Archive for March, 2009

Have you ever found yourself looking at a self-made millionaire and wondering what that person has that you do not have

Have you ever found yourself looking at a self-made millionaire and wondering what that person has that you do not have? After all, there has to be something that contributed to the millionaire’s success — something you have not quite figured out yet. Here is the deal… All self-made millionaires have three things in common. Many would pay a pretty penny to find out what these three things are. I am going to let you in on the secret for free.

Unwavering Drive

One thing all self-made millionaires have, without fail, is unwavering drive and ambition. Do not think these moguls experience instant success. The majority of self-made millionaires experience their share of defeat before success is ever achieved. The difference is the fact that they do not let defeat stop them. When these people fail, they pick themselves back up, brush off the dirt, put themselves back together and jump right back on the track to success.

If you want to succeed in life, learn a lesson from this common millionaire personality trait. Do not let failure stop you. Each time you fail, rejoice in it. It brings you that much closer to success.

Constant Thought

“I think, therefore I am.” Sound familiar? It should. Descartes was quite a wise philosopher and he definitely understood the power of thought. So do self-made millionaires. The mind of a successful person is always at work. They breathe success, they eat success and they dream success. A common man looks at a pile of garbage and does not think anything about it. A successful man looks at a pile of garbage and wonders how it can make him a profit.

If you want to experience success, you can not wait for it to come to you. Your mind needs to be in constant motion, thinking and creating ways to generate success.

Sincere Generosity

Yes, there are rich people in the world who are not very nice and definitely are not ethical. However, those people eventually find themselves swimming in the ruins of their failed success. All self-made millionaires who truly succeed and stay on top have this in common – they know how important it is to give.

Call it karma or call it God’s way of rewarding the faithful, it seems that the most successful people in the world are the people who give generously. Just look at Oprah if you do not believe me. Think of the most successful self-made millionaires and you will notice that every single one of them know how to give freely. If you want to be successful, you need to learn how to give back to those around you and how to use your wealth to make the world a better place.

Why is it important to develop future leaders within your company

Why is it important to develop future leaders within your company?  Continuity of company culture, labor shortages, and an unexpected death of a senior manager are just a few important reasons.

In his book, Built to Last, Jim Collins describes the very successful succession planning process that GE’s CEO, Reginald Jones, took to find a new CEO.  The process involved 96 candidates over seven years before Jones narrowed the candidates down to a single successor: Jack Welsh.

GE’s commitment to the succession process not only identified Jack Welsh, but all of his predecessors as well.  These leaders were visionaries and change agents – an important, ongoing part of GE’s culture.

While you may not currently be in need of a successor, have you at least identified some potential candidates?  Who within your organization has the potential to succeed you?  And how long will it take before they are prepared to take your seat?

Challenges for Mid-Market Companies

Unlike GE, mid-market companies generally don’t have 96 candidates in the succession planning process queue, and a seven year process may be overkill.  At the same time, many mid-market companies often wait until it is too late to successfully identify and develop their next CEO.  Potential candidates may leave their current company to grow with another company before they are formally identified for succession opportunities.  The very worst scenario involves a candidate leaving for a competitor who promises them increased responsibilities and leadership development opportunities that their current company failed to provide.

Another challenge for mid-market companies is their lack of a structured management training program for current and future leaders as found in many Fortune 500 companies.

Redefining Succession Planning for Mid-Market Companies

The succession planning process should start with you, your organization’s leader, and your talent management or human resources department.  Work with this department to create a list of critical success factors and specific job requirements.  Identify all must-have experience and skill sets as well as the nice-to-haves.  If you don’t have people internally with these skills set, bring in a consultant to assist in the succession planning process.

Once the job profile is complete, compare it to your candidates.  Identify the top candidates and determine what leadership development skills they will require.  Some of your leadership development process can be addressed through internal resources, while some may require external resources.

When your leadership development plan is finished, you should not wait to execute your plan as waiting can greatly impact your company’s future! The story below tells why it is imperative that you not wait to begin developing your future leader.

Start Now

I have had the unfortunate experience of working with a company whose leader did not act with a sense of urgency when it came to leadership development and he died unexpectedly. The company was left to a family member who wasn’t prepared to take control and lead the company.  As a result, this past year has been a very difficult time for the new leader as well as for the employees.

Grooming future leaders is one of the most critical tasks for an organization’s leader.  Without well-prepared future leaders, there is no future for the company.  A good leadership development process will take time and commitment from you, and must be a high priority.  Therefore, don’t let the company that you have spent so many years building, stagnate or fall apart because you didn’t properly prepare new leadership to run it for many years into the future.  

From the ceo to the project manager, all leaders supervise someone

From the CEO to the Project Manager, all leaders supervise someone.  That is, all leaders need to ensure that their subordinates have the capabilities and opportunities to do a good job. But how do you measure whether someone is effective at supervising others?  Here are five supervisory skills you can use:

Ability to Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses:  Have you had a situation where the leader needed to recommend someone for a job?  What about assigning tasks to subordinates?  Consider how effective the leader was in these instances. 

Effectiveness at Identifying and Providing Training:  Whether the job is technical or not, there will most likely be instances where all employees need some training.  So consider whether the leader gives everyone an opportunity to participate in training. 

Success in Developing and Enhancing Skills:  It is one thing to provide training.  It is quite another to create opportunities for employees to apply what they have learned.  That is what development is all about.  Consider what the leader does in this area.  Does he or she provide opportunities for transfer-of-learning or cross-training?  What about allowing employees to try out new tasks or maybe even train others?  These are all areas for consideration.

Effectiveness in Scheduling and Coordinating Work:  Do the right employees receive the right work at the right time?  This is a basic question that can go a long way in determining how effective your leader is at assigning work to employees. 

Capabilities in Identifying and Setting Performance Goals:  Do employees know what they are expected to do and when?  Are employee performance goals linked to organizational performance goals?  These are just two questions that can provide insight about the leader’s ability to manage priorities and achieve results. 

Leaders Must Possess Supervisory Skills

Leadership is not just about telling others to do a good job.  It is about ensuring that subordinates have the capabilities and opportunities to do a good job.  This means that, among other leadership qualities, leaders must also possess supervisory skills.  So the next time you have to evaluate a leader (or critique your own performance), add these five skills to the list.

You have a manager who thinks she (or he) is a great leader

You have a manager who thinks she (or he) is a great leader. In fact this manager has been pressuring you for a higher performance rating in the area of “leadership qualities.” So far, you have resisted. This manager does a good job of coordinating, controlling, and directing assignments. But she (or he) falls really short when it comes to motivating, developing, and encouraging employees. 

Bottom line, this manager is great at getting the job done; but is not so great at creating a positive work environment, demonstrating concern for employees’ personal interests, or highlighting positive achievements. Beyond your “feelings,” about leadership, what specific “leadership qualities” could you use to evaluate and discuss performance with this manager? Here are 10:

1. Reinforcing contributions and achievements; giving timely, positive, and specific feedback

2. Uncovering employees’ interests; encouraging them to develop and pursue personal and professional goals

3. Developing employees; providing opportunities for acquiring or enhancing desirable knowledge, skills, and abilities

4. Encouraging two-way communication; seeking input from employees and acting on that input

5. Acting as a positive role model; talking positively to peers, talking positively about the organization, and talking positively about customers

6. Displaying emotional intelligence; ensuring that physical reactions, body language, and personal statements promote constructive dialogue among subordinates, peers, and superiors

7. Facilitating positive interactions among employees; encouraging a pleasant atmosphere and reducing conflicts

8. Delegating authority effectively; giving employees autonomy while simultaneously establishing check points to monitor performance

9. Maximizing employee performance; matching employee tasks with capabilities, and giving emotional support that matches employee needs

10. Coaching employees; providing advice about performance, goal achievement, and career development

Effective Leaders Care About Work AND About Employees

Your goal in talking to this manager is to emphasize the value of keeping employees feeling committed to doing a great job. Focusing on tasks is important, but “employees” accomplish tasks. So effective leaders pay attention to the needs and concerns of employees. They engage them, involve them, and communicate with them. Tell this to your manager (who professes to be an effective leader) the next time you have a disagreement about leadership qualities. And remember to explain HOW these qualities impact employees: they keep employees doing a great job.

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