Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How Technology Is Changing The Way We Plan and Experience Events

By James O'Brien

Events and event planning are evolving into new, dynamic formats. Old models are falling away and technology is giving both planners and event participants an opportunity to grow and revisit the underlying ideas about how event spaces work.

"It's been fascinating watching just how fast things have changed," said Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, at a New York conference this year. He spoke about next steps and generational shifts in the ways we approach and interact with the events we attend.

1. From passive to engaged

The ways attendees' expectations have changed is due largely to technology in the event space.

"Event planners have mostly embraced the shift of thinking about attendees as passive audiences to engaged participants," says Brent Turner, vice president of solutions at Cramer. "The expectation for attendees is that they can be engaged. From the easy stuff — polling, contests, social curation — to environmental changes, such as how IBM has changed their product-demonstration approach at events, or a recent augmented-reality experience we created for UPS … to nuances like RFID tags that personalize digital signage, people expect to see themselves as part of an event."

2. Social media as a shared planning tool

Event participants already share their in-event experiences in real time via Twitter, Facebook and the like. With that as a given, now comes a newer drive on the planner's side: To place more control of events in their audience's hands.

South by Southwest, for example, allows registrants to interact in the social space to pick panelists; some 30% of its panels are crowd-chosen in this way. Twitter contests can push for conversions by offering prize registrations, sure — but at your event, social platforms can create opportunities as well. Place prizes or gift cards at key locations and tweet a photo of them, for example. Attendees who find the rewards will be pleased, but perhaps even more importantly, planners can use the tech-augmented action to direct traffic to spots and programming that they want to emphasize.

Originally published by Mashable.com on November 21st, 2014.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What is Emotional Intelligence?

By JP Pawliw-Fry,

Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is a term that was created by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name.

We define EI as the ability to:
  • Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions
  • Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others
In practical terms, this can be described as ‘emotional literacy’; it means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others. Examples of high pressure situations that require us to manage our emotions skillfully include:
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • meeting tight deadlines
  • dealing with challenging relationships
  • not having enough resources
  • dealing with change
  • dealing with setbacks and failure
Meaning Of Emotional Intelligence
Whether you are a formal manager or want to increase your individual performance (or both), the IHHP emotional intelligence training program will teach you the foundational principles and brain science of Emotional Intelligence (EI). You will become a student of human behavior: understanding what your brain does under pressure and how that affects your decision making and the impact you have on others. The idea is that the more you understand about how you react under certain conditions, the better you are able to anticipate your behavior and counter it with a more constructive response.
The Research:

Research shows that this ability to manage emotions, particularly when there is pressure and tension, is directly correlated with performance, leadership and even happiness.

In his book Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman sites the Harvard Business School research that determined that EQ counts for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be successful.

Emotional intelligence – why it can matter more than IQ: for additional research on the business case for EI, please refer to our white paper – The ROI for Emotional Intelligence

The Brain Science – An Amygdala Hijack
When they first hear the term EQ, many people think it’s something soft and squishy. We thought the same thing until we learned about the brain science of emotions. In particular, we all have the cognitive part of our brain where we do our best thinking, but we also have the emotional part of our brain – more specifically the amygdala – which responds when we feel fear or are threatened in any way (physically and socially).

In our programs, we help people understand the chemical responses we all experience under pressure, and how that can limit our ability to think cognitively, and move us toward our default behaviors during what is called an “amygdala hijack”, where this more primitive part of our brain can literally hijack our thinking mind.

Training In Emotional Intelligence
The IHHP emotional intelligence training program will help you improve your own personal leadership by teaching you to manage your emotions in your most difficult moments. This learning will enable you to perform at your best, and connect with others in a more meaningful way. You will also gain critical skills that will enable you to influence and coach others, regardless of your position in your organization. Not only will this make you a more effective leader, it also offers you the ability to increase your position within the company and ultimately influence its success or failure.

What Does IHHP Do That’s Unique In Training Emotional Intelligence?
We’ve been delivering keynotes, training, assessment and coaching programs on the topic of emotional intelligence in the workplace for over 15 years. We think we are especially good at:
  • Creating learning programs (virtual or classroom) that take the research and brain science of EI and translate it into practical learning and techniques people can apply when they are under pressure
  • Creating programs with very practical and interactive exercises that give people the opportunity to learn and practice how they can apply the new techniques they learn
  • Understanding the unique needs of our clients and applying the learning to those needs. Examples of ways we apply our EI programs include: leading through change, increasing engagement, creating accountability, building teams, driving sales performance, etc.

