Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

The Power & Profit of Nice

March 16, 2016

Nice guys finish last. (Translation: they don’t get the hot girl)
She has a nice personality (Translation: bow wow)
It’s a nice movie (Translation: snooze fest)
Nice has become a four letter word.
It’s a well known fact that people join companies but leave bosses. Why? According to a Harvard study on the top Fortune 500 companies in the US, the main reason employees leave an organization is because they feel unappreciated. They feel like their opinions don’t count and they’re not valued.
Ouch! Not nice.  
                                       
 
With employee engagement at only 32%, leaders need to wake up and smell the power of nice. What is the cost of being approachable, encouraging and supportive of a worker’s career goals vs having to replace him/her? Errrrrrr………
A few months ago I was the keynote speaker at a Customer Service conference for a company in Dallas. There were over 500+ employees in the organization yet the staff turnover rate was nearly 0% for over 20 years. How?
Everyone I asked said the same thing – they felt valued. They felt like part of a big family with a common purpose because from the top leadership down they were treated with courtesy, respect and appreciation.
Simple stuff, huge results. 
And for any of you naysayers that think ‘nice’ is politically correct term for ‘pushover’, read about these two women from the Bronx that built a billion dollar advertising company around being nice. Clients chose them over others because ‘they liked them’ www.thepowerofnice.com   
Cha ching!
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Wah! Wah! My Coffee Is Cold

September 24, 2013

Soldier crouching sad

Recently I read about returning soldiers having a tough time being civil to people complaining about their jobs, their kids, their life.

As a motivational speaker during my presentations I talk about taking risks to reach new levels of success professionally and personally. Stepping outside our comfort zone to learn a new software program can feel uncomfortable. Going to unfamiliar places to meet different people and make new friends can be scary to some.

Really?

The men and women in our military that risk their lives for our freedom are the people who truly understand fear, courage, discipline, teamwork, leadership and living in hardship.

Next time you want to whine about having to attend a meeting, another project on your desk, cold coffee or running errands, stop and think how lucky you are to be living in this great country where women can go to school, diverse religions thrive, government is elected fairly and people can speak out.

Really.

STUPID OR FEARLESS?

June 12, 2013
man diving
Would you dive off these rocks like this? (sober?) 
Me neither.Taking risks is essential to make progress and succeed in anything – from business to relationships, sports to entertainment. As a motivational speaker that focuses on being fearless, I’ve had to walk my talk many times. In fact I’m still struttin’ my stuff 
with wobbly knees sometimes…

It takes courage to learn something new and risk looking like a fool.It takes courage to confront someone you have issues with and risk losing their friendship.

It takes courage to take on a leadership role and risk being criticized.

Stupid is not trying.

Are You Headed For Prison?

April 18, 2013

                      cell                

The Boston Marathon bombings have shaken
each of us to our core and left us wondering where it will all end….
Once again fear is at the forefront of the news.
 
As a motivational speaker for business groups at meetings and conferences, I talk alot about being fearless – taking risks to succeed at work and be happy in life. Fear can make us a prisoner of our imagination.
 
Terrorists are yellow-bellied cowards filled with hate and fear of anyone not like them. Chances are you don’t know one.
 
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is trying to prove himself using provocative nuclear and missile actions. Odds are you’ll never meet him.

Know-It-All Dictator Boss
doesn’t leave room for disagreements out of a sense of personal insecurity, arrogance, or both. The loyalty of the few cronies he or she has is built on fear, and so it isn’t authentic friendship. You may be familiar with this one.
 
I believe people’s insecurities show up as aggression, shyness, controversy, aloofness, arrogance, bullying, incessant chatter, rudeness, and otherwise unwanted traits.

At the essence of this defense mechanism behavior is the fear of not being good enough. The common result? Isolation, emotional instability, unhappiness.

The first step to solving a problem is to admit it exists. Do you see any of these traits in anyone you know? Errr, yes….especially if you take a look in the mirror.

Don’t let fear build walls around your ability to live, laugh, love and be happy.

Love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like there’s nobody watching, yada yada yada…

How To Make Your Employees Feel Like Superheroes

September 25, 2012
As a professional speaker on workplace performance I found this blog to be spot on. Managers take note!  
 
– Fast Company blogger September 18th, 2012 

I once got this in a message from a former employee:

“When I worked for you, I thought I was Superman. I have occasionally reflected on why that was. Not sure I know all the answers, but the things I do know are that the environment was real, the energy was high, and the crap was low..”

It was wonderful to get that message. Those first 10 words sum up for me, in a pretty profound way, what I believe being a good leader is about.

I used to wonder why I was so lucky to have such remarkable, talented, experienced people want to work for me. I realized that a big part of it boiled down to what was in that note:

1. I got the right people in the right roles. 

2. I let them be amazing.

3. I got the crap out of the way (people really liked this!).

Here’s how you can tackle each step to foster employee satisfaction and a memorable culture:

1. Get the right people in the right roles. 

Are you leading the team you need? Or are you leading the team you have?

There is nothing more important as a leader than to build a team underneath you that is so capable that you can free yourself up to solve higher-order problems. Too many managers think the job is to make the best of the team they have. That is not the job.

The job is to develop, and if necessary change, the people–so you get individuals who are well suited for their roles, and a highly capable team that can do what the business needs now and in the future.

 If you find yourself needing over and over again to personally step in to make key decisions or do strategic work that you hoped one of your staff would handle, you have someone in the wrong role. You need to make a change.

 I realize this sounds harsh. But you have choices and you don’t need to be a bad person to build a great team. The good news is that getting the right people in the right roles is great for them, it’s great for you, and it’s great for the business. There is no downside except that it’s hard to do. So…

GUT CHECK: Is your desired outcome to grow the business or to keep people in their jobs?

Here are your choices:

Grow the business: If your desired outcome is to grow the business, then you need to get the right people in the right jobs and eliminate the people who are not capable enough.

Keep jobs: If your desired outcome is to have people keep their jobs you have two choices: 

  • Move them to different, lower, or sideways jobs, and free up the key jobs to be filled by stronger people.
  • If you can’t or won’t do this, then don’t waste time and energy signing your business up for strategic growth. If you are not going to change the people, find a less ambitious business model you can execute with the team you have.
2. Let people be amazing. 

Okay. Now that you have the right team of highly capable people, give them important work, support them, step back, and let them be amazing.

Don’t just delegate work. Delegate power.

Let people make big decisions and solve big problems. Let them do great work they can be proud of.

Give them recognition. Be an active spokesperson for their efforts. Show them trust and respect, and make sure they get the credit for their accomplishments–they will move mountains for you. Get out of their way!

3. Get the crap out of the way. 

As a leader a key part of your job is to create a work environment that is good to work in.

Uncertainty, worry, and unnecessary complexity all drain energy and trust out of the organization. If you want to create an environment where your people can thrive, you need to actively and continually remove the sand that creeps into gears.

Here are some ideas to get rid of the de-motivating crap:

Remove uncertainty:

* Make, clarify, and communicate decisions.
* Don’t let questions and rumors fester.

* Don’t leave people to wonder what is important, or which direction to go.

Remove negativity:
* Discourage unproductive, negative talk. No one can complain without offering a proposal.
* Eliminate people who drain energy out of the organization.

* Remove any managers who are bullies, or who block communication.

Be accountable:
* Have clear plans with measures and accountability.
* Address missed deadlines with consequences and action plans. (You’d be surprised how much positive energy this creates.)

* Face up to, and fix broken strategies.

Find the magic 

When you get someone in the right role right that aligns with their natural strengths, abilities, and ambitions, magic happens.They thrive. They grow. They do amazing things. They feel proud of what they do. They are motivated and energized.

When you get a whole team of people who are in the right roles, the team becomes unstoppable. And then you are free to look forward and lead (and keep vigilant at removing the crap, which takes actual time).

Your job as a leader is to create that team–a team that can amplify what you can do. Otherwise you are at the helm of a team that is constrained by you, not led by you.

– Patty Azzarello, Author of Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader and Liking Your Life

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Why you need fans GaGa over you

March 12, 2012

As a motivational speaker at conferences around the country I need to stand out from the crowded speakers circuit to be in demand. I do that by playing the piano during my presentations on peak performance  and since music is a universal language that energizes people of all ages and cultures, I’m usually booked as the opening keynote.

The five principles of learning to master the piano are the same ones that apply to be successful at work: Passion, Persistence, Attitude, People and Focus.

Ready to rock?

Passion

The beginning of all motivation. Every rock star, athlete and billionaire  started out with one thing in common – they had a passion for what they do.  Fear and money are both great motivators and perceived obstacles. Taking small steps outside your comfort zone towards that dream job/new business can open up a world of opportunities.  

Persistence

Most people give up too easily… at the first sign of difficulty they’re outta there. In Malcolm Gladwell‘s book ‘Outliers’ he writes how Bill Gates and The Beatles each took 10,000 hours worth of practice to reach the levels of excellence they did.  Think Lady Gaga was an overnight success? Not! She started playing piano when she was four. It took 10 years for me to play pop music worth listening to without sounding like a total dweeb.

Attitude

In today’s economy you have to be extraordinary to get the job/client and keep the job/client. This means constantly learning new ways of working. Translation: stay teachable. The days of managers that Know-It-All and We’ve-Always-Done-It-This-Way are SO over. Baby Boomers and Traditionalists need to learn about the latest gizmos from Gen X & Y who in turn need to learn about professional communications. Multi-millionaire Lady Gaga has the ultimate attitude of being willing to change by re-inventing herself almost every week with outrageous costumes, creative videos and spectacular sets. (You gotta get a load of this boomer standing up with one foot on the piano playing ‘Paparazzi’ during her keynotes!)

Stay humble and likeable. Mark Pincus CEO of Zynga a hugely successful online game company, says the main attribute he looks for when hiring is humility because it means someone is both approachable and open to new ideas. Managers that recognize employees for a job well done boost productivity, teamwork and morale. Lady Gaga is constantly thanking her fans that she affectionately calls ‘little monsters’. People buy from people they like. Having peeps gaga over you = cha ching!

People

Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump and Lady Gaga realized early on they needed other people to help them be successful so they each had mentors. For your organization to achieve goals great teamwork is essential and mentoring the younger generations is key. For your small business to thrive, brainstorm with peers in the industry for fresh ideas and solutions to challenges. Join group discussions on Linked In to stay current in your field, create a buzz about your biz on Facebook and post Tweets of value to your Twibe.

Focus

When I was offered the opportunity to audition for Coca Cola to perform at the 2006 Winter Olympics, I did nothing else for three days but focus on  winning. Through research I found out who was going to be in the audience in Italy and practiced piano relentlessly to WOW the judges in Houston within 30 seconds. To stay ahead of your competition today pay attention to changing market trends and keep up with technology to provide speedier customer service.  Focus on goals but stay open to new ideas.

I’m honored to say I bought home the Olympic gold (OK, so it’s a chocolate medal).

Got goals?

Get fans.