50 Ways to Enhance your Presence and Impact at Work

Our guest blogger today is Simon Tyler, author of The Impact Code.

Much has been written about leadership and impact. Corporate impact, specifically, is a term which seems to have a lot of style, but often very little substance. You are advised to change your appearance, use the right body language and so on.

But here’s the crux: without wisdom, without purpose and authentic intention, irrespective of dramatic style upgrades, your impact is rendered impotent and empty. True leaders and innovators – Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs – are considered ‘great’ due to their passion, and their belief in their purpose. People wanted to follow them and their ideas.

Without a sense of what motivates and inspires you, a new suit or different haircut will do little to improve your leadership potential. The Impact Code challenges you from the outset to examine your purpose as the first step towards creating a powerful positive impact on the world and those around you.

How often have you asked yourself:

“What am I passionate about?”

“What do I stand for?”

“What would I like people to say about me, and what I have done?”

… and actually written down your immediate responses?

Your current leadership impact is revealed in the answers to these core questions. It tells a story to those around you, making a statement about who you are and how you go about your journey. It’s about how you create lasting and meaningful impact.

In my role as coach and mentor, I observe senior managers and directors, every one of them leaders, in that they have willing followers, but only a few demonstrating executive presence.

I have identified five interlinked channels for executive presence. The consistency with which it is delivered, makes the impact more potent.

In The Impact Code I refer to these as The Five Aspects of Leadership Impact, and I will discuss them at the Soundview Live webinar on August 20th.

  1. Visual impact
  2. Presence
  3. Connection
  4. Verbal impact
  5. Your leadership footprint

In practice, all five aspects are in play much of the time. Becoming mindful of how you use the aspects of impact prepares you to enhance both the strength and consistency of your message.

During the webinar I will discuss a leader’s impact journey. Powerful, authentic leadership can be identified by four escalating outcomes:

Attraction – People are attracted to you and to your ideas. They may, or may not, be able to explain why, but they gravitate towards you in a room and are eager to hear what you have to say.

Appetite – Your connection with individuals amplifies their initial attraction; they are now actively aware of their interest in your ideas, your team, your company, and they want more.

Advocacy – People are deeply and passionately aware of your ideas and motivated to advocate them to others – they support your cause verbally, they discuss it with peers, creating a buzz around you and your vision.

Action – Your passion and leadership create a palpable and obvious response in others. They take new, inspired action, and do something directly as a result of their involvement with you. You create change through the actions of others. Your impact is spreading more widely and is not restricted to the people you meet in person.

During the webinar I will help you notice positive and impactful perceptions of yourself and your work, not only in a business setting, but in other areas of life too. Heightening your self-awareness, becoming more deliberate, will enhance your impact and accelerate the pace of the change and also bring many of the material, emotional and spiritual rewards you seek.

Join us on August 20th for our webinar with Simon Tyler: 50 Ways to Enhance Your Presence and Impact at Work.

A Big BUT

By Daniel F. Prosser, Author, ‘Thirteeners – Why Only 13% Of Companies Successfully Execute Their Strategy And How Yours Can Be One Of Them’

There are two kinds of strategic planners I’ve encountered in the world of business and both of them are ALWAYS right. Which one you are most like?

Our first strategic planner sits down with their team and goes through all the right motions, has a grand dream they think they are committed to accomplish. They might see a big possibility for their future, yet with an almost unconsciousness, immediately and automatically follow their idea with, “but…” As in, “This is a great idea, BUT I just don’t think we are capable of making that happen this year”. Or, “That would be nice, BUT….” The word may not actually be spoken – yet often it is. Regardless, this is the word that runs the show; limits the possible future. And, what’s even more interesting is that everyone who thinks this way makes themselves absolutely correct in their statement.

The second strategic planner follows the same process for strategic planning for the year and yet they do something completely different with their idealized future. They W.

Huh? What is W?  Look very closely. What you’re looking at is the international symbol for putting your butt on the line. That’s right – there are two different types of strategists (leaders actually) and the ones who have the best chance of fulfilling on their dreams and plans are the ones who give up the word ‘But’ and literally take the risk of putting their butt on the line for what they want, regardless of the risks.

More leaders silently succumb to their ‘but’ and avoiding having to actually put their W on the line.

Why would this be a problem? Well, the shocking news is that 87% of companies fail to execute their strategy each year and then wonder why. To be clear – this isn’t the only reason they fail. But, (there’s that word again) it’s a very serious problem because what happens next when leaders are being observed and followed –their thinking and their fear of risk, becomes embedded as a hidden practice that gets repeated within their organization.

Just the mere silent indication that there’s any sort of resistance to “what’s next” creates what I call a cultural meme – a meme is an unspoken idea, behavior, or practice that spreads from person to person within a culture. Memes carry invisible or hidden messages – conversations actually and that is what really runs your company. You’re not aware of them because they are in the background. Memes operate like a virus to undermine and sabotage your best intentions – the things you would most like to have happen in your life or your business. When you understand memes and specifically the memes that operate in your workplace you literally take your power back to be able to say how it’s going to be and then have it be that way.

To earn more, join Daniel Prosser at our Soundview Live webinar: Become One of the 13% That Successfully Execute Their Strategy on August 13th.

 

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

thehardthing

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup –– practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular “Ben’s Blog.”

Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in and supervising technology companies. He also amplifies business lessons by telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with Horowitz’s trademark humor and straight talk and drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:

• Techniques for navigating the struggle of being a leader.

• The right way to hire and the right way to lay people off.

• Why you should take care of the people, the products and the profits, in that order.

• How to lead even when you don’t know where you’re going.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.

 

Taming the Markets to Achieve Your Life’s Goals

A DIFFERENT KIND OF INVESTMENT STRATEGY

To succeed as an investor, you need to beat the market. That, at least, is how most investors view their financial goals. Discussions with financial advisors are focused on whether investments did better than the market; if they didn’t, the advisors better have a good explanation for their clients.

According to Ashvin Chhabra, Chief Investment Officer of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and the author of The Aspirational Investor, investors have their priorities mixed up. The goal should not be to beat the market; the goal is to build an investment strategy that helps you achieve your personal objectives and aspirations. As Chhabra shows, refocusing on personal objectives and aspirations rather than just beating the market requires a different kind of investment strategy.

Traditional investing is designed to manage risk through what is known as modern portfolio theory. Modern portfolio theory is not so modern (Chhabra calls the name “ironic”); it was developed by a University of Chicago graduate student in the 1950s named Harry Markowitz, who argued that the only way to manage risk in volatile markets was to invest in a portfolio of stocks and bonds with a variety of risk. For example, if stocks take a hit, bonds go up. Therefore, a combination of stocks and bonds is less risky than a portfolio of only stocks.

For Chhabra, modern portfolio theory is based on investments as a supplemental source of income for an era in which retirement income was based on social safety nets and stable pension plans. Those days are gone, he writes, and now it’s mostly through investments that individuals must not only create wealth but also build a foundation of financial security. In other words, investors today must use their investments to achieve three objectives, Chhabra writes: “financial security in the face of known and unknowable risks,” “maintain your living standard in the face of inflation and longevity” and “pursue aspirational goals, be it for personal wealth creation, to create positive impact or to leave a legacy.”

Unlike the general, all-encompassing goal of beating the markets and making money, an investment strategy based on personal objectives implies three different risk strategies. This “allocation” of risk is at the heart of Chhabra’s theory, which he calls the Wealth Allocation Framework. Risk allocation, Chhabra explains, “is achieved by creating three distinct risk buckets to support each of the corresponding three key objectives of your wealth management strategy.” The three risk buckets are

  1. Personal Risk. Investors must “immunize” themselves against personal risk — not being able to pay their bills. No matter what the markets do, personal risk is non-negotiable: Failure is not an option.
  2. Market Risk. The cost of living will inevitably increase over time. Maintaining your lifestyle thus requires, according to Chhabra, “earning a rate of return in the financial markets that is comparable to the increase in the cost of living.” To earn such a rate requires adopting the diversification principles of Markowitz’s portfolio theory.
  3. Aspirational Risk. To fulfill your aspirational goals, you will need to create significant wealth; the only way to build substantial wealth is to invest in high risk/high gain portfolios. You can’t win big without taking the risk of losing big.

As expected from a chief investment officer, The Aspirational Investor is not a theoretical treatise on financial markets but a practical guide for investors. Chhabra digs deep into the investment-decision implications of the three risk buckets, including, for example, a seven-step implementation plan for what he calls “objective-driven investing.”

Most investors should probably read this book before making any further decisions on their investments: Very few of us can afford to ignore any of Chhabra’s three risk buckets.

5 Steps to Transform Your Team’s Passion into Execution of Your Strategy

This blog was first published by Daniel Prosser on www.danprosser.com.

Every company leader wants to feel they’ve done everything possible to fulfill on their strategy every year. Leading studies show that while as many as 95% of companies have done the planning and created a cogent business plan or strategy, at least 87% of those companies won’t follow through and meet those goals this year, next year, or any year. And furthermore, it’s not the strategy that is usually at fault.

Keep this up every year and it won’t help that people, more likely your very best people, will ultimately begin leaving to find a better place to employ their talents. After all if you worked hard (and I think you are) to make a difference and it’s not working, what would you choose to do? It only makes sense.

You can do something about this in your company even if you don’t have all the right people on the bus just yet. Companies that have changed their thinking have put their companies on a course for actual 2 – 3X expansion of their current bottom-line performance. This is especially common among those companies known as ‘Best Places To Work’.

This is not fantasy thinking. Any company can do this. The difference between those companies who do it and those that don’t is those who do are willing to first uncover and confront what’s in the way, and then give up their current system of limited and limiting thinking. Gallup found that companies that do change their thinking see an average of 2.6 times more growth in earnings, 12% higher customer advocacy, 18% higher productivity, and 12% higher profitability. Every bit of those improvements wind up on the bottom line.

“Almost every significant breakthrough has been the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking” – Stephen R. Covey

The companies who produce these kinds of results have first identified what is standing in the way of their forward progress and then – they shift their current thinking, they unhook their current model; they shift their current paradigms. They literally go to work to transform the way they are ‘being’ versus concentrating on what they are ‘doing’ as a company, by adopting a new system in which they’ve literally risked their present ways of thinking to build a more powerful and profitable future.

What exactly did they shift?

  1. An Awareness of the conversations and beliefs that undermine and sabotage future performance and a new Awareness of what is truly possible once that truth has been told.
  2. An enduring vision of the future that puts everyone on the exact same page; a future that empowers people, can’t be forgotten, and won’t disappear or go out of existence.
  3. A strategy that eliminates the need for survival tactics and empowers employees and other stakeholders to take responsibility for causing breakthrough results.
  4. A future-focused culture that gets the constraints left by past performance out of the way of having what you say you want and create the connections people need with each other and to the activities (roles/goals/responsibilities) that are consistent with the vision.
  5. An accountability system that gives people back their power to produce ‘real measurable results’ using a new structure to support what the organization is committed to.

The challenge in shifting to a future based company is to maintain accelerated forward progress. To do this the leadership have to give something up. They need to give up being right and believing they have all the answers.

Once they set their egos aside and are promoting a more relational culture, they can then stop managing people and start managing the promises people make as they establish effective accountability and become more effective at managing promises that close the gaps between what is possible and current performance.

To learn more about the conversations that can move a company into the top 13%, register for our Soundview Live webinar with Daniel Prosser: Become One of the 13% That Successfully Execute Their Strategy.

Creating Urgency and Growth in a Nanosecond Culture

thehighspeedcompany

Best-selling author Jason Jennings knows that speed is the ultimate competitive advantage. But in 2015, companies of all sizes still struggle to adapt quickly. They know it’s crucial to their future but need help to get everyone implementing speed and urgency at all levels.

Jennings and his researchers have spent years up close and personal with thousands of organizations around the world — figuring out what makes them successful in both the short and long term. The High-Speed Company reveals the unique practices of businesses that have proven records of urgency and growth. The key distinction is that they’ve created extraordinary cultures with a strong purpose, more trust and relentless follow-through. These companies burn less energy, beat the competition and have a lot of fun along the way.

Jennings shows how you can implement the same strategies that have made companies such as CoBank, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Grainger, Henry Schein, Google, and Johnson & Johnson great, including encouraging employees to make the right moves without hesitation, doing more to constantly innovate and bring in new customers, and being transparent about management decisions.

Breathe easier. Handle any hurdle. Get things done faster. That’s the way of the high-speed company. Jennings shows you how to build and sustain your own.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:

• The key traits of high-speed companies –– and why they outperform.

• How purpose drives high-speed companies.

• How to address the “immutable law of suckage.”

• Why high-speed companies are defined by stewardship.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.