A thought leader on the subject of leadership, performance and managing change, Dr. Pawliw-Fry is a highly sought after speaker as well as being one of the highest rated lecturers at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management Executive Education Program. To learn more about JP Pawliw-Fry or to book him for your next event, follow this link to JP's bio page at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.



Monday, December 15, 2014

Discover Your Impact, Leverage Your Influence

By Glenn Llopis,

SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY


The uncertainty of the post-2008 economy has demanded more from the workforce. All too often, leaders have been forced to sacrifice their own identities in the rush of business necessity. They are now eager to reclaim those personal identities as the economy improves and opportunities return. In order for organiza- tions to retain top leadership talent, they must enable them with an identity that matters.

A leader’s brand represents the totality of what an individual can contribute to the workplace for the advancement and betterment of a healthier whole. The reclamation process begins by allowing leaders to serve as a natural extension of the corporate brand – allowing them to fully leverage their impact and influence both internally and externally.

Effectively leading others is a matter of influence – and developing this critical capacity requires leaders to continually invest time and energy into reconsidering and recalibrating how they are present with, and perceived by, others. Leaders must be more authentic, purposeful, and innovation-minded than ever before. In turn, this requires leaders to take charge of their own personal brands – with their personal brands representing the totality of what an individual can contribute to the growth of their direct reports, teams, and organizations.

Have you defined your personal brand as a leader?
Are you consistently living your personal brand every day?


If you’re like most, your answer to both is “no.” Based on a survey conducted by the Glenn Llopis Group (GLG), less than 15% of leaders have truly defined their personal brands and less than 5% are living them consistently at work – each and every day. Why? It can be extremely challenging and it requires a tremen- dous amount of self-awareness, action, and accountability.

Additionally, 70% of leaders believe they have defined their personal brands and 50% believe they are living them. But when you “peel-back-the-onion,” you realize that their focus was centered on self- promotion rather than a commitment to advancing themselves by serving others.

EMBRACE THE APPROACH

Developing your personal brand as leader is essential for the advancement and development of your career and that of others. Unfortunately, personal branding has become a “commoditized” term that has lost its intention as leaders and employees alike have irresponsibly used social media platforms such as LinkedIn to build their professional network and increase their relevancy. They believe LinkedIn and other social media channels can immediately increase their market value for their personal brands rather than recogniz- ing that the process of developing their personal brands is a much bigger responsibility; a never-ending journey that extends well beyond social media and self-promotion.

Personal branding is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others by consistently elevating your skills sets, capabilities, and industry know-how. Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving albeit employees, clients, industry, board members, community, etc. This doesn’t mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your personal brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories. Managing your personal brand as a leader requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and “a platform” that others can depend upon.

At GLG, developing your personal brand encompasses our 21st century leadership characteristics that serve as a roadmap for success and ultimate significance. It serves as a tool that allows you to measure your ability to manage your personal brand and course correct along the way. To naturally thrive as a leader, you must become more aware of the following six characteristics in order for your personal brand to awaken its full potential.

Characteristics
  • See Opportunity in Everything 
  • Anticipate the Unexpected 
  • Unleash Your Passionate Pursuits 
  • Live With an Entrepreneurial Spirit 
  • Work With a Generous Purpose 
  • Lead to Leave a Legacy
These characteristics serve as a lens to discover and develop your personal brand identity as a leader in support of GLG’s Personal Branding Framework.


Glenn Llopis is the Founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership and a best-selling author of Earning Serendipity: 4 Skills for Creating and Sustaining Good Fortune in Your Work, The Six Reasons Why Hispanic Leadership Will Save America's Corporations and Why Personal Employee Branding Will Save Your Career and Your Workplace. To learn more about Glenn Llopis or to book him for your next event, follow this link to Glenn's bio page at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.



Friday, December 12, 2014

The Fundamentals of Winning

By Tom Flick,

Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, would begin each training camp by addressing his players with a football in his hand exclaiming, “Men, this is a football, and this is how we are going to carry our football.” Sound ridiculous? It shouldn’t. Coaching the fundamentals and executing the basics better than anyone else was a Lombardi trademark. The net results were multiple championships. Since the tragedy of 9/11, the scandals and mismanagement of companies like Enron, Worldcom and other corporate giants, and the financial economic meltdown from 2008, the pendulum needs to swing back to the side of solid business fundamentals. Getting back to the ABCs of leading, coaching and developing talent to sustain a winning culture over long periods of time will be paramount in gaining a market edge in a very competitive global climate.

When I left my NFL playing days behind and entered into what I thought would be the organized, disciplined, team-first culture of corporate America, I was amazed to discover that for the most part, organizations seemed as if they were, winging’ it. That’s right—winging it! Wasted time, wasted energy and wasted talent. I found many to be lethargic, directionless and chaotic, with no sense of true urgency to win, now. Mired in complacency and false urgency the tenor of many was a sense that “they were doing was just fine”, lacking any deeply felt determination to take on the competition. Organizations need to get back to the fundamentals of winning by maximizing human performance. Developing, coaching and growing their talent to go after wins with deep felt determination.

Just as there are laws that govern entropy, gravity and aero-dynamics, there are laws that govern human performance—the actual practice of which allows us to successfully change and grow. I’ve witnessed too many organizations and their people caught up more in the terminology and acronyms of change, growth and winning, than the actual practice of it. The biggest challenge for organizations will not be strategy, systems or culture, but changing people’s behavior.

The fundamentals below have been the catalyst great organizations, teams and individuals possess to maximize the human potential of their most valuable asset, their people.

The Power of a Dream:
When organizations and individuals attempt to move forward, it is almost entirely and intellectual exercise. We’re educated people so we say, “The ROI has been rigorous.” “The market analysis is exceptional.” “It’s the right thing to do at this market time.” The reality is, analytics don’t move people forward. When it comes to affecting behavior, creating fast moving actions around important issues, trying to achieve our best everyday – feelings are more influential than thought.

The concept behind The Power of a Dream is creating a compelling picture of the future and the belief system that supports it – both individually and collectively. We don’t live in a society of rich vs. poor as much as we live in a society of dreamers vs. non-dreamers. Organizations are made up of people who long to be part of something bigger than themselves. Who want to know their work is for a greater cause. Without a big dream or compelling picture of the future, people won’t give the added effort or make the needed sacrifices required to sustain success.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • What motivates you?
  • What’s your purpose?
  • How do you focus energy or how do you get people to focus their energy? What’s your picture of your future?
  • What is it that you really do for a living? 
The power of a dream answers those questions. It creates the belief that great opportunities are ahead. It brings alive what is possible and why. It engages the hearts of followers. It stirs our passion. It eliminates low priority items off our calendar. Social psychologists say that we spend 90% of waking time gathering information and data to support two things—our past and our present, which leaves just 10% of our time to think about our future—and that’s where the magic lies. The truth is, we don’t usually get what we want, but we most always get what we expect. Why? Because the ideas in our heads rule our world. We subconsciously move towards our most dominant thoughts and belief system; that big dream or compelling picture of our future can actually move us from where we presently are, to a future place of more value; where we wish to be. Time and time again, I’ve witnessed the impact of big dreams on individuals and organizations. Whether it’s becoming the first man on the moon, the most compassionate hospital, the most service-oriented hotel or the world’s greatest athlete, people want to be called to something bigger than themselves.

Big Measurable Goals:
Goal-setting is the most miss-understood and poorly used tool in business. The net result is a workforce trapped in false urgency. False urgency is a frenetic behavior based on anxiety and fear. False urgency is the frantic, ramped up behavior that leaves everyone exhausted at the end of the day without advancing the ball any further down the field. It is certainly miss-guided effort.

If the big dream is the launching pad, the rocket is the measurable goal. I am not talking about ethereal goals or idealistic goals...“I wish, or hope”...but actual measurable goals with built-in action steps.

Five things occur when we set measurable goals with actions steps:
  1. Goals set a fundamental structure that sets people up to win.
  2. Goals allow us to exercise extreme effort. 100% effort is the necessary ingredient that allows great competitors to maximize their talent.
  3. Goals move us from a position of involvement to commitment. Can you receive a paycheck if you’re involved? Yes. But you’ll never be world class.
  4. Goals allow us to effectively use our full potential by generating true urgency.
  5. Goals create contagious can-do attitudes. Funny, isn’t it, how we hire on aptitude and fire on attitude? 
Too many potential winners are competing in life like the cross-eyed discus thrower. The cross-eyed discus thrower doesn’t score a lot of points, but he keeps the crowd awake—because he’s all over the place. Measurable goals keep us focused on important issues and tasks allowing us to be significantly more effective than the vast majority who expend wasted energy and never reach their destination.

Character is Power:
Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be esteemed more than gold or silver.” How true. The fundamental truth is—good people do win! Good companies do win. Doing right is good business. No longer will the win/lose mentality championed by the corporate culture of the last decade be tolerated. Customers are tired of the “me first” attitude. Successful companies and people understand this fundamental principle and take the time to develop value sets and core beliefs by which to live.

Why? Because success is weighty. Success puts demands on our character. Without clearly defined values, people lose all sense of moral responsibility and they end up running Enron. They run large parts of the world, and they run it badly. I don’t mean they run them inefficiently or run them unprofitably. I mean they run them morally badly. Your customers are essen- tially asking two questions of you and your people... “Can I trust you?” and “Can I trust your company?” Answer those two concerns by the values you live, and you’ve gained a customer for life. People are drawn to leaders of character. For leading and managing people, this is critical because no one can find out your inconsistences, or lack of values, better that the people you’re trying to lead.

Leadership is the Name of the Game:
Leadership really is the name of the game. The impetus in corporate America should be focused 70% towards leadership and 30% towards management. I am not stating leadership is good and management is bad. I am not saying that leadership is better than management. I am saying in organizations today, leadership needs to be taught, emphasized and focused upon to a higher degree. The educational systems in America and Europe are predominantly geared towards management, leaving people with what I call, “managerial mindsets”. Management is the process of keeping things the same. It’s budget- ing, staffing, controlling, smart problem solving...all good things, except it doesn’t move anybody forward. That’s why most organizations are over-managed and under-lead. Leadership is a wholly different animal. Leadership is vision and strategy, communicating vision and strategy, motivating action, getting buy-in...moving people forward.

For too long we have been socialized and traditionalized to believe leadership is a title, corner office or degree. It is none of these. Real leadership has a “softer” side to it. I do not mean “weak.” I am talking about courageous, visionary, authentic leadership. Authentic leaders are those that know how to “be real”—the ability to be honest and transparent with them- selves and those they come in contact with. Real leadership is the ability to live and lead the change that we expect in others. That’s why real leaders never hide out in their office, they are always the visible symbol of what they want others to become. This fundamental act is vital to winning.

There is also false assumption that power, authority and title make the difference in leadership...they don’t. The people who make the difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones who understand that their job is to ultimately help people win. The fact is you don’t win and keep clients on product or price, but during, “Moments of Truth.” What are “Moments of Truth?” It’s that moment where you have an opportunity to tell your story, to be real, transparent, dependable and authentic. During a moment of truth, an authentic leader’s voice becomes a megaphone that amplifies above a bad year, shareholder pressure and pressing competition. It also relaxes, liberates, empowers, and grants permission for others to be real and speak the truth. Leading others is about winning over the head and the heart of followers.

Winning isn’t so much about talent – talent is the price of admission. Winning is about igniting the passion in people to get the most out of their talent. It’s not what you know, but rather what you do with what you now that makes the difference. Ensure consistent winning results, by applying the fundamentals of winning as part of your game plan.


Following his successes as an NFL quarterback, Rose Bowl Champion, and Pac-10 Conference "Player of the Year" Tom Flick now applies his winning ways as a dynamic and highly sought-after speaker and leadership expert, delivering over 3,000 presentations to a "who's-who" list of clients that includes Microsoft, Starbucks, Hallmark, Boeing, American Express, NASA, Ritz-Carlton Hotels and the Pentagon. To learn more about Tom Flick or to book him for your next event, follow this link to Tom's bio page at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to Turn Your Worst Employee Into a Top Asset

By Thomas Kolditz,

You've heard the adage, "Hire the right people, and everything else is easy." That may be true, but it's also unrealistic—especially in start-ups and rapidly growing, innovative businesses. Mistakes are made in hiring; high-potential peope fizzle out, burn out, or check out. Every owner eventually leads a workforce with mixed talent and ability.

And inevitably, one member of the workorce comes in dead last.

In that situation, the temptation is to fix the weak link. Under pressure from other team members who resent the poor performer, you start to squander time and energy in righteous indignation, remediation, and repair. It’s a dispositional world view—if only you could fix this one person, the organization would be better. I once took charge of an organization where a direct report actually told me, “Here we spend 90% of our time on the worst 10% of our performers.” If the worst are taking energy away from the best at your company, there is no way you are performing to capacity, and your leadership will be distracted and ineffectual.
How great leaders handle the problem

So what should you do? Great leaders reframe this issue, and start working on behalf of the team instead of fixing the “eaches”—a more situational world view.

