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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
tracks

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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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 in Business?

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.

What is a vision for a company? 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?

what is a vision statement for a business

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.

Developing a strategic vision for a company involves a number of different strategies. 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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5 Tips for Planning Sustainable and Lasting Growth for Your Business

By Leadership Resources 10/04/2018
leadership development omaha

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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Investing in Personal Development: In a Workplace of Constant Change, Personal Leadership Growth Is a New Basic Skill

By Leadership Resources 09/26/2018

We live in a time of unprecedented technological advancement. Massive strides in automation, artificial intelligence, and communication have caused turbulence in almost every sphere of work. For businesses undergoing these changes, owners and managers must find ways to adapt their behaviors, hiring practices, and sales models.

Individuals must adapt as well. In a workplace that’s constantly changing, personal development should become the focus. Likewise, continued business development hinges on fostering this leadership growth.

Personal Leadership Growth is a Business Growth Strategy

A business is only as strong as its people. If sales are down, it may or may not be the fault of your staff. However, sales will only improve if you and your people actively work together to solve the problem. Staring at the sales growth formula simply isn’t enough. In other words, the better your people do, the better your business does – and vice versa.

To cultivate this business development, current leaders must encourage the personal development and leadership skills of other members. When a company is filled with self-motivated, team-oriented people, it will continue to thrive. Plus, this personal development branches out exponentially. As new leaders emerge, more resources are available to bring others up with them.

The more empowered your people are, the better they’ll be able to adapt to new challenges. If you lose sales, or a model is forced to change due to regulations or technology, you and your leaders will be equipped to find creative solutions moving forward.

Personal Development: Areas of Focus

Personal leadership development takes time, but there are some areas you can focus on to prepare your employees for whatever changes lie ahead.

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Communication

The most common cause of error is improper communication. Paradoxically, there are so many avenues of communication available today (text, email, phone, instant messaging, video chat, etc.) that some people lose focus regarding what’s on their plate and how to express it most efficiently. Other staff members might not feel empowered to speak their mind and end up keeping feedback, ideas, or questions to themselves.

By focusing on effective leadership communication skills, every team member can learn how to effectively relay information to other workers, clients, and partners, and ask crucial questions. An open door of communication will build an atmosphere of trust in the workplace. A major part of communication is listening. The best leaders don’t only express themselves well, they listen well, too.

Working Together

Personal development doesn’t mean others are excluded. A huge part of personal development involves working with others. Collaboration often yields better results than one mind working alone. Teamwork depends on proper communication, so this aspect of leadership growth hinges on the previous one. Good leaders don’t micromanage, they work with their team members to solve problems.

Willingness to Learn

No one has it all figured out, especially in a workplace that changes all the time. Great leaders know that they don’t know everything, but want to continue learning and growing. In other words, personal development never ends. Even if you’ve risen to become a major leader at your business, there’s always more to learn. Your openness to learning should also lead you to teach others as they embark on their personal development journey.

For a business to grow and change, it needs its people to grow and change as well. When individuals learn and grow, they develop into leaders who can take on tomorrow’s uncertainties. Leadership Resources understands how crucial personal development is to building the future. We provide individuals with the tools they need to continue their leadership growth process and develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. For more information and solutions, contact us here today!

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