Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Different Kind of Spring Forward!

This post is a special announcement!
We will be moving all of our content to a new all-in-one learning platform. Our goal is to reimagine leadership and management development. It's time to offer something different!
Read on...

Clocks have changed for most of us. Have you recovered yet? The one good thing about this time of year?...there is an inspiring sense of Spring coming. We see daffodils popping up from the ground and trees with early blooms and we feel it's just around the corner. We're beginning to break free from the winter doldrums, feeling a bit more energized as we look forward to welcomed days of sun-filled activities.

If you're anything like me, Spring is also a time when I take a moment to assess what's been happening since the beginning of the year - what was and what could be as the year continues to progresses.  I set aside time to plan because I want to act with intention - to make the most of each day.

I encourage you to do the same and in particular with your professional development.  This is the purpose of this post.

One of the new initiatives I'm super excited to introduce is an all-in-one platform that holds my complete collection of offerings, including books, articles and courses. It's intended to be a one stop shop to serve as an expert professional development resource for leaders and managers.

Why the Platform? 
It's time to not only rethink leadership, but also to completely reimagine leadership and management development. This is the challenge I am issuing to my professional community and in doing so, want to offer a viable alternative.

It's well passed time - it just really needs to change! 

I wrote about this need a while back on LinkedIn: Is The Leadership Industry Failing You?  And, the timing for this challenge and offering could not be more perfect as it aligns with many disruptive changes due to the pandemic. There is no better time than now!

Here's The Issue
For years, I've witnessed and been very frustrated with the overall inadequacy of professional development offered by most companies and the professional industries that serve them. This inadequacy has continually hurt employees (and businesses) at all levels in variety of ways including delayed skill development. All of which ultimately suppresses cumulative earnings for employees and companies.

My philosophy and a professional truth: 
Skills undeveloped is money left on the table...
for everybody...and definitely not in your bank account.

So, I felt compelled to create an opportunity to remedy this. I'm launching a professional development resource that offers the best, most effective way to grow capabilities and skills in a way that is sustainable and which can even be measured financially. All resources to achieve this will be housed on the platform.

What Needs to Change?
The current traditional approach to professional development is not only antiquated, but also does not adequately take into account basic principles of human psychology and behavior - the origin of all change.

Because of this and for a few additional reasons, you are being held back...that is if you're solely dependent on your company to provide all the resources for your professional development. And sadly, most folks are.

I'll state the challenges this way. I want professionals to not have to...
- wait on the timing of internal decision-makers to get help to gain knowledge and/or develop a needed skill
- be beholden to selective, restrictive investment
- be dependent (and this is a big one) on inexperienced, novice decision-makers who select "trainings", which are typically limited, deficient time-wasters.

Sourcing and decision-making goes something like this...hum we need training, where should I look. I'll go on LinkedIn (and I'm saying this even as someone who has one of the most popular LinkedIn HR courses) and shoot out a question to the community (who by the way promote the traditional approaches). A one time event or series of webinars and workshops - usually in the form of massive information dumps - are suggested, along with certain vendors. A topic is decided and scheduled..but oops you can't make it...that's'll be recorded. Decision-maker then thinks, "Training done, needs met, we're good to go."

You sign up, learn a bunch of stuff, your brain is maxed to capacity within the first 30 mins. You may get to ask some questions at the end...then, the end. No implementation support, post event interaction and follow up from the presenter, generally not tied to meaningful business objectives with little to no accountability of usage. That's it.

Here's The Reality
One information dump does not automatically fix a skill deficit and the problems created.. talking about a skill does not make a skill. Temporary change can be immediate, but permanent change takes time. Permanent change is a mastered behavior change aka a skill.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Your Management Training Sucks! by [JoAnn Corley Schwarzkopf]
I talk about this in depth in my Kindle Short - 10 Reasons Why Your Management Training Sucks.

And these are the driving factors behind my new offering. After years of the same ole' same ole' truly is time for something different. You deserve it! Your career and family deserve it and so do your fellow colleagues and if you're a leader/manager, those you led....and if you're a fellow HR professional you deserve something you can confidently offer that can provide the utmost value.