Many years ago I saw this play out on a planning staff run by then-Lieutenant Colonel David Petraeus. It became clear that a few of us were substantially weaker than others. Petraeus had the power to fire and hire, but turnover creates its own set of challenges. Rather than spending his time trying to fix individuals, the future four-star drilled into team development using the weak performance as team indicators, rather than individual failings.

We became better—not in spite of the weakest performers, but because of them. Their performance focused us on organizational vulnerabilities and areas where we could make changes to strengthen our processes. Our team took responsibility for each other's products, worked together, and all boats rose. We sometimes worked around those who needed help, touching up their work, making sure that the team didn’t fail. We were respectful of people trying their very best but falling a little short, and everyone learned to critique unemotionally. I loved working on that staff, and in just a few months with no personnel changes, we became very, very good.
Why the weak performer is a gift

The primary insight is that poor performance points to conditions in the organization that allow it to occur. What a gift that can be! In the long run, it’s usually more important for you to address those conditions than it is to fret over a single weak employee. Is there a flaw in the hiring process that, if fixed, could improve hiring across the organization? How can on-boarding be improved so that everyone’s potential is maximized? Are the right assessments and metrics in place to help predict problems before they take the organization down? Are other leaders in the right place at the right time? Is there sufficient coaching? Is there sufficient guidance provided so that people make the right decisions? The list goes on.

A single poor performer can capture a leader’s attention and energy like a drowning person taking a would-be rescuer to the bottom. Team rescues, on the other hand, always succeed.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and do not represent an official position of the US Military Academy, the Army, or the Department of Defense.


Brigadier General (Ret.) Tom Kolditz is a Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management and Director of the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management. His experience as a leader development expert spans four decades in the public, private, and social sectors. General Kolditz holds numerous degrees, including a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Vanderbilt University, as well as Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Social Psychology, a Master of Military Arts and Science, and a Masters in Strategic Studies. To learn more about Tom Kolditz or to book him for your next event, follow this link to Tom's bio page at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

3 Things Leaders Must Do to Build Meaningful Communities


By Douglas Conant,


This piece originally appeared as a guest post on Tanveer Naseer’s blog as part of a month-long series celebrating the release of Naseer’s first leadership book, Leadership Vertigo (available in stores September 25th, and available for pre-order here). Tanveer Naseer is an award winning leadership writer and keynote speaker – learn more about his work here or connect with him on twitter at @TanveerNaseer.

Have you ever set a concrete goal and worked tirelessly towards reaching it, only to realize you haven’t quite hit your target? If so, you’re not alone. In their new book, Leadership Vertigo, Tanveer Naseer and S. Max Brown explore the elusive space between leaders’ best intentions and their actual actions. Many leaders have an aspirational mission that drives their work but fall short when it comes to actually reaching their goals in a sustainable way. Or worse, they may delude themselves that things are on track only to be faced with the sobering reality that they are missing the mark. In their book, Naseer and Brown endeavor to help leaders entrenched in this counterproductive “leadership vertigo.” By identifying 4 key “pillars” of success, the book helps leaders mired in adversity to recalibrate and achieve enduring success. When they approached me to talk about their first “pillar”, Community, I was happy to share my experiences as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and to help answer this trenchant leadership question: What steps can we take to foster a community of people working zealously and thoughtfully towards common goals?

In my experience, to activate and engage the passions of an entire group of people – you must transform the group into a highly-functioning community of individuals who want to be their best, who feel exceptionally valued, and who celebrate one another’s successes. To build this kind of community, the change must begin with you modeling the necessary behaviors. Gandhi was right — you have to be the change you want to see in the world. Here I share three “musts” for leaders who hope to build exceptional communities of people. As you read through these three tips I’ve gleaned from my leadership journey, it’s important to remember this essential leadership truth:

It is unrealistic to expect extraordinary effort and performance without creating an environment in which people feel extraordinarily valued.

1. Give Thanks. My practice of writing over 30,000 thank you notes during my tenure as CEO of Campbell Soup Company is somewhat well known. But this important ritual of giving thanks began way back when I was working to find a new job in the Spring of 1984 – after being suddenly fired from my job as the Director of Marketing for the Parker Brothers Toy & Game Company. I was devastated — I had two small children and one very large mortgage and I felt every bit the victim. I’ve written a lot about the many lessons I learned from this experience but one of the most crucial was the community-building power of honoring others. I learned this from one of the most influential people in my leadership journey – an inspiring outplacement person assigned to me after I was fired, named Neil MacKenna. Neil was a spirited, crusty New Englander who wouldn’t let me inhabit the role of the victim for a second. With Neil’s guidance, I learned that in business, as in life, we can’t make it alone.

