The following is a guest piece by fellow author Dan Ward.
Like most authors, I get a lot of questions about my books. One question I struggle to answer is “Was the book hard to write?”
On the one hand, writing my books required considerable time and effort. Researching, drafting, editing, re-editing and then re-re-editing all involve a certain amount of mental exertion and can get taxing after a while. Plus, I was on active duty in the military while I wrote my first two books, so the only time I could carve out uninterrupted quiet time to write was at 5:00 am. Getting out of bed so many dark mornings in a row is nobody’s idea of easy.
On the other hand I enjoyed the experience so much that I hesitate to call it “hard.” In the wee hours before dawn the house is quiet, the coffee is hot, and I have the whole world to myself. I find the blank page inviting and exciting. I love the feeling of creative expression and I don’t even mind the editing process.
In fact, the hardest part most days was having to stop writing and go do other things. And of course habit makes things easier too. The 100th early morning was easier than the 1st or 2nd.
So if I’m pressed to answer the hard question, I must say Click here to continue reading »”Let’s Not Confuse Hard Work With Meaningful Work”
When it comes to leadership in today’s fast-paced, interconnected world, there’s no question that the only constant we should expect is change. It’s a reality that came to mind recently after I announced my decision to resign my position as the chairman of the Governing Board at our regional high school in order to run as a candidate in the upcoming school board elections for the chairman of the school board position.
Since making this news public, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past 3 terms that I’ve served as the Governing Board chairman, and the wonderful opportunity I had to be able to serve such a great team.
Of course, great teams are not simply a product of the various people who comprise the group. It is also the result of the actions and words of the group’s leader who understands how to tap into the collective talents, insights, and experiences of the various team members, and direct those elements towards a common goal or shared purpose.
As I look back back at my experiences leading this Governing Board team, I want to share three tactics I used which not only helped to strengthen our team cohesion, but which has built the foundation that has allowed our team to be a productive and thriving one over these past three years.
1. Build relationships to understand the needs of those you serve
One of the interesting challenges that came with serving as the chairman of this Governing Board was the fact that the team members changed every year as different teachers, students, and parents came on board to represent their segment of our school community.
So while our long-term goals might have remained constant, how we viewed them and what routes we thought were best to achieve them would naturally change and evolve as the team dynamics changed with the departure and arrival of various board members.
Consequently, one of the things I always made a point to do at the start of each mandate was Click here to continue reading »”How Successful Leaders Build Teams That Thrive”
The following is a guest piece by Megan Totka.
People emerge or are elected as leaders in nearly every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. While leadership does come in many ways, shapes, and forms, there are some people who go above and beyond when it comes to being a creative, inspiring leader. Thinking outside the box when it comes to your leadership style can be the difference in becoming a successful leader or one that people don’t look up to.
I would venture to say that many of us are somewhat immune to conventional leadership styles. That’s not to say that traditional approaches to leadership or management are totally ineffective. But taking the time to think about your leadership strategy and incorporate some ideas that are a little different can really affect those that you lead in a positive way.
While thinking about what to write about for the blog today, I came across an interesting article on Forbes that talked about taking leadership lessons from the military. Now you may be thinking, it doesn’t get more traditional than the military, which I happen to agree with. But not many of us use military-style leadership in our everyday lives, right? So you and your cohorts may not be as familiar with them.
Take a look at some of the military-style leadership tactics that could be effectively implemented as a measure to do things a little differently: Click here to continue reading »”Creative Leadership: Why You Need To Think Outside The Box”
The following is a guest piece by William A. Donius.
As we age, neuroscientists tell us, our thoughts and patterns become more ingrained. The way our brains process, sort and ultimately respond to questions is akin to taking the same path through the garden over and over.
We get to know the path very well, and it becomes familiar to us. As long as the problems we face are familiar, so are our approaches to solving these problems. We are in our intellectual “comfort zones.”
What happens if our efforts to solve a problem aren’t producing innovative results? The thought might occur to us, “How do I go about thinking differently?” When we are asked to deviate from the paths ingrained in our minds, it may seem like an interesting notion, but here’s where the going gets tough.
Despite trying to think differently, we typically end up with little to show for our efforts. Our steps continue to lead us down the same old garden path.
Why is it so difficult to achieve innovative breakthroughs in thinking? Click here to continue reading »”Not The Same Old Garden Path – How We Can Literally Think Differently”
At one time or another, we’ve all had to deal with a customer service department whose response and actions left much to be desired. A recent experience my wife and I had with the customer service department for a major retailer also illustrated how a leader shows up in those moments can influence their employees’ perceptions of their roles and consequently, impact their organization’s ability to turn a problem into an opportunity to succeed.
For the last few weeks, my wife and I have been trying to get some after-sales support for a recliner sofa we bought recently. We took turns calling the customer support number listed on our invoice and each time, we got a voice message advising us to leave our contact information and someone would get back to us shortly.
After leaving several messages with no follow-up reply, my wife decided to change tactics by calling the sales department in order to try and reach someone who can help us with this problem. Her initiative paid off as the sales rep directed her call to one of the company’s front-line managers.
When my wife explained to this manager the numerous messages we’d left that were never returned, his first response was to claim that we were probably calling an old extension that was no longer in use.
After she pointed out how this was a recent purchase and that the voice message didn’t re-direct us to a new extension, the manager changed his answer to suggest that we’d encountered a ‘glitch in their system’ as the after-sales department manager was usually very prompt about returning calls.
At that point he took down our invoice number and contact information, telling us that he’d forward our case to the after-sales department and that someone would contact us shortly to resolve the issue.
As frustrating as this whole situation has been, the experience brought to mind the following four questions leaders should ask themselves to help shed light on how their employees view their roles within their organization, and the part leaders play in fostering the kind of behaviours necessary for organizations to succeed in today’s increasingly transparent and global market. Click here to continue reading »”Are Your Actions Setting Up Your Employees To Succeed?”