Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Leadership Resources Welcomes Darcy Michalek

By Boyd Ober 06/20/2011

Leadership Resources would like to welcome Darcy Michalek to their Omaha team! Darcy has been a long-time friend of Leadership Resources and has recently come on board to contribute to business development in the Omaha market.

She is passionate about leadership and helping other people achieve their true potential. She brings with her many years of business experience. She and her husband currently own two hair salons in Omaha and several convenience stores throughout western Nebraska.

Darcy is the president of Enterprise Business Group where she helps people buy and sell businesses. She is an affiliate of the Business Brokers Network, which is America’s largest network of business brokers. Joining Leadership Resources was the final piece to the puzzle as far as services to business owners. Now, in addition to her business brokerage and valuation services, she can also offer specific resources that business owners need to transition their business, including strategic planning, leadership development and assessments.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.“It just makes sense to be able to offer these additional leadership services to my clients,” Darcy explained. “I believe in long-term leadership development and look forward to contributing to the growth of Leadership Resources in the Omaha market.”

Boyd Ober, president of Leadership Resources, is excited about Darcy coming on board. “Darcy has a wealth of experience and knowledge that will be beneficial for both our team and our clients. We’re glad she decided to join our team.”


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Leadership Resources – 2011 BBB Integrity Award Winner

By Boyd Ober 06/20/2011
Leadership Resources Group BBB integrity award winner 2011

Better Business Bureau, Inc. and the BBB Foundation honored Lincoln’s 2011 BBB Integrity Award Winners at its annual awards luncheon at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel on September 8th. The keynote speaker at the event was Dean Emeritus Cynthia Hardin Milligan of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business Administration.

The five local Winners of the 2011 BBB Integrity Awards were introduced by videos produced by the event’s Media Sponsor KLKN-TV. The organizations ranged in size from less than 5 employees to 150 employees.

The 2011 Winners are:

  • Nebraska Community Blood bank
  • Quick Connect Computer Services
  • Leadership Resources
  • Davis Design
  • Lincoln Federal Saving Bank of Nebraska.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.BBB Lincoln Advisory Board Chair Scott Vyskocil said, “In today’s challenging economic climate, honesty and integrity are more important than ever. These award recipients, selected by independent panels of judges, represent what is best about business in metro Lincoln. These organizations have solid business practices, based on a commitment to serve their customers with the highest standard of ethics. They have built successful companies because of the trust that has been established, and the BBB Integrity Awards recognize their leadership in our community.”

Leadership Resources is honored and grateful to receive this award. “We strive to live by the core values we put in place in our organization,” said Boyd Ober, President. “We must be doing the same things we tell our clients to do. Only by living in that manner can we truly maintain integrity and help others achieve their next level of success.”

Visit our Facebook Photo Album – BBB Integrity Award 2011 to see photos!

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Are You Drowning in Email?

By Boyd Ober 06/13/2011

Throughout the course of the day, you’re likely to get hundreds if not thousands of emails. Before you know it, your inbox looks like a disaster area. You know should keep up the best you can, or you’re likely to drown in the sea of messages. As a result you become glued to your smartphone, hoping to open, answer, forward or delete what you can to avoid the pile up.

Bad idea.

If there’s one thing psychologists have learned as they’ve studied human behavior, it’s that we achieve better results and more excellent results when we focus. Translation . . . you can’t perform at your best when you’re constantly distracted or drowning in email messages.

To end the fight with email, consider the following tips:

  • Be ruthless about what gets through your email filter. Unsubscribe from newsletters, offers, RSS feeds, etc. that don’t provide helpful information or resources. Don’t give out your email address until you know how companies might use your information. Also consider setting up a “junk email” that you can give to solicitors.
  • Build “email windows” into your schedule. These are pre-scheduled time periods in which you are devoting to composing, returning and processing email. This allows you to focus on the task at hand and do one of three things: do it, delegate it, or delete it.
  • 11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

  • Email only during the work day. The people you’re corresponding with come to expect certain behavior from you. If you email back and forth after the work day is over, you’re basically telling them, “it’s ok to correspond with me after hours.” If you want to respond to email after work hours, set it to be delivered the next day so the timestamp is still during working hours.
  • Teach those around you to use a “parking lot.” Instead of firing off an email every time they have a question or comment, a “parking lot” encourages employees to keep a list of items that need addressed. Once that list reaches 4 or 5 items, they can schedule a quick phone call or short meeting with you to go over those items.
  • Turn off email on your smartphone. Yes, it sounds crazy. But just because you get can email on your phone doesn’t mean you should. If you find that you’re checking your email at the dinner table, the grocery store, red stoplights or in bed, you might be taking it too far. Try going offline with your phone for a while. You might find that you’re more focused and productive. You might also send the message that people need to call you in order to discuss something important. Your family and friends will appreciate your undivided attention as well.

