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Meet 8 Special Ops Team Members Ready for Service in Your Organization

Last week, I attended a very special graduation ceremony. It wasn’t for a family member and it wasn’t held in a football stadium. It was for 36 men and 1 woman who had completed a 120-hour, MBA-style, transitions program through The Honor Foundation.

These were already alumni of some of the most elite programs in the world – they were Navy SEALs and Marine Special Operations Forces team members – who had served our country with honor and ready to transition back to civilian service.

Thanks to The Honor Foundation, these men and women have the tools they need to confidently enter the workforce with pride and a sure-footing. They are prepared to take the leap of faith that the civilian world will honor their service, embrace their elite training, and place them in positions worthy of their talents.

It is my honor to introduce you to eight members of the Group 11 graduating class.

 

1. Diego Ugalde, “My passion is to hear the sound of your resounding success.”

What he brings to the team: With a relentless positive outlook, Diego is known for walking into a situation, assessing it, and working tirelessly to improve it for the betterment of the team.

Areas of interest: Motivational Speaking, Leadership & Development, and Coaching

Availability: Diego transitions from the Navy SEALs in September of 2018.

 

2. Larry Lacefield, “Leader of leaders, adapting to any environment.”

What he brings to the team: Selfless problem solver exuding compassion, creativity, competence and sound decision-making facilitating solutions where others see obstacles. 

Areas of interest: Business Development, Chief of Staff, Project Management Officer, or HR Leadership in Healthcare and Biotech

Education: M.S., Emphasis in Global Business Leadership, University of San Diego

Availability: Larry is transitioning from the Navy Special Warfare Command in May 2017.

 

3. Russell Hromadka, “Multi-dimensional guru and cross-generational connector.”

What he brings to the team: Perpetually sought after for crisis management, joint ventures, new initiatives, and to ‘do it right the first time’ where there is little guidance and organizational success is at stake.

Areas of interest: Chief of Staff, Business Development, Human Resources, Ops, Project Management.

Education: B.S., Applied Mathematics (Honors), US Naval Academy

Availability: Russ will transition from Marine Special Operations Command in the Spring of 2018.

 

4. Alexander “Pete” Tunley, “A human with supernova positivity that inspires all.”

What he brings to the team:  A passionate, powerful and committed leader with incredible positivity that attracts communication and input from all.

Areas of interest: Business Development, Human Resources, Coaching, Leadership & Development, Motivational Speaking.

Education: B.A., Intelligence Studies, American Military University

Availability: Pete transitioned as a Chief Petty Officer in March of 2017.

 

5. Christopher “Noah” Phillips, “Diplomatic disruptor fascinated by finance.”

What he brings to the team: Exceptionally motivated and proven leader with budgetary controller and multinational business experience.

Areas of interest: Finance, Wealth Management, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Analyst and Associate.

Education: B.S., Business Finance, Pennsylvania State University (2019)

Availability: Noah is transitioning from the Marine Corps in July 2017.

 

6. Matthew Lampert, “Lifelong servant of the community and our nation.”

What he brings to the team: Proven, decisive, and determined leader, who motivates, empowers, and develops his team to achieve their highest potential.

Areas of interest: Chief of Staff, Operations, HR Business Partner, Project Management Officer.

Education: M.A., Leadership, Development and Education, The George Washington University

Availability: Matt transitions as an Officer with the U.S. Naval Academy in June of 2018.

 

7. Eric Kasmire, “Innovative leader who excels at organizing resilient teams to achieve exceptional results.”

What he brings to the team: Skilled communicator at all levels, and passionate about leading multi-functional teams from diverse backgrounds and cultures to increase performance.

Areas of interest: Business Development, Chief of Staff, Project Management, or HR Leadership roles.

Education: B.A., Homeland Security, with Honors, American Military University

Availability: Eric transitioned in the summer of 2017 from the Marine Special Operations Command.

 

8. Justin Plank, “Ethical leader with the exceptional ability to remain calm and decisive in both high pressure and uncertain environments.”

What he brings to the team: A tireless work ethic, accustomed to working in fast-paced environments where excellence in performance is the standard.

Areas of interest: Operations leadership and Project Management.

