March 31, 2013

Are We Lions or Lambs?

Every day on Twitter I like to share a quote, quip, or question to perhaps create interest or inspiration. Here are some highlights from March 2013.

When nickels meet dimes, true colors often emerge.
All we have is today, what are we going to do with it?

One of the most powerful words is how. What is your why?
Their time is valuable, spend it wisely.

It's not the conditions that shape your destiny, it's the decisions.
Tony Robbins

How will you inspire you today? Respect does not come with a job title.
No one who has ever made it has given up the moment they hit a bump in the road.

Anytime after now. Where there's desire, there's effort. Be fair. Be authentic. Be open.
What will you stop doing so you can do more of what you should be doing?

Learn the rules of the game then play better than anyone else. Albert Einstein
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. Katharine Hepburn

Context is king. Leadership and culture are as critical as electricity and water.
What will you improve today?

Tactics won't work if people aren't willing to go down the road. Seth Godin
 All we have is right now. Find think time.

If you want others to make room for your beliefs, reciprocate.
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. Frank Zappa

If culture eats strategy for breakfast ensure greed doesn't steal all the food.
If you're unsure what they mean, don't let assumptions replace explanation.

Never underestimate the power of friendship
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.


March 29, 2013

Should We Share Our Goals?

Stop eating junk food, read a new book, start a business, call a new client, lose that weight, run a marathon, the list goes on. They all sound like good goals to have but what happens when we share them with others before we've achieved them?

Conventional wisdom may tell us that verbalizing our goals makes them more tangible. If we share them with others, we may be held more accountable to achieve them. If we ask others to keep us focused on those goals, our success rate will increase. It's like when leadership outlines the strategic plan and it's just a matter of execution, right?

Derek Sivers challenges that notion.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.

TED | Ted Sivers

March 25, 2013

The Cost of Great People

Years ago, I worked with an organization that did a company-wide survey on various issues such as compensation, benefits, ability to advance, collaboration, leadership, communication, and others. The item that was surprisingly high on the list was management’s inability to deal with non-performance.

Money is always high on the list, pay people properly. The ability to advance and grow is up there as well, offer an environment where people can thrive and improve. But what may have appeared to be a minor issue when they crafted the survey became a big topic of discussion.

Accepted Behavior

When we dug deeper, it was clear that employees wanted to be treated fairly which is no surprise but things that were tougher to measure like favoritism and compassion came to the forefront.

One stakeholder said she had grown tired of seeing others in her department being allowed to show up late for meetings, unprepared, miss deadlines, and nothing was done about it. Another mentioned he had cared less and less about his department because his boss was doing the same. In “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell calls this the broken window hypothesis.

Gap Analysis

This is where something small turns into something that can paralyze your organization which is leadership’s inability to deal with people showing up late for meetings, not getting their work done, or playing favorites. Those little things can add up to a feeling or an attitude you can't quite describe and it can hurt a company at the core.

There are data that shows close to a trillion dollars in lost revenue just in North America is attributed to disengaged employees and it all comes from the relationships we have and build within our organizations.

The cost of great people isn't measured simply by competitive compensation and a good benefits package.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.


March 21, 2013

The Art of a Great Meeting

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. These will improve culture, efficiencies, collaboration and results.

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

Bonus for adventurous leaders
7. Remove all chairs from the room

Follow these simple steps and count how many hours you reclaim each week while more critical work gets done.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.


March 18, 2013

Growing Ideas

It’s easy to say we care. It’s simple to make a wish list of things we could do. It takes courage and commitment to get to work. We all have stuff we want to improve, people we want to help, and ideas we want to execute. Ron Finley is not living in wishes and someday, he’s getting it done today.

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Ron showed an early passion and talent for fashion, and started his own clothing company, The Dropdead Collexion, in his family garage. His hard work took him from the streets of LA to the shelves of Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue but he has never forgotten his home.

Ron has created LA Green Grounds to help bring health and pride back to South Central and explains in his TEDTalk how he took a simple idea and wrapped his arms around his community. Ron Finley welcomes all to dig in and help.

Perhaps we can also get to that wish list while we’re at it.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.

Ron Finley

March 15, 2013

Collusion or Commiseration?

While waiting for a client this week in a coffee shop, I couldn't help but hear the couple right beside me talking about work. They didn't seem upset per se but the conversation got a bit loud and heated.

It appeared the topic of the conversation was about the people in their company. Apparently someone in the office is upset because she works too many hours while the other guy isn't in the office enough and the boss hasn't looked at the new forms. My client arrived and we moved on to our own conversation.

The Three Circles

You may be familiar with the theory of three sides to every story - your version, my version, and the truth. So what was really going on in their chat and how often does this happen? Well I’ll propose the true story could be better told if they knew the whole picture and this happens far too often.

In a recent Forbes article entitled Why Are so Many Employees Disengaged, Victor Lipman outlines that the United States Bureau of National Affairs estimates US businesses lose about $11 billion each year due to employee turnover. There are various data that estimate the loss in productivity in North American businesses due to disengaged employees is approaching a trillion dollars annually.

Refills and Retorts

Widen that scope to a global snapshot and the numbers get worse. It's not always obvious, it often comes in small increments difficult to measure. A sick day here, a stab in the back there, an off-site chat here, and suddenly it adds up to a malaise or unhappiness which affects careers, culture, and bottom lines.

This isn't to suggest the two people at the coffee shop are ready to walk but imagine how much productivity is lost by their chat then multiple it by the millions of similar chats all over the world every day. We all need to blow off steam and not everyone will collaborate the way we want them to, but if you’re in a leadership role it’s imperative to understand revenue is driven by much more than sales calls.

If you are the leader, get used to the team talking about you behind your back and not agreeing with every decision but if you treat them fairly and openly, I like your chances.

Open that door a little wider and pass the sugar.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.


March 14, 2013

Google Spring Cleaning

The social web is a flutter about two big events this week. There’s a new Pope and Google has announced their popular website aggregator Google Reader is retiring on July 1, 2013. If you’re not familiar, Google Reader has been a place where you can add website RSS feeds for a convenient way to read all your favorite sites in once place. There are many others now scrambling to integrate a new solution. Much has been said in the last few days but the best comment so far has been that when we get something for free we can’t be too upset when it goes away.

Google has announced the next round in their spring cleaning which began two years ago. With the ownership of more than 100 companies, phones, laptops, and now computer glasses, the tech giant has been built on the “always in beta” platform which often means dump something when it’s no longer relevant or linked even remotely to generating revenue. Google Buzz anyone?

Friending Feedly

I am in currently experimenting with Feedly which has been around since 2008 but just announced a seamless integration of your Google Reader feeds. I've made the jump and it’s working so far. There are rumors that the Feedly team has been working with Google. One wonders if that will turn into a permanent relationship. It's prettier but creates a lot more clicking and searching so the jury (me) remains in deliberation.

If you’re currently visiting this site through Google Reader, I have made the switch to Feedly so both will work until July. I will continue to share thoughts and ideas here for free and I hope you’ll continue to drop by whether it’s through a bookmarked visit, through a reader, or via the various social channels where posts are mentioned.

The green Feedly button is now on the right side of the site.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach helping leaders create dynamic culture and improved results.


March 13, 2013

13 Lucky Thoughts

Step on a crack, break your momma’s back. Walk under a ladder and let the black cat cross your path. It’s just a number yet today being the 13th; millions will do whatever they can to avoid its apparent unluckiness.

I believe leadership is 10% about the work and 90% about the people and those times when we appear to have been lucky quite often are the culmination of a lot of help from others. Some don’t believe in luck at all.

In keeping with the spirit of today, here are 13 inspirational ideas.

If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often.
Brian Tracy

The deepest thing in any one is the conviction of the bad luck that follows boasting.
Gertrude Stein

The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck.
Tony Robbins

Good luck is a residue of preparation.
Jack Youngblood

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.
Maya Angelou

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Stephen Leacock

The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.
Barbara Sher

Luck is believing you 're lucky.
Tennessee Williams

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt

When it comes to luck, you make your own.
Bruce Springsteen

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction.
Melinda Gates

Diligence is the mother of good luck.
Benjamin Franklin

Good luck!

Kneale Mann


March 10, 2013

The Art of Asking

Amanda Palmer rocks! If you don’t know her, go look and learn from this wonderful creative inclusive soul who brims with life and music. Her bands The Dresden Dolls and Grand Theft Orchestra showed how fans will support you through their own generosity in the face of cynicism.

If you want to create a community and connect on a deep human level, watch Amanda’s TEDTalk on the art of asking. She blogs and tweets and connects everywhere she goes and it all started with an eight foot bride and a handful of flowers.

Watch This

Kneale Mann

Amanda Palmer

March 8, 2013

The Economy of Your Culture

The industrial revolution brought progress and advancements but created the unbalance of power and wealth we have today. There is shift however that might be a bit radical and won't be endorsed by everyone right away but see what you think.

The idea is to pay people fairly and give them guidance in a co-creative atmosphere where strengths are highlighted while a collaborative culture becomes the norm. And before anyone screams socialism, this is not to suggest we don't embrace success through hard work but we can also include more of the team in the process.

Let's Flip the Model

We've tried the top down approach for a couple of centuries and it will take some time to make the shift but in parts of the world where choice is both cherished and honored, changes are coming. Great culture and strong leadership will absolutely positively improve your business performance.

An example is some of our work with supply chain organizations. Leaders are discovering they can, should, and want to create more collaborative places whether they are developing mobile apps or making plastic bottles. People want to want to come to work no matter the industry no matter the job description.

Far too many for far too long have viewed work as simply a means to an end. Let's fix that.

Kneale Mann


March 5, 2013

We Just Need Sales!

Over the years, I have heard versions of the same story from business owners, colleagues, clients, and friends. It’s sometimes a defensive remark, other times a plea for help, and often an automatic response to just about any question about their business. It's understandable because we are all impatient.

"We don’t need good people, we need revenue!"

Whether you're involved in a start-up or a global Fortune 100 enterprise, revenue health is important. No one expects companies to run at a loss but if people aren't important, poor morale and a shrinking bottom line will result.

"We don’t need culture, we need cash!"

Culture is not about high priced chairs and fresh pastries in the lunch room; it’s about open collaboration and clear leadership from everyone in the company. Simply yelling at sales people to make more calls won’t get it done.

"We don’t need leadership, we need sales!"

Engaging the team and involving them with decisions will help them understand what’s at stake. In the quest to make more money, companies need to remember the importance of their single most precious resource.

"We don’t need collaboration, we need profits!"

There are countless data outlining the chasm that exists between the terms “manager” and “leader” and you need the latter. Vision and focus are required and it takes leadership to get great work accomplished.

"We don’t need strategy, we need income!"

Customer service is critical but must begin inside the company. Yes we are all in sales but if you claim your company a "sales organization", it will seep into the culture and you won't have much more than a sales department.

Without strong leadership, a healthy culture, and cooperative collaboration, the chase for revenue remains long and painful.

Kneale Mann

Glengarry Glen Ross

March 2, 2013

Cooperative Collaboration

There is no shortage of data on how we communicate and collaborate. We have teams, families, clients, friends, work spaces, social networks, neighbors, colleagues, partners, clubs, customers, and other ways to satisfy our inherent need to belong.

Though it's been around since the dawn of our time, collaboration is celebrating a revolution. The sharing of ideas is multiplying at speeds our minds can’t compute while we are learning and solving faster and more efficiently than ever. This is why culture and leadership are critical to our survival.

Writer and teacher Howard Rheingold published Smart Mobs in 2002 which explored the potential for technology to augment collective intelligence. He then worked with
The Institute for the Future to create and launch a broad based literacy of cooperation.

His 2005 TEDTalk remains just as relevant today.

Kneale Mann

Howard Rheingold

March 1, 2013

No Leap Required

Every morning, I like to share a quote or saying or thought on Twitter. These are meant to make you think, move, or perhaps just smile.

Here’s the list from February 2013

Never underestimate the power of your ability. Make time for think time every day.
If you don't give it a shot, how will you know? What will you do today that will positively affect your life? Someday will never arrive.

Potential without action is talking. The best place to start is now.
How will you inspire today? Don't wait for others to endorse your passion and goals.

Two words that mean a lot - you're welcome.

Managers can lead but great leaders don't over manage. Make time for them time. Don't let others dictate your goals.

Do you have a team or just a group of people who happen to work together?
What got us here may not get us there.

Embrace your strengths then share them. Embrace their strengths then share them.
Make time for play time. Never underestimate your ability to affect positive change.

Culture Matters

Kneale Mann

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