January 31, 2013

A Month of Ideas

On Twitter every morning I post a thought, quote, or idea. Sometimes it's deep, hopefully most times it's valuable.

Here’s are the highlights from January 2013

Today is the first day of the rest of our year. Let's make it a good one! Never underestimate the power of moving on from the past. Schedule you time every day.

When do you plan on getting to all of those "it can wait 'til January" items on your list? Yes you can. If someone says you can't, it means they have no interest in helping you so move on. The best way to accomplish a task is to start right now.

Your time is valuable, spend it wisely

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work. (Vince Lombardi) Your ideas are requisite. If you want more value, create it. Are you offering your opinion or your help? Never underestimate the power of letting stuff go. Finding someone to disagree is easy.

Leadership begins with desire

If we are the grand sum total of our experiences, how will you improve your number? Free is often not the best price. Stop putting off your ability to realize your dreams.

Don't let others decide where you take your life. Lend a hand today. No is easy, how requires effort. What will you stop putting off and get to today?

It begins with an idea but action predicts the outcome.

Kneale Mann

January 28, 2013

Your 12-Point Inspection

As you do every few thousand miles with your car, it’s good to put your leadership performance up on the hoist once in a while to ensure everything is working well.

Work can get busy and increased pressure to the bottom line can become the only focus. But if you want to see an immediate drop in revenue, stop caring about the people around you. If you want to check your leadership alignment, see below.

1 - Do you know what you believe?
2 - Will you dedicate a minimum of 25% of your time helping others?
3 - Can you keep a truly open mind?
4 - How will you ensure you have ample think time?
5 - Are you fair and do you care about the people on your team?
6 - Could you identify one personal interest of each team member?
7 - Have you clearly outlined and documented your goals?
8 - Do you encourage an open collaborative co-creative environment?
9 - Do you have trouble asking for help?
10 - Are you sure you know what each person on your team believes?
11 - Can you articulate to others what success looks like to you?
12 - Are you bringing and having fun?

Let's get back on the road.

Kneale Mann


January 25, 2013

FILDI: Let Me Let You

Let me remember that I love helping people and I make mistakes. Let me know that my gut is telling me something when my head is trying to steer me in the wrong direction. Let me realize that everything I did has prepared me for what I’m doing and will do.

Let me play you a brilliant video from the always thought provoking Ze Frank. Let you not be offended by some of the words he uses because they are critical to our success. Let you do something for you after you watch this video.

Let you hit play. Now.

Some language not suitable for all ages but necessary for most.

Kneale Mann

Ze Frank

January 23, 2013

The Real Bottom Line

Every company wants success. Every shareholder wants the stock price go up every day. You want this year to be better than last. So do I. But we hit snags, gain victories, trip up, succeed, and make mistakes, all because that is the human condition.

Through my work, I love to help people understand themselves better so they can be more present, collaborative, and effective. If you’re a boss and you need to yell at people to make their numbers and it’s all about the bottom line, you may be looking at the wrong metrics.

If you’re open to a bottom line that will grow while you are strengthening the goals and desires of your team members, let’s chat. Take your eye off the revenue long enough to help your people grow and your revenue will follow.

Collaborative Culture Creates Cash

As Daniel Pink says, the carrots and the sticks approach, is antiquated and short-sighted. Time and time again, I've spoken with companies who list talent retention as a big concern yet they don’t invest ample time in helping their team members grow past orientation and basic training.

Money is a driver for why we show up to work every day but it shouldn't be the only one. And if it is for your team, you have a serious issue. We should encourage everyone to bring their life to work if we expect their work to have life.

Leadership is about inspiring a culture of collaboration 
to reach the very goals we seek in the first place.

Kneale Mann


January 20, 2013

Lessons from Lance

One of the biggest stories of the week was a man finally admitting to all the allegations and test results which disgraced his sport and supporters. For years, Lance Armstrong was defiant and arrogant. His bullied and sued people who threatened his kingdom and alleged the very behavior he now admits to be true.

