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How closely is your strategy aligned with your values and beliefs?

28 Dec

Your values and beliefs are the foundation on which your insights, perceptions, and resulting decisions are based.

It has often been said that once you know “Why,”… “What,” and “How,”  become much easier to determine and decide.

At any point have you found yourself feeling that you need to violate your principles?

Some values and beliefs are learned and others may be inborn; in either case they do not change quickly or easily.  It is imperative that your strategy is congruent with your fundamental values and beliefs.

Strategy does not usually change quickly or easily.  Tactics however, can be changed with relative ease.  If your strategy is in poor alignment with your values and beliefs, your tactics won’t produce the results you desire.  You can always  modify your tactical activities but you shouldn’t be quick to alter your strategy (unless it needs to become better aligned with your values).

Do you proactively map your strategy and tactics against your values?

Begin with the end in mind, form your strategy, plan yourtactics, and allow yourself the opportunity to make sure that your strategy is in close alignment with your core values and beliefs.  Otherwise, everything is much harder than necessary and no matter how much you accomplish you will not feel satisfied or fulfilled.

What should you consider changing?  Where should you begin?  

7 Simple Tips That Will Turn You Into a Powerful Leader

10 Nov The Hollow Men #5

The Hollow Men #5

You don’t have to be in a position of authority to be a leader. Conversely, just because you have authority doesn’t mean that people will follow you. You must be a leader to get others to follow you.

There are many books on leadership. They can have lots of great examples and in-depth explanations, but sometimes you just need something simple to help you focus on the essentials. This article intends to do just that. These are the habits that will help you and your team achieve great things if you focus on them.

Illustration: Howard Penning
Creative Commons License

  1. Goals
    Make it simple and easy for your team to understand the mission and to understand their part in achieving it.

    • Concise Goals. Keep them simple and easy to understand.
    • Focus your team on as few goals as possible.
    • Communicate the team’s goals often and through various means (team meetings, individual meetings, emails, posters, slogans). And then do it some more.
    • Track progress on goals.
    • Involve team players in tracking the goals so that they own the results.
  2. Motivating People
    What you reward gets done. It’s that simple.

    • Incent team players to do the tasks that are most critical for reaching the team’s goals. Make sure the rewards are meaningful to people. Understand each player and what they want from their job and in life. That’s how you’ll know how to reward them.
    • Praise, Thank, and Recognize big and small contributions by individuals. Do this often and then do it some more.
    • Set High Expectations. People will live UP to or DOWN to the expectations you set. Set them high and you’re saying, “I believe in your ability to do great things!”
    • Empower people by delegating responsibility.
    • Celebrate team accomplishments often.
    • Encourage Fun. Make the work place a fun place to be. Yes, work needs to get done but short fun breaks can make all the difference in the culture of your team.
    • Pride. Foster a sense of pride in your team. As a team you could establish a mascot, create a team chant, and have a meeting that is focused solely on each individual’s strengths and the team’s overall strengths.
  3. Walk Your Talk
    You need to practice what you preach. This is how you establish trust and credibility.

    • Model the Way by participating in the team’s tasks as much as your position allows.
    • Be Honest. Deliver on your promises. Actions speak louder than words.
    • Challenge Yourself. Do your best (and then some) just like you ask your team to do their best.
    • Speak Up. Just like your team members sometimes need to let you know what they’ve done in order for you to be able to recognize and praise them. They, in turn, need to know what you’ve been working on and what you’ve accomplished. So find ways to communicate this, modeling this key behavior.
    • Stay Sharp. You need to be competent for others to follow you. If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind. Always be learning and keep on top of the latest skills, technology, and knowledge in your field.
  4. Inspirethrough a combination of
    • Unwavering Positive Future Vision
    • Commitment to Improve things along the way that will make that positive vision a reality.
    • Ability to Bootstrap as necessary when resources are tight.
  5. Process Power
    Good process is like having a high performance machine. Sloppy process makes things fall apart. So be sure to establish these key habits with your team.

    • Establish Routines. Do this for the team and also work with each individual to come up with their own high productivity routines. These are routines that dictate what work is done when.
    • Establish Processes for all the tasks that are done repeatedly. It takes time to set up at first, but after that it will pay off in saved time and less errors. Processes describe how work is done and might involve systems for doing the work.
    • Task Assignment. As much as possible, assign tasks according to the strengths of each teammate.
  6. Change
    Embrace change by seeking it out. This will tread a path for your teammates to follow.

