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Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Leadership Explored: What "Healthy" Really Means in a Successful Company (Part 3 of 3)

By Leadership Resources 11/26/2018
healthy

Parts one and two of this series covered what vision and traction mean in terms of leadership and business success. The best leaders work toward keeping their team focused and on track, heading toward a shared vision. Of course, doing so can be hard work for everyone. Even if the team reaches its goals, what is the cost? How many additional hours were worked, how much sleep was lost, and how many relationships were strained in the name of business development? Optimally, none. But that’s easier said than done. In this final part, let’s take a look at what it means to be a “healthy” leader, and how it can make for a healthier workplace.

What Does “Healthy” Mean?

Even if many of us struggle to achieve it, we all understand what it means to be healthy. Physically, being healthy involves regular exercise, a balanced, nutritious diet, and a strong immune system. Of course, health goes beyond the physical. We often hear about mental health, social health, and even emotional health. Like physical health, these less tangible aspects of our lives need balance, proper nutrition, and care, albeit in different forms. “Healthy,” then, refers to the optimal state one strives for in any aspect of life.

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What is Healthy Leadership?

First and foremost, to be a healthy leader is to be a healthy person. In other words, leaders cannot function to their highest capacity without first achieving physical, mental, and emotional well-being outside of work. A leader who frequently falls ill, misses out on sleep, and constantly dodges work priorities to manage personal issues cannot truly be a leader. This lack of personal health bleeds into the workplace, bringing down the entire team.

Healthy leaders come to work with a clear mind, body, and spirit. They’re mentally able to help their team and handle daily challenges. They’re physically prepared to be mobile and helpful to team members with more active roles. They’re also emotionally available to hear concerns and find solutions.

In other words, being a healthy leader isn’t all about the individual, but about the entire company culture. A toxic leader spews negativity, shuts down ideas and concerns, focuses more on the sales growth formula than the people, micromanages every staff member, and forces everyone to bend to his or her will. Conversely, a healthy leader encourages new ideas, maintains an open line of communication, trusts team members to do their work, and adjusts course if necessary. This doesn’t mean the leader takes a backseat to everyone else. On the contrary, the healthy leader sets an example for his/her employees so that they too can lead healthier, balanced lives.

Healthy Leaders, Healthy Employees, Healthy Company

A company’s success depends on healthy leadership. Without it, the workplace loses its sense of balance. Employees are treated less as people and more as machines, managers lose focus, people leave the company, and investors back out. A healthy company pays attention to self-care, allows time and space for breaks, and prioritizes its people’s well-being above all. Cultivating this healthy atmosphere is an important business growth strategy that goes beyond the numbers and charts.

Leadership Resources can help you balance your work and life to become a healthier leader. With our worksheets, videos, and software, Leadership Resources gives leaders the tools they need to hone their leadership qualities in and out of work. Our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more.

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Leadership Explored: What Traction Really Means in a Successful Company (Part 2 of 3)

By Leadership Resources 11/19/2018
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In the previous part of this series, we examined what Vision means for a successful business. To summarize, Vision refers to the short- or long-term aspirations of an individual or company that are most easily achieved when made transparent and shared among team members, often via a Vision statement. Having a clear Vision helps galvanize the team toward achieving specific goals. But a clear Vision alone won’t ensure success. This is where “Traction®” comes in.

What Does “Traction” Mean?

Before we begin, it’s helpful to note that “Traction” (as well as “Vision”) is a term denoting one of Six Key Components™ used in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that holds a specific definition. To dive deeper into that, head over to the EOS® Worldwide website. Plus, you can learn more about how Leadership Resources can help you implement the EOS® management system at your company.

Here in this article, we’ll take a more general approach to Traction.

Just as we did for unpacking vision, it helps to define the literal meaning of a word before diving into its figurative uses. Traction in the literal sense refers to something’s grip or adhesion to a surface to move it along. We often hear of tires with great traction, for instance, which can handle off-roading and rougher terrain. So, in a way, Traction is another word for stickiness.

In terms of business development, Traction actually has a couple of meanings, but they’re related. The first deals with how well a business is doing in the market. A company with several repeat customers and clients, a growing base, and steadily rising profits and value, is said to have high traction. They are “sticky,” reeling people in over and over again. Investors gravitate toward these companies because of their proven sales growth formula and foreseeable continued success.

