Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

10 Steps To Accelerate Meetings And Drive Productivity

Learn about 10 steps leaders can employ to improve meeting efficiency and drive productivity in their organization.

The following is a guest piece by Jack Zenger and Joesph Folkman.

It is estimated that 15% to 28% of every manager’s workweek is spent in meetings. One of the most frequent written complaints people make about their bosses is the quality of their meetings.

Complaints range from meetings with no agenda, lack of clear purpose for each agenda topic, no advance information nor background materials, lack of making a decision, absence of any follow-through and the plodding, snail’s pace of the meeting.

A leader with accelerated speed and pace greatly increases the likelihood of a productive meeting. Our research on productivity improvement shows high correlation of improved productivity with the efficiency and effectiveness of meetings.

How to Accelerate Meetings Click here to continue reading »”10 Steps To Accelerate Meetings And Drive Productivity”

How Leaders Can Make Their Message More Memorable

3 tricks that allow you to tap into how our memory works so you can craft messages that your employees and customers won't soon forget.

The following is a guest piece by cognitive scientist and author Dr. Carmen Simon.

Conversation between flight attendant and passenger:

“What would you like to drink, sir?”
“Water.”

Flight attendant goes to get it and turns around after 2 seconds:

“Sorry, was that a club soda?”
“No, water.”

I heard the exchange above just now, on a flight to Michigan. I hear similar ones in restaurants where someone places an order and the waiter returns after a few seconds to ask what the order was.

I hear a similar exchange at retail stores, where you tell sales reps your shoe size and a few seconds later, they return to ask again. I hear this exchange in meetings, where someone lists three issues and a few seconds later, someone else tries to repeat them but can only remember two. Memory is pathetic. And yet sublime. We would not be alive if we didn’t have memory.

While the human brain has not changed much in the past 40,000 years, what has changed is our ability to stay focused on a task. Distractions, anxieties, ruminations about the past, and constant temptations to predict the future interfere with our ability to remember and get things done here and now.

On the other hand, we seem to be perfectly capable of recollecting something that happened in childhood. How is that possible? And would the answer help us in business at all? After all, how do prospects remember to choose us if they can’t remember what someone said 2 seconds ago?

I’ve been intrigued by these questions and wrote the book “Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content To Influence Decisions” out of necessity. I wanted to know what helps us get on people’s minds and stay there long term. What are some issues that business people find challenging where memory is concerned? Here are three, along with solutions on how to address them: Click here to continue reading »”How Leaders Can Make Their Message More Memorable”

Do Your Organization’s Values Reflect What It Stands For?

The recent scandal at Wells Fargo provides a unique backdrop to discuss the role organizational values should be playing in today's leadership.

Over the past several months, there has been a growing discussion and even discord in various parts of the world over the issue of reasserting what our values are as a society and country.

From the various debates in European countries about the sociological impact of rising refugee populations, to the polarizing political climate brewing within the current US election period, there’s been a growing unrest in certain countries to ‘protect their country’s values’ in light of changing demographics and the growing interdependence brought on by today’s global economy.

Ironically, in almost every one of these discussions regarding the importance of protecting a society’s or country’s values, there’s a noticeable absence of clarity about which values exactly are in need of protection, or are currently at risk of being washed away by the arrival of immigrants and refugees on their country’s proverbial shores (in most cases, when certain values are pointed out as being at risk, they tend to be those that are already enshrined in a country’s laws or are deeply entrenched in existing cultural norms).

That lack of clarity about what values these countries need to protect reflects a current affliction impacting many of today’s organizations. Specifically, of how the values an organization uses to define who they are and what they’re all about tend to be contradicted by the decisions and choices their leaders make regarding the best way to achieve their short term goals.

Consider, for example, Wells Fargo, the latest US financial organization to get caught up in a major scandal and subsequent public relations disaster. An examination of the text found on their company’s webpage simply titled “Our Values” reveals this telling statement:

“All team members should know our values so well that if our policy manuals didn’t exist, we would still make decisions based on our common understanding of our culture and what we stand for. … If we had to choose, we’d rather have a team member who lives by our values than one who just memorizes them.”

And then further down on this same page, Wells Fargo identifies “ethics” and “what’s right for our customers” as being among those values that they expect all of their employees to recognize and abide by in how they perform their duties within their organization.

