Leadership

Can Creativity Drive Revenue?

Whether it’s an idea for a new product or an innovative way to solve a business challenge, companies today should embrace creativity if they want to stay relevant in the marketplace. We are rapidly entering an era of creative intensification, and corporations that are unwilling to foster a creative environment will find it difficult to […]

Whether it’s an idea for a new product or an innovative way to solve a business challenge, companies today should embrace creativity if they want to stay relevant in the marketplace.

We are rapidly entering an era of creative intensification, and corporations that are unwilling to foster a creative environment will find it difficult to compete with those that do. So how does it work? How do you bring more creativity into a place of business? Can it be used to drive revenue?

Absolutely.

For starters, it’s about being willing to foster an environment where employees feel comfortable and are encouraged to share their thoughts openly. Leaders within the business must be prepared to listen to everyone’s ideas because the best leaders understand that innovation can come from anyone, regardless of their position in the company.

That’s what trips most people up. When leaders feel like all the ideas must come from them, they miss a tremendous opportunity to gain insight from the people who are in the best position to help the company grow — the employees.

For example, a two-year, in-house creativity course at General Electric resulted in a 60% increase in patentable concepts, while creativity-training participants at Pittsburgh Plate Glass showed a 300% increase in viable ideas compared with those who didn’t take the course. Those are significant increases and worthy of attention.

Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, said, “For innovation to truly flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together — exchanging knowledge, ideas, and shaping the direction of the company’s future.”

But you must be willing to go all in. For creativity to truly deliver an ROI, everyone in the company must be on board. Check your ego at the door and embrace a culture where everyone can feel safe to voice their opinions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room and witnessed someone get destroyed because they had summoned the courage to speak up, only to be told by management, “Well, we’ve tried that already, and it didn’t work!”

That employee took a risk to offer a thought, only to be made to feel like their contribution was silly and unworthy of consideration. Creativity will not flourish in that type of toxic environment.

Too often, today’s risk-averse business conditions don’t support creative thought and ideation the way they should. Most are great at tracking production costs, profitability, taxes and payroll. Essential items that go into running a successful business. But, creativity doesn’t receive the same status and gets brushed aside.

Consider the recent survey on creativity by Adobe who surveyed business people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Japan. 80% of respondents felt that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth. 75% said they are constantly under pressure to be more creative at work. Therein lies the challenge. Creativity isn’t something that can be mandated. You can’t order employees to be more creative, then criticize them if positive results don’t immediately show up on your spreadsheets. Businesses that tap into the power of creativity stand a much better chance of developing new products, unlocking new markets and discovering new revenue streams. Focus on creating an environment for employees to grow and develop creatively, and support their efforts by allowing them to take risks.

Don’t stigmatize mistakes. Be willing to entertain different opinions. Have the courage to try new approaches. Embrace ambiguity. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Be open to hearing the things you need to hear as opposed to what you want to hear. Do these things consistently, and you’ll see an impact.

Creativity is real, and it’s here to stay. Those companies who are brave enough to accept that fact can capitalize on creativity’s undeniable power and use it as a force for change and growth.

The good news is the future only comes one day at a time. The bad news is if you’re unwilling to bring creativity into your business, you won’t have much of a future to worry about.

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Your Daily Growth Appointments

Personal growth is an absolute requirement for Leaders. We cannot stand still. We must continually pursue personal growth in order to increase our capacity to lead. Growth does not happen automatically. Time and experience do not necessarily equate to growth. If we want to grow, we must be very intentional about the pursuit. It has […]

Personal growth is an absolute requirement for Leaders. We cannot stand still. We must continually pursue personal growth in order to increase our capacity to lead.

Growth does not happen automatically. Time and experience do not necessarily equate to growth. If we want to grow, we must be very intentional about the pursuit.

It has been said that you cannot predict the future, but to some extent you can control your future by controlling what you do today and every day. You must be purposeful and you must be consistent.

Growth compounds with consistency. Even small steps forward, if done on a consistent basis, will add up to large growth over time. The key is your daily routine. What are you doing to grow every day?