Education: Master of Business for Veterans, University of Southern California

Availability: Justin transitioned in the summer of 2017 from the Navy SEALs.

If your organization could benefit from service-minded, adaptable, problems solvers like these, there is no more elite group of talent than the graduates of The Honor Foundation. Contact The Honor Foundation here to learn more about employing, mentoring, coaching and sponsorship opportunities for this world-class program.

Question: What can you do to serve people who have dedicated their lives in service to others?  

The 100-Yard Dash Leadership Theory

One evening, author and leadership consultant John Maxwell was having dinner with Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Until last year, Joyner-Kersee was the most decorated U.S. woman in Olympic track and field history.

As they were chatting, Maxwell decided to have a little fun with the athlete. He sat his fork down on his plate, looked Joyner-Kersee straight in the eye, leaned forward and said, “I bet that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash.” Joyner-Kersee stopped in mid-bite, and searched John’s face for any hint of whether he was joking or serious. This was the first woman ever to break 7,000 points in the heptathlon, a 2-day, 7-event contest consisting of the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and the 800 meter run.

Maxwell let a moment or two pass, then said, “Actually, now that I think about it, if you give me a 10-yard head start, I bet that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash.” Over the course of the next few minutes, Maxwell continued to stretch his need for a head start until he settled on, “Yes! If you give me a 90-yard head start, I’m 100% confident that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash!”

Maxwell’s 100-yard dash dinner story serves as a reminder to leaders. Whether you’re trying to implement a new process, orchestrate innovation, or mold a culture, you have to meet your team where they are before you can get them to where you want them to go.

If you’re leading a team, chances are, you’re far ahead of the rest of the group from Day 1. You may have more years of experience, and less fear of calculated risk. You probably have more data and background information that led to the decision that change is necessary. You have a better grasp of the ideal outcome. That’s the equivalent of a 90-yard advantage, and a major team de-motivator. Think about the last time you gave your team a new project, and ask yourself these three questions:

1. Did I take the time to lay the proper groundwork, or did I jump straight to the end?

2. Did I give the team time to ask questions, or did I do most of the talking?

3. Did I help the team understand what “there” looks like, or did talk mostly about what’s not working today?

In a Harvard Business Review series on The Secret of Great Teams, an effective team was defined as “a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common team purpose and challenging goals related to that purpose.” As a leader, it’s your responsibility to give your team what they need to truly succeed.

Another truism of Maxwell’s is this: leaders who complain that “it’s lonely at the top” aren’t really leading people anywhere – they’re just taking a hike. Make sure you give them context, allow plenty of time for their questions, and give them a roadmap to success.

Question: What tools do you use to make sure you’re not leaving your team in the dust?

 

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CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Simon Sinek Explains the Trust Gap in Your Organization

In the third most popular TED Talk of all time, Simon Sinek inspired leaders to reconnect with their organizational why. In just 18 minutes and with a rough sketch of concentric circles on a flip chart, Sinek shared what he said was “probably the world’s simplest idea.” Most organizations focus on what they do and how they do it. But only the most inspired organizations have leaders who start with why they do it first. And for companies like Apple, and people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright Brothers, starting with why was the fundamental difference between success and obscurity.

The Trust GapIn a less popular but equally profound TED Talk, Sinek turned again to the flip chart. In “First why and then trust,” Sinek illustrates why organizations must clarify and codify their why. Imagine a simple x, y graph. At the (0,0) coordinates, where x and y meet, is the genesis of an organization. At (0,0), x equals what and y equals, well, why. At that genesis, the what and the why are perfectly aligned. When a company launches, the founders are inspired by a big idea. They put some money together, and off they go.

At first, it’s easy for the founders to share their vision with their handful of employees. Customers are soon attracted and life is good. The what and the why lines grow in parallel on the chart. But, as Sinek explains, “the single biggest challenge that an organization will ever face is its own success.” Here’s why. The more successful an organization becomes, the more people it has to hire based on what they do. The company’s what keeps growing. “The problem is,” Sinek explains, “why they do it starts to go fuzzy.” And as the what and why lines separate, a trust gap occurs.

