Forward Thinking Thought Leaders

STOP thinking in the past- Only forward thinking allowed from now on!

  Instigating a leadership revolution within her organization, Dana Bristow decided to shift gears to the point in maximizing her employees to be empowered, use their critical thinking skills and have them begin with finding and using their true potential. While Dana’s organization is still doing well, she wants to stay ahead of her competition.

 You start out with seeing a problem and then try to solve it in a new way. You use your critical thinking skills, get creative and put yourself out for others to notice what you do and maybe how you do what you do best.

How many people do you know who are both forward thinkers and thought leaders? As a traditional leader, sometimes your thoughts go beyond boundaries where you explore pushing beyond the status quo.

Different Mindset is Required

A forward-thinking leader, also known as a visionary, is always thinking in terms of moving forward. Nothing in life is so perfect that it never needs to be redefined or tweaked. In short, someone who is a forward-thinker is thinking progressively and processes the ability to look beyond the “now” and formulates strategies for future success. They are constantly asking “What’s Next?”

One favorite leadership mindset is that of forward thinking. You may not generally consider setting out on a road without a destination, and you certainly would not do it time and time again. Mastering forward thinking takes on a lot as others expect great extraordinary things from you that are of a different perspective than others.

Developing a thought leader mindset takes time, discipline and innovation. Leaders with a growth mindset (who assume talents can be developed) place high value on learning are open to feedback. They are also confident in their ability to cultivate their own and others abilities.

“Individuality is fine, as long as we all do it together.

Frank Burns on the television program M.A.S.H.

 This is definitely not the way or the style forward thinking thought leaders would do things. Many view a thought leader as influential.

Thinking of Possibilities

Some people look at being a forward thinker as having a different mindset. It goes beyond this to develop your critical thinking skills.

Using critical thinking enables leaders at every level to understand the impact of aligning their decisions with organizational goals. Added with this is accountability for the results you want.

Examine your organization. Are you prepared to take risks and explore new ideas? Or are you like many organizations still relying on old habits and old ways of doing things?

 “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” - Walt Disney

 Being Self-Aware

Take a look in the mirror and see what you really need to be aware of. Be aware of how things affect you and impact you as a leader. Ask for feedback without any backlash to others. Watch for blind spots, fatal flaws, weaknesses and habits that may get in your way so you can resolve them.

Take Some Risks

Forward thinkers are not afraid to take chances and try new things. They stretch the boundaries of what is known and acceptable. Since visionaries are leaders who challenge themselves and their organization to push the envelope of change, have the willingness to admit when you are wrong. This lets your employees know you are accountable and responsible for your actions.

Always ask questions. Ask questions like “Why?” This is very much like what children do. Then ask, “Why not?” “Why can’t we do it?” Even if it hasn’t been done before, can it be done now?

Your Next Move

Navigating where you want to go next needs great vision, setting SMART and HARD goals and communicate clearly to your employees where you see the organization going from here. Get the feedback you need and want in order to see solutions to problems others do not see.

Forward thinking leaders plan for how to bring out the best in themselves and in their people.

 “For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour” – Mary Kay Ash

Magnify Your (Employee’s) Strengths to Drive Leadership Success

Magnifying your excellence is just one of those expressions that sticks

Find your Strengths for Career Success

Being exceptional as a leader and leveraging your strengths helps you drive success not just for yourself but for your entire organization as well. Does your organization have exceptional leaders? Maybe you are one.

Working on your strengths is where you need to focus your efforts. Trying to fix your weaknesses, may be a lifelong career in itself. To be an exceptional leader,

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Look carefully at both your strengths and weaknesses. Remember, some of your weaknesses just might really be a strength you do not use much of. Take notice of what may be holding you back from reaching your goals. Sometimes these same holds may be a habit you need to break and replace with a more positive way of doing things. This also takes place with your attitude as well. Attitudes can have a powerful impact on other people you do business with- internally and externally.

Fix Your Existing People and Processes

Be aware of what may be stopping you from moving forward to reach your goals, such as higher productivity/performance. Look at how your people are working. Do they need training in developing a new skill or in learning new techniques to meet up-to-date goals in order to be aligned with where your leadership wants to take the organization?