But Traction also has to do with how leaders keep their team on track, working toward a single vision. In this sense, the term deals with maintaining focus, holding staff members accountable, and encouraging consistent execution to reach goals. Whichever definition of Traction you prefer, aiming to increase it is an important business growth strategy.

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How Do Leaders Facilitate Traction?

Truly increasing Traction in a company requires leaders to use all their leadership skills. Leaders must effectively communicate with their team an all accounts. The Vision we described in part one must be made clear and tangible enough for the team to act on reaching toward it every day. Leaders must also motivate their team with reminders of where everyone is heading and why. To keep everyone on track, leaders must also give regular feedback to employees, letting them know when the team is clearly advancing in the right direction and when it’s veering off course.

The company must eventually adopt an organizational culture that breeds accountability. This way, leaders and team members can keep themselves and each other in check at all times. With a strong culture, the company’s mission and current Vision will always be in front, clear as day. One misstep won’t drag the whole team off course. Rather, the team will correct the error together and continue onward.

Traction and Company Success

Traction is a crucial component of a company’s ongoing success. In short, it’s the way in which a company stays on the rails leading toward its Vision. Without Traction, the wheels will fly right off and the vehicle ceases to move or function. The more in sync leaders and team members are with one another, the more efficiently everyone will get there.

If you’re looking to find ways to keep your team on track, check out Leadership Resources. We have several tools for leaders to help them further their own success as leaders as well as the success of their companies. Contact us here to learn more.

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Foote Joins the Leadership Resources Team

By Leadership Resources 11/14/2018

Leadership Resources is pleased to announce Kari Foote has joined their team as a Leadership Development Specialist. Working directly with clients, Foote will develop high-performing leaders and create a culture of accountability. Through individualized coaching, facilitation of development processes, goal setting, and accountability, Foote will create customized development plans that align with the organization’s vision.

Foote has over 18 years of experience in a variety of fields in the public sector, including law enforcement and emergency management, banking and finance, and human services. The past two-and-half years, she served as the Human Resource Manager for the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County. She led strategic operations in the areas of employee relations, training and development, and talent acquisition, where she served over 3,000 employees across a variety of departments and divisions. Prior to that role, she spent over fifteen years working for the State of Nebraska in a variety of Human Resource roles, including the HR Field Operations Administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services where she supported over 5,000 employees statewide.

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A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Business Administration, Foote brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Leadership Resources team. In 2014, she became a certified executive coach and a member of the International Coach Federation.

“We are excited to welcome Kari to our team. She is a great match to our core values and brings tremendous attitude and experience which will enhance the lives of our clients ,” said Boyd Ober, President and CEO of Leadership Resources and Accelerate.

Foote can be reached at (402) 423-5152. For more information about Leadership Resources and our services, visit our website at www.LRsuccess.com.

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Leadership Explored: What Vision Really Means in a Successful Company (Part 1 of 3)

By Leadership Resources 11/12/2018
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Conversations about leadership often circle back to certain buzzwords such as “Vision,” “Traction®,” and “Healthy.” But just because these words have become cliched doesn’t mean they lack value. In this three-part series, we’re going to explore each of these phrases related to leadership and pick apart what they really mean and how they contribute to a successful business. We’ll start with unpacking the word, “Vision.”

What Does “Vision” Mean?

We understand the literal meaning of Vision as the way in which we see the world around us. Our eyes take in light and our brains interpret the information in the form of an image. Someone with 20/20 vision is said to see the world clearly, as it is. But “Vision” means something else when used in terms of business development.

In the business world, the word Vision is used figuratively.  Rather than physical perception, it refers to one’s perception of possibilities. A leader with Vision is one with aspirations, who can see a future where the business has grown, become more influential, and achieve specific goals. Just as our eyes can be near-sighted or far-sighted, a leader’s vision can be short-term, long-term, or anywhere in between.

Companies utilizing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) define “Vision” more specifically, by determining their core values, purpose, niche, their marketing strategy, their 7-10 year target, and their plan for the next 3 years.

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Vision in Action: Examples

To better understand “Vision” in this context, it helps to examine how it plays out in real life. Many leaders create a Vision statement to make their aspirations visible for the whole company. They might write it down in pen or type it, laminate it, and frame it in the office for all to see regularly. So, what might a Vision statement dictate?

Every company will come up with different Vision statements based on their type of business, size, and goals. A brand new small business with a single storefront might have the Vision statement of, “In one year we will have two more locations in ______.” The Vision statement of a large, successful business might be to become the world’s leading stapler manufacturer. Timeframes can be helpful but aren’t necessary for a Vision statement.

A company’s Vision statement should be unique and specific to its goals in a given time period. Mission statements, on the other hand, are typically more general, ongoing, closely tied to company culture and values, and meant for public consumption as well. While Vision statements can be made public, they’re typically kept within the company as a motivational tool that keeps the current goal ever present.

How a Clear Vision Relates to Success

We now have a clear definition of “Vision” and have seen some examples of a Vision statement. But how effective are these affirmations, and can they be implemented as a practical business growth strategy?

It’s true that not every Vision comes to fruition. Still, having a Vision that is present and known serves an important function. Namely, it keeps the company on the same page. Teams that share a Vision, or at least recognize the same vision, do a better job of pooling their resources and finding solutions. With a clear goal in mind, every member has something to strive for and everyone is moving in the same direction. A Vision statement probably won’t lay out a specific path for getting there, but it’s an important foundation for beginning to carve a track towards that goal.

Successful companies can’t simply focus on numbers, data, and sales growth formulas. Forming a Vision and making it known is an important step in growing a business. Leadership Resources can help business leaders craft their own Vision statements and keep their team on track. We provide worksheets, reading material, seminars, and more to help leaders hone their leadership skills. Contact us here to learn more.

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What Employees Want in a Leader: Exploring the Most In-Demand Leadership Skills

By Leadership Resources 11/07/2018
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By now, most of us are familiar with the bad leader trope. Shows and movies like The Office and Horrible Bosses parody the worst possible qualities a boss could have, some of which may ring true to life. These so-called leaders lack empathy, fail at communicating, speak rashly, micromanage, and unwittingly abuse their employees. As a result, their employees become bitter, resentful, indifferent, or too distracted to do a good job.

While we clearly see what makes for poor leadership, it’s a bit less clear to discern what employees truly want in their leaders. Interestingly enough, we can find these answers by looking at the inverse behavior of these awful fictional bosses. The best leaders exhibit qualities that actually encourage employees to work harder. Let’s examine why by looking at five of the most in-demand leadership skills.

Honesty

A good leader shouldn’t lie to or hide things from his/her employees. There are of course exceptions when it comes to confidential information. But in general, leaders must be as transparent as possible. This means giving honest feedback to staff, admitting mistakes when they occur, and letting everyone in on new goals, developments, and challenges. Any HR business consultant can tell you that a leader who exhibits honesty will encourage honesty in employees, creating an open atmosphere where problems aren’t bottled up to fester and burst.

Responsiveness

Like honesty, responsiveness involves maintaining a clear line of communication between leaders and employees. Leaders must be able and willing to hear concerns and criticism from employees and then act on them. Bad leaders always think they’re in the right and scoff at negative feedback while doling it out. Good leaders accept any and all feedback and take action to resolve problems, whether or not they’re responsible for them to begin with. When employees see that their leaders truly listen to them, they’ll want to listen to their leaders as well.

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Clear Instructions and Feedback

When consulting a business advisor to improve your company’s operations, they’ll probably indicate the importance of clarity. Clear instructions and guidelines help everyone do their job better. There should always be some flexibility, of course. But overall, employees will work harder and do a better job if they know exactly what they’re doing and why. If things aren’t completely clear or someone makes a mistake, they should also receive descriptive and constructive criticism to prevent these errors in the future. The best leaders train their employees with precise, coherent instructions, giving them helpful tips, corrections, and methods along the way.

Trust and Independence

If a leader has displayed honesty and trained his/her people well, employees should be trusted to do their job with little interference. According to business consulting services and employees, micromanagement is one of the least helpful and most annoying methods of leadership to deal with. Whether employees work in teams or alone, they want to be left to their work and trusted to do it well. If they have questions, they should feel comfortable enough to approach their leaders. Leaders should trust their people enough to not have to check in every half hour and pull them away from their work.

Passion

Employees want to work for someone who cares, not only about them but about the work being done. Indifference and cynicism can become highly contagious and negatively affect the entire workplace. Likewise, positive energy, devotion, and excitement can spread even faster. Even if not all employees share the same level of passion as their leaders, they will naturally feel better about their work if they encounter this energy. Of course, effective leadership doesn’t mean ignoring bad things when they happen, but remaining positive and seeking solutions rather than dwelling on the negative.

