Category: Blog Roll

Intentional Strategic Planning for 2020

Often the fall season brings new goals as we prepare for the new year. It’s a great time to wrap up projects, reflect on where we’ve been and look forward to the future. I personally find fourth quarter to be energizing and full of ideas and planning.

But as we’re planning out new goals for ourselves and our organizations, it’s important to look at them in a more strategic, systematic way to ensure we’re truly moving forward toward our long-term vision.

Depending on your industry or the size of your organization, you will want to intentionally, strategically plan ahead for a year, three years, five years or even more. Considerations during that planning process include looking at what’s going on in the economy, what’s working well, what needs to be improved on and more.

Emotion can make you a better leader

Many of us hear from other leaders, team members, even our families that we need to stop being so emotional, both at work and at home. The reality is that emotion is part of being human, so we can’t entirely avoid experiencing and expressing it.

We all experience emotion a bit differently. Some people’s feelings and expression of them are more intense while others are more moderate. And how strongly you emote depends on the situation, your past circumstances and even what else has happened to you so far that day.

Everyone is emotional, but everyone in their own way. Whatever your set point when it comes to leading and emotion, you benefit from building those skills so you can use it appropriately everywhere from the boardroom to the kitchen table.

How to shift your mindsets as a leader

Your mindsets matter. They dictate how you work and react and how you think about things. They are the set of eyes and ears through which you perceive everything. And when you don’t know exactly how your mindsets are operating, which is the case for many leaders, it can impact your ability to be successful.

A mindful leader is more aware of his or her actions and is in tune with what’s going on internally. This is who leaders should aspire to be, regardless of the popularity of mindsets in their organization.

But how? You’re not born to be mindful; it’s a skill and a practice that you must work at. And if organizations don’t train you to be more mindful, how are you to learn the skills needed?

How to be a leader in the digital age

Old school, good-ole-boys management is out; leading in the digital age is in. But for many leaders, from Baby Boomers who are aging out of the workforce to Generation Z who are just getting started, there’s confusion about what that means.

A lot of coaches recommend executives develop their leadership brand by posting regularly to social media, writing articles consistently and talking often to the media. That’s often not the most realistic nor effective strategy for many C-Suite executives and those aspiring to climb the corporate ladder.

What this unique group of thought leaders and industry influencers needs is actionable advice that will help them grow in their organization (and possibly beyond it) and become better leaders overall.

What is a mindful leader?

There’s so much talk about mindfulness and personal growth that it often feels like there’s too much talk–but not about what that mindfulness actually looks like and how to be more mindful at work.

Leaders aren’t necessarily CEOs or department heads. They’re anyone who can influence others to achieve a result not solely for the purpose of satisfying your own interests. Leaders help others to see the value in themselves, they help others to grow and they spark and grow ideas that leads to change–in organizations and industries.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to approach your role mindfully, with the self-awareness to know what’s going on within yourself internally. Being a mindful leader isn’t a set of experiences and CV-fillers you can check off; it’s a process and disciplined awareness that’s grown and developed through practice and intentional focus.

What is your responsibility as a leader?

Leadership is so much more than telling your team the vision of your organization or tasking them with completing the work that moves you in the right direction. But that hasn’t always been the case.

Not so long ago, the formal construct of leader was a title that meant authority. It was simply making decisions and telling people what to do. Or that’s what many thought.

The bar wasn’t set as high as it is now and there wasn’t as much pressure for people to feel truly fulfilled in their work. You went to work and you did the work. Thankfully, the thinking around leadership has evolved. Now we know different, better. We know that doing work you love matters and feeling fulfilled gives you more reason to work harder to reach that goal.

Because of this, leadership today is more about serving others than getting them to do what you want.

Making the Most of Your Time

5 Tips to Cultivate an Intentional Mindset

Our collective emphasis on productivity and efficiency in the workplace has a dark side. It shows up in part as “time pressure,” or the sense of feeling ever more rushed to complete tasks. When we experience time pressure as stressful, over an extended period of time, it can actually become harmful to our physical and psychological health. Moreover, our ability to focus and do our best work diminishes significantly when our minds are constantly operating at full speed.

What can we do to combat this sense of time pressure? It can help to take a step back and remember that how we spend our time is a choice. Of course, we all have projects to complete, deadlines to meet, work relationships to sustain. But when we make intentional choices about how to spend our time, we can improve our productivity, health and happiness. We are more productive and less vulnerable to burnout when we recognize our need to “press pause” and make sure that our time is spent on activities aligned with our priorities.

Read on for 5 tips to help you make the most of your time by cultivating an intentional mindset:

5 Top Benefits of Work-related Coaching

If you operate a business, then you probably think that your bottom line is your bottom line.  It is all about bringing in the profits.  It is all about delighting your customers so they will return and tell all their friends (which today may include thousands of Facebook friends, as well). So, it’s very likely that in your quest to increase sales and beef up marketing efforts, you are focusing most of your energy on just that – sales and marketing. You may also be thinking of ways to improve your product and/or customer service.  Those are all worthy goals. However, there is something important that many business leaders tend to overlook – their people.  

People are THE  key to a successful business.  Why? Because people are your direct line to the customer.  If they are not performing at their best or growing their capabilities then your business isn’t doing that either.  One solution to creating a more successful business with people bustling with productivity is to provide work-related coaching.

How does work-related coaching differ from life coaching?

Work-related coaching and life coaching may seem very similar on the surface.  Both leverage self-awareness and feedback, tend to be goal oriented and generally assume a positive outlook on individual capacity for change.  Where they differ rather significantly is in their context and purpose. 

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing Your Leadership Bench

pexels-photo-416405.jpegAn organization is only as successful as its leadership. Especially as a business grows, a single leader – no matter how competent or charismatic – will not be able to guide it through continued expansion and to sustainable success. That’s why developing your leadership bench is so important.

How can you develop leadership talent within your organization? How can you build a solid foundation for success, both on the departmental and the organizational level? Both of these questions rely on first identifying and then developing individuals who have the potential to grow into senior management roles and guide your business. Unfortunately, that effort often fails.

While global companies spend $31 billion annually on leadership development programs, only 13 percent of executives actually have confidence in the success of these programs in developing new department heads, managers, and executives. Naturally, that is not the type of success rate organizations should aim for.
As a result, even when spending money on developing the next generation of leaders, your pipeline might be lacking. It only makes sense to take the necessary steps to change that situation. But first, you have make sure that you can avoid the errors that led to this situation to begin with. In short, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when developing your leadership bench.

Executive Presence: An “Inconvenient Truth”


Each time we interact with someone at work, we subconsciously assess the other person regarding his/her abilities to complete the task at hand.  Do they speak to us with a calm confidence, looking us directly in the eye? Or do they seem unsure, anxious and lacking knowledge or confidence?  Business Insider reports that most people will make up their minds about us within the first seven seconds!   This universal phenomenon occurs across all geographies and cultures despite whether “we” like or agree that it ought to be so.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett describes executive presence as a “combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal. It’s an amalgam of qualities that telegraphs that you are in charge or deserve to be.” (Source: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Kindle Locations 191-193). HarperCollins).  In fact, Hewlett suggests, “You can have the experience and qualifications of a leader, but without executive presence, you won’t advance.”

Executive presence has three primary components according to Hewlett – gravitas, communication, and appearance.