Choose to Learn, Choose to Grow

Image result for learn and growYou know you can do more with your career. And the future is going to demand more of you. The problem is you are so busy keeping up with the day-to-day that you can’t prepare for tomorrow. It’s time to stretch, to prepare for tomorrow’s workplace and put yourself in control of the career of your dreams, according to Karie Willyerd and Barbara Mistick in Stretch.

To remain relevant in spite of change, you need to know how to learn in any situation, open your thinking to a world beyond where you are now, connect to the people who can help you make your future happen, see experiences that will prepare you for tomorrow, and stay motivated through the ups and downs of a career so you can bounce forward.

Not only is your engagement all on you, but your development is, too. Research shows that the number one attribute executives value in employees is a high degree of education and qualification. Yet fewer than one-third reported that their companies offered incentives or benefits related to obtaining more education, whether it was degree-oriented or job-specific.

You must continue to learn and not just in a classroom or in other formal learning settings. In a sense, we must all learn a living because, as people interviewed have said, “It’s on me to develop myself.” You must learn on the job, often “on the fly” if you are to have any hope of keeping up.

A strategy for learning on the fly is to commit to a mindset that you have the capacity to learn and grow. With a growth mindset, opportunities to learn will abound, and you will find yourself more open to new experiences, and you will be more likely to achieve the skill improvement and professional development goals you set for yourself.

Even if you have a defined career path at your company, you may not be willing to follow that prescribed plan. You need options in order to maximize your personal development.

The reward of an ever-expanding network is powerful and often transformational. Networks facilitate collaboration on the job, assist in meeting your overall career goals, and provide support in celebrating life’s successes and rebounding from its disappointments.

Building diversity into your networks prepares you to anticipate change and make sure you have the resources to stay relevant at work. It’s your personal system to access when you need to understand changes in your field or industry.

Understanding what you want your network to do for you can help you determine its ideal size and makeup. When you change to a new role, you must also think about what and how your network needs to shift.

The best network stretches you. Every time you are with them, you feel you have upped your game and are thinking a little differently. Since we can’t maintain close connections to everyone in our networks, focus on the five you could groom to help you thrive.


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Build and Extend Trust in the Workplace

When we extend trust, we generate trust; when we withhold trust, we generate distrust. According to Stephen M.R. Covey, Greg Link and Rebecca R. Merrill in Smart Trust, our actions lead either toward a virtuous upward cycle of prosperity, energy and joy or toward a vicious downward cycle that eventually results in the destruction of those outcomes.

Either we add to the renaissance of trust, or we contribute to the crisis of trust –– in our personal lives, our families, our communities, our teams, our organizations, our nations and our world. It’s not enough to merely give lip service to the idea of trust. It’s not enough to use trust as a pragmatic technique in certain situations when it’s to our advantage. It’s not enough to trust only once in a while, when we think there is no risk involved.

The greatest and lasting dividends of trust come only when we choose trust as our underlying approach –– the operating system, if you will, that consistently governs our day-in and day-out choices and decisions. The actions of high-trust individuals, teams and organizations worldwide grow out of three specific beliefs about trust:

1. A belief in being worthy of trust. At the root of the belief in trust is a belief in trustworthiness or credibility –– in the importance of acting with character and competence so that both you and others know that you can be trusted. Leaders who have a core belief in trustworthiness do not consider that belief as merely a practical option or as a technique to get what they want in a particular situation. Rather, they are committed to being trustworthy even when it’s hard, even when there’s a price to pay. In fact, we might say that the real test of trustworthiness and credibility is doing the right thing, especially when there’s a cost or consequence.

2. A belief that most people can be trusted. Successful high-trust people and companies create their success by choosing to believe that most people can be trusted –– not all people (that wouldn’t be smart), but most people. When companies and leaders choose to believe that most people can be trusted, it plays out in organizational design, affecting systems, processes, structures and even strategies.

3. A belief that extending trust is a better way to lead. Successful high-trust leaders believe that extending trust is a better way to lead, primarily because trust inspires people to perform, it’s reciprocated, and it ultimately leads to greater prosperity, energy and joy. In order to increase influence and grow trust in a team, an organization, a community, a family or a relationship, someone has to take the first step. That’s what leaders do. They go first. They lead out in extending trust.

