November 30, 2012

Shut Up and Listen

Ernesto Sirolli is a charming and engaging man who is the founder of the Sirolli Institute, an international nonprofit organization that teaches community leaders how to establish and maintain enterprise facilitation projects in their community. He shares his valuable insight and ideas on leadership, business, success, and helping others.

Kneale Mann

TED | Ernesto Sirolli

November 28, 2012

Making the Right Decision

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book entitled Blink which begins with a story about an art gallery that is offered what appears to be authentic paintings. The curator suspects the pieces might be forgeries but he's then filled with hope that he's wrong. To be safe, he hires appraisal experts to make their recommendations.

They confirmed authenticity and the gallery purchased the pieces which turned out to be fakes. The curator wanted the pieces to be real even with doubt in his mind. And he may have convinced the experts to ignore their doubts as well.

The Gut Complex

We have the chance everyday to make a quick decision or belabor for a potentially better outcome. That is why we spend endless hours in meetings pondering the pros and cons of every decision. It’s the reason economic realities cloud our judgement. It’s at the base of demands from prospective customers and clients for positive results before the work begins. Return is expected before investment.

Leadership is about making decisions and producing results but every move we make is a risk. There are no guarantees. But if we always wait for the perfect time to do anything, it will never arrive. That doesn't mean we buy fake art or ignore our instincts but the guarantee we seek can be a fabrication we have created for the sole purpose of not making the call.

Some decisions take time and care, but if we blink, we may miss the opportunity entirely.

Kneale Mann


November 22, 2012

Planting Our Big Ideas

We all have big ideas yet often we don’t know what to do with them or we fold our hand the moment we get negative feedback. Most of this is self-inflicted conditioning.

It's common to get stuck on that fearful part rather than to keep working no matter how much resistance we face. We may not be able to visualize the final solution so we give up. We may be making it more complicated than necessary.

What If It Doesn't Work?

It can be scary to share our ideas and often we make the early decision to keep them to ourselves. Shoulda coulda woulda replaces why not and what do we have to lose.

The late Princeton philosopher and author Walter Kaufmann coined the phrase decidophobia to describe those who would rather leave the deciding to some authority. Kaufmann opined once the decidophobe has relinquished they will accept anything argued by that authority. I call it "boss is always right" syndrome.

Let Someone Else Decide?

She's a thought leader, he's a thinker, they're the idea team. All crutches we create to stop us from contributing to the process. We all have ideas that are valuable and if you are in a leadership role, open the doors a little wider and let those ideas in because there's brilliance waiting to be seen.

Two hundred years ago there was no Internet. A century ago we didn't have interactive technology built into the steering wheels of cars. And unless you share it, we will never enjoy what you have been thinking about which could change the world.

Let’s think big and stop over thinking.

Kneale Mann


November 17, 2012

Carrots and Sticks

How often do we talk about motivation in business and relate it to a monetary reward? Some say all you have to do is create an award system of new titles and higher compensation and everyone's happy.

Daniel Pink has been studying human motivation for years, he's written books on it, and speaks all over the world about it. He explains in his 2009 Global TEDTalk about the science of motivation. Lose the carrots and learn more about people.

Kneale Mann

Daniel Pink | TED

November 14, 2012

Today We Could

Today we could stretch a little more. Today we could make another phone call. Today we could not be so hard on ourselves. Today we could lead by example.

Today we could stop worrying about what others think of us.

Today we could take a step forward. Today we could not think too much. Today we could laugh at ourselves. Today we could understand this may take a while.

Today we could stop making excuses. Today we could listen to our own opinion.

Today we could worry less. Today we could recognize our goals are not their priority. Today we could exceed expectations.

Today we could not put it off until tomorrow. Today we could listen more.
Today we could grab life by the throat. Today we could stop blaming others.

Today we could be open minded. Today we could help someone.

Today is up to us.

Kneale Mann


November 12, 2012

How Are Your Meetings?

It’s easy to do. There’s a lot on the go and what better way to ensure alignment than to have a meeting and discuss expectations and deliverables. But how often have you attended a meeting that resolved nothing? It happens too often and we can fix it. If "the boss" likes meetings, show her a way to have less of them, make each one effective, and create a much more focused team.

Here are six simple rules we've all broken more times than we can count that will instantly improve your virtual or in person meetings. If everyone involved adheres to the rules, alignment will happen quickly.

1. Meetings begin and end on time
2. The person instigating the meeting sends a brief and concise outline
3. Only those essential are involved and prepare ahead of time
4. Each meeting begins with a clear outline of expectations
5. No meeting lasts more than an hour
6. Meetings conclude with clear indication of who does what by when

Good luck and if you need a hand, I’m happy to help.

Kneale Mann


November 11, 2012

Never Forget

Let us always remember the brave women and men who gave their lives and to those who continue to fight for freedom.

Kneale Mann

November 8, 2012

Our Distracted Minds

Other than our ability to reason and opposable thumbs we humans certainly do spend a lot of our precious time worrying about stuff that has happened or may never happen. Eckhart Tolle says we spend most of our time thinking of the past and the future and very little on the moment we’re in right now.

Make more money, have more time, buy more things, all seem to be what we think are linked to happiness. There is ample data proving that is untrue.

What Was That?

Another fact is our inability to fully focus. We spend a lot of our time thinking about other things other than what we're doing. Think about that as you become a better leader. Half of your team may not be paying attention at any given moment.

Matt Killingsworth has been studying what makes us happy and explains some of his findings in his 2011 TEDx Talk. This video is only 10 minutes long so hopefully your mind won't wander too much.

Kneale Mann

TEDx | Matt Killingsworth

November 6, 2012

It's About People

The topic of leadership has gotten quite a good trouncing in the U.S. lately. There is anger and finger pointing, claims and promises, fuzzy plans and selective history, polls and opinions, red and blue, and 314 million people hang in the balance.

It has been an interesting election to watch as a foreigner but I thought it would be good to step away from the noise and offer some leadership inspiration.

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand.
Chinese Proverb

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people,
but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
John Buchan

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Steve Jobs

Don't waste a single second. Just move forward as fast as you can and go for it.
Rebecca Woodcock

The price of greatness is responsibility.
Winston Churchill

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world.
Margaret Mead

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.
Colin Powell

If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
Margaret Thatcher

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
John F Kennedy

Never hold too closely to your idea but be open to change and innovation.
Jean Chong

The led must not be compelled; they must be able to choose their own leader.
Albert Einstein

When you accept a leadership role, you take on extra responsibility
for your actions toward others.
Kelley Armstrong

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.
Tom Peters

Take successes and failures as they come,
since things often change at a moments notice.
Juliette Brindak

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

The road to success is always under construction.
Lilly Tomlin

Leadership is the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard,
the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
Peter Drucker

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Kneale Mann


November 5, 2012

Virtual Teaming

There are exceptions of course, but in many cases technology affords us the opportunity to work from anywhere. Millions can accomplish their work without ever going into a formal office. If I’m not on the road or with clients, I do much of my work from a home office. The remote environment isn't for everyone and it can be especially distracting if you let too much work blend into life.

It takes discipline to work when you have work and walk away when you can. But for more and more companies, virtual teams are on the rise. As social networks continue to grow and more than half of the online users on earth are connected through a profile, we're getting more and more used to connecting with others electronically. That is growing in the workplace too.

Who’s on the Line?

I was on a conference call recently with client leaders and almost half were calling from a location other than their formal office. The tools which allow this to happen can benefit companies, make people more efficient, and often save money.

Many leaders need to open their minds to the possibility that some (if not all) of their team may not report to a company desk at 8:30 every morning. I know many who haven’t been in the office in months. This is where strong communication and presentation skills become even more important. You are sharing ideas remotely which can be a challenge but conversely think of the amount of time you waste sitting in meetings that fail to result in solutions.

Try It You May Like It

This is not to suggest it works for everyone or immediately or all the time. There are growing pains as with every new initiative but if there was a way to increase productivity and improve revenue, you would investigate it so this falls into that category.

We can't forget the human work so open your mind, start slow, ask your team, try it out, and see how virtual teaming could open up possibilities.

If you need a hand, I’d be happy to help out.

Kneale Mann


November 3, 2012

Inspirational People #8

The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy has reminded us there is a lot more to life than making money or getting more readers or having a bigger title. The northeast of the United States will never been the same and it will take years to rebuild. This is when we need to reach out and lend a hand and get inspiration from each other.