Evaluate your current processes. Are they aligned with your people and the goals you want to complete? Do your processes need to be over-hauled, in order to be up-to-date to go beyond where you are right now? What can you keep and what needs to be replaced?

Even though leadership has changed over the years, many organizations have kept the “old” policies and ways of doing things. It just might be time to change whether from one traditional way over another, or to become non-traditional. In changing to become non-traditional, be willing to let go of the “old” and look at alternatives to go beyond survival mode into thrive mode.

Being Open-Minded

Be able to listen to others and do not react immediately to what they say. Think first before speaking helps you think of a solution or of how you want to handle what was said to you. You may even find yourself implementing a suggestion an employee talks with you about. If so, give recognition to the employee.

Proactive versus Reactive

The exceptional leader is always thinking three steps ahead. When a situation occurs, do you react to the situation immediately? Some people panic because they really do not know how to handle situations. During a crisis, many people either freeze or act positively in reducing the problem, difficulty or challenge.

Empower Your Employees

Give some responsibilities to your employees. Allows employees to make some decisions where they also need to solve an issue with other co-workers. Your employees will be satisfied in their job as you allow them to use more of their creative and innovative skills while using their critical thinking skills at the same time.

The question of this post is: How exceptional are you and how are you leveraging your skills and talents and those of your employees to create and produce extraordinary results? (When you magnify your leadership competencies to the level of exceptional, employee engagement increases, productivity rises, and profitability soars.)

 

Introverted Vision of Leadership

Concealed inside of Jeffrey Landers is an introvert who knows how to lead and needs to get his employees buy-in for his vision for the next level of success. Criticized for his introverted personality Jeffrey has been behind the scenes making sure his employees get the things they need to get work accomplished. He recognizes his employees and in return, there is an increase in productivity that his predecessors did not have before.

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.” -Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame

With the courage, commitment, and passion great leaders have for achieving great results, I believe vision is most important to make the other ingredients work together. The idea of leadership without vision puts you at a disadvantage with regard to where you are now and where you want to go next.

Vision is the cornerstone of great leadership and great accomplishment. An effective vision is critical as it require effective action and this means people cannot spend time checking with an executive every time a critical decision needs to be made.

Jack Welch, CEO of GE said, ‘Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.’ Striving for the vision will always involve change.

In order to reach the leadership spot you had to motivate your teams along the way. Now, you need to continue motivating them to implement strategies, you need to motivate them to bring your vision for the organization to life. When you tap into your skills, talent and knowledge, you communicate your vision and ideas which are fueled by your energy.

Leaders can’t lead without dealing with people in a multitude of settings. If I am not willing to compensate, I should not be a leader.

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” - Jonathan Swift

They must practice LBWA or leadership by walking around. This helps introverted leaders three ways: (1) LBWA gives introverted leaders the opportunity and practice to interact with their employees, (2) as a leader, you can get feedback from employees, and (3) by interacting with employees on a daily basis, your employees will feel a greater satisfaction and you will see their engagement increase. All of this helps the leader see for themselves that their vision is being implemented and you are able to work out any challenges that may occur.

All great leaders have a vision. Leaders share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. The leadership vision goes beyond your written organizational mission statement and your vision statement. A vision statement is not a vision. It’s just one of many ways that we can use to express a vision.

Creative and innovative leaders are not stuck in the paradigms of today, but rather see the path for tomorrow. To pull together as a team, the people you lead need a common vision of where you’re trying to go. An effective vision is much broader than a vision statement stuck up somewhere on the corporate head office wall.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a great deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where-” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Risk-Taker
Visionary leaders are notable risk-takers. These leaders are willing to take a chance on something they believe in.

Strategic Planner
Visionary leaders are strategic planners. Like a chess player, these leaders plan ahead to make the best business moves. Strategic planning involves creating an action plan with a particular strategy in mind

Visionary Leaders are Have an Open Mindset
Visionary leaders are open to new information, ideas, opinions and suggestions. Inflexible people, once they make up their mind, cannot be persuaded, nor do they continue to search for or take in new information. Visionaries know that each new piece of information can yield an insight that helps solve a problem or create a breakthrough.

Direction
Having the vision to break out of the norm and aim for great things is an essential characteristic of good leadership. By seeing what can be and managing the goals on how to get there, a good leader can create impressive change.

