Archive for the General Management Category

WHAT SUCCESSFUL LEADERS DO IN CHALLENGING TIMES by Kevin Daum / Inc.

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2014 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate, educate and push us to think outside the box.

WHAT SUCCESSFUL LEADERS DO IN CHALLENGING TIMES by Kevin Daum / Inc.

birds-flying-leadership-1940x900_34932Given the same set of circumstances, some people create team success and others fail. Great leaders know how to turn tough times into big wins. Here’s how they do it.

If there is one thing consistent about business it’s the inconsistent dynamics of business. Great leaders can navigate turbulent business climates just as well as they can sail a calm sea of activity. Often they use those frenetic circumstances to capitalize and strip away competition. Sure, some of the successes that come from chaos are pure luck, but once you dig in to the stories you find out there were intentional key decisions that launched the team to exponential success.

Success or failure during times of peril depends on your ability to get your team moving with strength and confidence. Following are 8 examples where strength, focus and resolve will help you avoid the temptations that lead to failure in difficult times.

1. Temptation: To spread your sense of urgency and panic.

When a state of panic sets in, reactive leaders will ramp up the energy and stress. Some problems do need to be solved IMMEDIATELY. But if the boss is frantic and emotional, everyone else will be too, and efficiency will diminish.

What great leaders do instead: Learn to break the news calmly, while making the seriousness of the situation clear. Take a breath and carefully assess the situation so you can work with the team to clearly set the appropriate priorities. Then you can be effective and efficient internally as you deal with the outer chaos.

2. Temptation: To lay blame.

When something goes awry, people naturally start to ask, “Who did this? Whose fault is it?” It is good to know the root of the problem, but this often descends into counterproductive finger pointing. While everyone is focused on avoiding the burden of guilt, the situation may be going from bad to worse. A leader who allows or participates in the blame game ends up with a diminished team full of distrust.

What great leaders do instead: Help the team focus on moving forward. Ask “What do we need to do to recover quickly?” and then get the team working together to make those things happen. A team will be more successful by creating heroes who inspire others to step up.

3. Temptation: To let your emotions drive your response.

It may feel better to yell or bawl someone out when you’re angry or tense…at least it provides a momentary sense of release. But it does more harm than good in the long run. Your people become resentful or fearful and less likely to give you their best efforts, or bring you news that might trigger a tantrum.

What great leaders do instead: When your emotions flare, give yourself a moment to let your rational brain step in. Excuse yourself for a moment if you have to, or just take a few deep breaths. Find productive ways to channel the negative energy into positive results.

4. Temptation: To make assumptions.

In moments of small vexation or serious crisis, people often scramble to identify a cause, sometimes allowing existing assumptions to drive conclusions rather than facts. Do you actually know the reason the reports are not in the box? Are you sure the marketing people missed the deadline? Is IT really being lazy? If you have existing concerns or criticisms, it is especially easy to jump to conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

What great leaders do instead: Ask more questions that frame the big picture. Calm, value neutral questions allow you and others to diagnose what’s truly going on. Sometimes they know what caused a breakdown, sometimes they don’t, especially when there are a lot of moving parts in a lot of departments.Often a small issue that seems to be a choke point is only symptomatic of systemic issues that are largely hidden. Careful analysis with the team may surface core issues that can lead to exponential efficiencies.

5. Temptation: To publicly speak critically of an imperfect employee.

Sometimes we all need to let of steam or grumble a bit when someone frustrates or lets us down. Doing that in front of the rest of the team spreads dissatisfaction and mistrust.

What great leaders do instead: If you really need to kvetch, do so privately, in a journal or with someone unrelated to the office. When you’re feeling calmer, approach the employee directly and politely but firmly share the truth about how they have fallen short.

6. Temptation: To withhold information.

If the truth is scary, it can be hard to share it with everyone for fear that panic will ensue and everyone will desert the ship. But if you leave them in the dark, your people are likely to fill in the blanks with even scarier conjecture. Most people will paint a more desperate picture when uncertain about their own future.

What great leaders do instead: Give your people as much good information as the situation allows. Promise to keep them updated, and keep them focused on the work they CAN do, rather than worrying about what they CAN’T. That way you can lead them to success instead of managing their fears.

7. Temptation: To softball criticism.

Employees are people with thoughts and feelings, and it can be painful to watch them wilt under criticism. So rather than address their failings directly, it sometimes seems easier to drop oblique hints or bury suggestions under insincere praise.

What great leaders do instead: Tackle the hard stuff first, directly and without hesitation. If they don’t know they are creating a problem, they won’t know they have to fix it. You can follow up with encouragement and praise to soften the blow without muddling the message.

8. Temptation: To draw comparisons between employees.

“Try to be more like Tim.” “Adriana never leaves a customer on hold for more than five minutes.” We love our star players, and we want others to emulate them. Your employees probably know exactly what makes their co-workers shine. That does not mean everyone wants to be continually compared to the office favorites.

What great leaders do instead: Evaluate each employee on their own strengths and weaknesses, using a clear rubric that is fair and equal for all. Base your comparisons on an ideal, not any one person, as your standard. Then take the time to work with each team member to perform at their personal best. Sure you are busy, but showing the person they are a priority will motivate them beyond their fears and concerns.

by Kevin Daum / Inc.

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

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UNDISTRACTED ENERGY (Pure Thoughts) from DailyOM

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

UNDISTRACTED ENERGY (Pure Thoughts) from DailyOM

The longer we are able to hold a positive thought, the stronger that energy around us becomes.

If we make no effort at all, our thoughts usually scatter in a vast array of directions. They start and stop and move in surprising ways from one second to the next. If we try to follow our thoughts without controlling them, we will be amazed at how truly inconsistent they are. Yet, if we apply our minds to a specific task, especially one that interests us, they gather together and allow us to focus our attention, creating great power and energy. This is what is known as pure thought, because it is undistracted.

The law of attraction—like attracts like—influences all energy, including our thoughts, and this is what makes pure thought so potent. Our undistracted thoughts create a powerful magnet that draws similar energy into our vibrational field. As a result, the longer we are able to hold positive thoughts in our minds, the more powerful the positive energy around us becomes. We don’t need to focus on action and controlling so much when we are surrounded by energy that draws what we want toward us. We can simply respond to the opportunities that naturally come our way. When this is the essence of our experience, we can go with the flow, knowing that we will be okay.

If pure thought is a body, it is our emotions that supply the heart that can really bring it to life. Our thoughts and feelings exist in relation to one another, and they form a feedback loop through which they communicate and empower each other. When we hold a thought in our mind without being distracted, we have achieved pure thought. When we have a positive emotional response to that thought, we enable it to dance and move and breathe itself into existence.

– DailyOM
http://www.DailyOM.com/

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

FIVE THINGS NEVER TO SAY AT WORK by Alan Axelrod, PhD

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

FIVE THINGS NEVER TO SAY AT WORK by Alan Axelrod, PhD

A few poorly chosen words in the workplace can damage an employee’s reputation and cripple his/her career. Even smart, well-meaning employees sometimes say the wrong things. Among the thoughts never to voice at work…

1. “Looks like I’m working late again.” Employees often are eager to be seen as hard workers who put in long hours—particularly in tough economies such as this one, when layoffs seem to lurk around every corner. While showing up early and working late can indeed further your career, talking about doing so could hold you back. When you verbalize that you’re putting in long hours, you risk giving the impression that you’re complaining about your workload or that you’re struggling to get your work done. That might lead a boss to view you as ungrateful or as a potential burnout candidate. And it might dissuade your employer from seeing you as a candidate for promotion—if you’re struggling to keep up in your current job, how could you possibly handle more responsibility?

2. “I’ll get to it when I can.”
Avoid saying anything that might be interpreted as questioning an assignment’s importance—even if you don’t think it is a high priority. The project might be a higher priority for the person with whom you are speaking than you realize. Even if it isn’t, you risk giving the impression that you don’t take the assignment seriously.

3. “I can do it better alone.” Employees sometimes say things such as this in hopes of seeming self-sufficient or in hopes of avoiding working closely with a colleague they don’t like. But telling a boss that you work best alone can lead to a career-damaging “poor team player” reputation.

If you are assigned a teammate you simply cannot work with effectively, express your reservations in terms of the company’s goals, not personal feelings about this person. Example: Point out that this teammate has a lot on his plate already, and say that you would be happy to tackle this task alone if it would help the company.

4. “I did it.” Most workplace victories are team victories. Failing to share the credit with colleagues and underlings who contributed reduces the odds that they will work as hard for you in the future. That doesn’t mean you should give away all the credit or downplay your role—just that when you accept thanks, you also should mention and praise the specific roles played by others.

5. “The way I’ve always done it works just fine.” If you voice resistance to new ideas without giving them a shot, you risk being viewed as someone unwilling to embrace any change. From there, it’s only a short hop to being seen as obsolete and thus dispensable. Justifiably or not, older workers are particularly likely to be stuck with this label.

Instead, express enthusiasm for exploring new methods and technologies when they are suggested. Voice your doubts only after the idea has been attempted or at least analyzed in greater depth. As long as you initially express enthusiasm for a new idea, you later can question it without seeming hostile to change.

If you do later raise reservations, frame them in terms of specific company goals, not personal preferences. Example: “It’s an interesting approach that was worth exploring, but the results seem to suggest that it’s detracting from our department’s turnaround time.”

Source: Alan Axelrod, PhD, a leadership and communications consultant based in Atlanta who has worked with organizations ranging from Siemens AG to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Writing under the pseudonym Jack Griffin, he is author of How to Say It: Be Indispensable at Work (Prentice Hall).

– Alan Axelrod, PhD

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

TAKING A BREAK FROM WHAT YOU ARE DOING (A New Approach) from DailyOM

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

TAKING A BREAK FROM WHAT YOU ARE DOING (A New Approach) from DailyOM

Sometimes finding the answer is as easy as taking a break and stepping back from the situation.

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we wind up going round in round in circles, finding it difficult to concentrate on things and, because we are so distracted, not really accomplishing much. There may be signals—mental, emotional, and physical—that tell us we need to slow down and relax. Since we are so involved in things that are external to us, however, we may easily overlook what is really going on inside of us. It is during these times that we need to step back from the things that occupy our minds and take time out to connect with our inner self, giving our minds, bodies, and spirits the time they need to reenergize and heal.

At first it may seem that by taking a break we may not be as productive as we would initially like. In reality, a healthy period of rest is something that gives us a real sense of the unlimited nature of our true potential. Spending a couple of minutes walking outside, doing a few yoga poses, meditating, or simply becoming attuned to the rising and falling of our breath enables us to let go of our worries. This act brings our focus back to the things that are truly essential for us, such as our sense of oneness with the universe and our inner peace and well-being. As we begin to get in touch with this part of ourselves, we will find that our usual everyday troubles and worries become less critical and that we not only have much more room in our lives to really reflect on the issues that mean the most to us, but we are also able bring to all the situations we encounter a much more positive and healthy outlook.

Giving ourselves respite from our daily concerns is like giving a gift to ourselves. By stepping away from the problems that seem to saturate our thoughts, we lessen the weight of our troubles and instead become more receptive to the wisdom and answers the universe has to offer us.

– DailyOM
http://www.DailyOM.com/

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAILURE AND A MISTAKE by Seth Godin

Posted in "The Difference Between a Failure and a Mistake" by Seth Godin, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAILURE AND A MISTAKE by Seth Godin

A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.

A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness or hubris) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding.

We need a lot more failures, I think. Failures that don’t kill us make us bolder, and teach us one more way that won’t work, while opening the door to things that might.

School confuses us, so do bosses and families. Go ahead, fail. Try to avoid mistakes, though.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

ROADS NOT TAKEN by Seth Godin

Posted in "Roads Not Taken" by Seth Godin, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

ROADS NOT TAKEN by Seth Godin

Kick yourself all day about the stupid thing you said, the bug you introduced, the promise you failed to keep. That’s pretty common.

Perhaps you should think about the stock you didn’t buy, the innovation you didn’t pursue, the compliment you didn’t give?

Way more productive, I think, to push yourself to be more in the world, not to encourage yourself to hide.
We respond to what we keep track of. Too bad we’re not better at keeping track of how many failures we incorrectly predicted, how many innovations we failed to notice and how many apparently risky steps we failed to take.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

WORTH IT? by Seth Godin

Posted in "Worth It?" by Seth Godin, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , on November 16, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

WORTH IT? by Seth Godin

That’s a question you hear a lot. “Was it worth it?”

Not certain what either “it” refers to, but generally we’re saying, “was the destination worth the journey? Was the effort worth the reward?”

The thing about effort is that effort is its own reward if you allow it to be.

So the answer can always be “yes” if you let it.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.