In fact, the first job of a leader is to inspire trust, and the second is to extend it. This is true whether a person has a formal leadership role, such as CEO, a manager, team leader or parent, or an informal role of influence, such as work associate, marriage partner or friend. Bottom line, if we’re not inspiring and extending trust, we’re not leading. We might be managing or administering, but we’re not leading. We manage things; we lead people. And real leadership requires trust.


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Sharpen Your Role as Manager

Show Trust to Earn Trust

Trust is a lot like faith. You can have faith in people only if you don’t try to control their actions, Eric Chester points out in On Fire at Work. The moment you begin to monitor their every move, out goes that faith.

It’s no surprise that many employers don’t really trust their employees. After all, it’s the employer’s business, their department, their division at stake. It’s their butt on the line if something goes wrong.

Trust is the foundational element of any healthy relationship. For the relationship to work, both sides need some independence –– some autonomy –– lest they suffocate from too much smothering.

Where the problem comes in is when leaders want their employees to give their all while doing exactly what they’re told –– no more, no less.

In this day and age, some companies still expect employees to be humbly submissive and overly dependent on their managers’ orders and oversight. The way they see it, employees are like children: watched so they don’t misbehave. Halted in their tracks before they ever make a mistake. Employees arrive late, take long lunches, slack off, don’t care about what’s good for the company, and take every opportunity to exploit any chink in the carefully constructed corporate armor so they can kill time and goof off. Then to top it all off, they leave early if no one’s watching. The way managers see it, they have to crack the whip in order to keep the place from becoming a freewheeling fun fest or a sea of inertia.

Let’s be clear: Employees who behave and act this way do exist. Want them to do the jobs they were hired to do instead of breaking their backs to get the hell out of Dodge? Leaders who are seeking on-fire performance from their employees need to be the ones to lead the charge. They need to show trust in order to earn trust.

On-fire employees –– the kind you’re looking to hire and keep –– are looking for some latitude to make decisions in the workplace. The best companies in the world, in turn, trust and empower those employees to think and act on their own –– everyone wins!

Take the best elements of entrepreneurism –– independence, creativity, passion and a desire to succeed –– and match them with each employee’s day-to-day responsibilities. Then build a workplace environment where all of those employees perform as if it’s their own company. A culture of autonomy involves not just trust from the employer but also accountability from the employee.

It’s a two-way street. Telling employees they can start working in the way that fits them best without providing any guidance or overarching goals is like giving them permission to jump out of a plane without a ‘chute. Cultures that promote autonomy need employees to work toward targeted, concrete objectives –– priorities and deadlines set by the company or manager.


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Deconstructing a Problematic Workplace

42956656Manage Resistance and Drama

You may think the real drama at home is about the fight you had with your spouse, but it’s really about all the times you avoided having the difficult conversation, failing to listen or speak your truth to others or even yourself, Marlene Chism points out in Stop Workplace Drama.

Drama impacts all of us –– both at home and at work. It hampers productivity and inhibits personal effectiveness. And the worst part, of course, is that if you can’t spot the drama, you can’t stop the drama. Nonetheless, most of us try to fix the symptoms instead of identifying the core issues. The drama is the situation. Your drama is how you react to it. Therefore, while you may not be able to stop the drama, you certainly can stop your drama. In other words, you may or may not be able to control or change the circumstance, but with some training, you can learn to manage –– and alter –– your response.

When trying to identify the common elements in drama, you will always find at least one, if not all three, of these core components:
1. A lack of clarity.
2. A relationship issue.
3. Resistance. Leaders face resistance on a daily basis.

Teams resist working together. Individuals resist change. Perhaps you even resist the most difficult parts of your job. The core of resistance is you avoid because you don’t want to face whatever it is that you don’t want to face. You complain because you can’t deal with a certain situation, or you justify an angry outburst because you cannot accept the hand that has been dealt to you. Complaining denotes an unwillingness or inability to let go of what can’t be controlled, or to face and act on what can be changed.

