Hugh Ballou https://hughballou.com The Transformational Leadership Strategist Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:13:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Podcast 64: Do the Right Thing with David Duryea https://hughballou.com/podcast-64-david-duryea/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-64-david-duryea/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 22:38:39 +0000 https://hughballou.com/podcast-61-networking-copy/ David Duryea: Do the Right Thing Listen to the Podcast Watch The Interview David A. Duryea is business improvement veteran with more than...

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David Duryea:
Do the Right Thing

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David Duryea

David A. Duryea is business improvement veteran with more than thirty-two years of experience in practical business improvement and technology innovation. He has led more than sixty business improvement and innovation projects in sixteen different industries.

As a legal expert witness for failed technology and business innovation projects, David has performed project forensics on failed implementations for over a dozen large-scale projects.

A popular speaker on business improvement, he has been featured at Computerworld, InfoWorld, and industry conferences. His articles in the area of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and advanced technology implementation practices have been featured.

David holds a patent from the United States Patent Office, degrees in business administration and computer science, and an MBA with a focus in project management. David is happily married with seven children, four of whom were adopted from China. He and his family live near Cleveland, Ohio. When not studying the intricacies of business improvement, he enjoys hiking, bicycling, baseball, coaching, and investing time in activities with his children.

 

From the book, Do the Right Thing: Do the Right Thing

Business-Improvement Model

Part 1: Business Strategy Structure

Step 1 Understand the Law of Business Reality Organizations serve customers in a profitable way (balancequality and efficiency) or cease to exist.

Step 2 Understand the Target—The Core Business Model Why organizations generate profit different from their

competitors.

Step 3 Influencers of the Core Business Model Pressure and Enhancers on Performance

Step 4 Embrace Business Strategy and Structure Basis for Improvement—Whether Leaders Know It or Not

Part 2: Business Process Structure

Step 5 Common Processes and Functions of a Business Model The Law—Inherent to Process, Functions, and Operation

Step 6 Industry Processes of a Business Model Developing Industry Common Process Structure

Step 7 Core Business Model Processes Embrace for Uniqueness and Profitability

Step 8 Business Processes Influencers Influencing Process Structure, Performance , and Profitability

Step 9 The Business-Improvement Objective Change Operations to Further an Organization’s Core Business Model

Step 10 Business and Operational Performance The Performance Goal—Core Business Model Productivity

Step 11 True Operational Performance Measurement Measure the Goal: Core Business Model Productivity

Part 3: Business Enablement Structure

Step 12 Business Process Enablement – Resources to Realize the Core Business Model

 

 

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Podcast 63: Are You Taking Care of Yourself? https://hughballou.com/podcast-63-care-of-self/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-63-care-of-self/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 22:31:44 +0000 https://hughballou.com/podcast-62-getting-unstuck-copy/ Are You Taking Care of Yourself? Listen to the Podcast Here’s the Transcript Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the...

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Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

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Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all. – Emily Dickinson
Once, upon hearing a person tell me that he had worked continuously for four years with no vacation, I stopped to think about how unsuccessful that person appeared to be to me. Now, I fully realize that, to some people who enjoy their work, this might be a desired result – work all the time, because that’s what makes you feel good.
I prefer to think of life like a musical composition. It’s full of variety – tempo changes, dynamic variations, rests, fermatas, and more.
With a variety in life, the Transformational Leader is equipped to think clearly and respond to the challenges of leadership with a continuing fresh perspective.
My 4th leadership principle is “Balance.” This principle allows all the other principles to work. If we are burned out, we compromise our work. We owe it to ourselves to order our day, our week, our month, and our life.
Balance means thinking about the total self: spiritual, physical, mental, social, intellectual…and so forth. Caring for self is a priority if we want to be at our best as a leader and if we want to be fully present in the life that we create.
Caring for self is not being selfish. Caring for self is allowing us to be equipped to serve others in a more comprehensive and engaging way.`
TIP: If you plan to create variety in your life, the change of pace will empower you for challenges ahead for your leadership. Do not lag behind the curve; be prepared to lead the charge by being rested and focused.
I’ve called that program, “Unbound Leader: Unlocking Your Inner Potential for Success.”
It’s time to do something different.
Look at my short video to see if this program is a fit for you
The Unbound Leader
The Unbound Leader

I’ll see you on the video…and then in the winner’s circle!

