Leadership Makes A Difference

As a leader, have you ever given thought as to how and when you’ve inspired others? Maybe you’ve received feedback about the behaviors or skills you display and possess that others have found to be impactful?

Think about it and give yourself credit for making a difference!

In each weekly leadership tip we like to share quotes that we feel are meaningful. There are literally thousands to choose from, but here are a few of our favorites:

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.—Maya Angelou

Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.—John Maxwell

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.–John Quincy Adams

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. —Norman Schwarzkopf

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
—Harvey Firestone

The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.–Dwight Eisenhower

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.—Max DePree

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.John F. Kennedy

Are there any you especially relate to? Do you have a favorite we omitted? Let us know!

Mike and Jan
You Make A Difference!

Reasons To Stop Multi-tasking

Multi-Tasking Makes Us Less Productive

Do you find yourself doing multiple tasks at the same time? We’re probably all guilty of multi-tasking at one time or another, and perhaps even more so as the holiday season ramps up.

We may think having the ability to multi-task requires skill and may serve us well, but that’s not the case. Based on studies, when we multi-task we need to “switch gears” which actually takes time, and we may be paying insufficient attention to both tasks which results in higher error rates. In addition to errors, how we feel is impacted. Stress levels are known to increase as comprehension and levels of focus lessen.

Kendra Cherry, author and education consultant, defines multi-tasking as:

·         Working on two or more tasks simultaneously
·         Switching back and forth from one thing to another
·         Performing a number of tasks in rapid succession

She reports that:

1.    Multi-tasking hampers productivity
2.    Multi-tasking is distracting
3.    Multi-tasking slows you down
4.    Multi-tasking impairs executive function
5.    Multi-taskers make mistakes


  • If multiple tasks are pending, use the “20 minute rule” (stick to each task for at least 20 minutes)
  • Batch and schedule tasks similar to one another to better manage the change of focus
  • Limit distractions (turn off your phone and ignore incoming emails)
  • Practice mindfulness to remain focused and pay attention to one thing at a time

Even if we think we’re skilled multi-taskers and that Ms. Cherry’s findings don’t apply to us, a study by Stanford University, found that multi-tasking takes a toll on mental health, adds stress to our daily life, and harms our productivity, motivation, mood, and many more.

Can you commit to actioning only one task at a time, or minimally follow the “20 minute rule”? We’re willing to try!


Mike and Jan

Multi-tasking results in a division of attention that can sometimes result
in confusion, stress, and anxiety.
— Dr Sanjay Kumavat

5 Differentiators For High Performing Teams

High-performing teams place team results above their own personal gain.

We’ve talked about how it is essential to hire team members that are a good fit for your organization; we also provided ideas for interview questions. Let’s say you assembled what you feel will be a high performing team; now what?

Ron Friedman published an article in the Harvard Business Review that provides 5 key ingredients you’ll find in high performing teams:

1. High performing teams are not afraid to pick up the phone  
Research found that high performers in general communicate more frequently and use the telephone more than less successful performers (10.1 vs. 6.1 calls per day on average).
Calls strengthen relationships and prevent misunderstandings.

2. High performing teams are more strategic with their meetings
Best practices are incorporated to make meetings more productive and may require prework (39% more likely), use an agenda (26% more likely), and start the meeting with a check-in where team members keep one another apprised of their progress (55% more likely). We also encourage adding some time for personal updates about family, travels, etc which builds relationships.

3. High-Performing Teams Invest Time Bonding Over Non-Work Topics
We touched on this when we suggested adding time in meetings for personal updates and there is a science to this. Studies show that performance increases when authentic and non work-related conversations are held, and meeting colleagues outside of work was also impactful.

4. High-Performing Teams Give and Receive Appreciation More Frequently
Financial compensation is certainly important; equally important are feelings of being valued, appreciated, respected, and trusted. Friedman’s study found that members of high-performing teams received and provided positive feedback between colleagues, and that their managers regularly acknowledged their accomplishments.

