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Wipe Your Feet at the Door Every day brings new challenges to overcome and in many cases, we choose an unhealthy rhythm of coping or managing through them. Wiping your feet at the door is a saying heard in theater company’s to eliminate disagreeable, unproductive bad behaviors. In our professional and personal lives, it’s important to understand we control how we respond to the daily grind of challenges.  For kids, it’s things like no swearing, no fighting, no whining, no gossiping, and no criticizing other students. For the rest of us, it’s the backbiting, gossiping, emotionally charged outbursts we occasionally show. We could stand to improve our performance and relationships by wiping our feet at the door. Finding your rhythm begins, for many of us, with how we behave and interact with each other. As successful as we are, many of us still behave in ways that don’t work. Some of us have become arrogant, dismissive of others, controlling, rigid, or defensive. Some of us have gone to the opposite extreme – avoiding conflict to remain popular, delay important decisions, or tolerate lack of accountability. Every leader functions on two stages – the front stage or public world, and the backstage or private world. One cannot lead successfully front stage when you’re fully depleted backstage. An Elegant Leader is caring,  encouraging and demonstrating how to prioritize what matters most, to develop healthy business practices, resolve problems and guide others on how to lead an abundant life. For the many business leaders and entrepreneurs who feel alone, in over their heads, or simply worn out, the Elegant Leader with Voltage system underscores the need for rhythm between ego, results and relationships and offers sharp relief and a healthy way forward. Work-life doesn’t balance! Scales balance. Rhythm is something that’s been built into creation. We’ve read and lived the well-worn passage there’s a time and a season for everything. We can’t be doing everything all the time with no breaks – that’s a recipe for burnout.
One cannot lead successfully front stage when you’re fully depleted backstage.
The sometimes frustrating thing is, however, rhythm is something that’s built into each of us as well. We all have our individual rhythms, the ways we like to go about living our lives and working with the rhythms of the world, of the body, of the mind, and of the spirit is necessary in order to function properly. Understanding we have rhythms is the first key to finding ways to make those rhythms line up with one another so we can find unity and build successful relationships and successful organizations and businesses that last. Identify and embrace your rhythm and then work to find ways to line them up with yours. Lean in, instead of running away. Everyone has an opinion about something – right living, health, relationships, gender differences, love and marriage, parenting, work, money, politics and power, dealing with enemies, religion and faith, etc. Whose opinion should you trust? If it works, it should stand the test of time. Then it becomes the standard because it is so effective. Here are four initial steps you can implement immediately to improve your rhythm:
  1. Begin with ABC – Ability, Balance and  Control. Have a deep understanding of the role ability, balance and control on you leading elegantly. You have the ability to lead elegantly. The challenge comes, under stress, will you be able to perform up to your ability? Balance in this context is defined as the rhythm to improvise, adapt and overcome; to be able to flow with the situations that are presented to you. Control what’s in front of you with an eye towards influencing those around you. 
  2. Riding the Wave of Uncertainty. You are able to deal with ambiguity as an Elegant Leader. This is where it all starts. Managing your own response to ambiguity is key to freeing up your mind and harnessing your energy to lead. Tune into your own reaction to uncertainty. Ask yourself:  How do I need to be in this situation to unlock my mind and move forward? What coping strategies will I put in place to self-manage productively? Another approach is to look forward – what is the opportunity in this?
  3. Keep Everything in Perspective. It’s having the emotional intelligence and a clear, concise message of dedication and resolve to persevere regardless of circumstances seen and unseen. You can’t do everything now or today, but what you can do is have rhythm in your decision-making, being flexible and adaptable with your relationships; knowing they will ebb and flow favorably and unfavorably. That’s why communication is vital to your success as a leader.
  4. Living in Rhythm. Your personal and professional relationships matter, and being clear and grounded with your purpose for leading will guide you during troubled times when you’re in the valleys. Every accomplishment, every view from the mountaintop is awe inspiring. Remember that as you begin the journey down the other side of the mountain where it’s dark and slippery. Your why, your higher purpose must lift you up during some of your darkest moments. Relationships are the critical component leading to marginal or exponential success.
It’s never about if it’s going to hit the fan. It’s always when…
When competing priorities pull you in different directions, can you always focus on your performance?
Here are additional resources for you on rhythm and how you can apply the tools of Elegant Leadership to work for you. Leading with Rhythm  You are defined by your actions, not by your words. How are you showing up as the leader? One Perfect Discipline  What will you commit to performing above the rest? 5 Things High Performers Do Well

Leading Elegantly is the foundation to professional and personal success when you commit to being decisive, gaining more confidence and building momentum. If you want better job performance personally and from your people, to know the secrets to greater communication and engagement with your team and to have a healthier work-life rhythm, than your next best step is to experience the impact Elegant Leadership will have on you and your team. We offer an exclusive look into our four-step growth track so you can test the waters and kick the tires. This week is Step 3 and you can jump into any step anytime. This free website is where I work with professionals and Executives just like you.

If you’d like more information on what the Elegant Leader with Voltage platform is, why it matters and how simple it is to implement, then pick up my Ultimate Guide to Elegant Leadership with Voltage here.

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What’s Your Number? Summer is a time of moments. Moments at the lake, the beach, at your family’s reunion, time together sharing, loving and laughing. Unfortunately, not everyone will be there this summer…not even next week. This week marked with great desperation where we said goodbye to two famous celebrities who left us forever. There’s no return from taking your life, there’s no do-over, no replay. Like you, I’ve read too much on social media these past several days of how selfish or how this or that, those who are left to survive when a family member takes their own life and how we’re all supposed to feel. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were two of 865 people who committed suicide last week – ONE WEEK!  The suicides this week of fashion icon Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain have shocked many people. Spade left behind her husband Andy and their 13-year-old daughter. Bourdain left behind his girlfriend Asia Argento and his 11-year-old daughter. No matter what you’re facing, you are getting stronger. Whether you’re a religious person or not, God sees us and our purpose. He moves us from our weakness and sets us on our strength to go to the next strength. We see mountains and valleys when we take the time during summer just to look out and enjoy nature. The problem becomes once we’ve crested the mountain, rejoiced in its beauty and enjoyed the view all around, it’s never about if we’ll come down the mountainside and into the valley but when. You’re on top of the world when you inhale the beauty from the mountaintop. The valleys get your attention! Life is full of mountains and valleys joined together simultaneously. This is the reason why we need rhythm in life instead of balance – only scales balance. Life ebbs and flows, constantly moving up and down like a rollercoaster – you can’t have one without the other. You have dozens of examples in your own life, and for many, your own story is a gut-wrenching churn from one crisis to another like the rolling waves that constantly come ashore.

Courtesy Getty Images

Life isn’t one mountaintop to another stepping over each valley. You may enjoy what God has made when you see from the mountaintop, but you get to know Him when you’re in the valley. Valley’s get your attention and in a hurry. Valleys will have you examine your motives, your heart, your relationships, your agenda, your lead, your purpose, your mission in life. If you’re reading this with a ‘spiritual but not religious’ perspective, then understand this context, evil lives on earth and evil is a spirit. He will drain your strength, confuse you and will do everything fair and unfair to discourage you – like telling you there is no hope and no reason to go on in this life. We can all help prevent suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 for you or your loved ones. Your impact is in doing something after reading this article. Call and text a friend, or two or two hundred. You may be the only who cared enough to reach out during their time of pain. It’s not the weak that take their life, but it’s the strong ones who just want the pain to go away. Call the Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 People Who Are Suicidal Don’t Want to Die, They Just Want the Pain to Stop One in five people struggles with mental health issues. That means for every room you enter with hesitancy and your head turned downward, believing you are the only one with issues, one in five of those people are going through the exact same thing. For someone who has never experienced suicidal thoughts, the thought of wanting to die in itself can seem ludicrous. The sun is shining, there is a chance for another day, you are in love, the breakfast you had that morning was delicious. The thought of dying seems way too far-fetched. Something left for a time far away in the future. What more could you ask for? But for those who struggle with debilitating mental illnesses, such as depression, the demon of them all, suicide is a strong risk. Let me make this clear. Depression can kill you. Can you take just one step forward? You can go from strength to strength. You are getting stronger even in your weakest moments. One step at a time, your darkest hour is only sixty minutes long and we can live one minute at a time – just one – I can do that and you can do that! You can do this – live one minute, take one step forward to the next minute. You can get stronger with one relationship and disconnect from one unhealthy relationship. You can keep taking one small step at a time, not stopping, not accepting where you are in this moment, but strength to strength taking one more step. If you’re in a canyon, a pit, a bottomless hole, you are still getting stronger and you can go from strength to strength. There’s a selfless sacrifice where you can be planted in the shade whether you plan to sit there or not. We can find fulfillment and purpose in our pain and know we won’t be in this moment for long. Some time later, we can be where we want to be. Be and see the hero in you in this moment. A friend is not someone who you check their status. Your network is not on LinkedIn. A conversation does not happen on a blog, and you don’t have a discussion on Twitter. These are human experiences and we need them! Reach out to someone you know today!
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Do You Need to See It to Believe It? As an Elegant Leader, you provide strength for your teams when you understand the power of vision. Those you lead must know you deeply believe in where you’re leading them and why. Visionary leadership means keeping hope and possibility in front of everyone. It’s recognizing your job as a leader is Chief Visionary every day. Click the link to learn more How strongly do you feel about the vision you’re working toward? What fear, doubt, or worry gets in the way of your vision? What more do you need to do to own your vision? Vision is the foundation for our strength as leaders. In our heart, soul, mind, and strength framework, strength is anchored by visionary leadership. Great visionary leaders inspire strength by keeping hope and possibility in front of themselves and those they lead. It’s been said that the first task of the leader is to define reality. The second is to map out where you’re going. The strength comes from an assurance of the future.
They lead because they know where they are going and communicate clearly to those who choose to follow them.
How is your vision directed? When vision is lacking and hope is lost, we lose heart. We often talk about the importance of vision casting for leaders, or do we need to reframe it as “hope casting.” Casting a hope-filled vision provides strength for ourselves and those we lead.
Casting vision is not simply about being a cheerleader, however. While there are occasions when that is appropriate or even required, true visionary leadership occurs when a leader inspires others with a plan and also has the track record to follow it through to reality. Vision without action creates pipe dream wishes. Visionary leaders are more than dreamers; they are doers. Visionary leaders repeatedly remind those they lead to where they are going and why and then develop the plans for follow-through. Visionary leaders engage their minds and think strategically about the plans and purposes – the WHY, a higher purpose – keeps them grounded and thinking with clarity. They are serious about their responsibility to steward the vision that’s been entrusted to them, and they develop ways to bring that vision to reality through the people they lead. Heart, soul, mind, and strength are the completeness of our leadership. It’s all of who we are working together. When we bring our whole hearts, when we bring our brilliant minds, when we bring our passionate souls, and when we bring our relentless strength to the leadership table, we bring our best selves. One without the other leaves our leadership wanting and incomplete. Heart, soul, mind, and strong leaders are compelling. They are warm, engaging, confident, and strong. It’s not that extraordinary leaders are perfect. Even the greatest leaders among us are still growing and still being molded into what they’ve been called to lead and to be; however, leaders who lead consistently from heart, soul, mind, and strength are a little further along the leadership development path.
“Leaders must be tough enough to fight, tender enough to cry, human enough to make mistakes, humble enough to admit them, strong enough to absorb the pain, and resilient enough to bounce back and keep on moving.” – Rev. Jesse Jackson
They carry themselves with strength and confidence yet without arrogance. They embody what civil rights activist Jesse Jackson described. Extraordinary leaders aren’t leading for themselves. They are leading for others. When we’re leading with all of who we are, it becomes less about ourselves and more about those we serve. You are called to be an extraordinary leader. Heart, soul, mind, and strong leadership is possible. You weren’t dropped in a place of influence and left to be ill-equipped for the responsibility. Perfection isn’t a goal to be attained today or tomorrow, or ever. Elegant Leadership with Voltage is a lifelong journey. Your pursuit of perfection is the wrong goal. Extraordinary doesn’t mean perfect. Extraordinary means the pursuit of greatness, of elegance, of voltage. And in the pursuit of leading with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, the perfecting continues. May your leadership be an overflow of all of who you are: heart, soul, mind, and strength. What is your next best step? What do you need to take the next step and develop as an extraordinary leader? Come join our Elegant Leader community. We offer a 4-week growth track as a FREE introduction each month for you to see how to have better job performance, to know the secrets of greater communication and engagement with your people, teams and organization and to have a healthier work-life balance. Find out more today here.  Maybe you’re ready to get started and know you can influence others and would benefit from a group of like-minded professionals. We’ve helped thousands of business professionals and executives just like you. And, we continue to coach and mentor them at their point of need in a variety of formats. Feel free to read more here or connect with me on social media @LeadElegantly
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A Leader’s Disciplines, Perceptions & Habits 1.Be open and honest about taking risks and encourage others to do same In developing Elegant Leaders, there’s a rhythm between following the gut and the heart. While some answers need to be in black-and-white, there’s also your answer. Although your answer may be different, maybe even a bit risky, it’s your risk to take and it’s your outcome to manage. Leaders are ultimately judged on the results they deliver. Sometimes it can be easier for leaders to tread water, especially when things seem to be going well. Frankly, continued creativity, innovation and risk-taking are critical to leadership success:
  • Leadership success is about finding new or better ways of doing things in meeting the needs of customers.
  • Leadership success is birthed from the germ of an idea or concept that needs cultivating.
  • Leadership success is about finding different solutions to long-standing problems that get in the way of results.
  • Leaders need to be willing to jump into the pool of uncertainty without allowing for fear of failure to stop them.
This approach has many leaders well, and here’s why: Without trial and error — and risk-taking — you remain stagnant, predictable and, ultimately, you will become complacent. Risks are about pushing yourself until you’re operating outside of your comfort zone — with good judgment of course — and allowing yourself to take a step that might feel uncomfortable at first. Growing and realizing your full potential requires it. Anticipate Mistakes. You may not win every time, but you sure as hell won’t lose either. Ensure you minimize the potential fallout or blowback whenever possible and develop mitigating and contingency plans to re-deploy as necessary should a risk not pan out. Fear is a trap of indecision. Don’t wimp out and become afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes are one of the best ways we learn and develop into our best selves. Start Small. If you are a bit more conservative or risk-averse, then try them in baby steps. A pilot or a simple test before taking the big leap is one step you can make. This method will allow you to see the outcome before the impact or the mistakes are too great. Listen to Your Gut and Your Heart. There is no perfect answer and why should there be – it’s called risk-taking – a gut reaction, an instinct. Allow yourself the ability to follow it. Avoid falling into fear of failure by overthinking things, coming up with reasons “not to” justifying your fears. Decide on Less Than Complete and Clean Data.  Avoid analysis paralysis – Elegant Leaders don’t become great by being predictable and playing it safe. Sure, there’s merit in being consistent, and all risks should have some level of consideration. People can talk themselves out of anything they want to, and in risk-taking, you can become paralyzed in the details. or live in fear you don’t have all the data you need. Elegant Leaders are comfortable in their own skin and at some point, you just have to make a decision and live with the outcomes. People will respect you for it. You Don’t Know What You Think You Know. We are all creatures of habit, and as professionals, we need to be open to learning, exploring and not believing we have all of the answers. No one said you were supposed to be the smartest one in the room. If you are, “Houston, we have a problem…” Because let’s be honest, we never really do. It’s important to realize the world is changing and it’s changing quickly. What worked before may never work again, and the best thing you can do as a professional is to be comfortable in the grey, to explore the new options that come your way. 2. Treat everyone equally  Leaders who aren’t comfortable in their own skin want people around them who will not threaten or challenge them. They gain comfort in the chair when “yes ” people or an inner circle exists under them. Respected Elegant Leaders see challenges and new ideas as a way of helping others grow and become better leaders and better people. Emotionally intelligent leaders are in constant learning and growing mode supporting staff to show initiative. While it can be tempting to favor people who massage our egos, respected leaders rise above the noise and make a sincere attempt to reward talent on its own merits and hard work regardless of their personal feelings about the person.w It might be easier to grasp treating one another equally if we think of a family to a certain degree (buyer beware).  Even though, workgroups, teams and companies are NOT families. Families can be quite dysfunctional! Parents take responsibility for each child’s development into his or her potential. An equal concern is called for, and most likely it will not be an equal effort.  Some children naturally fall in line with doing the right thing while others may have rebellious or independent spirits to be tamed.  An Elegant Leader would be pleased with concern equally for each of the people on their teams, yet equal concern does not necessarily mean equal effort. Closely examining your practices to ensure you are not favoring one employee or group of employees over others. Here are a few thoughts to guide you through that examination:
Invest – time each week chatting with each employee about non-work related topics – build a relationship. While you may find it easier to strike up a conversation with some employees more than others, ignoring employees will create a perception you prefer the employees you talk with regularly.
Feedback – deliver regular consistent feedback to all employees and give them the tools and information to improve their performances. You’ll have a concrete record of discussions to explain your decision-making process when it comes to promotions, new projects and creating clear career paths. Make sure employees know exactly what hard and soft skills they will need to advance to the next level. Provide training opportunities for all employees. Ensure all employees have the opportunity to receive additional training that may help them perform more effectively. Praise – employees when they are successful. Congratulate all employees who contributed to the project, not just the most visible. Employees who are recognized and feel they are valued by their leader(s) will be less likely to feel others are favored. All three of these ideas revolve around communicating regular and more often.

3. Admit mistakes and take responsibility when IT hits the fan We all know people who constantly blame their failures on everything and everyone but themselves. They were fired because their supervisor was jealous of them. They got dumped because their girlfriend is crazy. They failed the course because the questions the professor asked were irrelevant. The dog didn’t just eat the homework, he woofed down their whole life. “To err is human. But so is rebounding from our mistakes.” – Michael Hyatt Plenty of people shirk their personal responsibility, and declare that “ those people need to own up to their mistakes!” We all have blind spots that can make it difficult for us to honestly assess our actions and determine our responsibility for those actions let alone their consequences.  Our brains are wired to flatter and shield our egos from blame when we make mistakes. Taking responsibility for your life and ownership of your mistakes is incredibly worthwhile for many reasons: Allows you to make better decisions. Self-justifying twists reality unrealistically. The more you distort reality, the more you create an alternate universe for yourself. That reality or your justification of your reality leads to a decreased ability to make good choices, as the information you’re using is so out of whack! Get away with it and you’ll continue down that slippery slope and continue self-justification. Keeps little problems from turning into big ones. If you can own up to a mistake sooner rather than later and do your best to correct it or make it right, you can prevent it from turning into a bigger problem or a crisis of epic proportion that’s going to be difficult or nearly impossible to resolve. Promotes the respect of others. Often we hide our mistakes from other people because we worry about the blowback – others will think less of us once they’ve seen that we’ve screwed up. Frankly acknowledging your mistakes, apologizing for them, and then earnestly working to make things right almost always has the opposite effect – people respect you for it. Instead of building a case of blame against another person, own it, make amends and work your ass off to never do it again. You’ll strengthen relationships by humbling your ego by improving your behaviors. 4. Maintain a high level of self-awareness Well-respected leaders have a healthy dose of emotional intelligence and are aware of how they are perceived and how their work and actions influence and impact others. They use their self-awareness in giving and receiving feedback by looking for sincere opportunities to praise the work of others as well as maintaining openness and humility for improvement. They keep their emotions in check and avoid speaking or acting when highly emotional. They will wait until they have regained control and have had time to think over the situation. Although it’s probably one of the least discussed leadership competencies, however, self-awareness is possibly one of the most valuable. Self-awareness is being conscious of what you’re good at while acknowledging you still have learning opportunities. This includes admitting when you don’t have the answer and own mistakes. In our highly competitive culture, this can seem counterintuitive. In fact, many of us operate on the belief we must appear as though we know everything all the time or else people will question our abilities, diminishing our effectiveness as leaders. No one said you’re supposed to be the smartest one in the room, and quite frankly you’re better off not being that guy. No one said you’re supposed to have all the answers either. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit the opposite is true. Because whether you acknowledge your weaknesses or not, everyone else sees them. The higher you rise in an organization, the more visible the blind spots and the more difficult they are to overcome. Rather than conceal them, the person who tries to hide weaknesses actually highlights them, creating the perception of a lack of integrity and self-awareness.
The Elegant Leader with Voltage understands and is committed to the trinity of self-awareness: Know thyself, Improve thyself, and Complement thyself. These are common sense principles and are not necessarily commonly followed. Why? Because people don’t always commit to standing in the face of truth and mind the gap. Intellectual honesty, rigorous commitment, and active truth-seeking are sine qua non to any self-awareness process. We use Checkpoint 360 and the Profile XT assessments from Wiley International as baseline and follow-on tools to highlight a leader’s self-awareness trinity. We then, craft a coaching program personalized for where the leader needs to go. Self-reflection and its reward of self-awareness cannot be thought of as passive exercises. This is not soft, fluffy BS. Rather meat-on-the-bone solutions and nowhere to hide coaching that gives the leader zero wiggle room yet maintaining a safe environment from where they can learn and apply the insights, which are absolutely essential. There is a reason why in rehabilitation programs the starting point is being aware enough to admit you have a problem. So, too, is the case in business leadership and personal development. – this is part of the AAA framework. I’m offering a qualified FREE session for a limited time to see if working together makes sense.