 

Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project

Projects Are Inherently Risky Business

One of the most important responsibilities of a project manager, according to veteran senior project manager Tom Kendrick, is to identify and manage the variety of risks associated with the project. Kendrick is the author of Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project, which is now in its third edition. Detailed, well-organized and comprehensive, Identifying and Managing Project Risk takes you through the planning, assessment and responses required for any kind of project of any size.

For the past 20 years, Kendrick has been collecting anonymous data on project problems from hundreds of project leaders. From this database, Kendrick has identified the three types of project risks encountered by project managers, based on their root causes: scope, schedule and resources.

Scope risk occurs either in the form of changes to the scope or what the author calls defects — in other words, not being able to deliver what is expected. Schedule risk can either be 1) delays, 2) faulty estimates of the time required to accomplish the activities of the project or 3) slippage due to factors outside the project. Problems with people, external staff and/or money are the causes of resource risks.

In the first half of the book, Kendrick focuses on identifying these three types of project risks. For scope risks, for example, he suggests

  • Clearly defining project deliverables, noting the challenges.
  • Setting limits on the project based on the value of the deliverables.
  • Breaking down the project into small pieces.
  • Assigning ownership for all project work.
  • Noting any risk that might arise from the expected project duration or complexity.

In the second half of the book, he focuses on risk assessment (including qualitative and quantitative analyses) and responses to risks at both the different activity levels and at the overall project level.

For example, he sets down the following rules for managing activity risks:

  • Determine root causes.
  • Avoid, mitigate or transfer risks whenever feasible.
  • Develop contingency plans for the remaining risks.
  • Document risk plans, and keep the data visible.
  • Monitor all risks in your risk register.
  • “Thirty grams of prevention is worth half a kilogram of cure (approximately).”

Documenting risk plans is accomplished through a detailed listing of all risks that includes information such as a description of the risk, the owner of the risk, activities impacted by the risk, quantitative and qualitative risk-analysis results, proposed risk response actions, risk triggers, residual risk exposure and contingency plans.

Lessons from the Panama Canal

An entertaining and illuminating feature of the book is the story of the building of the Panama Canal, which Kendrick uses as the thread tying all the steps together. Thus, each chapter ends with an evocative story or stories from the Panama Canal project that illustrate the lessons of the chapter.

The building of the Panama Canal is one of the great engineering achievements, although perhaps underrated today. Kendrick shows how the leaders of the project, notably John Stevens and General George Washington Goethals, were able to complete the Panama Canal by following the same processes as described in his methodology. After Roosevelt’s first project manager resigned, declaring that building the canal was a mistake, Stevens arrived and immediately set about pinning down the scope of the project. Stevens “determined exactly how the canal should be built, to the smallest detail,” Kendrick writes. “The United States would build an 80-kilometer lock-and-dam canal … with a budget of U.S. $375 million, to open in 1915. With the scope defined, the path forward became clear.”

At 400 pages, Identifying and Managing Project Risk is not a quick read. But as Kendrick shows, anyone in a hurry should not be managing projects to begin with. Undoubtedly, they will follow in the footsteps of de Lesseps and avoid the rigorous risk planning required to successfully bring any project to fruition.

4 Tips for Becoming a Whole-Brained Leader

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi is CEO of Herrmann International and co-author of The Whole Brain® Business Book, Second Edition (McGraw-Hill).

What’s the most effective leadership style?

OK, it’s a trick question.

There is no “one size fits all” style. Leadership is personal; it’s individual. The best leaders aren’t trying to be someone they’re not or to force-fit themselves into a prescribed mold. They understand their own style—who they are—and they’ve learned how to leverage it.

But regardless of personal leadership styles, our research has shown that there are some commonalities among the most effective leaders. Especially in a business world that’s as complex and fluid as today’s, we’ve found that being a successful leader requires Whole Brain® Thinking.

This means understanding how you prefer to think as well as what your mental “blind spots” are. It’s also about having the agility to stretch outside your thinking comfort zones when the situation requires it.

The great thing about the brain is that you have access to all of it. So while I may prefer conceptual thinking over structured approaches, that doesn’t mean I can’t focus in on detailed action items. It does, however, take conscious awareness, motivation, and effort. And most of the time, we’re pretty unconscious about our thinking.

