customer service

Transforming the Customer Experience and Great Customer Service: A Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on customer service. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on these topics.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

 

In Memorium: Bill Gessert

Bill GessertThis month, we lost Bill Gessert, the President of the International Customer Association and a passionate thought leader in building a better customer experience through better cultures. Bill was the first person to take a chance on me as a keynote speaker (while I still had my day job at Verizon), and over the years our friendship has grown.

And so today, I share some of Bill’s insights on leadership and customer service.

Here is the 2012 interview I did with him when my blog was first starting out. It’s also my pleasure to bring you  Shep Hyken’s interview with Bill Gessert on Shep’s Amazing Business Radio here about great ideas for Customer Service week.

Creating Deeper Customer Connection and Showing Up Human

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader  Gives us How Organizations Need to Confirm Humanity. Customers have to confirm humanity during online transactions. Organizations that want to deliver a great user and customer experience should confirm their humanity online as well. Here’s how. Follow Paul.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer shares A Piece of Cake Cements a Customer Relationship. A birthday cake seems like a simple thing but getting the right cake for the right person, customized just the right way is a little more complicated and it takes a little help from the right person to make the right cake.  Follow Eileen.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership provides Time for Spring Cleaning: Clean Up Your Values. Clearly articulated values are the bedrock of great customer service. And without them, you are likely to lose customers, as this true story demonstrates.  Follow Jesse.

Customer service is just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate type of activity. – Leon Gorman

Correlating the Employee Experience to the Customer Experience

Nate Brown, Karin Hurt, David Dye

Nate Brown of CX Accelerator with Jenny Dempsey gives us Promoting Mental and Physical Well-Being in Service Roles.  How can we create an environment that gives life instead of sucking it out of us? How can we foster the type of relationships across our teams that encourage instead of tear down? This article will provide dozens of simple ideas to help you promote both mental and physical health for your team.  Follow Nate.

Nate and I also recently collaborated on this ICMI article, Why Survival Mode Kills the Customer Experience

We had a great opportunity to visit with Nate in his natural habitat in his contact center during customer service week. So exciting to see all the creative ideas he has to gather insights from employees on what customers need most, as well as to strengthen the employee experience for a better customer experience.

Sophie Blumenthal of Resume Library shares The Pros and Cons of Having a Part-Time Job, detailing the PROs and CONs of having a part-time job. Pay attention and make sure to use this knowledge as wisely as possible when searching for a job, and the relevancy of having customer service skills. Follow Sophie.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog presents Why It Is Imperative to Break Down Silos Now, and Five Ways to Do It. She shares that building trust, fostering collaboration, and being a role model lessens the friction points within your company, creates more productive alliances, and helps create superior customer service – and offers key tips to doing these three things effectively.  Follow Robyn.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group gives us A Strong Internal Brand = Engaged Employees = Happy Customers. Internal branding is about communicating the company brand strategy and promise to employees so they can play an integral role in helping any company deliver on its goals, which in turn creates happy customers, and a more successful business.  Follow David.

 

Leadership in Customer Service

Erica Marois of ICMI  writes, Ready to Promote Your Star Agent to Supervisor? Not So Fast. It’s a common scenario in the contact center: when a supervisor positions open up, leaders turn to their best frontline agents to fill those roles. The problem? Best agents don’t always make the best managers. This article explores how to equip new supervisors to lead. Follow Erica.

Building a Better Customer Experience

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates gives us Lessons from Helicopter Pilots as an example of great customer service.  Follow Shelley.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited  shares Five Things a Real Professional Should Not Say.  Customer service reps, take note.  A simple change in wording can make for warmer, more effective service. Follow Beth.

Customer Service Tools and Automation

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC provides How to Improve Customer Service When You Don’t Have Time.  Failing to offer excellent customer service can chase consumers away. Use these five tips to improve customer service, even when you’re a busy small business owner.  Follow Rachel.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer gives us Ten Tips to Move Customer Service from Drab to Fab!  Don’t just pay lip service to the idea of improving customer service. Good customer service is the linchpin to survival at any time but especially during difficult times. Follow Eileen.

Innovative Leadership Training Leadership DevelopmentYou should not build your customer service system on the premise that your organization will never question the whims of your clients. – Richard Branson

Won’t You Join Us Next Month?

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about building great cultures. New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Practical Ideas for Fostering True Collaboration: A Frontline Festival

This months topic, collaboration, is particularly poignant for me, as the Frontline Festival has now been an active collaborative adventure including thought leaders around the world for five-and-a-half years.

In March of 2013, while still working at Verizon and having been blogging for under a year, I sent a curious email to thought leaders whom I respected and asked them if they’d be willing to share their very best leadership thinking for frontline leaders.  I was overwhelmed by the response of so many well-established bloggers willing to play along.

I was a busy executive and an earnest rookie blogger. For grins, you can see my headshot at the time 😉

I could never have imagined how many of those who originally contributed would still be sharing their insights on this our 66th Frontline Festival, as well as all of the new people who would have joined along the way.

Some of you may remember our original Festival branding (see right.)

I’m delighted that so many of these contributors have become collaborators in many other ways and some of whom have now become incredible friends. And yes, this first Frontline Festival is the first nugget of collaboration I had with David, who is now my husband, co-author, and business partner.

I have learned so much from all of you. I am grateful for the work you on our shared mission of growing leaders.

You can see the inaugural post here. 

We’re always welcoming new contributors. In honor of customer service week, next month’s festival is all about customer service. You can submit your blog post URL  here!

Now, on to collaboration!

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Collaboration Tools and Techniques

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds writes The Work of ColLABORation. Done well, collaboration looks effortless. It appears to be a fluid give-and-take, a hand-in-glove partnership among individuals who make it all look natural and easy. But these appearances belie the fact that ‘labor’ is at the center of collaboration… and that most collaboration is the result of very deliberate work and attention.

We particularly love Julie’s 3D reflection approach where people are encouraged to reflect on what they need, what the other person needs, and what they most need together.  Follow Julie.

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding asks, How Can I Get Rid of Silos on My Team? Lack of collaboration (Silo-ing) occurs because of a lack of clarity in terms of expectations…If you set up those expectations, with an organizational chart that shows who everyone is responsible for, those relationships provide clarity and keep communication flowing.  Follow Sean.

Laura Schroeder of Working Girl shares Get Off the Couch: Agility, Innovation and Failure. Collaboration helps drive innovation but how you do it matters. Without a cohesive strategy and clear priorities pulling everyone in the right direction – and clear game rules – collaboration on its own can result in wasted effort and demotivated teams. Follow Laura. 

Collaboration, Innovation and Productivity

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership gives us Let’s Stop Confusing Cooperation and Teamwork with Collaboration. Often the words collaboration, coordination, and cooperation are used to describe effective teamwork. But they are not the same. When we use these words interchangeably, we dilute their meaning and diminish the potential for creating powerful, collaborative workplaces. Follow Jesse.

Great insights here about how collaboration relates to vision. True collaboration involves working together to achieve something new.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group provides What Great Teams are Made Of (It’s Not What You Might Expect.)  A study found that the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the last two decades. The message is clear: paying attention to how teams interact is critical for effective leadership. Research shows that the best and most effective teams aren’t those that combined the best and brightest people, but rather, something you might not expect.  Follow David.

Collaboration is like carbonation for fresh ideas. Working together bubbles up ideas you would not have come up with solo, which gets you further faster. ~ Caroline Ghosn

Ronni Hendel of InsightOut Leadership offers New Ways to Navigate the Increasing Complexities of Work.  One of the keys to operating in complexity is recognizing that expertise alone won’t get us to the finish line. Collaboration is required. Ronni explores a powerful model for understanding complexity and collaboration. Follow Ronni.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership gives us The Team’s the Thing and the People are the Team.  For the most productive teams, it’s all about the people. Follow Wally.

Collaboration and Influence

As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. ~ Amy Poehler

Sophie Blumenthal of Resume Library shares How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Boss. This post highlights how to give constructive feedback to your boss, demonstrating how collaborating on all levels can be beneficial to employers and employees. Follow Sophie.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited offers How to Handle the Workplace Nag. Some co-workers want to “over-collaborate” in the form of constant reminding or following up. Here are a few tips, based loosely on a true story, to collaborate more effectively in that situation. Follow Beth.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog provides Four Steps to Making Office Politics Work for You.  Learn how to avoid office politics, so you can make your daily work life much more rewarding and create pathways for even greater success.  Follow Robyn.

Collaboration and Virtual Teams

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  gives us Four Ways to Increase Collaboration in the Virtual Workplace. Collaboration in the workplace shouldn’t just be encouraged among your in-house staff. Use the four tips in this article to encourage collaboration by your remote employees, too.  Follow Rachel.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership offers Leading a Virtual Team: 12 Powerful Ways to Lead a Team You Can’t See.  Collaboration gets harder as the physical distance between teammates grows. Here are 12 ways to close the gap and improve teamwork even when you are miles or time zones apart.  Follow Ken.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates wrote What a Sailboat Captain Taught Me about Leading in Adversity.  When you are on stormy seas with a small crew on a small boat you need to collaborate with one another to make it through the adversity.  Follow Shelley.

Stories of Collaboration

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen gives us a book review of What the Eyes Don’t See.  When Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha saw signs of a problem in her community, her questions were refused and minimized. It took collaboration with other caring people to help her get her message across and save lives. Follow Paula.

Scott Savage of Thin Difference offers Learning from Lincoln: How Our Greatest President Invited Difficult People to the Table. The world doesn’t get better when we tune out contrary voices and opposing opinions. Echo chambers don’t make a better world – collaboration does.  Follow Scott.

courage

Leaders Share about Courage, Influence and Hope: August Frontline Festival (with video)

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on courage, influence, and hope, celebrating our new book for kids, Glowstone Peak. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on these topics.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about collaboration.

New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Thanks to all of you who shared your thoughts in this video!

Frontline Festival August 2018

Courage

Cynthia Stadd of TheActsofCourage.com offers The Eating Disorder that Brought Me to my Knees, and How I Found the Courage to Be Healthy.  She shares her journey openly, how courage became part of dealing with the issue, and the steps that helped her toward healthier living.  Connect with Cynthia.

Wendy Dailey of My Dailey Journey gives us It’s Hard to Speak Up.  It’s hard to speak up when someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, but we need to hear these stories. Not just the stories of harassment, but of all bad behavior that we need to stop tolerating in the workplace. Follow Wendy.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer shares THAI THIS: Resiliency Lessons from Underground. We saw an amazing rescue in Thailand, and there are several lessons we can learn about courage from those involved.   Follow Eileen.

Lisa Kohn from Chatsworth Consulting Group presents Be Brave. Show Up.  She shares that when something comes our way that we don’t know how to handle,  just showing up may actually be all we need to do. Or sometimes even just to being willing to show up. Because each time we simply show up, we grow, and we get braver and stronger and begin to lead more effectively.

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  offers How to Pursue Customer Conflict Resolution with a Level Head. Anyone who tackles conflict-related problems needs the courage and humility to understand and address the other party’s pain points. Learn how to achieve customer conflict resolution in your small business.  Follow Rachel.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group provides Times of Change Call for Increased Levels of Communication and Courage. In times of change or uncertainty, organizations need leadership more than ever. This is the time for courageous conversations and straightforward communication. Get insights on what to share with employees and why it’s important. Follow David.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture provides his Culture Leadership Charge: Drive out Fear.  In this three-minute video episode, Chris shares the open secret of WD-40 Company’s tribal culture–replacing fear with learning moments.  Follow Chris.

I did leave, but then I came back to tell you that if you were brave enough, I could be brave, too.”  – Gnome

Influence

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding shares a short video on influence.  As a Winning Teammate, what is the ONE way for to be most effective and consistent in influencing your team? How does courage create that opportunity?  Follow Sean.

Ronni Hendel of InsightOut Leadership gives us a touching Tribute to My Teacher in memory of  Doug Silsbee. Doug wrote and taught about presence for many years, most recently in the context of being in hospice and facing his own death. Sadly, he passed away on August 1st. His courage remains a source of inspiration for which Ronnie is immensely grateful.   Follow Ronni.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provides Underneath the Drywall. All of us are individuals of many layers, some of which aren’t obvious to the casual observer. It is what we infuse in those deeper layers that influences who we are and the long-term effect we have on the world.  Follow Paula.

Oh and as a bonus… check out Paula’s video and review of Glowstone Peak.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates gives us Words Matter: Three Steps to Using Words to Get What You Want. In this post, Shelley reminds us of the power and influence of words on ourselves and those we lead.  Follow Shelley.

Miles Anthony Smith, MBA of Milesanthonysmith.com shares 29 Leadership Experts Share Their Top 19 Leadership Competencies & Behaviors for Success.  If you want to have a positive influence on your team and others, this list will inspire you.  Follow Miles.

Let’s go together. What are we waiting for? – Mother Gnobuck

Hope

Glowstone Peak What makes you hopefulNate Regier of Next Element Consulting offers The Discipline of Optimism. In it, he encourages us to not just see the glass as half full, but do what it takes to fill it up.   Follow Nate.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights  gives us Quotes on Hope. Napoleon once said that leaders are dealers in hope. With that in mind, here are some of his very favorite quotes on hope.  Follow Skip.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds provides Who Knows What Employees Really Want? One thing that fuels hope in the workplace is when leaders know what employees want and help them make it happen. This post explores possibilities and simple processes leaders can use to powerfully support employees and contribute to a hopeful environment. Follow Julie.

And yes, ANOTHER BONUS… Thank you Julie for the opportunity to share our thinking on Questions to Develop Leadership in Children as part of our Glowstone Peak Launch.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited gives us How the HOPE Family Encouraged Me.  During a season of discouragement in her business, Beth experienced personal hope and uplift from other professionals. She shares about what a gift that was. Follow Beth.

The answer is up there, somewhere.  – Selvia

Your Turn.

Are you working to grow courage, influence, and hope in young leaders? We’d love to hear from you and your children. Check out our Glowstone Peak activity page for ways to celebrate children living these values. Or to order a copy of Glowstone Peak click here.

The art of the tough conversation

The Art of the Tough Conversation: A Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on the art of the tough conversation. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on this topic.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is a special edition celebrating our new book for kids, Glowstone Peak. We welcome contributions related to courage (in conflict or in other situations), influence, and hope. You also have a special opportunity to submit a 30-second video offering advice to children. We’ll create a montage on these themes!

New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts and videos here!

The Art of the Tough Conversation

ditch the diaper drama #WinningWellSophie Blumenthal of Resume Library provides How to Decline a Job Offer.  This piece elaborates on the process of declining a job offer, which can be an awkward conversation. It offers tips and advice to ensure the conversation can be an easy and positive interaction.  Follow Sophie.

Ronni Hendel of InsightOut Leadership gives us “Strong opinions, lightly held,” a shorthand for a way of approaching difficult conversations that open up the possibility of both advocating and inquiring–of being both committed and open.  This is a critical tool in our “difficult conversations” toolkit. Follow Ronni.

Molly Page of Thin Difference offers Improvise Our Way to Common Ground.  Would the world be a better place if we all used a little more, “Yes, and…” in our conversations? Perhaps. Looking to improv techniques can be a great way to navigate a tough conversation and find common ground. Follow Molly.

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  provides Five Tips for Handling Difficult Conversations at Work Like a Pro.  Difficult conversations are bound to come up in business. Use these tips to master the art of the tough conversation and remain professional, graceful, and respectful during the talk.  Follow Rachel.

LaRae Quy of LaRaeQuy.com gives us Four FBI Tips on How to Handle Awkward Conversations.  When discussions go to hell in a hand basket, they quickly turn into a fight. Psychologists say that our brain is wired for war; our point of view has been attacked if we disagree with someone. Follow LaRae.

Lisa Kohn from Chatsworth Consulting Group provides, How to Handle the Elephant in the Middle of the Living Room.  She shares ways to help your team coax out and address the “inconvenient truths” that can get in the way of successful – and enjoyable – relationships, projects, and business outcomes.  Follow Lisa.

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen wrote, The Power of Simply Saying What You Mean. It can be difficult to start a conversation if the topic is tense, controversial, or otherwise difficult to bring up. Sometimes getting started is as simple as “tell me more about that.”  Follow Paula.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds offers An Argument for Conflict.  What Julie refers to as ‘dysfunctional politeness’ costs organizations dearly in terms of dollars, but it also takes an enormous human toll; disappointment, mistrust, frustration, and disengagement. What’s needed instead is constructive conflict. This post offers three steps for cultivating it. Follow Julie.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates gives us The Facts Speak for Themselves. Do They? In this post Shelley shares about the sometimes-tough conversations we have to persuade people toward a particular option. Follow these tips for more success.  Follow Shelley.

Effective Communication Karin Hurt and David Dye

The Winning Well I.N.S.P.I.R.E. model for tough conversations.

The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation – or a relationship. – Deborah Tannen

David Grossman of The Grossman Group provides Leadership Communication: Six Steps to Handling Tough Conversations.  It’s a given; having tough conversations and communicating difficult topics is part of a leader’s job. Just like you plan for contingencies in your business, planning how you will communicate difficult messages can improve the ultimate outcome. Think through and prepare your approach in advance with these six steps.  Follow David.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader gives us How to Talk about the Elephant in the Room. The most difficult conversations are the topics no one wants to broach due to fear or convenience. Here’s how to break through to talk about it before it wrecks your organization.  Follow Paul.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provides Three Secrets of Better Performance Conversations. Here are three ways you can take a lot of the discomfort out of performance conversations and make them more effective.  Follow Wally.

There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees. – Michel de Montaigne

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership provides Seeking Discomfort: 7 Ways to Embrace Uncomfortable  Often we find ourselves compelled to give critical feedback to others, but what about receiving it? If we are to grow personally and lead well, we need to seek out feedback that may not be easy to hear.  Feedback Follow Ken.

Nate Regier of Next Element Consulting offers Balance vs. Agility.  Balance is a great goal, but it’s not the end goal. Why? Because change is the constant. Balance is about homeostasis, and homeostasis is fleeting. Follow Nate.

Jackie Stavros of Lawrence Technological University offers How Do Your Conversations Feel?  Conversations are a crucial part of everything we do. How do we turn a tough conversation to a conversation worth having? Conversations worth having uses Appreciative Inquiry to fuel productive and meaningful change that creates an environment that works for all! Follow Jackie.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provides How to Communicate with Non-Responsive People.  Sometimes the tough part of a conversation is actually getting it started if the person you are trying to reach tends not to be responsive. Here are some tips.  Follow Beth.

Your Turn.

Please feel free to share your favorite links to tough conversation advice in the comments below.

Meetings that Get Results and People Want to Attend: June Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on meetings that get results and that people want to attend. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on this topic.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about the art of the tough conversation. New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here.

Preparing for Meetings

Meetings wtih Clear PurposeSkip Prichard of Leadership Insights provides Five Tips to Master Your Next Meeting. Meetings are often the source of many complaints, but also key to advancing a business agenda. Skip’s tips will help you master your next meeting. Follow Skip.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference gives us What Meetings Do People Want to Attend? Design an experience.  Too many organizers fail to think about the answer to this question before scheduling a meeting. It’s up to leaders to design a better meeting experience. Follow Jon.

William Steiner of Executive Coaching Concepts asks 8 Questions to Guarantee Meeting Productivity.  Ask these before, during and after a meeting to get the best results possible. Follow William.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group gives us Leading in Person: Six Reasons to Communicate Face-to-Face. There are more than enough ways to communicate – email, voicemail, text message, instant message – yet too often they can add up to message overload for employees. That’s why when something is important, nothing compares to face-to-face communication. When a leader needs to inspire people—or move them to action—the best way to do it is to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what they need to know. Follow David.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates shares Fire Up Your Conversations! When to Use Email–or Your Voice. Some “meetings” happen using written communication, others benefit by voice and face-to-face. Shelley helps us determine what medium to use.  Follow Shelley.

Making the Most of Meetings

Kaylee DeWitt of Patriot Software, LLC writes How to Make Meetings More Effective.  Unproductive meetings can burden employees and waste time. Use these five tips to make your next meeting more effective, build teamwork in the workplace, and improve business operations.  Follow Kaylee.Let's Grow Leaders on Meetings

Chip Bell of Chip Bell Group gives us 10 Ways to Killer Meetings.  We spend more time in meetings than we do eating. We cannot live without eating; you would think the same was true of meetings. Here are 10 ways to make your meeting effective, fun and valuable. Follow Chip.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership offers 10 Unusual Meetings to Make Your Team More Productive.  Meetings don’t have to be long, boring, and unproductive. Try these ten unusual approaches to get out of a rut, stimulate more creativity, and be more productive. Follow Ken.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership writes the Planning Doing Cycle. Rarely will you have the luxury of time to plan everything out before you start a new project or change initiative. And even if you do, it’s likely that unforeseen circumstances will send you back to the drawing board. Instead of planning and then doing, try approaching it as an iterative process, as a “planning / doing” cycle – like building a vehicle while you are driving it. Follow Jesse.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds encourages us with Making the Most of Meetings.  Given the commitment individuals and organizations are making to meetings—and given the reality that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon—it’s incumbent upon leaders to ensure that they squeeze as much value as possible out of the time invested. This article offers 3 P’s to consider before calling your next one. Follow Julie.

Reflecting on Meetings

Meetings Secret Bonus QuestionPaul LaRue of The UPwards Leader shares How to Make Change after the Conference.  Most conferences lead to little or no lasting change. Paul provides ways to reverse that trend. Follow Paul.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement provides Better Meetings. Meetings are perennial problems. People sit through meetings and then complain about how big a waste of time it was. Here are a few very simple tips to help achieve results with meetings (instead of just agreeing that meetings are wasteful, but doing nothing to improve them).  Follow John.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog presents To Plan, or not to Plan, that is the Question, where she shares that life is what happens while you are busy making plans. By learning to focus both on what is happening in this moment and what you need to do to get you to your ultimate goals, you’re more likely to get there. Robyn offers tips on learning to walk that balance of leadership along the way.  Follow Robyn.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provides What You Should Do When Meetings Don’t Meet Expectations. This infographic provides tools for preparing for, making the most of, and reflecting on meetings to achieve better results.  Follow Beth.

Your turn.LGL News Coming Soon

Do you have a best practice to share? What topics would you like to see us cover in a future Frontline Festival?

We also have some exciting news coming later this month. Stay tuned for more information.

Are you a blogger? We would love to include you in our next Frontline Festival on the Art of the Tough Conversation. Submit your relevant blog posts here.

Project Management: Best Practices and Tools

Frontline Festival: Best Practices in Project Management and Project Planning

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on project management and planning. We’ve been doing a lot of work with project managers and their teams in our corporate work as well as speaking at a number of Project Management Institute conferences and events. We’re always looking for new best practices and insights to support people doing this vital work. So, we asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on this topic.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about meetings that get results and that people want to attend.  New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

PMI EMEA Conference: Becoming a More Strategic Project Manager

Project Managers practice elevating their gaze and Winning Well at the 2018 EMEA Global Congress in Berlin

Components of Project Management and Planning

Rachel Gray of Patriot Software, LLC gives Four Tips for Devising and Effective Small Business Project Management Plan.  Project management encourages small businesses to reach their goals on time and within budget. Create easy-to-follow project management plans to outline the necessary steps for reaching these goals.  Follow Rachael.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement gives us Good Project Management Practices.  Good project management practices require that you deliver a working solution quickly, prioritize and limit work in progress.  Follow John.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited offers 10 Tips for Planning a Low-Stress Event.   Events are a project in themselves. Beth shares observations from a well-planned event she had the privilege to attend. Follow Beth.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership presents Project Planning Lessons from Home Renovation.  You can learn a lot about project management when you decide to do some home renovation! Follow Wally.

True success has more components than one sentence or idea can contain. – Zig Ziglar

Gaining Commitment: Project Management and Planning

Paula Kiger with Lead Change gives us Disaster and Contingency Planning Lessons from the ICU. Are you a leader tasked with planning for routine operations along with the response when routines are disrupted in ways big or small? Then you need to remember that success, in Swanepoel’s words, “Isn’t just the next move – it’s what you do three, four, even 10 steps after that really counts.” Follow Paula.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds writes about Deconstructing Delegation. Project planning, management and execution rarely happen in an isolated vacuum. You need to draw others in, engage their hearts and minds, and eventually pass off tasks that must be done. Effective project managers are also effective delegators. This article offers a framework for getting the most from your delegation efforts. Follow Julie.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership  shares Create a Team Charter to Go Faster and Smarter.  The six elements of a team charter clarify the important agreements about the goals and how the team will work together to accomplish them. Taking the time to get clear agreements might slow things down in the beginning, but will help you later go faster in the right direction with smarter decisions. Follow Jesse.

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. – Paul J. Meyer

Challenges in Project Management and Planning

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights  presents Three Common Mistakes of Strategic Planning.  Avoid these to save time and chart the best course for the future. Follow Skip.

In our work with project managers, one of the biggest challenges is having the courage and skills to have the tough conversations. Here’s a short video about how project managers can apply our Winning Well, I.N.S.P.I.R.E. model to their work.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog provides, Are You Over-committing? How to Wow Them AND Take Control of Your Workload.  In it, she shares that by using the strategic approach of under-promising and over-delivering, you can make commitments that you can reasonably achieve without overloading your team and pushing to the limits. Follow Robyn.

Tony Mastri of Marion Marketing  gives us Four Must-haves in Your Marketing Plan for Small Business. Planning and managing your small business’s marketing can’t be too hard, can it? You might find that shortly after you get your feet wet, you’re in over your head. Learn which pieces of a marketing plan for small business are non-negotiable so you don’t drown in the details.  Follow Tony.

The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things. – Alexa Hirschfeld

We would love to hear your thoughts and best practices for becoming a more effective project manager. We encourage you to leave your ideas in the comments section, or links to your favorite resources.

the secret to managing remote teams

Managing Remote Teams: Let’s Grow Leaders April Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on managing remote teams. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on this topic.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

As we head out to the PMI EMEA Project Management Conference in Berlin, next month’s Frontline Festival is all about project management and planning. New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Management Mindsets for Leading Remote Teams

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference offers Hope is a Strategy, in which he shares that the key to managing any team, remote or otherwise, is fostering hope. Though it might seem too warm and fuzzy, hope liberates employee engagement. Follow Jon.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen writes Think About This Before Joining the Gig Economy Nation. If you manage a remote team, this piece will give you some insight into what to expect. It’s easy to forget that your remote workers have struggle (and triumphs) you don’t see. Follow Paula.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds wrote Rethinking Remote Relationships to remind us that creating connectivity within remote teams is about tapping hearts…not keyboards or touchpads.  Follow Julie.

Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing. – Warren Bennis

Building Relationships When Managing Remote Teams

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding reminds us that it is the job of virtual management to ensure that those necessary relationships among the team, no matter how geographically distant, are supported and maintained. This is not a simple order – and history offers us a cautionary example of the dangers that expansion and distance create. Consider the Roman Empire in Sean’s post: Three Tips to Manage Virtual Teams More EffectivelyFollow Sean.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group gives us Eight Successful Tips for Connecting with Remote Workers. With the numbers of hard-to-reach and remote workers growing, communication is even more of a critical part of a supervisor’s job. As much as remote workers may appreciate the convenience working remotely offers, they still need the human connection, conversation and insight of the workplace even when they are miles away or on the shop floor, to help them feel valued and included. Follow David.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog  provides Three Ways to Hear What Your Team Thinks About You,  sharing three surefire ways to hear what your team thinks by giving them opportunities and channels for sharing their points of view. Follow Robyn.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership gives us Making Virtual Teams Productive. In many ways, leading a virtual team is like leading one where everyone is in the same place, except when it comes to social support. Follow Wally.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement gives us How to Manage What You Can’t Measure.  The importance of psychology in managing people (remotely or in person) is too often underappreciated. Paying attention to what research can show about motivation, fear, trust, etc. is even more important and valuable for remote teams. A conscious effort is needed to make sure that connections between remote workers and other team members are strong. It is also more important to make communication explicit.  We often create problems – remote or not – when communication is largely implicit. Follow John.

Most good relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. – Mona Sutphen

Overcoming Challenges in Managing Remote Teams

Kaylee Riley of Patriot Software, LLC  knows that although letting employees work remotely has many benefits; it can be difficult to communicate information, set up meeting times, and hold everyone accountable. In Five Challenges of Managing Remote Teams (and How to Overcome Them) she helps us learn how to effectively lead remote teams and keep business operations running smoothly Follow Kaylee.

Eleonora Israele of Lead Change gives us Bringing Unity to a Remote Team. There are tons of advantages to working remotely and hiring remote workers, but there are some setbacks too. The lack of face-to-face communication and in-house team-building can cause contract or remote workers to feel less company loyalty, dedication, and connection.  Follow Eleonora.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership shares 15 Pretty Good Virtual Team Building Notes. Building a team is tough enough when you are all face to face; add time and distance between team members and the degree of difficulty quickly rises. These ideas can help you bridge the gap, build trust, and make you more effective as a team, wherever you happen to be.  Follow Ken.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer provides The Care and Feeding of Virtual Teams. The good news about technology is that teams can be spread throughout the world, offering a rich background for global enterprises. The difficult news is that time zones and the absence of visual interaction can cause teams to stumble or even fail to start at all. Follow Eileen.

Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off the goal. – E. Joseph Cossman

Your turn. We’d love to hear your best practices for managing remote teams. Please share in the comments below.

employee engagement

Employee Engagement: Ideas on Insights for Improvement– A Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on employee engagement. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on this topic.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about managing remote teams. New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Employee Engagement Research Statistics and a Call to Action

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference shares some scary statistics from the Edelman trust barometer which indicate that trust and employee engagement are declining. We need a leadership jolt and reboot our practices to raise trust and engagement to better levels. Follow Jon.

Dean Vella of University of Notre Dame Online  shares some of the research-based insights on the drivers of employee motivation in his post Motivating Employees is Key to Effective Management.  Lots of great information here from some of the best research in employee motivation showcasing how soft-skills are so vital in running highly effective organizations. Follow Dean.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds takes an in-depth look at the causes of attrition and ways to make your organization more sticky in Attenuating Attrition: How Leaders Can Create a Sticky Situation. Follow Julie.

Pierce Ivory of Advance Systems Inc. provides a comprehensive Employee Engagement Report showing us statistics on detached, disenchanted workers and what to do about it.

Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

According to Eileen McDargh of The Energizer, when a job is patterned, the same-old-same-old stuff, and a traditional career ladder is offered, great talent will not accept nor will they stay. In today’s fast-paced, changing competitive world, resilient people look for creative options, the ability to adapt on the fly, and the excitement of a challenge. Learn how you can, as an organization, change your policies to take advantage of this energyFollow Eileen.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding shares a motivational technique that applies to basketball,  business, education, medicine and virtually any industry where people can be inspired to give more effort and focus to their jobs.  Follow Sean.

Lisa Kohn from Chatsworth Consulting Group presents Skipping to work, bounding up the stairs, and other signs we love our jobs on The Thoughtful Leaders™ Blog.  She shares that one of the best ways to increase engagement is to help employees find what they love at work, so they indeed skip on their way in. Follow Lisa.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture gives us a Culture Leadership Charge: Seismic Change, where he describes the changes society is facing. This shift creates new demands on leaders. Leaders must change how they influence others to leverage employee passions, creativity and productivity no matter where those employees choose to work. Follow Chris.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader reminds us not to be crabby leaders. Crabs in a fisherman’s crate will pull other crabs down into the pack to prevent some from escaping. Does your leadership pull people down, or allow them to stretch and fulfill their gifts? Follow Paul.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership reminds us to First Engage Yourself: 7 Ways to Increase Your Own Engagement and Satisfaction. She gives us seven questions to evaluate our own level of engagement along with tips on what we can do if we score low on any of them.  Follow Jesse.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group explains that employees come to work for different reasons, have different goals, and are motivated by different things. If employees could collectively tell you what they want and need, here’s what they might say. Follow David.

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.”
-Sybil F. Stershic

 

According to Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership study after study has shown us that if you’re the boss, you are the person with the biggest impact on the productivity, morale and engagement of your team. He shares 10 ways managers can create better engagement. Our favorite was his number one answer:

“1. Show up a lot. All good things flow from this. You get to know your people and they get to know you.” Follow Wally.

William Steiner of Executive Coaching Concepts shares a post dealing with the lack of engagement from an “under management epidemic” that occurs when managers get so busy they do not take the time to connect well with their staff and focus on the fundamentals. He offers several suggestions for allocating more time to do just thatFollow William.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates offers some tips for reaching true consensus with your team–a feat that when done well, demonstrates the level of engagement on the team. Follow Shelley.

Barbara Kimmel of Trust Across America shares a sad but true story of employees being afraid to complete online satisfaction surveys for fear of retribution. When that happens, leadership may want to take a long look in the mirror.  Trust? My Company is a Sh_tshow!  Follow Barbara.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership shares Demotivation: 7 Ways You Might Be Killing Your Team’s Spirit. A team’s spirit means everything when it comes to productivity and engagement, but despite our best intentions, the way we lead can be a source of demotivation. Ken gives some concrete steps to get the team organized again.  Follow Ken.

Rachel Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  shows us How to Improve Employee Engagement. Engaged employees can increase your bottom line and lower your turnover rate. Rachel gives us five actionable steps toward that goal.  Follow Rachel.

Dean Vella of University of Notre Dame Online shares that recruiters and interviewers are looking deeper into a candidate beyond skills and experience. They also want to know how they will adapt and get along with their co-workers. This is referred to emotional intelligence and is known to play a role in promotion. EQ feeds employee engagement and is a part of work collaboration and team cohesiveness. Follow Dean.

P.S. If you’re looking for more great quotes on employee engagement, check out Kevin Kruse’s collection here. 

innovation and creativity at work

Innovation and Creativity at Work: A Frontline Festival

Are you searching for ways to bring more innovation and creativity to your team? In this month’s Frontline Festival, thought leaders from around the world share their insights on how to foster innovation at work.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about employee engagement. New contributors always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Innovation and Creativity in Customer Service

Chip Bell of Chip Bell Group (in the Inc. article, How to ‘Kaleidoscope’ Your Customers reminds us that today’s customers do not talk (remark) or tweet about good service; only experiences they find unique, special, and ingenious. Research shows value-added (taking what customers expect and adding more) will not provide a solid ROI. But, value-unique (delivering an unexpected, compelling surprise) creates animated advocates and fuels bottom line impact. Follow Chip.

As technology advances, you must innovate certain aspects of your business, too. Because so much communication takes place online, in-person customer service is limited.  Kaylee Riley of Patriot Software, LLC inspires us to come up with creative ways to provide excellent (and personal) customer service when we communicate with customers online.  Follow Kaylee.

Innovation & Critical Thinking

Own the UglySusan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership  shares why positive thinking isn’t enough. In fact, sometimes we need a more realistic view of reality to create positive movement and action. Sometimes what may occur as “negative” is actually a very good thing for business. Follow Susan.

According to Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership to lead well you have to be able to think creatively and independently. The good news is that thinking is a skill; these 25 ideas will help you sharpen those thinking skills and improve your chances to succeed as a leader. Follow Ken

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership helps us learn about the neurological mechanisms that can impede your employees’ creativity and ability to collaborate. He gives us three strategies leaders can employ to overcome these impediments. Follow Tanveer.

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding  posits that as complicated as sometimes we try to make it sound, innovation is most often either a MODIFICATION of an existing idea or the MARRIAGE of two existing ideas in a new or unexpected way… consider this very simple equation: NI = OI + YI.  Follow Sean.

Wendy Dailey of My Dailey Journey shares that in order for HR to help eliminate the salary gap, we need to change how we look at compensation and stop asking for salary history.  Follow Wendy.

Innovation Through Collaboration

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
– 
Steve Jobs

There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period. Brene Brown
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/innovation

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference offers that we’re at the tipping point of a new era of leadership. leaving stale leaders behind. The big change required is better collaboration and productive problem-solving. To get smart citizens, we need smart leadersFollow Jon.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds tells us that a key prerequisite for creativity and innovation is curiosity.  This post explores what it is and how to leverage it for improved results. Follow Julie

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates takes an innovative look at the role of feelings in the workplace. Follow Shelley

Encouraging Innovation

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”
Brene Brown

According to David Grossman of The Grossman Group  research published by the Harvard Business Review on fostering innovation within companies underscores the value of encouraging employees to be decision-makers. Read on to find out what the most successful innovation leaders do to foster innovation in their teams. Follow David.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement advises we make sure people have time, encouragement and freedom to pursue their passion. Far too often managers spend their time dealing with problems: problems with employees, and dealing with internal politics. Shift priorities so we instead prioritize creating space for people to flourish with other things being done if there is time.  Follow John.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provides questions, answers, and the four commandments of creativity and innovation. Follow Wally.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership shares: Your questions are more important than your answers. In your role as a leader, before jumping to a conclusion, ask questions that increase possibilities and creativity like “What don’t we know yet?”  Follow Jesse.

Are you a leadership blogger? We would love to have you join us in the next Frontline Festival. New contributors are always welcome.

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share about Strategy and Alignment

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on Strategy and Alignment. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on strategy.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about inspiring innovation and creativity. New contributors always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Including Your Team and Customers in Strategic Planning Efforts

According to Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership, one of the biggest mistakes leaders make is thinking they are supposed to have all the answers, especially when it comes to vision and strategy. There is a natural desire to look like you are smart and know what you’re doing,, but sometimes the smartest thing you can do is to involve your team. Here are eight guidelines to help you do it right.  Follow Jesse.

improve customer servicePaul LaRue of The UPwards Leader notices that many companies limit the amount of feedback they receive from customers and/or employees. Sometimes it’s an oversight; many times it’s deliberate to truncate open constructive discussion. Follow Paul

Ensuring Organizational Capacity to Execute Your Strategy

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement reminds us that it is important to plan well and to align the organization to successfully turn a strategy into action. Too little focus is given to building the capability of the organization to execute on the strategy. Lofty ideas without capability are not of much use, but the ability to execute strategy throughout the organization is powerful. Follow John.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights shares that no matter what process is used for strategy development, a strategic talent assessment is needed before “dropping the flag” on execution. There can be no achievement, nor alignment, without the right people in place.  Follow Skip.

According to Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds,  strategic alignment is a driving force for successful organizations. One thing exceptional leaders do is use ongoing performance dialogue to ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction. Julie shares ways to supplement (or replace) the traditional performance appraisal process to keep your team aligned and executing your strategy well. Follow Julie

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

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership shares that learning to work smarter, not just harder is a surefire way to accelerate and even amplify your success. However, there is a big difference between believing you can avoid hard work if you work smarter and knowing that working smarter will help ensure your hard work will pay off.  Follow Susan.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership gives us a bizarre social experiment reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, which sheds light on what it takes for leaders to unite a group of people and get them all pulling together. Follow Ken

Rachel Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  notes that in 2018, you might be looking for new strategies to drive customers to your small business. Creating a powerful and unique website that aligns with your business brand is a great strategy to increase customer traffic and, in turn, sales. Follow Rachel.

Simplify

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  —Michael Porter

Mind the MIT Let's Grow LeadersWally Bock of Three Star Leadership reminds us that if you want people in your organization to align their actions with your strategy, keep your strategy simple. Boil it down to a slogan if you can. Follow Wally.

Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC, of Positive Potentials, LLC has noticed that people tend to see strategy in terms of goals and action items while the strategy is the map with the overall vision. To bring clarity she shares a dynamic concept that visualizes the strategic planning process.  Follow Michelle.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited  reveals a simple three word “strategy” that has guided her career for years.  Follow Beth.

Strategic Planning and Stepping Up to More

Wendy Dailey of My Dailey Journey relays that as she finds herself focusing more on networking & helping others, she thinks that a key to success is local groups. This post talks about stepping up to be a part of the bigger picture and engaging volunteers to build stronger professional organizations.   Follow Wendy.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference reflects that some may view the past year with a sense of excitement while others view it as turmoil. In either view, finding our citizenship soul is critical. Follow Jon.

We’re always looking for new contributors to the Frontline Festival. If you’re a blogger, we welcome you to share your insights.

thought leaders best post of 2017

Thought Leaders Best Blog Posts of 2017: A Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival Best of 2017 Edition. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post of the year. We strategically didn’t define “best of,” but instead let contributors choose their own criteria. Some submitted their most popular post in terms of page views or social sharing, while others submitted the post that had the most personal meaning for them.

It was interesting to see the themes that emerged.  Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about strategy and alignment. New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.” -Seth Godin

Inspirational and Reflection

Winning Well at SHRMNew to the Festival, Wendy Dailey of My Dailey Journey shares that 2017 has been eye-opening for her. Building her HR Tribe allowed her to be open to a new definition of success. Follow Wendy.

What we loved: First off, meeting Wendy at the SHRM conference, and experiencing her amazing energy and enthusiasm. I remember feeling that excited when starting my blog and seeing how quickly it attracted wonderful people to connect with. She’s doing a great job engaging her tribe.  I loved how she takes her tribe with her to experience events. 

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership shares, “Some of the most popular pieces on my leadership blog revolve around stories I share that reveal a timely lesson on how to be better at leading others. It’s for this reason that my top post of 2017 revolves around a story – in this case, a story of one of my failures as a leader and the powerful lesson it gave rise to on the importance of effective listening.” Follow Tanveer.

What we loved: Tanveer’s vulnerability and sharing. No leader is perfect. Real growth comes from knowing that and working to improve.

Kaylee Riley of Patriot Software, LLC  notes that 2017 had its ups and downs for many business owners. For inspiration and insight on leadership, motivation, failure, and more, check out these helpful quotes, and get ready to tackle another great year!   Follow Kaylee.

What we loved:  “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” —J.K. Rowling, author

David Grossman of The Grossman Group explains, “In developing my thoughts on 21st century communications, I pulled together the best-of-the-best strategies that work from our clients who are leading in the global communications arena, and from my travels.” The results are these Top Ten Principles for leaders, organizations, and communication professionalsFollow David.

What we loved: Principle #6: There’s a greater focus on self.  Before you can lead others, you need to first know and understand yourself.

Thought Leaders Reflect on Leadership Behaviors

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership warns, “Please don’t become a boss if…” and then gives us a WONDERFUL list of reasons supervisors struggle.  Follow Wally.

What we loved: The ENTIRE list. We’ve seen every one of these derailers.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds asks, “What’s the alternative to micromanagement? Macromanagement!”  It’s a way of dealing with employees and others that honors who they are and what they know, while at the same time driving engagement and sustainable results.  Follow Julie

What we loved: Julie’s straightforward chart outlining the differences in behaviors of “micro-manager and a macro-manager.”

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates gets back to the basics with this top leadership tip--something we’d all like to see more of in this world. Follow Shelley

What we loved: The reminder that being nice can go such a long way when leading other human beings.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference reminds us that inciting and supporting continued chaos is not a sound leadership trait. A return to calmness is a leadership imperative that we embraced in 2017 and will continue to embrace in the coming years. Follow Jon.

What we loved:  We have enough chaos in the world.

  • Odd, divisive presidential tweets slam early in the morning.
  • Opioid and drug abuse rises. “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.”
  • Anxiety is up. “Over the past eight years, Google search rates for anxiety have more than doubled…”

We don’t need leaders creating chaos. We need leaders willing to solve the underlying issues to tame chaos.

Chip Bell of Chip Bell Group reminds us that after dark, all cats are leopards and shares what can a cat teach you about how to live life at the peak of success.  Follow Chip.

What we loved: This one was just fun! What a clever approach to talking about confidence and other success-inducing behaviors.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited shares one of her most popular posts of the year–which happens to coincide with something leaders should be doing a lot of.  Here’s How to Write a Meaningful Thank You NoteFollow Beth.

What we loved: Beth doesn’t just encourage us to write thank you notes; she gives a helpful structure on how to make them more meaningful.

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding admits that marathons are hard. And marathons are far more of an individual challenge than a team activity. So what does running a marathon have to do with you leading your team? A good bit, actually… Follow Sean.

What we loved: As a marathon-runner I totally get this! I know my marathons have made me a more disciplined and supportive leader.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader  brings to mind that leadership principles are timeless, and great principles transcend generations and cultures. He gives us some applications taken from what my kids learn from their martial arts Sensei. Follow Paul

What we loved: Heroic Courage. “Bushidos never waver in the face of fear or the face of compromise. They hold fast to Principles. Heroic courage is not a bravery to bend or break rules, but courage to stand for them…”

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement  posits that it seems that if there were better ways to manage, people would adopt those methods. But this just isn’t the case; sometimes better methods will be adopted but often they won’t. People can be very attached to the way things have always been doneFollow John.

What we loved: His question: How often is your organization losing out because better methods are ignored?

According to Alli Polin of Break the Frame, it’s easy to look the other way and assume that someone else will step up and get involved. What sets people apart are these five simple rules for your life and leadership.  Follow Alli.

What we loved: “Be someone who does what’s right, not only what’s easy.”

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership reminds us that just because someone has the title of “president” doesn’t mean they’re a leader. A leader is someone who people respect, who says, “Let’s go this way,” and people follow of their own volition. Follow Jesse.

What we loved: “A leader is the person who takes action. And others join in.”

Thought Leaders on Teamwork and Teambuilding

According to Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen, it’s an old cliche’ that “there is no ‘I’ in team,” but this version of the phrase, via a television reality show, brought humor to the idea. Turns out leadership shows up when something truly matters to us.  Follow Paula.

What we loved: Paula’s starting question, “When does something stop being a drill and begin being ‘real life?’ “

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture observes that we face a crisis of respect and civility in the US today  and gives us a solution.  Follow Chris.

What we love:  His reminder that the crises we’re seeing with sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior are not just with the rich and famous. “Incivility and disrespect play out every day in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, politics, and social media networks around the globe.”

Thought Leaders on Trust

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership offers that the conditions for trusting someone are very personal. In fact, despite how logical your assessments regarding trustworthiness may seem to you, it’s important to remember that not everyone takes the same approach.  Follow Susan.

What we loved: #5 of her 9 Actions to Build Trust, “honor your promises.”

“I use the word “honor” instead of “keep” your promises deliberately, because no one keeps all of their promises. Stuff happens and we are, after all, human. So this means EITHER do what you said you would do OR tell someone in advance of the due date that you can’t deliver. When you can’t deliver and you tell someone in advance, you can figure out together how to deal with the potential breakdown. That doesn’t count as keeping your promise, but it does honor your commitment and your relationship.”

Jon Verbeck of JonVerbeck.com  advises that all businesses big and small have great opportunities working with outside experts. We all develop our teams and being an outside expert, I understand it from both sides. This post describes some challenges and tips working with outside experts and consultants.  Follow Jon.

What we loved: his advice to help outside experts feel like they are part of the team. No one wants to feel like a “vendor.”

Thought Leaders on Conflict

Lisa Kohn from Chatsworth Consulting Group  presents Conflict is good – Five Ways to Make it Even Better! on The Thoughtful Leaders™ Blog where she presents a few simple, but not so easy, steps to take that can help make conflict more effective and productive. Follow Lisa.

What we loved: “We can get so caught up in the fight that we forget what we’re fighting for. And sometimes we’re fighting against each other, without realizing we’re fighting for the same thing.”

Won’t you join us?

We’d love to hear which posts resonated most with you (please leave a comment below). And we’re always looking for new contributors to the Festival!

the power of gratitude and appreciation

Gratitude and Appreciation: A November Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about gratitude and appreciation. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about your best of 2017.  Submit your best blog post of the year here!

WHY GRATITUDE IS IMPORTANT

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights  shares three steps to boost your thanksgiving quotient and 17 different benefits for a spirit of gratitude. Gratitude is one of the best ways to increase your success in the coming year. Follow Skip.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership gives us a look at how expressing gratitude can help leaders bring out the best in those they lead and drive their organizations to succeed. Follow Tanveer.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING GRATEFUL FOR PEOPLE

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement is thankful for the insight provided by his father on how to provide value through your work.  He says, “It seems to me we often neglect to appreciate how important it is for people to take pride in their work.  He gave me an early appreciation that while there are many factors influencing our decisions as we proceed through our careers, it is critical to do work that you are proud of.” Follow John.

Rachel Blakely of Patriot Software reminds us that during the holiday season and beyond, it’s important to step back and think about what you’re grateful for in your business. This year, let your customers know you’re thankful for them with these five tipsFollow Rachel.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates recounts when a plane full of passengers erupted in appreciative applause.  Follow Shelley

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen mentions thanks for the teachers in our lives, including people who “taught” us outside the classroom. They appreciate hearing our expressions of gratitude, even if quite a bit of time has elapsed. This is a note she wrote to a teacher decades after a meaningful incident. Follow Paula.

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding shares five reasons thankfulness is more than child’s playFollow Chery.

APPROACHES FOR BEING MORE GRATEFUL

“This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou

According to Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding, a constant focus on what is missing, what needs to get better, where the flaws are, can turn aspirations into frustrations. As a coach,  manager, principal, or leader in any arena, rather than seeing the hole, we should step back more often to appreciate the doughnut. We should find things to be grateful for. In just five minutes over seven days, you can completely change your focus and impact. Follow Sean.

According to Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership, Gratitude is good for you, but an “attitude of gratitude is not enough. You get maximum benefits if you spread it around.  Follow Wally.

In the post, Making Thanksgiving a Leadership Skill, Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog shares that we can reap greater benefits by making “giving thanks” a year-round leadership practice.  Follow Robyn.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader shares that we can appreciate leadership in many forms, but true leadership of positive influence on others is what it’s really all about. Follow Paul

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shares his Thanksgiving tradition: Grandma Elsie’s Chiffon Pie– and celebrates her generous spirit every holiday season. Follow David.

Chip Bell of Chip Bell Group is grateful for PASSION!! Without it, life would become plain vanilla, greatness would become mediocrity, and commitment would become complacency. In the words of English novelist E.M. Forster, “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” Follow Chip.

According to Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC, of Positive Potentials, LLC,  gratitude is a state of mind when you allow it to be. Gratitude is not a natural state. Consider two toddlers in the same room with a fistful of goodies. Often, they will want what the other one has too! This description derives from a selfish desire for survival that is hard-wired into us. We must make a choice for a different state of mind.  Follow Michelle.

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” William James

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership shares: An attitude of gratitude can provide lots of benefits, like increased happiness, improved health, and even a better night’s sleep. Here are eight things you can do today to make life better, both for you, and those around you, by focusing on what you have, instead of what you don’t. Follow Ken

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited suggests that a good mindset about giving/receiving revolves around forgetting what you give and remembering what you receive.  Follow Beth.

WHAT TO DO WHEN IT’S HARD

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership reminds us that the holiday season can be difficult for many people, but it’s still possible to feel joy and gratitude in stressful times… which is good for your physical and mental health. She gives us three steps to access gratitude when you’re feeling stressed. Follow Jesse.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer asks, “Do you ever have a moment when the world feels upside down and you are stressed or sick?” Eileen shares how the little things in life can give us pleasure even when we’re under the weather!  Follow Eileen.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture reminds us that while civility and respect is not demonstrated daily in many of our homes, neighborhoods, or workplaces, now is the time to begin being thankful and kind in every interaction. The choice is ours.  Follow Chris.

How about you? What are you most thankful for? How do you keep a grateful approach?