Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How can you set yourself apart in the Information Age?

I am always astonished by the amount of information available to people on the Internet. There is free information everywhere. It is beyond drinking through a fire hose. Too much.

It begs the question...if you are in the information business (everyone is) how can you really set yourself apart from the rest?

Synthesizing information. Making it usable and practical.

People will pay for answers, there are plenty of questions out there. There is value in providing solutions and to take the intensity of information and simplify it.

So, if you want to stand out from the clutter of information overload, use the old saying: K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple silly. (we aren't allowed to use the word stupid in our house, after all we do have a 5 year old!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are you exhibiting leadership "dissonance?"

I went to the UP Experience yesterday and was inspired by 16 brilliant minds.

I learned an important lesson yesterday. Everything that we say and everything we do is teaching and influencing others around us. This is an important realization for any leader, at home and at work. Too often, leaders believe that their words are most important, and give less focus to their actions. This often creates leadership "dissonance" which results in mistrust. Once there is mistrust or dissonance, a leader can't lead.

People are listening and watching every word and picture. The reality is that the old saying, "actions speak louder than words" is even more relevant as it relates to leaders.

This becomes apparently clear as a parent. After all, leadership at home is based on the same principles as leadership at work. Our words may say one thing, and if our actions say another, chances are our kids will pick that up. When this is the case, you are less likely to influence them and for them to follow your lead.

Put the mirror on yourself and observe every action with a critical eye. Be certain that your words and pictures are saying and reinforcing the same message.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Striving for Perfection?

Leaders aren't perfect.

In fact, your ability to lead depends upon your acceptance of your own imperfection.

When you are trying to be too perfect, you don't leave room for others to fill in the gaps. Recognizing and accepting your imperfection allows you to become more vulnerable and open. In order to lead and influence others you can't hide behind false perfection. By allowing some vulnerability, others will connect to you. It is through connection that you can lead and influence others.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Are you accountable?

I recently saw an article entitled "Do your friends make you fat?"

I was horrified.

It was a catchy title, but it clearly pointed to the fact that we have developed a blaming culture, one that doesn't always encourage us to look in the mirror. Personal accountability requires us to look in the mirror.

Personal accountability is key to effective leadership. Whenever you encounter a problem, if you can train yourself to say "what was my contribution to this problem?" you can start to take action on the pieces for which you are accountable. Fixing others and blaming others is always a no-win approach.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Leadership is another form of Branding

Becoming a better leader is like building a brand.

You have to build a brand with the customer in mind. So it raises the question: As a leader, who is your customer?

Your customer is the person or people that you are leading. It doesn't matter if they are organizationally "below" you or not. We lead in all directions.

Start off with understanding their needs and finding ways to fill them. When we deliver on the customers' expectations, we not only are building a brand, but a brand that can lead and influence them to take action.