You see, early in my career, I was shy and reserved. Diligent, hard-working, driven to succeed, yes – but I kept my head down and did my work quietly. I isolated myself. As a result, I was sadly disconnected to the business world when I lost my job, and lacked the skills to build a network. Neil honed in on this and began equipping me with the tools to build a community.

Applying Neil’s advice, I got the name of every single person with whom I interacted, from the head of the company to the receptionist. Even after I secured my next job, I kept in touch with all the people I’d met along the way, maintaining thoughtful relationships, and vigilantly trying to be helpful in return. Through this practice of connecting with people, honoring them, and thanking them for their contributions, I found myself with an ever-growing group of people who genuinely wanted to help me, and who knew I would do the same for them. Over the years, I’m happy to say I’ve had the opportunity to repay their kindness many times. And, I’ve developed a life-long habit of giving thanks which has helped me immensely in building productive communities of people as a leader in the corporate world. The harder you work to make people feel valued, the harder they will work for the enterprise. And, when you thank people for meeting or exceeding agreed upon goals, you are also reinforcing the high standards of your organization in a thoughtful way. Meaningful gratitude is at the heart of any effectively thriving community!

2. Treat “Interruptions” as Community Building Opportunities. The modern workplace is demanding. Between relentless meetings, emails, text messages, questions to answer, problems to solve, fires to put out – it can begin to feel like you are drowning in an immeasurably vast sea of responsibilities. Sometimes it seems this exasperating litany of interruptions is preventing you from getting any “real work” done.

But one of the most powerful and enduring lessons I have learned in my over thirty five years of leadership is that these thousands of little interruptions aren’t keeping you from the work, they are the work. You can build a lasting community, one moment at a time, by showing up for your stakeholders in an authentic way when they need you. To reframe these moments in an empowering way, I call them “TouchPoints.” By adopting this approach to “interruptions” you can dramatically increase your ability to lead effectively, clarify strategy, build trust, and forge meaningful relationships. All you have to do is remember that each interaction, or TouchPoint, is rife with the potential to become the high point or the low point in someone’s day. If you choose with purpose to see these moments not as distractions from your work, but as the work, then you can begin to lead more thoughtfully in each and every moment. So, the next time someone “interrupts” you, remember that this is your chance to infuse your burgeoning community with renewed energy. And, it’s your chance to genuinely offer your help. This sends the message that you have their backs, that you value their time as much as you value your own, and that you are ready and willing to roll up your sleeves and help them fight the good fight for your community.

3. Lead With Integrity. This third most crucial tool for building thriving work communities cannot be overstated. As the leader, you must do what you say you are going to do. And do it well. How can people trust a leader who says one thing but does another? They can’t. And they won’t. More importantly, how can you expect your stakeholders to work tenaciously towards meeting their commitments if you don’t do the same? Remember, communities are built on relationships. Relationships are built on trust. If they can’t trust you, they won’t work alongside you to build a better world in the workplace and beyond. So, on your leadership journey, remember that you’re either going to become known as someone who does what they say they’re going to do or someone who does not. When you commit to “walking the talk” in an integrity laden way, you grow your credibility and create a profound reservoir of trust and belief in your ability.

My experience leading people has taught me that employees want to do meaningful work in a place where they can have an extraordinary and palpable sense of community, a place that has high standards, a place that cares deeply about them on an individual level, and a place where they can learn and grow. It is absolutely in our power as leaders to create communities that accomplish these mandates. By valuing people with our sincere thanks, embracing interruptions as opportunities, and leading with integrity we can begin to build thriving groups of people who will work their hardest to help solve the world’s problems and grow the success of organizations. Indeed, committing to fostering these types of communities is the only way forward in a very dynamic and challenging world.


Douglas R. Conant, New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker is dedicated to improving the quality of leadership in the 21st century. He serves as Chairman of Avon Products as well as Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute (KELI) at Northwestern University. The newly formed KELI initiative is designed to help leaders of today enhance their ability to lead in the "here and now." This program combines the best insights of the Kellogg academic curriculum with the best practices of world class leaders across the landscape at the highest levels of the organization. To learn more about Douglas Conant or to book him for your next event, follow this link to Douglas' bio page at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Finance Industry News Digest


Be sure to check out the latest Finance Industry News Digest.  This edition focuses on the latest latest trends for finance company leadership while highlighting the works of Jeremy Rifkin, Ian Bremmer, Peter Zeihan and Brett King.

Read Now →