I have found that Daily Growth Appointments provide me with an excellent framework for consistent growth. Even though I am not perfect in my execution, this daily routine has paid big dividends. Some days and weeks are better than others in terms of visible progress. The important thing is to engage the process every single day because, while it may not look like progress is being made, growth is occurring beneath the surface.

My Daily Growth Appointments

Work Out 5:00-6:00 am

During this time, I weight train or do a cardio workout. It is a great way to start the day and clear the mind.

Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write  6:00-6:30 am

During this time, I do the following with respect to my top goals and priorities, which will change over time as goals are achieved.

  • Express gratitude
  • Seek wisdom
  • Ask myself
    • “What is going well?”
    • “What is not going well?”
    • “What activities should I do more frequently?”
    • “What activities should I do less frequently or eliminate?”
    • “What should I do differently?”
    • “What else should I be doing?”
  • Write down what I have learned.

    Possibility Thinking 6:30-6:45 am

Possibility Thinking is the process of allowing your mind to work on a large goal and arrive at the possibilities related to accomplishing that goal.

As an example, if you have a goal to double your income this year, spend fifteen minutes each day thinking into all the possible ways of doubling your income. Sit quietly with a pad of paper and a pen and as you think, write down every idea that comes into your mind. Don’t pass judgment, just write. Do this every day for 90 days. If you miss a day, start over at day one.

At the end of the 90 days, review what you have written. You will be equipped with a greater awareness of how to accomplish this large goal. Use this new awareness and the ideas that you have written to develop a plan. Input the items of this plan into your Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write process.

Read and Learn Something New 6:45–7:15 am

During this time, I read with the mission of learning something new. It may be a new book on a personal growth or Leadership topic, or I may reread all or part of books that I have read previously, knowing that this time I will see new things.

Evening Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write 9:45–10:00 pm

It is helpful to pray, reflect, plan, and write in the evening while the events of the day are still fresh in my mind. This time consists of the same elements as the morning reflection time but is usually shorter. This helps me to wind down and sets me up to have a productive Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write appointment the following morning.

I encourage you to create your own Daily Growth Appointments. You can use the plan that I have outlined here and modify it to fit your needs, or you can create something completely different. The important thing is to define your Daily Growth Appointments, get them into your calendar, and keep them every day.

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So you’ve got their business card… Now what?

Hopefully, you’ve made a great connection with them and gave a lot of value in the interaction. When networking you should be giving 51% more value. Always try to add more value to help that person in this relationship.  No, that doesn’t mean selling them all of your products.  Ask a lot of questions and […]

Hopefully, you’ve made a great connection with them and gave a lot of value in the interaction. When networking you should be giving 51% more value. Always try to add more value to help that person in this relationship.  No, that doesn’t mean selling them all of your products.  Ask a lot of questions and try to find out what they need help with and help them.

Maybe they told you they just bought a new house and the roof needs replaced.  Make special note of that because it will be very important in a moment.

You left a networking event, and you have a handful of business cards from the new people you met.  Here is what you should and should NOT do with them.

1 The next day, email them or shoot them a call.  Here is where you will provide value because you are going to help them out. If they need a new roof, you are going to send them the names of some of your friends in the roofing business.  Maybe they mentioned they needed to find a gift for their husband’s birthday coming up, so you send them some awesome gift ideas.  This is where you will create tremendous value.

*DO NOT automatically add them to an automated email list or send them an automated email.  They will most likely take it personally (and not in a good way), and you will end up destroying all the value you just worked so hard to create.  You must ask before adding them.

Also, if you do recommend another company’s services, please make sure they are very professional and won’t make you look bad. Once again that will kill the value you just worked to build.

 2 Send them a handwritten note.  This is something that is extremely overlooked and is still an excellent way to build your personal and professional network.  It doesn’t have to be long or anything about yourself, just a nice quick note saying it was great to meet you and look forward to connecting more.  You can even throw in a call to action saying, call me and we can do lunch soon!

Trust me this goes a long way and shows the other person you care enough to take the time to write them a note.

