Free E-Book “How To Motivate Next Generation-Leaders”

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Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.03.46 AMLeading Next-Generation leaders is a focused effort of every organization seeking to recruit, retain and development talent.   Our friends at “Growing Leaders” recently published an E-Book that I wanted to make available to you.

I’ve utilized Tim Elmore’s “Habitudes” content for some of our Leadership Development programs for emerging leaders, with great success.   Download your free E-Book with the link below.  Merry Christmas!

Managing the Toughest Generation.pdf

Every Relationship Has a Breakpoint

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Every Man Has His Limitations

-Dirty Harry

A few weeks ago I went to a hipster coffee shop.

I ordered one coffee and then proceeded to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

24 minutes later, they handed me my coffee.

I know what you’re thinking, “It was probably very complicated, requiring special beans shipped in by hand and a burro.”

It wasn’t, it was one small coffee.

I knew it took 24 minutes because my receipt had a timestamp.

The problem is that every relationship and business has a breakpoint, that moment where you forever lose a customer or a follower.  If you’re a leader, that’s true of your team.   The real challenge is that someone working for you won’t tell you that they are at their breaking point.  They’ll just quit.

Will I go back to that coffee shop? Of course, but maybe another customer won’t. Maybe their breakpoint is minute 23.

Never take your teams, followers or customers to the breakpoint, that is the moment when you lose them.

It’s hard to get someone who WAS loyal back once you’ve broken the relationship.

The Next-Generation: Leaders or Loafers?

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boss_conversation_06As “Generation iY” is entering the workforce and subsequent leadership roles, organizations are seeking to understand key values and engagement drivers of these next-generation leaders.

At the same time, seasoned leaders are observing a sense of entitlement in these young leaders.   Over-protective parents have rescued their kids to quickly from tough situations rather than instilling perseverance and hard work.      They are growing up being repeatedly told:  “You’re Awesome!”  “You’re Smart!” and “You’re Gifted!” which easily can lead to a self-centered view of the world and an unrealistic view of their place on a team.

Here’s the good news:  I’ve met some fantastic young leaders who are going against the grain and ready to impact their world as servant-leaders.   They are out there.   But finding them demands focused attention on recruiting and training those who are a “diamond” in the rough.

In his book “Artificial Maturity”, Tim Elmore provides 7 Marks of Maturity which help us identify those next-generation team members who are Leaders vs. Loafers:

1. They prioritize others before themselves.

A wise man once said: A mature person is one whose agenda revolves around others, not self. Certainly this can go to an extreme and be unhealthy, but I believe a pathway out of childishness is getting past your own desires and beginning to live to meet the needs of others less fortunate.

2. They are able to keep long-term commitments.

One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means a student is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.

3. They are unshaken by flattery or criticism.

As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.

4. They possess a spirit of humility.

Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can sincerely give honor to their Creator who gave them the talent. This is the opposite of arrogance.

5. Their decisions are based on character not feelings.

Mature people—students or adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions.

5. They express gratitude consistently.

I have found the more I mature, the more grateful I am, for both big and little things. Immature children presume they deserve everything good that happens to them. Mature people see the big picture and realize how good they have it, compared to most of the world’s population.

7. They seek wisdom before acting.

Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t’ presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get, the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or from God, in prayer. Only the wise seek wisdom.

Such high-capacity “next generation” leaders aren’t en masse – you find them one at a time.  Keep recruiting, keep developing and keep mentoring.

Because – no longer are they the “next” generation.

They are already here.

How Do You Know When a Conversation Turns “Crucial”?

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j04392841_thumbI’ve met a ton of leaders.  I know a ton of great leaders.  And I read a lot from great leaders.

One observation is that all successful leaders do this one thing.

Their personalities may be different.

Their vision will be tailored to their industry.

Even values will be different.

But the key differentiator between good leaders and GREAT leaders is their ability to handle “Crucial  Conversations”.  

Many years ago, I was 28 and trying to prove himself.   I confronted someone about a small thing.  But I handled the conversation poorly.   The small thing turned into a HUGE thing.  I didn’t know how to use T.A.C.T.   So this one area has been a massive growth area for me personally and professionally.

What are Crucial Conversations?   You know when a conversation is turning “Crucial” when there are:

1.  Opposing Opinions

2.  Strong Emotions

3.  High Stakes

So…how do you handle “Crucial Conversations”?   That’s the key question.  To answer, I am attempting to condense an entire book (called “Crucial Conversations”) into a few statements.

The best way to summarize is this:  We must use T.A.C.T

Talk Facts.   Share the facts, not your assumptions.   Facts are least insulting and verifiable.  Facts keep the conversation on the issue, not the person.  Facts keep you focused and helps the other person keep focus also.

Avoid Assumptions.   You and I typically know a narrow slice of facts, so our mind fills in the gaps with assumptions and “stories” about why the person did what they did or said what they said.  We guess about their intentions.   You and I will never handle conversations well if we speak from assumption rather than fact.

Collaborate.  After finding out the facts, ask how you can help.  Partner with them for performance.    Rather than playing the role of an enemy in their eyes, you are offering to be their support, their friend, their advocate.   This is servant leadership at it’s best – even when you’ve been wronged.

Talk Tentatively.   If we address the conversation with a spirit of humility, our body language says “you can trust me.”  However, if we come across direct and confrontative, we will shut them down before the conversation even starts.

Use T.A.C.T when conversations turn crucial.  Use T.A.C.T to hunt the elephant in the room.  

One thing about elephants in the room:  if you don’t address them, they have a tendency to multiply.

Then you’re really screwed.

Mis-Communication Explained in Under Two Minutes

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I laughed out loud when I saw this.   Communication is a huge challenge in all types of relationships.  This video highlights some of those challenges…

What Happens To Others When You Speak

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If you find yourself speaking to small or large groups of people – even once in a while – you will want to read this.   
If you train, teach, speak or deliver reports to a group of people, these six helpful revelations about what goes on inside the mind of every audience member will help you best at your best.  
And each are backed up by scientific research.

Speaking Coach Bryan Kelly shares these six “secrets” from years of interviews and research. 
Here are the six secrets:
1.         We follow leaders. When you’re the presenter, you’re given authority. The audience wants and expects you to lead them. What you do next is vital so you don’t lose their allegiance. Become a leader from the start and own it. Stanley Milgram’s controversial experiments in the early 1960s showed it’s very hard for most of us to resist authority. We’re simply wired to follow leaders.
2.         We instantly read people. Audience members size you up before you even speak, which makes it essential to carefully design your opening. A well-crafted introduction and confident body language inspire people to follow your lead throughout the presentation. The past 15 years of psychological study shows people make unconscious decisions about others in one second or less. Malcolm Gladwell explores this research in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.
3.         We assign meaning to body movement. Knowing how to stand, move, gesture, and deal with nervousness conveys leadership, passion, and openness. Stand straight, head upright, breathe deeply, and record yourself on camera when rehearsing. Intentional practice leads to confidence. A 2009 study conducted by Pablo Brinol revealed that by simply taking a posture of confidence, people feel more confident. In her 2011 book, The Silent Language of Leaders, Carol Kinsey Goman explains how physical gestures help us be effective leaders.
4.         We pay attention to vocal tone. The way you say a phrase means as much or more as the words themselves. Great speakers have long utilized this secret to engage audiences through volume, modulation, articulation, and well-placed pauses. MIT professor Alex Pentland summarized his study of nonverbal communication in his 2008 book, Honest Signalsand helped create a device called the Sociometer that monitors and predicts a person’s communication effectiveness.
5.         We imitate emotions. Two highly contagious emotions are passion and nervousness. Think hard about what you’d like people to feel, then exhibit that emotion. Those feelings will be conveyed through your voice and body language. Mirror neurons in our brain allow us to literally experience what others experience. It’s believed these neurons help us empathize with someone. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran’s 2012 book, The Tell-Tale Brain, details the significance of these neurons and how they work.
6.         We sync brain patterns when listening. Our audience is more strongly affected by listening than by reading slides. Visuals should support what you’re saying, not interfere. Better to have people intently listening than distracted by bullet points and complex charts. A 2010 study by Greg Stephens put participants in an fMRI machine while listening to someone talking. The brain patterns of the listener began to sync with the speaker’s brain patterns. The longer this occurred, the deeper the comprehension.

Mastering these six secrets gives you the ability to effectively connect with any group of people when sharing your expertise.

How to Control Your Control Freak

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Control freaks are bullies even when they smile.  Trust me, I’m a “recovering” control freak and I know first hand. Anything less than compliance offends “us”.  

Dan Rockwell has some great thoughts on this topic:  

We are a Control Freak if we:

1.  Believe perfectionism is the same as excellence

2.  Get irritated when people don’t adapt to you

3.  Possess irritating tenacity

4.  Know better and can do better than others

5.  Nitpick and intervene

6.  Monopolize conversations and interrupt.

Bonus: Control freaks panic when they feel control going to others.

6 Ways to control your control freak:
  1. Authorize someone on your team to confront you when you’re controlling. Give them permission to point out controlling language, postures, and behaviors.
  2. Ask more; command less.
  3. Adapt to and align with others. Adapting is weakness and failure to control freaks. Everything’s a contest.
  4. Speak for yourself not others. Control freaks won’t speak from their hearts and won’t let others speak from theirs either. Say what you really think.
  5. Monitor and reject fear-based decisions. Control freaks are fearful. Fear is best for maintaining and protecting. Courage innovates.
  6. Go with new ideas. Control freaks default to “no,” unless it’s their idea.                             

Control your control freak by having real conversations:
Control freaks can’t have conversations because conversations are with  – not to.