5. Be willing to do whatever it takes It never fails, when you travel often things will go wrong – late flights, canceled flights, reservations that weren’t, rentals cars that evaporated – it all happens. I was traveling to Boston several years ago and brought along one of our logistics managers because he thinks what I do is ‘glamorous and you have all the fun.’ Yeah, let me show you what fun is! Our flight is two hours late getting in. The hotel ‘lost’ our reservation and because of several conventions in town, there’s no vacancy. We drive 60 miles to find a hotel. Drive back into town for several meetings the next morning. I offer to ease his pain so we drive south to Providence for a good meal which turned into food poison for him. As we head to our return flight, I get a message our flight has been canceled. We immediately head to the rental counter and find out we can’t extend the car we have and no other cars are available. No cars, no flight, no hotel…anything else? Sure, his kid’s 9th birthday is the next day. “We are out of options,” he says, “my wife will kill me.” I laugh at him, “we don’t give up. We always have options.” I rent a Budget truck and drive back to Providence where we turn in the truck, grab a cab to the train station. Take the train to NYC where we pick up a flight to Minneapolis and along the way I call a friend who’s a pilot and cash in a favor. He picks us up in the cities and we enjoy a relaxing charter home just in time for the birthday party. Yeah, some fun we have! When you’re the leader, you better have a ‘whatever it takes’ mindset! Suck it Up Buttercup. You can only adopt a “whatever it takes” attitude if you stop caring what you look like in the process. No one cares but you – really! How many times do we stop short of a goal because we think if we tried something, even if it’s different and it goes wrong, we’ll look stupid? It’s okay to look stupid – you’re human, and nobody gives a s* about you. The second cousin to swallowing your pride is form v. function. You can think better if you’re focused on what has to get done, rather than how you’ve done it in the past. Would you take a U-haul truck if all rental cars were booked and there’s no Uber? There is no box. Usually, we fail to see creative solutions because we get stuck thinking the way we have in the past. We use old “paradigms” that constrict our options. What if you tossed out all your “boxes” and started with a blank canvas? In the movie, The Matrix, you can’t bend the spoon, but you can bend reality to see the spoon bend. Don’t think you can. Know you can. Invite people in to the thought process who are outside of the process. Outsiders can almost always see solutions that insiders cannot. One of the great reasons advisors and coaches are so popular is we come into the situation with a blank canvas, no preconceived notions and clear insight into the issues at hand. Progress or Con-gress? Ultimately, every leader must weigh out the pros and cons of a decision. When you come up with an “out-of-the-box” solution, wise leaders consider the following questions: Is it worth it to try this? What do we give up? What do we gain? And finally, does the price outweigh the benefit? If so, stop now. If not—give it everything you’ve got. Screw the outcome, Be Prepared. Part of the “whatever it takes” mindset is about exertion. Once you’ve looked at the challenge from a new angle, come up with a creative solution and determined that it’s worth it, you must commit to the end result you’re after—regardless of the price tag. Flawless execution of the process gets you to the outcome you must have. Without the right implementation, the outcome won’t be what you desired.
“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” – Warren Buffett
Too often, people get caught up on the specific role they’ll play in the solution, and they become trapped into small thinking. What if I don’t play a significant part? What if someone looks smarter than me? Instead, focus on the process to reach the end goal, the big picture, then it won’t matter as much which specific position each person plays. Further, this gives you a sense of drive and ambition you don’t get otherwise. There’s a damn good reason there are 9 baseball positions. You sure don’t want your 1st baseman to play left field. Take a moment and ask yourself: Am I committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed? Think about how you spent your past week, how you scheduled your time, how you balanced your schedule, the productivity you achieved and then be honest in your answer. Did you do whatever it takes? As you assess your leadership mindset today know that the road ahead is not always paved with brand-new concrete and lit by sunshine. Still, we must forge onward no matter what the path looks like ahead. In fact, the challenging journey in front of us should serve as motivation to overcome the obstacles that others deem impossible to traverse. As Warren Buffett once said, “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” What if change and learning were more fun, useful and rewarding? What becomes possible if you were more energized instead of enduring the daily grind?  What do you think will happen if you don’t change anything? We’ve all been there when we’re riding the crest of the wave and suddenly our egos take an unexpected hit. We’ve had quarter’s even years when our results weren’t what we expected, what we wanted. And, on top of it all, somehow our personal and professional relationships became indifferent and lacking as well. It’s far easier to quit than to finish. What if you knew exactly: Where to start… What each step entails… How to overcome fear, procrastination, and failure… And how to keep from feeling overwhelmed? You can do this – and more quickly than you might think because these days you have access to more tools than ever. The key is to follow a proven in-the-field, straightforward, step-by-step plan guaranteed, AND I’m going to help you get through every step as you begin your journey of Elegant Leadership. How can I make such a guarantee?  I guarantee a lot when it comes to my accountability. Much of our relationship hinges on you – your level of commitment, dedication, desire, and determination to follow through, to take consistent action.  I’m your stake-in-the-ground. When you follow the program, take it seriously and do the work, then it’s more than reasonable to expect to achieve what thousands of leaders have already achieved. I teach Executives and business professionals, like you, through this FREE website.
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You Need to R.E.S.T Rhythm is something that’s built into you since day one. We know there’s a time and a season for everything. We can’t be doing everything all the time with no breaks – that’s a recipe for burnout.  The challenging thing about rhythm is we all have our individual rhythms, the ways we go about living our lives and working with the rhythms of the world, of the body, of the mind, and of the spirit is necessary in order to function properly. Some of you didn’t get the memo as schools let out, kids’ headed to the beach and the ‘honey-do’ list began to swell. Summer is a time to rest, relax, recharge and replenish YOU. We read it in social media and in virtually every form of educational marketing piece…work-life balance. I’ll let you in on a secret – balance doesn’t exist, never has and never will unless you’re a scale. What doesn’t change is your desire for some sort of peace, an equilibrium in your heart, your soul, your mind and yes your work and life. What’s missing is EVERYTHING in the world ebbs and flows, rises and falls – whatever goes up must come down. For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. There’s a pure reason our website’s main image is a surfer riding a wave as it’s a metaphor of life. So how come you keep searching for the misnomer that is BALANCE?