 3 Get social.  Find the people you connected with not just on LinkedIn but across all social media.  Let’s be honest; business is no longer just done on LinkedIn but across all social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. By becoming friends with people on social media, you can start building the relationships more AND finding out more about them and how you can continue to create value for them.  As most of us do, we talk about our businesses success and have other people talk about our business successes on social media.  This is a great opportunity for them to see others talking about your successes, which in turn is a great way for that person to see how you can help them without you saying, “look how great me, my products, and my services are!”

What we are doing here is a ninja approach to selling.  You are working to create so much value to other people, allowing them to see that you actually care about them, and want to help them.

They will see your accomplishments and other boastings about the value you create, which in return will get them to finally contact you and say, how can we work together.  OR even if they can’t use your services but since you created so much value for them, they may refer you to other people who you may be able to help.

Remember people do business with people they know, like, and trust. So ask yourself when making a call, sending an email, or going to a meeting…How can I add so much value to this relationship and will this help build my know, like, and trust factor?

I’d like to leave you with this-
There isn’t a lack of business, money, or opportunity in this world there is only a lack of people going after it!

Find me on all social media platforms @DennyCorby and please come say “hello” at the next Network Magazine event.

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Networking, Finding Prospects, Creating Friends, and Building Relationships

I find myself networking or going to business events a couple of times a week.  Some professionals do it often and others not at all.  What is the right answer?  I guess it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the task of attending.  Time has become such a commodity these days, and […]

I find myself networking or going to business events a couple of times a week.  Some professionals do it often and others not at all.  What is the right answer?  I guess it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the task of attending.  Time has become such a commodity these days, and we never seem to have enough of it.  We are carting our kids off to sports and extra activities, working all day and keeping up with friends it’s a miracle anyone has time to check the social media sites or keep up with anything.  I’m always honored if I’m hosting an event for an organization or at home for a family function that people attend.  They could do a thousand other things and spend their time elsewhere, but they didn’t.  That is an honor.

One of the reasons I network is because I like going out to events be it daytime or evening and meet people.  You meet all sorts of people.  I’m curious about them, their story and find people to be quite interesting really.  It works as a way for me to prospect, casually meet them, determine if I’m a good fit to see if there’s a need I can fill with my services.  Of course, it works the other way too – my sisters will often ask if I know of a good HVAC person, accountant, or caterer or any service.  I like having a list of people that I have become friends with, built relationships with and whom I trust to refer to them.  Building this type of referral network can be added value to your clients and if you need services yourself.

There is a wrong way to do networking.  I’ve seen it – Hi, my name is Bob, I do this and this, here’s my card and they are off to speed date to the next person.  Never once asking me what I do, who I am or if there’s any interest in creating a relationship.  Not sure I will remember who Bob is or what he does just that he was rude in his introduction.  I believe having an interest in what people do and who they are will have a lasting impact on future connections with them.  The ability to create the “what can I do for you” attitude has been one that I’ve adapted and has worked quite well in building trust and friendship with business contacts as well as clients.  After networking, you will remember certain things about the people you have met.  You are likely to have a stack of business cards you’ve collected from the event.  A good way to continue the connection is to write an email, call or a short note to say you were happy to meet them and hope to connect with them soon.  It keeps you at the top of their mind for future referrals.

I have built a good business by networking so I will keep at it but I’ve also spent time in groups that didn’t amount to any business.  Remember your time is valuable.  It’s good to keep track of which events seem to be a good fit for your business.  You don’t want to end up wasting time at an event that has fifty other people in the room that do exactly what you do and are after the same business.  A good rule is to try an event or group a few times and see if anything comes from the relationships you’ve built.  I keep track of where my business comes from to see if my time is being spent where it should be.  If you are just starting to build your business, this is a great way to add to your book for newsletters or events.  It’s always good to ask people if they could be added to your mailing list or in the least have an ‘unsubscribe’ button.  Don’t just assume people are interested.

Years of networking has been fruitful both in finding prospects for my services and creating longtime friendships.  If you’re thinking of jumping in, don’t think, just start.  Attend a Chamber event or connect with a colleague to tag along and just do it.  Take a shot,  meet people, be interested in who they are, how they got where they are, learn what their story is and then find out what you can do for them.

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Are you running your meetings or are your meetings running you?

