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You're Different, Just Like Everyone Else

When you explain to customers what makes you different, the last thing you want them to think is, "Everybody says that."

Whether you’re selling, blogging or redesigning your website, make sure you really do stand out above the competition.

What Do You Get When You Cross Richard Branson With Warren Buffett?

You've probably never heard of him. His name is A.G. Lafley, the formerly retired and re-instated Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Proctor and Gamble.

Lafley first served as P&G’s President & CEO from 2000 to 2009. During that period, the Company more than doubled in sales and grew its portfolio of billion-dollar brands from 10 to 23, with a focus on consumer-driven innovation and consistent, reliable, sustainable growth. The Company’s market capitalization has made P&G among the 10 most valuable companies in the world.

Empowered To Do What You Do Without My Approval

Some managers take a, "Don’t do anything without my approval," approach.

It doesn’t take long before team members stop contributing new ideas.

Could this be happening at your company?

It's easy to spot. When you observe your team, how do they behave and interact? Are decisions being made based on guiding principles or is everyone asking for permission?

Become An Overnight Success

In 1973, WD-40 Company, Inc., went public. On that very first day the stock price increased by 61%. That’s what I call an overnight success. Personally, I love WD-40 and have used it for all kinds of things. Between WD-40 and duct tape, I’m like MacGyver minus the awesome haircut.

Did you know the makers of WD-40 failed 39 times before successfully developing the formula? That’s how WD-40 got its name, “Water Displacement - 40th Formula”, because it took exactly 40 times to finally get the formula right. I know, MacGyver would’ve got it right the first time. The truth is overnight success is rarely overnight.

Leadership Power: Grabbed or Granted?

It is hard to deny the connection between leadership and power. Depending on your experience and perspective, one or more likely came to mind when you read those two words together.

Leaders have and can create power, and they can do it in a variety of ways. And yet power and leadership are strange bedfellows too. Because depending on your feelings about power, and the type of power you are thinking about, you could have very different feelings about the leadership that is attached to that power.

While the connections are many and the chance for commentary is vast, I want to highlight two ideas and contrast them. Often here my goal is to give you specific action steps to take; today my aim is different. I want you to reflect on what I am about to share and decide for yourself where that leaves you and what your next steps might be.

The time you spend reflecting on these ideas, and the actions you take might be the most important thing you could do as a leader right now.

Power Grabbed

When leaders think of their role as a noun, as a role or a title, they are often seduced into thinking that because of their leadership role, there is power available for the taking. The best case scenario of this mind set is one of a leader with good intention. This leader values the goals and mission of the team and because of their belief, wants others to see the value and be believers as well. They feel that the most expedient way to move towards that valuable mission is by leading from their position, being highly directive and expecting others to follow because it makes sense. I don’t need to give you the worst case scenario, you’ve already formed it in your head. Whatever the intention, the result is an approach of trying to grab or gain power, and while this has its place (think a crisis situation), in the long term the power grab results in compliance at best. Followers by compliance will be less engaged and most easily willing to change their path and go in a different direction.

The Kinds of Conversations of Making Your Best Better

When you think about making your best better, think about the people you’re going to talk with along the way. What I’d like to introduce right now is the kinds of conversations I’ve had over the years that have pushed me along to this ever elusive goal of making my best better. And in the meanwhile being very confident, satisfied and content that where I’m going and how I’m being is on course with all of those things.

I want to discuss the ways you can fulfill a goal, the ways that you can deliver on a promise; again the kinds of conversations that will come in when that happens. To start with, think back on the last five days. Think about the conversations you had with people around you. This can be family, friends, people at work, and people that you go to for advice or ideas.

When you think about where you’re going, ask these three questions: What do you need? Who do you need? When do you need it? The navigation techniques I’ll introduce here all answer those three questions. So when you think about making your best better, you’re going to think about transactions, plenary sessions and strategic planning.

Succeed At What You're Succeeding At

It's important to succeed at what you're succeeding at, but is it going to be the measure of your life? Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and world-renowned innovation guru, examines the daily decisions that define our lives and encourages all of us to think about what is truly important.

Stop With The Bad B.S.

How many times has your thinking made you miss an opportunity? Our belief system (B.S.) often becomes the limiting factor to accomplishing the “impossible”. Henry Ford is famous for saying “if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” We’ve all bought into bad B.S. before. The sooner you stop with the bad B.S. the sooner you will achieve great things. Check out this great video about belief systems from the Performance Institute.

Sorry Sometimes

Last week, I asked our readers whether or not a manager/leader should apologize. Although most responses overwhelmingly lean toward the affirmative, I think it is slightly more complicated than that.

Do I think managers should apologize? Yes… and uh… well… sometimes no.

I’ll begin by saying that employees should never carry an expectation that their manager should apologize. If you don’t expect an apology, you never have to worry about it when you don’t get one.

On the other hand, if you have a manager that does apologize, consider it a bonus! It’s important that you accept the apology with grace and appreciation. Don’t take it as a sign of weakness, and don’t, in any way, try to use it against them.

I think the best leaders position themselves effectively with the way they think, speak, and behave. They often make good decisions and seldom put themselves in a negative position… therefore, they rarely have to apologize. It isn’t that they are perfect… they are just very effective with the things they do and say. Regardless of the role, that’s exactly where you want to be… as close to error free as possible.

That said, I think there is a “fairly simple” way to distinguish between when an apology is or is not appropriate. It comes down to behaviors and misunderstandings vs. business decisions and competency.

When an apology is appropriate…

Why Do You Do What You Do?

The alarm clock rings, you drive to work, you open up your email, you go to lunch…it seems like "just another day." Have you ever had trouble staying focused or getting motivated?

I have another, more important, question for you: Why do you do what you do?

As a former high school teacher and how an industrial organizational development coach, I have studied the power of purpose for nearly 20 years. In this video, I'll ask you to clarify your own "So That…" By clarifying your (multiple) answers to the “So That” question, you will enhance your workplace performance and productivity.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you doing it that way? What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish (at work and in your life)?

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