I'd like to offer the opportunity for professionals to...
- get competent help exactly when they need it
- in an affordable way so they are not dependent on their company to do so
- have strategic, affordable control of their professional development and earning potential by working with proven experts for as long as is needed.
- use of time efficiently 

So my message is... I encourage you to not undermine your professional earnings and development by being too dependent on your company and if you're at a senior level, not be wholly dependent on a novice HR, training and development department to make critical decision regarding the development of your most important asset - your employees. It is rare that they adequately provide what's needed. Additionally, there are definite gaps in development offerings for senior and executive leadership.

The Platform
It is a site that has a breath of learning resources - books, articles, videos, podcasts, courses, including live weekly interactive roundtables and periodic, specially curated masterclasses and 1 on 1 real-time conversations. Though this may sound like a bunch of random stuff put together, it all serves our key focus and development method:

What's different? Everything on the platform is serves to support our signature approach to leadership development using the lens of power => the ability to achieve desired results. My experience...everything in life is about power.

Our Approach
1. We use 3 unique, simple competencies - Personal Power, Community Power & Social Power.
2 Points here:
a.  Community is our updated, modern view of management and operations 
b. We think a lot of stuff around leadership & management competencies, as well as formal performance management is waste of time, adding little if any real, substantive value to an organization.
2. Framed within tested, proven blueprints.  They serve as a step-by-step guide to developing carefully identified competencies. Additionally, the blueprint is designed with behavior science threaded through-out, along with a method to calculate the financial impact of each step.

Our 3 Core Blueprints
1. The Emerging Executive - newly promoted or pre-promotion preparation
2. The Disciplined Executive - executives who want to refine their effectiveness (designed to be a tactical compliment to Peter Drucker's book, The Effective Executive)
3. The Smart Management Blueprint - for leader/managers at any level who want to improve their people management.

Each are designed to be implemented within a 90 day development cycle with weekly, measurable outcomes. Each has easy to access learning bites, action items with weekly, live accountability for feedback and additional learning. You experience support at each step along the way...for as long as you need! 

It's Time to Spring Forward Into Something New!
It's time to break out of our traditional view and approach to professional development. We've got to move passed and reject the notion that a meaningful "training", developing a skill is a 1 and done information dump and can only be sourced via Human Resources....that webinars and courses are the remedy. They are vehicles - they are not in and of themselves the remedy.

The best approach is to have access to proven tools, anytime needed, in manageable bites, with ongoing, live human support that is tied to real-time needs, for as long as is needed. That's what we offer.

Learn more about this innovative approach and how you can use this for your professional development. 

By the way, if you're a decision-maker or HR professional and recognize the value of this opportunity, we do offer special discounts for corporate subscriptions. Consider adding this platform and its offerings to your corporate leadership and management development portfolio.

A Final Note
After conducting thousands of professional development workshops, seminars and delivering many keynotes, here is one of the many professional development truths I've observed. There are primarily 2 kinds of learners - passive and active. 

Passive learners - which have been referred to as seminar junkies - love to learn...take in new information, but typically do nothing with it...they just keep learning and that's it. 

Then, there are active learners. They take in information with the intent to apply what they've learned to generate change. They have the motivation, focus and commitment to implement. In fact they welcome ongoing help. They want to be held accountable to maximize the learning experience. They want to ensure they're growing professionally and can achieve meaningful change...change that really matters.

Which one are you? If you happen to be a passive learner and want to boost your professional effectiveness and put more money in your pocket, we invite you to fully participating in all that the platform offers. If you're already an active learner, you'll love the format, offerings, live weekly interaction. You'll feel right at home. All are welcomed no matter your stage of growth. See you on the Platform!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

My Advice During Covid - Hang On To What's Certain

There is nothing new under the sun...ever heard that phrase. It's from a biblical passage, Ecc. 1:9.

Well, in the time of Covid, you might be that true now? These are unprecedented times. We're entering into a new normal (not a fan of that phrase)...but ok, yes things are definitely unsettling and uncertain. And, some elements of life may permanently change...or not. We'll see.

However, there are some very human, historical and universal truths that are settled, certain and will remain unchanged.

While we get tossed about by how we and others are describing this current experience, as someone who lives in the realm of human behavior in life and business, I can say - and I hope this is encouraging- there are some things...and I dare say the most important things... that has not changed and will not change.

