; a leader has to know why in order to do it.

* 4. Love: Begin by loving yourself. It is a prerequisite for loving others.

* 5. Learning: Leaders turn their errors and failures into learning experiences that contribute to their future successes.

* 6. Persistence: Persistence means overcoming your fear of failure and realizing that no one succeeds on their first try every time.

* 7. Opportunity: ""The best way to miss success is to miss the opportunity"", so says Mr. Willoughby Lewis, an insurance adjuster and good friend.

* 8. Winning: Part of this is an attitude or perception. Winners concentrate on their strengths and make things happen; losers let things happen.

* 9. Enthusiasm: The secret to having enthusiasm is working at a job you like. You can always learn the technical skills to work at a number of jobs, but when you work at a job you like your enthusiasm naturally shows through.

* 10. Renewal: Take time to be good to yourself. Have fun. Go shopping. Take a trip. Reward yourself. These are different ways to renew your vitality, your enthusiasm, and your focus.

Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When you don't, we all lose.

About the author: Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer , conducts seminars, lectures, and writes articles on his theme: ""... helping you maximize your potential."" For more information visit www.max , or email him at .


Author: Brent Filson

attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to:

Word count: 600.

Summary: Most leaders communicate through speeches and presentations. But there is a much more effective means of communication: that's The Leadership Talk. The Leadership Talk not only communicates information as presentations/speeches do, but it does one thing more: It establishes an all-important deep, human, emotional connection with the audience.


The CEO of a worldwide business asked me to help him develop a talk he planned to give to several hundred of his top executives. He said, ""I feel as if I'm Daniel going into the lion's den.""

Indeed, it was the business equivalent of a lion's den that he was entering. Hired from a competing firm, he was a stranger to the company, a company hobbled by declining market share and bad morale caused by the arbitrary actions of the previous CEO, an isolated dictator.

""This is the first time most of them will see and hear me,"" he said. ""I'll give a presentation on the state of the business.""

""Hold on,"" I said. ""Don't give a presentation. Give a Leadership Talk instead.""

There is a difference, I explained, between a presentation/speech and a Leadership Talk. A presentation/speech communicates information, but a Leadership Talk not only communicates information but makes a deep, emotional, human connection with the audience.

Most leaders give presentations and speeches most of the time when they should be giving Leadership Talks.

""You're facing an important leadership situation,"" I said. ""The old saying, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression' applies here in spades. You've got a great Leadership Talk opportunity. But to have people believe in you and follow you, they must be emotionally committed to you and what you say. So understand what their emotional needs are.""

I went out into the field and talked to a number of his managers and found out that they were feeling intimidated by the demands of increasingly sophisticated customers. I found out that they feared not being supported in the decisions they made in the field. I learned that they were angry at having to meet what they considered unnecessary reporting requirements. I learned that they didn't trust the top executives.

Intimidation, fear, anger, distrust . . . those emotions described the state of his audience and, in truth, the state of the business.

The CEO gave a Leadership Talk that spoke to and answered the needs of those emotions, a talk based on the single idea that he was a person that they could trust.

That Leadership Talk marked the beginning of a turnaround for that company.

The lesson: Analyze and speak to the emotion of a situation, and you can become a dramatically more effective leader.

Make that analysis happen this way: * Know the difference between a presentation/speech and Leadership Talk then view every speaking situation you encounter as either a presentation/speech situation or a Leadership Talk situation. * Know that you rarely give presentation/speeches and that The Leadership Talk should be your primary leadership communication tool.

* Analyze the emotions of your audience by asking what they feel at the time you speak, what they fear, what angers them, what inspires them.

* Structure your talk around emotional-talking points. For instance, list three things that angers your audience. Make those things the main headings of your talk.

* Speak to them about their emotions. Tell them, for instance, that you realize they are angry and what they are angry about. Tell them what you realize they are feeling.

Speak thus, and you are revealed in powerful motivational ways. Furthermore, they are revealed to themselves.

These revelations can create strong bonds between speakers and audiences.

Understand the speaking situation in terms of its emotional content, and you understand that situation in new ways. Understand it in new ways and you speak in new ways. And when you speak in new ways, your audience acts in new ways.

2004 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the author: The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, ""49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,"" at

Friday, April 28, 2006

Leadership - Connect to Engage!

Author: Richard Gorham

It's been said many times that true leadership is measured by ones ability to motivate and influence others.

Leaders must work hard at motivating people to take action necessary to drive change and to ultimately increase results.