Rhythm is Riding the Wave

Life is about rhythm and summer is a time for rest! Face it, you’re weary and burdened working yourself to exhaustion and wonder how is your life out of balance. Your inner counterbalance, your gyroscope is to keep movement inside-out level. Is this possible? What’s possible is for you to reframe what that means in your life. Too overwhelmed to read this now? Then bookmark this article and catch up the companion pieces here: Learning to Lead with Rhythm Rest is Physical – a Power of a Whisper post on LinkedIn Rest is Emotional – a Power of a Whisper post on LinkedIn With the links above, you’ll discover rest and relaxation may be important enough for you to finally take action. Maybe you do take time to recharge and you do live a life in rhythm, but sometimes your recovery is slower and slower; taking much longer to ‘get back into the game.’ Here’s a resource for you if this example is you – it was me a few years ago – Replenish by Lance Witt. Pick up the ebook for less than $2 or the paperback for less than $10 (NOTE: I don’t make a penny from any of these referrals). How do we impact the time we have to rest? We find the right rhythm that works for us and we REST! Routine – Emotion – Slow Down – Thoughts

Take time to Think

Maintain Your Routine. Successful people follow a morning routine. Ninth Commander, U.S. Special Forces, Admiral William McRaven gave a commencement address about Making Your Bed that resonates with thousands of people to this day. Another example to start your day off in rhythm is to pray and meditate to prepare your heart, mind and spirit for the challenges and opportunities of the day. Your routine is your routine for it must be sustainable for you! Exercise and stretch is another example of your morning routine – motion is lotion. The suits tell me I have to recommend you check with your physician before beginning an exercise routine… What can you do? What are you willing to do? Your confidence in yourself increases as you move through your routine. I have a routine similar to this one I’ve suggested to you. Mine includes Lifer’s Juice – coffee for the rest of you and I have a tee time with the Lord to set my day straight. Whatever you choose to do, make it a routine and develop your routine. Your Work Routine. Many of you work an extraordinary number of hours, because of the nature of your work. For most business professional and Executives alike, if you’re working more than 50 hours consistently, then something’s not right. There’s effective and efficient, consciousness and competence. If you need a translation then chances are you’re overwhelmed and in need of a change now. Here are a couple articles on overwhelm, planning, organizing and execution of the one commodity you cannot recreate – time. Your Week Begins on Thursday – a LinkedIn post Getting the Hamster Off the Wheel How’s Your Family Routine? Some of us prefer a plan and others prefer more spontaneity. Either way, you’re overwhelmed with work and are seeking work-life balance. Let go of that mindset and learn how to adapt to a life of rhythm and enjoy life much more than you are today! Part of a healthy family routine is simply having at least one to two meals a week together – not at a fast food restaurant and not in your car on your way to dance, travel ball or to the tutor. Here’s a thought for you based on feedback I’ve received from medical professionals and athletic trainers alike – you need to have 11 hours between your last meal to when you have breakfast the next day to accommodate your body’s natural biorhythms. Are you understanding the message – Life is about rhythm NOT balance! Part of your family time is disconnecting from technology as a family. That doesn’t mean turn it over face down on the table either. As a society, we’re addicted to our phones and I see all age groups on their phones at restaurants all over the country when I travel. And yes, according to research, there’s 13% of you who immediately check your phones after sex. Sleep Routine. As you naturally begin to wind down from the hustle’n bustle of the day’s and night’s activities, you need some slack time before shut-eye. Sleep allows you to emotionally recharge your heart, mind, body and spirit. In order for you to function at your best you need a minimum of 7 hours and no more than 9 hours of sleep according to the Sleep Foundation. Take 30-45 minutes before you turn the lights out to disconnect from your phone, TV and any other tech. We’ve covered R now let’s move on to the E in REST. Manage Your Emotions. Do you want to reduce or eliminate your feelings of restlessness? Here’s where we find a healthier rhythm with our tech. You control the 24 hours you have and to optimize your work life and your family life, you’re going to step back and look at how you’re spending each 15-30 minute block, eliminate the time wasters, find high-value activities, plan your meetings, emails and manage overwhelm. I gave you some earlier tips on ovewhelm. If you’re serious about making a change, then click here to schedule a qualified FREE session to see if going deeper makes sense.
“Until the PAIN to change is LESS than the pain of staying the same, You will change NOTHING.”
I like roller coasters, especially the old-rickety wooden ones that click-clack as you rise higher and higher in the car up the rails. Do you like the emotional roller coasters life throws at you with incredible highs and devastating lows? Living in extremes is one sure-fire way to exercise yourself into a destructive lifestyle, and it doesn’t resolve the root cause of a healthy sense of rhythm at all. Having empathy and proper perspective ensures your emotional rhythm doesn’t get too high or too low. How do you find that healthy rhythm? Build margin into your day. You can’t work 12 hours a day with four 2-hour meetings, 2 hour-long project updates, 68 emails, 12 voicemails and a litany of texts and expect any level of success. If this example resembles your work life, you’re out of control and you likely know it. At a recent corporate strategic planning session with a mid-market manufacturing firm in the midwest, one senior executive described their routine as one bad day after another. Not even close. A bad day is your child lying on a slab at the hospital. Everything else is within your control and your decision. On to the S in REST. How long can you keep up this vicious cycle? Why would you want to? Slow Down. The work week for many of you is five days long, for others, it’s six maybe even seven days long. Slowing down is not about fatigue. It’s about resetting your rhythm to a more healthier pace that works with your personality, your sense of urgency and your ability to cope with moving targets and vacillating expectations. Step up, stand up for yourself and slow down to reset your rhythm. When is the last time you took a vacation – a real one without checking email, voicemails, etc. – where you were disconnected from work? Scientists have concluded our body’s cells regenerate or has been replaced by new cells every 7, in some cases ten years. The Seven Year Itch wasn’t just a movie. These changes can be painful, and they don’t just happen once as they tend to come as a cyclical event of personal crises or breakthroughs every seven years. This rhythmic cycle changes us in some major way—mentally, emotionally even physically – a transformation occurs during this time in everyone’s lives. Every seven years you need some form of personal and professional sabbatical where you take as much as seven weeks off – yes off. You need this time to reset and slow down. Still fighting me? Then, the weekend, regardless of when in the week you’re able to take two days off, is a time for you to recharge yourself. It’s not a time to cram a week’s worth of ‘honey-do’s’ and kids’ excursions every weekend. Keep it in rhythm. If you have to overthink it, then chances are it’s not in alignment with what a healthier work-life rhythm needs to be for you. You’re going to pay the price one way or another – it’s your choice. This personal time off called your weekend is a perfect time for your family to share a meal together. Whether you go on vacation or have a stay-cation, make it seven days of time together as a family. It’s relatively easy to come up with ideas and suggestions that cost money. It takes creativity and imagination to come up with 7 days worth of no-cost or low-cost activities. If you need some help here let me know and I’ll share with you what I and others have done. You need some relaxation and slow down. The final letter in REST is T. Capture Your Thoughts. To have perfect peace and a sense of rhythm you must train to trust your thoughts. If you can’t sleep, If you can’t turn off, If you can’t disconnect, If you can’t slow down, and you’re at the end of your rope, now’s the time to take every thought captive. Your thoughts are where your trust lies. When you’re worrying, you’re stealing any joy you may have for that day. Worrying killed my father and that’s the last thing any son or daughter at any age needs to deal with. Step back and think. I have a client who has overcome sickness, several job transitions, financial devastation over several decades and their breakthrough came when they took 2 hours out of every work week to do nothing more than think. That’s it. Still with his thoughts.
You control your thoughts and your thoughts control you. 
