Frontline Festival: Best of 2018 Edition

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival!  This month we are celebrating each blogger’s favorite post of the year  (as identified by them). It’s always so much fun to see what emerges as the very best, and which topics rise to the top, after all the consistent writing of these amazing thought leaders. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

What’s Next For the Frontline Festival in 2019

The January 2019 Frontline Festival will be about setting your team up for an amazing year. We have an open call for exceptional blog posts, podcasts, and videos that will help set managers up for success in 2019 (e.g. goal setting, employee development, strategic planning, visioning). New contributors welcome. Send us your submissions here!

Beginnings and Endings

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited reminds us that Sometimes Helping People Means Letting GoHave you ever had to say “goodbye” to a client, customer or great job? Beth reminds us that stepping away isn’t always a bad thing. Follow Beth.

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC gives us Five Ways to Improve New Employee Onboarding. A poor onboarding process can essentially push employees out the door and into another company’s arms. Learn how to improve onboarding at your small business to help you hang onto top talent.  Follow Rachel.

project managers enjoy keynote speaker

Building Great Cultures

Leadership is the capacity to transform vision into reality. ~Warren Bennis

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture gives us a Culture Leadership Charge Video: We the People. Civility is in short supply in our world today. Chris believes that the US has strayed far from the foundations as a republic. In this post and 3-minute video episode, Chris specifies three ways we each can boost integrity, inclusion, and service to others, every day in our homes, communities, and workplaces. Follow Chris.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference offers “Stick It to the Man” – the Danger of Bystanders. “Stick it to the man” was an expression of protest against too much power or wrongdoing. Today, it’s become a meaningless chant for bystanders. Now is the time to encourage upstanders!  Follow Jon.

Employee Engagement

“Leadership is practiced not so much in words but in attitudes and actions”. ~ Harold S. Geneen

Peer Conflict: Questions For CollaborationValerie Chua of Manila Recruitment shares Understanding Why Employees Leave: 10 Turnover Statistics You Need to Know. High employee turnover rates never mean well for a company. It’s a glaring sign that something could be wrong with some aspects in your business. Here are the vital statistics you should know regarding why your employee hands in their termination notice, as well as tips for employee retention. Follow Valerie

Nate Regier of Next Element Consulting gives us Beyond Rapport: How to Increase Engagement with Coaching Clients.  This was the most visited post on Nate’s blog in 2018. Connect with and engage coaching clients at a deeper level by adapting your communication and motivational strategies to fit their personality. Follow Nate.

Developing and Supporting Your Team

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

Chip Bell of Chip Bell Group gives us How to Lead Middle Aged Minnesotans with a Swedish Accent. Chip observes, “We are experiencing a siege of prescriptive approaches on how to lead people who are (fill in the blank with your favorite typecast.) My personal favorite is middle-aged Minnesotans with a Swedish accent.  We could add to this group “introverted amiables with ISFJ Myers-Briggs scores!!” “All generalizations are false,” said Mark Twain, “including this one!” Follow Chip.

Ronni Hendel of InsightOut Leadership provides The Habit of Curiosity. Curiosity is so much more than a personal attribute. It’s a practice to develop, a skill to hone and a mindset to adopt—a habit. In this post, she explores both the importance of curiosity for leaders and ways to bolster one’s curiosity. Follow Ronni.

Ed Krow of Ed Krow, LLC shares What My Daughter’s Golf Tournament Has to Do with Performance Management. This was one of the most-commented-on posts for Ed this year–people related to the simple leadership message it contains. Follow Ed.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader asks, Do You Know the Temperature of Your People? Temperature checks can be great, informal ways to have a dialogue with your people and get their views on your culture and what’s working, or not. Follow Paul.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer shares 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.


Sebastian Hurt shares one of our signature Winning Well concepts, the art of ditching the diaper genie when having tough conversations.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership provides The Power of Asking Questions: 7 Ways Questions are More Powerful than Answers. In our desire to prove our competence we often find ourselves in a hurry to provide good answers. But as leaders, there are at least seven reasons why asking good questions is really the smarter move. Follow Ken.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group gives us The Art of Active Listening. The concept might seem simple, but active listening – that is, fully concentrating on what’s being said – takes work and practice. The results can make a significant difference in the quality of relationships, followership and overall results. Sharpen your listening ears with these 5 steps and then take our free listening quiz… the results just may surprise you. Follow David.

Cheri Torres of Conversations Worth Having reminds us about Restoring Civility. What if each of us chose to stop engaging in these debates and word matches? What if instead we chose to shift the conversation, inviting civility simply by asking questions that demonstrate care and respect while creating a positive tone and direction for the interaction? Here are a few suggestions for how you might use questions to shift a conversation. Follow Cheri.

Leadership Development & Self Reflection

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds gives us Learn-Gevity: Enhancing Your Ability to Learn, Perform and Succeed Over Time. 2019 will likely be more dynamic, chaotic and uncertain than 2018. As a result, building the sustainable capacity to continuously learn, grow and remain relevant only becomes more important. Here are seven strategies for making it happen. Follow Julie.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership asks, Why are There So Many Bad Bosses? There are lots of bad bosses out there, way too many. But it may not be their fault.  Follow Wally.

Lisa Kohn from Chatsworth Consulting Group gives us Vulnerability is Not a Dirty Word, It’s a Leadership Skill.  Lisa questions the myth that we need to always be strong and infallible and offers reasons why vulnerability is actually an important part of being human and of leading well. Follow Lisa.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates tells us When to NOT Trust Your Gut.  Shelley’s example of a helicopter pilot is a great reminder of the times when it’s best NOT to go with your gut. Follow Shelley.

Business Fundamentals

Employee engagement - play the game don't game the scoreErica Marois of UBM challenges us with Want to Improve Quality? Ditch the Score from Your Scorecards.  Scorecards are a standard component of most quality management programs. Learn more about NFCU’s unique approach in this interview with Kristy Powers (aka K-POW), their manager of COO Quality Service.  Follow Erica.

Tony Mastri of Marion Marketing gives us How to Choose an SEO Company for Your Business. Marketing has become more technical than ever before, and it can be difficult for businesses to properly vet marketing agencies and SEO companies. This well-received guide includes items to look for (and others to avoid) while choosing an SEO company for your business. Follow Tony.

Jon Verbeck of reminds us that Business Leaders Must Understand the Basics of Financial Statements.  “I’m not an accountant” or “I’m not a numbers person” is not an excuse for a leader not to understand the basics of important financial documents.  Follow Jon.

Thank you!

We are so delighted to work with so many amazing leadership experts each month to produce our Frontline Festival. Thank you for an amazing 2018 and we look forward to more collaboration in the coming year.

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  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!