Seeing Possibilities
The ability to see possibilities that others don’t see is one of the hallmarks of great leaders. Establishing an inspiring vision is one of your most important responsibilities as a leader. Good visions are compelling. They energize people and drive organizations.

Develop Self-Confidence
Leaders develop the confidence to take the necessary steps to risk falling down and getting back up in order to fulfill their vision. By doing whatever it takes, you need to be brave enough to let the world see through your eyes.

“These types of leaders who focus on vision have an enormous impact on the organization’s growth and profit. Visionary leaders are innovative thinkers and innovation can translate into significant growth opportunities.”

Vision doesn’t only happen on grand scales. It happens every day people commit to a common dream. A good vision is meaningful, inspires employees and drives goal-oriented action. Vision without action remains a dream unfulfilled. Action without vision spins the wheels in neutral. Vision with aligned action can change your world.

You must paint a vision that is desirable, challenging and believable. Just painting the picture is not enough. Illustrate the vision, the goals and the challenges. Without action, visions are just dreams. Where is your organization in relation to your vision?

Leadership Crystal Ball

Which ball do you drop for what priorities?
The Crystal Ball has long been recognized as a symbol of the mysterious unknown and the future. “If I only had a crystal ball…” What would you wish for?

Welcome to 2014. Now is the time to follow through with your New Year’s resolutions as you consider them as goals to complete. How did you spend the New Year’s? Are you ready to say your New Year’s resolutions and this time follow through with them? This year try something a little different than you have in the past.

Of the many lessons corporate executives and leaders learn is perhaps the most is that change happens. The next most important lesson may very well be that to keep managing change is to ride it rather than resist it, understand it and make it work for you. Having a crystal ball at your disposal may not help you predict what is going to happen for you in the next 12 months. As you create your goals, the possible ways of reaching those goals one step at a time, preferably on a monthly basis, you will notice the significance of your skills and those of your employees will help make these goals happen.

Being successful in 2014 is not about your skills abilities per se. It is not about your actions or activities either. Being successful does not even depend on having a great plan. The most important secret to your success in 2014 is making sure that you never stop!

Get Clear on Winning: Your employees have 2 questions permanently etched on their minds: Where are we going as an organization and how will we get there. Your most important task as a leader is to answer those questions by painting a rich and vivid picture of what winning looks like for your organization. Get very clear on your vision and set the unique specific goals you expect to complete by December 31, 2014. What do you want to achieve and how will you get there?

What’s Working: Continue focusing on what’s working. This will help you move forward. Do not focus on what isn’t working. By doing so, this will take time and effort away from what you need to concentrate on that will yield your best results.

Be proactive in taking action on your goals with follow through. You may find that the growth of your organization can surpass your competition beyond average growth.

Don’t Limit New Ideas: Look for new product and service ideas and other ways to improve your systems and processes. Sometimes the best ideas come from unlikely sources. If your biggest challenge is to become more creative and innovative, look carefully at how each of your employees are using their maximum potential. Assess from them how much more creative and innovative they actually can be.

Timing: Business forecasts and their assessments can take anywhere from a few days to more than a week. Change management takes a lot of time and depends on the size of the organization. The number of changes can be completed on a gradual basis.

Open Communication Channels: Every business owner and leader knows that communication is important. Structure your communication to the extent that it is conducive for all within your organization to understand. Keep employees informed to any changes that take place. Get input from employees can help you get things to change. You may even get and use some ideas from your employees. Remember to give them the credit for using their ideas.

How you re-engineer your crystal ball can help you re-structure what you predict you want on your wish list. Since no leader has a crystal ball, to make savvy leadership decisions, you have to rely on the most current data about your competitive markets and know your own company inside out. Some of the best plans are dreamed up overnight. In fact, these might take some time to come to fruition.

Imagine business as a game in which you are juggling six balls in the air. Can you keep all 6 balls in the air at the same time? If you drop one of them, will it bounce back to where you want or expect it to be? This is the reason I suggest working on a maximum of 3 goals at a time to work on. It is an easy number to handle.

Sometimes, things that are not planned just happen. As long as you keep the positive action going, you will have significance results.

What’s in store for your organization in 2014? As you gaze into your crystal ball, do you see a year of promise and opportunity? You might also see new challenges that require different ways of viewing and thinking that can lead to how view your organization now and beyond 2014.

