Category: Social Impact

Your Kindness Will Lead You to Success

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Personality, Rational Thought, Social Impact

I am not impressed by someone’s ability to intimidate, cajole, persuade, manipulate, overpower or overwhelm others. No, what impresses me most are the people who have the ability to do these things, but who choose instead to let kindness lead them to success.

Once upon a time, a colleague of mine – frustrated by an assistant who couldn’t move as fast as he wanted – pulled her into his office and unleashed five minutes of verbal abuse before he fired her. She ran out in tears, and he came out with a big smile. “That felt SO good,” he said.

He viewed this incident as a success. I saw this as evidence that he was kind to people only as long as they did exactly what he asked. Otherwise, he cared not one whit about them.

It’s easy to yell and threaten, but these behaviors are signs of weakness, not strength. Strong people don’t lose control of their emotions. Skilled fighters say that once you lose your temper, you have lost the fight. Your vision narrows and you become dangerously impulsive. If losing your temper is a weakness for fighters, it is a deadly flaw for professionals.

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Are you a dud in meetings?

Filed under: Insights, Personality, Self Reflection, Social Impact

For too many years to be proud of I just didn’t know how to perform in the strange beast known as ‘the meeting’. What I did notice, though, whether right or wrong, fair or not, was that performance in meetings appeared to be a proxy for career progression. Even at the very least, it was a factor relevant to promotion. 

It makes sense when you think about it. Meetings are a common stage where, more often than not, you are on show in front of colleagues from multiple departments and seniorities. Your ability to effectively communicate is judged. You can either fill your colleagues with confidence in you, or drain it. So, leaving a consistent positive impression in meetings is a key factor in building and maintaining a positive reputation. 

I understood this as a young professional, but it still took me many years and mistakes to master it. Ironically, now as the most senior person in my organisation’s meetings, I see younger colleagues trying as hard as I once did to make that positive mark. It reinforces that I should discuss the five core behaviors I have come to understand make people more effective in meetings. 

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How To Build Relationships Of Trust

Filed under: Communication, Insights, Social Impact, Your Career

Trust is a core ingredient to build successful relationships. Both personal and professional ones. It is a major leadership characteristic. However, you can´t take it for granted. You need to work hard to earn trust and to keep it. 

Isaac Watts once said that “Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.“ If you´re not seen as a trustworthy person you can´t neither form engaged relationships nor high performing teams. And without them you can´t become a successful leader and manager. If you were not careful, you can lose trust within days or even hours.

In today´s article I´d like to share with you my thoughts and what I consider being the most important principles to build, regain, and sustain trust:

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These 4 Words Really Matter To Your Business Strategy

Filed under: Professional Development, Social Impact, Strategy, Your Career

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Remember that? Chances are one of your parents taught it to you to help you deal with someone who wasn’t being nice to you. The problem is, though, that it’s wrong.

Words are powerful. And they can hurt, particularly in the business world. They reflect attitudes, behaviors, biases, and simply old ways of thinking that can be harmful to your company’s strategy and mission. They reflect structures of thought and approaches to issues. 

So, in the spirit of respecting the power of words and spurring a healthy discussion, let me lay out four words/phrases that I think really need to change in the business world, and why:

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Change from the Inside Out

Filed under: Career Advice, Good Habits, Personality, Social Impact

Is change coming at you from the outside in, or the inside out? My experience in working with top leaders from business, government and education on five different continents is that the majority of change comes to us from the outside in. For example, when a new law is passed, we have to make changes in order to comply with the new law. When a new competitor comes into our marketplace offering lower prices, we must change some aspect of how we do business. When a new technology comes out that changes customer behavior, executives inform the IT department that they must keep up with customers. When the boss changes corporate strategy, employees scramble.

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Are You a “Dual Citizen” At Your Company?

Filed under: Professional Development, Relationships, Social Impact, Your Career

It’s high on the wish list of leaders: They want their employees to focus intensely on their specific roles, but also have a good grasp of the overall strategy. That way, they can see the big picture and appreciate how their work contributes to the broader goals, making them more likely to contribute innovative ideas.