Even though most people would agree with the definition of leadership as the ability to motivate and influence others, most people still have trouble translating the definition of leadership into actionable and measurable steps.

The biggest obstacle faced by many leaders is simply figuring out how to effectively motivate and influence an entire team comprised of unique individuals.

Let's face it, not everyone is motivated by the same things, nor is everyone influenced to take action or change behavior based on the same factors.

So, what can leaders do to motivate and influence the ENTIRE team?

Here is the elusive one-word answer: CONNECT.

Leaders must invest the time in each and every one of their team members to, get to know them - to build a connection based on trust, honesty and respect. (Keep in mind, this personal connection must always remain professional and appropriate. Enough said on that.)

Taking this one step further, leaders must create opportunities for team members to connect.

This personal and professional connection will draw you and your team together, to work more effectively to improve efficiencies and increase production and profitability.

To help you envision the ultimate in a leader that successfully connects with his/her team members, let's look at a fictional example. Any ""Trekies"" out there? Don't flip the channel, this will be quick.

Even if ""Star Trek"" is not a TV favorite of yours, odds are you probably know enough about the long running series to appreciate our example.

Regardless of which Star Trek captain you visualize, all are terrific examples of leaders (albeit fictional) who have a unique connection to each and every member of the crew.

It's also obvious to the viewer that each team member has an unwavering allegiance to the team, the mission, and to his or her leader. (envision Captain YOU!)

Just imagine your own team having such a solid connection, both with you and with each other.

Picture you and your team facing exciting and challenging situations together, ""Exploring strange new worlds!"" and ""Boldly going where no one has gone before!""

Maybe this means taking your team to the #1 spot in your company, and/or reaching new levels of efficiency and/or production!

The prospect of leading a team that is connected is exciting isn't it?

Ok, we've talked about connection and the importance of building a connected team. Next we see that connection is the key ingredient leaders must leverage in order to raise the level of employee engagement.

An employee that is engaged in their work will typically run circles around employees who are working simply by showing up and ""going through the motions"".

If an employee is engaged, it means that they feel they have a stake in the outcome - an honest desire to contribute to something greater than themselves, or even monetary gain.

The engaged employee has emotion tied to their work. Perhaps that emotion comes out of a sense of loyalty and connection to their leader or other team members.

Top leaders understand that in order to connect with their workforce, they need to leverage the power of emotion. Only by connecting with the individuals can a leader create a powerful team consisting of employees who are committed and engaged.


Now that we now understand the concepts of connection and engagement, so let's get specific and share some examples of how a leader can achieve the connection that will inspire employee engagement:

1. Leaders must know up front where they are taking their team. They must ""believe in"" and ""see a clear vision of the future"". In order for you to know when you have achieved your vision, the vision must be measurable. Here are some examples of a vision with measurable results.

Showing most improvement quarter over quarter.

Achieving balanced performance - your team is listed in the Top 3 ranking in every key category.

Reaching the net income annual goal, or gaining market share over a key competitor!

2. Leaders must communicate their vision in a way that inspires others to ""believe"". Communicating change can be difficult.

Communicating a clear action plan that everyone can understand lessens anxiety. Change always creates opportunity. Turning the anxiety of change into excitement for opportunity should be the goal of the leader when communicating the new vision. Here are some examples:

Breakdown vision into individual goals so team members understand their roles and responsibilities.

Hold all team kick-off meeting to unveil overall vision and action plan. Add fun and excitement. Anticipate questions and be prepared to overcome any perceived barriers.

Implement tracking and regular progress reporting to keep team focused on achieving each step leading up to the ultimate goal.

3. Leaders must support, promote, inspire and motivate team members to realize the vision. Motivate team members by giving everyone an opportunity for personal gain, above and beyond their regular pay. For example:

Introduce a special incentive program. (This doesn't have to cost a lot of money.) Base awards on a percentage of ""net"" gain to the organization - not just one persons ability to achieve an individual goal.

Offer ""interim"" awards to key contributors once the team achieves mid-level goals.

Make a point of ""celebrating"" the small wins, which will ultimately lead to the BIG WIN! Use gift certificates, lottery tickets, recognition awards, etc - praise and recognize individual and team accomplishments along the way.

4. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. Leaders must hold team members accountable for their duties and responsibilities. This is only fair to those employees doing a great job. Hold accountable any team member who is not doing his/her fair share. In order to achieve great things, you must expect great things from your people. Consider these examples:

BE CONSISTENT in your counsel. Hold yourself accountable! Did you TEACH? Did you COACH? Only then can you EXPECT!