You may notice that the fictional bosses mentioned earlier carry none of these qualities, at least not until the final act. And to be fair, some of these skills can be difficult to hone, which is why executive coaching programs can come in handy. These programs help leaders develop skills such as responsiveness and transparency. Things like passion can’t necessarily be taught, but they can be expressed in helpful ways. Employees will naturally work harder for leaders with these qualities and will develop leadership traits of their own. Leadership Resources provides tools for leaders as they grow to become even better. Contact us here to learn more.

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Culture Is Not a Buzzword – Creating a Shared System of Values to Make Your Team Work Together Intuitively and with Precision

By Leadership Resources 10/19/2018
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The word “culture” has been used so frequently and in so many contexts it can be difficult to define. In the broader sense, culture refers to a collective set of values and/or achievements expressed in a particular group of people. Different cultures exist among ethnic and religious groups, throughout separate regions, and within smaller niches of interest (i.e. geek culture). And when people are gathered together for long enough, a new culture often develops.

Workplace culture is just another version of this. After all, a company is made up of several individuals who at the very least can all agree to exist in the same space for several hours a day. Of course, most companies aren’t as rooted in history and time as religious or regional groups. Also, not everyone who works for a company necessarily shares the same social, political, or moral values.

That being said, a company’s success relies heavily on establishing a strong company culture that unites all of its staff regardless of differences. How can a company truly develop and maintain a culture that’s not too forced or too loose?

Establish General Principles and Values

To establish a long lasting company culture, you have to start with the basics: what can just about everyone agree on? This isn’t a matter of pandering to low expectations or compromising important values. Rather, it’s a reaffirmation of common human decency.

In other words, everyone who works for a company wants to be treated with respect. Additionally, they want to earn a good living to support their families and further their careers. People also want to do a good job and be recognized for their work. These nearly universal principles should be deeply embedded in every company culture.

Different phraseology can be used for expressing these values, but in the end, respect, fairness, and recognition are always integral. From this foundation, a company can chisel away at the culture and values they want to build. This will likely depend on what the company does, its mission, and its goals moving forward.

Let New Employees In On It

Once a company culture has been established, it is crucial to let it be known to new employees very early on. When entering the company, new employees should immediately get a feel for the organizational culture and leadership styles of the business.

Many businesses create a video and/or pamphlet that outlines the core values of the company, why they matter, and how they’re implemented each day. The clearer this picture is, the better equipped new employees will be when getting accustomed to the new workplace. They will immediately feel a sense of purpose and unity with other staff members, as everyone will know the shared culture.

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Keeping the Culture Present and Open to Change

Of course, it’s not enough to say you have a culture; you have to actualize it, too. The work of a company should be directly tied to its culture so that every hour spent working is also an hour spent emboldening the set of shared values. This will result in greater teamwork and increased morale.

For instance, if the culture of a customer service company involves learning from other staff members, each call doubles as an important aspect of work as well as a teachable moment for other employees. A great call will be recognized by managers and staff, and then used to improve the performance of everyone else.

Beyond work, a company should also provide its people with fun, team building events, exercises, and celebrations. Even something as small as celebrating monthly birthdays or participating in annual award ceremonies can go a long way to strengthening bonds.

Culture should be strong but it should also be flexible enough to allow for important changes. Knowing how to change company culture is just as important as knowing how to establish it. When a business changes its priorities, undergoes a major overhaul, or sees difficult times, it may have to reconsider how its culture can be improved.

If changes are necessary, leaders should call for meetings to explain these changes to each and every employee. Just as a company must clearly establish its initial values, it must clearly indicate how and why the culture should move in a new direction. Leaders should be open to questions, concerns, and criticisms. In fact, these very concerns might be the catalyst for these changes to begin.

In the end, a good company culture depends on everyone’s mutual understanding and participation. Every employee and manager must be on the same page. The culture should be the foundation that every staff member can fall back on when something goes wrong or gets confused. Not only will this bedrock of values increase a company’s longevity, it will also increase the spirit of collaboration and make the workplace a better, more welcoming place overall.

If you’re a company leader who wants to learn more about company culture, Leadership Resources can provide you with tools to establish and articulate a set of values to your staff. Contact us here to learn more.

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Beyond the "$#it" Sandwich: How to Plan for Effective Course Corrections with Feedback to Leaders

By Leadership Resources 10/19/2018
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No one enjoys giving or receiving negative feedback. Those on the receiving end might feel small and incompetent, while those dishing it out might feel they’re being too harsh … or not harsh enough. No matter what, both parties feel uncomfortable. However, giving feedback is a crucial part of employee performance management. The problem is knowing how to go about it.

People often fall into the trap of serving the “$#it sandwich.” This useful slang term refers to negative feedback squished between two soft, bland buns of positive sentiment in the form of irrelevant praise. The intention here is to soften the blow and minimize the bad taste left from hard criticism. However, delivering a $#it sandwich often results in a worse outcome than offering direct feedback. Why is this? And how can leaders give feedback to employees without disguising or diluting it?

Why the $#it Sandwich Goes Bad

Effective leadership depends on transparency. The $#it sandwich approach to feedback is antithetical to this. When leaders insert their true feedback between compliments and niceties, the message quickly gets lost, and the receiver often feels patronized and confused. This isn’t to say that those giving the feedback should be intentionally mean, of course. Rather, all feedback, good and bad, should be to the point. This will allow the person receiving it to understand exactly what he/she did right or wrong, making course correction easier to handle.

Better Ways to Deliver Feedback

For leaders to improve their business performance management, they need to go beyond the $#it sandwich. There are several better ways to give feedback, but they all follow the same principles.

  1. Avoid the Ego

The human ego makes feedback delivery and reception very difficult. We often feel personally attacked when hearing about our mistakes. Delivering feedback can feel personal too, as the giver might feel self-conscious about how this interaction will affect the relationship. It’s not easy to detach oneself from the ego, but leaders can find ways to give feedback that focuses more on the problem and less on the people. This is a difficult balance to strike because the people involved have to be the ones making the change.

Still, leaders can help erase the ego from the equation by focusing on the future rather than past. In other words, negative feedback shouldn’t simply dwell on a person’s past mistakes. Rather, it should address the problem before quickly moving toward a future scenario in which things have improved. This still keeps the employee accountable but provides a more objective pathway for correcting errors.

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  1. Establish an Atmosphere of Openness

When the workplace is closed off in terms of communication, any feedback feels abrupt and even offensive. Conversely, work environments that encourage questions, criticisms, changes, and friendly dialogue allow feedback to flow naturally. Employees and leaders are constantly giving each other feedback in this type of open space so that even the harshest criticisms are understood to be constructive and normal. Staff members will naturally become closer and more connected so that the flimsy bread of the $#it sandwich becomes an unnecessary platitude, thrown away altogether.

  1. Keep Reviews Consistent

Another way to avoid the abruptness of negative feedback is to create a regular performance management review system for all employees. These can be monthly, bi-annual, or annual check-ins with employees to go over areas of improvement, make suggestions, and discuss the concerns of both parties. There is always a risk of making these reviews too formal and rigid, however. While these surveys should include specific items, the review itself should flow like a conversation where both parties truly feel engaged.

Conducting these reviews well will take the $#it sandwich and expand it into an organic meal. This is a space for both positive and negative feedback, but none of it will feel crammed in, hidden, or artificially procured. Additionally, the focus of these reviews should be more on the future than the past. In other words, leaders and employees should examine how the previous period of time went, but use it as a springboard for making course corrections in the future. The regularity of these examinations will keep employees and leaders aware of the present moment at all times.

Learning how to give and receive feedback is one of the most challenging and important leadership qualities to develop. Leaders should aim to establish a workplace open to communication, detached from egos, and structured enough so that everyone receives feedback on a regular basis. Leadership Resources can help leaders develop ways of giving feedback that go beyond the failings of a $#it sandwich. Contact us here to learn more.

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Increase Office Productivity: The Best Practices for Motivating Employees

By Leadership Resources 10/05/2018
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Employees are motivated to work for various reasons. For some, making money to support themselves or their family is enough. Others find meaning in the work itself and wish to advance their careers in order to accomplish even more. Of course, not every employee will feel motivated all the time. Stress, external responsibilities, and/or a feeling of stagnation can all significantly decrease office productivity. Let’s see how managers motivate employees and increase productivity.

Communication is Key

Communication is one of the most important leadership qualities. Nearly every problem in the office stems from poor communication. Without the proper channels for communication, information gets lost or misunderstood. Employees and managers struggle to see each other’s point of view, leading to further problems in the office.