Everyone has an opinion about something – right living, health, relationships, love and marriage, parenting, work, money, politics, and power, dealing with enemies, religion and faith. Whose opinion should you trust? If it works, it should stand the test of time. Then it becomes the standard because it is so effective. For nearly thirty years, we’ve been applying, fine-tuning, continually testing and seeing the fruits of the Elegant Leader with Voltage system – in organizations large and small and in thousands of business professionals across 12 countries. If you don’t rest, then there will be nothing left of your for you or your family. Take a step into Elegant Leadership and see how our proven methodology and meat-on-the-bone solutions and ‘nowhere to hide’ coaching will give you the breakthrough and transforMOTION you’ve been searching for. Email me or call 205-482-2177 for a qualified FREE session to see if working together is what you need to rest and to move forward in your work and personal life.
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An Elegant Leader is an Extraordinary Leader Leading and leadership is hard, difficult work. It’s a difficult calling and responsibility. If I finish my life and haven’t left a mark or made an impact that was significant to another person’s life, I won’t be content with the skills and gifts I’ve been given. This discontent describes the deep passion within us that moves us to make a difference. My discontent is to be an extraordinary leader – an Elegant Leader with Voltage! In an earlier article, connecting as an Elegant Leader is the precursor to earning the right to advance each relationship. Understand how it’s your responsibility to connect as the leader.
Leaders shape human lives and for that reason leadership is sacred work. It’s a sacred responsibility and therefore it deserves commitment and purposeful development. 
What exactly makes for extraordinary leadership? My search for extraordinary leadership was born from this insatiable passion to be the best leader I could be. While I quickly gravitated to studying the lives of historical and biblical heroes, extraordinary emerged for me in one of the most foundational elements of my faith. Who in your life has modeled extraordinary leadership? What set them apart as an extraordinary leader? During the time when Jesus was being challenged with controversial questions about taxes and the resurrection, a question posed to him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus responded with a fundamental biblical truth known as the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Then he proceeded to give those questioning him the second-greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The Great Commandment has enormous implications for us as leaders. When Jesus asked us to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he was essentially saying that we should love God with all of ourselves – with everything in us. When he says love your neighbor as yourself, again the implication is to love with all of who you are. When you consider your life as an Elegant Leader, it means leading with all of who you are for the benefit of God and others. Elegant Leadership requires all of us – our heart, soul, mind, and strength. To not give all would be to shortchange the gifts and skills you’ve been given. The heart of a leader is the truest part of who they are. Your heart is the center of your emotions, desires, and wishes. Your heart is what connects you with others. This is the relational dimension of leadership. Leading from the heart is about earning influence through relationships rather than authority. It’s developing the art of emotional intelligence. When we lead from the heart, we see others as living, breathing humans with stories, journeys, emotions, families, strengths and weaknesses, battles, tragedies and joys. When we see those we lead as human, we seek to relate with them through our strengths and gifts to understand one another through emotional connection. What is one way you could encourage or connect with your team this week?
Who will you spend time with to learn more about their personal story? Leading from the heart means understanding the power of connection: knowing one of your greatest human needs is to be known. We want to believe we matter. We long for those who lead us to see us as individuals: to see our unique potential and contribution we can bring to bear, to encourage and to call it out in us, and to affirm what we bring and who we are really matter to the greater story and success of the organization. The heart of leadership is the start of leadership. When we connect with the heart, we earn influence to lead with soul, mind, and strength. Every relational connection you make gives you greater opportunity to lead. Consider your relational leadership influence by answering these questions: How do you connect with those you lead? How can you demonstrate you’re for them and you value them? What can you do to show how their work affects the entire team? What will it take to know their stories and what inspires and motivates them? Elegant Leaders establish, develop and strengthen relationships daily and habitually. There will be relationships to repair, relationships to nurture and relationships to strengthen, and the people with the most influence and impact realize this dynamic and then act upon it. If you want to add value to each other’s connection, to live with the law of reciprocity, then becoming an Elegant Leader with Voltage may be for you. In some cases, clients struggle to position themselves for the best work opportunities. Some feel insecure about their current role or their current company, while others are already in a career transition. You have an opportunity to be more productive by improving the quality and quantity of relationships around you as an Elegant Leader with Voltage. Click here to receive our FREE guide to Become an Elegant Leader with Voltage. With the guide, we include our no-cost monthly program for you to test drive the proven strategies we share with business professionals and executives alike, no strings attached. To learn more about our organization, click here.
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It’s All About Relationships If we are to Lead Elegantly, then we must understand how to connect with others and ourselves.  Earning the right to advance is one of the major tenets in Step 5 of the Elegant Leader with Voltage system.  Your persona, your Golden Sentence, that transparent “what I whisper in the dark IS who I shout from the rooftops” character is where we must learn connection. In order for connection to “stick,” we must first begin with WHY it’s important to connect, HOW we connect and WHAT thoughts and process(es) are vital if we are to have lasting connections. For many of us, when the topic of leadership is discussed, our initial thoughts immediately take us to significant people in our own lives – whether from real-life experiences, history of our forefathers to modern-day leaders in the US and abroad. Why do you think that is? For some, it’s the impact they made in the lives of others to shape an environment, situation or a country. For others, it’s the impact they made on individuals or organizations that desperately needed their help and influence – their voice. Leadership is not about eloquent speeches, circling the wagons or grabbing a flag of righteousness and telling the minions to follow. Elegant Leadership inspires, it encourages, it mobilizes and leverages diverse populations to do more to accomplish more than can be accomplished singularly.
We’re not good by ourselves, but when we go out as a group we’re pretty damn amazing
A connection, in this context, is not a socially-inspired friend or some superficial relationship. It is a direct link from one person to another – that deep feeling or need where two people who believe what each other believes. We certainly know what a disconnect is. The “whoops” we see in today’s society driven by technology. We blame miscommunications on some form of perception, a lack of skill or willingness to hear and to listen to the individual communicating. We aim our zeal with reverent fervor at another individual with reckless disdain without so much as a forethought or attempt at understanding…aww poor you, poor you,  you’re left to wonder why your relationships don’t last, lack depth, meaning and purpose!
Successful leadership is the positive rhythm between your ego, the results and your relationships
A connection is that moment in time where a bond, a link with another person is formed – common ground is established, a shared purpose or value is met. Every step forward from this point is based upon that initial connection. Some call it chemistry, a spark, something they feel. Feelings are emotional, ever-changing, vacillating favorably and unfavorably continuously throughout the day’s life experience. One reason external motivations do not lead to everlasting change is they are based on feelings as opposed to an internal belief system change that affects behaviors. They can stimulate change, but they are not the driver or the underpinning for foundational change. Connections are initially built on the perceived value of beliefs and actions. They are perpetuated on the repetitive positive or negative behaviors we exhibit. In order to have deep, meaningful relationships that create a synergistic life experience at home or at work, we must connect with and to each other. Without this connection, the foundation of trust cannot be built, and the foundational existence of any relationship is not and will not be present. We weren’t created to be alone, and we all need each other…maybe not everyone for all of us, but relationships nonetheless. Have you met someone who you didn’t initially connect with, but as you grew to know them you really enjoyed being with them? Certainly, we all have and for some those relationships are highly valued because of the common ground that was forged. Common interests, beliefs, conference attendees, job functions, titles, schools and countries unite us to be connected.
