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A number of years ago I learned an important principle that changed how I did a lot of things, particularly how I focused.

It’s a principle that I have also passed on to my children and many others. It’s called the Pareto principle—also known as the 80/20 rule.

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who noticed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of population. As he surveyed other countries he also noticed a similar distribution.

What does this principle have to do with teams?

Since Pareto discovered the 80/20 rule, many have also found similar ratios in most areas where there is a cause and effect.

One simple example is something that I have shared with my children, who have all been involved in athletics. I would tell them that 20% of their basketball team (the cause) will give 80% of the effort in practice (the effect). Which means that 80% of your team will only give 20% of the total effort in practice. I would always follow that up with the question, “What percentage do you want to be in?”

It’s true! 20% of teammates will score 80% of the points on any given athletic team. 20% of teammates in athletics will do 80% of the celebrating and so on and so forth…

While it may not always be a perfect 80/20—it could be a 70/30 or 84/16 for example—every cause and effect will fall fairly close to this 80/20 ratio.

Again you ask, “What does this have to do with teams Mike?” Maybe you already caught on with my examples around basketball. But if not, it’s simple…

20% of your teammates or team are getting 80% of the results. If you are in sales, 20% of your sales team or teammates are most likely getting 80% of the sales. 20% of your team or teammates are doing 80% of the work and on and on…

Again, it’s not a perfect ratio, but it is pretty close.

What does this mean for a team? Well, here is the magic… Find a way to get another 20% on your team to contribute 80% and you just multiplied your team’s greatness.

Find out what the 20% are doing right and either develop your team to do the same thing or hire people that can. That’s where the real power and magic is. 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below and feel free to share by using one of the Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter buttons below.

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In his book Winners Never Cheat, Jon H Huntsman references a 2004 survey that found that three in five senior leaders in Fortune 1,000 companies had no desire to become CEO.

That is a lot of top leadership turning away what many would consider the most coveted position in a top company. Why?

The reason may or may not surprise you. It is about risks. Huntsman says that those senior leaders feared the potential for catastrophic failure at that level.

The higher you go up the ladder, the greater risks you take of falling. To reach the rungs of CEO means you are willing to take the highest of risks.

Does this surprise you? I mean, why wouldn’t a leader who has been making the climb up the ladder, rung by rung, all of a sudden become fearful at the top?

While not everyone is a fit to be CEO, every leader must be fit to take risks.

The reality is, regardless of where a leader is on the ladder, they have to take risks and face the potential of failure. Huntsman says, “Never having failed is never having led.”

Leaders do their teams, their organizations and company an injustice by not being willing to take risks.

Bestselling author Seth Godin once said, “Playing it safe and not taking a risk is probably the most dangerous thing you could do in today’s rapidly changing and highly competitive business environment.”

Treading water is not an option. If leaders are going to find better ways to do something, they have to take risks. If leaders want to take their teams and organizations to the next level, they have to take risks. If leaders want to be respected, they have to take risks.

Playing it safe only results in mediocrity.

How can leaders stay away from playing it safe and feel more comfortable in taking risks?

    1. Think positive. All of us engage in negative talk from time to time, or maybe all of the time. But instead of thinking about what could go wrong, focus on what can go right. That doesn’t mean you aren’t blind to the risks and dangers, but you aren’t obsessed with them either.
    2. Focus on the vision and goals. Leaders who have a vision are not easily paralyzed by fear. Vision leads to greater conviction and greater conviction will lead to greater focus, more courage and better results.
    3. Learn from mistakes. Nothing in life is learned or gained without some type of failure—both small and large. Fail forward—meaning, when a mistake is made don’t see it as a step backward, see it as an opportunity to move one step closer to success. But also realize that it is important to stop and calculate any risks as well. Failing to prepare for something that could have easily been avoided just doesn’t make sense. Always take measured risks, not stupid risks.

It is inevitable that leaders who take risks aren’t always going to be successful. But fear should never hold you back from making you, your team and organization better!

Please share this post with others by sharing on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or email by using one of the buttons below. Thanks!

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All through the history of time we have been affected by charismatic leaders. They have impacted the world and they have impacted you—whether directly or indirectly. People are drawn to and want to follow charismatic leaders.

Many believed for a long time that charisma was this mysterious charm that either you had or didn’t have. But that is changing.

If there is one thing that all leaders can start doing today to channel some charisma power, it is the energy of being positive. It not only creates a more charismatic leader, but it is also contagious.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Michigan State Universities conducted four separate research studies and found that individuals who are rated high on charisma tended to express more positive emotions than those who didn’t. Positive emotions in their studies included passion, enthusiasm, excitement and optimism. They also discovered that positive emotions are contagious and boosted the mood of those around them. Leaders who were more positive were perceived as more effective as well and garnered a greater loyalty from those they lead.

Did you also know that being a positive leader results in living longer, making better and quicker decisions, having less fear in leading and creating more success? I wrote about this several years ago in a blog post titled “Positive Leaders Live Longer and 4 Other Benefits.”

So there you have it. Be more charismatic by being more positive and you will gain greater loyalty from those you lead and reap other big benefits as well.

Here are a few more posts on being more positive as a leader that I thought you might really like:

Are You a Positive Leader? Great Story: 5 Rewards of Positive Leaders

Positive Attitude is Everything – Great Video! Smile Leaders : )

Positive video that every leader in business, the home, church, or wherever must watch.

Positive Thinking Positive Results—I Love This Story!

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Several weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal there was an interesting article titled “She’s One Step Ahead.”

It told the story of a factory leader, Elizabeth Kaplan, and how she decided to join her employees on a strenuous set of Los Angeles stairs during lunch. She believed that sharing a workout with her team would create a stronger connection with them.

I love leaders like her! She was only one of three women on her team of 60, and as a boss, she was finding it difficult to connect.

When she found out that many of the men on her large team were exercising during lunch, she decided to join them. And because of her lead she motivated a number of others on her team to join as well. Every lunch hour they climb the “Culver City Stairs,” 282 steps that form a steep climb.

Her team that is joining her is not only building personal connections, but also enjoying greater health and more energy. One worker said, “Now that I started doing the stairs, I feel healthier and have a lot more energy. And when Elizabeth joins us we all seem to laugh a lot more.”

What are you doing to create opportunities for you and your team to spend time together?

When teammates get to know each other (including the leader), they start caring more about each other. As they start caring more about each other, they start becoming more vulnerable. As a result of greater vulnerability, trust increases which leads to stronger communication and better teamwork.

If you want a greater connection with your team, I would suggest finding a trail and taking your team for a walk or jog. Or at the very least find something you can all do together that is away from work.

Teams that spend time together, stay together.

If you found this post helpful please feel free to share with with others by using one of the social share buttons below. Thanks Teamwork and Leadership Community! 

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