Category Archives: Business

Business

Millennials, Need These Old-School Skills to Thrive!

managers meeting

The modern workplace changes rapidly. Whether it’s a new management approach, skill or tool, the modern worker easily gets caught in constant change.

Millennials are a generation comfortable with change. We experienced everything from floppy disks to Uber, and we understand change is part of life. Yet constant change can result in lost focus. If we constantly focus on the “next big thing,” we never actually grow. Instead, we find ourselves stagnant in our life and careers.

Despite the changing workplace, there are a few old-school skills millennials must master to be successful. What are they? I asked five executives from top companies to find out:

1. Adapt

Business moves quickly, so it’s impossible to know what will happen in the future. Big is no longer a competitive advantage; adaptability is. The only way to deal with an uncertain future is to build culture and competencies to deal with uncertainty.” Chris Heaslip, CEO, PushPay

2. Understand people

“Even with todays pace of technology evolution,  a few vital skills from history don’t seem to grow old. Those skills are revolve around understanding and working with people and all of their complexities. As companies today head toward new agile ways of working, forming self directed end to end teams is most critical.  And the skill of mixing the right people on these teams will make or break their success.” Konrad Lagarde, IBM’s Agile Academy

3. Say thank you

“Saying thank you in person has become such a novelty in the workplace! As we move toward virtual workplaces, it gets harder and harder to talk face-to-face. But, especially as team leaders, never underestimate the value of ‘putting your mouth where your money is.’ Don’t just thank someone with a bonus and an email. Give them a handshake and make eye contact too. It will make a big difference to your team!” Carolyn Slaski, EYAmericas Vice Chair, Talent

4. Develop yourself

“A growth mindset is the single most important skill to be successful in the workplace. How work is done changes rapidly, and to stay ahead people need to change with it. If you plant yourself in your job and expect the world to stop moving, growing and morphing around you, you will spend your time in a state of frustration. Developing a true growth mindset is one thing that separates a good employee from a mediocre or even bad one. And it ultimately allows both the individual to be a success and the company they work for to win. Which is ultimately the goal, right?” 

read more at Forbes

A FORGOTTEN VIRTUE OF GREAT LEADERSHIP

You don’t know it all. There are limits to your knowledge, ability and energy. And while the competitive nature of our culture, which often sneaks into our lives for those in leadership, and would have us to hide all of our weaknesses in fear, there is tremendous power in becoming vulnerable with people.

managing-business-risk

This article was written for church leaders but it just as applicable to business leaders and leaders in general. Deciding to become vulnerable is risky. As church leaders (business leaders), there will be people in our congregations (businesses) that don’t want us to be human. They would prefer that we wear a halo and pretend we’re never tempted to sin in the same ways they are. They feel safer if we, as spiritual leaders, are immune to the crass realities of life.

But when we hide our weaknesses, three big problems arise:

1. Our weaknesses get worse, feeding off the shame and secrecy.

2. We become dishonest and hypocritical.

3. The truth inevitably comes out, and people are disillusioned as a result.

So is bearing our vulnerability worth the risk? Absolutely. Here are some important reasons vulnerability is a forgotten virtue of great leadership:

1. It’s emotionally healthy. Maintaining an image of perfection requires enormous amounts of emotional energy. One of the reasons we sometimes get so stressed-out and depressed is because we’re working so hard to stay behind the facade and keep everyone convinced that we’re strong.

If you are worried about your image, you are heading for burnout. Keeping people happy and impressing others is terribly exhausting, and it’s always temporary. Eventually, people get to know our weaknesses all at once.

Being real and vulnerable, on the other hand, is liberating. It’s freeing. In fact, it’s really the only way to live. James 5:16 says, Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. We need to confess our sins to God to be forgiven, but we also need to talk about our weaknesses with others to find healing.

In fact, some faults won’t budge until you confess them to others.

2. It’s spiritually empowering. James also says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6b). It is impossible to lead in ministry without the grace of God. And how do you find the grace you need? You find it by humbling yourself before God and others.

Remember, pride prevents power.

3. It’s relationally attractive. Everybody is wearing a mask, and it’s what we expect others to do as well. When we choose to throw our masks away, we surprise people with our authenticity. Being real is the fastest way to endear yourself to others.

We tend to love people who area real, honest, humble and vulnerable, and we tend to despise people who are deceitful, arrogant and hypocritical. Paul told the Thessalonian believers, So having great love toward you, we were willing to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you were dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:8).

When you share your strengths, you create competition. But when you share your weaknesses, you create community. You let people know “We’re all in this together.”

Pastors are often incredibly lonely people. Why? I believe it’s in large part because they’re so afraid of the cost of being vulnerable.

4. It’s a mark of leadership. We only follow leaders we trust. The first requirement for effective leadership is credibility, and the more honest you are, the more credible you become.

Real leaders lead by example. They go first. If your desire is that the church, group or organisation you’re leading be a place where people are open, you must be the first to open up.

You must decide whether you want to impress people (which you can do from a distance) or influence people (which you can only do up close).

5. It increases the impact of your preaching/leading. The concept of preaching from our vulnerability is something I’ve written about before because it’s a really big idea. In the previous generation of great preachers, we usually asked what’s the most powerful way to preach this? Now, we should be asking what’s the most personal way to preach this?

You will always be more effective as a personal witness and a storyteller than as a skilled orator. As you preach and lead, try to answer these questions:

  • What struggles and weaknesses should I share with others?
  • What progress am I making that others could learn from?
  • What am I currently learning, especially from my failures?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

YOU CAN’T BE A GREAT LEADER WITHOUT TRUST

Here’s how Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line.

networking

  • Among all the attributes of the greatest leaders of our time, one stands above the rest: They are all highly trusted. You can have a compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team, but if people don’t trust you, you will never get the results you want. Leaders who inspire trust garner better output, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue, while mistrust fosters scepticism, frustration, low productivity, lost sales, and turnover. Trust affects a leader’s impact and the company’s bottom line more than any other single thing. One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is to assume that others trust him simply by virtue of his title. Trust is not a benefit that comes packaged with the nameplate on your door. It must be earned, and it takes time. As a leader, you are trusted only to the degree that people believe in your ability, consistency, integrity, and commitment to deliver. The good news is that you can earn trust over time, by building and maintaining eight key strengths:
  • CLARITY: People trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily activities. When a leader is clear about expectations, she will likely get what she wants. When we are clear about priorities on a daily basis, we become productive and effective.
  • COMPASSION: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves. Think beyond yourself, and never underestimate the power of sincerely caring about another person. People are often sceptical about whether someone really has their best interests in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old saying. It is a bottom-line truth. Follow it, and you will build trust.
  • CHARACTER: People notice those who do what is right ahead of what is easy. Leaders who have built this pillar consistently do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, whether they feet like doing it or not. It is the work of life to do what is right rather than what is easy.
  • CONTRIBUTION: Few things build trust quicker than actual results. At the end of the day, people need to see outcomes. You can have compassion and character, but without the results you promised, people won’t trust you. Be a contributor who delivers real results.
  • COMPETENCY: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. The humble and teachable person keeps learning new ways of doing things and stays current on ideas and trends. According to one study, the key competency of a successful new MBA is not a specific skill but rather the ability to learn amid chaos. Arrogance and a “been there done that” attitude prevent you from growing, and they compromise others’ confidence in you. There is always more to learn, so make a habit of reading, learning, and listening to fresh information.
  • CONNECTION: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends—and having friends is all about building connections. Trust is all about relationships, and relationships are Page 8 best built by establishing genuine connection. Ask questions, listen, and above all, show gratitude—it’s the primary trait of truly talented connectors. Grateful people are not entitled, they do not complain, and they do not gossip. Develop the trait of gratitude, and you will be a magnet.
  • COMMITMENT: People believe in those who stand through adversity. People trusted Jesus, General Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and George Washington because they saw commitment and sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment builds trust.
  • CONSISTENCY: In every area of life, it’s the little things—done consistently— that make the big difference. If I am overweight, it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not because I ate too much yesterday. It is the same in business. The little things done consistently make for a higher level of trust and better results. The great leaders consistently do the small but most important things first. They make that call and write that thank you note. Do the little things, consistently. Trust can’t be built overnight. It requires time, effort, diligence, and character. Inspiring trust is not slick or easy to fake. Trust is like a forest. It takes a long time to grow and can burn down with a just touch of carelessness. But if you focus on these eight components with every action, you will foster trusted relationships—whether with employees, customers, suppliers, or fellow leaders—that will drive results and the bottom line.

This article is by David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge

UNEXPECTED HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL LEADERS

insanely-successful-leaders

If you’ve been following Marcel Schwantes, Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core (@MarcelSchwantes) for a while, you’ll have noticed humility is one of his favorite leadership traits to write about; This time for Inc.

But because this word has different effects on different people, it’s often misunderstood. Some interpret it as having a lack of self-confidence or being timid–traits too soft to survive in the harshness of business life. Far from the truth.

The word first struck me in the context of leadership when Jim Collins mentioned it in his seminal book Good to Great.

Collins examined 1,435 “good” companies, and out of the masses he discovered 11 unique companies that became “great.” The insanely successful leaders at those 11 companies were known for directing their ego away from themselves to the larger goal of leading their company to greatness.

Collins found these leaders had a paradoxical mix of intense professional will and extreme personal humility. They are described as modest, with a determination to create results by shifting the focus away from themselves and continually recognizing the contributions of others.

Bruna Martinuzzi, president of Clarion Enterprises and author of The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow, observes these five habits in leaders who practice humility:

1. Stop talking.

Allow the other person to be in the limelight. There is something very liberating in this strategy.

2. Three magical words.

Use these words for better results than a week’s worth of executive coaching with me (or anyone else, for that matter): “You are right.”

3. Catch yourself.

If you slip into preaching or telling others what to do without permission, think again. Is imposing your point of view overtaking discretion? Is your correction of others reflective of your own needs?

4. Seek input from peers.

Wondering how you are doing on your leadership path? Ask. It takes humility to say “How am I doing?” And even more humility to consider the answer.

5. Set an example.

There’s no better way to encourage the practice of humility in your circle than by practicing it yourself. Every time you share credit for successes with others, you reinforce the ethos.

Parting thoughts.

Interesting things happen when we apply the humble approach. It opens us up to possibilities. We choose open-mindedness and curiosity over protecting our point of view. We become more willing to learn from what others have to offer. We forget about being perfect and better enjoy being in the moment. It also improves relationships, reduces anxiety, and enhances one’s self-confidence.

There’s clear competitive advantage in mastering humility.

read more at inc.com

Company Runs Without Managers

Fascinating article by Inc’s David Burkus. Holocracy, Does it work in practice? (read more at inc.com)

managers meeting

To most business professionals, the idea of  firing your managers sounds insane. However some of the most successful companies do in fact run manager-less, while others have found ways to push some of the management function down to the level of those who are being managed. In either case, more and more leaders are discovering that employees are most productive and engaged when they control their own destiny.

Employees at Valve Software don’t have to take orders from ‘the boss.’ That’s because, at the Bellevue, Washington-based company, there are no bosses to give orders.

As I write about in Under New Management, Valve is a company with no managers. They don’t believe in managers, or job descriptions. When new people join the company, they rotate around on various projects, talk to lots of people, and then decide which project (or projects) to jump into full-time.

Valve isn’t just a small handful of programmers working in a garage either. The company was founded in 1996 by Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell. The company grew organically and quickly based on the success of its critically acclaimed game series Half-Life. The company has grown dramatically from the original partnership to more than 400 people.

Ordinarily, that type of growth would require a fairly rigid hierarchy to manage everyone and keep them working in the right direction. But Harrington and Newell chose to ignore the traditional structure and to build something that would allow innovative and talented people to thrive.

In fact, what Valve employees work on changes so much each day that every employee’s desk is equipped with wheels and organized such that only two cords need to be unplugged before it can be rolled to wherever it’s needed in the shop.

There are lots of people, however, to tell them what they could do. Since Valve has no managers, all projects are started by an individual employee or a group pitching an idea and then recruiting a team. If enough people join the group, the project starts. Sometimes an individual employee is referred to as the ‘leader’ for a project, but everyone knows that this simply means that this person is keeping track of all of the information and organizing what’s being done — not giving orders.

There are also lots of people to tell employees how they’re doing. Valve may not have managers, but it does have a performance management system in place. A designated set of employees interview everyone in the company and ask who they’ve worked with since the last peer review session. They ask about their experiences working with each person. That feedback is collected and anonymized, and then every employee is given a report on their peers’ experiences working with them.

Valve also empowers all of its employees to make hiring decisions, which it describes as “the most important thing in the universe.” Valve attributes the success of its organizational design to hiring the smartest, most innovative, and most talented people it can find. The company’s handbook reminds employees, “Any time you interview a potential hire, you need to ask yourself not only if they’re talented or collaborative but also if they’re capable of literally running this company, because they will be.”

The leaders of companies like Valve have discovered something that researchers have known for decades: when individuals feel free to determine what they’re working on or how they work, they’re more motivated, more loyal and more productive. While Valve’s almost free-form structure may not be ideal for every company, the lessons learned here about improved productivity and engagement are of use to all.

read more at inc.com