Trick or Treat! The Leadership Lucky 13

halloweenWith the leaves changing and my kids asking to try out their costumes, it can only mean Halloween is just a short few weeks away.  Whether or not you’re not superstitious, here’s my Leadership Lucky 13:

  1. Think and act positively.  Earle Nightingale said we become what we think about.
  2. Match words and actions.
  3. Plan goals.  “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there.” –Lewis Carroll
  4. Insist on results.  I remember an Intertech board meeting where I was going through a litany of accomplished “to-do’s” for the past quarter.  A board member stopped me and said, “I don’t care what you do.  I care what you delivered.”
  5. Solve problems.  I’ve not seen a dedicated course on solving problems.  The closest I’ve seen is in a Dale Carnegie leadership course where a section was focused on a problem statement… “In what ways can I solve [enter problem here]”, sort worst to first, then get going on execution.
  6. Delegate.  I used to take pride in arriving early, staying late, and doing it myself.  Now I realize delegation is a key part of leadership.  As Tina Fey said, the job of a good leader is hiring the right people and getting out of their way.
  7. Give away credit.  Jim Collins stated “Leaders look out a window when there’s problems and in a mirror when there’s success.”
  8. Correct, correctly.  In private.  With clear examples and not sandwiched between praise.
  9. Care.  In Rudolph Giuliani’s book on leadership he shares “Weddings are optional.  Funerals are mandatory.” I’ve rescheduled sales calls, business meetings, and vacations to be available or present for those going through a rough patch.
  10. Accept the importance of communication.  When in doubt, over communicate.  You can’t hold someone accountable for something you’ve never communicated.
  11. Give meaningful feedback.  “You did a good job” isn’t impactful.  Meaningful feedback is specific and shares what it means to you specifically.
  12. Tell the truth.  My dad told me, “Tom, you’re not smart enough to remember two stories.  Tell the truth.” It also makes life a lot simpler.
  13. Listen.  I asked a board member for the one piece advice to follow in business and life, he paused and said, “Seek first to understand… things aren’t always what you think.”

Tip a hat or raise a glass… here’s to The Lucky 13.

Increasing Productivity and Profits with Employee Engagement

Power-of-the-North

What if you could increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and outperform your competitive set by over 2X?  Not only is it possible, it’s proven! 

I’ll be speaking on employee engagement at the EO Thrive event on Thursday, October 29th.  Check out the conference and register here.

In my session, I’ll share practical, actionable ways to increase employee engagement from building trust with co-workers to helping employees feel valued and understand how they fit in the big picture.

 

Technology. Friend or Foe. Third in a Series

Man-vs-machineRecently the Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs and The Atlantic all had cover stories on whether technology is a friend or foe.

“What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently” stated the article in The Atlantic.

That’s scary.

Many experts are seeing a “new normal, where the expectation that work will be a central feature of adult life dissipates for a significant portion of society.” At Oxford, researchers have stated machines might take half of all U.S. jobs within 20 years.

MIT Management Professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in “Will Humans Go the Way of Horses” in the July/August edition of Foreign Affairs, make the simple and clear point… we humans will decide how technology our lives and futures.  They state “We humans are a deeply social… the desire for human connection carries over to our economic lives.” They go onto argue that in light of these technological changes, governments should be passing education reform, stimulating entrepreneurship and investing in research.

Social Media… the Great Empathizer. Second in a Series

Social-Media-FBDoes social media make the world a better or worse place?  Are we zombies tethered with a digital leash to the office through mobile texting and emailing or stressed because our updates on Facebook aren’t as impressive as a high school friend’s recent vacation?

A study by Rutgers and Pew Research Center found social media doesn’t make its users have higher stress levels. The director of the study, Lee Rainie stated “The fear of missing out and jealousy of high-living friends with better vacations and happier kids than everybody else turned out to be not true… The exception was when Facebook users saw news of close friends going through stressful events like unemployment or illness.” That sounds like empathy to me!

Fearing technology is nothing new wrote Claire Cain Miller in The New York Times, “Telephones, watches and televisions were similarly believed to interrupt people’s lives and pressure them to be more productive. In some ways they did, but the benefits offset the stressors. New technology is making our lives different, but not necessarily more stressful than it would have been otherwise.”

Technology. Friend or Foe? First in a Series.

planet-of-apes

Technology superstars like Bill Gates are challenging the wisdom of artificial intelligence.  Others are blaming technology for unemployment and stagnant growth.  Parents are blaming technology—constant gaming or being socially connected on phones—for making kids dumb.

Are we at a technology tipping point?

The article, “A World without Work” in The Atlantic looks at the impact of technology.  Asking if technology is good or bad is like asking a farmer if rain is good or bad.  My dad was a farmer and he could have told you it depends… when, where, and what amount matter.

The The End of Work was published by Jeremy Rifkin in 1995.  He stated “worldwide unemployment would increase as information technology eliminated tens of millions of jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors… (there would be)… a devastating impact from automation on blue-collar, retail and wholesale employees, while an elite of corporate managers and knowledge workers would reap the benefits of the high-tech world economy.”

What do you think? Is life better or worse than the mid-90’s?  Before you answer that, check your email and texts on your phone, watch a streaming movie for free on your laptop, and stay in touch with friends around the world without paying a penny for a phone call or letter.