    • Change Routines Quarterly. Look for better ways to achieve the team’s goals.
    • Take Risks. Don’t be afraid of failure. No one ever reaches great heights without a few failures.
    • Learn. Learn as a team from failures. “How can we improve it the next time?”
    • Encourage team members to take smart risks too by making it safe to fail. Focus on learning from past experiences and building upon them to find better solutions.
  7. Advocacy
    Support your team and they’ll support you.

    • Promote your team members. Make sure others outside your team know about the individual team members’ successes. You want your team members to excel and even graduate away from your team possibly. Don’t worry. If your team is great there will be plenty of others who will want to join! This natural turnover of team members is like the renewal of cells in your body. It is necessary and healthy.
    • Promote your team. It’s your job to market the great accomplishments of your team in order to get the rewards, recognition, and resources that your team deserves.
    • Fight for the most important resources and changes that will benefit your team and the organization overall. Remember to pick your battles wisely.

Read The Original Post Here

Reputation Management for Leaders: An Enigma

19 Jan

In a world of increasingly competitive social, personal and professional environments we are presented with a heightened challenge to measure and protect both our business and our personal reputations.

Can we ensure that we will not be accused of something that might damage our reputation?  No.

Can we monitor and protect ourselves from this type of risk? Yes.

Type “reputation management,” into a search engine and you will find results linking to articles, consultants, and technical services providing advice and assistance with protecting or repairing your “image,” on the internet.  It goes without saying that your internet presence is certainly important, but your reputation depends on more than its appearance on the internet.  Reputation management should be proactively oriented and addressed as part of your comprehensive business continuity plan.

When you are in a leadership position, you bear a significant responsibility for the decisions and actions that you make, but also for those made by people in your charge.  When you have been given the trust and responsibility that comes with leadership, you must be certain that you lead by example, and maintain a high level of awareness to the conduct of those who you lead.  One action or decision could mortgage or bankrupt your reputation as a leader, or even the reputation of your entire organization.

If misconduct on the part of a team member were to have legal consequences those might pertain only to that individual. However in the court of public opinion, blame and responsibility have a more common tendency to be attributed to entire groups, and even more so to the leader.

Reputation and word of mouth have always been important, with the rise of social media and hyper-communication, the stakes are even higher.  Word of mouth simply travels much farther, and much faster than it ever has before.

Prominent leaders who stand accused of wrongdoing often proclaim their innocence, or attempt to explain themselves only to have their words fall on deaf ears.  These stories spur discussions which are often hot topics in both traditional and social media channels.  In some cases allegations are proven to be legitimate, while in others even the most heinous of allegations are proven to be false.  The problem is that even when somebody is absolved of blame often the conversation or media focus has moved on to other matters, and the individual and/or organization is left to deal with significant residual damage to their reputation.

The Washington Post featured a story about Sue Scheff a consultant to parents of troubled teens.  In short, Sue Scheff lead a small business where her name was essential to the business brand. In 2003, a parent posted negative remarks on her organization’s website, which defamed her character and injured her reputation.  The injury to her reputation had serious personal, financial, and business consequences after negative remarks went “viral,” Sue had been Google Bombed.  It took years, but Sue was diligent in reclaiming her reputation, today her business appears to be alive and well, and she authored a highly acclaimed account of her ordeal titled Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use The Internet. It would not be an understatement to say that most businesses or individuals would not have survived this type of ordeal nearly as well as Sue eventually did.

How do you determine what (or who) may be a legitimate risk factor?

It is certainly not productive to spend too much time or focus dwelling on every eventuality or possible risk since there is no way you can guarantee that allegations won’t be made against you.  While valid, this reasoning unfortunately is commonly used as an excuse for not asking pertinent questions; with answers that may require making difficult decisions.  Failing to ask such questions not only makes you more vulnerable to attacks on your reputation it can also have profound effects on your culture and performance.

10 questions to begin your thought process or to start a dialog with your leadership team.

  1. Are personal values consistent with organization values?
  2. Is it possible to maintain a separate identity in our personal and professional lives?
  3. Do we always do our best to promote morality both in concept and action as individuals and leaders?
  4. Which practices/policies might hurt, frustrate or anger customers/members, employees, partners, or vendors?
  5. Is poor conduct ever “accommodated,” because of an individual’s role in the organization?
  6. What steps can be taken to improve our current level of awareness to our individual and collective reputations?
  7. What (or who) are the greatest risk factors in improving or maintaining our reputation?
  8. What immediate steps can be taken to prepare for an attack to our reputation?
  9. What further measures should be considered to be protected.
  10. Are we properly prepared to effectively respond if faced with a serious challenge to our reputation?

For more information about reputation management for leaders contact us: