LeaderBox – Leadership Resources for YOU

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Don’t Forget to be Human!

harvard business review

“The problem is about 70% of leaders rate themselves as inspiring and motivating – much in the same way as we all rate ourselves as great drivers. But this stands in stark contrast to how employees perceive their leaders. A survey published by Forbes found that 65% of employees would forego a pay raise if it meant seeing their leader fired, and a 2016 Gallup engagement survey found that 82% of employees see their leaders as fundamentally uninspiring. In our opinion, these two things are directly related.

There is a vast upside to human leadership. As data from McKinsey & Company shows, when employees are intrinsically motivated, they are 32% more committed and 46% more satisfied with their job and perform 16% better.

As human beings, we are all driven by basic needs for meaning, happiness, human connectedness, and a desire to contribute positively to others. And leaders that truly understands these needs, and lead in a way that enables these intrinsic motivations, have the keys to enable strong loyalty, engagement and performance. As leaders, we must be humans before managers.”

Excerpt from:  https://hbr.org/2018/01/why-do-so-many-managers-forget-theyre-human-beings



Does Your Team Know What Your Team Does? by Jim Johnson

I’ve been working on a little project here at work.  I lead 4 different, unique divisions.  We are all on the same floor.  There is a lot of collaboration between the teams.  But I discovered something.  The team still doesn’t always know what the team (overall) does.

So I addressed it.

With the help of my leadership team, I created a document (12 pages long) that highlights each of my divisions, the work they do, and the up-to-date results they are getting.  In each of their sections, I also shared the company awards they’ve received over the past couple of years (it’s always good to be reminded of this!).  Each team member was listed and all of their photos were included.

Teams can do the work day in and day out.  We all are busy.  My team is full of flawed, human beings – myself included!  We are not perfect.  But we do a lot to move our company forward.  We work hard to serve our customers (members) to our best ability.  We care about each other inside and outside of work.

I created this document to be sure my team understands all that goes on.  I want them to appreciate their own efforts and results.  I want them to appreciate the efforts of those working on the other side of the room.  Together, we are making a positive impact.

I challenge you to do something similar with your team.  This exercise helped me focus on the positive strengths this team has.  I think it will help my team focus on that, too.

winning teams

Global Leadership Summit – Day 2 Highlights


Here are some of my notes from Day 2 of the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17) from this past Friday.  I attended the remote site in Fort Wayne, Indiana (the largest remote site in the world).

lazloLazlo Bock (former VP of People Operations at Google)

“Often there is a gap between the values leaders talk about and the values they live.”

“Find the best people, grow them fast, and retain them.”

“The experience of our work should have purpose. Give work meaning.  Have a mission that matters.”  Lazlo cited a survey that found:

  • 30% of employees feel their work has meaning
  • 30% of employees need to work solely for the paycheck they get
  • 30% of employees feel work is kind of fun
  • 10%  (he didn’t mention them – they’re probably outside on a break….)

“We must remind our teams of our mission all the time.  It’s not a one-and-done thing.”  How?  Lazlo said that the best way to get our mission into our team members’ heads and hearts is through story-telling.  But not just any stories – LIFE-CHANGING stories.  These kinds of stories make a personal connection with our mission (I bet this work with our customers, too).

The Meaning of our Mission Matters.  Here’s a way to uncover how we are connecting our mission to the people who carry it out as well as to our customers:

  • Ask:  “Why do I do what I do?”…everyday.
  • Ask others why they do what they do.
  • Have customers share their stories.  Make it easy for them to do this.
  • Repeat this process often

“Instead of giving quick answers to a team member’s inquiry on your opinion on an issues, ask them first: “What do you think?”

“Hire people better than I am.”

julie funt

Julie Funt – CEO, WhiteSpace at Work

“When talented people are too overloaded/busy, work suffers. We tolerate overload.”

White Space – that strategic pause taken between activities to reflect and think.  Great leaders use white space.  It can take the form of a personal retreat to an hour break to minutes.”

What White Space is not:

  • meditation
  • mind-wandering
  • mindfulness

“White Space is the permission to think the unthought thought.”

“We must ‘de-crap-i-fy our workflows.”

“Lollipop of Mediocrity – lick it once, and you’ll suck forever.”  Brian Wilson

Mental Filters to help simplify our lives using White Space:

  • Is there anything I can let go of?
  • When is good enough good enough?
  • What do I truly need to know about this?

Use this codes in dealing with emails (a major factor to overload):

  • NYR – Need Your Response
  • NYRT – Need Your Response Today
  • NYRQ – Need Your Response Quickly
  • NYR-NBD – Need Your Response Next Business Day

marcus buckinghamMarcus Buckingham – Author and Founding of the Marcus Buckingham Company

“You learn nothing about success by studying your failures.”

“At work, we need more BEST teams.”

When it comes to performance reviews, one size does not fit all.  One size fits one.  This is how we need to view performance reviews.”

In writing a performance review, these are key goals:

  • Give your team member a chance to use their strengths.  Encourage this!
  • Help them clearly understand what is expected of them.  They want to know this!

As leaders/managers of people, practice frequently (weekly) “Strength-Based Check-Ins” about “near-term” future work.  This is done in a brief 1-on-1.  Ask:

  • What are your priorities this week?
  • How can I help?

Do not give feedback in these brief 1-on-1 meetings.  People want “coaching attention”.

Asking great questions will help them get better!”



Become More Valuable

A few days ago, I shared how to create a great customer experience.  Today, I want to use those same steps to show you how you can become more valuable – to add value – to your team and others in your company.


When a team member or colleague brings you an issue, problem, concern, question…take time to truly listen to what it is they are saying.  Don’t jump to a conclusion or give them a fast answer.  Listen carefully.


Ask great questions to get to the core issue.  Avoid asking yes/no questions or “why” questions.  Asking great questions will get you to their core issue the fastest.  It also demonstrates that you are actively listening to them.


If the person in front of you is frustrated, angry, tense, etc., take the time to empathize with them.  Don’t merely sympathize (“oh, I’m sorry”).  Don’t make light of their situation (“today sucks to be you!”).  Feel what they are feeling and identify with that.


Once you have the core issue clarified, think.  What resources do you have that can help resolve your team member’s issue?  What resources do you know about that can help?  Who else can you call on for assistance?  Think.


Once you’ve listened carefully, asked great questions, empathized with the person, and really thought about the best way to help, then (AND ONLY THEN) act.  Far too often people jump into action too quickly.  Act with intention and purpose.


Following up a couple of days later says that you care about how the resolution is working or not working for the person you helped.  This can be a great learning opportunity for you.  It will create stronger relationships at work as you demonstrate your willingness and ability to invest in someone else.

Make your work interactions better.  Follow this process to add value to your team and your company.

Remember, when you get better, your company gets better.


A Great Customer Experience by Jim Johnson

If you are in business, you deal with customers all the time.  You want to provide a great customer experience, I know it!  And your customers want a great experience as well.

But it doesn’t happen automatically.

Providing a great experience for our customers must be done intentionally.  I created the following to help my team understand how they can deliver a great experience with our customers (we call them members at credit unions).  Does this make sense in your business environment?  Comment below.  We all would love to read your insights.

a great customer experience