Your “passion” for business and leadership will see you through

May 12, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

There is a dividing line that separates leaders from no-compromise leaders. On one side, “leader” is something that describes a title or job. It’s simply the work you do. This leader says, “I lead.” On the other side of the dividing line is an inherent and unmistakable emotional intensity radiating from the no-compromise leader. It’s like a gravitational pull to a higher calling that converges on the vision and greater purpose of the company. It’s intense passion and it’s impossible to be a no-compromise leader without it. Why? If you don’t have passion for what you do, it’s just too easy to give in – to compromise. The no-compromise leader says, “We’re going to make the world a better place for all,” and believes this with every fiber of his or her being.
Passion fuels a higher calling and a natural enthusiasm for all that you do. So much so that others can sense and capture that same passion. The no-compromise leader’s passion attracts and engages others in the most positive way. That shared passion then lifts the performance of the entire company. Consider any great leader in history, business or otherwise, and you will find an innate passion as the driving force behind his or her accomplishments.
Here are a few no-compromise strategies to ensure that your passion is shining bright:
    * What will your company look like on the other side of this recession? These are crazy and tense times for all leaders. To avoid getting consumed and dragged down by today’s challenges and bad economic news, raise your sights and target what you want your company to look like on the other side of this recession. Paint a bold picture of success and opportunity. Make it so cool and enticing that you’ll want to lead your team there.
    * What does your company flag look like? Yes, I said, “flag.” If you’re going to lead your team to victory, you’ll need a flag. Assemble a “flag design team” and charge them with the mission of creating a flag that your company will carry through this recession to that cool place you defined in your vision. There’s no better way to lift the spirits of your team than getting them fired up for a journey back to good times.
    * Flip your switch from reactive to proactive: It’s hard to keep your passion for business and leadership burning bright when you’re stuck reacting to situations. Going proactive puts you on the offensive. Going proactive lifts you up so you can lift your team up. Going proactive means innovative new strategies and 100% execution. 
If you have the fire in your gut to achieve your dreams against all odds, you have passion. If you get excited and light up when you tell others about your work, you have passion. When you hear your employees talking about their work and the company with the same passion as you – your passion for success has created a company-wide mojo that’s virtually unstoppable.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO
There is a dividing line that separates leaders from no-compromise leaders. On one side, “leader” is something that describes a title or job. It’s simply the work you do. This leader says, “I lead.” On the other side of the dividing line is an inherent and unmistakable emotional intensity radiating from the no-compromise leader. It’s like a gravitational pull to a higher calling that converges on the vision and greater purpose of the company. It’s intense passion and it’s impossible to be a no-compromise leader without it. Why? If you don’t have passion for what you do, it’s just too easy to give in – to compromise. The no-compromise leader says, “We’re going to make the world a better place for all,” and believes this with every fiber of his or her being.
Passion fuels a higher calling and a natural enthusiasm for all that you do. So much so that others can sense and capture that same passion. The no-compromise leader’s passion attracts and engages others in the most positive way. That shared passion then lifts the performance of the entire company. Consider any great leader in history, business or otherwise, and you will find an innate passion as the driving force behind his or her accomplishments. (more…)
There is a dividing line that separates leaders from no-compromise leaders. On one side, “leader” is something that describes a title or job. It’s simply the work you do. This leader says, “I lead.” On the other side of the dividing line is an inherent and unmistakable emotional intensity radiating from the no-compromise leader. It’s like a gravitational pull to a higher calling that converges on the vision and greater…
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Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

Dictatorial & Inflexible vs Determined & Resolute

May 12, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

I just completed teaching a “No-Compromise Leadership Boot Camp” course. While discussing leadership blockages (those situations and accountabilities where procrastination and avoidance surface), the group got stuck on the fine line that separates a dictatorial and inflexible mode versus being determined and resolute. Simply put, if a leader says, “This is the way it needs to be done,” which mode is she leading in? Interestingly, it all depends on the thinking and behavior of individual leaders – and the situation in question.

If a leader is implementing a new system to dramatically fix and improve the customer service experience – and is holding team members accountable – is this being dictatorial or resolute? If it’s a system that everyone was trained on, agreed to and is good for the customer, the answer is resolute. If an employee is violating a standard of performance, quality procedure or something as basic as dress code, is holding the employee accountable being dictatorial or resolute? Again, the answer is resolute. (more…)... Read More

I just completed teaching a “No-Compromise Leadership Boot Camp” course. While discussing leadership blockages (those situations and accountabilities where procrastination and avoidance surface), the group got stuck on the fine line that separates a dictatorial and inflexible mode versus being determined and resolute. Simply put, if a leader says, “This is the way it needs to be done,” which mode is she leading in? Interestingly, it all depends on the…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

What’s not being said at performance reviews?

May 12, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

What’s not being said
during performance reviews?
One of my favorite Neilisms is, “Do you do quarterly performance reviews at least once a year?” When I use it during my presentations, there’s a reason why it always gets a chuckle. No matter how you view the process of performance reviews, there exists an inherent confrontational element. The intent of performance reviews is not only for issuing praise for outstanding work, it’s to discuss behaviors and skills that need improvement. And lets not forget the most uncomfortable part – to communicate performance and behavior that is unacceptable and must stop. Issuing praise and accolades is the joyous reward of leadership. Dispensing the not-so-fun corrective and disciplinary stuff is where vital information gets stuck in the leadership blockage muck of emotions and fear of confrontation.
Performance reviews are formal opportunities to guide and coach employees to reach their full potential. The perspective that reviews are “confrontational” is created entirely by the leader responsible for conducting the reviews. And until the leader can shift his or her thinking back to the healthier “guide and coach” aspect, the process of conducting performance reviews will continue to be painful, ineffective and without question, detrimental to the employee, the company and its culture.
Here are some no-compromise strategies to keep performance reviews in the proper perspective:
    * Properly set the table: Take the drama and uncertainty out of your performance reviews by informing employees how they will be evaluated and what topics, performance and issues will be discussed. Detail how the review will be conducted – that it will be open, respectful and allow both parties to express their views safely. The “not knowing” is what fuels stress. Given this, you may want to re-introduce performance reviews to your employees.
    * Use evaluation tools that allow the right conversations to occur: At Strategies, we encourage the use of Broadbands and evaluation tools to serve as a checklist of talking points. For example, under the heading of “dependability and accountability,” you can ask employee how he would rate himself on a scale of one to ten. If he rates himself higher than you would, you instantly have the basis to open dialog where you can say, “That’s interesting because I rated you a bit lower because of …”  Tools keep you on course and allow the right conversations to occur.
    * Keep the focus on the desired outcome: Without question, one-on-one performance reviews are stressful and emotional. But consider this: the intention is to establish and clarify the mutual accountabilities and next-steps for employee and company success. Sensitive issues may need to be addressed, but with success as the desired outcome, performance reviews should be embraced as positive and necessary course adjustments, not dreaded confrontations to be avoided.
    * Record keeping and accountability: These are two of the most common post-performance review pitfalls. First, you must maintain accurate records of each and every performance review detailing what was discussed, what the next steps and expectations are – complete with timelines. Second, too many leaders expect all to be right with the world after a performance review. It’s the leader’s responsibility to hold the employee accountable – to check in and see if the employee is making progress or is stuck and in need of coaching, guidance and support. 
Performance reviews are essential elements to employee growth, retention and nurturing of the company culture. If your reviews are incomplete and don’t address essential performance issues, it’s called compromise and your company’s performance is paying a price.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO, and author of No-Compromise LeadershipWhat’s not being said
during performance reviews?
One of my favorite Neilisms is, “Do you do quarterly performance reviews at least once a year?” When I use it during my presentations, there’s a reason why it always gets a chuckle. No matter how you view the process of performance reviews, there exists an inherent confrontational element. The intent of performance reviews is not only for issuing praise for outstanding work, it’s to discuss behaviors and skills that need improvement. And lets not forget the most uncomfortable part – to communicate performance and behavior that is unacceptable and must stop. Issuing praise and accolades is the joyous reward of leadership. Dispensing the not-so-fun corrective and disciplinary stuff is where vital information gets stuck in the leadership blockage muck of emotions and fear of confrontation.
Performance reviews are formal opportunities to guide and coach employees to reach their full potential. The perspective that reviews are “confrontational” is created entirely by the leader responsible for conducting the reviews. And until the leader can shift his or her thinking back to the healthier “guide and coach” aspect, the process of conducting performance reviews will continue to be painful, ineffective and without question, detrimental to the employee, the company and its culture.
Here are some no-compromise strategies to keep performance reviews in the proper perspective:
    * Properly set the table: Take the drama and uncertainty out of your performance reviews by informing employees how they will be evaluated and what topics, performance and issues will be discussed. Detail how the review will be conducted – that it will be open, respectful and allow both parties to express their views safely. The “not knowing” is what fuels stress. Given this, you may want to re-introduce performance reviews to your employees.
    * Use evaluation tools that allow the right conversations to occur: At Strategies, we encourage the use of Broadbands and evaluation tools to serve as a checklist of talking points. For example, under the heading of “dependability and accountability,” you can ask employee how he would rate himself on a scale of one to ten. If he rates himself higher than you would, you instantly have the basis to open dialog where you can say, “That’s interesting because I rated you a bit lower because of …”  Tools keep you on course and allow the right conversations to occur.
    * Keep the focus on the desired outcome: Without question, one-on-one performance reviews are stressful and emotional. But consider this: the intention is to establish and clarify the mutual accountabilities and next-steps for employee and company success. Sensitive issues may need to be addressed, but with success as the desired outcome, performance reviews should be embraced as positive and necessary course adjustments, not dreaded confrontations to be avoided.
    * Record keeping and accountability: These are two of the most common post-performance review pitfalls. First, you must maintain accurate records of each and every performance review detailing what was discussed, what the next steps and expectations are – complete with timelines. Second, too many leaders expect all to be right with the world after a performance review. It’s the leader’s responsibility to hold the employee accountable – to check in and see if the employee is making progress or is stuck and in need of coaching, guidance and support. 
Performance reviews are essential elements to employee growth, retention and nurturing of the company culture. If your reviews are incomplete and don’t address essential performance issues, it’s called compromise and your company’s performance is paying a price.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO, and author of No-Compromise Leadership


... Read More

What’s not being said during performance reviews? One of my favorite Neilisms is, “Do you do quarterly performance reviews at least once a year?” When I use it during my presentations, there’s a reason why it always gets a chuckle. No matter how you view the process of performance reviews, there exists an inherent confrontational element. The intent of performance reviews is not only for issuing praise for outstanding work,…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

No compromise decisions are now in play

May 12, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and talking to leaders across the U.S. and Canada. The trend is clear; leaders are rising to the occasion and making some of the toughest and most gut-wrenching decisions in years. Never before have I seen such widespread and aggressive corrective measures taken to counteract the effects of the recession.... Read More

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and talking to leaders across the U.S. and Canada. The trend is clear; leaders are rising to the occasion and making some of the toughest and most gut-wrenching decisions in years. Never before have I seen such widespread and aggressive corrective measures taken to counteract the effects of the recession.... Read More
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

The wonderful and wacky world of online social networking

February 23, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

Since my new book, No-Compromise Leadership, was released last October, I’ve been actively engaged in a number of social networking websites. Why? The answer is simple: It’s the new way to meet, connect and reconnect with people, and in the process, discover new opportunities. Most of all, it’s fun – there’s always the unexpected surprise. Just two weeks ago on Facebook.com, a good friend I grew up and went through high school with reconnected with me. We hadn’t seen each other since we went off to college. After connecting, he called me and we spoke for over an hour about old times and our lives over the past 30 years. It was amazing.
Lately on Facebook.com, there’s been an explosion of new groups for just about everything you can image. Individuals, businesses and organizations set up groups. Group organizers send invitations to their Facebook.com friends – and ask friends to invite their friends. Before you know it, the viral nature of the Internet takes over giving groups the potential to expand rapidly. Group members can post comments or questions and even invite members to special online functions like webinars, teleconferences or actual events at the company’s physical location. It’s all pretty amazing.
I pay a lot attention to Linkedin.com because it’s a social networking site for business professionals – and it’s all business. Last Fall, I had a modest 260 contacts. After giving it some effort and joining some open networking groups, I now have almost 3,000 contacts. If you factor in my contact’s connections, my actual network swells to 13,592,600. I’ve connected with leaders from all over the world in every kind of industry imaginable. I’ve been invited to do Podcasts, seminars and even connections to buy my book and share their comments. I even started a “No-Compromise Leadership” group on Linkedin where people can post their no-compromise stories and discuss the topics. If you’re a member of Linkedin, please join my NCL group.
Here are a few no-compromise strategies to social networking:
* Find networks that match your interests: You’ve got to invest the time in social networking to reap the rewards. Do your research to find the networks with the kind of members you want to connect with. Facebook is very social and just a great place to meet people and stay in touch. Linkedin is where you’ll find professionals. Speakersite.com is where speakers network and share.
* You need to work at it: All social network sites allow you to build your personal profile so others can learn about you, your interests and your expertise. Invest the time to build your profile and add content like your bio, professional recommendations of your work, photos and videos. It’s easy to identify serious social networkers because their profile pages are rich with information.
* Sharing is where it’s at: Joining a social network and building lots of contacts only to “sell” them something is a big no no. The opportunities come from interacting with your contacts and participating in groups. Ask a legitimate question in a group discussion and you’ll get plenty of answers. Answer questions to help others and in the process you’ll be demonstrating your expertise. That’s when someone may ask you about your services or products. Share. Be respectful. Participate.
Lastly, there’s the amazing world of Twitter where devotees regularly answer the simple question, “What are you doing now?” You’re limited to 140 characters so you’ve got to keep your answers short. I followed Lance Armstrong for a bit on Twitter and quickly learned just how tenacious and disciplined he is. Lance posted “Tweets” all day long – after training, during a race, when he dropped his kids off for soccer – when he was with Bill Clinton in New York. Twitter is truly a social networking phenomenon.
So, expand your horizons and embrace the world of social networking. While you’re at it, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/nducoff.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

Since my new book, No-Compromise Leadership, was released last October, I’ve been actively engaged in a number of social networking websites. Why? The answer is simple: It’s the new way to meet, connect and reconnect with people, and in the process, discover new opportunities. Most of all, it’s fun – there’s always the unexpected surprise. Just two weeks ago on Facebook.com, a good friend I grew up and went through high school with reconnected with me. We hadn’t seen each other since we went off to college. After connecting, he called me and we spoke for over an hour about old times and our lives over the past 30 years. It was amazing.... Read More

Since my new book, No-Compromise Leadership, was released last October, I’ve been actively engaged in a number of social networking websites. Why? The answer is simple: It’s the new way to meet, connect and reconnect with people, and in the process, discover new opportunities. Most of all, it’s fun – there’s always the unexpected surprise. Just two weeks ago on Facebook.com, a good friend I grew up and went through…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

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