Prepare To Say No

untitledBusiness and corruption happens.

Bernie Madoff and others have made headlines over the past few years for their illegal activities and are now in prison … as they should be.

It’s now many years later and we see that Madoff’s staff is on the ‘hot seat’ for allegedly participating in his devious plan. If you like you can read this recent article from USA Today.

So it brings to question, what should you do when your boss wants you to agree to (or say) something that you know is wrong?

It’s best to answer this question now – before it becomes an issue.

Some people feel trapped because the boss signs the pay checks and can help or ruin careers. Don’t feel trapped.

My leadership tip for you this week is to never participate in the lies and morally wrong action(s) of your boss. You must demonstrate and preserve your unwavering character. Your integrity is part of your value system and you must protect it.

Take a few minutes and think about the different scenarios you could be involved in at work. Is it quality product sacrifices, or financial reporting, or a personnel issue, or something else?

Knowing how you will handle a situation in advance is ‘the practice of mindful preparedness’ – Thinkership.

You can either stand your ground with your boss … or you can simply run away. It’s your decision; because the alternative of participation is not a very good one … just ask the Madoff team now on trial.

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Procactive Wins Over Reactive

untitledWe’ve all been in a situation that has aggravated us … a boring meeting … conflict with a co-worker or the boss … a noisy neighbor … or similar, and we’ve reacted or responded in a way that we regret.

We need to be careful and think things through more thoroughly.

Take as an example, the recent story of a man who was shot in a movie theatre after an argument with a fellow movie-goer. The argument was over texting during the movie.

Or the man who is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty for shooting his gun at teenagers who were playing loud music at a gas station. He is facing up to 60 years !!

I’m not even going to mention the road rage incidents that happen all too frequently … often resulting in property damage and / or death.

These, among many others are very serious situations that we could all be faced with in the blink of an eye.

My leadership tip for you this week is to avoid bad situations by thinking things through in advance. I call this Thinkership – the practice of mindful preparedness.

I want you to avoid the mishaps at work and away from work utilizing the principles of Thinkership.

There are many factors involved, but here are a couple of Thinkership practices you can begin to take:

1. Slow down and start thinking – by slowing down and thinking more, you will be positioned to make better decisions faster.

2. Anticipate and plan – by anticipating situations and planning the solution before it becomes a problem for you.

We all make mistakes in our lives and there are some decisions we make in the heat of the moment that we absolutely need to avoid.

It’s best to be a leader who is more proactive than reactive.

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The Best Way To Make A Decision

decisionsLast week we heard CVS Caremark make a major announcement – they have decided to no longer sell tobacco products from their drug stores.

Hip – hip hurray !

Personally, I applaud this decision of the leadership holding themselves accountable to align their decisions with their values.

They’re wanting to promote a healthier life-style to their customers.

They may have angered some customers … but they are doing the right thing.

Don’t you wish more companies would do the same ?

If your values talk about excellent service – then give us excellent service, not entry level service.

If your values talk about high quality products – then give us a high quality product.

If your values talk about respect for your employees – then demonstrate that respect.

My leadership tip for you this week is to remind you to look to your values when making decisions about your business. Hold yourself and your team accountable to make the right decisions for the right reasons, because your leadership credibility is at stake.

Test yourself; look at the last 5 – decisions you made, and ask yourself if they were consistent with the stated values of your organization?

If they were, smile and keep up the good work.

If they weren’t, well move on and do better next time.

Remember, leaders who lack credibility are not fully trusted by their followers and have a difficult time achieving a fully engaged workforce … which is critical to long-term organizational and leadership success.

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Work-Life Balance Is Critical

untitledIf you’ve ever been to one of my leadership presentations, you probably heard me talk about the importance of work-life balance for leaders.

If you haven’t, but are interested in a copy of my work-life balance test, feel free to email me with ‘work -life balance’ in the subject line and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

I typically talk about the importance of a leader achieving a reasonable work-life balance for them so they are able to maintain a high level of personal productivity … we aren’t as productive at work as we need to be if we’re experiencing stress at home – and vice versa.

I also talk about the importance of the leader paying attention to the work-life balance of those that report to them for the same reason … and because leaders care !

When I think about it, I never bring up the impact exercise has on work-life balance … mainly because I’ve never thought about it until I read an interesting and helpful article on the topic – you can read it here.

My leadership tip for you this week is to read this article and share it with others. Begin to incorporate a regular amount of exercise in your weekly routine to extract the work-life balance benefits reported.

Additionally, follow these 5 – steps to work-life balance … it is my personal proven formula.

1. Decide what is good work-life balance for you – everyone is different.

2. Plan – maintain a calendar with both business and personal activities.

3. Communicate – make sure the family knows what’s going on at work and work knows what’s going on at home.

4. Adjust – make the necessary adjustments to achieve the desired balance (the hardest part).

5. Communicate some more.

Let me know if you need a little coaching to achieve your desired results.

I sincerely hope you achieve the quality of work-life balance that works for you … and that you are able to inspire those around you to achieve theirs.

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Passionate Leaders Get Results

untitledWith the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I wanted to find one worthy leadership tip to share.

As you know, there are plenty of story lines in the game and leading up to the game.

I found one … and it’s a good one.

In case you didn’t see the story about the importance of leaders setting the stage, you can read about it here.

Here’s the short version … apparently the Denver Bronco’s off the field leader, John Elway, wasn’t happy with the team’s performance in a pre-season game.

” an agitated executive vice president of football operations gave a rare, honest, critical and emotional speech that day to make it clear a performance like that was well below the standards of an organization with its sights on playing into February.”

“Elway’s message, according to the players, was that kind of play won’t allow a team that last season dropped a playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens to advance further this year. The players said he challenged a “soft” defense to play better and let everyone in the room know they had the potential to do so much more.”

My leadership tip for you this week is to identify opportunities to display your passion by delivering a stump speech about the importance of high-level consistent performance and your expectations.

Nothing will get an organization more charged up and committed, as when the leader makes a passionate statement about ‘what’s important’.

“The players have pointed back to that fiery preseason talk from Elway as a turning point for this team’s work ethic. Before that meeting, they agree many in the room probably thought subconsciously this team would waltz back into the playoffs. After the speech, they knew they had to work hard every day to get there.”

The real message here is don’t tolerate mediocrity. If you see it, hear it or feel it … address it … and with passion, so everyone knows you’re serious.

Exceptional leaders lead with passion … and this is a great example from the business of professional sports.

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Excellence Challenge

untitledThink about this quote from Winston Churchill.

“Excellence is … Caring more than others think is wise;
Risking more than others think is safe;
Dreaming more than others think is practical.
Expecting more than others think is possible.”

You might have to read it a couple of times to fully absorb the full power of the message, but it is powerful.

My leadership tip for you this week is to evaluate your level of excellence as defined by Mr. Churchill.

Caring – do you show that you really care about your organization? … or is there more that you could and should do? Think your team, customers and community

Risking – are you taking the kind of reasonable risks that will catapult your organization to a higher level? … or are your strategies and plans conservative and safe? Think marketing, competition and market share.

Dreaming – do you have a vision for your organization that is exciting and a stretch? … or is your vision, conservative and boring words on paper? … Also think improvement, creativity and innovation … or are you operating the same way as you always have?

Expecting – are the challenges you’ve given your organization reasonable given the resources you’ve allowed? … or are they basic mundane performance challenges? Think growth, quality and customer service performance.

If you think about this quote, Winston Churchill is challenging us to be better and more exciting than we currently are.

Everyone wants to be part of an exciting organization that’s going places. It’s our job to lead them there … let’s accept the Churchill Excellence Challenge !

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