“When you’re surrounded by people who believe what you believe amazing things can happen.” – Simon Sinek
There’s an interesting dynamic when we meet someone with shared collegiate experience years or decades apart, or corporate alumni who meet as attendees at a large conference and so on. The basis of connection is one and the same – a link, an association that forms an initial connection. A connection begins the basis of a relationship, no matter how long or temporary it may be, it is formed between two people. Authenticity, actively listening, being genuinely interested, or not will bridge your connection or validate the disconnect for that engagement. Don’t tell me what I think I want to hear. If I want to connect, if I want to be drawn to you and you to me, then we need that desire to attract ourselves to each other. If I want to grow my leadership skills as a business professional, a manager a C-suite, even a parent, then I need to connect better than I have before. Am I crystal clear on who I want in my life? Am I willing to do what it takes to connect with other people? How do I give a piece of myself to someone else for that human interaction  I so desperately want and yet am so afraid to let down my guard? If we are to genuinely be that valued member of society than it’s imperative we first learn how to connect with one another. We can talk about communities, connections, cohorts and tribes; however, the point is regardless of its moniker, relationships matter – where two people come together with a common set of beliefs and values. It’s not someone who you can get something out of or from – that is a transaction. Sadly today, too many people consider relationships and transactions as equal. Many companies talk about how important a relationship is – we live it every day – genuinely, authentically and with transparency. We hand-select every client – you should too.  Your personal and professional reputation is proven daily with relationships that have influence and impact; and, your success in both realms is largely based on the quality of those relationships. You cannot rest on your laurels and expect relationships to grow automatically. To Lead Elegantly with Voltage, it’s not enough to be proactive or preventive. Elegant Leaders establish, develop and strengthen relationships daily and habitually. There will be relationships to repair, relationships to nurture and relationships to strengthen, and the people with the most influence and impact realize this dynamic and then act upon it. If you want to add value to each other’s connection, to live with the law of reciprocity, then becoming an Elegant Leader with Voltage may be for you. In some cases, clients struggle to position themselves for the best work opportunities. Some feel insecure about their current role or their current company, while others are already in a career transition. You have an opportunity to be more productive by improving the quality and quantity of relationships around you as an Elegant Leader with Voltage. Click here to receive our FREE guide to Become an Elegant Leader with Voltage. With the guide, we include our no-cost monthly program for you to test drive the proven strategies we share with business professionals and executives alike, no strings attached. To learn more about our organization, click here.
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Humility – a Pillar of Leading Elegantly In a global marketplace where problems are increasingly complex, no one person will ever have all the answers. That’s why Google’s SVP of People Operations, Lazlo Bock, says humility is one of the traits he’s looking for in new hires. “Your end goal,” explained Bock, “is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.” And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, says Bock—it’s “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.” Goal #1 of today’s leader is to communicate simply, powerfully and more frequently and to solve problems together.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren
In leadership, it can be tempting to become enamored with status. However, it is crucial that leaders focus on their staff more than they focus on themselves. The best leaders are selfless and more concerned with the well-being of their team than with their personal titles. You cannot be an effective leader if you feel you are better than your subordinates. Furthermore, teams under such leaders live with hostility and experience low productivity and high turnover.
“When I talk to a manager, I get the feeling they are important, but when I talk to a leader, I get the feeling I am important.”
Their advice:
Have Our Backs.  Be willing to get in the trenches. Your team needs to know you have their back and are willing to work together with them. They cannot feel you aren’t willing to work for and with them. A true leader supports their team period without caveats. 

Lead Us. Think like a leader, not a manager. A wise person once said, “When I talk to a manager, I get the feeling they are important, but when I talk to a leader, I get the feeling I am important.” Each person on your team should walk away from a one-on-one with you feeling empowered, valued, important and appreciated.  A leader views his or her team members as human beings. A manager views his or team members as a means to an end. Know the difference and lead your team accordingly. 

Get Over Yourself. Remove your ego from the equation. When faced with a challenging decision or difficult personality, this can be a hard rule to follow. Maintaining objective judgment is one of the biggest ways you can show humility as a leader. If your team can count on you to check your ego at the door and make decisions that will be for the equal benefit of your entire team, they will have a great deal of respect for you. 

Be The Change. We have all heard the famous quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” As it relates to your team’s culture, this means to lead by example. As leaders, we must remember our team looks to us to set the standard. Make sure they see a good standard when they look at your own personal work habits. Leading with humility has an immediate impact on your team and gives you the ability to influence and develop them individually by your example. Not only will leading with humility impact your business, it will also impact you personally. You will feel better about yourself, your work and your team.
  1. Listen to Learn – create and maintain openness to others’ opinions.
  2. Meet Your Team’s Needs – tend to their needs first; leadership is sacrifice!
  3. You’re No Guru. Admit mistakes, make amends and commit to removing bad behaviors.
  4. Be Comfortable in the Gray. Ambiguity exists daily, information/data is less than perfect.
  5. Self-reflect. Enough said.
  6. Leave Them Alone. They’re hired to perform their job. Let them!
Are humble leaders less successful? How might humility affect the moral character? What might we lose, living in a less humble world? The most humble rarely describe themselves as humble (that seems arrogant to them), but studies have shown that they aren’t embarrassed, humiliated or ashamed. No, they’re secure in their identity and higher in well-being. True humility, scientists have learned, is when someone has an accurate assessment of both his strengths and weaknesses, and he sees all this in the context of the larger whole. They are a part of something far greater than them. They know they aren’t the center of the universe, and they’re both grounded and are very clear by this knowledge. Recognizing their abilities, they ask how they can contribute, recognize their flaws, and seek feedback to grow. Research has shown the intellectually humble have a constant desire to learn and improve. They embrace ambiguity and the unknown. They’re comfortable in the gray and don’t need to wait for perfect and clean data to make decisions. They like getting new information. They even enjoy finding out when they’re wrong. And when in trouble, they’re more willing to accept help. Studies have shown those low in the humility spectrum overreact during conflicts consistently. Here’s when their bad behaviors take over and become ugly and angered refusing to apologize or accept responsibility. The humble, on the other hand, build connections, and are more helpful, tolerant, sensitive and accepting of differences. Humility encourages: 1. Humility gives a leader the capacity to lead from a position of strength. 2. Humility builds a leader to be more influential. 3. Humility gives a leader the courage to sacrifice personal gain for others opportunities for success. 4. Humility allows a leader to be honest with their followers and course correct if necessary. 5. Humility demonstrates character in a leader when attacked. Learning how to lead elegantly is a simple, practical, powerful and graceful methodology that has been delivered to thousands of leaders, executives, business professionals and athletes in over 12 countries. We are in ‘this’ together and maybe you believe what we believe. If you are interested in learning what the Elegant Leader with Voltage journey looks like, then attend one of our Elegant Leader Advantage series for free. Click here to get your copy of the Ultimate Guide to Become an Elegant Leader with Voltage and register today.