The premise of releasing resistance is this: You cannot solve a problem until you accept the situation. When you jump into a solution before releasing resistance, you will just experience more drama. The solution only comes after you let go of your resistance. The four main energy patterns of resistance are blame, resentment, justification and judgment. Resistance is always a state of nonacceptance and an avoidance of responsibility. Non-acceptance starts as a thought impulse such as, “I don’t want to go through this (fill in the blank).” That thought triggers an emotional response such as frustration, dread, irritation or guilt, then quickly materializes into more observable behaviors such as angry outbursts, finger-pointing, blaming as well as subtle behaviors such as avoidance and procrastination.

In the end, resistance boils down to an unconscious avoidance of responsibility, which spirals into negativity, then finally into full-blown drama. Managers or business owners frequently know and even admit that drama is present in their workplaces. Denial is the drug of choice for many of us when we face difficult choices.

Awakening from the drug of denial can be painful. When you shed light on another person’s incompetence, rude behavior or pattern of which the person was unaware, the person will become defensive. Your staff member may feel attacked or belittled, so make sure you approach these issues with kid gloves.

Observe these two rules:
• Never catch anyone off guard.
• Always correct in private, and do it within a positive, team-oriented approach, with the intention of bringing out the employee’s best.

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Are Your Skills Sharp Enough?

According to an article in The Washington Post, unemployment numbers took a surprising jump over the past month. This concern about the continuing rocky return of the American economy has caused a scramble for any semblance of job security. While the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent for the month of May, the affected areas of the economy could possibly be spread across the spectrum of jobs.

This is obviously concerning news for executives. One of the main ways in which many executives are attempting to solidify their position within an organization is by strengthening their skill sets. While traditional coursework and seminars still have a foothold on the executive education arena, more and more executives are turning to mobile learning as a means to strengthen skills at a pace that fits the intensity of their schedules.

If you’re in this group (and really, who isn’t in today’s climate?), I would strongly recommend you check out CKC’s Executive Edge ™ . This skill-building publication is delivered directly to you twice each month, and each issue is devoted to the mastery of one of numerous skills that every executive needs to succeed.

From the feedback that I’ve received, one of the aspects of Executive Edge that people most enjoy is the focus on practical applications of skills. This often arrives in the form of takeaways from executives with hands-on experience. Unlike other publications that focus on theory and speculation, Executive Edge delivers front-line information forged from the success stories of companies across the globe.

To learn more about how you can strengthen your skills, check out the latest issue of Executive Edge. Visit to learn about Soundview’s other great executive skill-building resources.

Can’t-Miss Collaboration Tips in CKC’s Executive Edge

One of the biggest challenges faced by today’s companies is how to create strong collaboration amongst the individuals in the organization. For many companies, this task is complicated by the workforce being stretched by geography but tied by technology. Add in to the mix the increasing prevalence of collaboration between a company and its customers, and one finds a climate in which the ability to work together is essential to continued success. The latest issue of CKC’s Executive Edge provides some excellent insight into the best methods to Foster a Culture of Collaboration.

Take a look at what thought leaders are sharing with you in this issue:

Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams (authors of Macrowikinomics) discuss how you can create of a culture of collaboration.

Emmanuel Gobillot (author of Leadershift) explains the unique leadership challenges you may face in the era of mass collaboration.

Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd (authors of The 2020 Workplace) provide a vision how your organization will collaborate in the next decade.

John Zenger, Joseph Folkman and Scott Edinger (authors of The Inspiring Leader) explain why the need for team achievements outweighs the draw of any individual accolade

If you have yet to check out an issue of Executive Edge, this is a great place to start! Twice each month, subscribers receive a digital publication devoted to an essential skill for any executive to master. To find out how easy it is for you to subscribe to this skill-building resource, click this link or visit Soundview online at

Sales Struggling? Soundview Can Help

Each day brings new reports of the devastating impact of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. As I arrived at Soundview’s offices this morning, I heard a report about one consumer aspect that tells us just how intense the circumstances are in Japan. Auto sales for the month of March in Japan are down 37 percent. This is due in large part to the sudden closure of many of Japan’s auto manufacturing plants. The supply chain has been compromised to a large degree, as the shutdown of a single parts-producer can impact multiple manufacturers.