Consider this example that Sinek gives about trust in America since World War II:

The country rallied together to fight in a war in which they were united and unified behind a common cause. After the war, veterans took advantage of the GI Bill to get low-interest loans or cover tuition to attend college or trade schools. When they entered the job market, they applied the same sense of loyalty to their companies as they had to their country. “The problem is,” says Sinek, “as we started to become more affluent, and the wealth of country started to grow, that sense of purpose — that sense of trust — didn’t grow with it.”

publictrust
Sinek goes on to describe how trust continued to fall through the 1960’s (the hippie movement), the 1970’s (the Me generation), the 1980’s (think greed is good), and the 1990’s (the dot.com bubble). Over the decades, the country became more and more affluent, but lost touch with its sense of purpose.

Here’s the key takeaway for your organization: the answer to why your organization exists can no longer be simply, “to make a profit.” If you don’t codify, clarify and deploy your why, you’ll have an unsustainable business model and no competitive advantage.

Question: Do you know your organization’s “why”?

 

Do you know how to codify, clarify, and deploy your organizational purpose? Get 15% off our 2-hour workshop on What’s Your ROP? (Return on Purpose) between now and January 31, 2017. Get a list of available dates and learn more about the program by emailing me directly at snasim@executiveexcellence.com. [Read more about our Purpose Alignment services.]

 

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CEE News
is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. 

6 Things Successful Change Leaders Know

Can you feel it in the air? For the past few weeks, everything around us has been changing. Temperatures are falling and the sun is setting earlier. Leaves are changing in color to vibrant reds and deep yellows. There’s no denying that fall is here and winter is just around the corner. As humans, we are hard wired to accept the inevitability of seasonal changes. Though we can manage extreme weather changes of four seasons a year, why are we so resistant to organizational changes?

If you’re engaged in the effort to set a new direction, orchestrate innovation, or mold a culture, here are six universal truths that can guide you along the way.

1. People don’t resist change. They resist being changed. As management guru Peter Senge suggests, resistance is greatest when change is inflicted on people. If you can give people a chance to offer their input, change is more likely to be met with enthusiasm and commitment.

2. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Big goals can seem overwhelming and cause us to freeze. This simple truth, attributed to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, is a reminder to get moving. Take the first step, however small it may seem, and the journey is underway.

3. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Many change efforts fall short because of confusion over the end goal. In the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire cat which road she should take. The cat’s response reminds us to focus on the destination first, then choose the best path.

4. Change is a process, not a decision. It happens all too often. Senior executives make pronouncements about change, and then launch programs that lose steam. Lasting change requires an ongoing commitment to the process reinforced by constant communication, tools, and rewards.

5. Do not declare victory prematurely. In his book, The Heart of Change Field Guide, author Dan Cohen suggests that short-term wins do not necessarily equal long-term success. Cohen writes, “keep urgency up and a feeling of false pride down.”

6. Be the change you wish to see in the world. These famous words attributed to Gandhi reminds us all — executives with associates, political leaders with followers, or parents with children — that one of our most important tasks is to exemplify the best of what the change is all about.

Any form of change requires an adjustment period, and some are easier than others. While seasonal changes are predictable and tend to go over smoothly, organizational changes cause more chaos. Leaders trying to implement changes in the workplace can take heart in these truisms, settle in and enjoy the journey.

 

Question: Chances are, you’re going through a change effort now. Which of these truths can you apply today to help achieve success?

3 Reasons Why You Should Procrastinate

We’ve all been there. A project you committed to is due tomorrow. You know that, with concentrated effort, you could knock it out in a couple hours. Yet, somehow you manage to put it off.

Instead, you fill the time with busy work, things that could easily wait until next week. Or you indulge in completely unproductive things like scrolling through Facebook videos or checking out Google Street View caught-on-camera highlights.

If you’re guilty of procrastination tactics like these, take heart. According to New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant, procrastination is a virtue for creativity. In his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Grant explains how procrastination encourages divergent thinking.

“Our first ideas, after all, are usually our most conventional,” Grant explains. “When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander.” Research shows that we have a better memory for incomplete tasks. When we finish a project, our brain files it away. But when it’s floating in limbo, our brains continue working it.

