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    Tell Your Stories

    August 19, 2019 496 Views No comments

    Good leaders ask, “How do I tell better stories?” Great leaders ask, “What stories do I need to tell?”

    Will you be a more effective leader if your stories are well-crafted and delivered? Of course. But the truth is, the story you tell is more important than how you deliver it. You're probably not an actor or a public speaker. You're a leader. Your audience doesn't expect perfection. They expect you to be decisive and helpful.

    If you tell a story that helps them do their job better, but you forget the opening line, stutter a little, or even butcher the surprise ending, your audience will still learn from it. But if you tell them an irrelevant or unhelpful story even though you deliver it in a way that would make a Shakespearean actor proud, your audience will never forgive you for wasting their time.

    So, what stories do you need to tell?

    After conducting over 300 one-on-one interviews with CEOs, leaders, and executives in 25 countries around the world about their use of storytelling in business, here’s my list of the most important ten stories any leader needs to be able to tell at a moment’s notice.

    1. Where we came from (our founding story) – Nobody ever quit their job and started a company for a boring reason. Find that reason for your company’s founder and tell that story. It will infect everyone with the same sense of purpose and passion.

    2. Why we can’t stay here (a case-for-change story) – Human beings are creatures of habit. Change is an unwelcome visitor. This story provides the rationale for why change is needed and a real human reason to care.

    3. Where we’re going (a vision story) – A vision is a picture of the future so compelling, people want to go there with you. And the best way to paint that picture is with a story about what that future will look like when you achieve it.

    4. How we’re going to get there (a strategy story) – Strategy is how you’ll get from where you are now to where you want to be. In other words, strategy is a journey. And what better way to describe a journey than a story?

    5. What we believe (a corporate-values story) – Values are only words on a piece of paper until they’re tested. This is a story of one of those awkward or uncomfortable moments one of your company values was put to the test.

    6. Who we serve (a customer story) – There’s no substitute for getting out of the office and meeting your customer face-to-face. And for the majority of your organization that will never do that, this is a story you tell about one of your customer interactions so they’ll know that customer as well as you do.

    7. What we do for our customers (a sales story) – A story about what you did for one of your customers that’s so impressive other people will want to buy what you’re selling as well.

    8. How we’re different from our competitors (a marketing story) – You probably have a list of reasons why your product or service is better than your competition. Well, guess what? Nobody remembers your list. But they will remember the story you tell them that shows them those differences as they play out in a real situation.

    9. Why I lead the way I do (a leadership-philosophy story) – No series of buzzwords on a piece of paper could ever articulate the subtle, human, and complex nature of your personal leadership philosophy. If you want people to understand how to expect you to lead, you need to tell them a story about what shaped the leader you’ve become.

    10. Why you should want to work here (a recruiting story) – Every company claims they offer competitive pay and benefits, challenging work, and great advancement opportunities. If you really want to attract the best talent, you need real stories about why it’s so awesome to work there.

    If you want to see an example of each of these stories, plus a few tips on how to come up with your own, you'll find them in the new book, The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell.

    Good luck with your stories.

    -Guest post from Paul Smith, author of The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell.

    Turn Expectations Upside Down

    August 13, 2019 166 Views No comments

    Unconventional companies turn traditional business practice on its head by using the element of surprise, questioning the status quo, and recognizing that both employees and customers want meaning. The Unconventionals gives you a peak at some of the simple practices shared by these rebel companies that have allowed them to change markets, hearts and minds. Here are four of them to help you get started:

    1. Within any market, there are opportunities to shift or reinvent the market because there are areas that need disruption. Action: Think about your market - are there ruts where everyone unquestioningly follows what has always been done?
    2. The change that you're trying to create has to benefit both you and your customers, and it should favor what your company does best. Action: Think about the role you want your brand to play in the market and ask yourself: What do you stand for (i.e. what do you give to the world that is unique to your company)? What are you taking on (i.e. what is the problem you're trying to solve for your buyers that creates bigger change)?
    3. Within every market there is a segment of influential people who believe in changing the status quo. These are known as "crazies" - people who aren't fanatics about your products, but rather who care deeply about other things that can overlap with your company's purpose. Action: Think about your company's purpose - which group of passionate potential customers could you be helping out?
    4. What makes companies unconventional is that they're willing to challenge how things have always been done. Are you ready to do the same? Action: Take out a pen and paper or dry erase board and start doubting what everyone holds as true. Imagine the possibilities and challenge the things that have made others successful. Think for yourself. Be unconventional.


    Learn more ways you can think like The Unconvetionals>>

    Dreams Don’t Happen; Dreams Are Made

    August 6, 2019 401 Views No comments

    How many times have you heard no? According to Forbes, 92% of people fail to reach their goals. This means that at some point, we all try and fail. However, rather than accept defeat, you can make your dreams a reality by pushing forward through rejection. Doing this requires transforming your mindset and igniting your passion. Don’t wait for your dreams to come true – make them happen!

