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Friday, November 30, 2012

Positive Leadership: Dealing With Problems

Dan Mulhern is an expert on leadership and organizational development. He currently teaches courses in business and law at UC Berkeley. He is married to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who served two terms as the governor of Michigan.

Here he talks about re-framing problems to find a better solution.


Happy St Andrews Day to all Scots Around the World From Positive Leadership


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Positive Leadership: Become a Man of Value


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Positive Leadership: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Amy Cuddy wasn’t supposed to become a successful scientist. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to finish her undergraduate degree. Early in her college career, Cuddy suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, and doctors said she would struggle to fully regain her mental capacity and finish her undergraduate degree. But she proved them wrong.

Today, Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies how nonverbal behaviour and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. And her training as a classical dancer (another skill she regained after her injury) is evident in her fascinating work on "power posing" -- how your body position influences others and even your own brain.

“Power posing” -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Positive Leadership: What to look for in a CV

Vinod Khosla, the Sun Microsystems co-founder, now a venture capitalist, talks about his obsession with hiring the right people.

"A high school dropout who's done a lot is better than a Stanford PhD who has done a similar amount, because he's driven further" with fewer credentials, says Khosla. He does think schooling really helped him, but mostly because he explored different disciplines rather than sticking with the same field.

An interesting sit-down with an interesting man that quickly skates on to other topics.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Positive Leadership: Leading through Stories

Gavin Esler, one of Britain's leading journalists and interviewers reveals what the stories that leaders tell can teach us about getting to the top - and staying there.

Great leaders have always understood the power of stories. Through the stories they tell, the most successful leaders educate, persuade and bring about change, but we rarely have the background knowledge to explore how they do so

Introducing the questions every leader must answer - and the elements that the best stories must contain - Esler explains how creating a leadership story can promote success at all levels, whether running for the United States presidency, or applying for a place at university. 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Positive Leadership: Women in Business


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Positive Leadership: Authenticity, Generosity, and Passion in Leadership

Shelly Lazarus is Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. She has been working, as she would say it, "In the business I love," for more than three decades. Recognised as one of the most powerful women in business, Shelly has transformed Ogilvy & Mather into one of the world’s largest and most successful ad agencies.

In her keynote at Womensphere’s Global Summit 2010, Shelly reflects upon what defines a great leader, and shares her insights from countless encounters with leaders of different styles and personalities.

Authenticity, Generosity, and Passion in Leadership - Shelly Lazarus from Womensphere on Vimeo.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American Readers from Positive Leadership


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Positive Leadership: Optimising the Return from Change

If you are either announcing a change, or receiving direction on change, here are ten key questions that need to be clearly addressed:

1. What is the change?
2. What business issue(s) is (/are) driving this change?
3. Why should we care?
4. How will this change help address these issues?
5. What alternatives were considered? What were the pros and cons of each alternative?
6. Why must this change succeed?
7. Where does this change fit with other organisational priorities?
8. How will people emotionally respond to this change, and how should we acknowledge their feelings (the good or bad)?
9. What is the first action we need to take?
10. What are the milestones we will use to measure progress?

Take the time upfront to answer or get answers to these questions and you should see a significant return on your time invested.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Positive Leadership: When Leaders Do Harm

Bad bosses don’t wake up in the morning and ask themselves: “How can I derail the corporate strategy today?” 

Thunderbird research, based on surveys and interviews with more than 250 managers in 37 countries, shows that most ineffective leaders remain blissfully unaware of the harm they do to their organisations. Only 35% of respondents at high-performing companies said their leaders were doing a good job inspiring their teams to participate in strategic initiatives.

In this video, Thunderbird School of Global Management Professors Kannan Ramaswamy and Bill Youngdahl talk about the "hindrance trap" that catches many leaders. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Positive Leadership: Energising a Firm with Mission and Values

Kent Thiry became Chairman and CEO of DaVita® (then called Total Renal Care) in October 1999. Upon Thiry’s arrival, the company embarked on an ambitious restructuring plan to save it from the brink of bankruptcy. Ten years later, the company’s dedication to teammate (employee) engagement and empowerment has helped transform DaVita into a FORTUNE 500® company with approximately $6.1 billion in annual revenues, a stock price that has increased more than 2,600 percent since shortly after he joined, and an 11% reduction in teammate turnover.

Here he talks about energising a firm with mission & values. 

A very interesting approach, albeit one which might be difficult to implement in some cultures!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Value of Consultants

DaVita CEO Kent Thiry discusses how being a consultant prepares you—or doesn't—for being a leader. Thiry spoke at the Stanford Graduate School of Business' View from the Top series.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Positive Leadership: Relationships

Excerpt of conversation between Daniel Goleman and George Kohlrieser on high performance leadership and relationship management - developing relationships and finding common bonds and goals.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Positive Leadership: Good v Evil


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Positive Leadership: Influencing Others


Monday, November 12, 2012

Positive Leadership: Staying Motivated: Advice form Peyton Manning

NFL star quarterback, Peyton Manning provides advice on how to stay focused and motivated throughout the season.


Friday, November 09, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Great Culture Divide

A culture is idealistically a force that drives and unites people with a common focus, but........


Positive Leadership: Hope


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Positive Leadership: How to Learn?

Human beings are learning animals, probably the most efficient learning machine ever to have walked the earth.  From birth we are programmed to alter our behaviour depending on our desires and the feedback we are receiving from the environment.  Our success as a species is largely down to how efficiently we learn and change our behaviour, depending on circumstances.

So, if the learning process is so natural and normal, why do we find it so hard sometimes to change our behaviour and learn new skills, especially new motor skills and movement patterns?

Something seems to have gone wrong with the way we learn, we seem to have got in the way of the natural process and made it much harder than it needs to be.

Rather than focus on the acquisition of the new skill as a starting point, perhaps it would be better if the first stage of the learning journey was to reconnect with and understand exactly how we go about acquiring and developing that new skill, whether it’s a golf swing, playing a musical instrument or tiling a bathroom.

In his books, ‘The Talent Code’, and ‘The Little Book ofTalent’, author Daniel Coyle goes into great detail into the learning process, and offers some great insights into how to get the most from your tuition and practice, and how to work with the natural learning process rather than fighting against it. 

Here are a few of the key points he raises.

1.  Repetition is the absolute Number 1 key to successful motor skill acquisition.
It takes about 3000 repetitions of a movement for the body to ‘get it’, 10000 reps for it to become a habit.  That’s why a couple of hours a week down the driving range might be fun, but it isn’t really helping your golf swing to become a consistent, repeatable movement.

2.  We learn most by failing.
You need to fail to learn.  Instead of berating yourself and feeling angry and disappointed when you hit a bad shot, pause for a second.  Open your mind.  What actually happened there?  What did it feel like?  What was the difference in feeling between that and a good one?  Your mistakes are the big opportunities.  Make them count.

3. Break it down into small pieces.
When learning a large and complex movement such as the golf swing, it really helps to break it down into ‘chunks’. Work on small pieces of the movement, such as the takeaway, transition or impact, and focus tightly on that specific part of the movement, repeating it over and over until it is perfect. Then integrate it into the overall movement.

4. Little and often is better than feast and famine.
Sitting down once a week and saying “Right, I’m going to practice my grip for the next hour” very rarely works, for the simple reason that it’s dull, repetitive and unlikely to hold our attention for that length of time. Within a few minutes we’ll get distracted and any opportunity for learning will be limited.  Much better to say “Right, I’m going to grip the club perfectly 20 times” then leave it an go and do something else, coming back after a while, then doing 20 more perfect reps.

5. Play games, make it fun!!
In the same way that a little and often is better than feast and famine, playing games rather than doing drills, is an excellent way to make practice engaging and enjoyable.  Whether it’s competing with a friend to get it up and down, or challenging yourself to hole 20 consecutive 3 footers, or hit 10 drivers in the fairway, making practice into a game keeps it from becoming ‘work’. Most of us play golf for fun, and while we all want to improve, turning it into work is rarely the way forward.


Positive Leadership: The London 2012 Olympics


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Qualities of the Most Successful US Presidents

Knowing the traits that forged the best U.S. presidents could have helped US voters grasp what's necessary to succeed in the Oval Office. Here are some interesting historical perspectives on the key qualities needed for success:

Show vision. The best-rated presidents conveyed the direction they wanted to take the nation. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, fixtures at the top of historical rankings, exuded that quality of setting a futuristic tone. Thus Washington shaped the presidency, and Lincoln reshaped the nation. Ronald) Reagan had it too. His concept that it was possible to win the Cold War was visionary. Almost no one else, in or out of government, thought there was any prospect of that.

Have self-confidence.  Washington was secure enough to recruit the greatest minds ever assembled in a Cabinet: future high-ranking Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, plus Alexander Hamilton. The first president knew he needed their help to shape the nation. Lincoln, a one-term congressman, had no problem deferring to or overruling his secretary of state, William Seward, who many thought was more qualified to be president.

Be humble. It's not just that Lincoln had the ability to reject advice from more qualified people. It's that sometimes he listened to the advice, took it seriously and changed his mind. The 16th president could acknowledge that he very well might be wrong on issues. That attribute prevented Lincoln from making the catastrophic mistakes that someone who lacked humility might make. Washington and Lincoln were secure enough that they didn't feel they were the smartest people in the room. The same could be said of Harry Truman. The 33rd president called George Marshall the greatest man in the country and that if the former Army chief of staff could take the presidency, he'd resign in a minute.

Character does matter. The top-ranked presidents who were most upstanding were Lincoln, Washington, Reagan, Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

Be diverse. Career politicians were less capable as president when rated against men who entered office with varied backgrounds. Some soldier-presidents — such as Washington, Eisenhower, U.S. Grant and Truman, with their sense of management were highly capable presidents. The ones who didn't plan on being president from the time they were little tended to excel! For example, political ambition came to Ronald Reagan late in life and Washington thought he'd die a soldier. As it turned out, the general won the Revolution and became the father of the USA.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Positive Leadership: What is Your Ecological Footprint?

Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels, California's largest boutique hotel collection, which includes more than 30 properties. 

In this extract from a Stanford Graduate School of Business article he talks about the values that are important to him in business.

'You can see who’s most powerful in a society based on who has the tallest buildings. Two hundred years ago it was cathedrals. Fifty years ago it was a government building. Today, in most urban areas, the power rests with business and skyscrapers. Business is the most powerful influence in the world today. Fifty-four of the 100 most powerful entities in the world today are companies, not countries. That means it is that much more important that businesses take a conscious capitalist perspective to make a difference in the world. I’m a big believer in that on a global level. Businesses are finally asking, what is our ecological footprint? I also believe businesses need to look at their emotional fist print on their employees.

Our work is the most predominant use of our time. We spend more hours in our working life than our family life. Yet for many people their working life leaves an emotional fist print as if they're getting punched. It creates anxiety, anger, and a sense of being abused. That can have a contagious effect on their family, friends, and everybody around them. How do we measure that? Fifty years ago we had no idea we could measure our ecological footprint. How can we start measuring and managing what’s most important in life?'


Monday, November 05, 2012

Positive Leadership: Values Drive Our Behaviours

To live intentionally, you must surface your values – not the ones you think you should have, but the ones you really do have.

Our values are our deeply held beliefs about what is right and good.

Values drive our behaviours, whether we are conscious of them or not.

Many people adopt the values articulated by their parents, organisations or institutions. But when they are not also conscious of their own personal values and the connection between their values and what they espouse, they are often only superficially committed to them. The values support a self-image of who they want to be, not necessarily who they are, and don’t hold up during times of stress. This is one of the reasons we see values breached so often – where we are surprised by the incongruous behaviour of someone we respected.

We are all values-driven. The question is whether it’s consciously or unconsciously.

When you are conscious of your values:
  • You can challenge beliefs that no longer serve you.
  • You can make intentional choices about your actions, rather than being driven unconsciously by them.
  • You can be intentional about choosing relationships with people who share our values. 

To surface your personal values, take time out for reflection. Identifying your values is not a mental activity – we care deeply about our values and become emotional when we connect with them.

Ask yourself questions like: 
  • What do I care deeply about?
  • What would I stand in front of the bus to defend?
  • What do my actions say about what I really value?
If you believe something is a value but it’s not guiding your behaviour, it’s not a real value … it’s simply a “good idea.”


Friday, November 02, 2012

Positive Leadership: Achieving Your Goals

To achieve your goals, you must leave your comfort zone!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Positive Leadership: What Does A Win Look Like?

How do you keep score? How does your team keep score? What does winning look like? Are these questions you immediately have an answer for, or do they make you stop and think? Do you have an answer at all? We believe this is one of the most critical factors in human engagement. We think it’s true at home, at work and even where we play.

The best leaders help people understand what a win looks like and how to get there. Wins come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few principles to consider as you help your team and yourself answer the important question: What constitutes a win?

A win must be quantifiable. How will you measure your progress? How will you know if you win? Unclear victories can demotivate even the strongest individual and team. As a leader, you may need to create milestones that can be measured and achieved to boost the energy of your team. A win defined as 10 new customers this month is better than we need more customers.

A win should require a stretch. Yes, there is such a thing as a “cheap win” – a victory that was achieved with little effort or thought. These are not the type we are advocating. These wins generally don’t help people grow or feel long-term satisfaction. A win that requires people’s best efforts are inherently motivating.

A win needs to matter. Small visions stir no man’s soul; neither do wins that don’t matter. You probably shouldn’t consider it a win if you show up for work. What will really contribute to your growth and/or the growth of your organisation? The answer is a candidate for a win. A Win: Raise revenues by 10% at year-end to avoid layoff.

A win should build confidence. What are the wins that will help you do this? Think about wins for individuals and the team. What is challenging but not insurmountable? What could serve as a stepping-stone to bigger wins?

A win should be achievable. Have you ever tried to accomplish the impossible? These situations are not win-win – they are lose-lose. The organisation and the individual both lose. If a win is achievable, it can motivate performance.

A win should ultimately serve the larger good. Most appropriate wins help the individual, but the best ones also help the team, the organisation or beyond. People long to be part of something bigger than themselves. As leaders, when we can help connect the dots between the immediate task and the larger good, people love it!

Think about the next 30 days; 90 days; 12 months – what does a win look like for you? What does a win look like for your team? Perhaps you’ll want to establish several. Don’t wait. The sooner you define them, the sooner you can pursue them. Enjoy the journey!