BE CONSISTENT in your counsel. 1st offense = verbal warning (ensure clarity of roles and responsibilities)

2nd offense = written warning (get signature for documentation)

3rd offense = final notice (employee must understand that you will support their choice to either improve immediately or to move on to a more rewarding opportunity.)

4th offense = termination

And finally, BE CONSISTENT in your counsel.

In wrapping up this conversation may we reiterate one last time - when you have succeeded in creating a team that is connected, you can count on each of them having a higher degree of personal engagement toward meeting the goals before them.

Still wondering if this connection thing is really that powerful of a concept? Real quick, think about the following examples of leaders who have connected with people on a broad scale, and the kinds of results that came from achieving such a powerful connection:

1. President Reagan - connected so effectively with the people of a foreign nation and around the world by effectively communicating the words ""Tear down this wall!""

2. Boris Yeltsin - won support from people all across the globe as he stood on a tank and quite literally stared down the face of communism.

The final point here is that you do NOT need to be a world leader in order to be a great leader. Through the power of connection you can inspire a higher degree of employee engagement which will enable you and your team to achieve new levels of efficiency and production.

Enjoy the journey!

About the author: Richard Gorham is the founder and President of Leadership-Tools, Inc. His web site, is dedicated to providing free tools and resources for today's aspiring leaders. Offering high-quality tools in the areas of Business Planning, Leadership Development, Customer Service, Sales Management and Team Building.

Having FUN In Leadership

Author: Richard Gorham

”Don't measure your life by your goals, but rather by what you are DOING to achieve them.” –Unknown

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is getting so wrapped up in achieving results, they forget to ensure that people are having fun along the way. Indeed, having fun is a key ingredient of keeping employee morale up, and inspiring people to continue to work aggressively toward a common set of objectives.

We here at were recently discussing the subject of inspirational leadership. Although our discussion took many detours into various subject areas, we found ourselves returning to the basic concept of - having FUN in the workplace.

As a leader, you might be thinking that ""FUN"" is important, but it cannot be paramount in terms of achieving results.

We challenge you, however, to not just think of having in terms of the ""webster"" definition.

As a leader, YOU need to define fun, and communicate YOUR definition of fun to your team.

First, let us lay the foundation with a bit of ""FUN - philosophy"" as we work toward our own definition of ""Leadership Fun in the Workplace"".

We believe there is a huge difference between highly successful leaders and those leaders who are working incredibly hard, but not quite achieving the same level of results. The difference, we believe, is in leadership styles. What do we mean?

The highly successful leader today facilitates, leads by example, encourages and participates with their team members to achieve TEAM results.

When the entire team feels fully engaged and a part of the process, then every team member takes personal pride in achieving the results.

Having FUN along the way supports engagement of each team member. Think about it, being ""engaged"" is fun.

Let's be frank, the days where the leader is a strong authoritative director and where all employees simply wait to see what the manager tells everyone to do does NOT produce the results that are recognized by a fully engaged team. The leader may be having fun, but his/her subordinates certainly are not.

Managers who want to micro-manage all the details are finding that it is virtually impossible to do. The marketplace simply demands too much for one person to micro-manage their team.

We all have incredible people working for us, and if we are effective leaders we need to create an environment where every employee feels like they are empowered, and understand they are expected to proactively contribute. Okay, let's get to our definition of Leadership Fun in the Workplace.

To those of us here at, FUN is NOT always laughing, being light-hearted, having low stress, and being comfortable.

Quite the contrary – FUN is:

Working in an environment where people are challenged, they learn new skills, they grow, they seek opportunity and advancement, they take risks, they ask forgiveness - not always permission. People with these traits make an organization grow - these people succeed more often than fail - and ultimately reap the rewards and recognition of one who consistently achieves results. They stay motivated with the knowledge that they are the exception to the common rule of human behavior. All told, they are having FUN because they make a difference and a contribution - they simply do not allow themselves to settle for the status quo. They would rather experience ""engagement"" - because being engaged - is FUN! Good luck, and have fun.

About the author: Richard Gorham is the founder and President of Leadership-Tools, Inc. His web site, is dedicated to providing free tools and resources for today's aspiring leaders. Offering high-quality tools in the areas of Business Planning, Leadership Development, Customer Service, Sales Management and Team Building.

