Seven Disciplines of a Leader Becomes an International Best-Seller

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According to Wiley publisher, Richard Narramore, “This book has the potential to become a standard text on leadership for organizations around the world.”

When Richard made that statement a year ago I never imagined that would happen and last week it did. Seven Disciplines of a Leader became an international best seller hitting the bestseller list in Australia, Canada, UK, Germany and the US.

I’m thankful, honored and humbled by this achievement in my quest to help people, teams and organizations achieve maximum effectiveness.

For those of you who bought the book and enhanced your leadership skills – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For those of you who have not yet read the book and you want to enhance your leadership skills or want to become a leader the book is available on Amazon.

Wolf in the Workplace is read in 136 countries and to all of you, I appreciate your support and we now have a Leadership Development Program based on the book.

I’m also available to speak at your next meeting, conference or convention. Click here to learn more.

For more information, please contact Mike Adams at madams@wolfmotivation.com or call me personally at 858-638-8260.

Thank You for Your Support! – Jeff Wolf, President, Wolf Management Consultants

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Five Fundamental Goals of Highly Effective Leaders

By Jeff Wolf

Time to read: 2 minutes

Leadership is a tough job, one that places you in difficult positions, facing vexing dilemmas. Regardless of your level – supervisor, manager, general manager, president or CEO – leadership is challenging.

Let’s examine five fundamental goals:

  1. Bring people together to work as a team. You guide your team, department, or group, and it’s not easy leading a group of diverse people. The workplace today is more diverse than at any time in history:  Each group has its ideas, values, and thoughts regarding what should be done and how to do it. Effective leaders work hard to build strong teams that accomplish great things. People who work together cohesively offer a competitive advantage.
  2. Motivate people to perform. You can’t lead without inspiring people to do great things. They must be willing to take that next step, the one that allows them to reach beyond their perceived capabilities and step out of the proverbial box. Each employee has distinct values and needs, wants and desires. Effective leaders spend coaching people one-on-one to find out what makes them tick, which challenges confront them, and which types of motivation will spur them to perform at a higher level.

    People are motivated in two ways: intrinsically and extrinsically. Extrinsic motivations involves outside factors: money, power or position. Intrinsic motivations comes from within: the desire for pride, a passion for one’s work, and the desire to do a great job.

  3. Take responsibility for bottom-line results. Regardless of your organization’s size or type (public or private), much of your behavior is driven by the bottom line. If you are in a leadership role, you’ve got to work with people to produce and achieve the results necessary to be profitable. Leaders are measured by their results, as are the people who work for them. Every organization has financial goals. If they’re unmet, the consequences may be severe.
  4. Make difficult decisions. It’s your responsibility to hire the right people, terminate the wrong people, and call people on the carpet to take corrective measures. It’s also within your purview to change the direction of your department, team or organization as the landscape changes in your business environment.

    You may also have to decide whether friends or former colleagues are doing their job. You may find yourself in the unenviable position of having to reprimand, issue warnings, and occasionally terminate staff. The people who report to you must be in the right job for their abilities. You may have the right people, but the positions they’re in may not be the correct fit, so you’ll need to make the necessary changes.

  5. Create positive energy. Team and company success depend on having highly motivated individuals who are excited about their work. Of course, no workforce operates in a vacuum. Employees need a strong leader with a positive attitude and enthusiasm. Employees work for people (leaders), not for companies. Conversely, employees don’t leave companies – they leave ineffective leaders. An employee’s relationship with a manager/supervisor largely determines the length of an employee’s stay. The main reason people quit is the manager’s behavior. A quality leader is the key factor in attracting and retaining top talent.

    There is no shortage of good employees today; however, there is a shortage of inspirational leaders and inspiring places to work. Leaders are seldom energy neutral. They either energize their employees, or they act as energy vampires, sapping workers’ motivation and enthusiasm and contributing to low morale.

Wolf Management Consultants is a premier global consulting firm specializing in helping people, teams and organizations achieve maximum effectiveness. Our expert staff is available to partner with you in key fundamental areas:

  • leadership development
  • executive coaching
  • employee engagement
  • talent assessment, selection & development
  • teambuilding
  • succession planning
  • organizational development
  • change management
  • strategic planning
  • performance management
  • sales training
  • speaker for your meetings & conferences

Contact us today to discuss how we may partner together for your continued success: Mike Adams madams@wolfmotivation.com 858-638-8260 or www.wolfmotivation.com

The Disciplines of Excellence

Time to read: 2 minutes

Ted, new salesman for a travel accessory company (toiletry kits, carry-on bags, and packing organizers) expanded sales in his region by persuading travel agents to sell his line of products. It was an unusual outlet and so successful that the company included sales pitches to travel agents in all other regions of the company.

Ted did what all successful leaders do: They open their minds and consider new (even outrageous) possibilities that help them succeed on their jobs, whatever those jobs might be. This same thinking applies to every level of the organization but is especially important for organization leaders.

The outrageous part helps them think outside the box. If they’re in sales, they consider unusual outlets for their products or services. If they’re in operations, they consider new avenues for cutting costs. If they’re in customer service, they imagine new ways to satisfy customers. Their receptive approach considers all manner of possibilities.

Although leaders vary in their definitions of excellence, and how best to achieve it, most agree that excellence is a never-ending pursuit and that whatever their challenges and opportunities are today, they’ll change tomorrow. Leaders often face nine challenges:

  1. Communication. Clarity enhances achievement. People respond to leaders who unmistakably communicate organizational objectives and methods to achieve goals. Without this crucial first step, organizations falter; with it, and the steps that follow, they have the opportunity to succeed far beyond what they may have considered possible.
  2. Accountability. Operational and financial measurements and clear lines of responsibility for results are mandatory if the organization is to have the ability to keep on track with its plans. This extends from the very bottom of the organization to the top. Everybody must be held accountable for top notch performance.
  3. Engagement. People who are actively and mentally engaged with their jobs and receive the help and direction they need are convinced that their individual contributions are meaningful and they will extend their efforts to contribute to company success.
  4. Activities connected with the company’s mission and strategy assures that everybody in the organization understands the important yardsticks for company success. Alignment helps employees focus on the most important tasks at hand. Associating each employee’s job with company goals motivates each to reach just a little bit higher.
  5. Direction. Along the same line, direction is what keeps strategy, planning, and execution aligned. Without it disconnects occur, and what at first seemed a clear path becomes muddled.
  6. People feel an inherent desire to “pass the torch” successfully, but often have trouble doing it. Highly effective leaders keep all members (new and old) of the organization in touch.
  7. Measurement and control. Without management guidance events can “feel” out of sync. The elements of control, both operational and financial, assure that the organization has the ability to quickly identify departures from plan and take lasting corrective actions. A plan without measurement and control is no plan at all.
  8. Frustration. Great leaders have the ability to sniff out problems before they get out of hand. Part of that comes from measurement and control; but that leaves out the adverse reaction employees experience when they do not have the means to handle their own work. Inadequate instructions are a leading cause as is the inability of managers to clear roadblocks for the people working for them.
  9. Risk Management. There’s a need, often unaddressed, for determining profit variability versus the projected growth rate. In most organizations, 80 percent of the problems (costs and headaches) are associated with 20 percent of the products and services offered. Left unattended, that 20 percent can severely restrict company growth.

An excellence program is an organized approach to grow the ability of leaders to deal with an ever-changing and challenging environment. The program needs to grow with the business and enable leaders and their employees to align plans and activities to support the strategies and achieve stated goals. An excellence program will address the nine issues mentioned above.

Excellence means this: Innovate, measure, learn.

Innovate purposefully. Innovation is problem-solving, and everyone has the ability to solve problems. This discipline provides principles and measurement tools that are used to help leaders set clear goals and align daily activities to meet them. These goals should align with company priorities. Then employees will be able to use their innate creativity to meet or exceed goals.

Learning. First, step back and gain perspective on the factors that affect performance. It is achieved through a series of discovery exercises, exploring externals (competitors, industry, economics) and internals such as goal performance, stakeholder feedback, corrective measures, SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

Measure and learn means: 1) deriving a repeatable methodology to drive leadership, 2) assigning external coaching for accountability, 3) providing a system to align the activities of team members, and 4) establishing a community of like-minded people to accelerate learning. When these elements come together, leaders will see enduring change.

Jeff Wolf is the author of Seven Disciplines of a Leader and founder and president of Wolf Management Consultants, LLC, a premier global consulting firm that specializes in helping people, teams and organizations achieve maximum effectiveness. A dynamic speaker and highly requested executive coach, he was named one of the country’s top 100 thought leaders by the prestigious Leadership Excellence Magazine.

Take A Summer Vacation This Year

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by Jeff Wolf

How many times have you heard your boss tell you that? In fact, how many times have you told your employees that?

Come on, fess up. Either case is as rare as a drenching rain in the Sahara. Let’s face it. Too many bosses discourage employees from taking more than a day off or a weekend here and there. And even then they don’t discourage a barrage of phone calls from work and many will expect employees to check their email several times a day. A two-week getaway to the Far East? Not a chance.

Every year, the media reports on surveys showing that large chunks of U.S. workers don’t plan on taking all their vacation time. Why does this happen, when it’s part of a worker’s compensation package? Large percentages of workers wouldn’t pass on a company-sponsored life insurance plan, or forgo a paycheck for all of December, so why are so many people willingly (or perhaps not so willingly) giving their paid time off back to their employers?

Forbes Magazine contributor Kristi Hedges nails the explanation: “The idea of a skimpy vacation as a worthy sacrifice or badge of honor is culturally embedded. The U.S. is the only rich country to not have legally mandated paid vacation and holidays.” She goes on, “science tells us that this is a very bad idea. Increasingly, studies are showing that breaks of any kind are not only good for you; they can actually increase productivity and well-being.”

Long Vacations Benefit Both Company and Employee

To create a lasting change in their organization, and maybe even greater society at large, leaders must fully embrace the practical benefits of vacations. Good leaders will be more inclined to not only grant, but also encourage employees to take not just a couple of long weekends here and there-and maybe a week off in the summer-but longer vacation time. Employees come back from a full week (or two or three) of time off when they were able to truly disconnect from work energized and recharged, with better ideas, a fresh perspective, lower stress-levels, and genuine excitement to tackle work challenges that can become overwhelming without time to recharge. Truly effective leaders recognize the value of paid time off, and understand it’s key to a productive and engaged workforce.

Here are specific steps leaders can take to make sure this happens:

  • Issue specific company policies that encourage all employees of the organization to take all vacation days due them, and in any increments they prefer.
  • Be clear the time off must not interfere with mission critical work, but also be clear that one person’s week off shouldn’t incapacitate a well-run department, and that while every department has busier times on the calendar, it is normal and expected that departments will experience slower times periodically throughout the year.
  • Require that all managers and supervisors conduct short meetings with their employees explaining the vacation policy.
  • Ask employees for feedback regarding perceived problems with the vacation policy. Since many employees may feel constrained to speak up, use a suggestion box where they can offer suggestions or voice complaints.
  • Assure that all complaints and suggestions are answered by a third-party, such as Human Resources.
  • Follow-up yearly to make sure the new vacation policy is working.

As we head in to the height of the summer, when friends and family frequently plan reunions, couples get married, families with children have the freedom to travel, as leaders it’s our job to help facilitate these getaways. Your employees will thank you for it, and ultimately, your bottom line will thank you for it too.

Jeff Wolf is the author of Seven Disciplines of a Leader and founder and president of Wolf Management Consultants, LLC, a premier global consulting firm that specializes in helping people, teams and organizations achieve maximum effectiveness.

Contact us today to discuss how we may partner with you to develop your current and future leaders or to have Jeff Wolf speak at your next meeting, conference or convention: Michael Adams madams@wolfmotivation.com 858-638-8260 or www.wolfmotivation.com

 

Practical Thoughts on Leadership

By Jeff Wolf

  • Leaders maintain credibility by being honest, forthright, and open; their values, allegiances and priorities are beyond reproach
  • Leaders establish shared values among teams, instill confidence in followers, create organizational excitement and are not afraid of change
  • When strategies, objectives, and paths to success are clearly defined, individuals, teams and organizations will be motivated, inspired and energized
  • Great leaders listen with empathy and speak with honesty to gain and maintain trust with people
  • Customers are vital to your success. As a leader, you must continually enhance and reinforce the ideals of customer satisfaction from top to bottom of the organization
  • Motivated people give you a competitive advantage. As a leader, you can make the difference between those who care deeply about their roles versus those who simply show up for work every day (if you’re lucky), and go through the motions while collecting a paycheck
  • An effective leader motivates employees to work together and achieve greatness, instilling confidence and trust as they go about their everyday business

Contact us today to discuss how we may partner with you to develop your current and future leaders or to have Jeff Wolf speak at your next meeting, conference or convention: Michael Adams madams@wolfmotivation.com 858-638-8260 or www.wolfmotivation.com

Did You Know

  • According to a Stanford Study: Nearly 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, while 100% of them stated that they are receptive to making changes based on feedback. Nearly 80% of directors said that their CEO is receptive to coaching.
  • A global survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association Resource Center found that the mean Return on Investment in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, and over a quarter of coaching clients reported a stunning ROI of 10 to 49 times the cost.
  • A Deloitte University Report found:Leadership development and succession planning was identified as an “urgent need” by 86% of those surveyed but only 13% believe they do an “excellent job” of preparing individuals for future leadership roles. Building a leadership pipeline demands multiple resources throughout the organization, but perhaps the most challenging aspect is the range of resources required for leadership development by the HR department.