Without compelling evidence it's doubtful he would have ever confessed. Irrelevant but Armstrong didn't act alone. There have been many willing participants on the payroll. It took an orchestrated team effort for years to pull this off.

Optics and Opiates

Lance Armstrong was the face of a sport that could no longer look the other way. Like many in cycling, he used banned substances. And like many before him, it was time for his punishment. But in the interim, he and many around him including networks and sponsors made a fortune.

After being stripped of his seven Tour de France wins, an Olympic bronze medal, and the exodus of all sponsors, his foundation Livestrong was the last to distance itself. If he had never won a race, 80 million yellow bracelets may not have been sold to help many in need. But let's hope the foundation’s good work continues.

What Really Happened

Did we witness a self-professed deeply flawed man beginning to finally come clean and apologize? Was this also about millions of angry fans and supporters realizing it was too good to be true and their thirst for a hero will have to be quenched another day?

Many outside the core fan base would be unfamiliar with the cyclists who have been caught cheating dating back to the 1800's. Without a search engine, most of us have never heard of any of them. But in the 1990's, the sport needed its Jordan or Gretzky. Armstrong seemed happy lead to that peloton at any cost.

No Dopes Allowed

The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame nominee list included; Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martínez, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly, and Rafael Palmeiro. But the induction committee and sports writers ruled there would be no entries this year.

The list included four additional names which dominated the story. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Roger Clemens didn't make it in because of doping allegations. But if their records were improved by drugs, why do we care about them over the other nominees? It couldn't be because of their performances could it?

Glass House is Crowded

I have no sympathy for Lance Armstrong, other names mentioned here, or their vast networks of co-conspirators. But if we are shocked by athletes who cheat, we can always rule with our wallets. And if we support anyone, we should probably ensure they only live on vitamins and a good diet before we build our soapbox too high.

Kneale Mann

livestrong | own

January 16, 2013

Embrace the Impossible

Think back when you were a kid. You weren't focused on failing on your way to having fun, exploring, and learning. Now look back to a time a bit more recent when you dismissed an idea because doubt and fear stepped in or you opined someone may have thought of it before you.

Perhaps if you shared it, someone would laugh or think it wasn't possible. These are the barriers we put on ourselves within the confines of our comfort zone.

Let Ideas Fly

Regina Dugan served as the first female Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Since last March, she has had an executive role at Google.

Regina is deeply curious and explains in her TEDTalk the necessity for us to embrace failure on our way to advancements and discoveries.

Kneale Mann

TED | Regina Dugan

January 14, 2013

Will You Share Your Ideas?

Millions of us live in a time with no limitations or shortage of ideas swirling around us. But in a world where choice and possibilities seem endless, we can paralyze ourselves from making decisions, creating change, and sharing those ideas

What Will We Do?

You’re looking at ideas right now that you haven’t acted on. Some might need more money, others need more people to help, and several will never get out of your head because you don’t know what steps to take next.

Where Will We Change?

Regret is one of the most destructive emotions we possess and with a layer of hindsight can be a terrible place to reside. Yet if we move on just one of our ideas right now, we can change the course of history. Yes, history. Not just our lives, but millions of others.

How Will We Share?

Our first step is to be brave and share our ideas with someone. They might laugh and scoff, they might say it’s not going to work, but no one who has ever moved any idea along has ever done it on their own.

When Will We Move?

So who cares if they think your idea isn’t worthy, move to the next person, and the next, and the next until you find someone who can help you shape it. And if you remain open to feedback, your idea will improve and grow.

Let's Act Today. Move Today. Share Today.

Kneale Mann


January 12, 2013

Do We Care?

I don’t care if I don’t agree with what you say.
I’m thankful we can engage in a meaningful conversation.

You might not care what I did last year or last week.
We can bring forward the good and incinerate the rest.

I don't care how much money you have or have lost.
The key is we can collaborate to create change now.

You could not care about my opinion.
It's good we have the freedom to have one.

I may not care it didn't work out for you last time.
Together we might be able to make our ideas a reality.

You probably don't care what I did years ago.
We could merge our collective experience and create something cool.

Through leadership, let's show how much we care.

Kneale Mann


January 10, 2013

Are You a Manager or a Leader?

If you work hard enough, you will eventually be given more responsibility and perhaps other people who will look to you for direction. Most don’t want you to dictate their actions but rather guide them and back them up. A friend approached me about her boss who feels compelled to raise his voice in every meeting like the alpha male pounding his chest to remind the minions who’s in charge. Perhaps you've met this guy.

Collaboration Personified

Simply because people stay is not evidence of strong leadership. Most people need money twice a month to pay for those pesky things called bills. Organizational attrition is rarely documented if one or two people leave every couple of months but over the course of a decade, how much of your team has been replaced? Do you think it could be linked to weak leadership?

A lot is written and said about the power of human connection but we need to mean it and dig deep on it and live it and embrace it for real. No stakeholder will believe a well crafted mission statement that says people are important if it’s not proven through action. You can’t pretend to care simply to get someone to do their job.

Do As You're Told

If you have kids, you have experienced a time when they defied you, acted up against your direction or disobeyed you. Discipline can be a justified response but what is the real issue going on? In the enterprise, if an employee has a temper tantrum, they are often reprimanded and sometimes dismissed. It’s not tolerated. But why is it endured when "the boss" flips out?

An org chart and a business card does not constitute leadership. The human network is more vital than ever before. Your team does not want a boss. They don’t want to fear you. They don’t want to walk on egg shells around you. They don’t want to hate their jobs. They need you to lead and help them grow. People will mess up. You will mess up. Your team will make mistakes. You will make mistakes. Your company will have challenges. You will have challenges. It's easy to run a ship on calm water. What you do during these situations is where you will show your leadership.

If you need to remind them of your job title,
you may have already lost the room.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - Jan 2012 | dimensions

January 8, 2013

How Important Are Your People?

If you have ever experienced a true open environment it can be exciting - yet to some - chaotic. And because most don't want chaos, they choose to keep things nice and neat and departmentalized. They may like being a boss everyone obeys. But we know the flaws in that model are vast.

Leadership is action, not position.
Donald H. McGannon

The perception of losing focus or control can block potential for significant growth in your organization and the careers of each person inside it. If ideas aren't shared, department walls get higher and silos deepen.

To lead the people, walk behind them.
Lao Tzu

The position of Chairperson, CEO or President may appear to be at the top of the company chart. But it's actually in the middle. This is the person who sets the tone; makes the big decisions that could affect the workload of everyone else. It can be a very busy place.

Don't try and do everything yourself because you can't.
Anthea Turner

She must answer to the owners, shareholders, investors, customers, employees and the public. If a company relies solely on her decisions, millions or even billions can hang in the balance.

Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing.
Colin Powell

A former boss taught me about reversed delegation. This is where someone suggests a half-baked idea and you try to run with it. This neither encourages their further thought nor helps you with what you want to accomplish. Push it back on their plate and see what happens.

The challenge for leaders who want a successful business is to make their people their absolute top priority. For real.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - May 2012 | cnn

January 7, 2013

It Can Wait 'Til January

I hope you had some time off over the Holidays for friends, family, and fun! For many, today seems to be the first day of work for 2013. Let’s review a few of the things we may have promised last month just so we’re on track.

Let's talk when we get back from the break
You will need to begin that journey you once referred to as ‘later’.

Table that for January
Why do we push things off to some fictitious time in the future?

I’ll give you an answer after the Holidays
Vague promises server no one.

Can we deal with this in the New Year?
This means some time within a period of 365 days.

Let’s get right on that in January
"Right on that" means today, not some vague unscheduled non-event.

The best ways to improve your company’s performance are through strong internal customer service and strong leadership at all levels. If you want your team to bring forward ideas and feel a part of the process, then tell them when you are going to act and when you are simply not ready to take on new ideas.

We mean well at the time but may not heed the cumulative damage we create through vague promises to each other and to our customers.

It’s January. Let’s get to work.

Kneale Mann


January 6, 2013

The Endangered Leader

It may not be the work or the compensation, but something isn't quite right. Co-workers begin to spend time commiserating about their situation while talk of customer solutions and product improvements are replaced with nitpicky items that seem like a big waste of time and energy. Sundays are filled with dread of the impending week and calling in sick becomes an attractive option.

In all of the stakeholder surveys and research I've seen over the years, it is clear that no one wants a boss. Nobody enjoys when their direct report consistently focuses on mistakes while ignoring the victories. So why is it so common?

Leader v Boss

I was speaking with a colleague recently and he said “the boss” (his words) gave a full company update which demoralized more than rejuvenated. The message was clear – the boss wasn't happy and needed to point out exactly where others were going wrong. This management style helps no one except the short-sighted manager. The moment anyone in that room gets a better offer, they’re gone.

If you have issues, ask your team member to discuss a solution together. The result may surprise you. Improvements and revenue are important to keep the company in business, but bossing people around is not the way to get it done. My colleague’s parting comment; “I need a new job”. What a shame.

Co-created environments make Sunday more enjoyable.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - Apr 2012 | wallpowper

January 4, 2013

Is Your Business Cultured?

Time and time again, employee and human resource surveys show us compensation is not the sole driver for our work. We all want to make a good living but if it’s the main reason people work at your company, you may have bigger issues.

If you think you can make people happy with their 2% increase during annual review time, you may have lost the room.

Compensate people properly but pay close attention to why they come to work every day. Ask them, get their feedback, and act on it. The majority are unhappy at work and it’s not necessarily because of the work!

Good with People

It’s all that human stuff that few have time to talk about because they have to deal with the deadline for the client who needs that report by 3pm. However, it is that very human stuff that will eventually affect your relationship with that client.

Those who think they can fool their customers or clients with a smile while they're internal customer service is crumbling, need to give it more thought. What happens outside of the organization begins inside it.

Culture is Critical

It doesn’t matter the industry or level of complexity, pay people properly, give them time to have a life, and remember they have hopes and dreams and feelings and a need to have purpose too.

Some claim that’s too touchy feely and we will agree to disagree. Leadership is about the human side of getting the job done. It begins with understanding the layers of people. And none of us needs to go any further than ourselves to get those answers.

Then we can get back to products and services.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - July 2012 | istock

January 3, 2013

29 Ideas for Leaders

Maya Angelou reminds us that people may not remember what we did or said, but they will remember how we made them feel. Here are some of the many reminders when providing strong leadership.

They will notice if you’re not carrying your weight. This is a team effort. Listen. If you say who's boss, you've lost the room. Be helpful. Help them improve their strengths. Share victories. If you think your ideas are always best, you don’t need a team.

Lead don’t manage. Each person is motivated differently.

Make it fun. Don’t let job titles get in the way. Say thank-you. Collaboration beats confrontation. Do as you say. Flexibility will garner better results. Remember you’re only as good as your team. Be fair and consistent.

The culture begins with you. Laugh often. Show grace under pressure.

Give the same guidance as you want from others. Know you don’t need to make every decision. Be present. Devote half of your time to their development.

Avoid temptation to take all the credit. Remember no one wants a boss. Keep in mind that group reprimands are not successful. Never stop learning

Leadership may be the most demanding, enjoyable and satisfying work you will ever do. Have fun!

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - Aug 2012 | photos8

January 1, 2013

This Year: Be Who You Are

Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel was a clever yet shy raconteur who created timeless work. For example; "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

It's one of my all-time favorite sayings and it's brilliant. It's not suggesting we disrespect those around us and for us to become unbearably arrogant. It points to the simple genius that says we need not worry so much about what others think about us. There will always be naysayers and complainers. You rarely need travel far to find someone with an opinion or criticism.

Don't Matter. Don't Mind.

Simon Sinek says leaders find others who believe in what they believe. Tom Peters says leadership is not about creating followers, it's about creating more leaders.

Seldom does someone who fails to stand for something, find others who are interested in what they have to say or offer. So be bold, be yourself and take charge. Respect those around you - most importantly yourself.

Be who you are, and say what you mean, or someone else may try and make that decision for you.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - March 2012 | wordle
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