Increase Your Effectiveness – Follow Up

“The follow-up factor correlates with improved leadership effectiveness among both U.S. and non-U.S. executives.”
– Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan

Do you consistently follow-up? As a leader this could entail many things. You could follow-up on project tasks, goal achievement, new hires, promoted individuals and delegated assignments.

You can also follow-up with business partners, vendors, and acquaintances from networking groups. And, follow up includes process improvement ideas, cost saving opportunities, and progress against development planning.

In a leadership study of eight major corporations, Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan found that the top rated item by employees for leadership effectiveness was “the ongoing interaction and follow-up with colleagues. Leaders who discussed their own improvement priorities with their co-workers, and then regularly followed up” were also rated highly effective.

All eight companies had the common goal to determine the desired behaviors to ensure leadership effectiveness, and arrived at the same conclusion: leadership interaction and follow-up were essential for success.

Another perspective for follow-up is from a marketing and sales approach. How often do you meet someone new, exchange business cards, share business ideas and potential opportunities and then can’t recall their name or link the name to that “new opportunity”?

Keith Ferrazzi recommends following up within twelve to twenty-four hours after you meet someone new. If you meet somebody on a plane, send them an e-mail later that day. If you meet somebody over cocktails, send them an e-mail the next morning. He also provides the following tips for flawless follow-up:

  • Put the name and e-mail address of a new acquaintance in your database and program your calendar to remind you in a month’s time to drop the person another e-mail, just to keep in touch. Remember—and this is critical—your follow up shouldn’t remind them of what they can do for you. It’s about what you might be able to do for them. It’s about giving them a reason to want to follow up.
  • Always express your gratitude.
  • Be sure to include an item of interest from your meeting or conversation—a joke or a shared moment of humor.
  • Reaffirm whatever commitments you both made—going both ways.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Always address the thank-you note to the person by name.
  • Use e-mail and snail mail. The combination adds a personalized touch.
  • Timeliness is key. Send them as soon as possible after the meeting or interview. Many people wait until the holidays to say thank you or reach out. Why wait? Your follow-ups will be timelier, more appropriate, and certainly better remembered.
  • Don’t forget to follow up with those who have acted as the go between for you and someone else. Let the original referrer know how the conversation went, and express your appreciation for their help.
  • “Make follow-up a habit. Make it automatic. When you do, the days of struggling to remember people’s names—and of other people struggling to remember yours—will be a thing of the past”.  How effective are you with following up with your colleagues? With new acquaintances? Rate yourself now and make changes today!

Managing Your Leader

Managing your boss isn’t a matter of “apple polishing” or playing politics. It involves working together to generate the best solutions for you, your boss and your company.

Can you really manage your boss? Probably not, but you can improve your relationship with your boss by effectively communicating, better understanding their preferred leadership style, and by building an open and trusting relationship.

Start by aligning expectations and having a clear understanding of your organization’s vision and mission statements, and supporting goals; we must know our responsibilities and how we support attaining shared goals, and hold one another accountable for our actions (or lack of actions).

That’s the relationship. You’re trying to live up to the boss’s view of your best self.
–Dale Dauten

8 Tips to Improve Your Relationship With Your Boss

Management experts, Joe Takash and Bahaudin Mujtaba, provide the following tips for fostering a better relationship with your boss.

1.  Learn your boss’ communication style.
What level of detail do they prefer? How often do they want to meet? Identify who seems to communicate best with them and try incorporating their style with yours.

2.  Be proactive.
Understand the strengths you bring to the organization and ensure your boss is aware of them. If you have ideas, share them and create an executable plan.

3.  Meet regularly.
Schedule monthly meetings (minimally); discuss your progress against goals, identify areas for improvement, and jointly update your development plan.

4.  Ask for your boss’ opinion.
Ask for their perspective on things.  State your idea and approach, and ask for their input. If you’re the boss, ask your team for their ideas and LISTEN.

5.  Go to your boss with solutions.
Most of us have heard “don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.” That doesn’t mean we don’t ask for help or have questions, but rather that we have thought it through, have solutions (which may have failed), but would now like another opinion.

6.  Develop a power that makes you attractive.
Become an expert, stay apprised of changes in your industry, understand the competition, have the dream customer/business partner relationship.

7.  Address problems.
If you seem at odds with your boss, talk to him/her. Do it when you can have one another’s full attention, remain fact based as to why you feel uncomfortable,  and keep your emotions in check.

8.  Play devil’s advocate.
This doesn’t mean having open disagreements or making your boss look “wrong.”  Instead, say, “Let me play devil’s advocate” so you are viewed as stating an alternate opinion which may bring additional light to the situation.

Invest the time to build a relationship with your boss, understand how they prefer to be communicated with, and model your leadership behaviors to support those preferences.

Guaranteed to build a “win-win” relationship!

The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.
–Brian Tracy

QwikTip and QwikCoach

QwikTips Powered by e-Coach – 5 Common Leadership Mistakes.

And for those with a QwikCoach license, refresh your existing skills and acquire new skills by visiting the QwikTips library for leadership ideas and techniques.

If you don’t have QwikCoach, it’s an excellent resource for growing your leadership skills remotely that you should consider.

Learn More About QwikCoach

Help turn your leadership knowledge into leadership action!

Lessons In Leadership

“We are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to,” President Obama said. “That is the story of our history.

Read more:

Dear Leaders,

Sunday, May 1st , 2011 is a day many rejoice in. Regardless of your political views, President Obama’s speech regarding the death of Osama bin Laden was inspiring and direct, and the actions and professionalism of members of SEAL Team 6 accomplished what they set out to do.

In the case of President Obama, the following leadership traits were exhibited:

He gave credit where credit was due (U.S. intelligence and military forces). Providing timely feedback and recognizing accomplishments is a leadership trait we frequently talk about.

He talked about the need to take action. Again, having clearly defined goals and tasks and completing them to perfection is what we strive for (for us and for our organization).

Tough decisions were made. We all know being a leader is not a popularity contest and what we do is not always pleasant and requires courage.

John Baldoni summarizes what all leaders can learn from when delivering a message:

  1. Deliver the headline first. This is the hook that captures our attention.
  2. Put the news in context. Explain the issues, the impacts, the consequences.
  3. Tell a story. Make it personal, paint a picture.
  4. Get to the point; brevity rules. This speaks for itself.

Additional leadership skills were displayed by the SEALs (Sea, Air, Land), specifically members of “Team 6”. This group of elite military professionals is considered to be the “best of best”. They had a vision, a mission, with critical deliverables defined, and they had very clear roles, responsibilities and timeframes in which to execute.

Not only are they well trained but they are also cross trained so everyone and every task has a back-up plan; they are motivated, dedicated, and understand what their priorities are.

These lessons in leadership can serve us well and will support us in achieving the motto that “We can do whatever we set our minds to . . .”

Leadership and Talent Bench-Strength

“The key to sustained competitive advantage in any industry is not size, image, or technology. It’s talent, particularly at the leadership level. Your organization’s future depends on its ability to identify, retain, and prepare a dependable “bench” — its next generation of leaders – continuously.”
– Dr. Robert W. Barner

Dear Leaders,

Did you know that there were 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964? As more and more “baby boomers” retire or change jobs, is your organization prepared to lose their tenured, mature, and knowledgeable workforce? Are you?

The exodus of “baby boomers” has begun and plans are needed to maintain leadership bench strength. Think about your current talent pool. Are they prepared to replace those that are leaving?

Develop Future Leaders

In order to have continued success, you need to identify and develop future leaders.

The best way to begin the development process is by having regular discussions with each employee about their successes, strengths, needs, and aspirations. The Gallup Organization recommends a 3 step process:

  • Start with individual career planning development
  • Next is succession planning analysis
  • Last is group discussion and review

Ensure each employee has a written development plan and meet regularly (we suggest monthly) with each team member to review the progress against the plan. If you have identified an individual as a future member of your leadership team, verify they have the interest in that position.

Assuming you are aligned, assess the unique talents of that individual and update their development plan with actions that include maintaining their strengths and closing the gaps.  Next, begin to identify key positions and match the talents of suitable candidates with those positions and determine any further areas to be developed.

Is cross training required?

Would having a mentor help?

Could having a coach speed up the development process?

You may also want to delegate additional responsibilities.

Lastly, meet with your organization’s leadership team and review one another’s succession planning analyses.  Agree on business strategies, directions, and critical positions, and identify actual names for those positions.  The positions may not need to be filled now, but you will be building your bench strength and be positioned to act quickly should you find the need.

Leadership talent is one of the most critical needs of any organization. Development must be ongoing with progress occurring over time. As a leader, commit to employee development, become a mentor, provide ongoing and timely feedback, and consider engaging a coach to ensure the success (and survival) of your organization. Are you ready?

Respect and Leadership

Respect is the key determinant of high-performance leadership. How much people respect you determines how well they perform.
–Brian Tracey

Dear Leaders,

Would you consider yourself to be a respectful person and a respectful leader? Do you consider your co-workers, customers, and business partners respectful? There are arguments that levels of respect are diminishing; that we care less about others, and that we may even care less about ourselves.

Let’s define RESPECT. Wikipedia says: “Respect denotes a positive feeling of esteem . . . and it can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). . .”

It also says “Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn’t necessarily imply any positive feeling, and is compatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect”. Interesting distinction; respect MUST include positive feelings.

Some say respect must be earned; does this really serve us well? What if we begin all relationships on a basis of respect, where we look for desirable qualities and seek positive feelings? Let’s at least start on a level playing field and give others the benefit of the doubt that they are indeed respectful with a need to be respected.

Ways to Build Respect With Your Team

  • We need to be authentic, walk the talk, follow through with what we commit to, and support and reward the attainment of our goals.
  • We need to take time to build relationships with everyone we interact with.
  • We need to give (and receive) feedback in a constructive and honoring way.
  • We need to address unproductive behaviors and hold others accountable.
  • We need to expect that conflict will occur and realize that it is healthy and promotes growth. (Remember, conflict is a difference of desires or opinions, where your concerns or the concerns of someone else are not shared).
  • We need to respect and admire who we are and what we have achieved and ensure team members to do the same.

Increasing levels of respect not only fosters success but also improves morale, decreases attrition, and enhances job satisfaction. As a leader do you inspire respect?

Great Leaders Leave A Legacy

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
–Harry Truman

Dear Leaders,

We’ve all read and heard about great leaders of the world. We may have even studied some in great detail.  Some of the famous include: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Nelson Mandela.

What was their legacy? Why were they so popular, or in some cases notorious?

The great leaders listed above created dramatic change and altered the face of society; most are held in high regard and are known for how they inspired others.

Let’s bring it down a notch. Which leaders in current times would you consider popular, notorious, or inspirational? What about within your own organization?

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner conducted research and identified these to be the top 5 leadership traits/qualities that successful leaders possess:


This is a great place to start with a self assessment.  Rate yourself between 1 and 5 for each element. Which trait did you rate highest? Which is your lowest?

Here are some other top rated leadership traits:

Great communication skills
Empathy and compassion
Commitment and confidence
Strategic thinking
Focus and attention to details

Rate these as well.  What measures can you take to increase your scores? As a leader what can you change for the better?

Strong Leaders Build Strong Teams

TEAMWORK = The state achieved by a group of people working together who trust one another, engage in healthy conflict, commit to decisions, hold one another accountable, and focus on collective results.
–Patrick Lencioni

Dear Leaders,

Have you had the opportunity to gather a group of individual contributors and create a high performing team? Did you look for similarities for the team members or did you look for individual strengths and differing skills?

A critical step for building a team is that the leader and each team member to understand and appreciate the strengths of the other team members. Maximizing collective strengths provides greater results, fosters creativity, and increases inspiration, motivation and satisfaction levels.

As individuals, we don’t always want to invest the time required to build relationships within the team.  As leaders, building team dynamics will serve us, and the team well, and enable the team to build trust and hold one another accountable.

Strong teams:

  • Share their successes and failures.
  • Address conflict in a healthy, honoring manner.
  • Speak up when they feel other team members are out of line.
  • Support the common goal.
  • Replace individual needs and focuses on what is best for the team as a whole.
  • Use “we”, “us” and “the team” instead of “I”.
  • Readily share information and knowledge.

There are many tools available to help teams and individuals better understand their strengths, appreciate differences, and build trust. Examples include MBTI, DiSC, Listening, Conflict, and 360’ feedback.

Are you enabling your team to thrive and leverage their collective skills?

The priSM Institute® Offers PeopleTek Workshops

Contact: Suzanne D. Van Hove, Ed.D., FSM
Email: [email protected]

The priSM Institute® adds new courses
Welcome PeopleTek Coaching!

The priSM Institute® is pleased to announce the addition of several new courses to the certification scheme. The courses from PeopleTek Coaching include:
• The Leadership Journey
• Transforming Leadership Skills Workshop for IT Professionals
• Communication and Listening Workshop
• Journey through Change Workshop (simulation)

These courses directly support and enhance the ‘people’ emphasis within the design aspects of Service Management delivery – an area that is crucial to the success of any Service Management initiative.

“It is exciting and gratifying to see the industry embrace and get involved with the priSM® credential” says Jay Stuart, president of the Global priSM Institute. “The mission of The priSM® Institute is to promote professional recognition of Service Management professionals based on their experience, educational achievements and professional activities. The goal of priSM® is to support and guide the Service Management professional to continually strengthen each Service Management element – people, process, products, and partners. The PeopleTek portfolio is a welcome addition.”

“PeopleTek Coaching is delighted that priSM has recognized the quality and value of PeopleTek Coaching workshops for its members,” said Michael Kublin, president of PeopleTek Coaching. “Our workshops will provide priSM members with the ability to increase their individual and team performance, communication skills, and flexibility and resiliency in a changing market. These workshops represent some of the top programs utilized by many global leaders.”

Since its launch as a pilot program in February of 2010, the value of the priSM® credential has consistently increased in the United States and, with the continued rollout, across the globe. As the program operationalizes across the world, increasing numbers of practitioners and organizations are embracing the program. As our program continues to expand, we continue to look for benefits for our credential holders and support the ongoing maturity of IT Service Management.

About The priSM Institute®

The priSM Institute® owns and manages the professional credentialing program for IT Service Management (ITSM) professionals. The program defines a measurable framework based on one’s achievements in practical application, professional contributions, and education. priSM® defines a structured path for continuing professional growth while maintaining a registry for professionals to track and reference their continued good standing.

About PeopleTek Coaching

PeopleTek Coaching provides leadership training to organizations, teams and individuals to help them uncover hidden opportunities and to remove the invisible barriers holding them back from peak performance. Since 1992, PeopleTek has worked with enterprises as well as mid-sized companies to provide them with the insights and realizations that their people leverage their entire career.

Change – Resistance or Acceptance?

“An effective change leader does not try to resolve people’s feelings but listens to them. When leaders listen, acknowledge, and support people experiencing their difficult feelings, they will themselves begin to move through them”.
– Drs. Dennis Jaffe & Cynthia Scott

Dear Leaders,

Do you agree that change is both a challenge and an opportunity? That it’s a source of stress and excitement? That change is an ongoing process rather than an event?

The rate of change continues at a rapid pace with the familiar becoming blurred. As an individual how are you adapting?  What about as a leader? Change impacts us differently; some are energized and flourish, others become almost immobilized and have difficulty dealing with simple daily tasks.

With change the status quo no longer exists; clarity may be replaced with ambiguity, and a climate of mistrust and suspicion may surface as jobs and positions are redefined or eliminated. We need to recognize that there are phases to the change process, that anxiety levels and uncertainty increase, that productivity is likely to suffer, and that job satisfaction may diminish.

The phases of change start when what was known and stable gets disrupted.

Expect to experience:

  • Immobilization
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Testing
  • Acceptance

Strong leaders become enablers of change by:

Being aware of the phases of change
Knowing which stage you and your team are in
Communicating frequently with as much information as possible
Sharing “who” will be impacted by “what”
Highlighting the benefits of the change
Promoting change as a need to grow vs. being an obstacle
Watching for and acknowledging decreases in productivity and job satisfaction levels

By understanding, anticipating, and responding to the change phases you will feel calmer, more in control, and help others more readily accept change.  Remember, change is a journey and can provide new and exciting opportunities!

Self-Reflection and Leadership

“You don’t need to have direct reports to be a leader. Being a leader means you influence individuals or teams, with or without authority, and frequently without being part of their reporting structure.”

Dear Leaders,

Do you agree with the statement: “there is a need for self-reflection in leadership”?

Before you answer, let’s first clarify that you don’t have to have direct reports to be a leader. Being a leader means you influence individuals or teams, with or without authority, and frequently without being part of their reporting structure.

Leadership is also not limited to the business arena or the public sector; it also exists for children on the playground and in school.

Why? We all have the ability to influence and make an impact on others. Given this, we most likely want to be the best we can be. We also need to understand and leverage that others have strengths in areas where we can grow.

That’s where self-reflection comes in. We need to understand how we perceive and feel about ourselves, know and utilize our strengths, and recognize and address our development opportunities. Equally important is the need to understand how others perceive us and why.

This doesn’t always feel good, and sometimes we may be surprised that others find a strength in us we weren’t aware of (or even found it to be a fault). Maybe you’ve been given feedback that was an “ouch”. We don’t need to agree with it or necessarily action it but we do need to process it and give thought to where that perception originated from. This is especially true if you’ve heard it from more than one person.

Our thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, and culture all impact who we are and how others view us. In order to develop and nurture trusting relationships, we need to understand our behaviors and how they help us obtain our desired goals or derail us or stand in the way of achieving them. (Remember that trust is considered the primary value for successful professional and personal relationships).

We need to invest time in ourselves to validate who we are and create a plan to become our “ideal self” or the leader we want to be. We need to pay attention to those around us and  understand how they are feeling and what they are thinking. This isn’t a one-time initiative; strong leaders continually work on becoming even stronger. They work to maintain open lines of communication, ensure goals are shared, anticipate change, and they LISTEN.

Do you take the time to self-reflect?

Take Control Of Your Career

“Trust not what inspires other members of society to choose a career. Trust what inspires you. From this decision alone will come over a third of your satisfaction or misery in your life.”
–from The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success

Dear Leaders,

The economic climate continues to lag, job opportunities are limited, and job security is a thing of the past. Have you been impacted? Has your career path been altered or your retirement plans changed? If yes, you’re not alone.

We talked previously about personal branding and the need for providing value and being recognized for your contributions. You need to determine what you want to be known for and deliver levels of excellence to promote yourself.  This is a good start but more can be done.

Meade Dickerson, Certified Executive Coach provides the following tips to take control of your career:

Understand the health of your company and anticipate and be ready for change.

Create a plan in case you get laid off or your hours cut. (Having a 6 month emergency fund is recommended).

Control your work budget; think in terms that it’s your own money and make spending decisions accordingly.

Join networks! (Even if it’s only through online groups).

Be open to a new career; keep your resume updated and be clear about your strengths and weaknesses.

Engage a career coach; they can help you validate your “wants” and “strengths”.

Our work life impacts our personal life, our relationships and our mental and physical well-being. Strive for a position where you’re a good fit for it, and it’s a good fit for YOU!

Personal Branding

Personal branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.

The Importance of Branding

We’ve all heard about how important branding is for our company, department, or business. The ultimate branding goal is for the name to become synonymous with the product. We won’t mention specifics but here are a few examples:

  • When you think of a copy machine what name brand comes to mind?
  • When you think of the term “soft drink” what beverage comes to mind?
  • When you think of quality standards and metrics what comes to mind?
  • What about laundry detergent? Toothpaste? Computer hardware? Financial services giant?

We were just judges at a college case competition based on Google growing market share in China. Guess what? One intent was for Google to become a verb and have everyone “google” what they were looking for. Now that’s branding!

Personal Branding

Branding in business is very powerful; this also holds true from a personal perspective.

What do you want to be known for?

When your name is mentioned what do you think people think of? Is this what you want? What steps have you taken for your name to be aligned with some form of excellence?

The first place to start in your personal branding efforts is to understand your “magic dust” (ie. your gifts, what you excel at).

Do you want to be known for your technical skills? For developing and or nurturing others? For your finance knowledge? For providing a vision and strategic direction? For task and goal attainment? For service to your community? The list is limitless – identify what YOU want to be known for and what you’re passionate about.

Does Your Career Align With Your Personal Brand?

Next step – realistically assess if you are in a position or on a career path where you can promote your personal brand. This can be tough. Add to that a time frame. Are you on the right track or do you need to rethink or change what your ideal job or career is?

We sometimes get caught up in the financial benefits associated with a job instead of considering the actual work. Have you ever known anyone that wanted a promotion yet you knew they would be miserable in that role?

Are You Promoting Your Personal Brand?

On the other hand, let’s assume we are in the right line of work. Are we sufficiently packaging and marketing ourselves so others see the value we add? Do they see our passion, our contributions, and our excellence?

Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to have another person, maybe a mentor or a boss, promote our accomplishments, but in most cases, it’s up to us. Share your accomplishments! Make sure others know the value you provide!