The Honest Truth About Teams by Lolly Daskal


There’s a good reason we spend so much time thinking about teams.

Every organization in every industry pursues ambitious projects, works hard to get and serve clients and customers, and tackles new markets, new ideas, and new innovation.

Competition is fierce, and it takes a great team to deliver the kind of performance that keeps organizations successful.

There are no quick answers about how to build a great team. But after years of observing many team dynamics, I have come to recognize a few elements that make up a top-performing team:

A compelling vision and meaningful purpose: Top-performing teams have a defined vision and purpose that resonate with its members and draw them in.

Clarified roles and skills: Top-performing teams clearly identify the role and expectations of each member based on their talents and skills. Research shows that collaboration improves when the roles of individuals are clearly defined and understood.

Strategy and goals: Top-performing teams need a clearly defined strategy, plan, and goals. Strategy provides a map that shows where the team is going, and planning and goals tell how they’ll get there.

Commitment and accountability: Top-performing teams need for each member to hold a personal commitment and individual accountability for their role, while still supporting one another.

Mutual trust: Top-performing teams spend time cultivating trust, investing in relationships, and collaboratively developing and refining their mission, purpose, roles, and challenges.

Challengers and collaborators: Top-performing teams need diversity in personalities and talent. They need members who don’t just settle for pleasant conversation but who respectfully challenge and ask, and members who build relationships and bring people together.

Communication and dialogue: Top-performing teams need channels of communication that are open, authentic, challenging, courageous, and real. There is no room for passive aggression and backbiting. Team members are free to speak from the heart and embrace dialogue even in disagreement.

There will never be a perfect team, because teams are, after all, made up of imperfect people.

Every team his its own strengths and frustrations, But the best teams have a vision. They communicate well and they know their goals, skills, and talents.

When teams are given the tools to truly collaborate, they can create true excellence.

Lead From Within: We are not trying to mandate perfection but to build teams whose hearts are beating to the same rhythm.

For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.

About Lolly

Lolly is the founder of Lead from Within, a global consultancy that has counseled heads of state, consulted to CEOs of large multinationals, and coached budding entrepreneurs.

Over 460,972 people follow Lolly’s wisdom on Twitter and subscribe to her blog; her inspirational speeches are greeted by standing ovations worldwide.

7 Ways to Energize & Capture Your Audience’s Attention

According to a recent study, the average attention span of an adult is 8 seconds. People will listen to you longer, however to get their attention you need to have passion, energy, excitment and be interesting.

In my presentation skills training sessions and coaching we go over a number of ways to keep your audience ( 1 person or 100 ) engaged, excited and interested. Here are 7 key things to keep your audience excited and engaged.

1. Most people speak in monotone – In over 20 years of coaching others on their presentation skills, I have found that over 90% of the people I coach speak in a monotone voice. If you want to get others attention you must you must understand how to use your voice for impact. Change the volume, speed, pitch and punch out words for emphasis. If you contact me at I will send you one of the exercises I use with my clients to assist them in putting more energy and pizzazz into their presentations.

2. Keep the rate of your presentation at about 120 words per minute except to emphasize a key point. In fact, the best motivational speakers present at closer to 200 words per minute. The average person’s mind is moving at about 1,200 words per minute. If you talk too slow their mind will wander, they’ll get bored and they won’t pay attention to you.

3. Use body language, gestures and posture to keep interest – To keep interest move around, use gestures to make a point, smile, be open, focus on people with your eyes and avoid distractions such as fidgeting or playing with coins in your pocket.

4. Add stories and anecdotes to your presentations. Use more emotion in your presentations vs. just talking in an intellectual or professorial manner. In fact, my rule of thumb is that every 3 to 5 minutes there should be a story, anecdote, question, exercise, example or humor to keep everyone’s attention.

5. Go early and practice – I always get to my presentations at least 1 to 2 hours in advance. By walking through your presentation you can practice the movement, stories, exercises and examples you will go through. You also will have a chance to meet attendees when they arrive. This will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. As a result you will start off with greater energy and excitement.

6. Don’t overuse powerpoint. Too many people use powerpoint as a telepromter. They turn off the lights ( puts people asleep) read the slide and never really engage the audience. Remember, it’s about you and your presentation and not your slides.

7. Make sure your presentation is relevant to your audience. When preparing my presentations I always think of two things, “so what” and “how to.” In other words when planning your presentation you should make sure that everything you are saying is relevant to your audience. Adults are thinking, “Why is this important?” or “So What?” If you can not answer this, take that part out of your presentation. Also, are you giving enough “how-to” information.

5 Unlikely Tools for Your Leadership Bag


by Monica Wofford

We proverbially “pack a bag” when we lead others. But what you pack in your bag makes more of an impact than you think. And some of these tools just might not be the first things you think of…

Typical Tools:


Of course, mistaken outsiders might even think that leaders should bring things like:

and Control ontheir leadership trip.

But whether or not these items are appropriate for a leader to take with them on their mission, they all are certainly predictable. Take a quick look at some of the unlikely tools that SHOULD definitely make it into any leader’s go-bag.

In fact, these should probably be kept in an outside pocket for quick access and use!

5 Unlikely Tools For Your Leadership Bag

Your Sticky Notes
Use these for the things that you want to stick. More of a symbol than paper with a purpose, let sticky notes remind you to reduce your expectations to just those few words that fit on a mini-note. Make your message one that stands out and sticks like these do not only on their computer or wall, but to how they behave overall.

Your Pom-Poms
Perhaps these simply sit on your desk as a reminder to point out when employees are at their best. Some will need the excitement that pom-poms bring and others will simply need you to quietly say thanks when they do great things.

Your Megaphone
You’re not going to do a cheer, but nor are you striking fear by yelling in this cone or using that “manager tone”. Your megaphone can sit in the corner, but let it be your reminder that what you don’t say, they can’t hear or understand and telepathy is highly overrated.

Your Mute Button
Sometimes you’ve said enough and no amount of further explanation will change what they think. In those times, hit the mute button and take the time to listen.

As is said in Contagious Leadership:
“Those you lead are closer to the problem than you are” and have valuable data to share that you want to hear.

Your Bench

In your office or on the field, figuratively or physically built, you need a bench to remind you of many things. Sometimes it serves as a place to share and be the guide on the side. Sometimes it’s a reminder of the team on which you take pride. And finally, it’s a symbol, as the strength of your bench is about the team you develop.

Your leadership “tool kit” contains a wide array of things, but sometimes it’s the small symbols and reminders that keep you sharp. They help you to remember it’s PEOPLE you lead even when things are moving at high-speed and your list is far longer than the time you need.

Monica Wofford, CSP, is CEO of Contagious Companies, Inc.
She serves her clients by getting business results and ROI for training functions
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Office 1.866.382.0121

The Perfect Job Interview in 8 Simple Steps by Jeff Haden


You landed the interview. Awesome! Now don’t screw it up.

I’ve interviewed thousands of people for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive. Easily three-fourths of the candidates made basic interviewing mistakes.

Did I still hire some of them? Absolutely… but never count on your qualifications and experience to outweigh a bad interview.

Here are eight practical ways to shine:

1. Be likable. Obvious? And critical. Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer’s name…. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can. We all want to work with people we like and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Few candidates do.

2. Never start the interview by saying you want the job. Why? Because you don’t know yet. False commitment is, well, false. Instead…

3. Ask questions about what really matters to you. (Here are five questions great job candidates ask.) Focus on making sure the job is a good fit: Who you will work with, who you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people as eager as they are to find the right fit. Plus there’s really no other way to know you want the job. And don’t be afraid to ask several questions. As long as you don’t take completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember a nice change of pace.

4. Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don’t remember a tremendous amount about you — especially if we’ve interviewed a number of candidates for the same position. Later we might refer to you as, “The guy with the alligator briefcase,” or, “The lady who did a Tough Mudder,” or, “The guy who grew up in Panama.” Sometimes you may be identified by hooks, so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by — and being memorable is everything.

5. Know what you can offer immediately. Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don’t say, for example, “I would love to be in charge of revamping your social media marketing.” One, that’s fairly presumptuous, and two, someone may already be in charge. Instead, share details regarding your skills and say you would love to work with that team. If there is no team, great — you may be put in charge. If there is a team you haven’t stepped on any toes or come across as pushy. Just think about what makes you special and show the benefits to the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the project you bring can be used.

Don’t miss the rest! Read about them here: