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Posted By Kim Watson, Corporate Alliance Production, Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The next time you're tempted to work through lunch, think again. As a manager, if you drive others to power-through to get the job done, ask yourself if your goal is to diminish productivity and minimize quality. Psychological research shows that working without pauses actually does more harm than good.

Think about your laptop computer. One of the primary benefits of a laptop is to operate by battery power. However, it’s only effective until that battery runs out. Once recharged, it’s equally effective again.

Everyone has a mental ‘battery.’ The truth is that – although some folks have smaller batteries and need more frequent recharging – we all need to recharge our mental batteries eventually. Otherwise we lose effectiveness in the short term and may burn out in the long-term. That’s where breaks come in. Think of breaks as plugging in that laptop.

Breaks are not one-size-fits-all. But there are a few generalizations that are good to keep in mind (Weir, 2019).

  1. First, choose an activity that isn’t too similar to the work you are doing.
  2. Second, include some sort of physical activity in your break.
  3. And, third, include nature either by getting outside or viewing nature scenes.

A qualified Executive Advisor can help you assess the mental stamina of you and your team members. They will help you be an intentional leader who understands how frequently team members may need to recharge – for their benefit and the organization’s. After all, good leaders don’t want ineffective workers or those who burn-out.

SOURCE: Weir, K. (2019). Give Me a Break. Monitor on Psychology, 50(1), 40-46.

Tags:  breaks  burnout  effectiveness  leadership  stamina 

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The Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules

Posted By Drea Houser, HPISolutions, Thursday, January 28, 2016

In this week’s Power Idea we continue our discussion about Strategic Alignment.  This is an extremely important topic and I want to thank our lead expert on Stages of Growth, Strategic Partner, Diane Janovsky.  This week Diane talks about 5 non-negotiable rules for each Stage of Growth that must be followed to ensure success and sustainability.  Enjoy this week’s Power Idea.  If you missed seeing the earlier articles on this topic, either visit our website at or ask for copies at

The Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules

Continuing with our theme of Strategic Alignment, this week we turn to the topic of the "Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules" as the third layer of alignment within the Seven Stages of Growth.    

As discussed previously, James Fischer conducted extensive research with 650 CEO's over six years that resulted in the Seven Stages of Growth model.  Within that model, Fischer discovered that there are certain deep and stage-specific issues that must be addressed in order to effectively and profitably move to the next stage of growth.  For each of the Seven Stages of Growth, he identified five of what he called the "Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules".  Within each of the five Rules, there are three sub-questions that further define and describe that Rule. 

For example, the first Rule for a Stage One company is to "Generate, track and preserve cash". One of the associated sub-questions for that Rule is "Is there a focus on getting new customers and increasing both transaction value and frequency to build top line revenue?"  If a Stage One company is spending too much time on efforts that do not directly lead to revenue and cash, then it is likely destined for failure. 

The value of the Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules is two-fold.  First of all, business owners do not need to guess which key issues they must focus on in order to be successful at each Stage of Growth.  They do not need to reinvent the wheel. They can get ahead of the game because they are able to dependably predict and proactively address critical areas that enable sustainable growth. 

Second, and perhaps most powerful, is the objective measure of alignment that results when the business owner AND the leadership team assess the company's level of accomplishment against each of the Rules and sub-questions. It is not uncommon for the owner's perception and the leadership team members' perceptions to be different, sometimes significantly.  The resulting dialogue clarifies understanding, raises awareness and becomes the foundation for moving forward in strategic alignment.

If you would like to understand more about the Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules and your company's Stage of Growth, we'd be happy to help.  Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.  

Tags:  business  leadership 

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Give Employees Better Feedback With This Simple, 3-Step Process

Posted By Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson Solutions, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Let’s say one of your employees was assigned a project to oversee. Overall they did a good job. Also, they had a couple of areas they needed to improve on.

You could say to the employee: “You did a good job, but you need to work on a couple of things.”  Notice how we took them from good to less-than-good?

Instead if you say: “You did a good job. Let me tell you a couple of things so next time you can do a great job.”  See the difference? This lifts the employee up. It’s focused on how to improve and reach for something more next time.

Instead of a criticism of the past, it’s a positive slant on the future. Big difference.

In other words, it’s a 3-step process:

  • Avoid using the word “but” with your employees
  • Separate positive feedback and negative feedback into two different sentences
  • Take the negative feedback and transform it into something positive by focusing on the future and how those changes can help the employee grow

What tips have you found to work well when giving feedback to employees?

Bob Wilson is the owner of Gilbert, AZ-based Smartful Coaching. If you need help improving the quality of feedback you give to employees, contact Bob at (480) 710-0340 or to schedule your Free Consult. 

Tags:  employees  leadership  management 

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What Successful Leaders Do in Challenging Times

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, August 18, 2014
Given the same set of circumstances, some people create team success and others fail. Great leaders know how to turn tough times into big wins. Here's how they do it.