A couple of months ago I started an ongoing series to highlight those who inspire the people who visit this site. The rules are simple. Is their information valuable to my work or life? Are they doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something?

This time, it’s a great list from Phil Gerbyshak

Native of Crivitz, Wisconsin, he’s a Brewer’s fan, a Packer’s fan, and most of all a people fan. He works with small businesses and organizations to increase employee and customer engagement by using social media to create and build relationships. I've spent time with Phil and he is a fascinating, energetic, and passionate guy.

Here are some of the people who inspire Phil.

Glenda Watson Hyatt

Anytime you think you have it bad or you got a bad break or you don’t think you can do it, think of Glenda. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and has fought every single day of her life. And she is one of the most inspiring and delightful people I have ever met. She writes, she blogs, she tweets, she teaches, she helps, and she fights for the rights of those with physical difficulties. Glenda speaks and writes candidly about her life and her sense of humor is quick. We all need to read her blog, buy her book, engage with her online, and quit our whining.

Jonathan Fields

Jonathan is an author, entrepreneur and speaker on a mission to help individuals and organizations cultivate the personal practices, workflow adaptations, as well as cultural and environmental shifts needed to become more agile, creative and innovative and embrace action in the face of uncertainty with a greater sense of ease. Jonathan is a proud New Yorker who bring his excitement with everything he does.

Sheila Scarborough

If you don’t want her opinion, don’t ask. If you do want it, Sheila will give you a straight answer and stand by her convictions. She is a writer specializing in travel. tourism and social media. She is also the co-founder of Tourism Currents with another inspiring person mention in this post, Beck McCray, which offers online and in-person training in social media for tourism and hospitality. And she says one of her prime motivators is to “guide you to the good stuff.” Sheila holds no punches, shares great ideas, and seems to have an endless supply of energy for herself and those around her.

Ramon Deleon

While in school, Ramon wanted to score a part-time gig at a local Domino’s pizza so he called the store and asked for a job. And he closed the deal on the phone. On his first day, he was told if he didn't wear a belt he couldn't work at the store. Not having one, he thought quick and raced home to borrow his sister’s belt. He served his customers with care and has carried that commitment to today where he owns six Domino's franchises in Chicago. In his spare time, not sure where he finds it, he speaks at conferences and events about his journey and business ideas.

Becky McCray

It seems so simple when you ask Becky but she sums up a lot of the chatter and natter you see online succinctly by saying we need to stop talkin’ about talkin’ about it and start doing something. She writes and speaks about small town business. When she’s not writing, speaking or consulting, she runs several interests including Tourism Currents with Sheila Scarborough, a cattle ranch, and a liquor store with her husband in Alva, Oklahoma. If you have excuses or complaints, do not share them with Becky because the next boot on your butt will be hers. If you want some real advice on how to get it done, then reach out to her because her heart is as big as her ideas.

Thanks Phil!

Kneale Mann


November 1, 2012

The Magic of Collaboration

Each morning on Twitter, I post something insightful or funny or silly or inspiring. These are from websites I've visited, pieces I've written, historical inspiration that might help, leaders who give us perspective, and ideas in my head. October began with five quotes from the late Steve Jobs on the first anniversary of his death.

"One home run is much better than two doubles. Design is not what it looks like, design is how it works. Remembering you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Here’s the rest of the list from October 2012

Focus on what went well this week. The past has passed unless we let it drag us down or we build on it.To my fellow Canadian friends - Happy Thanksgiving. To my American pals - Happy Columbus Day.

Leadership begins with you. Hindsight is a terrible business associate. We do our best work when it doesn't seem like work.

Never underestimate the power of questions. The perfect time will never arrive. Where we stretch, we learn and grow. Leadership is about guiding and helping then getting out of the way.

No one said it would be easy. Keep going. If you feel held back, loosen your reins. Belief in you begins with you.

Provide the guidance for them to lead themselves. Who can you call at 3am if you need them? Who has you on their list?

When did you last take an entire day just for you? Leadership begins with you. Ask them how they're doing and wait for their response. Have a look at your to-do list for this year, how are you doing so far?

Never underestimate the power of collaboration. Don't ask for praise, give it. Yes we can do better. Let's get on that today. If you're looking for inspiration, offer your help to someone who needs it. Share your mind, most can't read it. Say thank-you, often.

Step out of your comfort zone where you can grow.

Kneale Mann

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