Working Without Purpose Is A Waste Of Time

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2Growth

“Sometimes you can learn best about a topic by identifying what it isn’t before you define what it is.”

This hit home with me when I was asked how you could know when an organization lacks purpose. The interviewer was Shawn Murphy, a workplace consultant and host of the popular “Work That Matters” podcast. I thought the question was brilliant because it challenged me to define purpose by first describing what it was like without purpose.

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5 Obsessions of Champions

The Five Obsessions of Winning Teams

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2Growth

March Madness resumes tonight and in a pressure packed weekend of excitement, the Sweet Sixteen will shrink to the Final Four.  Only the strongest teams will survive and while their defensive pressure, explosive running game or deep shooting might define their style, their success rests on five obsessions. These obsessions are common to champions and may very well help your team in your competitive endeavor. 

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Organizational Health Care with N2Growth: When was your Last Check-up?

By Damian D. “Skipper” Pitts
Chair, Organizational Development, N2Growth

IT’S TIME TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION’S HEALTH!

Schedule an appointment with your organization’s health care provider (you do have one right?) to discuss what operational screenings and organizational development exams you need and when you need them.

These are critically important to make sure your organizational leadership index is healthy, balanced and aligned with your strategic intent and vision to meet the organization’s objectives going forward.

We’re providing some of our resources to help you and your health care provider (you do have one right?) determine what health services and screenings are best for you and your team.

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10 Ways to Provide Quality Feedback

By Joel Garfinkle
Chair, Executive Coaching, N2Growth

Employees want feedback. They want an honest assessment of their behavior to help them improve their work. They know that if they listen to, and take action on, clear and constructive feedback, their overall performance will improve. And so will their job satisfaction.

However, most managers feel uncomfortable delivering feedback, especially when it involves a problem or concern. So many managers take a passive approach or are guilty of knee-jerk, “drive by” feedback, which can be counterproductive. Providing feedback that gets results isn’t as difficult or painful as you think. Listed below are ten tips to make it a powerful, positive experience.

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The Leadership Dance

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2Growth

Not everyone will respond to your leadership.  No matter how good you are, there will be skeptics.  Leadership is a human endeavor and humans have choices.  Still, it’s your duty to find a way to lead them.

No matter how big your organization, your message, direction, and motivations flow through a handful of people and leadership is like dancing; it is accomplished one partner at a time. I’m not talking about square dancing, line dancing or break dancing but the kind where you drum up your courage, look someone in the eye and ask: “Will you dance with me?”

Great dancing requires a mix of physical, mental, emotional and social skill.  Great dancers know they aren’t just spinning around the floor; they are inviting another on a journey for a song or two.  It is a negotiation of trust.

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Ford Motor Company: How Leadership Takes Risks

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

Roll the dice!

That’s what leaders must do from time to time. And it is what Ford Motor Company  (for whom I have consulted) has experience in doing. In 2006, it hocked itself, including its logo, to raise funding to keep the company going. The ploy succeeded, and today Ford is registering record profits and so it is rolling the dice again with the pending launch of an all-new Ford F-150 pickup. F-Series is truck that has kept the company afloat for decades, particularly when its car sales were flagging. Today the F-Series is the number one selling vehicle in America and has been for more than thirty years. The new truck will feature many new features as well as one big loss – 700 pounds worth. The new F-Series will feature an aluminum body panels that will be stronger and lighter, but will face a perception test with consumers. Truck buyers are traditionalists and whether they will opt for a truck made of aluminum will be a big decision.

 

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Are You too Busy to Say Thanks?

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

Is it me or has Thanksgiving been overrun by our national pastime–holiday shopping?  Apparently, we are too busy to spend a single day reflecting on our blessings.  It should come as no surprise; gratitude went out of fashion years ago.  But more accurately, as most of us became removed from the challenge and hard work of producing our bounty, our gratitude diminished and like most things that come easily, we began to take it for granted.

This change of attitude is not just a cultural problem; it’s a leadership problem too.

As leaders, we can become removed from the team’s challenge and hard work and in turn; our gratitude can wane.  We get too busy to acknowledge the hard work being done on our behalf.  Perhaps our leadership gratitude has gone the way of our cultural gratitude—squeezed out by other priorities.

As a Soldier, I was lucky to lead in an Army that takes gratitude seriously.  As an officer, I was empowered to express gratitude on behalf of my unit and our Nation.  I could give awards for service and achievement that expressed my gratitude as well as that of the chain of command.  As a general, I had the sad, sacred duty of expressing the gratitude of a grateful Nation to the loved ones of our fallen.

I have lots of experience saying thanks officially and I have witnessed the power of formal gratitude; still, no token of appreciation resonated like an unexpected, sincere and personal expression of gratitude.  As my responsibilities increased, I too became removed from the challenges and hard work of my Soldiers.  Yet, my rank didn’t diminish my duty to understand their sacrifice or excuse me from saying thanks. I had to make getting to the right place to say thanks in a meaningful way a standing priority.  I visited people, wrote notes, called meetings, planned events and used every power at my disposal just to say thank you and you should too.

Don’t let your professional gratitude go the way of Thanksgiving—squeezed out by other priorities.  The privilege of your position will only insulate you from the challenges and hard work of your team, if you let it.  Keep your leadership priorities straight.  Make time and take time to say thank today and every day of the year.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @brianlayer

Will People Follow You? 5 Questions to Ask

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

One question I hear from executives is this: How can I tell if people want to follow me?

The answer to that question lies in your example. The way you communicate, challenge, plan and evaluate. Here are five questions to ask yourself to check if you are on track.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @JohnBaldoni

The Big Question: What does it take to lead?

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2growth

People often ask me, “What are the essential attributes of leadership?”

It’s a big question — but let me borrow from something I heard from Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball.” He said a political pollster told him once that every great leader need to demonstrate three things:

Motive. Passion. Spontaneity.

Motive, passion and spontaneity complement one another. A leader who is motivated, passionate and spontaneous can use these attributes to build what all leaders need: trust, that bond that links followers to the individual and the cause.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @JohnBaldoni

Don’t Leave a Dead Bird on your Doorstep!

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2Growth

Recently, I approached the entrance of familiar children’s store and saw a dead bird on their doorstep. Decay indicated the time for a proper burial had passed and while disturbed, I was not surprised the employees left it lying in state. The dead bird on the doorstep is a common symptom of a big organization problem and if you run one, you might have a few dead birds of your own.  This happens when employees fail to understand their role in the context of the competitive environment.

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