May 29, 2014

Thank-You Maya

The world lost a great mind and mentor this week. Dr. Maya Angelou was 86 when she passed away in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The St. Louis native and Pulitzer Prize nominee gave us a seemingly endless list of great works and shared her thoughts and wisdom through her books, poems, speeches, and tireless inspiration.

We'll let her have the last words.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it. 

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Nothing can dim the light which shines from within. Nothing will work unless you do. 

You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. 

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


getty | voavideo

May 28, 2014

I Got Your Six

The quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. Others can count on you; rely on you; trust you.
We live in a busy world with words tossed around like; collaboration, teamwork, and trust. These are deep human words that can strengthen an organization or deplete it.

A few weeks ago, my car was parked in a lot and I was on a client call. Suddenly the driver of a 10-ton truck parked 50 feet away decided to back up, and back up, and despite my sustained horn, backed up over the front of my car.

We are sorry

Fast forward to yesterday when my insurance company adjuster looked me in the eye and apologized for the inconvenience and mistake they made to the repairs. Yes, you read that correctly. They owned it. They were accountable through their actions.

When you’re in a restaurant and they mess up your meal, you probably don’t want to make a big fuss, you just want someone to fix it. I can’t speak for you, but the last thing I want when I'm trying to enjoy some dinner with others is have an argument with a staff member over an overdone steak.

Are you accountable to everyone on your team?
Is everyone on your team accountable to you?

Years ago, I worked with a guy who had the miraculous ability to never get any on him. He was masterful at strategically being out of the way when bullets flew by and rose to a prominent national position within the organization. He had many talents and brought value but as one of his regional direct reports, I just needed to know he had my back. That was never confirmed.

Leadership is not something we get with our new shiny office. It is not bestowed upon us because it says so on our email signature. We earn it through being accountable.

If we want to gain a unique selling proposition for our company to become a superior choice for our customers, it begins by providing better service to our internal customers – to each other. We all mess up. It's how we deal with it that counts most.

It starts with knowing I got your six and you got my nine.
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.


May 26, 2014

Daily Reminders

Surround yourself with smart people. Quality not quantity. Remove negative people from your life. Have a flexible strategy. Avoid playing favorites. Follow your passion.

Believe in you. Do what you say you will do. Recognize the efforts of everyone on your team. Disconnect at least once a day. Don't pull rank. Take one think day every month. Pay it forward. Read and seek knowledge daily. Imagine often. Never stop learning.

And today is Memorial Day in the US so let's thank every woman and man who has made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom around the world.
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.


May 21, 2014

You Don’t Have All the Answers

If you've spent enough time in the enterprise, you've met the type of boss who seems compelled to always be right. When mistakes are made, they never seem to be her fault. Things go sideways and he is quick to blame others. But how much does that solve the issues at hand? How much damage is created when that continues to occur?

Think about your participation in group activities. You offer ideas as much as you can. You suggest solutions to the challenges in front of the team. But how much do you continue to do so if the “boss” shoots down your ideas or doesn’t acknowledge your ideas in the first place? It can be demoralizing when the good news is taken by someone else while the bad news is thrown back in your face.

How Can You Help?

"I don’t know" can be tough to say when you are told to lead others. After all, the company believes in you enough to put you in the position to make these decisions but that doesn't mean  you can't get things done, motivate your team and create a more social business with openness.

"I don’t know" to some, may appear indecisive. Some fear it may show investors the company is on shaky ground. But leaders who show they rely on their entire team for ideas and solutions can build a stronger foundation than those who get out the pom poms during good times and hide during challenges.

We don't have all the answers and that's perfect.
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.


May 16, 2014

What Your Team Wants Most

There are over seven billion of us on this planet, over two billion online, and the noise is unbearable most days. Look at this, click on that, check my offer, attend this event, go to that store, read this article, buy that cool gadget, the list is endless. Then we're expected to share it, text it, tweet it, connect it, friend it, email it, or blog it.

The cries for attention seem unrelenting and perhaps as we have trained ourselves to sift through endless data, content, and advertising, we have forgotten ourselves? But it would be good to think we take more care with our relationships and careers. This creates strong bonds, great friendships, and successful companies.

To reveal yourself is a test of your humanness.
Isabelle Adjani

Leadership and culture are not job titles and your team is not a group of robots carrying out mindless tasks to grow the revenue for your shareholders. Like you, they have dreams and goals and a need for more meaning and passion in their work.

If we focus on the meaning of our business, significance of our people, and importance of creating a collaborative culture, the focus on revenue will no longer get in the way of fulfilling our goals.

If we do that, I like our chances.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.


May 13, 2014

Fail. Create. Succeed.

We've heard it, read it, thought it, shared it, and known it for most of our lives. It takes time to be successful at anything. A lot of time. And work.

It took you a while to get good at what you do now. But are you doing what you truly love? Are you doing something that you love more than you love yourself? Have you found your purpose? How do you define what success means to you?

Imagine your work becomes world renowned

You could become Barton Fink – the fictional character who suffers debilitating writer’s block trying to recreate your success – or you could be Elizabeth Gilbert.

In 2006, Gilbert wrote Eat Pray Love that spent 199 weeks on the New York Times best seller list, became a movie in 2010, and made her a success beyond the dreams of most writers. Then she had two choices and explains how failure can mean success.

Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

TED | Elizabeth Gilbert

May 8, 2014

Time to Think and Act Bigger

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream despite overwhelming opposition and it cost him his life. Steve Jobs built a company that changed the game. Mother Teresa served her religion and her people with dignity and grace. Oprah Winfrey smashed the glass ceiling while creating a unique brand.

Those are big ideas. And we all have them. They may not cure a disease or move a generation but we will never know their potential until we explore them, share them, and see where they'll go. No big idea was ever adapted or adopted immediately. In fact, most were ignored or discarded - often by those who had them in the first place.

Been there? Done that?

Tom Peters says; “The new idea either finds a champion or it dies. No ordinary involvement with a new idea provides the energy required to cope with the indifference and resistance that change provokes.”

The next time you can’t seem to shake the idea, let it percolate and rest. You won't have all the parts figured out at first. But discarding it the moment you meet resistance or a naysayer (which are guaranteed) you may be wasting an idea that could be big.

No is easy. Maybe is more difficult.
How is where our work begins.

Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.


May 4, 2014

Send Us a Sign

I was thinking about this again recently. It's time to review again.

The news reports are telling residents to leave town. The authorities are feverishly going around the city to gather up those who don’t have the means to do it themselves and all the while Bill has decided he is going to stay in his home and wait out the storm.

Below the Waterline

A few hours later the rain is coming down in sheets. Bill is forced out of his home and onto his roof where the water is now five feet deep on his street. Two police officers in a motorboat come by to rescue Bill and bring him to safety. Bill declines their offer and proclaims; “God will send me a sign!”

Several hours later, the water is now at Bill’s waist as he struggles to survive on his now submerged roof. Another police boat comes to rescue him and take him to safety. He again says “No thank-you, God will send me a sign”. A half hour later, Bill drowns.

Searching for Answers

Bill is shocked and says; “Why didn’t you send me a sign?”
God replies; “I sent you two boats!”

How often do we ignore the help we need in our quest for the clear path? How do we miss those signs that are there to guide us when we’re looking for guidance? How often are we quick to help others but not as swift to accept help from them in return?

Let's get in the boat
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

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