How to Succeed in Business if You Are an Introvert

You have the passion to start your own business with the ideas you want to accomplish. Are you uncomfortable interacting with others at networking events? Do you take advantage of your unique characteristics in business? How do you sell yourself to your clients and customers? Do you feel comfortable marketing yourself and your business? Do you feel confident enough to interact with new clients and customers? Are you able to attract new clients and customers when you give a speech or presentation on the needs and wants of new prospects?

Do you know that 10-15% of introverts are motivational speakers? Did you also know that another 10-15% of introverts are salespeople earning six-figure incomes? Have you found that one piece of the puzzle that can move your business forward is your personality?

Having an introvert personality does not have to be stressful when interacting with people. It is not always easy being an introvert and a business owner! There are several things you can do to help succeed and not feel as challenged because you are an introvert.

When prospecting, marketing, networking, and building a business, many people believe that they need to be talkative and have great social skills in order to succeed. However, this is not the case. Success is reserved for those who take advantage of their unique characteristics. Although having social skills helps, there are many people with different degrees of personalities and abilities who also succeed.

Being an introvert in today’s business environment is more challenging than ever before. It takes a lot effort for introverts to network, prospect, and sell their products and services. Many times introverts need to force themselves to mingle and talk with others even though that really is not their nature to do so. Here are seven tips for you to put your introversion to use for your success.

1. Focus on Your Strengths: Even though introverts, in general, are great at analyzing, problem-solving, and being creative and innovative, as well as having wonderful listening skills, they need to identify their strengths and weaknesses. List your strengths and weaknesses on paper. Read them and think about them. Some weaknesses are actually strengths. Leverage these strengths and weaknesses – skills, talents, knowledge and abilities – to get the positive results you want.

2. Believe in Yourself: Win the battle in your mind first. This takes place by:

(a) Mindset: As Napoleon Hill stated in his book, Think and Grow Rich, “If you can conceive something in your mind and believe it to be true, then you can achieve it.” The more you believe in yourself and your abilities, the more likely you are to accomplish your goals. This means that you will be able to take risks and be creative and innovative in reaching your goal(s). Maintaining a positive attitude also helps keep your mindset open with possibilities and opportunities.

(b) Self-Confidence: To succeed in business, you have to be able to communicate your ideas to others. In order to sharpen your competitive edge, you must use more people skills. As long as you take the focus off of yourself and put it on your clients/customers by asking relevant questions that will help solve their needs, your self-confidence will increase.

3. Be Visible: Normally extroverted employees get higher visibility and seem to be more successful than their introverted peers.Even though introverts may dislike being in the spotlight or the center of attention, they can use this to their advantage. The thought of interacting with others may not be to your liking. Networking for introverts can be done first by introducing yourself to others, then by asking questions about their business. At times, introverts are advised to fake it-walk into a room with confidence instead of walking in looking like an introvert. Do this enough times and it will start to become natural.

4. Develop Your Elevator Speech: When you focus on yourself, you become more self conscious. This makes you less comfortable and confident. Instead focus on your message to other people. Write down all the things that come to your mind about what you do and how you work. Your elevator speech needs to contain the hook-phrase you use to capture the attention of the listener. They will remember the words you spoke if you speak from a point of filling a need.

5. Get Comfortable Talking to Groups: Once an introduction is made, the challenge of beginning a conversation must be attempted. It is a good idea to always have some open-ended questions ready, that is questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no, so the conversation can continue without you having to keep asking questions.

6. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Look for networking opportunities to obtain business in social situations wherever you go. You never know at what point someone may need the specific product or service you offer. In the short and long-run, when people contact you, it shows that you have a product and or service they want. In making contact with them, you have the opportunity to make that prospect your client/customer for other things you offer.

7. Take Action: Now that you have the basics of how to succeed in business as an introvert, your next step is to use these tips in order to become a better sales person for your business. It may seem like a simple idea but it can take a lot of time and work to get there.

Think of Your Beliefs + Your Actions = Your Success. As you put your systems in place, you establish and maintain what works and what works well for you. Applying these tips will help you achieve the results you want.

Success is yours – Take It!

The Power of Leadership Influence

“The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been.” Henry Kissinger

You were just named leader in your organization. As the person with expertise that can benefit the company, how can you get others to see your perspective and get them to realize your influence as a leader? How important is it that you develop the traits of a significant influential leader? There are many instances in any business organization, when just one person can make a significant difference to the level of success that their company achieves.

Specific qualities or characteristics stand out the most when viewing influential people. First and foremost are people who have the most influence display a high degree of integrity. (Below is a listing of the qualities or characteristics of being an influential leader.)

Influence is when you effectively alter someone else’s perceptions, views, beliefs, attitudes, and decisions thus altering their actions. The expert influencer understands people, how they think, what makes them tick and how to get on the same wavelength.

There are many approaches a leader can take, and to some degree or another they will produce the results you want. Without influence, the leader cannot get things done. What kind of influencer are you?

Leadership has traditionally been defined as getting people to follow your vision. Today’s leaders must frequently lead through influence- a more subtle yet powerful approach to getting things done. A leader of influence is one who will work to remove obstacles that prevent people from performing effectively, and open the door to creating a trusting and rewarding environment where their people are willing to go the extra mile.

The leader becomes the conduit of ideas being implemented as many of their ideas, innovations and creativity from their employees. These same leaders are recognized by the decisive actions they have taken and the results they have achieved. They inspire their company by having the innovative ideas that will create dramatic changes to the success of their business.

Your credibility is a key to achieving greater influence. It is not enough to be an expert on a subject matter. You must also be perceived as an expert. That perception comes from how you carry yourself and interact with others on the subject and in every other way as well. Credibility is a combination of expertise and trustworthiness.

If you influence people for your own gain, that will be seen as manipulation. Positive influence can only take place when it presents clear benefits to everyone involved.

People who are good Influential Leaders:

• Are very good thinkers and analysts
• Ask powerful questions, make informed decisions and influence outcomes
• Empower others with some decision making and accepting accountability
• They listen carefully to other’s ideas and points of view before deciding to respond.
• Are people who display a high degree of integrity
• Focus on long term goals of the organization instead of short term gains or wins
• Focus on the end goal and know there are many different ways to get there
• Manage their egos
• Are aware of their weaknesses and actively finds ways to manage them
• Are not afraid to make decisions that challenge the status-quo
• Let others shine
• Assesses risk realistically
• Are Tough
• Demand that others think and use their brains to their full potential

The influential leader works to develop the people –centered skills that are decisive in bringing out the best that others have to offer. Define your vision, goals and how you “paint the picture” while undergoing change is one way that makes you an influential leader. Engage your employees by communicating how their abilities are envisioned within the entire organization for its success.

“Influential Leaders do not control people with bureaucratic systems and
Procedures, they free them up to create and innovate thereby maximizing
Their contribution to the organization.”
- David McNally

Gaining influence over people is essential to your success as a leader. How do you define yourself as an influential leader? As an influential leader, or becoming one, how are you going to close the gap with what you do not have to be influential?

All leaders can get people to achieve, but influential leaders get people to want to achieve. By understanding how, they can cultivate an environment that is collaborative, trusting, open and sharing. It is only these leaders who will motivate, inspire and encourage wholehearted engagement.

Remember, Influential Leadership is not a one size fits all approach. Everyone has their own unique way about them that gives them an influence. It just depends on how you use what skills you possess.

“There are 3 types of leaders: Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened.” – Anonymous

Which one are you?

Employers Raising the Level of Discretionary Effort in Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort. How then, can an employer raise the level of discretionary effort?

Striving to maintain a higher level of employee engagement is a key factor for longer-term business performance. The companies that get engagement right enjoy a surplus of competitive advantage in talent strategy and business results that is hard for others to replicate.

Getting your engaged employees more engaged to drive productivity and performance higher to the next level of success, you need to use discretionary effort in employee engagement.
A properly engaged workforce is more productive, more profitable, healthier and more likely to stay with the firm – saving recruitment costs. So how do you get your engaged workforce to work really well?

High employee engagement drives discretionary effort which is linked to superior business performance, innovation, customer loyalty, quality, productivity, profitability and retention of top talent. One-size-fits-all formula of discretionary engagement of your employees won’t deliver what you want or need. Discretionary effort is above and beyond what is expected.