This should be comforting news! There are some very important things that are unchanging in the midst of uncertainty that we can hold on to - anchor ourselves to - as we weather potential stormy times ahead. This is true both personally and professionally.

And, what would be an essential and very useful activity is to take the time to recognize and deeply connect to this truth.

So What Has Remained The Same? What's Certain?
Ultimately, who we are as human beings - how we're created and wired - as well as our core human needs, fundamentally do not change.

No matter the context - our human makeup drives everything from how we're managing homeschoolling, being an essential worker to business owners deciding how to navigate their unique challenges.

Specifically in business, whether you are now migrating back to an office or working remotely, your human needs, that of your colleagues, those you lead, your client or customer are still the same.

Though you wouldn't think so by the plethora of "new ways to manage" articles and webinars being offered to be a more effective remote leader/manager. Themes like being more compassionate, having more empathy, developing your emotional intelligence...which can all be categorized as in essence - being more human.

Here's a news flash - 
Human needs have not changed just because we've decided to pay more attention to them and now are spotlighting their value.

In any context, personal or professional, compassion and empathy, for example, have always been needed. The kindness of my banker was needed and welcomed before Covid and will after. A leader's ability to to develop'/have emotional intelligence has been a popular need expressed for years.

Here's what's changed... these human, relational qualities are now positioned front and center - a defining element - to management and leadership success.

How we relate (lead and manage) in a time of crisis and change is now the new success currency, because other elements in working together (onsite office culture and camaraderie for example) covered up or diminished the impact of its weakness or complete absence...affording a palatable toleration.

What has remained the same is the heart, mind, soul and spirit of who we are, what shows up to work everyday and is impacted by those with whom we work. Period. As long as we work with - interact with - another human being, this will not change.

The context may be different, but our human makeup remains the same. And this is what we must become and remain anchored to - hold on to and use as our core guide going forward - no matter what.

Our "new normal" is actually our normal and has been for centuries.

What has remained are those executive leaders, managers at all levels who became effective because they were the most relatable and human and could appropriately work with the human needs in others. They will have the easiest time with the future of work transition, because they have already created meaningful connections with their team that can be transferred or translated anywhere.

They knew creating connection, fostering a productive collaborative community was not based on or held together by physical space but based on the unseen space of heart, mind and spirit.

Ironically, this achievement provided the ultimate conditions for the most productive, profitable teams that could be manifested anywhere at anytime. This is the ultimate in effective leadership.

And that's why I wrote the executive briefing book The Human Quotient. This is what we help leaders achieve - we call it "people acumen" or HQ.  Our experience has taught us that business acumen is weakened without a meaningful level of HQ.

Additionally, we created a blueprint to marry business and people acumen. It's a road map for improving results by cultivating effective leadership and management in a way that can be financially measured through the lens of human behavior amplifying and valuing the human experience.

My advice during this time?...recognize and anchor yourself to that which is not changing...the needs of humanity, yourself, your family, colleagues and friends. Let it stabilize and anchor you as you navigate what's in front of you and what lies ahead.

Consider Working With Us
Achieving successful, sustainable people management - individual & team management - that can be financially measured is our expertise. Through a precisely crafted leadership and management blueprint, we enable executive leaders, along with their extended leader/manager teams, to consistently implement good management practices by developing 9 essential management skills - without major disruptions to their schedule, enormous coaching fees and all consuming consulting initiatives.

The blueprint successfully addresses the need for middle management development...that is managing managers. Our work fulfills how Peter Drucker defines the Effective Executive. 

Our core premise and a fundamental business truth > People management is business management which directly impacts business performance...and effective leadership skills naturally include effective management. Ultimately, business management skills has to include people management skills -it's unavoidable as one directly drives the other.

If this is something you know you need, make a point to learn what we do, how we do it and how you can quickly benefit financially. Go here now.

Friday, April 17, 2020

How to Make Better Decisions

Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, & Senior Leaders are having difficult challenges these days. They are faced with having to make tough decisions... particularly related to employees.
We know. We are a family of several businesses. We're experiencing this first hand. For some owners and senior executive leaders, the difficult decision to keep employees, let some go, even to stay in business...among others are heart wrenching.
I saw one of the Shark Tank guys - Robert Herjavec - talking about this on CNBC the other day. He mentioned that - for some - one of the toughest parts of making these kinds of decisions is dealing with guilt. It's an interesting emotion.
Since helping clients make decisions is part of my work as an executive advisor, I decided to put together a video series for my fellow business owners and leaders.
I'd like to add a bit of certainty to a sea of uncertainty right now. Where possible, I'd like for them to feel certain that they are making the best decisions they can during these crazy economic times.
And the best way to do that is to have a reliable process. So I'm sharing the exact step-by-step decision-making process I use with my clients (which you can download). Among other needs, I also address how to work through being emotionally conflicted and information and tools to make the best staffing decisions.

Here are the relevant series links: 
=> 4 minute intro - 3 key decision-making tips to get you started - click here
=> 5 Part Series - Including 3 videos on how to hire, when to let go or restructure

One final note. In following my series on the book The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, you probably noticed that one of the essential components - I'd say skill - to being effective is decision-making. The above resources are extremely helpful if you see the need to improve in this area.

Exciting News! // We're excited to launch our new digital arm - Manage Global. To compliment our global reach with our LinkedIn Learning courses, we're offering a compelling resource - The Smart Management Blueprint that can be accessed and implemented in any business environment, world-wide. It provides a step-by-step roadmap to simultaneously improve business and people management while developing competent managers. If you feel a need for improvement in any of these areas you'll want to learn more. Check it out here! =>

Friday, March 27, 2020

2 NonNegotiable Fundamentals of Business Building You Absolutely Can't Avoid

There is so much noise in the world of leadership and management today. Go on LinkedIn and just see the breath of information in your feed - kinda makes my head hurt. There's so much discussion about what leaders should be doing, what makes a great leader, etc. Do a search on Amazon or Google about leadership and management and millions of results are revealed.
                        As a key, anchor leader - this ^ is you!

One thing for sure, if you are a senior leader or one that owns a business, there are certain fundamentals you must have in place - above all others. And yet, so many other things are discussed - I call them shiny objects - that don't actively advocate and address these fundamentals.

Two fundamentals in particular are these:

1. If you want to grow a business, you must have a reliable, effective management team or teams. And this is not just in concept only, but a team in which you have complete confidence - one you utterly trust.

2. You are the cornerstone of your business, business unit or department.

What's A Cornerstone
My husband is in construction. He has built many a building in his career from a small home to a skyscraper. One building essential every one of them needed was a cornerstone. What is it?

The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

This same building practice holds true when building a business, department or team. Everything about you as the key leader - the anchor leader - is reflected in your business or area of responsibility... whether you recognize it or not. Even if you don't see's there. 

You are the cornerstone of your business or area of responsibility.
 Everything about your business is set and acts in reference to you.

Therefore, if there is anything in your business you want to change - you have to start with you. Additionally, whatever those around you actively seek to change, may very well be undone by you. I've seen it happen. 

This is very common when there is management training delivered by some random training company and the middle to lower tier managers"have to go through it", but senior leaders are exempt. 

Then when lower tier managers try to implement what they've learned, it's refused, rejected, not supported or undone by their direct reports. This reflects little to no cohesion or alignment of the leadership and management team values, principles and practices - all of which can be very confusing and frustrating to employees.

In my view, there is a tremendous amount of money wasted in this scenario and yet it's very common.

As an executive advisor, I want to caution you to not take this traditional popular route when seeking to build your management team. Work from the 2 non-negotiable fundamentals and do the following: 
1. Start with yourself. Set the stage and the example. Model what you want to see in others.
2. Be very clear on what you want and expect.
3. Consistently articulate clearly what you expect - leave no doubt.
4. Ensure that your 1st tier leadership is on board.
5. Decide how values and expectations will be deployed and monitored throughout your remaining management team.

To summarize, developing a trustworthy, competent management training begins with you - not HR. This approach is management training done right. If you'd like an expanded explanation of what it takes to ensure successful, sustainable management training - check out our Amazon Short - Top 10 Reasons Why Your Management Training Sucks

The Big Picture
When you take a macro view of your business, with you as the cornerstone in mind, you'll see that leading is not a "top down" scenario, but rather a bottom up - a completely reverse view than how a company is typically seen. Most are seen as hierarchies.

I invite you to see it completely different - see it from the bottom up. Your business or area of responsibility is built on you. A great example of this is the company Uber. If you study the personality and leadership behavior of its founder Travis Kalanick, you'll discover the company culture reflected everything about him. In his case, this was not a positive thing. It cost the company money and eventually cost him his leadership role and ownership. Imagine the business of your dreams being stripped away.

A positive example would be the company Zappos (eventually bought by Amazon just a few short years ago). The company was built on the values of its founder Tony Hsieh. It's a great case study which you can read in his book Delivering Happiness.

So what does your company or business reflect about you? Particularly if you are a small to medium size business, your company brand is your brand and vice versa. Another important question is - does your management team reflect you - the good qualities/practices....and the not so good. Does it reflect your leadership values and strengths and/or your weaknesses?

Ultimately the #1 most important question is - do have the fundamentals solidly in place? Or, are you expending resources - finances and time on important elements of your business -  but not the most important component fundamentals?

If this is something you think or would like to explore more, I invite you to take a look at how we address the core fundamentals through our Effective Executive Blueprint for Smart Management. Click here to learn more - view a short video briefing.

Also if you'd like to have a confidential discussion about what's happening in your business, we offer a complimentary 30 min. Q&A call - you talk, we listen. Click here to connect with us.

Monday, March 23, 2020

What Kind of Leadership Is Needed Now?

This is not the time to be a reluctant, faint-hearted leader. I say this as I talk with my family - there are 4 business owners among us.

Able, willing leadership shouldn't subside during a fact it's during those times that it's needed more than ever.

Additionally, it's during times of crisis, extreme change or a major disruption when personal leadership strengths and weaknesses are exposed and amplified....and unfortunately... those personal conditions spill over onto those you lead and the areas of responsibility within the business or organization.

So, where are you? I know when I use the word leader - particular executive leader - it applies to a variety of contexts - size of company, department or team, public/private sector, owner or not. No matter where you fall, now's a good time to take stock and while doing so, see it as an opportunity to exercise your leadership muscles - to become better and stronger. It's probably safe to say - people are counting on you. They need you to "be the leader" - in fact, be an effective leader.

The really good news is no matter your level or scope of responsibility, being an effective leader is consistent in its core principles and practices no matter the situation. That means for many companies, leaders who need to lead virtually as well as leading in person, times of surety and times of uncertainty - they all still require the same core leadership elements.

So, what kind of leadership is needed now? Leadership that is always needed...leadership that's effective - leadership that leaders that truly want to be leaders.

Powerful leadership is leaning into the storm not trying to shelter from it.

And this is the key point. I'm not just talking about generic commonly seen leadership qualities but the essential leadership capability of being effective. According to Peter Drucker's years of observation, there are 2 core areas of being an effective leader. The first is what's consistently practiced - which can be done in any context and what he terms disciplines and the second is mindset. Here they are:

THE WHAT | The 8 Practices of Effective Leadership
  1. They ask: What needs to be done
  2. They ask: What is right for the enterprise?
  3. Based on those answers they develop action plans
  4. They take responsibility for decisions
  5. They take responsibility for communicating
  6. They focus on opportunities rather than problems
  7. They run productive meetings
  8. They think and say "we" rather than "I"

THE HOW | Effective Execution - The Effective Leadership Mindset
(Drucker calls them "habits of the mind")
  1. Know where their time is going.  Know where their time goes - they work systematically to manage what time they can control. They are keenly aware time is a limiting factor. The one thing that is a fixed measurement
  2. Focus on outward contribution - be results orientated - gear efforts to results rather than busy work - what results are expected of me.
  3. Build on strengths - their own and others and of situations -how can achieve what's best now with the resources we currently have.
  4. Concentrate of a few major areas - prioritize: Focusing on a few major areas with superior performance will produce outstanding results. This mindset forces them to set priorities and stick with it - know / commit to doing first things first. To assess this they tie activity to time - knowing use of time is the reality check to achieving what's needed.
  5. Make effective decisions using a systematic approach.
These are shared directly from the book The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker (known as the father of modern management). I've been vlogging and blogging my way through the book to compare his experience with executive leadership and management in his era (the book was written in 1967) with my experience in my era (I've been in business 22+ years). There has been some interesting findings.

Feel free to subscribe to this blog or my YouTube channel to follow the journey. You can read a sample of that here where I add augment Drucker's information with my experience: Are You an Average or Exceptional Executive Leader?

By the way, don't let the word "executive" trip you up. Drucker defines it not necessarily as a c-suite title or position, but as someone who has the capability to provide value in their organization as a knowledge worker. Here is a cool video summary.

How Serious Are You?
With all this said, now is as good a time as any to start or continue growing your leadership capabilities. Now is the time to honestly assess what you're doing well, what's needed now and what improvements you want to target.

Here's an interesting leadership reality check:
Your leadership is only as good, useful, relevant as your ability to successfully respond to current circumstances.
As the top CEO coach Marshall Goldsmith said, "What got you here may not get you there."

Once you've assessed, you may want to get honest about how you'll begin to make measurable improvements. Here's where being really honest with yourself comes in => Some people can easily learn about something and immediately go to work to apply it with great success.

And then, there are others who have great difficulty overcoming the inertia of generating change. Newsflash...most are in the second category - the first is quite rare.

As someone who has worked in the human performance industry for well over 20 years, it's very common to find it difficult to enact meaningful, sustainable change, individually and/or within an organization -particulary the more responsibilities one has. I discuss that in detail here - If It's So Simple, Why Aren't More Leaders Doing It?

It's very important as a leader to know the difference (not only for yourself but also when leading others) between learning about something and learning how to do something...and then doing a way that matters.

That's why many leaders seek assistance when desiring change whether in the form of coaching, consulting or having an advisor - all 3 of which come in a variety of forms. You may want to read 5 Must Have Tips for Hiring an Executive Coach.

Or, if you are one of those "yes I can learn and take action" folks - my phrase - "turn knowledge into know-how" - then I suggest you make sure that you're targeted area of development is highly relevant & useful providing the most value.

Consider This Recommendation - Ensure You're Being Effective
It is in fact your professional insurance.

Reading through Mr. Drucker's book, I came across a profound insight and belief that I have not been able to shake - so much so, it has fine-tuned the focus of my work.

He believes that becoming effective should be the #1 most important skill/ capability that any leaders possesses and here is the reason why. Through his years of experience, he shared this observation:

... a leader can have good qualities, have certain skills and relevant knowledge and yet not be able to translate them into meaningful results - in other words, leverage them into something of value - value defined as: worth, merit, importance. Or put another way, someone with a lot of impressive experience and capabilities can still be ineffective. This is quite a thought!

From my work, I have observed many leaders are very busy, even worn out and stressed with good intentions to do good work. And yet, when you examine what it means to be effective, it's easy to see that all of those activities and good intention doesn't necessarily translate into being effective... and the leadership practices that cause them to be effective are not present or barely visible.

For several years now, I have helped leaders become more effective - in a way that can be financially measured. I have collaborated with clients synthesizing specific high-impact areas of leadership and people management into a 9 step-blueprint that surprisingly aligns with the principles and practices defined as effective by Mr. Drucker. That was a wonderful discovery! In fact, I had already named it The Effective Executive's Blueprint for Smart Management.

Recommend Next Steps
1. Consider learning more about the importance and value to being effective - click here to go to the resource page which includes multiple post related to my journey through the book so far.
2. Pick up the book on Amazon - The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker
3. Check out the 15 minute overview of our 9-step blueprint you can use to quickly boost the results of you and your team.
4. Or if you're ready to dive in, commit and invest to ensure success - consider our 60 day development cycle - learn more here. Our development cycles are designed with human behavior science in which you learn the what, the why and the how, to being effective and getting results through others (people management) with weekly, live support.

If you any questions or comments - feel free to connect by email

Pic credit: Advantage Circle

Exciting News! // We're excited to launch our new digital arm - Manage Global. To compliment our global reach with our LinkedIn Learning courses, we're offering a compelling resource - The Smart Management Blueprint that can be accessed and implemented in any business environment, world-wide. It provides a step-by-step roadmap to simultaneously improve business and people management while developing competent managers. If you feel a need for improvement in any of these areas you'll want to learn more. Check it out here! =>