Now, considering the recent revelation that this financial institution had created almost 2 million fraudulent bank and credit card accounts in order to increase fees they charged to their existing client base, it’s not surprising that this company has lost the confidence and trust of both their customer base and the public at large. The fact that their actions blatantly contradict the very values they espouse to hold dear only makes the hole in which they’ve dug themselves into even deeper and harder to get out of.

But the larger issue this situation exposes for other organizations is whether Click here to continue reading »”Do Your Organization’s Values Reflect What It Stands For?”

3 Critical Factors To Help Your Team Stay The Course

Learn about 3 critical factors leaders need to employ to help keep their employees on track to achieving the long-term goals of their organization.

When it comes to leading teams, the common focus in the leadership literature tends to be on team building; on answering the question of how do we rally people and get them on board and aligned with our company’s vision or long-term goals.

Of course, this makes a lot of sense when we realize that our chances to succeed in pushing forth a new initiative or change mandate is dependent on how much our employees are genuinely invested in bringing their best efforts to transforming this idea into our new reality.

But what about when we’re months – or even years – into the process of implementing our vision or long-term goals for our organization? How do we help our employees to not only sustain their drive and interest, but help them to stay the course in face of the inevitable obstacles, unexpected changes, and unpopular decisions we need to make along the way?

While the specifics will understandably vary from one team to another – and from one situation to another – there are nonetheless three critical factors that every leader should be employing to ensure that their leadership is serving to help their employees to stay the course over the long run.

1. Encourage your employees to ask ‘what is our purpose?’
Perhaps one of the stranger ironies of the modern workplace is the fact that the further you move towards achieving your goal, the easier it becomes to lose sight of it.

Consider, for example, the faster-pace by which we not only have to operate, but by which decisions have to be made in light of new information or new realities. The consequences of this new reality is that many leaders are now working within a reactive state – of simply responding to the things that are demanding their attention without considering which issues are truly important to achieving their long-term goals.

And if those in leadership positions are having a hard time keeping their focus on what matters, it shouldn’t be surprising to find employees being disengaged in their work because they no longer can see the connection between what they do and the purpose behind their organization’s collective efforts.

By openly encouraging your employees to ask ‘what is our purpose’, you allow them to find the answer that best resonates with them; of finding the context that defines the value of their contributions to the overall vision of your organization.

While it’s important for leaders to communicate that value and importance to their employees, it’s equally important that Click here to continue reading »”3 Critical Factors To Help Your Team Stay The Course”

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One Question Every Leader Should Inspire In Those They Lead

A look at the challenges two leaders faced and what it reveals about the power of relationships to bring out best in those we lead.

One of the common themes I’ve written about over the past few years is the importance of building and nurturing relationships with your employees in order to bring out the best in those under your care. While we can appreciate what this means in abstract terms, I’d like to share the recent experiences of two leaders that helps to illustrate the benefit in bringing this approach to your leadership.

The first story I’d like to share comes from the high school where I serve as Chairman of the Governing Board. This past academic year has been an especially difficult one for this school community. For starters, the school was dealt with major cuts to its operating budget as well as to its staff which, taken together, had a drastic and noticeable impact on the school’s daily functions.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the school year began with the teachers stopping all extracurricular activities in order to protest the government’s unwillingness to address teachers’ needs in the classroom. So to say this year was a challenging one for the school would be an understatement.

Earlier this month, our principal made the announcement that she was going to take a sabbatical next year to give herself time to regroup so she could continue to give her best to the school and its students. When she shared the news with her teachers and staff, she expected people to be discouraged and even frustrated given all they’ve been through this past school year.

What she got instead was a unified, impromptu response from her team. A response that had her fielding questions from her staff about what they could do to keep things running in her absence and how to help her transition back when she returns.

In my conversation with her about her decision to take a leave of absence next year, she admitted that one of the reasons why she felt good about giving herself this time was because of the overwhelming support she received from her staff to mind the store until she returns.

The other story I’d like to share is that of my friend Rob* who I met through a collaboration with my leadership firm. For the past 15 years, Rob served as the Click here to continue reading »”One Question Every Leader Should Inspire In Those They Lead”

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