What is it about meetings that make you crazy? Most of us hate meetings because they’re boring or frustrating (or both), they don’t accomplish much, there are distractions, they’re sporadic, they’re never focused, filled with unnecessary people and so on. On average, business leaders rate the effectiveness of their team meetings as a 4 out […]

What is it about meetings that make you crazy? Most of us hate meetings because they’re boring or frustrating (or both), they don’t accomplish much, there are distractions, they’re sporadic, they’re never focused, filled with unnecessary people and so on. On average, business leaders rate the effectiveness of their team meetings as a 4 out of 10. So how do you fix this problem?

As a Professional EOS® Implementer, I would suggest implementing a productive weekly meeting that is held on the same day of each week, at the same time each week, use and follow the same agenda each week, and it must start and end on time. Having the meeting at the same time every week helps with individual accountability because people know when they leave the meeting that they have seven days to accomplish the tasks they’ve been assigned and that they’re going to be asked about it at the next meeting. This automatically builds traction into your operations.

The Level10 Meeting™

This weekly meeting is known as a Level10 Meeting, introduced in the book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman. It provides an opportunity to ensure that everything is on track for the week, which in turn ensures that everything stays on track for the quarter. It is designed to help your teams create a consistent rhythm that keeps the company focused, organized, on task, and encourages you to manage and handle conflicts and resolutions. We call it Level10 because one of the things we ask new clients to do is rate the effectiveness of their meetings on a scale from 1-10, with ten being the best. The average meeting is usually rated a four, but after teams start using the Level 10 Agenda, the ratings skyrocket.

The Five Points of the Weekly L10 Meeting

A productive meeting pulse should meet the following five criteria:
1.Same day 2. Same time 3. Same agenda 4. Start on time 5. End on time
With a normal meeting, there is typically a dynamic I am going to share with you, which is illustrated in the following procrastination model.

If your normal, here is what typically happens with activity — coming out of meeting A there’s stuff to be done and typically just before the next meeting everyone rushing to get everything done.

It’s called procrastination, and it just makes us normal.  To the degree, we can increase that meeting interval, we create that spike in activity more often, increasing the meeting pulse moving us towards utopia. You come out of the shoot running, so there’s no time to procrastinate. That’s what the meeting pulse will do for you; it’ll become the heartbeat of your organization.

If every meeting follows the same agenda, is held on the same day and time each week, and has a solid start and end time, your Level 10 Meetings will accomplish its goals and take your business to the next level. The key to successful and productive weekly meetings is to keep them consistent and to always start and end on time.

“Early, is on time, and on time is late.”
— Vince Lombardi

Starting a weekly meeting late almost always results in less time to solve your issues, which is the most important part of the meeting. Teams should aim to spend around 50% of these meetings solving issues.

To ensure that you are staying on track and maintaining a pulse on the business, be patient with the weekly meeting process and over time, you’ll see a notable rise in the health of your team and improved communication throughout business.

To Recap:

In order to fix the problem of low productivity and effectiveness in your company’s team meetings – implement the Weekly Level10 Meeting and get a pulse on your business. Pick the ideal day and time for your team and get your first Level 10 meeting on the schedule.

Next Steps:

To learn more about The Weekly Level10 Meeting Agenda contact Nathan Roman, Professional EOS Implementer at nroman@nextstepistraction.com
To obtain by mail your free hardcover copy of the book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman; reach out to nroman@nextstepistraction.com

Follow me on Facebook @nextstepistraction or connect via LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/nathanroman/

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A Leadership Manifesto

The measure of the effective executive, Peter Drucker reminds us, is in their ability “to get the right things done.” But what are the “right” things executives need to do? Are there everlasting principles leaders can apply in their organizations to bring out the best in their people and themselves? Absolutely! The following is an […]

The measure of the effective executive, Peter Drucker reminds us, is in their ability “to get the right things done.”

But what are the “right” things executives need to do? Are there everlasting principles leaders can apply in their organizations to bring out the best in their people and themselves?

Absolutely!

The following is an outline of best practices and principles for executives that provides a framework for being an effective leader. Instilling these principles in an organization will ultimately help executives get the “right” things done.

Broken down by the key facets of being a leader, executives should look to these principles and practices to guide their leadership effectiveness and decision-making process.

 LEADERSHIP MINDSET

  • We will focus on outcomes and not micromanage. Empowering our team to get the job done and not concern ourselves with the manner in which they do it.
  •  We will manage the organization as an ongoing entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. If owners/shareholders have an operating role in the firm, they will be held to the same high standards of performance required of the position.
  •  We will focus on constant improvement. This will be at the heart of everything we do and is essential to our competitive advantage.
  •  We will practice honesty and candor by providing continuous feedback to all team members.
  • We will replace the word ”I” with “we” at all times when talking about the company.  “I” is divisive and makes a clear distinction between the executive and/or owner and the rest of the team. This fosters confrontation as opposed to collaboration.

 RESPONSIBILITIES

  •  We will hold ourselves accountable to our daily responsibilities and tasks.
  • We will focus only on those areas for which we are directly responsible.
  •  We will respond to all team member inquiries in a timely manner. Not responding to employee emails or other communications demonstrates a lack of respect for their roles and responsibilities.

 DECISION MAKING

  •  We will give team members “decision rights” according to their demonstrated ability to make choices that result in lower costs or returns that exceed our opportunity cost.
  •  We will make every decision in the context of “What is best for the business?” This shall be determined by our resources, capabilities, and goals.

 HUMAN CAPITAL

  •  We will create and foster a learning environment for all team members.
  •  We will empower our team members to do their jobs and not get in their way.
  •  We will provide generous compensation, which, in addition to money, includes: ongoing training & education, unlimited vacation, flexible scheduling, and recognition for adding value.

 TIME MANAGEMENT

  • We will always respect our time and the time of others when scheduling appointments and meetings.
  •  We will start and end all meetings on schedule.
  • We will give our undivided attention and eliminate distractions.

Effective executives espouse these principles and best practices and make them the core of their leadership philosophy.

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leadership

7 Traits of Great Leaders (Part II)

In the last issue of Network Magazine (Winter 2017), I introduced the first three of seven traits that make great leaders, as identified by Caliper Corporation, a company I have worked with since 1998.  They are a renowned global leadership assessment company with over 50 years in business, working with over 28,000 companies, and assessing […]

In the last issue of Network Magazine (Winter 2017), I introduced the first three of seven traits that make great leaders, as identified by Caliper Corporation, a company I have worked with since 1998.  They are a renowned global leadership assessment company with over 50 years in business, working with over 28,000 companies, and assessing over 2 million professionals.  Leadership is truly a blend of one’s DNA and learned skills.  In this article, I want to continue to unpack the personality traits from one’s DNA that significantly determine the ability to be a great leader.  In the last article, we talked about the first three personality traits:

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Ego Drive
  3. Ego Strength [Resilience]

This issue I will unpack the remaining four:

  1. Risk-Taking
  2. Idea Orientation
  3. Urgency
  4. Empathy

4 Risk-Taking

According to Caliper, “people who are unwilling to take risks will tend to stick to the ‘tried and true’ and, as a result, may have difficulty making decisions or taking action when faced with unfamiliar circumstances.  On the other hand, individuals who are strong risk takers but do not exhibit sufficient responsibility, control, intelligence, and flexibility have the potential for making mistakes.”

Risk-Taking is an important trait for great leaders, but of the seven traits, it requires an extremely healthy balance.  Great leaders take calculated risks after having collected enough data and information to make an intelligent risk.  Often, exceptional results and success follow good Risk-Takings decisions directed by leaders.  Reckless risks, on the contrary, can end in disaster.  If you read the biography of any great leader, you will find their life stories are full of taking risks, like Apple Inc. and the great Steve Jobs, “Let’s make a dent in the universe.”, or Dallas Cowboy Coach Jimmy Johnson, “Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?”

5 Idea Orientation [Innovative]

Caliper defines Idea Orientation as “one with a strong orientation toward creative problem solving, idea generation and concept development, less likely to rely on practical or concrete solutions.”  Without innovation of new products, services, processes and methods, a company will not survive, as reinforced by Albert Einstein, “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that caused the problem in the first place.”  Leaders must therefore innovate and foster a culture of innovation amongst the organization to endure, grow and beat a sea of competitors.

Great leaders have abilities to see into the future and harness the organization to help build that future.  If a leader is not gifted in this area, they will want to learn how to say “no” to the tried-and-true, and “yes” to surrounding themselves with innovators.

6 Urgency

Caliper defines Urgency as “an inner-directed and focused need to get things done.  Those overly urgent can become impatience or unrealistic with expectations, while those with little urgency tend to be patient and potentially compliant.”  The stronger version of this trait is what drives leaders to act and make things happen.

There are a variety of motives (good and bad) that drive a leader’s urgency.  Therefore, leaders who possess this trait need to be careful to make sure their motives are communicated to their team.  If not, the urgent pace of implementation can cause discord and misunderstanding, and leave a team temporarily derailed, thus frustrating the Urgent leader even more.  One of my favorite quotes is by George S. Patton, Jr., “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”  This attitude and discipline ring true to Urgent leaders, the great one’s turn analysis into action.

7 Empathy

Caliper defines Empathy as, “to accurately and objectively perceive another person’s feelings without necessarily agreeing with them.  The ability to obtain important feedback enables a leader to appropriately adjust his or her behavior to deal effectively with other people.”

Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard was a legendary empathetic leader, who liked to roll up his sleeves and inspire engineers by walking the floors and listening to their concerns.  This approach allowed him to build trust and confidence with his employees creating an amazing foundation for what is now 2016’s #20 on the Fortune 500.  Empathy is a form of EQ (emotional intelligence), so the good news is it’s the easiest learned attribute of the seven.

The Caliper Leadership Assessment tool is valuable for individual leadership awareness, or for developing entire leadership teams.  To learn more about Caliper, you can contact David Olson, President of Walton Consulting, Inc., CEO Coach on business strategy, corporate culture and leadership.  Learn more at www.WaltonConsulting.com.

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crisis

Crisis Management Planning

Is your business or organization prepared for a crisis? Regardless of the size or mission of your organization, it is essential that your leaders know their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency or a major business disruption. How do you develop a crisis management plan? Identify the potential emergency scenarios and the […]

Is your business or organization prepared for a crisis? Regardless of the size or mission of your organization, it is essential that your leaders know their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency or a major business disruption.

How do you develop a crisis management plan?

  • Identify the potential emergency scenarios and the risks involved.
  • Gather organizational leaders and review responsibilities of key personnel.
  • Build relationships before a crisis happens.
  • Develop a plan, test and continually update the plan.

First, brainstorm various scenarios that could disrupt your operation. It might be a fire, a cyber security issue, a gas leak or an armed intruder. You cannot plan for every possible scenario, but review situations that are most likely to happen in your organization and how your business may be impacted. You can increase preparedness through planning. Remember, it might be an entirely external incident that could affect your operation – a sinkhole, a cell phone tower collapses or a gas leak that shuts down city blocks. Can you conduct business off-site for a few hours or days?

Second, gather key leaders responsible for managing crises. For larger businesses, consider the chief of security, a human resource person, an information technology director, a chief communications officer, a chief financial officer and the CEO. In smaller organizations, one person might fill several roles. But each person can identify concerns and potential areas of risk management.

As you review your emergency plan, where are the gaps? Connect with local and regional resources who can fill those gaps. The Lehigh or Northampton County Emergency Management departments and your local police and fire departments are excellent sources to help with planning. Contact professional organizations to learn best practices. It is important to build relationships with local organizations in place BEFORE a crisis happens.

Once a plan has been developed, test it with the key leaders in your organization. Run a drill. Do a tabletop exercise that includes one or two disruptive events. Spend an hour to see how your team would respond. Then assess the response. Remember that things can be different when an event occurs and one or two key people may not be available when the crisis occurs. Put a plan together and re-assess the plan. Do another drill. Did your team respond well? Does the plan need updating?

During a major event, be sure that your organization has only one spokesperson. It can be the CEO or the chief of security or a communications professional. But the spokesperson must:

  • project a sense of calmness
  • stick to the facts
  • note that people have been trained and there is a plan in place,
  • portray confidence

Remember, misinformation and rumors are rampant around a tragedy or an incident. With social media, you can’t control the message as much as you like, but when you get the opportunity, it’s important to state the facts and COMMUNICATE. Have a communications plan in place for your employees and clients. Sometimes you just need to let people know that you are working on the problem, understand their concerns and note that you will continue to provide updates when there is more information. If there are injuries or fatalities, the spokesperson must emphasize compassion and empathy. Showing that you care can go a long way.

Does your plan cover the organization being impacted for an hour, 24 hours, a week? What are the backup plans and cross-training needed to keep things moving ahead? Might people need counseling or other post-trauma help?

The keys to a successful crisis management plan are to identify the potential problems and have a plan in place. Once a crisis happens, respond immediately and get the right people in the right roles and help those who have been impacted. In summary, be prepared, respond and fix the problem and have a plan to recover and resume operations and help people. Then assess what you did well and what you could have done better. Having a plan will help your leaders sleep better at night and be an invaluable resource in the event of an emergency.

 

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7 Traits of Great Leaders: Part I

Leadership is a complicated subject. Everyone admires good leadership, and most everyone wants to become a good leader, but what really makes up a great business leader? Let us begin by thinking about the two ingredients that create leadership; learned and DNA. There are different schools of thought on how much leadership is learned vs. […]

Leadership is a complicated subject. Everyone admires good leadership, and most everyone wants to become a good leader, but what really makes up a great business leader? Let us begin by thinking about the two ingredients that create leadership; learned and DNA. There are different schools of thought on how much leadership is learned vs. your God-given personality. I happen to fall into the camp that says most good leaders begin with a specific set of DNA and a cultural upbringing that makes up the largest ingredient. I certainly believe that behavior can be learned, especially leadership, but without an established set of personality traits, even great training can have little impact on creating a great leader. To unpack the seven personality traits that make great leaders, I first need to start with a little background.

It was in 1998 while working with my former consulting firm on a client engagement in NYC where I first intersected with an amazing personality tool I adopted into my consulting practice called Caliper. As a Caliper Strategic Partner, I have implemented the Caliper assessment with hundreds of executives for purposes of recruiting and coaching. The Caliper Profile is a robust assessment, measuring 30 different personality characteristics that make people successful leaders. Compare those 30 to DISC (4 personality profiles) and Myers-Briggs (16 personality profiles), and you will understand my preference to use this powerful assessment tool.

After 50 years in business, working with over 28,000 companies, and assessing over 2 million professionals, the Caliper Corporation determined that there is 7 stand out personality traits that are most crucial for making great leaders. This two-part article will unveil those seven traits and unpack key characteristics of each one. Here are the first three of the seven traits that make great leaders:

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Ego Drive
  3. Ego Strength

Assertiveness

Caliper defines Assertiveness as “the ability to express one’s thoughts forcefully and consistently, without having to rely on anger.” Leaders lacking assertiveness “are less comfortable expressing themselves forcefully and may back down or be reactive in certain situations.”

Assertiveness can often be mistaken for being aggressive, but that is not the case. When a leader is assertive, they can focus their team through direct and clear communication. They have the ability to read their audience, clarify the focus and purpose of objectives, and align the team towards successful implementation. Clarity is key, as reinforced by General Colin Powell, “great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

Ego Drive

Caliper defines Ego Drive as “the inner need to persuade others as a means of gaining personal gratification.”

Mike Myatt, a top advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs, says “you cannot be an effective leader without influence. Let me make this as simple as I can – if you are a leader, influence needs to be a competency.”

Ego gets a bad name because we often discuss it within the spectrum of an individual’s selfish motives. However, ego within a leader who has “Level 5 Leadership” motivations (putting others before self), will be able to wield it for good. That leader will be able to guide and direct people to achieve something that is greater than themselves.

Because Ego Drive can be misread, misunderstood, or misinterpreted by team members, it is imperative that a leader builds his or her credibility so that their Ego Drive is received properly. Credibility happens by earning trust, caring about relationships, being knowledgeable, and obtaining experience. These attributes build a leader’s credibility.

