On Leadership and Hiring

Why Leaders Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Push Past Surface-Level Interview Questions

Interview Questions

If you’ve been in a leadership position for more than a couple of years, you’ve likely interviewed dozens of job candidates.

You know all the textbook tactics, and you’ve seen every character imaginable — from the guy wearing an Armani suit and too much cologne to the recent college graduate nervously shaking in her boots.

But you’re also smart enough to know that it’s all an act.

Performing Arts

Don’t kid yourself; you’re interviewing actors and actresses. Some candidates could win Academy Awards, while others would struggle to make the cast of a low-budget horror flick. But whether the candidate is Meryl Streep or an extra on a laundry detergent commercial, you’re interacting with a façade.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve fallen for the act in the past. Remember when you were excited about the candidate who knocked the interview out of the park, only to find out that she was a dud a month later?

So to guard yourself against this mistake, you try to be shrewder than the interviewee. You ask her sly behavioral questions, have her come in for multiple interviews, and make her take a series of tests. But unfortunately, no amount of testing will reveal the real person, especially in the artificial environment of an interview. You can’t really know whether the candidate will be a self-starting, knowledge-hungry superstar or a clock-watching D-list player until you give her the job.

So what should you do? In short, there is no easy answer. But when it comes down to it, the first step is revamping your interview process.

The Interview

Tactic You Need to Employ Right Now

What if the interview became a personal conversation instead of a casting call? What if the primary focus was on the person, not the résumé?

I’ve found a way to make this happen. I call it the “personal letter interview.” My company has been using it for four months now, and the people we’ve hired have been outstanding. Time will give us more data, but I’m convinced we’re on the right path.

Here’s how it works:

  • If you have a qualified job candidate you’d like to interview, ask her to write a letter to a loved one — a child, spouse, parent, or friend.
  • Ask her to describe both what she is proud of and what she regrets, and prompt her to tell you how she feels about where she is today.
  • Finally, have her conclude with how she envisions her future.

Keep your instructions loose; the letter can be to anyone and about anything.

Move Beyond the Surface Level

This is when the mask comes off, so be ready for some tearjerkers. The first candidate who submitted a letter to me talked about the impact of his newborn baby on his life. Another talked about how she was still hurting from a breakup 10 months after the fact.

But this process is about more than a few tears; it’s about opening the door to a deeper conversation by responding to something personal in a caring, compassionate way. And even if the letter you receive is more matter-of-fact, you’re still chipping away at the façade.

As a result, the interview becomes more of an exploration into how the person truly feels about her life, career, hopes, and dreams — and less of an exploration into her sales numbers. That’s not to say experience is unimportant, but the candidate’s experience is in her résumé.

You wouldn’t be interviewing her if you didn’t think she could do the job.

She has already met your initial screening criteria, so you might as well spend more time getting to know her personally.

Be Smart!

Still, there are a few questions that are “off the table,” so to speak. You have to guard against veering into legally unacceptable areas — anything that involves gender, nationality, social club memberships, age, or family status. That’s not what you’re after, and you can still have a meaningful conversation without diving into those subjects.

If your current process is consistently churning out less-than-stellar hires, consider the personal letter interview. You’ll feel more confident that you really know the person you are hiring, and that will positively impact your company in the long run.

And at the end of the day, I’ll take the hard working, sharp, and determined person with a high level of honesty over 20 years of experience.

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Bob La Loggia

Bob La Loggia is the founder and CEO of AppointmentPlus, a fast-growing SaaS business based in Scottsdale, Arizona. His company has won a number of awards, including CareerBuilder’s Best Places to Work award. Bob is a serial entrepreneur who’s passionate about his business and helping Arizona develop a world-class startup ecosystem.

Image Source: yessalesrecruitment.co.uk

 

How to Become an Industry Leader

Tips for Increasing Your Online Exposure

Business Online Presence

It’s hard to get ahead with today’s tough competition. To position yourself as an industry leader, you need a solid online presence to prove that you’re knowledgeable.

Here are some ways to increase your exposure and earn your place as an authority figure in your field.

Get a Well-Rounded Education

If you don’t already have a college degree, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in a field that interests you. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you might go a step further and work toward a master’s degree. However, don’t worry if a formal education isn’t in the cards. There are many options to further educate yourself using online resources.

For example, you can create accounts with popular websites such as Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity and take courses on almost any subject. Many courses are free, while some charge a fee. Instructors from reputable universities such as Columbia, MIT, and Harvard often teach the courses, lending credibility to your transcript and broadening your knowledge base.

Join an Industry Organization

Professional organizations are great resources for networking, education, and publicity. Membership often provides access to publications, webinars, conferences, and directories. Use the organization to stay on top of best practices, key influencers, business trends, and tools to advance your career.

One key benefit of joining a professional organization is the networking potential.

Local chapters often sponsor social events to unite members who live in the same city. There are usually national events for all chapters to meet and attend workshops. Local and national events are great places to network with other industry leaders and gain useful information on current industry trends.

Start a Professional Blog

Though many skeptics believe blogging is dead, a professional blog is a fantastic marketing tool. Your blog is a forum for you to provide industry insights, suggest tips for making the industry better, recommend products and educational tools to others in your field and offer a unique voice that sets you apart from your competition.

Your blog isn’t just about writing articles, however. If you have any professional accomplishments, such as certifications or publications, list them all on your website and provide corresponding links as proof. Also, add a contact page so interested clients, peers, and other business professionals can easily contact you.

Guest Write for Other Websites

Once you establish your blog, consider branching out and writing for other industry-related websites. You typically won’t get paid as a guest writer, but you usually get a byline at the end of your articles with links pointing to your website.

The byline allows you to leverage other blogger audiences and attract more readers to your site. Plus, you can reference anything you publish on your website’s publication list.

Guest writing is an easy way to get your name out and connect with other leaders.

The more you expose yourself and share your knowledge with the online community, the more you’ll stake your claim as an authority figure and establish yourself as a key influencer within your industry.

Publicize Praise From Your Biggest Fans

As your following grows, you’ll receive comments and emails from loyal followers, fellow employees and aspiring professionals. Make sure the positive feedback you receive is clearly visible on your site. You might include a testimonials page, add a sidebar with client feedback, or insert quote graphics on your biography page. By highlighting these testimonials, you lend credibility to your brand.

If you’re a business owner, be aware of online reviews from employees and clients. They can work to your advantage—or disadvantage—depending on the website’s purpose.

As an example, Fisher Investments reviews from employees can lend insight for possible hiring new candidates. ConsumerAffairs is another type of review site specifically for a corporations and whether they work in their client’s best interest or not. .

Present Yourself Confidently

Above all, hold your head up high and offer a firm handshake whenever you introduce yourself. You are your best marketing tool, and sharing your expertise is a positive when appropriate.

Create a strong online presence and share your industry knowledge on a variety of industry-related websites. Confidently help others in your field, and you’ll soon be viewed as an industry leader and expert.

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4 Ways Leadership Can Prepare Facilities for Weather Disruptions

Bad Weather Ahead

It’s essential for leadership to take incoming weather threats seriously. If not, there is the very real risk for huge revenue losses, crippling facility damage, staff and operational turmoil, and compromised customer service, all of which could put the company’s future at risk.

The question isn’t so much, “Will my facility be disrupted by weather?” as, “When will my facility be disrupted by weather?” Even in areas with mild climates, the unexpected is a regular occurrence.

Why put your bottom line in such danger when you can be proactive and put your business in an advantageous position? Leadership is supremely important when dealing with weather-related outages — as it goes, so will your business’ status during an unplanned disruption.

How to Captain Your Ship Through Its Next Storm

Despite improvements in weather forecasting in the past decade, there is still risk when storms happen. Rather than being caught off guard, use these four strategies to prepare your facility for what’s coming:

1. Draw Up a Blueprint

Every enterprise needs to prepare a thorough disaster plan that establishes protocols for staff, operations, supplies, and services. This plan should be comprehensive enough to apply to any kind of business interruption, be it weather, power loss, evacuation, road closures, missed shipments, etc.

It should also be focused enough to provide real guidance and direction in the event of chaos. Make sure this plan is widely shared, practiced, and available even if your primary location is inaccessible.

2. Talk To Your Team

Communication is essential before, during, and after a severe weather event. Unfortunately, making calls, sending emails, or even meeting face-to-face may all be impossible during a disaster.

Explain to your staff when, where, and how to exchange information, and have multiple backup communication plans in place. You should also establish clear hierarchies and contact trees so nobody in your organization gets left in the dark.

3. Get the Gear and Service You Need

The supplies you need and the service you require to endure a weather event may not be available once that event is on the horizon or underway.

Supplies can be something as small as a snow shovel and rock salt, or as significant as boards and tools to cover your windows and doors, or a generator to provide backup power. Have as many of these items nearby as possible, including food, water, or extra fuel for your generator.

If the “gear” you need is service, make sure vendors are available to support you during an emergency.

4. Be a Good Neighbor

If your business is disrupted, it’s quite likely surrounding shops and residents are, too. Rather than adopting an “every person for himself” mentality, look for ways to use your facilities, resources, staff, and expertise to help with the disaster effort.

This is a welcome demonstration of corporate citizenship that can not only help build goodwill for your business, but can also keep your company in the public’s mind for patronization when the weather clears up.

Your goal whenever weather affects facilities, operations, staff, or supply chain is to maintain business continuity. If you must close, your aim should be to stay closed only until it’s safe to resume working. You don’t want to invite unnecessary risks, but you also don’t want to be overly cautious and damage your reputation or growth potential as a result of an unexpected storm.

The only way to marshal the suitable response is to act early and appropriately based on extensive plans and protocols. If any aspect of your business is unprepared for the next blizzard, hurricane, flood, or fire, now is the time to shore up your defenses. Organizations that embrace a culture of preparedness can keep any disruption, no matter its form, from turning into a disaster.

No matter when or where the next storm happens, forethought, technology, and tenacity in preparation eliminates the need to guess if or when. This way, when it happens, despite timing or location, leaders can operate from a position of strength in a time of vulnerability.

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——————–
Dave Gorham

Dave Gorham is Senior Meteorologist at StormGeo
He is a former U.S. Air Force meteorologist with expertise in aviation meteorology and severe weather.
Email | LinkedIn | Website

Image Sources: savainsurance.com

 

On Leadership and Optimistic Fearlessness

How Your Small Business Can Beat the Goliaths

Small Guy vs. Big Guy

If you have an idea for a small business or startup, but feel discouraged because you feel you can’t hope to compete with the big guys, you need not give up on your dreams.

Hamburgers were around before McDonald’s got its start, and the same is true with athletic shoes before the advent of Nike or Reebok. The secret sauce to being competitive in a crowded area or one that has a dominant player is a combination of brand development and customer loyalty.

There have been many stories about smaller companies won out against the larger competitors because they came up with the products, a brand, or even a lifestyle that became iconic.

Offer Something New

You may have a passion for selling anything from women’s clothing to mayonnaise, but the first question to consider is what makes your product different from what’s already on the market. The fact that you have an idea implies that there is something lacking among the available choices, and your product may fill in the gap.

What you offer does not need to be entirely new, since as the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, but it can be a fresh spin on a tired concept. Some people have notions of an attitude or feeling their products will convey that sets it apart from the company that makes ordinary widgets.

A good branding strategy is to show that there is an aura or vibe conveyed by your product.

Beat Them at Their Own Game

Don’t be afraid to go directly for the customers of that big box retailer or that winning website. You should also not be shy about directing comments about a competitor.

In addition to just trying to beat them at their own game, you can say outright that you are trying to prevail against the big guys if you offer deep discounts or a truly one-of-a-kind product.

At the same time, you have to create an idea of your own target customer who may be slightly different from the target customer of a huge competitor. Since your operation is smaller, you have the advantage of creating a more specific niche market, since the typical customer of Amazon is just about anybody, and this customer can be harder to pinpoint.

Use Negative Publicity to Your Advantage

Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet and wit once said the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. This is not necessarily true of companies, since an E. coli breakout or a major corporate scandal can send stock prices plunging and customers fleeing.

However, there are ways you can use not only negative publicity to your advantage, but unsavory headlines for publicity.

There are likely to be very few cases where this can be done, but some companies have made their name on what seemed at first blush like negative press. One of a company’s worst nightmares, particularly small a small company, is being hit with a lawsuit from a larger competitor.

Going Against Goliath

Hampton Creek, makers of the Just Mayo product that is free of eggs, was sued by Unilever, the owner of the Hellmann’s mayonnaise brand. Unilever filed a lawsuit because it believed the use of the term “mayo” by Hampton Creek was false advertising, since the product contains no eggs.

Unilever ended up dropping the lawsuit and sales of Just Mayo increased astronomically because of the news the lawsuit, and regular supermarkets stocked the products. People flocked to this brand because the lawsuit the lawsuit made it seem like the more established company was frightened of competition from the new, healthy alternative.

Since many people are interested in healthy eating, they enthusiastically got behind the Just Mayo brand.

Creating the Right Balance

Even if your small business is an area that seems crowded or has a dominant force to contend with, by creating a balance of making it new and beating the competition at his own game, you can achieve success and market share.

Go for the typical customer while zeroing in on your fans.

Also, develop a brand that sets your products apart from other offerings on the shelves or the Internet.

Jump at the opportunity to use publicity about your company or the industry to your advantage. Once you’ve earned attention you can monetize it by marketing directly to potential customers on social media or advertising.

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Images Sources: portfoliopartnership.com

 

Leading Your New Venture

3 Key Strategies to Sustain Your Small Business

Customer Services

You Have Customers, Now What?: 3 Key Strategies to Sustain Your Small Business

Once your small business starts picking up speed, you will want to be sure that you have the capacity to handle your growth. So, how do you continue to grow once you have gotten over the initial hurdle of attracting your first customers?

This depends on your specific business model, but it may mean hiring extra team members, outsourcing, or implementing systems that increase your efficiency. At the end of the day, it is difficult to grow and run your business at the same time.

As the head of the company, you will want to keep one hand in the day-to-day operations of your business, but spend most of your time focusing on big picture strategy in order to keep it growing.

Here are three ways that you can ensure smart, sustainable growth for your small business.

Optimize Your Website for Better Customer Service

Customer service is key to success as your small business begins to grow. Having a website that makes it easy to find out information about your products or services and contact you with inquiries will lead to better engagement with customers and more sales.

There is nothing worse than a website which has little useful product information and no way to contact the business owner.

First, the obvious: include a “Contact” section on your website, which includes a phone number, e-mail address, contact form, or any combination of the three. You may also consider including a “Get a Quote” form. This allows you to go ahead and gather useful information from a customer in order to quickly and efficiently get them a price quote.

Another great option is to add a live chat function to your website that allows customers to talk to your company directly from the web.

Outsource Your Customer Service

Once you have optimized your website to provide outstanding customer service, you will want to make sure that you have the manpower to handle the questions and quote requests that come in. Being able to answer every e-mail or phone call in a timely and friendly way is how small businesses set themselves apart from the competition.

Rather than staying up all night answering e-mails and returning phone calls, it may be more efficient to outsource your customer service. Many companies, such as Register.com, now offer what they refer to as call center plus services.

This service, unlike traditional call centers, helps small companies grow their businesses by providing customer service infrastructure for:

  • Answering e-mail
  • Conducting live chats
  • Handling quote requests
  • Handling phone calls

By letting somebody else handle customer inquiries, you will free up time to focus on further company growth.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Finally, once your business has taken off, you will need to have someone who can take care of basic administrative tasks for you. This includes data entry, basic accounting, scheduling meetings and calls, and so on.

While you may hire someone to come work in your physical office, another great option is to hire a virtual assistant.

This type of employee comes with little to no overhead as he or she will work from a home office on a personal computer or phone. You may provide a small stipend for office supplies, but this is negligible compared to an employee who you need to set up in an office.

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Image Sources: blog.compete.com

 

Leadership Rx: Spiritual Leaders Bring Healing to Others

Leadership Rx

Nowadays we witness many individuals who find their working life does not bring them hope but oppression.

Workers are losing their rights in many industries; others are cast aside with ease to bring temporary profit to the greedy. Increasing numbers of workers do not find the dignity and fulfillment that work ought to contribute to their lives, families, and communities.

Leadership Rx

A hope-filled spiritual leader sees these new tasks for leaders in dealing with individuals and organizations as a major responsibility.

They know healing is needed when people:

  • Focus exclusively on self-interest
  • Exhibit excessive internal competition
  • Constantly engage in comparisons with others
  • Evidence mutual blame
  • Lose vitality
  • Compromise their integrity
  • Deliberately do things they know are unethical

A leader also recognizes the need for healing when some in the organization are always marginalized; there are voiceless members, and widespread indifference to others’ needs.

Healing is clearly needed when administration restricts communication, misuses power, allows significant disparity in executives’ salaries, and governs autocratically.

Starting at the Top

When managers get in and get out of the organization with increased salaries and golden parachutes, having done nothing significant, then the organization and its board members need healing. When managers simply do not try to slow the erosion of values, then they also need healing.

Every organization has some individuals in pain, feeling loss, experiencing broken relationships at work and at home, suffering from a lack of meaning, and this sense of pain affects the quality of their work.

In fact, some within on organization need healing but do not know it.

Then again some sick individuals make everyone else sick without ever feeling anything themselves. A leader of hope has to heal the wounds caused by former bosses and also by coworkers. Some individuals adapt themselves to sick situations and then become as sick as everyone else.

No organization can function well amid unhealthy situations that sap vitality, creativity, and commitment. So, dealing with organizational dysfunctions is one of the challenges of a spiritual leader who wants to give hope to others.

A Leader of Hope

A leader of hope allows no one to feel inferior but raises them up to their just level of appreciation, showing empathy to all. Healing others is a major task of a leader of hope who thus enables others to become their complete selves.

This includes:

  • Healing relationships within organizations
  • Clarifying and refocusing roles
  • Setting goals together
  • Making sure channels of communication are open
  • Reflecting on each others’ gifts
  • Expressing recognition and appreciation of everyone’s contribution

The leader’s healing influence will vary for each member in need.

Some may feel they are taken for granted and a leader must give them visibility and prominence.

For others who have been the object of bogus empowerment by former failed leaders a leader of hope must give genuine, significant delegation. There are always members who feel used, often because they are, and a leader will need to heal by letting people feel at home in the organization and making them objects of sincere admiration and respect.

A Healthier Way to Lead

A good leader creates for those within an organization a healthy way of living together, and this implies risk taking. He or she will encourage others to get involved in the journey to wholeness, to share in common values, to become vulnerable as he or she manifests genuine emotions of heart and love.

Part of a healthy way of living together is to heal the loneliness of all around us, to awaken others to hope, to enable people to resolve conflicts constructively, to move them by making it clear that they are loved.

Leaders of hope restore others to healing through listening, empathy, and compassion, and even a sense of humor; healing broken relationships, restoring justice, and building a reconciling community.

A leader of hope will focus on values of colleagues, since a person without values causes problems for those around. Then the insidious destruction of the vision of hope causes everyone to live a reduced notion of what it means to be human.

Many so-called leaders do nothing about the hurt that surrounds them, but a spiritual leader seeks always to bring healing where it is needed.

So how are you doing at putting on your spiritual leader role and serving others with empathy, love and trust so that healing can be a natural part of your organization? If you need some improvement in this area, what steps can you take and what behavior can you emulate to become a healing leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an Author and Workshop Presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog

Image Sources: edisonhhc.com

 

Equipping Leaders to Battle Fear with Accountability

Leading with Honor Video Coaching from Lee Ellis

Six Leadership Obstacles to Team Success  

As leaders, we want the positive elements of success—achievement, notoriety, money, and excellence for clients and customers.

pilot plane But we’re unwilling to do the right things to get there. The missing cultural piece is courageous accountability.

What are the six obstacles that can get you off-course? Read Lee’s latest article below, and see where you’re vulnerable –

Read Now

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——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

 

 

L2L Book Review “Under New Management” by David Burkus

An Open Invitation To Join The Integrative Leader's Book Club

L2L Book Review Logo

David Burkus argues in his book Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual that the management practices that have evolved from the factory work economy just do not apply to today’s knowledge work economy.

Burkus walks the reader through compelling case studies of companies who have abandoned traditional management and leadership practices in favor of new ways to organize and lead.

His premise is this:

Burkus’s insights are convincing companies to leave behind decades-old management practices and to implement new ways to enhance productivity and morale. Fire all the managers, outlaw email, and make pay transparent.

L2L Book Review

Title: Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual

by David Burkus

Purpose:

NewManagement_3D

The purpose of David Burkus’s new book Under New Management is to find answers to these questions and more:

  • Do open-floor plans really work – or do they make employees miserable?
  • Are there companies which really put their employees’ welfare first, and their clients second?
  • Are annual performance reviews really necessary?

Premise:

Fire all the managers, outlaw email, and make pay transparent. These are all chapters in David Burkus’ new book “Under New Management”. David argues in this book that the management practices that have evolved from the factory work economy just do not apply to today’s knowledge work economy.

He walks the reader through compelling case studies of companies who have abandoned traditional management and leadership practices in favor of new ways to organize and lead.

A Reader’s Guide:

I found myself starting each chapter thinking that there would be no way that what I was about to read would work. But, by the end of most chapters, not only did I feel it was possible but optimal.

In my opinion, any book on leadership and management that gets me to pause and reflect is of great value. This book provides page after page of things to pause and contemplate.

New Book Club

The Integrative Leader’s Book Club

I was so energized after reading it, that I decided to feature it as this month’s selection in The Integrative Leader’s Book Club.

What is really exciting is, I was able to connect with David and he graciously agreed to join us for a live Q&A session.

Linked 2 Leadership is one of the best forums for leadership exploration. By nature, its readers are actively working to hone their craft. Therefore, I would like to personally invite you to join The Integrative Leader’s Book Club. Each month we pick a thought provoking book to read and discuss.

This club was created to help us lift our heads up from working in our business and allow us to spend a little time working on it. Leadership is a practice and the books read and the wisdom shared will help us all become better at our craft.

Sign-up Here.

I would also invite you to register for the online Q&A session with David on Monday, May 23at 11am Pacific.

Click Here to Register.

At the end of each month, I will post right here on Linked 2 Leadership a review of the book and some of the key learnings that our club gained and shared. Hopefully together, we can all become better leaders and develop future leaders that are well prepared to guide the organizations of the future.

I hope to see you in the club.

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———————–
Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+GROW | Website

Image Sources: Linked2Leadership.com

 

The Leadership Yawwwn-Fest

by Karen Dietz

Yawning Lion

Are you inspiring others to action with your captivating stories that delight your audience?Or you guilty of just providing a leadership yawn-fest?

Your Best Tool For Inspiring Others

I was at a board meeting the other day where an outside organization was presenting its latest project. The vision was in creating a sustainable vision for the future of the region.  The idea provided the perfect opportunity to enroll people in their grand vision!

All they needed was the perfect vision pitch from an inspiring leader.

But what a big “yawner” this presentation turned out to be. What a lost opportunity!

So what was the problem?  It wasn’t for lack of commitment, enthusiasm, or interest.  It wasn’t because a young inexperienced executive was before us.  In fact, the presenter had a lifetime of success under his belt. It wasn’t even an experience of death by PowerPoint.

It was simply because the presentation was dry as a mouthful of sand. In addition, it was without a compelling story to engage people.  The result?  Nice project.  No inspiration.  No enrollment in taking action.

Telling Compelling Stories

Being able to tell a compelling story is an essential leadership skill that bears paying attention to, no matter how experienced or successful you are.

As Howard Gardner says, “Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.”

Just imagine how many missed opportunities that this successful executive has created over his career because he wasn’t sharing stories, much less in ways that inspire others to action.

Brain research (Story Proof, Influencer) has shown time and again how sharing stories immediately engages people and their imaginations.  It is the most efficient method for transmitting knowledge, and is a powerful tool for enrolling others moving them to action.

Authenticity

Every leader who is able to link their own personal stories into specific initiatives will score big on the engagement meter.

Q: Why?

A: Because they are viewed as authentic — one of the core qualities of an effective leader.

Over one thousand studies during the last fifty years have attempted to define successful leadership styles or qualities.  Yet none of this research has produced a clear profile of an ideal leader.  That’s because leadership has many voices and the key to being a successful leader lies in your ability to be you – authentic, passionate, and disciplined.

Leaders are defined by their unique life stories. They are defined by how those stories illuminate their passions and leadership purpose, and by the way they frame those stories for others.  Every leader, whether young or old, has inspiring stories to tell.  Most however, don’t recognized the power in their own stories, much less know how to tell them in ways without sounding arrogant or self-serving.

By being willing to explore, reframe and tell their life stories, leaders set free their passions and the ability to inspire others.

Training is required though.  Just because we can speak doesn’t mean that we don’t need to go to Toastmasters.  Even though we can all tell a story at some level, that doesn’t mean we don’t need to identify our stories and learn to tell them in ways that inspire others.

Core Stories

What stories do you need to tell?  There can be many. And every leader needs to master a set of core stories to get started.

These stories are:

  1. About the founding of your organization and the challenges it is addressing
  2. People and results stories – About customers/clients and the results they’ve experienced, along with stories about people within your organization and the difference they have made
  3. Recovery stories – Those about mistakes that have been made, and the recovery / lessons learned from those experiences
  4. The story about the future you are creating – Why should we invest in you?  How will the future be different through our engagement together?
  5. The My Commitment story – That story of what gets you up in the morning, what inspires and moves you, why you are doing the work you are.

Successful leadership takes deliberate development and necessitates being true to your stories.  You are never too old or too young to share your stories and lead authentically.

Don’t wait.  Don’t miss the incredible opportunities waiting for you when you become a proficient story teller.  It’s all low-hanging fruit.  Spending time on developing your stories now will allow you to leverage them for years to come.

So, how many yawn-fests have you suffered through in your career? How many time have you seen wonderful ideas fail due to a lack of polish on the communicator’s story line? Have you ever been guilty of leaving your audience or team members flat because you could not engage them in personal stories that inspired them? Come on… tell the truth! I’d love to hear your STORIES!

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Karen (Creuziger) Dietz

Karen Dietz is a Principal at Polaris Associates Consulting, Inc.
She helps clients tell their most inspiring stories as an essential influence skill
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: karen.dietz

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The Importance of Leading Your Future Today

6 Do's and Don'ts of Reputation Management

Leadership today requires much more than just doing your job with the people who you lead. It now involves your public persona. 

This reality impacts your ability to influence with the global reach of the Internet. Things that you say and do are now are on display and can impact you, your role, and the organization that you work for. These things also have a funny way of staying around into perpetuity.

Your reputation, your role, and your business can change overnight with just a single Tweet.

If you are online doing business today, then you should understand a few things about your online reputation. First of all, you need reputation management no matter how small – or how big – your company may be. Secondly, you must understand how to properly use reputation management in the modern world of business.

This article will discuss some of the things that you must do as well as things from which you must stay away!

6 Do’s and Don’t’s of Reputation Management

1) Claim and complete all of your social media profiles

Because of the way citations are done, completing all of your major social media profiles will give you a boost in all of the search rankings.

Make sure that you have a profile on these sites:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • SlideShare
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Pinterest
  • Yelp
  • About.me
  • YellowPages

and any reputable niche social media sites that are relevant to your industry.

Fill out these profiles as completely and uniquely as possible. Keep the address the exact same on all profiles. Do not abbreviate if you can help it. List a local number that matches with the zip code that you are advertising instead of an 800 number.

This will help to maximize your search listing juice and will help fill the search engine result page (SERP) with online profiles that you control.

2) Don’t rely on your personal websites alone to get the job done

Most people will find your business from your major social media profiles at the start of your campaign. You may be able to redirect traffic from those places to your landing pages later on, but the major websites will always have a juice that your personal websites will probably never attain.

Starting multiple WordPress or Tumblr accounts to build a link profile will probably serve you in a negative way, as the major search engines are all against this technique. They have protection mechanisms against it. And these thin, minimal blogs will have very little chance of ranking well themselves for your brand or personal terms.

Yet there are many who still try to rely on building dozens of micro-blogs for their business in order to try to overcome negative content on the SERPs.

3) Do take time to build an authentic online presence

Not only does authenticity help you with your human visitors, but the major search engines love it as well. If you are seen as an expert guest blogger and you are on reputable sites, then these sites will often appear high in the SERPs for your branded terms.

If the information that you tout matches your social media personality, this maximizes your effort. As a matter of fact, you may want to take the time to use Google Disavow to disconnect your landing pages from any spam techniques that you may have employed previously.

Poor links to your site are tantamount to being seen in a bad neighborhood.

They’re simply bad for your online reputation.

4) Don’t try to downgrade your competition with fake reviews

Not only is this a waste of time, but review sites like Yelp.com are actually quite good at determining what may be a fake review and completely destroying it. On top of this, if they link it to you, then your business suffers.

Even if you do get a few fake reviews up, your time is much better spent making your own reputation positive, as creating negativity for a competitor does not help your visibility at all.

5) Do be proactive when you see something that needs to be fixed

You should look at authentic negative reviews as an opportunity to fix a problem before your competition gets to fix it and take your business away from you.

Many companies will use an aggregation program to see if there are any trends in the comments that people are making. The company mentioned can then devise a strategy based upon these trends rather than guessing at their next PR move.

6) Don’t ignore your online reputation and try to fix it at the last-minute

Why should you never do this? First of all, it never works. If people have already run your name through the mud, then you will spend a great deal of time trying to play catch up rather than improving your ranking online.

As you learn how to incorporate the tips above into your everyday marketing online, you will see a gradual but consistent shift in your online visibility. Keep this up for the long-term, and your business will eventually occupy a position online that will be very hard to usurp.

As the reputation of your business ages online, it crystallizes. Make sure that you give it the best chance to crystallize as a positive for your business.

So, how well have you done to make sure that your online persona is working well for you? Are you represented well by having a comprehensive mindset and approach to your online presence? What steps can you take to cast a positive light on you, your organization, and the opportunities ahead of you? I would love to hear your thought!

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Tayven James

Tayven James is a Freelance Business and Tech Author
He focuses on Emerging Trends and the Marketing Methods Behind their Success
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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