To get more conscious about thinking so you can become a more effective leader, start with these quick tips:

  1. Understand all the brainpower that’s available. Being whole-brained isn’t just about your own thinking; it’s also about recognizing who can supplement your strengths when the situation requires it (and then listening to them!). Know the people around you, and bring in the complementary thinking you need to see all contingencies and aspects of an issue.
  2. Make thinking a priority. Our culture is focused on “do, do, do,” to the point where thinking is often viewed as a luxury. But it’s your job to think, and you can’t run on autopilot when the landscape is constantly changing. Own, schedule, and protect your thinking time, as well as the thinking time for those you lead.
  3. Play to people’s strengths. When employees are disengaged and burned out because their jobs don’t match their thinking preferences, it can cost the company millions. Tools like the HBDI® Assessment can be used to understand not only the person’s preferences, but also the mental requirements of a particular job. This is valuable information for talent alignment and coaching/performance support discussions.
  4. Escape your thinking confines. It’s easy to get contaminated by your industry or organizational mindset. To be more strategic and innovative, you have to make a point to regularly escape this narrow view. Read about industries that have nothing to do with yours, attend different conferences, network widely. If you don’t look outside, you risk getting caught off-guard.

You can hire experts in finance and lean and technology. What you can’t hire is your own ability to think critically, creatively, and strategically, to think visually, intuitively, and globally—to be able to project your leadership out into the future. Get conscious about your thinking by exercising Whole Brain® leadership daily.

Learn more about Whole Brain Thinking at our upcoming webinar with Ann Herrmann-Nehdi: Unlock the Power of Whole Brain Thinking.

A New Way of Thinking

So often, we are limited by our own perspective, our own way of looking at business and life. It is no small challenge to break out of this narrow mindset in order to gain the perspective of our colleagues, employees and customers – but it can mean the difference between success and failure.

We have invited two authors to join us next week to help us break through the limitations of our thinking. On August 4th Ann Herrmann-Nehdi will introduce the concept of whole-brain thinking, and then on August 6th Bernard Mayer will provide a new perspective on conflict resolution.

Unlock the Power of Whole Brain Thinking – Ann Herrmann-Nehdi

Filled with real-world examples and essential charts, exercises, action steps, and strategies, this Soundview Live webinar shows you how to rethink your business, prepare for the future, realign your goals, and reinvigorate your team — by putting your whole brain to work.

Taking Conflict to a More Productive Place – Bernard Mayer

In this Soundview Live webinar Bernard Mayer outlines seven major dilemmas that conflict practitioners face every day. Participants will find expert guidance toward getting to the heart of the conflict and will be challenged to adopt a new way to think about the choices disputants face.  They will also be offered practical tools and techniques for more successful intervention. Using stories, experiences, and reflective exercises to bring these concepts to life, Mayer provides actionable advice for overcoming roadblocks to effective conflict work.

As always, these webinar are free for subscribers. And if you’re not yet a subscriber, you can Subscribe to our Online Edition for what it would cost for just these two events, and receive our summaries and a year of weekly webinars.

How Managers Can Motivate by Creating Meaning

makeitmatter2

Are your people giving in instead of giving their all? Have they quit, but stayed? Probably. According to a shocking Gallup poll, more than seven out of 10 American workers are disengaged, which hurts productivity, products and personal satisfaction. In fact, one in five are more committed to not doing their jobs than doing them.

In Make It Matter, Scott Mautz shows that the key to winning back the disengaged (and keeping the engaged, engaged) is by fostering meaning at work, that is, by giving work a greater sense of personal significance and, thus, making work matter. Distilling reams of research, case studies, stories and interviews with managers at great companies to work for, he unveils seven essential “Markers of Meaning” that can be triggered to create meaning in and at work.

He offers dozens of tools and specific plans to get your people to better commit and enjoy work as part of their lives, not an eight-hour departure from them. He also demonstrates how meaning starts with managers because if you’re not committed, no one else will be either. Most important, he draws a solid line from elevated meaning to higher profits, revenue growth and retention.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN

• Direction: Reframe work to add meaning and motivation, and help people discover a sense of significance and purpose in what they do.

• Discovery: Craft the richest kind of opportunities to learn, grow and influence, while helping people feel valued and valuable.

• Devotion: Cultivate an authentic, caring culture, master meaning-making leadership behaviors and drive out corrosive behaviors that can quietly and unknowingly drain meaning at work.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.