Thursday, September 10, 2015

9/10/15 Picks of the Week: Tom Brady, Content Marketing and (for good measure) more Tom Brady

It was pretty quiet in and around our social media circles last week -- maybe everyone was grabbing the last summer vacation. Well, good for you!  But the rest of us were here trying to work, er, I mean, trying to ignore the uproar about deflategate.  Even Forbes put a business spin on last week's NFL ruling about Tom Brady.

But now that you're back from vacation, and ready to work, take a look at the articles that gained the most traction with the Excell community last week.  Including, of course, Tom Brady.

1) When Tom Brady calls, or is in court, people pay attention.  But how does "deflategate" reflect on his leadership qualities -- and what does the ruling mean for the definition of leadership, overall?  Good leaders, according to the author, display the "right stuff." And, this Forbes article questions whether Tom Brady displayed the honesty, integrity, and trust that make great leaders.  Ouch.

2) If you want to see a quizzical look on the face of some business owners, CEOs, or entrepreneurs, then just mention the buzzword "content marketing."  Or you might just find them dozing off and suggesting that you'd be better off talking to the new kid in the marketing department.  Because, as the article states:

 "there's no immediate business value to be drawn from writing regularly, and it takes away the time you might spend developing your product or speaking to investors..."

Are you nodding your head in agreement?  Well, if you are the open-minded sort, you might want to check out how this Fast Company author went on to outline five reasons why he recommends that all entrepreneurs start blogging.  Mind blown.

3) And while you are busy being a great entrepreneur, you might also want to read this Entrepreneur article about the 4 Leadership Fundamentals for every entrepreneur.  They would know.  So, how do you match up?

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Friday, September 4, 2015

8/31/2015 Picks of the Week -- Some of us are at the movies, while others are getting back to work!

It seems like a lot of people are looking forward to next year's Star Trek movie.  Or they love Captain Picard.  Or Captain Kirk.  Or just love the movies and don't want summer to end.

Here are the articles that got the most attention last week.  See if you can make sense out of them!

1) Let's cut to the chase.  The movies are a place to go and escape from the world.  A place to step into another's shoes and experience things differently.  But a place to look for leadership advice?  Perhaps.  In this article, Patrick Stewart thinks that politicians - and leaders in general -- could learn something from his Start Trek character, Jean-Luc Picard. This was in response to a comment made by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a Trekkie, when Cruz told the New York Times that his favorite U.S.S. Enterprise captain was "James Tiberius Kirk."

Additionally, perhaps as a bridge between summer and fall, vacation and work, another favorite article was one about the best movies about leadership.  You all get an "A" for effort! :)

2) While some people are returning from short vacations, others are returning from a longer hiatus.  Maybe the extended time away was in order to help a sick family member, or a sanity break, or after several years attending to small children.  But the article about a coach who is specifically helping former executive women return to their executive job level after some time off, resonated within our Excell community.

3) With the political season heating up, much has been written about what makes a great leader and what makes an effective leader.  We might now have some insight into Ted Cruz, but...what about you?  If you missed it the first time around, read this analysis about the 4 types of leadership and uncover whether you are a pragmatist, idealist, steward or a diplomat.  Or something else altogether.

4) And more about the millennials.  There's always more about the millennials.  And, you know what? We can't stop reading about them because not only are they now among us, side-by-side, in the workforce, but they are changing things in a monumental fashion.  Specifically, they are changing the face of leadership.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8/26/2015 Picks of the Week -- Jon Stewart, the NFL, Puget Sound Pride. We are all over the place!

As summer winds down, it appears that everyone's attention-span is a little wayward. We are gauging this because the most shared/retweeted/favorited articles this week covered a wide spectrum from food, to TV, to football...

Perhaps we all need a little more structure?  Hate to say it, but, specifically, maybe we all need the structure that autumn brings?  Just a thought.

1) Some of our community are concerned about a leadership "crisis" insomuch that one-third of companies surveyed don't regard coaching or leadership development as a business priority.  Overall, this may be because businesses don't know where to find the data that leadership development creates a positive impact on the bottom-line.  If you want to know more about this, please contact Dave Shapiro to discuss the benefits to executive coaching and how Excell can help your business.

2)  The "Altruistic Leadership" buzz phrase caught on in this piece from Forbes about Greystone Bakery, in Yonkers, NY.  The owner attributes the business growth to the fact that the bakery "doesn't hire people to make cakes. It makes cakes to hire people." Pretty inspired.  Make sure you read their story.

3)  We have a lot of local pride here in the Pacific Northwest!  When the University of Puget Sound was deemed by Forbes to have one of the Top 20 colleges in the country for developing entrepreneurs, we all wanted the world to know.  Congrats to the Loggers!

4) In the world of entertainment: Jon Stewart's leadership style is highly regarded.  Meanwhile, across town, some argue that New York Jets' Quarterback, Geno Smith, got punched in the face by a teammate because his leadership is  (Thankfully, some are placing blame on the guy who actually punched Geno.)