5. High-Performing Teams Are More Authentic at Work
High-performing team members express both positive and negative emotions with their colleagues. They compliment and joke with one another and they also share negative emotions. This may sound unproductive, but when managed, it’s healthy to not suppress feelings or ignore differences; being vulnerable requires trust and per Patrick Lencioni TRUST is foundation for successful teams.

High performing team members feel connected; they value one another, they acknowledge one another’s contributions, and they place team results above their own personal gain.

How would you rate your team? What more can you do to create a team of high performers?

Mike and Jan

High performing teams are the cornerstone of healthy and cohesive organizations.
— Patrick Lencioni

Thankfulness and Gratitude

Expressing gratitude and being thankful affects our attitude and our health

Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you know celebrating thankfulness and gratitude is not limited to the U.S.? Although not celebrated on the same day, it is something that occurs in dozens of countries across the globe and is often related to autumn harvests.

The Psychiatric Medical Care Communications Team shares that there is a difference between thankfulness and gratitude, and both favorably impact our health.

They share that thankfulness is a reaction, that it is a temporary emotional response generally occurring when something fun or exciting happens.

Gratitude on the other hand is a “chosen state of being”. It includes expressing thankfulness and being appreciative even when nothing out of the ordinary happens.

Incorporating both into our lives (and the lives of others) will provide feelings of satisfaction and well-being.

Wishing you an abundance of both!

Mike and Jan

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them.
–John F. Kennedy

Skills To Value

Hire Hard or Manage Hard – Skills To Value
This is not the first time you’ve heard us say “hire hard or manage hard”. That’s because we can’t say often enough that who you hire is a critical component for being successful. New hires must complement your existing team while supporting the values of your work culture.  If they don’t, you’ll be spending more time than you’d like addressing the actions and behaviors of the “misfit”.

Career consultant Joseph Liu provides 7 factors to consider for finding the best fit:

1. Emotional Intelligence
Ask your candidate to share personal examples of how they changed their work culture in the past. What struggles did they observe? Were they sensitive to the needs of others? What was their approach?

2. Resilience
How adaptable is the candidate when faced with obstacles, failure, or stress? Again, ask for specifics for the actions taken for attaining desired results.

3. Empathy
Is there sensitivity for colleagues when they are experiencing challenges outside of the workplace? How did they help a colleague work through their issue? Did they truly seem to care?

4. Adaptability
Many workers are now working remotely; some readily accepted this change while others struggled. Ask the candidate to share how they were able to transition from an “in person” work environment to one of teleconferencing.

5. Initiative
How have they prepared for the interview? Did they research your company and the position? Maybe even you? Are they able to self-motivate and influence colleagues? Ask for examples.

6. Tenacity
What does the candidate do to manage setbacks and challenges? Do they maintain their focus for achieving the end goal? Ask for examples.

7. Relationship Management
Working remotely can impact relationships. What or how does the candidate stay connected with colleagues and build relationships? How do they create a strong boss/subordinate relationship?

Don’t neglect required technical skills, but soft skills must be valued. When hiring, look for candidates that possess skills that will positively impact interactions with your team members, and will also be a good fit for your ideal work culture. If not, be prepared to “manage hard”!


Mike and Jan

92% of executives say soft skills were equally or more important than technical skills.
— WSJ Survey

Adaptive Leadership

Challenges requiring adaptive leadership commonly include conflict in the workplace,
the need for new work behaviors, and a change in mindset.
Difficulty adapting to challenges in the workplace is not new, and as leaders we need to ensure that we influence our teams to continue to support our company values, strategies, and the processes required to achieve operational excellence as we deal with changes across the globe. These changes may be major and impact not only new roles and relationships, but also require new behaviors and approaches for how we work.

Ronald Heifetz (founder of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School) and
and Donald Laurie (corporate adviser), share what they view as the differences between “Technical or Routine Leadership” (Style A) compared to “Adaptive Leadership” (Style B) for the following leadership responsibilities:

Style A – Defines problems and provides solutions
Style B –Identifies the adaptive challenge and frames key questions and issues

Style A – Shields the organization from external threats
Style B – Lets the organization feel external pressures within a range it can stand

Style A – Clarifies roles and responsibilities
Style B – Challenges current roles and resists pressure to quickly define new roles

Style A – Restores order
Style B – Exposes conflict or lets it emerge

Style A – Maintains norms
Style B – Challenges unproductive norms

Does one style sound more like you than the other? Perhaps you’re a blend? Being a leader is not easy and it’s up to us share when and how our work culture values must change, and what’s required of us (and others) to adapt to those changes.

We need to be aware of both the existing challenges that are being faced (as well as the potential challenges), understand when stress exists, when change is being resisted, and encourage open communication.  


Mike and Jan

Getting people to do adaptive work is the mark of leadership in a competitive world.
 Ronald Heifetz and Donald Laurie

Coaching – How It Helps

Coaching provides rich and unique development opportunities and helps leaders obtain clarity for strategies, goals, and relationships.
Granted we’re in the coaching business, but we wanted to share that clients have told us that coaching has changed their lives, not just from a business perspective, but also from a personal and family perspective.

1.    Coaching helps you see things from a different perspective

2.    Coaching assists you with creating a path towards desired “next steps” and guides you along that path

3.    Coaches hold you accountable for learning, growing, and transforming

4.    Coaches provide unbiased feedback and assist with navigating challenges

5.    Coaches help you set goals and action plans and provide guidance for their execution

6.    Coaching improveleadership skills, increaseproductivity, and strengthens relationships

7.    A coach is someone you can trust to be concerned about you

Coaching is experiencing explosive growthWhy? The investment pays off.

·         Per MetrixGlobal LLC, companies receive an average return of $7.90 for every $1 devoted to executive coaching

·         They also reported a 529% ROI and numerous intangible benefits to the business after studying executive coaching in a Fortune 500 firm

·         Manchester Inc. reports that Executive coaching provides an average ROI of nearly 6 times the coaching cost

·         A Personnel Management Association report states that “Coaching combined with training boosts productivity by an average of 86% compared to 22% with training alone”

Is coaching for everyone?

That depends on whether the person is committed to making changes and is willing to hear things they may not initially agree with.

Some individuals don’t want to hear that they have opportunities to be more effective, and that quite frankly, they themselves may be derailing their own ability to succeed.

They also may be unwilling to step out of their comfort zone and commit to making the time for self-development

Coaching IS for those that have made the choice to become more effective and productive, and understand that others can see things in them that they can’t. They also understand that a coach will help them reach their highest potential.

Per Forbes writer William Arruda, coaching has become a key ingredient in professional success.


Mike and Jan

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them.
— Sir John Whitmore


Success is not the absence of failure, it’s the persistence through failure.
—Aisha Tyler
What does “Persistence” mean to you? One thought is that persistence refers to how long one is able and willing to stick to a task, even when it is challenging. Also, that lack of persistence is when someone is willing to drop a task and move on to something else when roadblocks are encountered.

We’ll simplify it and define it as “the quality of continuing steadily despite problems, challenges, or difficulties” and call them set-backs.

Are you impacted by set-backs or do they fire you up? When you experience them, what are you feeling and how do you adjust? We know not everything goes as planned, and that we may feel dejected when our efforts are derailed (for any reason), but it’s how we respond that matters.  The list below highlights just a few that “persisted” and succeeded:

Abraham Lincoln
Experienced 12 major failures before being elected the 16th U.S. President

Albert Einstein
His teachers said “he wouldn’t amount to much“.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven’s music teacher once said “as a composer, he is hopeless“.  

Steve Jobs
He felt he was a public failure when he was fired from Apple.

Walt Disney
Was fired from a newspaper for his lack of imagination.

The Beatles
In 1962 they were told they “had no future in show business” and that “groups with guitars are on the way out”. 

Dr. Seuss
His initial manuscript was rejected 28 times prior to being accepted by Random House/Vanguard Press.

Oprah Winfrey
After seven and a half months in her first job as a TV anchor she was fired and told she was “unfit for television news”.

Expect and plan for set-backs and persist! You will experience failures and face challenges, and when they occur, analyze what happened and why.  Be clear about your strategies and the direction needed to obtain the results you desire, and don’t shy away from continuing steadily despite encountering problems!


Mike and Jan


Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
–Napoleon Hill



The Art Of Communication

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
—George Bernard Shaw
As leaders there’s a need to be viewed as authentic, trustworthy, and inspiring, and it’s also essential that we are viewed as good communicators.

Have you ever left a meeting thinking you provided clear updates, shared required next steps, and even added dates for deliverables yet you saw a number of blank stares and felt your communication was lacking?

You may have felt that way for a reason. An Interact/Harris Leadership Communication Poll was conducted and employees rated their leaders as follows:

63% – employees were not recognized for their achievements

57% – employees were not given clear directions

52% – leaders did not have sufficient time to meet with them

51% – leaders refused to talk to subordinates

47% – their boss took credit for others’ ideas

39% – constructive feedback was not provided

23% – there was no effort to ask about employees’ lives outside of work

These numbers are certainly nothing to be proud of, but the good news is that we all have the ability to ensure our numbers are better than those reported. Taking them in order:

1.    We need to seriously assess if we recognize accomplishments. If we’re not doing it consistently, why not?

2.    Do we feel we provide clear direction? How could our opinion differ from that of our direct reports?  Do we ever ask how they’ve interpreted the message?

3.    Do we make ourselves available to meet and discuss issues without the employees feeling rushed?

4.    Do we regularly schedule time to meet with our team members?

5.    Have you ever taken credit for work done by another? 

6.    Can you confidently and regularly provide feedback that is both positive as well as for growth opportunities?

7.    Do you invest the time to truly get to know your team?

Are you willing to ask your team how well you communicate (or don’t!)? It may prove interesting to see how your self-scores compare to the team results for these 7 questions.

Let us know what you learn.


Mike and Jan

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.
–Paul J. Meyer



Mindset and Awareness

5 Pillars For Success by Natasha Graziano
Let’s assume that we all want to succeed. If that’s true (and yes, we know what assume means to some!), we need to have clear aspirations and define what success means to us.  As leaders, this also applies to our teams and organizations. Think in terms of “where are we now” and “where do we want to be”?

Also assess your mindset. Are you focused? Are you self-aware? Do you truly know what you want to achieve?

Natasha Graziano, Mindset Coach and Motivational Speaker provides 5 Pillars to assist with creating success both personally and professionally:

     1. Get clarity on your vision
You’ve heard us time and again share the need to have documented vision, mission, and goal statements, and that all of our behaviors must support achieving them. Graziano adds that “Most people mess up at this first hurdle because they don’t actually know what they want”. Having a clear and written vision will help with clarity for taking the necessary actions required to move forward.

    2. Remove the blockages
What barriers are getting in your way of success? Do you have “Gremlins” that limit your beliefs or that are immobilizing you?  Graziano shares “Once we realize we are standing in our own way of the thing we want, we can begin to move forward“.

    3. Replace old beliefs with new beliefs
We all have baggage and have had experiences that negatively impacted our mindset. What have you learned from them? What beliefs and thoughts can be replaced with some that will better serve you? The idea is that we learn from the negativity we’ve experienced, let them go, and now focus on our desires with positive energy that will help us achieve our vision.

    4. Expand your vision
Don’t think of what’s happened in the past; think outside of the box; don’t limit yourself; step out of your comfort zone. What is it you truly want?  Graziano adds “start dreaming bigger“.