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Ways to Minimize Destructive Stress

By Boyd Ober 06/06/2011

Leadership can be stressful. But effective leaders use stress as a constructive force rather than allowing it to become a destructive one. Stress occurs when conditions produce awareness that some action is required to satisfy a need, to solve a problem, or to prevent some undesirable result. Without constructive stress, motivation would be at an extremely low level, and very little would ever be accomplished. Adopt the attitude that stress is a challenge to your creativity — a welcome opportunity to perform well. Adjust your language to reflect this attitude. Constructive stress inspires people to act, to achieve, and to utilize more of their full potential for success.

Stress becomes destructive when the pressure to act cannot be met, or when one believes it cannot be met. If the perceived need to act requires more time, more money, greater skill or productivity than the individual can supply, the force of stress becomes negative. The result is physical or psychological damage — or both.

Even more damaging than the physical toll of stress are the psychological effects.

Continuing stress destroys the thrill and excitement of achievement because no accomplishment ever seems good enough. The resulting dissatisfaction with personal productivity causes a breakdown in relationships with people at work and at home. Undue stress hampers decision-making effectiveness, decreases personal productivity, and blocks creativity.

Minimize destructive stress with these ideas:

1. Set Goals

Clearly-defined goals and a written plan of action for both your work and personal life give you these stress reducing benefits:

You always know where you are going and, therefore, feel little fear of the unknown.
Obstacles are not perceived as threats because you have anticipated them and planned how you will handle them.
Making choices is simplified because your goals serve as criteria.
A written plan of action for achieving goals provides ready-made decisions regarding specific actions to take. Overall organizational goals and plans simplify the leadership of people. They specify the actions and activities needed and who is responsible for each one. The plan of action for achieving the goals of the organization provides standards and procedures for measuring individual and organizational productivity. You and your team members know automatically whether productivity is adequate. There is no need to wait until the end of the month or quarter and suddenly find that goals were missed.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.2. Identify Priorities

One of the most effective ways to choose which activities you will perform is to evaluate their cost. Determine the value of one hour of your time based on your annual income.

When you know how much your time is worth, you have a better standard for choosing items of work you will perform personally and those you will delegate. Just as you would not be willing to pay a hundred dollars for a cup of coffee, you should not spend a hundred dollars worth of time accomplishing a five-dollar task. Compare the cost of your time to the worth of the activity involved.

Another approach to establishing priorities is to evaluate the contribution each activity will make to the achievement of organizational and personal goals. Focus on activities that make major contributions to moving you and your team members closer to your goals.

3. Prevent Burnout
Unless you handle stress constructively, burnout is likely. Burnout is brought about by unrelieved work stress and results in extreme emotional exhaustion and dramatically decreased productivity. Prevention, of course, is the preferred way of handling burnout. And, it is just as vital to prevent burnout in your people as it is for yourself. Effective leaders are positive role models; they handle stress constructively to prevent burnout.

Identify specific sources of stress, then plan and carry out appropriate actions to minimize or eliminate them. Common sources of stress include:

  • work overload
  • excessive time demands
  • unanticipated or unrealistic assignments or deadlines
  • interpersonal conflicts

4. Keep Your Perspective
Remember why you made the effort to clear out the stress producing mind clutter of old attitudes, old work habits, and old problems. Strive to enhance your enjoyment of life and your productivity by keeping all areas of your personal and business life in proper perspective.

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Watch for Opportunities to Teach Others

By Boyd Ober 05/30/2011

The specific method or process for developing or training varies with what is to be taught, the learning abilities of the people involved, and their prior experience. This basic approach can be followed as a general outline for instruction on any type of training or development:

Explain what is to be done and why.

  • Tell team members what the task involves and why it is important. Answer any questions in a friendly, positive manner. Point out how the individuals will benefit. If they can expect to receive higher pay, increased job status, or become more valuable to the organization in some other tangible way, tell them so. Describe to them how their efforts help reach the organization’s goals. Remind them that by receiving further training and development, they can better meet their personal goals for increased responsibility and greater compensation.

Explain the major steps.

  • Break down the task into steps that are easy to understand. Provide a written description and guidelines in addition to your verbal explanations. Providing a written procedure saves you and the team member time later in answering questions. Written procedures also demonstrate your confidence in the abilities of your team members to follow written instructions, to answer their own questions, and to learn independently.

Have the trainee explain to you the procedure.

  • Encourage the trainee to “talk through” the procedure. This helps you and the trainee to identify any misunderstanding about the procedure. When all the trouble spots are eliminated and trainees can accurately and confidently describe the procedure, they are ready for the next step.

Demonstrate the procedure.

  • Teach one step at a time. Demonstrate what to do by performing the activity, explaining as you work, while they watch and listen.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.Remember that people learn differently.

  • Nearly all learn best by watching the successful performance of the skills you are teaching and then by actually performing the skills themselves.

Help trainees to perform the procedure.

  • When you first allow the trainee to perform the procedure independently, remain available as a resource. Avoid assuming too much responsibility. Remember, you are there to help the trainee succeed.

Evaluate progress.

  • Praise satisfactory performance and point out ways to improve still more. Always emphasize what a person does right. Show what could be done better, and ask questions that lead the trainees to expand their understanding of the process and to develop the knowledge to perform correctly. Give major attention to the aspects of the performance you want to be repeated. Wrong behavior will then be eliminated, and good performance will take its place.

Provide a tracking system.

  • Set up a method of tracking performance. Always inspect what you expect. This approach encourages people to become accountable for their own success and adds to the respect they feel toward you as a good coach and mentor. As soon as possible, put learners on their own to perform with only routine checkpoints. Let them know you have confidence in their ability. The efficiency and effectiveness of nearly every task in any organization can be enhanced by providing a written procedure for it. Written guidelines require careful analysis of a task, a description of the best way to do it, and a tracking system for determining how well the task is being done. Use a tracking system to enable people to measure their success so they can assume responsibility for their own continuous improvement.

Remember that you can never transfer years of knowledge and skill directly to another person. If you assume a condescending, impatient attitude, people quickly detect it and cannot do their best. Use the advantage of your expertise to facilitate the learning experience of the other person.

You are constantly teaching, training, and developing other people. Every time you give someone an assignment, or tell a person what to do, how to do it, and when it must be completed, you use some technique of instruction. By becoming more aware of these everyday opportunities for training and development, you can turn informal instruction into powerful learning experiences.

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Communicating between the generations in the workplace

By Boyd Ober 05/16/2011
Leadership Resources Generational DiversityLeadership Resources Generational Diversity

On Friday, May 13, Leadership Resources held its monthly 3% club for clients and guests. The topic of discussion was “generational diversity” and how the differences between the generations cause communication challenges in the workplace.

Patty Marmie was the lead facilitator for this event and set the stage by having people introduce themselves and talk about what they do at their company. She proceeded to ask the group – “what is the definition of a generation?”

What is a generation?

While there was some talk of a generation being 40 years (perhaps that reference was Biblical or historical in nature), Patty’s research presented the definition of a generation in this manner:

A generation is defined as a geographically linked population that experienced similar social and cultural events at roughly the same time in their maturation. Generational change is primarily driven by parenting trends, technology, economics, and life spans. As the pace of change in these things quicken, generations get shorter.”

One participant, a sales and merchandising manager for a locally based grocery store chain, said, “In our stores we have 16-year-olds to 80-year-olds working for us. We have to know to communicate with all ages and do it effectively. I’ve started asking people how they want to be communicated with.”

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.The rest of the group agreed with that method.

Preferences of Your Generation

Participants further engaged in discussion about the following questions:

  • How do you prefer to receive feedback?
  • How do you prefer to communicate?
  • What does “hard work” mean to you?
  • What barriers have have you experienced in communicating with members of other generations?
  • What is one thing you will do to improve communications with members of other generations?
  • How will you know if you’ve improved?

A handout was then presented to the group that outlined the general preferences of each generation. The handout was originally produced by Express Personnel.

Generation and Communication Handout – Download Now!

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Company Metrics & Measurements – Are they working?

By Boyd Ober 04/25/2011

Metrics drive improvement. As Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured, gets done.”

When an athlete reflects on his performance, he doesn”t simply rely on his feelings and how he felt when he was on the court. He digs into his metrics and statistics, including shooting percentage, free throw percentage, number of rebounds, etc. Using this valuable data, the athlete can usually be coached and motivated to increase his results in the future.

In most regards, metrics are a good thing. Companies need to establish measurements and analyze them regularly to identify opportunities for improvement. However, just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should. While a chart or graph might look pretty, if it doesn’t tell you the facts you need to know, it can be a waste of time and energy. To be effective, feedback and measurement need to have a clear and specific purpose.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.Consider the following questions to analyze your company dashboard/metrics:

  • Is the report providing me with the information I need to improve results?
  • Is it providing my people with critical feedback so they can make adjustments?
  • Do my employees really use this? (or are they gathering the data only because they “have to”)
  • Does the data motivate individuals to do better in the area that’s being measured?
  • Are the metrics linked to the overall goals of the organization?

With the metrics from your company’s dashboard, plus some clarifying questions like these, you can start to identify trends in your organization and opportunities for growth.

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Sedor selected to co-chair Leadership Lincoln’s 2nd alumni gathering

By Boyd Ober 04/18/2011

With a name like “Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane”, the 2nd annual Leadership Lincoln alumni gathering is going to be the best event ever!

Dan Sedor and David Buntain, have been selected to chair the event. Sedor is an executive vice president at Leadership Resources. Buntain is an attorney with Cline Williams and founder of Leadership Lincoln.

In 2010, Dan chaired the Reunion on the Runway where over 300 Leadership Lincoln alums gathered at Duncan Aviation for the initial event of its kind. Hosted by Robert and Karen Duncan and sponsored by Union Bank, the first year was a smashing success. In fact, Sedor did such a great job that he has been asked to co-chair this year’s event and move up to chair the entire event next year.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.The 2011 “Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane” event will be held on August 20 at The Smith Collection Museum of American Speed with Clay Smith. Speedway Motors has generously agreed to host the event. Food, drink, silent and live auction will be a part of the evening.

Leadership Lincoln was founded in 1985 by a group of community leaders to ensure our city a pool of well-trained and knowledgeable individuals ready and willing to assume leadership positions in the community. The purpose of the annual event is to bring alums from all of Leadership Lincoln’s programs together for an evening of fun and celebration. The first annual event was initiated in 2010 as part of Leadership Lincoln’s Silver Anniversary.

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Building Business Value at April's 3% Club

By Boyd Ober 04/11/2011

On Friday, April 8, Mike Anderson facilitated the 3% Club luncheon on the topic of building business value. Mike is Vice President and Coach at Leadership Resources, serving from the Omaha location. His presentation, entitled “Value for Today and Strategies for Tomorrow,” brought together a room full of 23 local business leaders and professionals.

Value is in the eye of the beholder; it’s a perception. So how do we go about defining value in a business? The group brainstormed several ideas of what defines a valuable business. It soon became evident the importance of having a value strategy. If you have no destination, any road will get you there. Choose your advisor team, understand your options, and execute your plan. Mike talked about always having a backup plan in place. What would happen to your business if you were ran over by a truck tomorrow? “Better prepared = Better value!”

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.“It’s always been a mystery to me how businesses are valued for sale, and now I know the basics so I can prepare my own business for sale someday,” said Kindra Foster Lindbloom, owner of Foster Executive Writing & Editing. “I learned that the first thing I need to do is make sure I have processes in place–not a natural thing to do for a one-person office, but now I have some motivation.”

Important Steps to Remember:

  • Financial review
  • Valuation
  • Vision/strategic plan in place
  • Assess management team – Are they prepared?
  • Run your business as if it’s for sale (and you are the buyer)

Value for Today, April’s 3% Club Session PowerPoint – Download Now!

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Qualities of a Good Mentor

By Boyd Ober 04/04/2011

Will You Be My Mentor?

At some point in your career, a bright-eyed intern or gregarious up-and-comer will approach you and ask you that fateful question, “Would you consider being a mentor for me?”

While you might be flattered, you may also be thinking, “I have no idea how to be a mentor!”

Mentor Qualities

Before you brush off the request or think you’re in over your head, read through the list of mentor qualities originally published by Toastmasters International (below):

  • Available – Be available by phone, email, in person, to help build the relationship and answer beginning questions they might have.
  • Patient – People learn at different speeds, and some need more guidance than others.
  • Sensitive – Tact and diplomacy are vital. Many people are afraid to face their fears and/or work on weaknesses.
  • Respectful – Each person is unique – respect your mentee’s wishes and don’t push too hard.
  • Flexible – Life happens; always remember that not everything goes according to plan and you may have to allow for last minute changes or shifts in goals.
  • Supportive – Demonstrate pride for what your mentee has accomplished. Be an advocate for their development.
  • Knowledgeable – Know what you can offer a mentee – what is your area of expertise? What knowledge/experience will benefit your mentee?
  • Confident – A mentor should come across as self-assured, friendly, and eager to help.
  • Good Listener – By being a good listener, you enable the mentee to articulate any problem and sort things out.
  • Concerned – A good mentor must genuinely care about people and want to help them become their best.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.Serving as a mentor to another person is a matter of listening, offering wisdom and sharing your experience as it relates to their goals. And you don’t have to mentor this person from now until the end of time. If you’re worried about the time commitment, set some boundaries for your mentor relationship.

Expectations and Boundaries

Determine the length of time you will meet and the frequency of your meetings. If you choose to discuss matters over the phone or through email, establish parameters for those methods of communication as well.

Manage your expectations along with the expectations your mentee has for you. The ten qualities above, combined with expectations and boundaries you can both agree on, lay the foundation for a positive mentoring experience.

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