A New Age Of Small-Unit Leadership

Author: Brent Filson

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Filson asserts that the key to organizational success is not just a function of large movements of capital, people, and infrastructure but in a single, priceless aspect, small-unit leadership. He offers suggestions on how to develop and institute small-unit leadership in your organization. Small-Unit Leadership By Brent Filson Recent mergers in many industries remind me of a point that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower often made, ""Generals move the pins on a map,"" he would say, ""but the front-line troops have to get the job done.""

And the key to the job is leadership, small-unit leadership, leadership of the most basic units or teams of an organization.

Without good leadership in front-line units ­ the squad leaders and platoon commanders or their business counterparts, the supervisors and first-level managers ­ organizations stumble, no matter how skillfully the pins are moved on the map.

Yet in bringing leadership programs to many businesses in a variety of industries during the past 20 plus years, I've seen many companies neglecting small-unit leadership.

Time and again, I have seen technologists promoted right off the lab bench to become team leaders; I've seen assembly workers promoted off the line to be supervisors; and salespeople made local managers and yet they were not helped in substantive ways with their leadership skills.

Instead, their employers were focusing on the pins and maps, the re-engineering, acquisitions and divestitures.

Sure, the stocks of those businesses got quick boosts, but I wonder how well-positioned the businesses are to achieve consistent earnings growth over the long haul without skilled, small-unit leadership.

Consistent earnings' growth is linked to consistent top-line growth. Such growth rests on a tripod. One leg is strategy, the pins on the map; the other leg is resources; and the third leg is execution. Small-unit leadership is the execution leg.

So I submit that in the coming years, businesses will come to realize the importance of small-unit leadership to top-line growth and earnings' growth.

In fact, the coming years will reveal an exciting new age in small-unit leadership. Businesses that champion such leadership will be tremendously competitive.

Here are a few ideas on how to make it happen.

First, the CEO and senior executives must recognize the vital importance of small-unit leadership. I'm not talking about their simply paying lip service but having instead a passionate conviction that small-unit leadership is indispensable to growth.

Senior executives must encourage small-unit leaders. Celebrate their achievements. Help them overcome their failures. Measure their leadership performance. Develop compensation that stimulates them to advance as leaders.

The Marine Corps, an organization with a robust tradition of small-unit leadership, has institutionalized high-level commitment to small-unit leaders. For instance, in chow lines in the field, the lowest ranking troops eat first, the highest ranking last.

(How might the cultures of some organizations start to be changed for the better if, for instance, its executives gave small-unit leaders parking perks, while they, the executives, took their chances in the main lot?)

Top leaders who demonstrate commitment to their small-unit leaders will have committed small-unit leaders.

Without top-down commitment, effective small-unit leadership will not flourish through the whole business but instead in relatively ineffective, scattered islands.

But top-level commitment, though necessary, is not sufficient. A passion for small-unit leadership should soak the entire culture of the organization. Everybody must catch the spirit of and contribute to maintaining a culture of small-unit leadership excellence.

The word culture comes from the Latin root meaning ""to cultivate."" To grow small-unit leaders, everybody in the organization must cultivate them. Spot them early. Bring mentors into their lives. Set their expectations high, not only for themselves but for their colleagues and leaders above them. Encourage them to develop leadership in others.

A successful executive told me that his career was changed by a small-unit leader. At one time, the executive was a high school dropout working on the assembly line.

""During breaks,"" he said, ""I always had people gathered around me. I had this knack of getting them interested in what I had to say. One day, my supervisor told me something that changed my life. He said, 'I've been watching you with people, and you're a natural leader. With more education, you could go far.'""

The executive said, ""Until then, I had never looked at myself as a leader. Suddenly, I had a vision in life. I was something I didn't know I was: a leader. I finished high school, went to college, and came back here.

""That supervisor 's passion for leadership defined my career.. He was always spotting potential leaders and helping them become leaders. His teams consistently racked up the numbers because of his leadership. He had me understand that his level of leadership is tremendously important in our company.""

Finally, the business that is serious about small-unit leadership must systematically develop them through well-thought-out, comprehensive training programs.

In the coming New Age of Small-Unit Leadership, leadership development people will have extremely important roles to play. They will be seen as some of the most important leaders in the organization, since their interaction with small-unit leaders will be contributing directly to top-line growth, to having people get the job done where ever the generals place their pins in the map.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, ""49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,"" at

About the author: The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has worked with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 20 years helping them achieve sizable increases in hard, measured results. Sign up for his free leadership ezine and get a free guide, ""49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,"" at