Conversely, good communication (listening intently, sharing ideas, being honest) can resolve many issues between employees and managers. Better yet, proper communication can help generate ideas that push a business forward. When every employee feels open to sharing and receiving ideas, they will feel more motivated to do the best work.

Cultivate Collaboration

While some employees prefer working on their own, there is something to be said for a strong team. A business that promotes collaboration is bound to see an improvement in employee productivity. Of course, teamwork only works if every team member can work together. A bad matchup or poor communication can lead to arguments, passivity, or sloppy work. Managers should take the time to get to know employees to build the best teams within the company so that people build off each other’s strengths to promote more productivity.

Empower People

One of the reasons for decreased productivity is that employees don’t feel their actions or ideas make a difference. This lack of self-esteem, warranted or not, can become contagious, affecting the whole office. Effective leadership means empowering every employee, regardless of job title. Employees should feel that they have the right to speak up, be heard, and take action. Of course, guidelines should be set to delineate certain responsibilities. But within these guidelines, people should know that their work matters and that they have the ability to make changes that will benefit the whole office. This sense of empowerment will encourage productivity.

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Highlight Good Performance

Recognition is a key element of employee productivity management. Employees who work hard, try new things, and treat others well deserve to be recognized. These accolades can be inputted into an employee management system. Complimenting people regularly has major positive effects that go beyond the individual. Not only does the person feel good for this recognition, but others will also see that hard work and decency doesn’t go unnoticed. While most people do good deeds altruistically, this added incentive creates a more positive atmosphere all around. Employees will feel that their work really does matter.

Build a Culture and Community

Work isn’t always fun, but a workplace can promote fun activities both inside and outside of the office. Friendly competitions, group lunches, parties for milestones or holidays, and voluntary programs all contribute to establishing a stronger office culture and community. Employees and managers will find new ways to bond beyond office duties. Strengthening this work culture promotes productivity, as each staff member feels a sense of obligation to everyone else. In this way, the whole office becomes a team where every individual plays an important role.

No two people are motivated by the same exact set of things. However, these five practices tend to increase employee productivity across the board. In the end, it’s all about communication, collaboration, empowerment, recognition, and culture. People who work in environments that promote these things will be happier, have higher self-esteem, and be more productive.

If you’re a leader, you should focus on developing these practices. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more.

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5 Tips for Planning Sustainable and Lasting Growth for Your Business

By Leadership Resources 10/04/2018
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For a business to thrive in today’s market, it must follow a sustainable business growth strategy. Developing such a strategy presents a challenge for all business leaders, but while all businesses differ in some ways, a good business growth strategy features characteristics that apply to any business. Let’s examine five tips for planning sustainable and lasting growth for your business.

  1. Stay Mission-Driven

At the root of every business should be a mission or vision. What are the broader goals of your business, its purpose? A clear mission statement provides a foundation for all business operations moving forward. This applies to leaders, employees, and customers. Leaders can always come back to the mantra during challenging times or when teaching others. When coming aboard, staff members should immediately learn the business’ mission and understand how they can contribute to advancing it.

Customers and clients should also be aware of the mission. A business should boldly scribe their mission statement on their website and in their offices and storefronts. By making these objectives known, everyone involved with the business gets a better idea of its brand, its purpose, and its goals for the future.

  1. Create a Recognizable, Strong Brand

Business development and brand development go hand in hand. A coherent mission is at the core of a business’ brand, but brands go even further into the psyche. We all know the power of brand by the coffee cups we see or hold on a daily basis, the shoes on our feet, or the phones in our pockets. These brands have become inherently valuable, from their logo to their place in the social sphere.

To develop a brand, you’ll need a stark marketing campaign. Your business should feature an elegant and recognizable logo and motto that’s ready to be printed on any object imaginable. These images and words should evoke the mission and character of the business and its marketing. If done correctly, the logo will become synonymous with the business and its mission, creating a truly powerful brand.

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  1. Focus on Developing Effective Leadership

A ship won’t get very far without a competent captain and clear roles. To avoid a shipwreck or mutiny, a business must instill its values into its leaders and encourage leadership development. Employees should feel empowered in the workplace to speak up, ask questions, and be heard. This type of environment doesn’t just increase productivity, it increases the overall value of a business.

