Employing Empathy

Empathy, the capacity to understand another person’s perspective and feelings, is often described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice. Empathy is a skill that enables leaders to scan large sets of data and establish priorities, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information by assessing signals, anomalies and novel patterns that compel their attention. For those who master it, employing …

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Investing in Appreciation

During this prolonged time of disruption and stress, those you lead benefit from your personal attention in letting them know that they are appreciated and valued. The return on these efforts is higher individual and team performance, greater collaboration, increased willingness to invest in changes that deliver improvements, and enriched job satisfaction for your people.  Good employees are hard to find, develop, and keep. And replacing trained, experienced people is often quoted as the #1 non-productive cost …

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Inspiring Energy

We celebrated Labor Day this week, a day dedicated to the contributions that working people make to our country’s progress and supporting us all. It’s a remembrance that we appreciate more this year because the Covid disruption has created a stark contrast. We honor those who have defied the risk and worked, often tirelessly, to keep products flowing and shelves stocked, to care for us, to teach us and to protect us; likewise, we remember and respect …

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Leading with Attitude

A leader’s attitude is always on display; but during a crisis, people pay closer attention.  While no one can control the virus attacking us, every employee is watching to discover how their leader is reacting to the challenge. Effective leaders focus on what they can control, and that includes their attitude. It’s a choice they make every day. Acting with a positive mindset provides a model for their personnel, a direction to follow.  Life does not arbitrarily impose itself on us. Rather, we choose …

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Controlling the Price Discussion

Price is obvious to all customers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. It simplifies, and so expedites, their buying decision with minimal consideration. It’s why they like to hear the numbers as early in your discussion as possible.  But talking price too early, without first learning more about the customer’s need and why its resolution is important, just confirms their initial perception of your offering as a commodity. And like every other commodity supplier, …

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The Impact of Observation

Having signed 52 baseball prospects who would later become major league players, Tony Lucadello is known as baseball’s greatest scout. His discoveries included Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt.  The number of his signees making it to the big leagues is far greater than any other scout. And he accomplished this with a territory that included Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, rather than the good weather states of Florida, Texas or California where more opportunities to …

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Practicing Productive Conflict

The quest for improved results dictates the need for change. It’s a journey filled with conflicting opinions that require resolution before commitment to the change can be secured.  In his latest book, “Thriving in Conflict,” Doug Johnston presents his definition of conflict as “a gap between what we expect and what we experience that leads to deeper understanding and better results.  The “deeper understanding” described in Doug’s definition is enabled by ensuring that the exchange of differing opinions remains …

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Investing Your Irreplaceable Time

With the holidays behind us, the routine of our life returns, bringing its heightened awareness of time. The digits we use to measure it will dominate once again, and since time is irreplaceable, the choices we make about investing it will dictate results. Before your routine reasserts its impact on your life, consider how you invested your valuable time last year. What did you accomplish? What worked, and what didn’t? Why is that? Did your accomplishments fulfill your purpose as a business? What unmet goals or objectives …

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The Hard Part

When I was a CEO, one of the lessons I learned over and over again, was that our business lived on the street, with the customers…not in our facilities.  While our Operations personnel made essential contributions to the success of the business, delivering on promises made by our marketing, sales and customer service folks, they operated primarily with established expectations and known variables around product, process, and due dates. They challenged the status quo to make us better, …

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3 Ways to Strengthen Emotional Intelligence

The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he or she will be in building teams that collaborate, take ownership and deliver results. A leader’s strong interpersonal skills enable the creation of connections and the development of trust necessary to help teams achieve goals and drive change. Understanding how their emotions and actions affect those they lead, and engaging openly and transparently with their team, enables these leaders to guide, challenge and sustain their people. These …

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