Ego Strength [Resilience]

Caliper defines Ego Strength as “the ability to handle rejection and accept criticism in a manner which is positive and growth oriented.” Leaders lacking Ego Strength “do not have this basic acceptance of themselves and have a poor or negative self-picture, and a preoccupation with their conflict or feeling of inferiority may sap their energy, so that their personality dynamics are weakened or blocked, thus reducing their effectiveness.”

This trait is so important because great leaders are always out front leading the way, driving, sharing, communicating, engaging, energizing, and encouraging those around them.  Their egos must be resilient because the very nature of being a leader is to face opposition and criticism both internally and externally. Ego Strength allows leaders not to lose focus, be hindered, slowed down, or thwarted. They will have a strong resolve to press on with unbridled optimism that fuels the team.

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Networking-Opportunities

Networking Opportunities For Professional Advisors

Professional advisors such as accountants, lawyers, insurance agents, bankers, trust officers, financial planners, investment advisors, etc. depend on each other when working with mutual clients as well as creating new business opportunities for each other.  While there are many articles regarding the best tips and methods of networking, this article will focus instead on organizations […]

Professional advisors such as accountants, lawyers, insurance agents, bankers, trust officers, financial planners, investment advisors, etc. depend on each other when working with mutual clients as well as creating new business opportunities for each other.  While there are many articles regarding the best tips and methods of networking, this article will focus instead on organizations where professional advisors can utilize those networking techniques.

In my years of experience as a CPA/Shareholder with Buckno Lisicky, here are some of the organizations where I have found success in networking with other professional advisors:

  1. Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley – This group of professionals focuses on estate planning, holds four seminars annually, with a networking session following each seminar.  It provides timely information from great speakers in addition to the networking.
  2. Service Clubs – Groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc. are always looking for new members who want to be active and engaged.  I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem for 25 years.  These groups have members from all of the professions and provide a regular forum for networking with those advisors.
  3. Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC) – This organization offers service opportunities on boards and committees, plus many seminars and events each month.  I have served on the board as an officer for five years.  The members are very engaged and include all types of professional advisors, with almost unlimited chances to network.
  4. Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) – This group holds a series of events during the year, plus an annual meeting/reception event.  Many professional advisors are members of LVEDC or attend these events.
  5. Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) – This group of non-profit fundraising professionals holds several seminars each year, plus an annual breakfast celebrating National Philanthropy Day.  Many professionals advisors who work with non-profits participate in this group.
  6. Non-Profit Boards and Committees – Many non-profit boards and committees include professional advisors.  Serving in these organizations provides ongoing opportunities to network while helping the non-profit succeed in their mission.  The special fundraising events also create opportunities to network with professional advisors who sponsor and attend these events.
  7. Lehigh Valley Community Foundation – This organization stewards charitable funds and helps donors with their charitable contributions, by reflecting the diverse ways people choose to help their community and support causes that matter to them.  A board of governors that has fiduciary oversight is comprised of professional advisors from varied disciplines.  In addition, a professional Advisors Council provides guidance, plus holds seminars and receptions for other advisors.  The board meetings, seminars, and receptions present great opportunities for networking with other professional advisors.
  8. Professional Societies – Organizations for each of the professions tend to hold seminars and mixers that include invitees from other professions. A captive audience containing other professional advisors from the PICPA, County Bar Association, Risk Management Association, Financial Planners Association, etc. is a prime opportunity to network.  The Lehigh Valley Consortium of Professional Organizations holds seminars for attendees from these professions during the year as well.
  9. Seminars and Conferences by Other Professions-  Many professions hold annual seminars and conferences that include spaces for display booths or tables from sponsors.  Staffing a booth or table provides many opportunities to network with attendees during breaks plus before and after sessions.
  10. Networking Groups – Structured groups such as BNI, LeTip, and others are designed to bring together one person from each profession as part of a closed network, to generate leads and opportunities within the group. Although I have never participated in any of these groups, I know professionals who do and have experienced positive results.
  11. Social Media –  Sites such as LinkedIn provide a way to stay in touch with other professional advisors, post articles of mutual interest, and participate in niche groups.

While this list is not all inclusive, it provides a guide to many of the situations available for professional advisors to network.

Best wishes in your networking efforts!

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