CONFERENCES & If You’re Not Doing These 8 Things Every Time You Go to a Conference, Don’t Bother Attending

by Nancy Shenker, Inc. Magazine, 2/7/18.

Although I’ve attended hundreds of conferences over the years (as a speaker, attendee, sponsor and exhibitor), certain time-tested principles still hold true — Attend with a goal or two in mind, use your time wisely, and be open to new ideas and surprises.

1. Choose wisely. Review and speakers and agenda and choose a location where you might have other business to do. Reach out to your network and find out who else is attending.

2. Set a clear objective before you go. Are you shopping for apps or looking for career opportunities? Be clear on what you want to get out of the day (or two or three).

3. If the event has an app, download it. Peruse the speakers and other attendees and send LinkedIn invites to the people who interest you. Plan which sessions you’ll be attending and which sponsors you want to visit.

4. Capitalize on random opportunities that crop up. For example, I ran into someone I met last year while waiting for a Lyft. We rode to and from the cocktail party and he may now be working with me on a new business proposal.

5. Attend at least one session way out of your wheelhouse. And in all sessions, be sure to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you.

6. Take good notes and share them with your network. Tweeting and posting “words of wisdom” from speakers is a great way to demonstrate to your followers and clients that you’re staying on top of trends.

7. Go to the cocktail parties and stay off your phone. Although talking to strangers is often awkward, you can use questions ranging from, “How are the meatballs?” to “What did you think of the last speaker?” to break the ice. If you see someone standing around looking lost, introduce yourself.

8. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Some people still love paper business cards. You can use an app like CamCard to store them directly to your phone. I also bring along a few plastic snack bags whenever I go to a conference. I label them with a Sharpie so I know who falls into which category (e.g., great interview topic, potential client, etc.) Be sure to send notes or make LinkedIn connections as soon as you return (or even on the plane or train). The longer you go without contacting the people you met, the less likely you are to ever do it.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/nancy-a-shenker/how-to-stop-wasting-your-time-at-conferences.html

STYLES OF LEADERSHIP & Finding Your Preferred Leadership Style Will Make You a Better Leader. Here’s How.

by Chris McGoff, Inc. Magazine, 2/8/18

… peak performance leaders give up the right to play to their strength. They have discovered, usually painfully, the truth about leadership styles. They know that leadership styles cross a spectrum bounded on one side by “collaborative leadership” and on the other by “command and control leadership.” They know that there styles in the middle of the extremes that blend to two at different levels.

More than knowing that the spectrum exists, peak performance leaders know that to lead anything, they have to be committed to mastering the leadership styles across the spectrum. Perhaps they are more comfortable with one style than the others, but they also know that any strength taken to an extreme becomes a weakness…

How do you know which leadership style to use in which situation? Here are some leadership styles to use in the four primary decision-making processes.

Command and Control – Use this style in urgent, high-stakes situations when you need to make a quick decision.

Informed Command and Control – Use this style for lower-stakes, but still urgent decisions. An example is if your company needs a meeting venue and you have hours to make the decision. You need some input, but ultimately you need to make a decision quickly.

Limited Consensus – This style is appropriate in low-stakes strategic planning, like when you’re deciding on your company’s benefits package for the year.

Consensus – This is when collaborative leadership comes into play. Use this style for high-stakes strategic planning and visioning when you need the group to come to an agreement on a long-term idea.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/chris-mcgoff/why-you-need-to-master-multiple-leadership-styles.html

COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP & You’ll Never Get a Group to Agree on a Decision. Here’s What to Do Instead

by Chris McGoff, Inc. Magazine, 6/20/17.

… Trying to get everybody to agree on something gives way too much power to the 16 percent of the people who are ninjas at disrupting agreement to draw attention to themselves. These ninjas are known as laggards, according to The Innovation Adoption Curve.

When you ask the group to come to consensus on something, you empower the laggards. They use a variety of tools like “we tried that before,” or they inject information into the process at the worst possible time. You know who they are. They suck the life out of possibility for sport.

No matter how many of their questions you answer they always have more questions. Every time you get close to a decision, laggards bring up a new argument that will make the group hesitate. The way to avoid this pitfall is to rethink the traditional definition of consensus and start using a working definition of consensus.

Next time you have a meeting and need to make a decision, write the following three statements in a prominent place before the meeting begins. Let everyone know that a decision will be made according to the following working definition of consensus:

  1. The process we use will be explicit, rational, and fair.
  2. Each participant will be treated honorably as we go through the process.
  3. We can all “live with and commit to” the outcome.

Let’s dive into what each of those three statements means …

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/chris-mcgoff/youre-wasting-time-trying-to-get-your-team-to-agree-on-a-decision.html

TIME MANAGEMENT & You have to say no to a lot of “good” things to have a “great” life. #How2DoIt

by Joshua Spodek, Inc  Magazine, 2/1/18

… We all have said “yes” to too many things sometime, not realizing that time doing one thing meant time not doing another. I still do, but less than before.

What does “too many things” mean? It means saying yes to mediocre or good things that crowd out great things. We all do it. Something seems great in the moment. We want it.

We don’t think about the resources it will take. Then when we do it we realize we can’t do something else we wanted to.

We make ourselves mediocre, ironically by chasing what we imagine is greatness.

When I can magically create more time and other resources, I’ll say yes to more things. Until then, I’ve learned to decline good things to have a great life.

Values and emotions

It’s a matter of values. Your values determine “good” and “great” for you.

The less you know your values–your emotional responses to things–the less you know how to decide where to allocate your resources, especially time, but also money, connections, relationships, energy, and so on.

The more you know your values, the more you can choose to improve your life–that is, to have more things in your life you like and less that you don’t.

Having limited time and finite resources means saying “no” isn’t declining one thing, but saying “yes” to something better, or at least enabling it.

It takes discipline, but also builds it.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/joshua-spodek/you-have-to-say-no-to-a-lot-of-good-things-to-have-a-great-life.html

CONFLICT RESOLUTION & How to Turn a Conflict With Your Co-Worker Into a Calm Conversation #IncMagazine

by Deborah Grayson Riegel, Inc. Magazine, 1/29/18.

…If your company employs more than one person, workplace conflict is inevitable. And even if you’re a sole proprietor, you’re going to have challenges with clients, vendors, industry colleagues and others… you are going to come up against people who challenge your ideas–and who challenge you.

That’s a good thing. Disagreements can lead to diversity of thinking, improvements in products and services, and greater productivity. Disagreements can also lead to better working relationships, but only if everyone involved fights fair.

Let’s assume you already do–you communicate directly and thoughtfully, you are considerate in your language and tone, you engage others in a dialogue rather than a monologue, and you are focused on achieving a good outcome and a healthy relationship. Good for you!

But how do you get your colleague to do the same?

1. Telling you directly.

In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, “The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know.” As uncomfortable as it feels to hear negative feedback or be confronted directly, it is significantly more uncomfortable (and less productive) to have a colleague who is secretly seething, holding a grudge, acting passive-aggressively towards you, or telling everyone but you that she has a problem with you…

Try saying this: “Thank you so much for telling me directly that you [didn’t like my decision/felt disrespected by me in the meeting/wished I had consulted with you]. I appreciate you trusting me enough to share that feedback. Would you like to discuss it further?”

2. Using a respectful tone.

In the face of an interpersonal conflict, our brains register a threat in approximately 1/5 of a second. We immediately go into fight, flight or freeze mode, and it’s easy to become snippy, short-tempered, sarcastic, surly – or even go silent. It’s reacting rather than considering how to respond.

If your colleague is willing and able to stop his automatic reaction, and demonstrate emotionally intelligent self-management by speaking to you calmly and with care, thank him…

Try saying this: “I just want to thank you for the calm tone of voice you’re using right now, even though I know you’re upset. It makes it easy for me to really hear your perspective, and to have a productive conversation.”

In the words of legendary radio host Bernard Meltzer, “If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secret of getting along–whether it be business, family relations, or life itself.”

3. Being curious.

Healthy communication navigates and balances between two practices: advocacy (promoting our own ideas, perspectives and points of view) and inquiry (being curious about the other’s ideas, perspectives and points of view.) In a conflict, we tend to over-rely on advocacy–telling the other person what we think and “know”, why we’re right, and why they’re clearly wrong. Inquiry tends to go out the door…

When you hear your colleague asking you questions like “How do you see it?”, “What do you think I’m not understanding here?”, “What would you like to see happen?” or even prompting you with, “Tell me more…”, thank her for being curious.

Try saying this: “Thank you for asking me. I’d like to tell you how I see it, and then I’d like to learn more about how you see it…”

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/deborah-grayson-riegel/having-a-conflict-with-a-co-worker-remind-yourself-to-be-grateful-for-these-3-things.html

MULTIPLICATION & Before You Even Think About Scaling Your Organization, You Need To Figure Out These 5 Things

by Bill Green, Inc. Magazine, 1/16/18.

Every entrepreneur wants to know how to scale.