Discretionary Effort Rules

Consider what incentives you have in place to motivate – and money is not the best incentive. Although money can be used occasionally, it should not be the main incentive. The monetary value of recognition has a more meaningful importance to your employees as long as you genuinely show it to them.

Set practical and achievable action goals that help employees use their full potential to improve their satisfaction and productivity. Then increase their strengths and skills by challenging your employees with setting harder goals to achieve.

It Starts at the Top: Engage your senior leadership as engagement starts with them. They are the model your engaged employees look at in order to be engaged themselves.

Get Input from Your People: By using an employee engagement survey, you can get the opinion of your employees to find out how best they work and what their specific strengths might be. I also like to find out whether an employee is an introvert or extrovert so I can match them best to the tasks they perform their greatest in.

Encourage Open Communication
Communicate clearly on what you want your employees to accomplish. Be open with your employees and allow them to be open with you. This includes allowing employees to give you an idea that can be used to help with the work productivity. If you do use their suggestion(s) or idea(s), reward them for it.

Find Ways to Connect with Each Employee: Every interaction with an employee has the potential to influence his or her engagement and inspire discretionary effort. One five-minute interaction with individuals who benefit from the company’s products and services can produce up to a 500 percent boost in employee productivity.

Getting to know employees on personal level can boost employee engagement by 11 percent. Highly engaged employees are twice as likely to be top performers—and miss 20% fewer days of work.
Invest in workplace wellness. Employer-sponsored programs that support employees in adopting behaviors that reduce their health risks and improve their quality of life – also known as wellness programs – raise engagement levels and directly impact the bottom line.

Provide Constant Feedback
When people know what they’re doing well, they’ll keep doing it – or, even better, do more of it. Providing your employees with a little recognition on what they’re doing well can go a long way toward boosting morale. This is not to say “ignore the weaknesses”.

Celebrate both financial and non financial achievements
Employees need to feel validated and that they are a valued part of the organization. Leadership needs to show how much they care for their employees and show recognition for efforts.

As a result, your engaged employees most likely are ready to buy-in to moving to the next level of extraordinary success. With the skills, strengths and abilities they demonstrate, they are ready to use their full potential for the next challenges they may also be asking for. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.

Intuition might tell us that showing the money motivates, and that increasing an employee’s salary should correspondingly boost his or her motivation. It does under certain conditions. Start by asking your employees. In using discretionary effort to raise the engagement of your employees, look at what you are currently doing. Then see what needs to be improved or changed that works with your employees.

Leadership Preparedness for the New Year

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” -Little Gidding II

As we approach the end of another year, there is a feeling of anticipation for what the upcoming year will bring. As a great leader, you want to do your best to prepare your organization for greater success in the New Year. Reflecting on the past 12 months and you should also be reviewing your business strategy for 2014.

In reviewing what needs to take place for the New Year, I believe leaders need to first review how this current year has been so far and predict how things will be for the remainder of the year until December 31st. Look at (1) having 12 specific visions and goals for each month that will culminate to the primary goal for what you actually want to accomplish for the New Year.

In using the last quarter to focus on developing plans for what you want to achieve, make sure your employees are happy and ready to move forward to the next level. Next, have you thought about how you want to move forward in 2014?

How would you define your business and leadership performance results for this year? If the answer is “YES”, are you prepared to deliver the same performance next year or go to the next level? If the answer is “NO”, are you prepared to deal with the struggles that have prevented you from achieving your goals this year?

With this in mind, here are a few ways you can take the following to help you prepare your organization for greater success in the New Year.

Start with Your People

Communicate clearly to your employees what your specific vision is for the New Year. This not only keeps them in-the-loop, it also gives them a sense of knowing what direction the company is going in.

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”– Vince Lombardi

At the same time, build your team for the New Year with what you plan to do. The buy-in you get from your employees helps you get their cooperation in what you want and expect from them. “Team-building is a quality that I find isn’t really prevalent in most large companies. If you don’t build a team and you don’t have the team buy in, you won’t win.” says Susan Tose Spencer.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Babe Ruth

Organization

Review and evaluate your organization. Ask yourself, “What works, what does not work, and what works well?” What should you be measuring in your business to know how it’s doing?