Control ends conversation.
Control freaks can’t listen. They’re constantly wondering how to get what they want.

Candor and control:
Control freaks aren’t candid, they manipulate.
Candor takes courage to own hard things 

not just say hard things.

Types of leadership conversations
  1. Connect. Close the distance. Embrace casual; reject corporate-speak.
  2. Correct or confront.
  3. Create.
  4. Collaborate. Plan with not for.

Defeating Mind Monsters

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There is a monster creeping around the corner.  And we all battle them.  They are mind monsters – negative thoughts consisting of lies we believe about ourselves, our life and our future.
 Negativity can creep up in our lives without us even realizing it. Sometimes the negativity causes us to be quiet, irritable, stressed, or restless. If you are going to live a vibrant life then you have to learn how to get rid of negative thoughts. The first key is really awareness. Our thoughts can almost be on auto-pilot without even realizing it. These negative thoughts can way on our spirit and pull our emotions down. Before we know it, we get into a downward spiral. Things suddenly become worse than they really are in reality.
Awareness helps us to get in tune with these emotions well before we get further down in the funnel. Once you are aware of the negative thoughts you can begin to take steps to get on the right track. Here are some things that I do when I want to get rid of negative thoughts.
 How to defeat Mind Monsters:

Feed Your Mind with anything Life-Giving .  Your mind is never void of a thought.  You can’t “think about nothing.”  Therefore, you and I have to choose to fight the mind monsters with life-giving thoughts.  
Ancient Wisdom says this:  “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)  

Whether it’s a book, online teaching or conversation, fill your mind.  It’s going to be filled something.  Don’t let your mind “wander” – it’s natural path is negativity Therefore, be intentional. 
Decide to journal and get it all out. Sometimes when we have all of these negative thoughts swirling in our head it helps to get them out on paper. Journaling can be incredibly enlightening as overtime you see the same trends appearing in your life. It also is a way to get it all out. When you journal, do not be concerned with spelling or grammar, just get out when is in your mind. 
Slow down and enjoy the moment. Other times our negative thoughts are self-inflicted. By that I mean that we have brought the negativity on ourselves and not because there is anything really bad happening in our life. The negative thoughts come about because we are frustrated with the lack of progress we have in our lives. In times like these, we can benefit from taking a deep breath and just slowing down for a bit. We, as Americans, live life at a rapid pace. We bring on most of the stress in our lives by how we choose to live. Learn the habit of slowing down. Laugh with a friend, play board games with the kids, watch the sunset, spend an evening fishing in a nearby lake. Just slow down.
Go on a walk with a friend. Talking through the thoughts in our head can be a great thing as well. Go on a walk with someone you enjoy being around and tell them everything that is going on between your two ears. Just by doing this you will come up with solutions to your own problems. It is funny how different our negativity sounds when we verbalize it.
So be vigilant and merciless – don’t let the Mind Monsters live any longer.  They are sucking the energy right out of your heart and spirit.  

They are clouding your perspective of the future.  

They are destroying your leadership.  

Now is the time to declare war.

Utter these Four Words (If You Want to Kill Young a Leader’s Drive and Motivation)

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  I met a young man in his mid-20’s recently who shared with me his plans to change jobs. He’d been with his current employer for a couple of years, taking on increasing levels of responsibility. He didn’t mind the additional work without a title change or more compensation; he was delighted to be learning, expanding his skills, and gaining valuable experience. A position in his current organization that represented the next logical step in his career progression had recently opened up. He summoned the courage to approach his management with his interest. The response he received started with those four small words:
You’re too young to…”
Nothing that came after mattered to – or was even heard by – this young man. He promptly activated his network, started applying for jobs elsewhere, and tendered his resignation.
“You’re too young to…”
These four small words go far beyond answering a request or redirecting someone’s effort. They’re killer words.  They extinguish motivation, inspiration, excitement, and even connection with the organization. These four small words close doors and choke off possibilities. They discourage, demoralize, and drive young people away.
Now, let’s be honest. Not all young people are prepared to take on every challenge they aspire to. But youth should never be used as an excuse or reason to hold someone back. Instead, what if organizations and managers communicated a different ‘you’re too’ message to their young, ambitious workers? What about…
You’re too talented to not keep growing… so what skills will you need to develop to be prepared to take on greater responsibilities?
You’re too valuable to not know how much we appreciate you… so thank you for your contributions and performance.
You’re too creative and innovative to not continue to be challenged… so what‘s next on the list of things you’d like to take on?
The ambition and even impatience of young workers can be a vital competitive advantage to organizations who know how to harness it. We need young employees to remain passionately engaged so we can cultivate them into the tenured contributors who will become the bedrock of our organizations. The first step is to rid your vocabulary of those four small words.  And we’re never too young – or old – to do that.

*I am thankful to Julie Guilioni who stated these findings, and caused these thoughts to be noteworthy.