    The 12-steps from Create Your Yes! can lead you to the path of success. Here are four of them to help get you started:

    1. Make Progress Your Primary Target
    A Columbia Business School study showed that people tend to work harder when they are closer to their goals. This means that in order to accomplish the big wins, you need daily wins to help push you towards your goal.

    Action: Write down daily or weekly goals that are within your control to accomplish. Focus on making progress and you will reach your milestones.


    2. Determine Cheetah Goals vs. Gazelle Goals
    As you work on making your goals a reality, there generally comes a time when you find yourself making no progress, no matter how hard you try. When you make it to this point, you need to stop and rethink your strategy by determining whether you need speed, like a cheetah, or stamina, like a gazelle.

    Action: Ask yourself what your ultimate objective is and what is required to make it happen. Creating a new blog post each week is a cheetah goal, requiring speed, while making a business plan from scratch is a gazelle goal that needs time and persistence.


    3. Create the Way to Make It Happen
    Following the status quo keeps things comfortable, but prevents growth and change. So to make things happen, you need to push past "business as usual".

    Action: When taking on a rejected goal or unfinished task, erase what you know and instead focus on your instincts. What direction is your gut telling you to take? Then, explore and pursue innovation solutions - that includes giving yourself permission to try the impossible.


    4. Bulletproof Your Mind
    According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many benefits to thinking positively, including greater achievement, higher persistence, better psychological and physical well-being and lower stress levels. Changing your mindset from a scarcity mindset ("it's never enough") to an abundance mindset ("there are possibilities everywhere") will allow you to see meaning in both your life goals and everyday tasks.

    Action: Think about a current goal. Is it built on integrity, creativity and enthusiasm? If not, what can you do to change this?

    For the rest of the 12 steps to success, check out Create Your Yes!>>

    From Great Leadership: Transform Your Team With This Innovative Approach

    June 7, 2019 1139 Views No comments

    Accountability. Good employees are accountable. Good leaders hold their employees accountable. Good organizations have accountable cultures. But what does it really mean to be accountable? And what happens when someone isn’t accountable? How leaders deal with non-accountable behavior goes a long way to defining the culture of an organization.

    The generally accepted definition of being accountable is that “you do what you say you are going to do." Yet everyone will inevitably fail on this accord. Does that mean they are not accountable? I think it is when someone does not “do what they said they would do” that accountability is determined. Someone who is non-accountable will tend to make excuses, point fingers, deny, deflect or refuse to change. Accountable people will take responsibility for not delivering on the desired results and start doing something different until the desired results are achieved.

    Wouldn’t life be great if everyone exhibited accountable behavior 100% of the time? As great as that idea sounds it is not realistic and leaders must decide what to do when one of their reports is not acting accountably. This action is generally known as holding someone accountable. To effectively hold someone accountable the leaders sets the foundation by setting clear expectations, contracting, incentivizing, and putting feedback mechanisms in place. If the employee does not deliver on the desired results and then doesn’t act accountably the leader has to step in and coach, reassess, train, or even (re)set consequences. Continued non-accountable behavior can lead to disciplinary actions and even termination.

    But who really has the accountability during this process? Who is the one doing something different until the desired results are achieved? The leader! The whole notion of holding someone accountable is really a myth. When a leader says they are holding someone accountable what they are really saying that they are taking the accountability away from the individual. They are now the ones that are doing something different until the desired results are achieved. And if they don’t achieve the desired results their leader is going to do the same thing to them. This is called leader-led accountability and is the norm in most organizations.

    There are two significant problems with this approach to managing accountability. Learn what they are in the full blog post>>

    -Guest post from Eric Coryell, author of Revolutionize Teamwork

    Celebrate National Be a Millionaire Day!

    May 10, 2019 526 Views No comments

    National Be a Millionaire Day (observed May 20th) is about taking steps to turn dreams into reality by making plans for your future. And what better way to get into the success mindset than with the modern-day bestselling classic, Think and Grow Rich! Author Napoleon Hill draws on stories from Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and more than 500 other wealthy people to teach simple and practical techniques for achieving great and lasting success with nothing but thoughts, ideas, and organized plans.

    Hill delves into a method for changing your desire for riches into its financial equivalent with these six steps:

    FIRST. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, “I want plenty of money.” Be definite as to the amount.

    SECOND. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.”)

    THIRD. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.

    FOURTH. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

    FIFTH. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

    SIXTH. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night and once after arising in the morning.

    To delve deeper into these principals, download the FREE Discussion Guide>>

    For more on transforming your desires into riches, read The Five Essential Principals of Think and Grow Rich>>


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