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8/16/2015 Picks of the Week -- Executive Coaching and...Michael Jordan?

It seems like everyone is gearing up for September and what that traditionally brings:  Education!  Self Improvement! And when you are a company that shares information about how to become a better business leader, it usually means that the "education" and "self improvement" has something to do with "executive coaching." 

1) This article suggests that the "wise entrepreneur assembles a cadre of advisors" and that the best advisors are a peer advisory group, much like the ones we organize at Excell Puget Sound.  So we are on the right track.  Are you?

2) To help you decide whether you are on the right track and can "do it alone," why not take a look at these four questions to ask yourself to help determine how an executive coach can help you.

3) If you still think executive coaching isn't for you, that's OK, but you might want to read this article about how coaching can help leaders improve their "work/life" balance.  So, coaching isn't all about being a great leader.  It's about how you can achieve overall contentedness by handling your executive leadership job well.  To learn more about how Excell can help you with that, please visit our Membership Page.  We look forward to answering your questions.

In related news, a Duke University professor was interviewd by the Washington Post about leadership and how he is hopeful that the focus on leadership training will have a ripple-effect on the future of big business.

And, finally, we guess everyone still wants to "Be Like Mike" because the article about Michael Jordan and how train to become a business "athlete" was a big crowd-pleaser.

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8/9/2015 Picks of the Week -- Politics, business, and debunking leadership stereotypes

According to a recent Huffington Post Article, Donald Trump's bombastic "arrogant" style is outdated in corporate America.  And based on the articles that our readers found most interesting, it seems like our members and social media followers are wondering the same thing.  Aren't trends interesting?

1) In that vein, our most shared article this week was a discussion in Forbes about whether the best leaders are feared or warm -- and what science has to say about it.
2) In his popular column from the Huffington Post, Harvard's Bill George talks about how battling the intrusions of technology is one way to gain control and emerge as a better, more "mindful" leader. Even the Dalai Lama chimes in on the topic.

3) And, even though it doesn't seem very Trump-like, studies are showing that leaders who find a way to attend to their employees' needs are rewarded with not only happier employees, but also greater, overall business success!
  • Why not? While we are on the topic of Donald Trump, why not share this quick and pithy interview between Guy Kawaski, one of Apple's founding members, and The Donald.  It's old -- from 2007 -- but, while not particularly enlightening, it is mildly entertaining and, at the very least, shows that Trump is consistent.
Another theme appearing this past week is that people are looking for advice on starting new jobs.

4)  A popular article was about creating an "onboarding" strategy to help a move from an IT managment role to leadership role.

5) Similarly, distinguising between the talents needed for success as an engineer and talents needed as a leader to engineers was a big hit.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Fatigue, why am I hearing so many signs of fatigue?

In 2008, a perfect storm formed.  The largest recession/depression since 1929 hit the world.  At the same time, we all experienced the full fledged 10 year adoption cycle/impact of the internet.  Through the next four years, two trends emerged:  The markets required companies to do more, do it better and do it faster and all this with fewer people. 

We are now beginning to experience, individually and organizationally a sense of fatigue that comes from depletion.  When I was actively rowing, I learned a valuable lesson related to depletion.  In a rowing race, you start the race with a very intense sprint which immediately puts your body in to a state of anaerobic depletion (this state means that the rowers body is both attempting to take in more oxygen then is possible and is unable to convert fats/carbohydrates to energy…. So, the rower begins the race in a state of pan “pins and needles” in the legs, etc.).  By the end of a six minute race, a rower has performed the fatigue equivalent of playing, full out, two back to back basketball games. 

The lesson learned…. step away.  There are times that continuing a pace puts one, or one’s organization, in peril.  Now, for those who are ready to respond with “Yeah… and watch my customers go away and my progress melt away” let me offer that the purpose of stepping away is to focus on improvement and efficiency.  It is not about giving up. 

So, tell me… what would you do if you stepped away?  What would your team do if they paused and regrouped?  What would change about the spiral I see of faster, better, cheaper? 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Top 10 Ways Not to Lead

Today we have a guest blog from Lauren Owen:

This month I’d like to present my own lighthearted take on leadership improvement, specifically the Top 10 Ways Not to Lead. (I also want to thank my wonderful clients, who are genuinely dedicated to improving their own leadership abilities and are continually setting examples of great leadership.)

Click HERE to read the Top 10 Ways Not to Lead:

Lauren believes in making a difference in her clients’ lives. She does this by helping them identify their personal and organizational WHY and shows them how to share that with their teams and their customers.  She identifies their areas of development as a leader so that they can focus on making changes that will make the biggest and quickest impact. As a result, their teams, organizations and personal lives are all transformed for the better. 

Lauren is a certified WHY coach and a Stakeholder Centered Executive Coach.