It’s been a difficult time in the auto sales business in many parts of the world. If falling sales numbers have you concerned, you might want to check out the latest edition of CKC’s Executive Edge, the online publication produced by Soundview’s parent company Concentrated Knowledge Corporation. The latest issue is entitled “How to Sharpen Your Sales Approach.” If you’ve never read an issue of Executive Edge, one of the features that separates it from other skill-building publications is its devotion to a single skill in each issue. This gives you a variety of information on one topic from which you can build your own personal strategy.

In the new issue of Executive Edge, you’ll learn the secrets of buyer motivation, the latest sales strategies from top sales authors, and what’s being taught in some of the top-rates sales classrooms around the globe. Your next sale could hinge on a skill that you discover in this issue, so don’t miss out. If you’d like to find out how you can subscribe to Executive Edge, just click this link.

For more great books on sales strategy and selling techniques, visit Soundview’s Web site

Executive Edge on Negotiating Strength

As one Soundview staffer put it the other day, “2011 is officially the Year of the Protest.” It does seem as though every day brings more and more headlines of people gathering together in an attempt to effect change. Whether the reasons are economic, political or religious in nature, protests of all sorts have been greatly aided by social technology. The use of mass collaboration has enabled people to organize, assemble and solidify their efforts in a way that the Founding Fathers or, more recently, Baby Boomers could never have imagined.

However, in many situations, real change is decided between smaller groups of individuals. These are instances where the ability to be a strong negotiator is an essential skill. The business applications of negotiation can make a significant difference in a person’s career as well as his or her ability to garner more and better opportunities for his or her company. What are some of the most important aspects of strong negotiation?

Concentrated Knowledge Corporation (the parent company of Soundview Executive Book Summaries) is exploring some of these ideas right now in its new online training publication CKC’s Executive Edge. The latest edition shows you how to negotiate from a position of strength. It’s full of ideas from thought-leaders on the subject and includes skill-building tips that will help you the next time you’re seated at the bargaining table.

If you haven’t seen Executive Edge™ yet, you’ve got to check it out. Unlike a lot of other training tools for executives that try to cover a dozen subjects at a time, Executive Edge™ focuses on one skill per issue. That means you get comprehensive coverage of a skill, enabling you to learn and retain more information.

Visit Soundview’s Web site or click here to learn more about how you can strengthen your negotiating skills with Executive Edge.

Get An Edge in Your Career Development

What separates the performance of top-level professionals from people who, no matter how hard they try, seem unable to reach the summit? Every organization has one or two individuals to whom other members of staff look as an example of “the right way” to get the job done. The secret is a combination of knowing the best practices and key skills and executing your strategies in the right moments. Of course, gaining these valuable skill sets can require a serious investment of time and money. Most of us who are working professionals rarely have the time to be out of the office for additional training. The demands of our personal lives also prevent many of us from devoting time in the evenings to improving our career skills.

That’s why Concentrated Knowledge Corporation (the publisher of Soundview Executive Book Summaries) created CKC’s Executive Edge™ (To get a FREE sample issue, click here!). This online publication saves you time and energy by combining executive skill development with insights from today’s top business leaders. Two times per month, you’ll receive a digitally delivered publication in your e-mail in-box that will give you insight into vital skill-builders regardless of your level of experience.

Take a look at what you’ll learn in CKC’s Executive Edge :

  • How to impress your audience when speaking publicly.
  • Negotiating from strength.
  • Defining yourself as a leader.
  • Updating your sales style.
  • Resolving workplace conflict.
  • Maximizing your professional value.
  • And many more…

This is a unique opportunity to receive coaching from some of the best minds in business but at your pace and on your timetable. I also need to mention that now is a great time to sign up because of the special offer that’s currently running!

If you subscribe today, you’ll receive one year (24 issues) of CKC’s Executive Edge™ for only $39. That’s less than $2 an issue. When was the last time that you were able to get crucial career development information for $2?

To learn more and to subscribe to CKC’s Executive Edge just click this link!