Without that mindset, people can fall into a myopic focus on their own to-do lists. That’s how silos start to creep up — with people thinking of colleagues in other departments as “them” rather than “us” — and silos are what bring down even the greatest companies.

To encourage big-picture thinking, leaders have to find ways to communicate and constantly reinforce this idea of “think globally, execute locally.” Some have encouraged employees to think as if they owned the company — not in terms of ego, of course, but just to nudge people to lift up their gaze from their own desk and see the broader perspective.

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9 Reasons Why You Must Update Your LinkedIn Profile Today

Filed under: Branding, LinkedIn, Social Impact, Social Media

Over the past decade, LinkedIn has become an essential personal branding tool. It has never been more important to build and maintain a stellar LinkedIn profile. The virtual professional network has morphed from an online resume and networking site to a comprehensive personal branding resource. Here are nine eye-opening reasons why you need to polish your LinkedIn profile right now!

1. It has millions of members. With over 225 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Today, it’s assumed that you have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, can you be taken seriously as a career-minded executive? Brand-conscious leaders don’t turn their backs on two hundred million prospects.

2. It shows up at the top of Google searches.When someone googles you, your LinkedIn profile will likely show up in the first or second spot – that’s some powerful Google juice! This is important because, according to a Gravitate Online study of over 8 million clicks, more than 94% of users clicked on the first page results while fewer than 6% clicked to the second page. The first and second positions get 50% of all clicks.

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Leadership Is About Emotion

Filed under: Leadership and Management, Relationships, Social Impact, Success

Make a list of the 5 leaders you most admire. They can be from business, social media, politics, technology, the sciences, any field. Now ask yourself why you admire them. The chances are high that your admiration is based on more than their accomplishments, impressive as those may be. I’ll bet that everyone on your list reaches you on an emotional level.

This ability to reach people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational is the mark of a great leader. They all have it. They inspire us. It’s a simple as that. And when we’re inspired we tap into our best selves and deliver amazing work.

So, can this ability to touch and inspire people be learned? No and yes. The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent. Honestly, I’m more convinced of this now – I’m in reality about the world of work and employee engagement. But for those who fall somewhat short of being a natural born star (which is pretty much MANY of us), leadership skills can be acquired, honed and perfected.

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The Best Talent Is Bringing Out Talent In Others

Filed under: Big Ideas & Innovation, Career Advice, Leadership and Management, Social Impact

“A superior leader is a person who can bring ordinary people together to achieve extraordinary results.” Many years ago, an entrepreneur told me that. He was right.

But this isn’t just true of leaders. It’s true of all human beings.

I’ve come to believe that the most valuable talent is being able to recognize hidden skills that others possess. Why? There’s only one you, and you only have so much time. But if you can bring out the best in others, you gain remarkable leverage.

So very hard…

I’m not just talking about recognizing talent. I’m talking about being able to recognize a look in someone’s eyes that tells you something valuable is burning inside that person.

I’m talking about realizing that if you take Jake’s drive, mix it with Julie’s intelligence and Dave’s creativity, then you will transform three mildly effective people into a spectacular team.

I’m talking about looking past what’s “wrong” with others, and instead seeing what’s special about them in very pragmatic and actionable terms.

How do you do this?

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7 Modern Ways To Leave A Lasting Impression

Filed under: Good Habits, Social Impact, Success, Your Career

Dale Carnegie wrote a fantastic book back in 1936 that really spelled out How to Win Friends and Influence People, and in my view it was so successful and continues to be successful because it contains such a lot of common sense about treating others how we ourselves like to be treated.

Unfortunately, we sometimes forget our common sense due to work and other pressures, and times have changed a little too, so I have put together a quick list with a few examples of both “old” and modern day areas to focus on to leave a lasting impression and be remembered for the right reasons.

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