When you are at the beginning of preparing your organization for succeeding in the New Year, use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to help you move forward. This helps you see where you have been and where you can improve for the New Year.

Don’t put off until tomorrow that which you can do today. And that includes preparing your entire organization for the New Year.

Be Extraordinary

Getting great results now demonstrates that, in most cases, your employees are ready and wanting to go to the next level for higher results. Communicate your vision and get the buy-in you need to the next level of greater results.

Empowering your employees, allowing them to use their critical thinking skills to involve employees in the decision-making process, interacting with their co-workers on issues they may need help with, which gives them the positive self-confidence they need to create and produce greater results.

Goal Setting

Initially, set your goals using SMART. Each quarter make the next goals more challenging to reach. By using HARD goals you prepare your employees to use their strengths and hidden talent and skills to improve their results. What goals did you succeed in reaching this year?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”
-Tony Robbins

Shift Mind-Sets

Training your employees to change their mind-sets in creating and producing greater results and this can be accomplished by looking at things with a different perspective. This helps to leverage your natural strengths to meet your goals, and the results yield toward the power to lead, achieve & develop. This also helps bring out more of who your high-performers and who your high-potentials are.

Increase Productivity

Essentially, using the Pareto principle, or 80–20 rule, the 20% of your efforts need to be put into activities that should be chosen very wisely. This is because they are of greater value toward where you take your organization.

“I’m going to put the 80/20 rule to serious work, focusing on the 20 percent of my work that generates 80 percent of the revenue” -Haziq, via Twitter

Work on Time Management
Having good timing is often cited as critical to success. Plan your strategic plan with helping your employees

Being more efficient for the time you have in getting things done helps when you teach your employees a formula to complete their work without having to spend more time on the task or project, or to repeat the same work a second time for the same.

Create a to-do list for the first week of January
Taking the first step is often the hardest. So why not start now with a to-do list for the first week of business in January to jump start with a clear commitment to change. Begin implementing your vision goals. Make sure you have everyone on board as you did before the holidays.

Value the priorities that move you forward toward your goal(s).

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Listening Skills

Actively listen to your employees and responding back with first thinking gives employees the recognition of what is being said. With any ideas or suggestions from employees, give them recognition and reward them if you use any of their ideas or suggestions for implementation.

Listening is a big key to getting employee commitment. Perhaps the most powerful of all leadership techniques for motivating employees is effective listening. The skill of listening is every executive, manager and supervisor’s doorway to employee commitment.

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” -Jack Welch

Reward

After goals are completed at the end of each month, reward your employees for a great month. This helps give them the recognition, value and self-esteem to continue creating and producing greater results in the next month.

According to Gallup studies, less than 70% of the workforce is truly committed to their company or boss, and less than 70% is truly motivated. Your organization cannot afford to have this happen. You need 100% of your employees truly committed and truly motivated.

At the end of the year when your organization accomplished greater results than the year before, you can give an extra bonus to each employee and possibly another way of recognizing their contribution they gave for great results produced.

Culmination of Your Results

Where is the energy going to come from to make all those changes? Like most people, I set goals and resolutions for 2014. In this case though, leaders need to set their sights for the entire year with respect to their entire organization.

Your employees need to learn to work a lot smarter not harder in order to reach the great results communicated by you, their leader.

Even after you put everything in place, you still need to continue working through your vision with your employees. Be persistently consistent. The rest is up to you in taking the actions needed to move forward for greater success in the New Year.

“Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its goal, and yet if the melody has not reached its end, it has not reached its goal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Individual Development Plans Tailored for Leadership: Self-Awareness

In tailoring an Individual Development Plan for Leaders, the one item I recommend every leader should have within their plan is that of understanding their (self-awareness & strengths) They both go together, so I combine them as I look at self-awareness as a strength a leader must have in their role.

Typically, to get to know my clients, I have them take either the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or David Keirsey’s Temperament Sorter. They both yield the result of a personality preference 4-letter code. The reason I have my client’s take either assessment is 2 fold: (1) I have a better idea of who they are through their personality and (2) it helps me know the best way to coach them. This also tells me how self-aware my clients are of themselves and of the people around them.

The IDP assesses each leader’s individual growth opportunities, and provides focused, one-on-one executive coaching that concentrates on 2 to 3 major potential-maximizing developmental objectives in a process that fully engages the executive.

Self-Awareness essentially is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self-awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.

As a professional growth tool, the Individual Development plan (IDP). Individual development is an essential component of leadership excellence because it increases competency in developing others. Before you can be a leader, you need to understand yourself more. This involves being self-aware of not just who you are which includes your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Leadership is complex enough. Self-awareness is the first step, the cornerstone, of leadership. Even though I bring up the fact that the leader needs to be self-aware in various …, a lot of the work is still on the leader. Leadership literature confirms that emotional intelligence, presence, and influence all require awareness.

A survey of 75 members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council rated self-awareness as the most important capability for leaders to develop. Executives need to know where their natural inclinations lie in order to boost them or compensate for them. Self-awareness is about identifying idiosyncrasies- the characteristics executives take to be the norm but actually represent the exception.

The International Coach Federation’s (ICF) coach competency for Creating Awareness is as follows: Creating Awareness—Ability to integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client to gain awareness and thereby achieve agreed‐upon results.

When you are self-aware, you are mindful of the impact that your emotions, your behavior, your communication patterns have on those around you. Strong leaders take time to reflect on their strengths and development needs.

Coaches create awareness in leaders when they integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and make interpretations that help the leader to become more self‐aware and thereby achieve agreed‐upon results. Effective demonstration of this competency is especially important when analyzing and interpreting an Individual Feedback Report(IFR) with a leader.

Without self-awareness, you cannot understand your strengths and your weaknesses. Be aware of others. Your self-awareness as a leader is crucial when building and keeping your team. Knowing your natural strengths and weaknesses helps you be an acute observer of others’ strengths and weaknesses. Having the right complement of people and support allows you to see more clearly what you do well and what others do well also.

Never underestimate the power of self-awareness. Commit to an Action Plan to achieve desired results. Focus on building a leaders self-awareness and knowledge of their strengths and areas of development. Feedback from others increases your self-awareness as you identify gaps in your skills as well as in your perception of the things around you.

Be Consistently Persistent in being Extraordinary

In order to be successful, it requires being consistent and persistent. By being an extraordinary leader you set up goals beyond your expectations and achieve extraordinary results. Managing the performance of your employees is not as difficult as many people think. I find so many people do it poorly not because it is difficult, but because they do not have the right attitude.

As a new leader/manager, be aware of the following that can help you be more consistent and persistent as you become more extraordinary and extend your abilities onto your employees. Consistently perform at a higher level is a great achievement to aim for. Just make sure you get buy-in for what you want to accomplish.

Observe Consistent Behaviors
Take note of the consistent behaviors you do on a daily basis. Ask yourself, “Do these behaviors help me to be consistent in getting these accomplished?” Knowing your specific goals and not reaching them just might be a matter of looking at what’s working and what’s working well.

Refusing to Give Up
How persistent are you in getting done what you need to complete? Giving up means you may not be good at accomplishing that particular goal area. Some people look at it as a failure. As much as possible, if you really want to get something done, break down your goal(s) in small pieces. This may help as you will feel you are getting things done. Move forward in pursuing your goal(s) and be consistent in working on tasks everyday to reach where you want to be.

Persist without exception and decide to keep going no matter what lies in front of you. Being persistent without exception is key to achieving extraordinary levels of success.

Think Differently to Accomplish More
Begin thinking differently about the leader you are and you alter your destiny. Shift your thinking from a quality mindset to an impact & results mindset. Performance management takes technique and attitude.

Decide to be a Person of Action
Many people move out of the way for a person on the run; others are caught up
in his wake. Be the person on the run! Taking consistent action is crucial to the realization of a successful life. People are often amazed by the accomplishments of highly successful people, yet many of their accomplishments occur because of relentless action.

Stay Focused
You have a lot on your plate, especially as a new leader/manager. Focus on your outcome, and don’t get caught up in the day-to-day activities you need to take to reach it.
Maintaining this focus can sometimes feel hard and overwhelming because of all you have to do.

If you believe your goal is worth achieving then follow through with whatever actions you need to take to make it happen. In your pursuit of being an extraordinary leader, you must be consistent and persistent. Get the feedback from your employees and other leaders that you need and build on what will help you beyond where you are right now. Do not overuse your strengths.