Nearly a century ago, psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that when we finish a project, we file it away. But when it’s in limbo, it stays active in our brains. From writers like Aaron Sorkin (“You call it procrastinating. I call it thinking.”) to artists like Leonardo Di Vinci (took 16 years to complete the Mona Lisa), highly creative people spend most of the creative process in pre-production.

Instead of thinking of procrastination as a vice, think of it as an essential part of creativity. Consider these three ways you can use procrastination to your advantage:

1. To exercise your idea muscles. Give yourself permission to build white space in your day. White space will allow you to reflect — to turn information into knowledge and knowledge into insight.

2. To find the power in the question. Good strategic thinkers know how to hit the ‘what if’ pause button. It forces you to step back and challenge current assumptions that prevent you from seeing breakthrough solutions.

3. To move from quantity to quality. While you don’t have the luxury to mull over every piece of text you write before you hit ‘send’, some ideas are worth polishing.

Let’s be honest. Chronic procrastination is not healthy. If you have excuses for letting most deadlines pass, that’s a bad habit you need to address and correct.

But true insight takes time. The longer we allow our brains to work on ideas, the more insight we can gain. Don’t be afraid to harness the creative power of procrastination.

Question: When has procrastination helped you be more creative?

Do you need guidance on how to harness your creative power and have a competitive advantage? Check out our Executive Coaching services or email me at snasim@executiveexcellence.com directly to set-up a free 30 minute consultation.

  

Does Your Inside Look As Good As Your Outside?

Last week, I co-facilitated a leadership retreat at Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook, California.  Part of the agenda was set aside to review the results of the company’s 2015 employee engagement survey.  Each manager took 20 minutes to share the highest and the lowest scores from their departments. They made commitments for how they would improve results in 2016, and suggestions for company-wide improvement efforts.

On the morning of Day 2, we asked, “What was your biggest takeaway from yesterday’s session?”  The President of the company responded, “What struck me the most was the comment by our Controller – that ‘we need to make our inside as good as our outside.’”

 

Bingo. Experienced executives can find ways to make financial results sing.  Strategic planning can uncover new markets, expanded channels, and opportunities to innovate.  Savvy marketing experts can keep brands fresh and top of mind.  It’s tempting to get caught up in efforts to boost profit, innovation, and brand recognition – things that make us look good on the outside – and ignore what’s happening on the inside.

Yet, Gallup research reports that 2015 employee engagement levels hang at a paltry 30%. Low employee engagement levels have been associated with employee turnover, low productivity, and absenteeism – all of which directly impact the bottom line. Leaders who remain manically focused on the outside may discover too late that they have a crumbling infrastructure – one that will not support their growth strategy.

As Forbes contributor Mark Crowley notes, “To defeat [low engagement], we must have the courage to reject many of our archaic methods, and to adopt ones known to have the greatest impact on inspiring human performance in the workplace.”  So, what has the greatest impact on employee engagement?  In a recent interview with Jim Harter, Gallup’s ‘engagement Jedi,’ Crowley found that, “the best companies Gallup works with consistently see a 7-to-9 percent improvement in a given year, and it’s because they intentionally align their performance management so that everything they do is on the same path.”

The kind of alignment that Gallup has found works best is the kind practiced by San Diego based WD-40 under the leadership of CEO Garry Ridge.  Consider the results from WD-40’s 2014 Employee Engagement survey.  With an average 93.7% engagement index, WD-40 has achieved best-in-class alignment by focusing on these 8 simple questions:

  1. I understand how my job contributes to achieving WD-40’s goals.
    Result:  99.7% of employees agreed.
  2. I know what results are expected of me.
    Result:  98.6% of employees agreed.
  3. I love to tell people that I work for WD-40 Company.
    Result:  97.6% of employees agreed.
  4. I am clear on the company’s goals.
    Result:  97.1% of employees agreed.
  5. I respect my supervisor.
    Result: 97.1% of employees agreed.
  6. I feel my opinions and values are a good fit with the WD-40 Company culture.
    Result:  96.8% of employees agreed.
  7. WD-40 encourages employees to continuously improve in their job, to “make it better.”
    Result: 96.3% of employees agreed.
  8. I am excited about WD-40 Company’s future direction.
    Result:  95.6% of employees agreed.


