Archive for February, 2010

Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” – Warren Bennis

Whether you are a high powered executive, manager, entrepreneur, or president of a volunteer organization, your success will be defined by two things: 1) Letting people know they matter and 2) Setting clear expectations for them to follow. If you don’t have both of these 2 principles in place before your employees/volunteers start a project, I can guarantee you that you’ll soon hit a brick wail called “Lack of Communication.”

A lot of executives automatically ‘assume’ that their department heads or higher managers automatically know everything they need to know to carry out instructions without actually telling them what needs to be done. Well, we all know the outcome of how things will be if we use that lovely word ‘assume’, don’t we? Somebody is going to end up with egg on their face because a ball got dropped somewhere along the line!

You, as the person in charge, know what you want, but it’s up to you to clearly define your expectations to your team right from day one. The outcome may be crystal clear in your mind, but if not translated into clearly defined steps and written on paper, your message may be as muddy as the good ol’ Mississippi!

If you want to enroll others in your vision and get maximum participation, you have to write out the context of the steps for others to follow. There’s a reason why we call this a ‘clarity’ statement – it not only defines your desires, it also opens the door to another important step called ‘communication’.

Here are some steps that will help you ensure the teamwork, productivity, and positive end results you need to create success in your business.

1. You have to get real clear about where you’re going and what you want the final outcome to be before you ever present it to your team. If you’re not sure about where you are going, do you think they are going to follow you? I don’t think so Alice! Get the “W’s” down pat beforehand – Who will do what, when, and where and how it will all come together at the end.

2. Meet with your team to discuss your proposed new plan and tell them how it is going to work. Have a detailed agenda in place so as not to waste your time or theirs. Scheduling meetings with your key players creates a synergy and allows them to freely offer ideas and possibilities that you might very well not have thought of in your original concept. (There’s that word ‘communication’ explained.)

3. Be sure to set clear guidelines for who is responsible for doing what and when you expect it to be finished. Make sure that team members are clear about their roles so you won’t hear “I thought Mary was taking care of that!” when something doesn’t get finished.

4. Be sure you have a verbal commitment from your team that they’re on board for the project. Schedule follow-up meetings and weekly check-ins to keep the project on deadline. And speaking of deadlines, be specific about the date you expect to have everything completed by.

5. Lastly, offer your support and then get out of the way and let them do their stuff. No one likes to be micro-managed or feel as if their leader is breathing down their neck all the time! Words of encouragement go a long way to fostering good personal relations and they go down a heck of a lot easier than words of condemnation do. Remember, success is building relationships, not tearing them down.

All of the great leaders of our time had a clearly defined plan. In addition, they had an innate ability to communicate that plan to others in order to receive the results they desired. It just makes good business sense that you, as the leader, do the same.

If you have seen the movie or stage musical the sound of music, you likely remember maria leaving the abbey to become a governess

If you have seen the movie or stage musical The Sound of Music, you likely remember Maria leaving the Abbey to become a Governess.

As she winds her way through town and toward the von Trapp mansion she sings of her uneasiness – and her lack of confidence in her ability to succeed in this role. In the course of the song she convinces herself that she can be successful and her confidence builds.

In fact, the final lines of the song, show her growing conviction…

I have confidence in confidence alone Besides which you see I have confidence in me!

While there are valuable lessons in the song – a quick Google search will find you many copies of the lyrics – it isn`t always as easy as convincing ourselves of confidence in just a few lines of song or prose.

Rather, here are some specific ideas and an approach to help you (or perhaps someone you are coaching) systematically build your confidence level. These ideas can applied for something very specific or just to help with your general overall confidence level.

Look at past success. The best source for building your confidence is your past. Survey your entire life for successes. It doesn`t matter if those successes are in a completely different area of your life than where you are now searching for confidence. Review the times you have succeeded. Times you are proud. Times you achieved. Make a list of these accomplishments and keep it where you can easily review it at any time. Just reading this list will buoy your confidence – after all, if you have succeeded in the past, you can (and will) succeed again.

Recognize your strengths. You will always be more confident when you accurately realize – and honor – what you are good at. If you have a good sense of this, make another list, and put it, again, somewhere you can review regularly. If you don`t have a good sense of your strengths, now is the time to get it! Ask for feedback from those who know you well. Review the common elements of your past successes looking for clues. Think about the things that come easy to you, that you don`t give a second thought. All of these are clues and ways to develop your list of strengths. With your strengths in place, why wouldn`t you be more confident?

Build your competence. As you build your competence in something you become more confident, right? You have plenty of life experiences to confirm that point. So, if you want to build your confidence, build you competence or skills. Read a book, take a class, get a coach, or a hundred other things. And then, practice. You build your competence – and your confidence – when you practice successfully.

Make the mental transfer. Ask yourself “If I have been successful before, is there any reason to think I can`t be successful in the future?” The correct answer to this is “no way!” You can build your confidence by mentally reminding yourself of past successes and then transferring that success mentally as proof that you can do it again.

Manage your mind. You`ve likely noticed your internal talk giving you doubts and negative input – perhaps even since you began reading this article. This negative self-talk erodes your confidence as much as any other thing – and it is all your own doing! When you notice the negative thoughts and doubts, take control of your thoughts by reminding yourself of the other things on this list, including the actions you are already taking to create great results (which is the next and final point).