The challenge, however, is that scaling requires both an unrelenting ambition to grow, and simultaneously, an extreme amount of patience. Scaling is not as easy as throwing money at a problem, or hiring as many people as possible. If anything, those kinds of decisions end up running you into the ground.

Instead, I like to think of scaling as the result of your foundation. The stronger the foundation, the easier it is to scale…

1. It’s all about the customer.

One of my favorite quotes is by Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club. He said, “There is only one boss, the customer, and he can fire everybody from the chairman on down by simply bringing his business somewhere else.”

That’s the absolute truth.

This is something I talk about extensively in my book for emerging entrepreneurs, All In. If you don’t have your eye on the client experience every minute of every day, you’re completely missing the point of why you are in business.

2. Fix mistakes fast.

If you can’t fix the small errors now, how do you expect to fix the big errors later on?

Repeat after me: it’s never the customer’s fault. When trouble hits, don’t be defensive about it. Don’t run around trying to assign blame. Just fall on your sword and do whatever it takes to fix it fast.

…I don’t count the screw-ups that happen in my companies as much as I keep tabs on how quickly problems are resolved. I always tell my people, “We’re all human, and we’re going to make mistakes. But the customer is going to remember how fast you fix the problem more than they’re going to remember the mistake itself.”

3. Underpromise, overdeliver.

You may demand perfection from yourself, your partners, and your employees, but you can’t let that carry over to how you talk to your customers.

Don’t promise perfection to them. Just don’t. ..

4. Tailor your experience to the customer–don’t expect them to adjust to you.

This is a hugely important lesson in today’s market.

You can’t make customers adjust to you. You have to tailor your experience to them, and make them feel like they’re part of your family…

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/bill-green/5-things-you-need-to-have-figured-out-before-you-scale-your-business.html

FEEDBACK & Harvard research shows “negative feedback” only works – when the recipient truly feels valued by the giver: 4 things to do.

Surprising Harvard Research Says Giving Negative Feedback to Peers Won’t Work (Unless You Do 1 Simple Thing)

by Scott Mautz, Inc. Magazine, 1/16/18.

“Harvard researchers say we’ve got it all wrong on giving negative feedback to peers. It’s useless if you don’t do this too.”

Giving negative feedback to peers can be as stressful and confounding as figuring out how to give feedback to your boss or how to give feedback to a difficult employee.

And now new research from Harvard says you might be wasting your time in doing so anyway.

The Harvard study indicates that giving or receiving peer-to-peer negative feedback rarely leads to improvement. In the study, coworkers that received negative feedback simply chose to avoid the corrective co-workers and sought to be around and strike up new relationships with more self-affirming co-workers. This is a process the researchers call “shopping for confirmation” (which sounds like the album title of a reunited boy-band).

As the study noted:

“There’s an assumption that what motivates people to improve is the realization that they’re not as good as they think they are. But in fact, it just makes them go find people who will not shine that light on them. It may not be having the intended effect at all.”

So this is terrific news for all of us that don’t exactly love doling out criticism, right? We’re off the hook because what’s the point, right?

Nope. There’s a catch.

Peer to peer negative feedback can work–when the recipient truly feels valued by the giver.

Again as the researchers noted:

“We put employees in a position to deal with dueling motivations: I need to feel I’m valuable, and I need to improve. And we don’t do a good job reconciling them with our feedback mechanisms.”

… Here are simple things you can start doing today:

1. Compliment them on who they are, what they do, or how they do it.

And be specific within this specificity. Being precise implies you care enough to notice and to take the time/brain power to thoughtfully articulate your appreciation…

2. Invest in their career.

Imagine how it would feel if all your co-workers felt truly invested in you and wanted to help you succeed in your career. Now give that energy to a co-worker.

Take the time to share balanced, thoughtful feedback (remember, corrective feedback will be more likely to work because you’re showing you value them by executing this very list). Find out what’s important for advancement in their career and gear your feedback towards that. And tell their boss when they’re over-delivering on a criteria/attribute important for their function.

3. Make them look good.

Give them credit (genuinely deserved) in public whenever you can–if they’re cool with that. It speaks to your genuine interest in seeing them succeed, as will your tougher feedback when the time comes.

4. Seek out their advice, listen, and act on it.

Some of the most satisfying moments in my career weren’t always when my boss agreed and took action on something I suggested, but when a peer did. It’s about relationships, not reporting lines.

Read more at …
https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/surprising-harvard-research-says-giving-negative-feedback-to-peers-wont-work-unless-you-do-1-simple-thing.html