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It’s Now Your Time Nearly everyone who takes on a new role wants to succeed and to succeed quickly during the crucial first 100 days. From the hiring manager to the recruiting firm or internal recruiters, they want to see the newly hired candidates and clients succeed. Often, a company is concerned about onboarding executives whether it’s filling an important strategic role, bringing in someone to shake things up or replacing a widely-recognized incumbent who’s recently retired. The transition to being proficient and successfully integrated into the corporate culture is vital for everyone’s success. Three key reasons why onboarding is the most critical component of hiring new and promoting employees: • Minimize the ramp-up time to deliver results sooner,

• Ensure culture fit within the organization to mitigate risk of poor fit,
• Protect your investment by minimizing the risk of premature departure
The newly hired professional wants to make a great first impression. They’re excited for the opportunity to become indoctrinated to the culture and the way things get done around here, to navigate the political structure that exists and to avoid crucial errors. Laying the foundation to deliver great results, forge strong relationships and improve job security is at the top of their minds as well.
What would a solution be worth to you to ensure your Executives stick around more than 24-months? We’re so confident of our proven system, we’ll guarantee their success.
Where many companies miss the boat is by not having a clearly defined onboarding process that ensures the time and investment of bringing on the new employee returns value in less time. It’s no longer simply linking up a mentor who can be a resource for the new employee – while that’s a good practice, it’s not enough to just ‘be nearby.’ There are key people throughout the organization who the new employee will interact with and a structured, defined process proven over time is what it takes to ensure formal and informal success is met. Here are some highlights we’ve found to be true and part of how we ensure the success of our onboarding program:
Help your manager win. Understanding their criteria for success will help you succeed, too.
Get to know your team. We help you build strong relationships that have high-value and lasting results.
The best culture fit. Even though many companies hire for fit, some have distinct needs and roles to fill. Ensuring there’s a common set of values and beliefs between the employee and the company are galvanized.
Aligning key players throughout the organization. Learn who the power players are, become aligned with them and how to navigate the tricks and traps that exist in the political side of the organization.
Avoid landmines. Additionally, understanding who the key players are is to avoid political issues and sacred cows. You need to know what you don’t know.
Observe and discover. Take enough time to learn before jumping in with ideas that may be misinformed.
Create your development plan to keep improving and getting better.
Create your plan of action. Developing a plan with your report-to is vital to your success early on.
Onboarding your manager. We take an additional step by including your report-to in the onboarding process so they have a clear understanding of how you deliver impact from their influence. Studies show the initial weeks and months of a new hires tenure are critical. Getting it right can dramatically accelerate the transformation of a new hire into a fully functioning business leader. Getting it wrong can be very costly as research shows that the average cost of a failed executive hire is $2.7 million USD (Forbes 5/2008). Our proprietary onboarding services grew organically from our Executive Search process helping top organizations assimilate new executives in a more structured and effective way. We reduce the time it takes for them to start making a meaningful impact, deliver results and maximize their personal engagement with the organization and the brand. Our evidence-based expertise support and add guidance to the new Executive creating a personalized onboarding plan specifically tailored to the individual’s and the organization’s needs. Most organization’s internal process do not put meat-on-the-bone when it comes to achieving the following:
1. Identify executives’ strengths and optimizes key competencies for success
2. Provide role clarity by communicating simply and powerfully across the organization
3. Accelerate integration with organizational culture, strategy, and leadership team
4. Map key relationships providing a blueprint for influence with impact
5. Deliver critically timed feedback from key stakeholders Many new employees have no idea how to answer the following questions. Can your recent hires answer these simple questions without hesitation or thought? What are your manager’s professional and personal aspirations? 
What is your manager’s communication style? 
What are the values of the organization? 
Which of your values fit best within the culture? 
How will you adapt to the new culture? 
What do you need to discover before you act? If you want to minimize the ramp-up time for your new employees to deliver results sooner, galvanize their fit within your organization and mitigate the risk of poor fit, and to protect your investment by minimizing the risk of premature departure, then having a conversation on how we can personalize an onboard solution is a smart decision. Here’s the deal – what would it be worth to you to ensure your new hires from manager level to Tier I and II leaders, VP/SVP’s and C-suite succeed and don’t bail on you after 12, 18, 24-months? We guarantee, yes you’re reading that right a guarantee, our Onboarding clients receive a minimum 5X return on their investment. Call Brookestone Associates today 205-482-2177 and join nearly a hundred companies across 12 countries we’ve served. If you’re still not sure and you want to do more research, then download this free 100-day assessment or our eBook – Onboarding for Executive Success
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Go Deeper With Each Other We had a discussion last week on Leadership and how the Elegant Leadership platform came into being. The discussion evolved around that word elegant. Leading people isn’t much different that dating. My friend looked puzzled and quipped, “how’s that?” Each person puts their best foot forward in an attempt to be liked by the other. They just want the other person to like them and so they present themselves in the best manner possible. Because everyone is on their best behavior, love is natural, invigorating, and energizing – so is an Elegant Leader. They lead simply, powerfully, practically and gracefully. The problem is in both areas is we show who we truly are in time. That’s the point, ‘ sometime later’ you, me, everyone shows who we really are when the heat’s on, life’s struggles bubble up and stress mounts. It’s then we see the ugly truth.
Many people during the early dating stages are focused on finding the right person and then impressing their socks off when what they ought to focus on is being authentic.
Of course, you want to make a good first impression. But you need to get past that pretty quickly. In other words, get real about who you are. Yes, that creates a vulnerable feeling and, perhaps, a fear that your real self might push them away, but transparency helps your relationship become founded on the truth, not a lie. You’re real, not some ethereal image of what you think you’re supposed to be, to live up to. There are 5 tenets to Leading Elegantly with Voltage: Authentic Transparent Humility Empathy Courage Hey, the good news is you can start over anytime – make amends and commit to being better at being better. Do you want to lead better or as I say with Voltage? Then communicate with everyone on a deeper level – understand their feelings, their needs – listen for them, ask about them and share more of your authentic self. We talk about listening, learning and leading your life and influencing others with impact every week in the Elegant Leaders Advantage. It’s an exclusive growth track to break free from the past that’s kept you stuck, discover your unique leadership gifts and make a difference in the lives of others. Come along…it’s a pretty cool journey! Here’s what people are saying about the Elegant Leaders Advantage: “…it’s far more than just learning about leading. I’m learning and listening better! My relationships continue to improve at work, at home, and with my friends. I have less stress and I feel encouraged.” – Doug H., Regional Manager “What a blessing to realize my gifts really do make a difference in other people’s lives. I knew I was made for something greater than just walking through life without purpose.” J. Hartman, VP, Finance & Administration. “I thought we were solely learning about how to lead better. Scott has helped me uncover a deeper desire I’ve had in leading people and in that all of my relationships are benefiting.” Tom M., Director, UAB Medical Center Learn more about authentic leadership, how a humble leader leads effectively, how having empathy and perspective inspires others, how behaving and communicating with transparency elevates your leadership results while strengthening relationships and why courage is the single most essential leadership quality required to Lead Elegantly with Voltage by clicking here. The next series begins June 7th.
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