Websites like Glassdoor.com feature public comments from previous employees that reveal the inner workings of a business. When people learn of a business’ poor leadership, they may rescind their brand loyalty and go elsewhere. However, effective leadership helps retain employees and leaves a far better impression for the public eye. And the more leaders, the better, so long as everyone can work collaboratively.

  1. Establish Solid Partnerships

Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To optimize the output of that sales growth formula, it needs the help of external resources, such as marketers, distributors, accountants, lawyers, and more. It’s crucial to work with the right people and build a relationship of mutual trust. Though your business is not responsible for the mistakes or failures of a partner, it must react to these eventualities in the proper way by either cutting ties or helping to ameliorate the situation.

  1. Build Internal and External Communities

Business development is all about people, both inside and outside of the company. This is why it’s so important to foster a positive work culture and expand that atmosphere externally. These spheres will influence each other. Internally, employees and leaders should trust one another to make decisions and change course when necessary. On the outside, customers should feel at home when stepping into a storefront or office space. Providing little comforts like complimentary coffee or water can go a long way.

The digital space has opened several doors for building communities. Staying active on social media by posting often and engaging with customers makes a big difference and doubles as a marketing tool. Everyone should feel welcome and involved in the business, regardless of their stake in it.

By creating a salient mission, imbuing it with a strong brand, instilling this in leaders and partners, and cultivating a positive community, businesses have a better chance of growing and staying relevant for years to come. Leaders can learn about even more business growth solutions via Leadership Resources. Our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more.

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How Self Care Can Improve Your Performance as a Leader

By Leadership Resources 10/03/2018
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Some modern media have portrayed the hardworking leader as a sleep-deprived, stubborn, borderline manic individual obsessed with the bottom line and neglectful of self care. While some people do fit this category, most do not. This stereotype can be harmful even if it’s meant to lampoon and discourage this behavior.

In reality, the best leaders make time to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Being able to balance the challenges of work with the importance of self care is one of the most important leadership qualities. Failing to achieve this balance is a strategic error and bleeds out into the rest of the business.

Ignoring the needs of one’s mind and body hurts one’s ability to think, focus, and help others in need. Conversely, engaging in self care boosts the mind, body, and spirit, which lifts those in proximity up as well. Here’s a deeper dive into how self care can improve your performance as a leader.

  1. Proper Sleep: Alertness and Ability to React

The science of sleep still largely remains a mystery, but researchers have found a critical link between good sleep and improved work performance. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 29% of workers regularly feel sleepy while at work. Missing out on a good night’s sleep can consistently lead to a loss of focus and increased irritability.

When work piles up and deadlines loom, people often put sleep on the back burner. This is a big mistake. The importance of proper sleep can’t be overstated, especially for leaders. Effective leadership depends on maximum alertness. By sacrificing these precious hours of slumber, leaders are less equipped to react to challenges, prioritize tasks, and help other employees deal with stress of their own. Conversely, getting proper sleep allows one’s mind to refresh, retain important information, and handle new problems as they come.

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  1. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

While improper sleep plagues a large chunk of the population, so does poor nutrition and exercise. So many workers and leaders are always rushing from one place or task to the next. To keep things moving, people may skip meals or grab the nearest, fastest option from the vending machine, fast food line, or microwave. While these choices may be convenient, they can do serious harm to one’s work performance.

Foods low in nutritional value can result in more trips to the bathroom, sure. But beyond this, they can also negatively impact brain function. Nutritional science is ever evolving, but most studies have shown that a diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and minimal sugar contribute to improved mental health. Additionally, regular exercise doesn’t just improve metabolic function and burn calories, it also produces endorphins which increases alertness, reduces tension, and improves mood. In this way, eating well and exercising are two of the best ways of managing leadership stress.

  1. Setting an Example: Helping Others with Self Care

Self care does not equate to selfishness. Quite the opposite. By practicing self care, leaders can do more for employees. How can managers help employees deal with stress? First, they can share their own experiences of dealing with stress with employees. By giving advice on sleep patterns, diet, exercise, and other methods of stress reduction, leaders can set a great example for the workplace.

Additionally, leaders who practice self care will have more energy to help employees. With enough rest and restoration, leaders can prioritize their workload to set aside time for helping others, honing these crucial leadership skills. With a workforce committed to self care, everyone benefits – and so does productivity.

Leadership in times of stress and change truly tests one’s abilities. Self care should remain at the forefront during these times, for the sake of leaders, employees, and the business itself. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity.    For more information, contact us here.

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