Take action. In the end, you must take action. Your confidence can`t be maintained at a high level if you are never taking action; never doing anything; always leaving yourself on a conceptual level. And, as you take actions – like learning and practicing and trying (and succeeding) – you create a momentum that further reinforces your confidence as well. Take action!

These six activities really are secrets. Not because you`ve never heard them, but because if you don`t do them, it will be hard to build – and maintain – a healthy level of confidence.

Use them for yourself, and use them as ways to help those you lead, coach, mentor, or parent become more confident too.

Remarkable leaders know their confidence plays a critical role in their success. One way many aspiring and successful leaders feed their competence and confidence is by participating in The Remarkable Leadership Learning System – a one skill at a time, one month at a time approach to becoming a more confident and successful leader. Grab $748.25 worth of leadership development materials including two complimentary months of that unique system today in Kevin Eikenberry’s Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever at

Keller williams realty, inc

Keller Williams Realty, Inc.,the third-largest real estate franchise operation in the United States, recently named prominent Palo Alto realtor Ken DeLeon as the second most productive individual agent (based on 2009 sales volume in dollars) in the entire company out of over 71,000 agents. The honor was announced by Keller Williams’ CEO Mark Willis at the company’s annual “Family Reunion” convention held this year in New Orleans, La.  DeLeon’s 2009 outstanding sales performance of $64 million also garnered him the esteemed Triple Platinum Medallion Award, which was awarded to only two agents in the company. 

“I am honored to receive these awards and be recognized for the success I have achieved in just my seventh year of practicing real estate,” says DeLeon. “My goal is not to stop here, but to be the #1 agent within the next two to three years by continuing to provide my clients in Silicon Valley and beyond with the highest level of expertise, educational insight and, of course, unparalleled service.” 

During the “Family Reunion” conference, which is the largest private franchise real estate conference in the nation, DeLeon was featured on several educational panels. Additionally, DeLeon was interviewed by Gary Keller, the co-founder of Keller Williams, in front of 800 agents about his success and how he overcame major adversity he has faced in life.

About Ken DeLeon:

Ken DeLeon began his successful career in residential real estate after leaving the practice of law in 2002.  This Palo Alto, Calif., resident is the #1 Keller Williams realtor in Northern California (out of over 3,600 agents) and is named in the Wall Street Journal’s 2009 list of the top 100 realtors in the country.  He has recently beaten cancer and is a survivor of a 1998 drugged-driver accident. DeLeon seeks to inspire others by speaking frequently to businesses and schools about his experiences and how to come through difficult times with a positive outlook.  For more information about Ken DeLeon, please call 650-380-1420 or visit

About Keller Williams Realty, Inc.:

Founded in 1983, Keller Williams Realty Inc. is the third-largest real estate franchise operation in the United States, with 669 offices and more than 71,000 associates in the United States and Canada. The company, which began franchising in 1990, has an agent-centric culture that emphasizes access to leading-edge education and promotes an economic model that rewards associates as stakeholders and partners. The company also provides specialized agents in luxury homes and commercial real estate properties. For more information, or to search for homes for sale visit Keller Williams Realty online at 


What separates a successful company from one that is having a problem surviving

What separates a successful company from one that is having a problem surviving? I guarantee you the answer is the Leadership. Hourly associates aren’t the ones that make decisions and policies the leadership team does.

Let’s use a true story of how leadership can make a tremendous difference in a company that is thriving.

In 2005 I was recruited and hired by Best Buy, having minimal retail experience but tons of leadership experience after serving almost 32 years in the Marine Corps. Best Buy Corporate Leadership is brilliant people as they understand that a past proven winner can also be a winner in a new field with support and training. I was hired as a manager and excelled in every area of the store I was assigned.

Due to our success we were selected to be a Laboratory store whose objective was to provide insight concerning innovation for the future of the company. I was selected to be the Lab/Innovation Manager and that was an honor and a definite challenge… In the following 14 months my team provided over 600 innovative ideas to corporate for changes we believed would ensure frequency and retention of our current customer base and to inspire new customers.

We did this as a Team, no one individual could accomplish this although there are some who would like people to believe they can. Every week we talked with our customers building relationships and trust while obtaining their ideas of what they desired.

Weekly we had Corporate in the store for an 8 hour meeting of which I had to provide the weekly insight and innovative ideas. Quickly realizing this was a gold mine to allow part time and full time associates to speak with the Corporate Team on our discoveries I involved them in the meetings. This was amazing as we now had associates interacting with the highest level of leadership in the company. The reward was immediate as associates confidence soared and their buy in that their work was being recognized and appreciated was evident.

 I resigned from Best Buy in 2007 but was tremendously proud of the incredible job the team did for the future of the company. The majority of the associates was promoted and had a great career in front of them. To say I was beaming with pride would be a gross understatement as development and training is my forte.

Associates are only as good as we allow them to be, my team was given a lot of freedom with supervision and they responded admirably just like yours will with proper leadership, training, and supervision and above all respect.

You may ask why I left, well I had another opportunity to provide leadership and training in building another empire, with my son.

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