Raise Your Leadership Lid

servant Jun 15, 2017

No doubt you’ve heard that the key to business success is: "location, location, location."

Certainly, location is one key to business success. But during my experience as an entrepreneur and my thirty-plus years of being a consultant, investor and banker to small businesses, I've found that the key to success goes by a different mantra: "management, management, management."

Ask any venture capitalist or angel investor what they look for in a business investment. The answer will always be "management".

Sure, investors and bankers are looking for a good business idea in a growth orientated industry producing strong cash flow. But they will be more interested in an average business idea backed up by a great management team than a great business idea with an average management team.

Try replacing "management" with a related but more focused word: "leadership". Now you have a mantra with real power. In his book entitled, "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", John C. Maxwell...

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If You Don't Like the Effect, Change the Cause

awareness Jun 08, 2017

Albert Einstein said, "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." I love that quote because it points out the potential of a word most people find scary and that word is change.

When faced with the need to change, this is what a lot of us think at first. I don't want to. Why should I? Can't other people take care of the need to change for me'?

Change takes us outside of our comfort zone, but refusing change is like asking the sun not to rise. The sun will rise with or without our permission. It is the same with change. And if the effects we've been receiving are not what we want, change is the only way to generate a different outcome.

What end results do you dream of achieving? Are those results happening in your personal and work life?

It's a matter of cause and effect. Your actions are the cause that creates the end results. If you want a particular effect and that effect has been alluding you, there is only one way to achieve a different outcome and that is to embrace...

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Why Go the Extra Mile?

servant leadership Jun 01, 2017

Are you a person who consistently goes the extra mile? Do you routinely over deliver on your promises? Think back on what happened to you last week. Did you encounter anyone who was willing to go the extra mile for you?

It's rare these days, which is why it's so powerful. A willingness to do more than expected is the hallmark of high achievers. They know that exceeding expectations helps them stand above the crowd.

It’s the difference between being average and being exceptional.

In her blog “10 Outstanding Examples of Going An Extra Mile in Customer Service”, Natalia Chrzanowska tells us that excellent customer service is the greatest merit a company can earn. Entrepreneurs who focus on their clients’ needs and seek opportunities to take customer service to the next level gain a strong competitive advantage in the market.

Napoleon Hill Thought of the Day post tells us, those who do more than they are paid for will sooner or later be willingly paid for more...

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7 Ways to Gain Momentum in Your Organization

servant leadership May 24, 2017

Even people who aren’t hockey fans love a Cinderella team. The 1982 Canucks, the 2004 Flames, the 2005-2006 Oilers--all of these teams were rated average by experts and they performed as expected throughout their regular seasons.

Then post-season came. With each period, each game, each playoff series, they gained momentum. And that made the difference between winning and losing.

Every organization needs momentum to grow. Leaders create momentum. When momentum starts, it brings everyone along. Teams succeed. And the more they succeed, the more they want to succeed.

They begin to look for ways to keep their momentum going.

A while ago, I met the newly hired Executive Director of a well established non-profit organization. Although the organization had once been high-performing, the new leader soon recognized that the organization had lost its momentum.

Board members were not fully engaged and employee morale was low. Funders and donors were growing frustrated by the...

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The Greatest Asset Anyone Can Have

personalities May 17, 2017

Being able to understand people is the greatest asset anyone can have. In their book, "Becoming a Person of Influence", John Maxwell and Jim Dornan remind us that being able to understand others can have a positive impact on more than just your success in business.

It can impact every area of your life.

How can we become better at understanding the people in our life? It starts with communication. Often when we think about communication, we focus on talking. Yet the most powerful aspect of communication is not talking.

It's listening. More than anything, most of us yearn to be really heard.

When we feel that the person we're with is really listening, we feel respected. If you listen with care and ask questions to make sure you understand, you will develop a greater understanding of the people in your life.

By listening with care, you can learn what motivates a person. You can even anticipate how they may react to a situation. You can influence them in a positive way.

Many of the...

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Criticism …. The Price of Leadership

criticism May 11, 2017

Leadership is the art of leading others to deliberately create a result that would not have happened otherwise.

To be a leader, you need to:

  • Dream
  • Communicate
  • Take action
  • Commit

Be a "person of influence" by adding value to others

We're all familiar with these qualities and recognize them in good leaders we have known. But this list is missing one important quality of leadership.

A good leader must be able to deal with criticism constructively.

Criticism was not something I used to handle well, especially in my earliest leadership positions. Looking back, I recognize that some of the decisions I made in those positions were focused on making people like me.

In other words, my decisions were motivated by a desire to avoid criticism. Unfortunately, some of those decisions were not good for my employer or my immediate career. Plus, some of those decisions did not turn out well for the people I was supposed to be leading.

Aristotle said, "Criticism is something you can avoid--by...

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What Have You Been Missing?

awareness May 05, 2017

Our daily lives can be overwhelming and extremely stressful at times. We're busy trying to do so many things at once.

Not only do we tend to forget where we’ve put things, we even drive to work and forget how we got there or eat a quick meal without tasting one bite.

As John Daido Loori once said, "If you miss the moment, you miss your life." What have you been missing?

Most of us have lost touch with being present in the moment. Our days pass while our minds are elsewhere.

I too have misplaced keys, or found myself standing in the kitchen trying to remember why I went into that room. We all lose moments. The question is, how can we minimize those moments? (Notice that I said “minimize”, not “eliminate”. That's because I don’t believe we can truly be present in the moment at all times.)

Being present in the moment is hard, what with all the distractions, worries, and stress we face daily.

Leo Babauta has written a very helpful article called "11...

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The Secret to Strong Teams

personalities Apr 25, 2017

Anyone who is in a leadership position knows that leadership requires patience and understanding. This is true whether the person has been a leader for years, or is only beginning to acquire leadership skills. It is also true whether the person is an employee or a business owner.

But what is it about leadership that demands so much patience and understanding? The answer is simple: people.

As Dale Carnegie, author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" wrote, "When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity."

In his book, “Who Do You Think You Are Anyway?", author Dr. Robert A. Rohm tell us that true leaders are not picked, they pick themselves. This makes it all the more important to find a way to work effectively with a variety of personalities.

If the talented people on your team with unique personality styles do not feel...

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If you don't learn from your mistakes, why make them?

mistakes Apr 20, 2017

No one likes to make a mistake. I know I certainly don’t. But it happens to all of us. Some mistakes are the result of a poor choice.

Other mistakes are just dumb. They happen during a temporary lapse of attention, and afterwards we can see how easily they might have been avoided.

A few years ago in the early weeks of December, I made a dumb mistake. For a moment, I did not pay attention. As a result, a person I value might have felt uncomfortable and just as he was starting a new role.

Lucky for me, the person in question has a great sense of humour.

It was my job to organize a gathering of board members from across Western Canada. We began with a networking dinner, which was to be followed by meetings the next day.

I selected an appropriate restaurant and arranged for the menu in advance.

People arrived in cabs I'd organized. The networking was great, the dinner was delicious, and the atmosphere was fun.

Everyone thanked me as we were heading out the door. I hailed some cabs...

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Finding Those Wow-Worthy Moves

servant leadership Apr 19, 2017

“True leadership lies in guiding others to success.” - Bill Owens

In their book titled “The Real-Life MBA”, Suzy and Jack Welch boil leadership down to its two essential components – truth and trust.

Based on years of leadership experience, they worked out an organizing principle we can all benefit from using.

Truth-and-trust leadership … is an overarching approach – an organizing principle – that drives everything leaders do every day, whether they are in staff meetings, performance evaluations, strategy sessions or budget reviews, or everything else in between.”

Truth seeking in leadership means being open and honest. It means never settling for suppositions or unsupported claims. Leaders consistently seek truth through the:

  • Strategy Process:

    They deep-dive into information about their competitors, their market share, and their strengths and weaknesses. This depth of truth seeking is as important for non-profit...
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