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Podcast 62: Getting Unstuck https://hughballou.com/podcast-62-getting-unstuck/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-62-getting-unstuck/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:06:06 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10455 We Are All Stuck Somewhere Listen to the Podcast Here’s the Transcript Let’s focus on Success! That means accomplishing what we set out...

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We Are All Stuck Somewhere

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Let’s focus on Success! That means accomplishing what we set out to accomplish!
According to the research…
    D & B determined that 90% of entrepreneurs fail due to the lack of skill…
    The Myer Foundation discovered that 45% of nonprofit leaders are burned out!
Others of are might be doing fine…
    …we could do much better, if we only know what was missing.
I have been working with Social Entrepreneurs for 31+ years on 4 continents with many types of organizations.
I have discovered the common threads that limit their effectiveness, and consequently, their income. Organizations cannot develop any more than the leader’s ability to lead.
The Problems as I Have Discovered Are:
  • Too Much to Do…
  • No Team or Little Team…
  • Insufficient Income…
  • Relentless Stress…
  • Not Sure What To Do About It…

The Solution

So, I created a step-by-step course for busy people to get out of their current situation and create a different future.

My answer is to provide a system with a step-by-step implementation sequence.

  1. There’s no guesswork…
  2. There’s no wondering what’s next…
  3. There’s sufficient content to guide your planning and actions…
  4. There’s a support group and my mentoring…
  5. There are specific modules covering the stages for moving forward…see the overview below…
  6. There’s no feeling of being alone or abandoned…
In one way or another, we are all bound by conditions of our own making.
I’ve called that program, “Unbound Leader: Unlocking Your Inner Potential for Success.”
It’s time to do something different.
Look at my short video to see if this program is a fit for you
The Unbound Leader
The Unbound Leader

I’ll see you on the video…and then in the winner’s circle!

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Podcast 61: Kelly Holmes on How Leaders Can Improve Networking Skills https://hughballou.com/podcast-61-networking/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-61-networking/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 01:47:17 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10385 Kelly Holmes on Networking Listen to the Podcast Watch The Interview About Team Referral Network Welcome to TEAM Referral Network, where we are...

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Kelly Holmes on Networking

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About Team Referral Network

Welcome to TEAM Referral Network, where we are passionate about networking and connecting you with the right professionals to grow your business. TEAM Referral Network was created in 2002 out of La Verne, California. That first chapter has grown to hundreds of chapters across the Western United States, with plans to expand nationally and internationally. TEAM Referral Network includes weekly meetings with your chapter, training programs, business development, and most importantly, quality business relationships.

The individual chapters are at the heart of TEAM and promote an environment for regular networking, building strategic partnerships, and promoting your business on a local level. Each chapter is comprised of business owners, just like you, who desire to support and grow their businesses together. Our chapters are exclusive in nature, where only one person per business category is allowed in each chapter. Traditionally, our chapters consist of local individuals, centers of influence, business owners/entrepreneurs, and corporations who physically meet on a regular basis. However, we have recently launched our virtual chapters, which employ online conferencing technologies and apps to allow networking to happen virtually! These online business networks bring the power of TEAM Referral Network to anyone and everyone!

There is so much more to TEAM Referral Network that happens outside of our chapter meetings. Members are encouraged to meet one-on-one with other members to get to know each other on a deeper level. The entire TEAM Referral Network has access to all members with the exclusive TEAM-sponsored member’s website. These “mini” websites give added value to your brand’s online presence and search engine rankings (SEO), as well as make it even easier for prospects to find your company online. TEAM Referral Network also provides regular business development trainings, as well as our annual “Big Event”, where keynote speakers and coaches challenge you to go to the next level with your business. TEAM Referral Network helps you exponentially expand your sphere of influence and grow your business referrals.

http://teamreferralnetwork.com 

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Podcast 60: Reverse Polarities – Must We Be Right or Wrong? https://hughballou.com/podcast-60-structure-vs-freedom/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-60-structure-vs-freedom/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 22:06:44 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10328   Reverse Polarities: Must We Be Right or Wrong? It’s interesting to observe in the news accounts of politics the fact that people...

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Reverse Polarities:
Must We Be Right or Wrong?

It’s interesting to observe in the news accounts of politics the fact that people with opposing opinions both claim to be precisely correct. Is there a danger in claiming to be right? Is structure right or wrong?

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Here’s the Transcript

I observe that there is typically common ground in diverse points of view and that many people don’t know how to get that perspective lost in the debate or argument about who is right and who is wrong.

Getting unstuck often is about observing reverse polarities.

Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. – Saint Augustine

Is It One or the Other…Or Both?

Many times in interviewing leaders about their organizational culture, performance standards, and strategy, I get the response that there’s not sufficient time to write down the plan and it’s not important anyway. The response to my question as to why it’s not important typically is, “Too much structure interferes with my creativity.”

In my discipline as a musician, I understand that creativity is unleashed when the structure is clear. In addition, it’s crucial for the performer(s) to master the techniques and the notes, to then be able to be creative.

Balance is Key

My 4th leadership principle is about Systems, “Rehearse for Success.” It’s mastering the notes that leads to excellence in performance. We don’t utilize this concept in non-musical settings. It’s easier to just go directly to performance and continue playing the wrong notes, so to speak. Our practice is to continue to proceed by ignoring the very things that compromise our performance and limit our results.

There’s a natural tension between form and freedom. There are many ways to interpret this dynamic. As a musician, I’m able to process information by using both sides of my brain. Those who are not musicians consider us to be right-brain thinkers without structure, when, in fact, we must learn to be creative within a very rigid structure. Music is a highly structured and organized system that’s mathematical and linear, very much like computer programming.

This podcast is part one on the topic of the reverse paradigm of form versus freedom. I invite your comments as I explore the different ways this principle plays out in the cultures we lead.

Structure and Creativity

Here are some of the parameters for unleashing creativity through structure:Also, tStructure Enables Creativity: If you have ever listened to a jazz ensemble, you might not have realized that this most creative of musical performance genres is actually very structured. To a non-musician, it seems as if there is no structure and the performers just make things up. Well, not true. The chord structure, the meter, the tempo, the form, and the melody, are just a few of the things that are structured. Mastering these elements allows each performer to then improvise around this structure. This is a simultaneous right/left brain function – being creative within a structure. Getting off the chord progression, or playing too loud when it’s not your solo, are reasons for not being invited to the next performance with that ensemble. Knowing the structure allows each performer to then be creative…they don’t need to spend energy thinking about what’s already defined. This is the same principle in non-musical settings: the structure prompts and encourages active engagement.

  1. Consistency: Knowing the sequence and the milestones allows all the participants to coordinate efforts. The plan identifies what activities are concurrent and which are continuous. It also identifies what activities depend on the completion of other activities. This is necessary for consistency and synergy in the group’s performance.
  2. Quality: When the outcomes are specifically defined, the benchmark for quality is a measurable objective. Quality, like artistry, is attention to detail. If the plan is good and the team is engaged, then there’s an identifiable quality standard for all.
  3. Control: Having the plan written with clearly defined objectives, and successfully articulated and communicated to all team members, allows the team to develop the synergy of peer-to-peer accountability, similar to how an ensemble develops its synergy. The orchestra or choir develops what is defined as “ensemble” which is a higher standard of unity. First of all, t’s not something the conductor can force, however it’s something the conductor inspires and creates the space to happen. Also, the same is true for leadership in general. Create the expectations…define the process and accountabilities…get out of the way…nurture and coach for success…affirm success…be the example…be faithful to the process you champion.

Structure is the container for freedom and creativity.

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Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2017 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved

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Podcast 59: Gaining More Time with Outsourcing https://hughballou.com/podcast-59-gaining-more-time-with-outsourcing/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-59-gaining-more-time-with-outsourcing/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:53:24 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10048 Free Up Your Time Nathan Hirsch shares his secrets about how to outsourcing to gain control of your time as a leader and...

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Free Up Your Time

Nathan Hirsch shares his secrets about how to outsourcing to gain control of your time as a leader and get more done.

Learn how to get good people and how to leverage their skills in order to free up your time to tend to what’s most important in to focus on what only your can do.

Nate is the CEO of FreeeUp.com and the COO of Portlight. Nate has been an entrepreneur in the eCommerce industry since 2009 and has grown into a leading expert in the field with experience managing multi-million dollar businesses. He has extensive knowledge in creating business systems and processes, personnel management, hiring remote workers, the Amazon Marketplace, and advanced sales tactics. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others and has been featured on leading industry podcasts, webinars, and blogs.

Nate is determined to build FreeeUp into the top hands-on platform for hiring remote workers where thousands of businesses and remote workers are connected. If you’re interested in connecting with Nate, shoot him an email at Nathan@FreeeUp.com.

For more information go to https://freeeup.com

Listen to the Podcast

Subscribe to Hugh Ballou’s Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher

Get it on the iTunes store HERE.
Get it on Stitcher HERE.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email

(c) 2017 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved

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Podcast 58: Leadership Assessment: How Do You Rate? https://hughballou.com/podcast-58-leadership-assessment-how-do-you-rate/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-58-leadership-assessment-how-do-you-rate/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:51:58 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10046 Leadership Assessment: How Do You Rate? Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us...

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Leadership Assessment: How Do You Rate? Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change. – Stephen Covey

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Subscribe to Hugh Ballou’s Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher

Get it on the iTunes store HERE.
Get it on Stitcher HERE.

 

Leadership Blind Spots

This session is about we, as leaders, stay at the top of our game. This is about leadership assessment. Let’s think about how we rate. Let’s think about how we will stay at the top of our game. How will we remain the very best leader. The best leaders I know are the ones working the hardest on themselves…transforming organizations, transforming lives, transforming ideas, transforming passion to profit…means that we transform ourselves continually. We reach different levels and we never finish the journey. The best leaders have a coach because the best leaders continually work on themselves, their skills, and their ability to lead.
In one of my previous posts, “Leaders Cause Problems,” I pointed out how leaders set up situations that cause problems – mostly without awareness of what they are doing or how they are setting up that problem. Often, those leaders blame others for the problem and respond in ways that compound the situation. Self-awareness is an important leadership trait. Leadership awareness is not an arrival point; it’s an ongoing journey. The more aware we become, the more we understand there’s more to learn. Leaders need not have all the answers. More importantly, leaders must have good questions and learn to listen to the response of others to those inquiries.
Growing leadership skills goes hand-in-hand with growing awareness of one’s own competencies and an awareness of group emotional process. Observing systems and group interactions provides perspective for effective interaction, which is key to effective leadership skills and a culture of high-functioning leaders. Here are some of my systems for sorting out my own issues and staying aware of my skills and gaps:

Self-Awareness

First, how do you evaluate your skills, personal interactions, and functioning as the leader of the organization?
  1. List Your Top Skills – Leadership is skill based. Nobody is born a leader. Some people adapt easier than others and some have more potential than others. Build an inventory of the top skills you possess. Rate each one from 1-10, with 10 being the highest.
  2. List the Skills Worthy of Improvement – Choose from the list in #1 those skills with a number above 6. Those skills below 6 should be delegated. Don’t waste time working on skills that need too much development. Fill those gaps with people rating high in those competencies.
  3. Define Your Gaps – These are things you are not good at or should not be doing. These are the top duties to delegate. Letting go of things you should not be doing lets you focus on the things that only you can do.
  4. Define New Competencies to Explore – You might have more abilities than you realize – until you consider the challenge of developing a new skill. Make a list of some new things to consider. Caution: If you have lots of ability, don’t try to do everything. Letting go of low priorities gives more value to the high priorities.

Personal Skills Upgrades

How do you access your skills as a leader?
  1. Think About It – Not every leader thinks. Specifically, many leaders do not set aside time for thinking. Schedule a time on your daily calendar for thinking time. Develop a strategy for thinking – define a topic, identify a problem, reflect on your evaluation, review your schedule, etc. Or, just push out every thought in your mind and reflect on whatever enters your mind. Define the time slot and set a timer. Take notes when finished. Moving immediately into action without thinking about methods or processes can be a way to set up problems.
  2. Ask Others – There are ways to get perspective from team members that don’t compromise the leader. Ask open-ended questions such as, “How did you feel when I ….” or “How did you interpret my comments in the last team meeting?” You should also have a group of colleagues in a formal or informal peer group who will provide you with straight answers to your questions. Think about the questions because the choice of words will directly impact the response you get. Be sure to listen, and don’t argue or defend.
  3. Create a Feedback Group – This is different from #2 when you ask individuals. This is asking questions in a group setting of advisers, peers, colleagues, or other trusted leaders. Develop consistent questions to ask at various intervals – get feedback over time on some of the same issues or challenges. A mastermind group is a good example of group support.
  4. Constantly Read Leadership Material – Check out trusted sources and compare yourself to those ideas. Stay away from what’s trendy or radical. Don’t read a book one day and then attempt to try everything in that book the next day. Learn the principles behind the tools, systems, or strategies, and then adapt those principles to your leadership style and personality. Nobody respects a copy-cat leader. Be authentic.

Being Authentic

When you don’t know the answer to a specific problem, what do you do?
  1. Bluff and pretend that you have the answer – Pretending that you are always right, or have the right answer, is a fast way to lose the respect of your team. Pretending that you don’t have weaknesses tempts others to want to prove you to be wrong. A bluff covers up the problem and isolates you, preventing receiving answers from a person who might have some wisdom to share. Bluffing is bad.
  2. Call a friend – No, this isn’t a TV show, but you can take time out to call someone with specialized knowledge – or several with expertise that you need. Leadership is about identifying your gaps and allowing others to fill those gaps.
  3. Ignore the problem, hoping that it will go away – This is the #1 strategy that causes small problems to grow into nuclear proportions. Address any problem when you first see it. The longer you wait, the more it will cost – in money, time and relationships.
  4. Gather your executive team and conduct a problem-solving activity – This is the best way to gain perspective and to define potential solutions. Be direct in addressing the issue in specific terms without blaming or criticizing individuals. Let the group respond and own the actions that come from this session.

Tools

Here’s a short leadership assessment to help you think about your situation. Let me know if you want to talk about your results. Leadership Assessment: http://bit.ly/1s0mITV
More for developing your skills and systems for creating a sustainable, profitable enterprise at

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2017 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved

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Podcast 57: Leadership Skills, Listening https://hughballou.com/podcast-57-leadership-skills-listening/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-57-leadership-skills-listening/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:46:19 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10044 Leadership Skills: Listening “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.” –David Oxberg Listen to...

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Leadership Skills: Listening

“Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.”

–David Oxberg

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Here’s the transcript

The Leadership Skills of The Musical Conductor

Listening is a primary skill for the Transformational Leader. My model for great leadership is based on the skills of the musical conductor, who is a great listener. Success is directly and immediately experienced as a result of effective leadership by the conductor. When the conductor does not get the desired result, then it’s time to change whatever technique or cue that’s not bringing the intended results.

The conductor knows what’s wrong because he or she is listening intently. To be able to draw out the best from the musicians, the conductor must listen to what’s going on in the room and respond appropriately.

Listening is key to understanding what’s really going on. The conductor has developed a rehearsal plan for achieving the desired results in a specific period of time, however things happen that can’t be predicted when developing the plan. The competent leader pays attention to what’s happening and responds accordingly, just like the conductor.

Listening is an Underutilized Leadership Skill

Many leaders are not fully aware of the power of listening. Many are too busy attempting to activate their personal agendas to be aware of the necessary information available around them. The Transformational Leader builds strong leaders on teams. As in a symphony orchestra, the high-performance team is comprised of highly skilled individuals. When these highly skilled individuals function together as a unit, they must be able to fully access their individual skills and acquire an additional skill set, as well…the ability to listen and respond to others on the team. The finest orchestras in the world rehearse continuously in order to maintain the highest level of ensemble status. This is a skill set developed over time by rehearsing together.

Leadership is a Culture of High Performing Leaders – An “Ensemble”

So, why don’t business and nonprofit teams rehearse best practices? Why don’t team members learn to listen intently to what’s going on around them? It might be that the leader is setting an example of talking and not listening. Leaders model, and team members receive – good or bad.

Just like a musical ensemble, the team is a reflection of the leader.

See What Others are Saying About Listening

In his blog post, “How To Listen”, Seth Godin points out that there are 4 times the amount of Google searches for speaking over the number of searches for listening. We are obsessed with speaking and lose sight of the fact that listening is at least twice as important (clue: we have 2 ears and one mouth).

In his book, Tao of Leadership, John Heider says, “But what cannot be said can be demonstrated: be silent, be conscious.” Listening is a skill that engages the whole person. Helen Kemp teaches children’s choirs the following, saying, “Body, mind, spirit, voice: it takes the whole person to sing and rejoice.” One could say similar things about leadership.

Transformation Begins with the Leader

The Transformational Leader is a fully present leader utilizing every sense and every skill. Leaders are present as a whole person.

Being fully present means that you are aware of what’s going on. Listening is the key to understanding. Listen with your eyes as well as with your ears.

Let’s be quiet and see what happens.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email

(c) 2017 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved

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Podcast 56: Without Discernment, Leaders Fail https://hughballou.com/podcast-56-without-discernment-leaders-fail/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-56-without-discernment-leaders-fail/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:41:45 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10039 Without Discernment, Leaders Fail This podcast is about the focus leaders must have in order to make effective decisions and manage self Listen...

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Without Discernment, Leaders Fail

This podcast is about the focus leaders must have in order to make effective decisions and manage self

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Subscribe to Hugh Ballou’s Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher

Get it on the iTunes store HERE.
Get it on Stitcher HERE.

Leadership Is a Continuing Journey…
…of Discovering and Discerning

We learn, then we digest that learning; finally we discern the appropriate application of the learning.
– Hugh Ballou

Discernment

Discernment is Not Applied

Many leaders that I meet do not utilize the gift of discernment in making decisions and then regret it.

We are often unaware of the consequences of our actions.

Leading is Applied Wisdom

I’ve just finished presenting to people this week in 5 separate groups. Some of the presentations were keynotes. Some of them were workshops or lessons. The common thread was leaders wanting to gain wisdom. Some were leading from middle management and others were CEOs. Many were early stage or startup enterprise ventures.

I commend people for wanting to gain knowledge. Knowledge precedes understanding which precedes wisdom. Wisdom is gained over time with experience. Failure is a learning opportunity only if the failure is unpacked, understood, and crystallized into applicable thinking.

All too often, visionaries attempt to start up a company or charity without the necessary experience or mentorship. All too often, the visionary is not a leader and invites failure without gaining the wisdom for true discernment.

There are many right answers, however, finding the next right answer for a particular situation is elusive when we are attempting to make decisions in a vacuum.

Inventors, authors, coaches, brilliant thought leaders have the ability to change lives and create better communities. Those skills are not the same skills needed for launching and sustaining a healthy, profitable enterprise.

John Maxwell says that collaboration is multiplication. I say that collaborations are discernment where wisdom is multiplied.

This is a two-day conversation, so please comment below.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2015 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

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Podcast 55: Leadership Skills, Evaluation https://hughballou.com/podcast-55-leadership-skills-evaluation/ https://hughballou.com/podcast-55-leadership-skills-evaluation/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:38:05 +0000 https://hughballou.com/?p=10036 Listen to the Podcast  Subscribe to Hugh Ballou’s Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Get it on the iTunes store HERE. Get it on Stitcher HERE.  ...

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Listen to the Podcast

 
Subscribe to Hugh Ballou’s Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher

Get it on the iTunes store HERE.
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Continuous improvement requires systematic evaluation. Continuous improvement requires unfiltered evaluation. – Anonymous

 

Mastering the Evaluation is a Valuable Leadership Skill

Often I interview a potential client and hear that they have a strategic plan…more often than not, it’s put away somewhere and dusty. In other conversations about creating a strategic plan, I hear the same story…we have completed the previous plan and need a new one. Both of these paradigms are very curious to me.

Once you create a strategic plan, it becomes an organic process which migrates over time. It’s really not very efficient to stop and regroup as if starting all over again. If there’s a long-term strategy, then it’s always a long-term strategy, if the leader commits to regularly evaluating the plan, revising and updating the plan, and recommitting to the plan. It’s an ongoing process and not a stop and start process.

I’ve also written about the most dysfunctional systems in organizations, and one of those is the annual review*. Instead of waiting for a full year to evaluate, set up an ongoing system of evaluation and course correction.

Set Aside Time for Evaluation

We do not set aside time to plan and evaluate. Let’s face it. We don’t do it. Most of us don’t do it. I teach this and I must still force myself to do it. Our lame excuse is that we don’t have time. We don’t have time because we haven’t defined the value for the evaluation and we haven’t defined the cost for lack of evaluation. It’s very costly to have to repeat, undo, or redo things and it’s very destructive to the morale of the people.

A tradition in strategic planning is to do a S.W.O.T. (define the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). That’s a broken model which puts us back into the traditions that have caused us problems in the first place. It’s time to rethink evaluations.

I have used a simple model for many years. It came from my training as a meeting facilitator. It’s an efficient use of time and resources and exposes things that need attention. Simple is good.

Here are the Key Steps

First, define what you and the team are evaluating: Is it the plan? Is it the process? Is it the team? Is it the organization? Is it the skills? etc. You get the idea. If you are conducting an evaluation, then define what is being evaluated.

Next, define the protocol for team interaction. Be sure to include everyone who has information to share. Often, I include the janitor or phone receptionist in an organization because they know things that nobody else knows. It’s important to get the full picture when evaluating things. Certainly the data intake and the planning are not both appropriate for everyone in the organization, so separate the functions and invite the appropriate participants. Then define how the group will interact. Declare that the session is a safe space to speak the truth kindly. It’s important to get data and not important to blame people. Address the facts and don’t blame. This way you will get more useful and accurate information.

It’s important to separate the evaluation and the planning. The evaluation provides perspective for the planning. Allow time for gaining perspective, to think about the information, and to regroup for moving forward. Information overload and rush to implementation can both be problematic.

Here’s my simple three-step evaluation:

1) What’s Working: Or what we do well. Define the valuable skills and processes to KEEP. When making changes later, it’s important that we don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, as the old expression goes. Define the core competencies and systems that are valuable and build on those.

2) What Needs Changing: This is not a negative, a critical activity like we get when defining weaknesses in a SWOT. This is honestly identifying things that could be better or things that we might want to STOP doing. This group of items will make a big difference, so take time with this step. You might want to group the items that are related to see if combining them or setting up a priority or sequence with them might be helpful. This will become the basis for your action plan.

3) New Things to Consider: When looking through the information in steps 1 & 2, there will be ideas for new systems, skills, or processes to consider. Be careful here and be sure that you are not adding too much to a process that is already full.

In team evaluations, this process allows for the team to create synergy and to develop peer-to-peer accountability. The process itself is valuable and what happens in the culture adds significantly to that value. Many times, the greater value is what happens within the team and not the results of the evaluation itself. Process builds trust and creates the synergy of community.

Furthermore, this process also works when you work alone. Evaluate yourself and your processes and your plan. Invite a colleague to participate and you’ll get an expanded perspective.

Therefore, set your calendar to do this monthly at a high level and semi-annually at a detailed level.You’ll be glad that you did and you’ll get better over time, so it will take less effort in less time.

Bad Leadership Practices: The Annual Review

 

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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