What I Learned about Leadership from Parenting a Toddler

By: Jessica WishartTue, Feb 21, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

I will never forget this moment. I leave work a few minutes early to rush to daycare and pick up my then 13-month-old daughter to take her home where my mother is eagerly waiting for her. Because of massive flooding in their hometown, my parents (who desperately tried everything to get here) missed her first birthday party the month before. My mom quickly scheduled this visit to make up for the missed birthday, and even this trip she had trouble getting here. She was supposed to arrive Sunday, but due to mechanical issues with her flight, she didn’t get to my house until Monday afternoon. So, I had a bit of urgency to get my Lena home to see her KayKay. And this is the moment she chooses to exercise her newly found toddler independence for the first time. She’s happy enough to come with me to the car, but when the time comes to get in her car seat, she stands, arches her back, clenches her fists, and holds her breath to build up the scream - her face is bright red, she’s shaking her head frantically - “NO!” She will not get in the car seat.

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Topics: Leadership

What is an Intrapreneur?

By: Alicia CrokeSun, Feb 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Recently, I have been running into the term intrapreneur over and over again on LinkedIn. So, I decided to educate myself and see what all the fuss was about.

The proper definition of an intrapreneur is "an employee of a large corporation who is given freedom and financial support to create new products, services, systems, etc., and does not have to follow the corporation's usual routines or protocols." Intrapreneurs are different from your typical employees.

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Topics: Leadership

3 Patterns of the Most Productive People

By: Liz McBrideMon, Feb 6, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

On my flights to see clients, I always pick up a business magazine to read. It’s something that can spur an insight when I face a particular challenge, and it sure as heck beats reviewing the already memorized airline menu selection when we must power down. Isn’t that productive of me? Perhaps Fast Company should have interviewed me in their "Secrets of the Most Productive People."

Instead, they interviewed the big guns - CEOs and founders in fashion, technology, non-profits, production companies, and TV shows. There’s even the Master Taster of Woodford Reserve! What a great title. I would love to be a master taster! Speaking of tasting, have you ever notice the cover of Fast Company magazine feels like a cat’s tongue? OK, back to being productive.

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Topics: Leadership

The Road to Hell (is Paved with Good Intentions)

By: Barry PruittThu, Jan 26, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

I bet you recall with great clarity the time that you had good intent yet got negative results. Forget that you meant to be helpful, accommodating, and complimentary - the result was negative, the feedback harsh, and you felt blindsided. Welcome to what has been described for decades as the road to hell … the one paved with good intentions.

As an entrepreneur, I can think of many examples where I’ve paved the wrong road. I have learned a simple strategy to help you pave the right road by triangulating on your best outcome. The process is simple in theory, a bit harder to execute, and powerful in results. The focus is on three points, in order, to triangulate the desired outcome: Intent, behavior, and impact.

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Topics: Leadership

Becoming an Accountable Leader: From Aspiration to Reality

By: Cathy McCulloughSun, Jan 22, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

The key question relative to becoming an accountable leader is this: How do you turn an aspiration into a reality?

At the last Rhythm Systems Breakthrough Conference in Charlotte, I was honored to provide a keynote presentation on becoming an accountable leader. I shared what I’ve observed in my 25 years of working with leaders of amazing companies. Over these years, I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of men and women who truly do desire to become better leaders. As I reflected on that thought, I realized even more that great leadership is a journey. Whereas a company has a long-term vision or BHAG (longer term because it’s like leading an expedition up Mt. Everest—which takes dedication, focus, commitment, and time around some powerful Winning Moves), leaders must desire to be great. Many leaders can be good, but to be great is their true aspiration. 

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Topics: Leadership, Accountability

Listen Up - A Critical Leadership Skill We Often Take For Granted

By: Jessica WishartTue, Jan 17, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Effective listening is a key attribute for leaders (and for people in general). If you are a manager, this skill can help you unlock the keys to employee engagement and lead your team to increasingly superior performance. Yet, I find that it is something we frequently take for granted. Even though I have a Masters in counseling and spent two years studying and honing this particular skill, I still find myself falling into the familiar traps - nodding my head while my brain drifts off in another direction, interrupting with my own great idea, or pretending to listen while I’m really just formulating my brilliant response. As I said, listening is a skill, which is good and bad - this means that you can develop it and get better at it over time, and it also means that your listening skills can become rusty if you don’t practice them on a regular basis. So, whether you are a professional listener or just becoming aware of the need to work on this skill, we can all use a refresher from time to time, especially since there are few things more important to your ability to effectively relate to others both personally and professionally. 

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement

Did Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?

By: Alan GehringerSun, Jan 8, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Merriam-Webster Definition of Curiosity

  1. 1:  desire to know: 
         a:  inquisitive interest in others' concerns :  nosiness 
         b:  interest leading to inquiry <intellectual curiosity>
  2. archaic:  undue nicety or fastidiousness
  3. 3   a:  one that arouses interest especially for uncommon or exotic characteristics 
         b:  an unusual knickknack :  curio 
         c:  a curious trait or aspect

So, how curious are you?

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Topics: Leadership

Are You Appreciating Your Employees the Right Way?

By: Alicia CrokeTue, Jan 3, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Recently, my fiance who is a nurse received his Gerontology certification, and he received a record number of positive client feedback forms. How did his workplace reward him? With a single white stemmed carnation. He said he stood there dumbfounded, not because they rewarded him for his hard work, but they rewarded him with a flower, like a contestant on The Bachelorette. He is also introverted, so public recognition is not his favorite thing in the world.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement

How to Be a Fit CEO for 2017

By: Alan GehringerThu, Dec 29, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

To give your business an edge against the competition in 2017, you might be considering some ways to level yourself up in the process. Instead of looking for extra hours, more meetings, and hiring new personnel to help you tackle it all, have you considered using fitness to your advantage? The benefits of being physically active and healthy are many, but for the business-minded, the boost in mental productivity, creativity, and optimism are three tools you need to increase your success in the coming year. 

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Topics: Leadership

Leadership Tips to Help Your People Solve Their Own Problems (Part 2)

By: Cathy McCulloughThu, Dec 22, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

In my last post, I began exploring the question of how to help your people master the skill of problem-solving. While the ability to create their own solutions in real-time is a trait that leaders crave in their teams, often leaders fail to create environments where this kind of behavior can flourish. Meanwhile, most employees would like to have the opportunity to solve problems themselves. But, without the right conditions created by their leaders, they never practice the kind of strategic thinking that would lead to better problem-solving. Without practice, those skills can't grow.

You'll remember my three-fold question:

  • What should leaders be doing to help their people learn to think strategically?
  • What should leaders be doing to encourage their employees to solve their own problems?
  • Why does any of this really matter? 
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Topics: Leadership