How to Deliver a Leadership Event that Sticks

I’m constantly surprised at what passes for “leadership training” these days. Then I remember that most leaders work in business operations and their involvement is often extracurricular. I’ve also noted how easily many business operators are impressed with the leadership development support that comes their way. It’s almost as if the simple fact that the organization is investing in them speaks louder than the concepts or structure.

Regardless, if you are going to invest in a leadership event, it’s an opportunity for excellence – whether you are an executive, manager or training expert. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Just having an event doesn’t guarantee success. Incorporate these best practices.

What it Really Means to “Empower” Your People

When was the last time you gave an assignment to one of your employees with the full confidence it would be executed without your active involvement? It just doesn’t get much better than that. Unfortunately, for many bosses, it’s a rare event. The key is empowerment – but it’s not as easy as you might think. Empowering your people takes time, focus and courage.

Let me share a few ways to get started.

Business Team Raised Fists

When Taking Too Much Initiative Hurts You

One of my all-time favorite leadership values is being proactive. It’s Stephen Covey’s first habit. Taking initiative (and accepting responsibility) is the characteristic that makes all the others possible. But can it be taken too far?

Unfortunately, I’ve learned it can be – mostly because of the challenges I’ve noticed or inadvertently created for myself over the years. So if you’re a go-getter, keep it up. But know when to go fast and when to slow down. Otherwise, you may experience some of these unpleasant reactions.

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12 Ways to Make Your Teammates Look Good

In the past, I’ve shared the value of being a “Kamerman teammate” – that is, going the extra mile to make your teammate look good. It’s a mindset shift for most of us, and a complete game-changer at that. I’d like to take this concept a step further and share some practical ways to get started. Over the course of my career thus far, I’ve found that these twelve strategies for extraordinary teamwork not only make your team stronger, they have the power to significantly influence the culture of your organization if others begin to follow your example.

Business Colleagues

Where Do We Go From Here?

What happens after a big win? For all the focus (and press) directed at planning and executing, what comes next?

Whether your team has achieved a significant goal or is looking to get back on track after a shake-up, here are some basic ways to get everyone back on course.

Do You Have a Royal Culture?

After repeat appearances, the Kansas City Royals have accomplished something they haven’t done in 30 years: win the World Series. Baseball experts point to a wide variety of factors for the team’s success: an emphasis on putting the ball in play vs. hitting home runs, aggressive base running, a dominant bullpen and a flair for dramatic victories. But people close to the team highlight an additional factor: the organizational culture carefully crafted by General Manager Dayton Moore upon joining the team back in 2006. When Moore came on board the team had lost 100+ games in three of the previous four seasons. It certainly wasn’t an easy ride – it took eight whole years before the team achieved a winning record. Now, the results speak for themselves. But what about the behind-the-scenes elements?

You may not work in the front office of a professional sports team. (Neither do I). But shaping your organization’s culture is always a top leadership responsibility. Here are just a few things the Royals did to build a championship culture.

9 Reasons Your Leadership Development Program is Failing

A recent Bersin study reported that U.S. companies invest over $2,000 in leadership development initiatives per company leader. That’s great news. But is it worth the investment? Just because an organization has a leadership development program doesn’t mean it’s successful, does it?

I’ve been privileged to help develop several leadership development programs (LDPs) in my career and I can tell you no two are identical for the simple fact that people and organizations are inherently unique – different cultures, different missions, different situations. While I don’t believe there is a perfect approach to building an LDP, there are definitely pitfalls. If your organization has one – or is thinking of investing in one – don’t fall short for one of the following reasons.

Arrows Missing Dartboard

How to Influence When You’re Not in Charge

How do you lead when you’re not the boss? It’s hard enough to lead when you are in charge. What are the other options?

If you’ve wondered this, I’ve got good news for you. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. And you can get started today. Here’s a game plan for you.

Lighting Matches

What Should I Get Mentoring For?

Congratulations – you’ve just been selected to participate in a corporate mentoring program. Or maybe you took the initiative and enlisted a mentor yourself. Or perhaps, a seasoned pro has begun to formally or informally take you under his wing. Whatever the case, way to go!

Now comes the tricky part: what should you get mentoring for?

One of the difficult parts of entering a new mentoring partnership – especially for first-time mentees – can be deciding what exactly to invest a mentoring relationship toward. On one hand, it’s great to have a partner committed to your development. On the other hand, it’s hard to know where to start.

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Organizational Problem-Solving Made Simple

If you have a leadership role at work, solving problems is just part of the equation. It doesn’t take long to realize that problem-solving can be pretty complicated. What type of problem is it? What caused it? What is the best action to take? And on top of all that, often times we either feel unqualified or under-resourced to come up with the best solution.

Welcome to organizational leadership.

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3 Continuous Improvement Questions You Ought to Consider

What comes to mind when you think about continuous improvement? Hopefully you believe it’s a leadership responsibility we all share each and every day. “CI” doesn’t discriminate based on seniority, title, pay grade or job function. Good ideas can come from everywhere. And in a changing environment where what worked yesterday may not work best today, there is all kinds of opportunity.

That being said, continuous improvement isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen by itself. It requires the active involvement of as many people as possible… which brings me back to the question: how do you think about continuous improvement?

Continuous Improvement

Is Your Organization Playing Chess or Checkers?

Is complexity leaving your organization behind?

That’s a question we considered at a workshop I attended recently. Author Mark Miller and a team of facilitators walked a large group through the content of his new book Chess Not Checkers. The boardgame imagery? It’s symbolic for what happens as organizations grow. In the early stages of most small organizations or teams, the rules are simplistic and team members may play interchangeable roles much like the game pieces in a checkers game. But as growth occurs, complexity kicks in. Roles require specialists to address additional complications. The playing field starts to resemble a game of chess, rather than checkers. If we’re not careful, we’ll fall behind.

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