Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Is Your Goal-Setting Strategy Setting You Up for Failure?

By Leadership Resources 01/25/2019

Individuals and businesses should always strive to improve, learn, and grow. This process often occurs naturally as we gain experience and deal with adversity. However, progress can become stunted if we don’t know where we’re headed, or why. By setting goals for ourselves and our business, we can dot a path that helps us navigate our progress and keep better track of it.

But the goals we choose to set and the way in which we set these goals matters. If a goal is meaningless, arbitrary, or practically unattainable, it doesn’t matter if we reach the goal or not. If your goal-setting strategy seems to be broken, consider these potential problems.

Your Goals aren’t Concrete Enough

It feels good to set goals. This, however, can lead to problems if you aren’t careful in choosing what these goals are. Many people fall into the trap of setting broad, lofty goals that look great on paper, but cannot truly be achieved. And if they are achievable, the way forward is foggy. In other words, the goal is nebulous and not actionable. For business leaders, this makes team management difficult since no one has any clear direction.

If you find that your goals aren’t concrete enough, consider setting several smaller, actionable goals that can lead or add up to the broader goal or vision. This will leave you with a larger number of goals, but they will be easier to grasp and act upon, greatly reducing leadership stress and getting you where you want to go more effectively.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

You Have Too Many or Too Few Goals

There is, of course, a caveat of setting too many goals: it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Additionally, placing a myriad of goalposts along the path can create a false sense of progress, like checking off “take a shower” on your daily to-do list. Sure, it counts, but it doesn’t hold much value. Each goal must be meaningful, worthy, and related to improving the company culture.

Conversely, setting too few goals can leave you and your team feeling lost and directionless. There should always be a clear goal ahead. Striking the Goldilocks balance between too many and not enough goals is key to staying on track and growing steadily.

You Have Trouble Setting New Goals

Of all the leadership skills one should have, being able to set new goals is among the most important. This is how you revitalize your team, shake things up, and keep the business dynamic and alive. However, you might find yourself a bit lost after finally crossing the finish line of some major goals, asking yourself, what comes next?

One way to avoid this stagnation is to always set one or a few goals ahead of the goal you’re most closely facing. Again, you don’t want to set too many goals, but you always want to be moving toward something. Stay focused on the task at hand, but know that there’s always another level after you’ve beaten the current one. The goals you set should always be related to a greater vision or purpose. Use each goal as a springboard for the next one you set.

Enhance Your Goal-Setting Strategy with Accelerate

In today’s digital age, we can rely on technology to help us create, organize, measure, and react to goals. Leadership Resources’ proprietary software Accelerate helps businesses set, manage, and track goals in real time. This program separates goals into categories: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. After being categorized, each goal can be defined and optimized with specific information and steps that will lead toward reaching it.

Team members can give and receive updates on these goals and specific tasks within them, increasing accountability. Reporting occurs in real-time, so everyone can stay up to date on a specific goal’s current progress via percentages and graphs. Leaders can see which members are falling short, where goals are heading off track, and which behavioral changes may be necessary for a reset. By putting goals into visual, tangible terms, Accelerate makes the goal-setting more transparent and navigable.

If your goal-setting strategy isn’t cutting it for you or your business, you might be running into one of these roadblocks. If your goals are too broad, break them up into smaller, tangible chunks. If you’re facing too many or too few goals, find a digestible medium. And if you’re running out of goals to set, think of the big picture.

Leadership Resources, with the aid of Accelerate, can help you reset your goal-setting strategy and achieve those goals. We would love to play a part in your continued leadership development. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and why.

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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.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

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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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.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

  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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Hard Conversations: How Personal Accountability Has Suffered in the Age of "Everyone Gets a Trophy"

By Leadership Resources 10/02/2018
leadership development omaha

The key to personal growth is honest, constructive evaluation. The past few decades have seen the rise of a mindset that casts every individual as equals, not just in opportunity, but in outcome. While few deny that people should be treated fairly, we’re starting to see the negative consequences of rewarding everyone evenly, regardless of differences in effort, ability, or intelligence.

By giving everyone a trophy, we fail to equip young people with an understanding of how the world works. In truth, some people do better than others in life. But without knowing the underlying reasons for this variation of outcome, people become embittered and their own personal development is stunted as a result.

So, when someone underperforms in the workplace, leaders need to find effective ways to approach the subject, knowing that this person might not have received this type of criticism before. How can leaders tackle employee performance management in the modern age?

Making Expectations Clear

One of the most important tasks of a leader is laying out expectations early and often. The more staff members hear these expectations, the more likely they are to follow them. Then, if anyone fails to meet them, there should be no confusion as to where they went wrong. In this way, clear expectations lead to increased accountability.

These guidelines can be iterated in many ways. Some businesses create acronyms or mantras that keep their mission statement front and center at all times. Hosting daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings that go over these expectations can also help improve employee and business performance management. These meetings should dive into real world applications to reinforce the importance of maintaining these standards.

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

Talk with Transparency

When it comes time to confront an individual who is underperforming, be as open and transparent as possible. There is no benefit to talking around the issue. So many people have been let down by coaches, parents, teachers, and other leaders avoiding the real problems and resorting to platitudes. Leaders must speak directly to the person and address their shortcomings – but they can’t stop there.

To truly foster personal and leadership growth, a good leader must explain why they’re giving this feedback, and how it can be used as a teachable moment where this person can learn and grow. Negative feedback simply isn’t enough and it might even shock the person if they’re not used to receiving it. By offering full transparency and constructive criticism, leaders can help lift up their team members and strengthen the entire business. If expectations have been clearly established, this person should be able to see where they took a wrong turn and how they can right it moving forward.

Limits of the Blame Game

Yes, sometimes something is entirely one person’s fault. In these cases, the person should take responsibility for the mistake and seek to fix it. This is a crucial part of leadership development. However, when people begin playing the blame game, either casting all the blame on themselves or others, things can go awry.

Some companies have built into their performance management operations “autopsies without blame” (a term coined by Jim Collins). These are meetings involving all relevant team members where a problem is dissected but not targeted to one individual. The goal here is not to rid anyone of accountability, but to address a real problem and move forward as a team, with full knowledge that everyone makes mistakes. For large scope business performance management concerns, this approach is often warranted. People will feel less alienated and more willing to solve the problem collaboratively.

Conversations involving performance management are not easy and some people aren’t used to receiving harsh criticism. Still, there are ways for leaders to make these conversations easier and more productive in the end. By setting clear standards, speaking openly and honestly, and not casting targeted blame for larger issues, team members will perform better and grow as individuals.

Leadership Resources helps leaders hone these interpersonal skills. Through education, personalized business coaching, and a large library of resources, we make the impossible possible by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. For more information, contact us today.

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What do I do when a star employee leaves the company?

By Boyd Ober 06/26/2015

It’s no secret that people are one of the most valuable assets for a growing organization. That makes employee retention a key concern for executives. After all, individual talents, skills, and time are leveraged by a company to achieve results. Spend any time online and you’ll see business outlets and media sites sharing a number of facts and statistics about hiring and retaining skilled employees:

Company leaders put a lot of effort into the recruitment process. And we hope that our recruitment strategies are just as effective.

But, the truth is – employees have their own personal goals and ambitions, and despite our best efforts, they may choose to pursue outside opportunities. What do you do when this happens?

Oh no! One of my star employees just announced his resignation!

In this situation, the first step is to take a deep breath.

“It’s important to not over-react,” says Patty Marmie, coach and facilitator at Leadership Resources. “If the news came as a surprise, you may experience an ‘amygdala hijack,’ with your reptilian brain jumping in with the first thing that comes to mind. Take a step back and process a bit before you respond.”

As Patty suggests, it’s important to seek the “why” behind the decision. Ask questions to find out why the star is leaving. Whether they are pursuing a higher level of responsibility, tackling new challenges, or seeking a change of pace, you’ll want to know the reasons for their departure. The intent behind these questions is not to convince him or her to stay, but to learn how you can be proactive in keeping employees instead of reacting when they leave.

Keep in mind that not all exits are negative. Even though this person was a star employee, the opening within the company may provide an opportunity for others to step up and demonstrate leadership skills they’ve gained through development and individual coaching.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.Should I still invest in my employees? What if those I invest in end up leaving the company as well?

This is where a great sports analogy comes in – the classic case of “playing not to lose” rather than playing to win. Coach Patty Marmie says that it is our responsibility as leaders to develop the people around us.  Successful, growing organizations develop their emerging leaders and make a positive impact on the culture.  Development of leaders is a win-win for individuals and organizations.

A negative or hesitant attitude toward employee development, based on the fear that they may exit the company one day, is damaging to company culture and individual performance. Perhaps you’ve seen this humorous, yet thought-provoking image that often pops up on social networks:

Invest in Employee Retention
CFO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us? CEO: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?

Instead of letting this fear paralyze the development plan, have a strategic conversation with each individual at your organization to discover his or her strengths, goals, ambitions, and dreams. You may discover that your organization is an excellent five to ten-year stint on the journey to an individual’s ultimate destination. If done correctly, the years they spend with you will generate far more ROI than you initially invested. Plus, the employee will emerge a better leader, with more confidence and willingness to serve as a referral source for future employees and clients.

How do I fill the opening for this star employee’s position?

Two words: Succession plan.

If the employee is truly a star within the organization, there needs to be a strategic process surrounding the promotion or department of this individual. Develop a cross-training program in your organization so success does not depend on a single individual but the team as a whole. Identify strengths and talents within the organization that could easily adapt, move up, or transfer to blossom into a new leader in this area.

A general housekeeping note – make sure there is documentation for all procedures. Check on this regularly. You don’t want a star employee to hold all the processes in her mind, only to take them with her when she goes!

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A Lesson Learned from 10 Years of Leadership Development

By Boyd Ober 12/18/2014

How many of you have experienced the frustration of dealing with one or two-day workshops that provide a lot of great content but you have no idea how to apply it?

Executives, how many of you have experienced the frustration of paying for that and not knowing what you got in return?

Our industry contains a lot of noise that requires emerging leaders and companies to navigate all of these different short-term opportunities and create some solutions that may or may not work.

Since 2003, we’ve been in the business of helping individuals and organizations reach their next level of success. Over the past two years, we extensively studied the industry and examined the practices that made our client partners and individuals highly successful.

What we consistently found through that research was the best organizations and individuals did not stop with their leadership development.  They were constantly learning, constantly challenging themselves, constantly growing. Plus, they aligned their leadership development initiatives with the strategic goals of the company.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.Here were two specific examples from our research:

  • At Cornhusker Bank, President Barry Lockard, and Senior Vice President HR/Talent Development Sherla Post, invested in multiyear development for their front line leaders. These and other key initiatives help them achieve record growth year after year and they were named to Lincoln’s Best Places to Work in 2013 and 2014.
  • John Oestreich, Managing Principal Waddell & Reed, Inc. took an aggressive and non-traditional approach to management.   He rallied the independent advisors through a strategic plan, created an extreme dream, invested in a series of on-going development and continuous coaching for key leaders.   John and his team continue to be among their firm’s leaders year after year in almost all measurable categories.

I’d like to say this is just a Leadership Resources thing, however, we know it is not.   When firms invest in their people and make it a long-term cultural process great things happen.

Interested to see how your leadership development practices stack up to the best that we studied?  Take one of these simple assessments and get instant feedback:

We look forward to helping you achieve your next level of success in 2015.

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