If there is one thing consistent about business it's the inconsistent dynamics of business. Great leaders can navigate turbulent business climates just as well as they can sail a calm sea of activity. Often they use those frenetic circumstances to capitalize and strip away competition. Sure, some of the successes that come from chaos are pure luck, but once you dig in to the stories you find out there were intentional key decisions that launched the team to exponential success.

Success or failure during times of peril depends on your ability to get your team moving with strength and confidence. Following are 8 examples where strength, focus and resolve will help you avoid the temptations that lead to failure in difficult times.

1. Temptation: To spread your sense of urgency and panic.

When a state of panic sets in, reactive leaders will ramp up the energy and stress. Some problems do need to be solved IMMEDIATELY. But if the boss is frantic and emotional, everyone else will be too, and efficiency will diminish.

What great leaders do instead: Learn to break the news calmly, while making the seriousness of the situation clear. Take a breath and carefully assess the situation so you can work with the team to clearly set the appropriate priorities. Then you can be effective and efficient internally as you deal with the outer chaos.

2. Temptation: To lay blame.

When something goes awry, people naturally start to ask, "Who did this? Whose fault is it?" It is good to know the root of the problem, but this often descends into counterproductive finger pointing. While everyone is focused on avoiding the burden of guilt, the situation may be going from bad to worse. A leader who allows or participates in the blame game ends up with a diminished team full of distrust.

What great leaders do instead: Help the team focus on moving forward. Ask "What do we need to do to recover quickly?" and then get the team working together to make those things happen. A team will be more successful by creating heroes who inspire others to step up.

3. Temptation: To let your emotions drive your response.

It may feel better to yell or bawl someone out when you're angry or least it provides a momentary sense of release. But it does more harm than good in the long run. Your people become resentful or fearful and less likely to give you their best efforts, or bring you news that might trigger a tantrum.

What great leaders do instead: When your emotions flare, give yourself a moment to let your rational brain step in. Excuse yourself for a moment if you have to, or just take a few deep breaths. Find productive ways to channel the negative energy into positive results.

4. Temptation: To make assumptions.

In moments of small vexation or serious crisis, people often scramble to identify a cause, sometimes allowing existing assumptions to drive conclusions rather than facts. Do you actually know the reason the reports are not in the box? Are you sure the marketing people missed the deadline? Is IT really being lazy? If you have existing concerns or criticisms, it is especially easy to jump to conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

What great leaders do instead: Ask more questions that frame the big picture. Calm, value neutral questions allow you and others to diagnose what's truly going on. Sometimes they know what caused a breakdown, sometimes they don't, especially when there are a lot of moving parts in a lot of departments.Often a small issue that seems to be a choke point is only symptomatic of systemic issues that are largely hidden. Careful analysis with the team may surface core issues that can lead to exponential efficiencies.

5. Temptation: Topubliclyspeak critically of an imperfect employee.

Sometimes we all need to let of steam or grumble a bit when someone frustrates or lets us down. Doing that in front of the rest of the team spreads dissatisfaction and mistrust.

What great leaders do instead: If you really need to kvetch, do so privately, in a journal or with someone unrelated to the office. When you're feeling calmer, approach the employee directly and politely but firmly share the truth about how they have fallen short.

6. Temptation: To withhold information.

If the truth is scary, it can be hard to share it with everyone for fear that panic will ensue and everyone will desert the ship. But if you leave them in the dark, your people are likely to fill in the blanks with even scarier conjecture. Most people will paint a more desperate picture when uncertain about their own future.

What great leaders do instead: Give your people as much good information as the situation allows. Promise to keep them updated, and keep them focused on the work they CAN do, rather than worrying about what they CAN'T. That way you can lead them to success instead of managing their fears.

7. Temptation: To softball criticism.

Employees are people with thoughts and feelings, and it can be painful to watch them wilt under criticism. So rather than address their failings directly, it sometimes seems easier to drop oblique hints or bury suggestions under insincere praise.

What great leaders do instead: Tackle the hard stuff first, directly and without hesitation. If they don't know they are creating a problem, they won't know they have to fix it. You can follow up with encouragement and praise to soften the blow without muddling the message.

8. Temptation: To draw comparisons between employees.

"Try to be more like Tim." "Adriana never leaves a customer on hold for more than five minutes." We love our star players, and we want others to emulate them. Your employees probably know exactly what makes their co-workers shine. That does not mean everyone wants to be continually compared to the office favorites.

What great leaders do instead:
Evaluate each employee on their own strengths and weaknesses, using a clear rubric that is fair and equal for all. Base your comparisons on an ideal, not any one person, as your standard. Then take the time to work with each team member to perform at their personal best. Sure you are busy, but showing the person they are a priority will motivate them beyond their fears and concerns.

BY   @awesomeroar 

Tags:  entrepreneur  leadership  management 

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