Surprise! New Leadership Challenges in the Workplace

Did you notice the traditional year-end business predictions for 2021 never happened at the end of 2020? This seasonal staple was thrown out the window, like many of our routine practices last year.

Everyone seemed more focused on making it through the year than trying to anticipate what might be coming next. (With everything that January threw at us, perhaps that was a wise decision!)

However, now that we are firmly into 2021, it seems a little safer to look forward. With that comes an increased focus on tackling difficult leadership challenges to move organizations forward.

To succeed in 2021, business leaders must steer teams away from an unhealthy focus on the past, reconcile employee desires with business needs, establish new revenue models, acquire new customers using different methods, and amend strategic planning initiatives.

Topics: Revenue Growth Leadership Strategy Strategic Revenue Growth Management Excellence Professional Development Revenue Development Action Plan

Are Remote Employees Preventing Themselves from Doing Great Work?

There are an endless number of studies that indicate that remote workers are more productive and happier working from home – some reporting rates as high as 94% of those surveyed claiming to “as productive” or “more productive” than working in the office. Furthermore, data shows that they also work more hours and have higher job satisfaction. Erin Nelson summarizes this perspective when she says, “Remote workers demonstrated a productivity boost because they eliminated distractions like commuting into the office, changing their work hours to fit their schedules, and worrying about being late. Remote workers found it easier to concentrate at home.”

And while that’s (apparently) the majority opinion, we’ve seen firsthand how very untrue that is for a large segment of remote workers – workers with children who are at home with them. Just ask Aaron Blank. His recent article “Dear Working America, Please be Kind to Working Parents Right Now” sheds some light on how the rest of the workforce is struggling right now.

But children are not the only distractions at home – there’s also pets, partners, laundry, and ourselves.

Topics: Profitability Leadership Management Business Culture Professional Development Collaboration Personal Development Change Management

Taking a Daniel Tiger Perspective on The Current State of Work

Any parent with young kids knows Daniel Tiger is the ultimate authority on every lesson you need in life. The PBS successor to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood features a young tiger (unsurprisingly named Daniel) and his family. He confronts life’s difficult challenges with emotional maturity, self-awareness, and singing.

So
Much
Singing!

But, unlike most children’s TV, you won’t end up hating it. In fact, you’ll end up loving it because the songs are so catchy and soothing that you can draw on Daniel Tiger’s extensive catalog of compositions to guide your child through basically any daily struggle.

Topics: Leadership Networking Professional Development

Business Networking - How Do You Make Connections in a Virtual World?

A study on remote work from Xant summarizes its findings in saying,

“Sales teams are facing unique challenges – not only are they working from home, but their customers are too. They are adjusting to remote work, fighting distraction, and also facing an out of sight, out of mind mentality with their leads and potential customers.”

In fact, their research reveals that sales teams are reporting their top challenge right now as the “inability to communicate or connect with customers.”

But salespeople are not alone.

Remember, anyone meeting someone new right now is doing so virtually.

Everyone is in the same boat trying to navigate making virtual connections with new people both professionally and personally. And while some have felt natural, like messaging potential collaborators over social media, others have not, like going on a first date via video call.

Our current normal has changed how we connect with new people. For introverts, this shift has been a welcome change, whereas extroverts have typically found it harder to adapt. However, removing the in-person aspect of making a new connection does not change the reasoning behind connecting in the first place.

Ultimately, the methods to meet new people may have changed, but why we connect is still the same. New introductions require a genuine desire to offer something of value, listening, nurturing the connection, and following-up, whether the relationship is sales-related or not. The people that aim to engage, understand, and build trust will succeed whether they are connecting with other people online or offline.

Topics: Networking Hiring Customer Relationship Management Recruiting Referrals Business Development Professional Development Social Media Inbound Marketing Personal Development

Are You Guilty of Committing a Work from Home No-No?

Many of us are working from home these days. How is that going for you?

If you are like most people I have been talking to, you have likely settled in by now and have found your new normal working alongside partners, children, and/or pets. But that does not mean you are not guilty of committing a WFH (Work-From-Home) no-no. Maybe you made one of these mistakes already or maybe you are making one right now as you read this. But, hopefully, sharing my own experiences will help you to avoid making any more of them.

Topics: HR Professional Development

Life is Short, what to do next

The first month of 2020 has been full of all types of news - good, bad, and extraordinary. The recent news about the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others is sad beyond words. Regardless of whether you are a fan of basketball, you will find Kobe’s principals inspirational and hopefully will help you think more about “what’s next”.

The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” - Kobe Bryant

We can do something special today for those we appreciate, to inspire people to be great in whatever they want to do. We have the tools and means to do this, regardless of our location.

Topics: Leadership Business Culture Professional Development Social Media

How Experts Fill the Knowledge Gap (Including Bill Gates)

I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Some have referred to September as the “New January.” They consider it a time to make good on resolutions.  For that reason, I think this is good to use this season of change to focus on goals, and to realize this year’s potential before you again sing "Auld Lang Syne" for the new year.

It may seem more difficult for an expert, after decades of success, to ‘raise the bar,’ ‘achieve a personal best,’ ‘learn something new,’ or set new goals to excel. Especially for someone who has ‘seen it all.’ Investing time in education paid off in the early years, but 20 years later there are fewer resources or people who can be trusted to provide valuable new insights. As a result, it appears to me that a personal/professional skills plateau is reached, even as better results are demanded.

Carol Dweck: “Many people have told me that when they were promoted to a prestigious position, they suddenly felt, now I have to have all the answers. Now, my period of growth is over. I have to be a fully mature person who knows everything. So yes, at any point, you can fall into that trap. People who become CEOs suddenly feel they have to be gods goddesses, and not people who say, gee; I don’t know. Let’s talk about it. Let’s think about it. Let’s feel our way through this problem.”  - Source: Great article/interview on Harvard Business Review

When does personal development become a factor? I believe more than ever that an improvement in revenue and profits also relies on developing the skills and wisdom of the team and leaders.

Topics: Assessment Training Recruiting Planning Professional Development

SCORE Seattle Event: Starting & Growing a Consulting Business

On February 23rd, many attended a SCORE class: “Starting and Growing a Consulting Business” at Greater Seattle SCORE in Seattle, led by John Martinka. I was honored to be a panelist along with Dave Shapiro.

Topics: Events Professional Development