    5. Take inspired action
Graziano says “When the doing and the thinking are aligned, you’re able to achieve massive success”. It takes that first step, it takes commitment, and it takes action.

How’s your mindset?  Are you determined? Are you self-aware and focused on what it is you want? Are you willing to take that first step?

Wishing you success!
Mike and Jan

Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.
–Steve Maraboli   

Books On Leadership

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.
–Harry S. Truman
We often get asked for leadership book recommendations. It’s not easy to choose as there are hundreds of books that provide valuable content, but our top 5 picks are:
QBQ – The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller
An oldy but goody, accountability is often an issue in the workplace and pointing fingers can be a by-product. This book explains that without personal accountability it’s difficult to succeed and attain desired goals, and it provides methods for regularly practicing accountability.

The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team by Patrick Lencioni
Learn about five root causes that contribute to teams failing (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), and how one can address poor teamwork by implementing specific strategies.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
It’s all up to us. We must be self-aware and take responsibility for our choices. Covey addresses the following 7 habits that are required for success: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
Learn insights for becoming a more powerful and effective leader and obtain tips to improve your leadership skills and abilities and for influencing others. Maxwell says: If you want to be a leader, the good news is that you can do it. Everyone has the potential, but it isn’t accomplished overnight. It requires perseverance.  This is closely aligned with our motto:
“Leadership is a process, not an event”!

The Power Of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt
Obtain specific strategies for maintaining focus positioning you to achieve results and increase levels of success. Without focus, unnecessary internal struggles exist, waffling occurs, and results are delayed.

There are hundreds of books that speak to leadership skills, abilities, and behaviors and for making you more self-aware while enhancing your emotional intelligence. A Harvard Business Review article shared that “reading for just six minutes can reduce stress by 68% and is beneficial for stressed leaders/managers and C-level executives”.

Commit to making the time to read!
Mike and Jan

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.
— Margaret Fuller

Managing Your Boss

The greatest gift of leadership is a boss who wants you to be successful.
Jon Taffer
Can we really manage our boss? Not really, but what can do is work towards building a good relationship (or at least improve it).  Having aligned expectations, regular communications, being accountable, and interacting in a style that works for them all lend themselves to strengthening and building a trusting relationship.
Liz Ryan, CEO Human Workplace recommends what NOT to do:
1.    Don’t start a conversation with your boss when you’re mad or upset. Wait until you calm down.

2.    Don’t fall into a win/lose mentality and start counting the number of times your boss said “yes” to one of your requests versus the times they said “No”. Rather, focus on your work, your team’s work and your mission.

3.    Don’t go to your manager with a list of complaints. Convert your complaints into practical suggestions whenever you can.

4.    Don’t ask your boss to adjudicate arguments with co-workers unless you and your co-worker agree there is no alternative.

5.    Don’t be shy about asking for feedback or asking for advice on a situation you haven’t handled before.

6.    Don’t forget to keep your manager informed of positive things you hear about the team, the company, and your manager him-or-herself. Nobody gets enough acknowledgment!

7.    Don’t assume your boss knows important news you hear or read during the day. If you think the new information would be valuable to your manager, pass it on.

8.    Don’t bash your manager to other employees, or vice versa.

9.    Don’t ask your boss to solve tiny problems you could solve on your own.

10. Don’t assume that because your manager is different from you — with a different gender, age, nationality or life story — that you can’t be real with them. We can all bring more of ourselves to work and it would be good for all of us if we did!

Having a strong relationship with your boss impacts the entire organization. It helps create a desired work culture, the achievement of results, and increased satisfaction levels. And, you won’t likely have the desire to look for another job!

Mike and Jan

A Perfect Employee Is The One Who Inspires His Boss As Much As His Boss Inspires Him… Thanks For Being My Inspiration.
—Anna Teams