Leadership Development

Four Rituals Guaranteed To Make You A Better Leader

Most stress comes from trying to control things that are out of our control; the weather, the economy, the stock market, the competition, the latest trends, what’s popular, other people’s behavior. When we focus on these external forces we become reactive and assume a victim role, finding ourselves feeling helpless, stressed out, anxious, and frantic. The more we try, the worse it gets.

The most successful people spend effort on what they can control, the rituals that prepare them for success.

How do successful people prepare? (more…)

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One Simple Way To Intimidate The Competition

I have three daughters who play volleyball, so I watch a lot of volleyball. A typical ritual I’ve observed across all teams occurs between points. After every point the players huddle in the middle of the court, do a ritual or dance, and say something to each other. The ritual varies depending on what just happened. For example, an ace precipitates a different ritual than a block. Losing a point has a little different ritual than winning a point.

I’ve noticed that when a team is winning or on a roll, the ritual is quite enthusiastic. When the team is losing, the ritual loses enthusiasm, sometimes even disintegrates. Why is this? (more…)

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How To Earn Respect By Being Less Respectful

Don’t challenge your boss.
When she questions you, just apologize and try to make it right.
Always accommodate him.
Don’t waste her time with your ideas.

If this is your definition of respect, you might be playing a losing game. The more you try to please your boss, the less she seems to respect you. In many cases, trying to please your boss at all costs doesn’t earn respect. It reinforces for him that you don’t have a backbone, that you can’t be trusted when the going gets tough, that you will cave in when challenged.

What’s the alternative? (more…)

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I Want My Life Back! How to Deal With an Impossible Boss

Your boss assigned you a project. You’ve put your heart and soul into it, and deliver what you think is a great work product.

Barely stopping long enough read the first paragraph of your report, your boss says, “That’s not quite what I wanted. Make this change and that change, and bring it back to me.”

Are you kidding!?  Why didn’t he tell you that up front? It would have saved you a ton of extra work.

Are you tired of trying to meet your boss’s unrealistic, unclear, and constantly changing performance expectations? It’s as if he’s trying to hold you hostage and never give you the satisfaction of doing a good job.

The solution may be as simple as (more…)

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How to Keep Assumptions From Drowning Your Vision

At Next Element we are deep into the process of re-inventing our business model and setting a course for a dramatically different trajectory to impact more lives.

Conflict is a daily event around here. Perhaps because we are so passionate. Perhaps because we are so different. We work through it and move on, doing our best to capture the creative potential in the conflict.

Sometimes it seems we just can’t get on the same page. There seem to be recurring glitches that we can’t figure out. We go our separate ways, working on our tasks and when we come back together, it’s like we’ve all been working off different blue prints. It’s not that we don’t share the big vision or that we aren’t working hard. Very often it’s because we’ve made disparate assumptions and worked from them without awareness. (more…)

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The Surprisingly Small Gap Between Empathy and One-Upping

I hate it when I disclose something important, perhaps an emotional story or experience I had, and the other person always has a bigger, better, more emotional story. They interrupt my mojo with something like, “I know, right! The same thing happened to me!’ or “You think that’s bad. Let me tell you what I went through last year.”

Has this ever happened to you?

When it comes to empathy, there are basically three kinds of people. (more…)

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When Goals are Negotiable, Obstacles are Excuses

Have you ever gone through a day dodging accountability, finding ways to avoid the hard work of delighting a customer, or looking for reasons why you can’t accomplish your responsibilities? Then, that same evening with tenacious focus and resourcefulness you figure out how to get the lawn mowed, find a babysitter, prepare for tomorrow’s webinar, and still make it to the poker party with your friends?

Funny thing about desire. “Want to” will empower almost anyone to find a way. (more…)

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Three Ways Politicians Can Make Progress in the Gun Control Debate

Even after another deadly mass shooting, presidential candidates avoided any real conversation about gun control. Politicians know the topic of gun control is so emotionally charged that meaningful discourse is nearly impossible. It would be suicide for any presidential candidate to jump into this mess. What’s the problem and how do we make any progress? (more…)

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One Simple Way to Improve Your Communication

It was a beautiful Fall Friday afternoon in Kansas and my work calendar was pretty open. I love to take walks with my wife, who worked across the street from me at the time and often got off work earlier in the afternoon.

“Maybe we could both get off early and take a walk before the kids get home from practice,” I thought to myself. How great to start the weekend with a long walk, connect with my wife, get some exercise, then relax on the deck with a glass of wine.

I was so excited! So I texted her this message, “When are you getting off work?” (more…)

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