Leaders like WD-40’s CEO Garry Ridge understand the impact that employee engagement has on the bottom line. They lead the charge to continually invest in their employees who, in turn, focus on exceeding stakeholder expectations and deliver sustainable profit.


Question: Do you use employee engagement surveys in your organization?  If so, are they clearly aligned with your company’s performance management system?

 


Join me and Dr. Tony Baron April 27th in San Diego for The Re:Imagine Leadership Summit.  Discover how to create a culture that can respond swiftly, communicate freely, encourage experimentation, and organize as a network of people motivated by a shared purpose to meet the demand of the 21st century business enviornment. To learn more or register, go to:
executiveexcellence.com/reimagine 

The Culture Equation: 3 Critical Factors You Can’t Ignore

Culture.  What does that word actually mean?  Though many have tried, no one has ever landed on a fixed, universal definition for organizational culture.  The subject has been vigorously debated from the pages of the Harvard Business Review to the halls of MIT Sloan.  What is not debated is that culture is part of the DNA of every organization.  Whether your organizational culture is empowering or toxic depends greatly on two factors:  shared experience and modeled leadership.

Consider this.  When new employees join your organization, they step in on Day 1 with a set of preconceived beliefs based on past experience.  They may believe that markets are finite and there is only so much business to go around.  They may believe that success happens only when we beat our competitors.  That in order to for us to win business, others must lose.  Some have been taught that ethics and morals can be bent.  Others have relied on the strict dictates of policies and procedures.  That makes up the experience half of the equation.

The other half comes directly from modeled leadership.  If the leaders of the organization are fixated on business development, channel expansion, and market domination, they are not likely spending any time intentionally trying to shape the culture.  Unintentionally, however, they are sending very clear signals about what is important to them.  They are the cultural architects of your organization and contribute these three very important things to the culture equation:

 

1. What is measured. Let’s face it.  Culture can be hard to measure. Senior executives tend to shy away from anything with a fuzzy ROI. Yet, whether you measure it or not, your culture is showing up in your bottom line.  Skilfully managed cultures can be a performance multiplier.  Recent research by the Great Place to Work© Institute found that companies that actively invest in workplace culture yield nearly 2x the return over their competitors.  They also typically report 65% less voluntary turnover, saving an average of $3,500 per employee in recruiting and training costs. If culture isn’t part of your KPI mix, you’re sending the signal that it’s unimportant.

 

2. What is rewarded. A recent study by O.C. Tanner found that employees report being recognized for their work as their most important motivator, over 20 times more than salary. Employees study what behaviors and achievements get rewarded, and naturally modify their work accordingly.  Leaders who understand this connection create recognition programs that go beyond passing out paychecks.  WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge proudly hosts the company’s annual People Choice Awards.  Each year, heartfelt speeches are given by winners of coveted awards like “Best Mentor Coach” and “Best Team Player.” Leaders like Ridge know that coin-operated employees have no passion.

 

3. What is ignored. Leaders are bombarded with data, hold back-to-back meetings, and field urgent requests on a daily basis.  When we need to respond to fast-moving competitive situations, it is tempting to tap only our direct reports for feedback.  In his Harvard Business Review article “The Focused Leader,” New York Times bestselling author Daniel Goleman warns that this temptation is dangerous.  He recommends that leaders practice expanding their focus of awareness.  “A failure to focus on others leaves you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided,” Goleman writes.  What’s worse, leaders who ignore input from those outside their immediate circle are signaling to the rest of the organization that their input is irrelevant.

 

Leaders are the cultural architects of your organization.  The key metrics they pay attention to, the contributions they reward, and range of their awareness directly impact both your organizational culture and your bottom line.

 

Question:  What do you measure, reward and ignore? How is that impacting your organizational culture?

Our Top 10 Most-Read Blogs of 2015

There’s a certain randomness to social media traffic. It’s hard to predict how popular a blog post will be.  When we look back at the year’s most-read posts, we found something interesting. The most popular posts swung widely between messages that helped readers connect to the best of humanity (“3 Simple Ways Leaders Give Thanks”) to those that were part of the flurry of media zeitgeist (“A Leadership Lesson a la Donald Trump”).

Regardless of the sensational nature of each post, we tried to find a lesson or two that you could take away in 750 words or less.  Something you could apply at the office that day, or that might slightly shift your paradigm.

Here are the 10 posts that we hope served that purpose:

January 19, 2015
Simply having authority doesn’t grant one the ability to influence monumental change. Martin Luther King Jr. experienced this firsthand when he tapped into the human desire to dream, to grow, and to belong. He used his formidable influence not to serve himself, but to share a vision and help others achieve their potential. Read how Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of servant leadership to drive change.

[Read More]

..


May 13, 2015
Many people struggle connecting who they are with what they do. According to Gallup, only 30% of the nation’s working population today admits to being fully engaged at work. “Should I quit my job?” is a question on the minds of many of today’s workers in the midst of stress, unhappiness and often disengagement. This posts suggests three very important questions you should be asking yourself before refreshing that resume.

[Read More]

 

July 7, 2015
Within every employee is a person who wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, yet the big picture often gets clouded by layers of bureaucracy. High performing companies systematically ensure the tangible and intangible qualities of their culture roll below the top of the org chart.
This post explains one of the simplest ways an organization shapes the culture through storytelling-connecting employees with the big picture.

[Read more]

 


July 22, 2015
In this day and age, our resources are limited, short-term thinking is unsustainable, and people all over the world share a desire to be treated with dignity and respect. Today’s savvy leaders understand that their companies do not exist to create value strictly for their shareholders. They also exist to create value for their employees, their customers, and ultimately for society.
This post explains 5 ways in which businesses with a strong commitment to CSR have a competitive advantage.
[Read More]

 

August 11, 2015
The wildly confident Donald Trump has taught us so much during the 2016 presidential debate and caused many leaders to pause and reflect on this paradox:  How do I balance confidence with humility? Your organization needs a confident leader. Yet, overconfidence can lead to arrogance.
Learn from these three questions you should ask yourself regularly to keep your confidence in check.

[Read More]

 

September 8, 2015
It’s easy to get caught up in the sexy complexities of organizational change.
So easy, in fact, that we can forget to connect with what our employees are doing each day to keep the engines running. Learn about these 4 small changes
that you can start today to show employees that they are valued
members of your team.
[Read More]

 

October 6, 2015
In today’s information economy, the tension between organizations optimized for predictability and the unpredictable world they inhabit has reached a breaking point. The collapse of time and space boundaries requires organizations to follow by collapsing their organizational structures along with their hierarchical notions of power.  Learn why the command-and-control leadership style is no longer sufficient.
[Read More]

 

October 13, 2015
This past fall we learned about Volkswagen’s deceptive emission practices resulting in resignations, stock prices plummeting, and an onslaught of legal trouble. This wasn’t just any failure; it was a failure of leadership. Learn about three important lessons that have emerged from this scandal.
[Read More]

 

October 20, 2015
21st century America is heading toward a tipping point. The answer to the question of why organizations exist can no longer be simply to make a profit. Creating meaningful impact beyond financial performance isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s a business imperative. Learn why the case for defining and living your organizational purpose has never been more compelling than it is today.
[Read More]

 

November 17, 2015
One of the greatest truths about mastering gratitude as a leader-you can’t fake it. Leaders who genuinely care about their team members will invest the time to help each one feel valued. Have you thought about ways to express meaningful gratitude to your team? Learn about three skills that will
yield the highest return.
[Read More]

 

It’s been an honor to share our thoughts with you this year.  We truly appreciate your comments, your likes, and your shares. We look forward to continuing the conversation in 2016.

Question: What bloggers did you follow most in 2015? Did you learn anything that helped you become a better leader?

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. 

 

3 Simple Ways Leaders Give Thanks

We’ve all come across them. Those leaders who people naturally gravitate toward. Though it seems counterintuitive, the magnetic effect these leaders have on people is not because of how people feel about the leader. It’s because of how the leader makes people feel about themselves.

These leaders have mastered two basic facts about people.

Fact 1: Every person matters.

Fact 2: Every person wants to feel valued.

As Thanksgiving approaches, this is an excellent time to review the skills necessary to express meaningful gratitude to your team.

Here are three skills that will yield the highest return:

1. Write a Note. Do not. I repeat. Do not mistake a thank you email for the real thing. Handwritten thank you notes are about relationships. Emails are about transactions. When you take a little extra time to write a personal message to team members to acknowledge your gratitude, you are also acknowledging that they are more than just tools. They are human beings who matter and are valued. If your note writing skills are rusty, here’s a quick primer to get you started.

2. Make It a Habit. When it comes to business, we fall into the trap of not seeing people when we work with them. This is especially true of the people who come in, get the job done, and don’t require constant attention. We take these employees for granted and just assume they don’t need a show of gratitude. To turn your attention to those who don’t ask for it, take a few minutes each morning to make a list of three team members you appreciate and why. Over time, you’ll begin to cultivate of habit of putting yourself in a gratitude mindset.

3. Give People Sincere Appreciation. People who don’t feel appreciated are often the first to burn out or jump ship. It only takes a minute to recognize a team member for making a positive contribution. But, doing it right requires more than the occasional “Attagirl!” Give timely and specific praise to show your team members how you value their contribution. Here’s a quick demo to show you how.

One final secret to mastering leadership gratitude – you can’t fake it. Leaders who genuinely care about their team members will invest the time to help each one feel valued. Make it a habit to sincerely recognize their efforts. Every day is an opportunity to help people see the best in themselves and feel like a valued contributor to the team.

Question: Have you had a leader who gave you a handwritten note of thanks? What did you learn from that experience? Please leave your comment below.

Leadership Webinar
Join me on November 18th from 9-10 am PT for my FREE leadership webcast. I will talk more about what it means to be a transformative leader in the 21st century, one that makes their teams better, stronger, and more agile in the face of change.

 

6 Powerful Truths About Change Management

For the past few weeks, everything around us has been changing. Temperatures are falling and the sun is setting earlier. Leaves are changing color to vibrant reds and deep yellows. There’s no denying that fall is here and winter is just around the corner. As humans, we are hard wired to accept the inevitability of seasonal changes. If we can manage the extreme weather changes of four seasons a year, why are we so resistant to organizational changes?

SherisBlog_FallLeaves

If you’re engaged in the effort to set a new direction, orchestrate innovation, or mold a culture, here are six universal truths that can guide you along the way.

 

change management-071. People don’t resist change. They resist being changed. As management guru Peter Senge suggests, resistance is greatest when change is inflicted on people. If you can give people a chance to offer their input, change is more likely to be met with enthusiasm and commitment.

 

change management-052. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Big goals can seem overwhelming and cause us to freeze. This simple truth, attributed to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, is a reminder to get moving. Take the first step, however small it may seem, and the journey is underway.

 

change management-043. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Many change efforts fall short because of confusion over the end goal. In the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire cat which road she should take. The cat’s response reminds us to focus on the destination first, then choose the best path.

 

change management-064. Change is a process, not a decision. It happens all too often. Senior executives make pronouncements about change, and then launch programs that lose steam. Lasting change requires an ongoing commitment to the process reinforced by constant communication, tools, and rewards.

 

change management-025. Do not declare victory prematurely. In his book, The Heart of Change Field Guide, author Dan Cohen suggests that short-term wins do not necessarily equal long-term success. Cohen writes, “keep urgency up and a feeling of false pride down.”

 

 

change management-036. Be the change you wish to see in the world. These famous words attributed to Gandhi reminds us all — executives with associates, political leaders with followers, or parents with children — that one of our most important tasks is to exemplify the best of what the change is all about.

 

Any form of change requires an adjustment period, and some are easier than others. While seasonal changes are predictable and tend to go over smoothly, organizational changes cause more chaos. Leaders trying to implement changes in the workplace can take heart in these truisms, settle in and enjoy the journey.

Question: Chances are, you’re going through a change effort now. Which of these truths can you apply today to help achieve success?

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Need help to create a culture of leadership that can navigate change and adapt to the challenges of the 21st century workplace? Read about our results-driven Leadership Development program and contact our team if you’re interested in next steps!

The Future of Leadership

In today’s information economy, predictability has gone the way of the VHS and fax machine. Organizations are struggling to keep up with fluctuating customer demands. Workers are becoming disillusioned and disengaged.

The tension between organizations optimised for predictability and the unpredictable world they inhabit has reached a breaking point. Those led by traditional, transactional, command-and-control practices will not survive.

The pyramid of power

When we picture an organizational structure, typically a pyramid comes to mind. Under the pyramid model, power and privilege are concentrated at the top. It then trickles down through lesser and lesser ranks, leaving those at the bottom with the heaviest workload and the least privilege.

For centuries, the pyramid structure kept monarchies stable, dictated the rank-and-file system of the military, and yielded highly reproducible goods from assembly lines. The model served America’s manufacturing economy well, helping it surge for most of the 20th century.

The leadership style under the pyramid was transactional. The relationship between leader and employee was strictly quid pro quo where work was traded for wages. Companies needed “hired hands” to produce goods in a highly repeatable, efficient process. Greater efficiency meant higher profit for the company. It also meant devaluing the dignity of the employees.


The 21st century information economy is marked by global connectivity and destabilization. Information and telecommunications technologies have created a new economy of information that collapses the traditional boundaries of space and time.

Information is the new raw material. As that material is applied to organizations, everything changes. The collapse of time and space boundaries requires organizations to follow by collapsing their organizational structures along with their hierarchical notions of power. The command-and-control leadership style is no longer sufficient.

Ditching the Pyramid


To be successful in the information economy, leaders must be willing to remove themselves from the power paradigm. They must be willing to be transformed – to learn and grow from those they lead.

Under transformative leadership, the flow of information and influence is bi-directional. Leaders and followers collaborate to advance to a higher level of understanding, transforming both in the process. Together, they turn the raw material of information into knowledge, and that knowledge into service.

I suggest that the best test of transformative leadership is to ask, “Do I grow as a person as a result of my leadership of others?”

I’m thrilled to be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Future of Work Conference in Boston where we will unpack this topic in greater detail. If you’re interested in learning more about the Future of Work Conference in Boston December 7-8, 2015, and other featured speakers, please click here.

This blog was adapted from the CEE Vantage© White Paper released October 1st. Click here to receive a free copy of this white paper or subscribe to our monthly CEE Newsletter to get free resources delivered to your inbox.

Get Unstuck & Shift That Paradigm

Last week, I introduced the PULSE© coaching model that I use to help clients get their lives back in balance.  This week, I’m writing about the first letter in the acronym – “P” for paradigm.  My passion is to empower clients to move past self-limiting barriers and begin to live the life they are meant to live. When you choose to live in truly active manner instead of always reacting to situations around you that’s when the real magic happens.

And now it’s time to… get unstuck and shift that paradigm! 

What is a paradigm? The dictionary definition of paradigm is:  a typical example or pattern of something; a model.

Origin: 1475–85; < Late Latin paradīgma  < Greek parádeigma  pattern (to show side by side)

What does that mean exactly? How does this apply to my life?


Everyone has an “internal” paradigm – a set of beliefs, a particular way of looking at things, or a reason we feel a certain way about certain things. You can almost always justify your paradigm in your own mind. Perhaps you have gone through unimaginable tragedy, loss, or hurt. Perhaps you feel as if you don’t matter or that you have no control over what happens in your life. However, your paradigm can often cause you to be judgmental, jaded, or angry. An out-of-balance paradigm may cause you to become bitter or feel like you are never good enough or that you will never accomplish anything. You become stuck and unable to move forward.

That’s when it is time for a paradigm shift.

The following is my favorite illustration of a paradigm shift by Dr. Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly — some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene.

Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.

The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.

It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”

The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”

Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.

How do I shift my paradigm?

Through one-on-one coaching you will learn how to shift your paradigm from being judgmental of both yourself as well as others by viewing situations through a difference lens. There are ways to hold yourself to a higher standard without beating yourself up and feeling like a failure if you’re not perfect. There are things in life we can control and things we cannot. It is imperative to differentiate between these circumstances to truly achieve a balanced paradigm.

Are you ready for the next step? Use the contact form on my page and let’s chat about this exciting coaching journey together! http://executiveexcellence.com/team/jenny-jacobs/

 

For over a decade Jenny Jacobs has studied the principles of healthy living, life balance, stress management, positive psychology, and self-development. Jenny is a dynamic speaker, coach, and blogger and is passionate about helping people integrate their personal and professional selves.

Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations.