Leaders, It Is Time to Be Brave and Be Fierce

Yesterday at the ATD International Conference ,  Brené Brown  shared her perspective on courage in the workplace. She confessed, which many people nodded in agreement, that she thinks leadership is one of the hardest things she has ever pursued, because great leaders are selfless. They give their time and energy to help others. Great leaders tackle tough challenges. They bring up the topics that need to be discussed and go there . They address the elephants in the room and take action on what needs attention, even when it is the last thing they want to do. So yes, leadership isn’t for the faint of heart. Leaders need to build and use their courage. And I love how Brene talks about courage. Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To...
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Leadership Tips: Challenge the Status Quo

This week Fierce is in Denver, Colorado at the Association for Talent Development's annual international conference . We are gathered to meet with learning leaders, trainers, and people invested in the human capital space. We are gathered to question. To explore. To learn. To have fun. ( Follow us at #befierceatd .) Today, esteemed thought leader Simon Sinek is speaking about how the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact are the ones who are able to inspire – they challenge the status quo and act in very specific patterns. One of my favorite Sinek quotes is, “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.” It is a leader’s responsibility to have a...
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The Best Way for New Leaders to Build Trust

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and explores the best ways for a new leader within an organization to build trust with their newly appointed team. Building the complete trust of a team is never an easy feat for any leader within an organization. It becomes even more difficult when you are new to an organization and have to earn the trust of an established team. This has to be the number one priority for any new leader, and they need to address it on day one. In his article, Dougherty explains that meeting with as many individual contributors to the team as soon as possible and gathering as much information is a crucial starting point. This differs from the approach many new leaders have, which is to come in and produce answers to ongoing problems immediately –without gathering the necessary information first. During these...
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Leadership Tips: Build Trust with Your Team

  Trust is created through persistent identity. Think about the people you trust most in your life. How have they built that trust with you? Most likely, those people have stayed consistent in their conversations and actions with you – they show up similarly time and time again. You know what you are going to get – even if it isn’t all perfect . Although we would love to have a magic button that we could press, the reality is that trust is a complex issue. Many leaders come to Fierce wanting to rebuild trust in their organization. And although it is complex, trust can be destroyed or built one conversation at a time. Destroyed by one failed, one missing, one inauthentic conversation at a time. Or built by one successful, one authentic, one fierce conversation at a time. It is a mindset and a skill set that people can...
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6 Steps for Building a Company Culture of Accountability

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Inc 500 and details six steps that can lead to a company culture of accountability. In his article, Gleeson defines six steps, some of which may seem obvious but are often overlooked at organizations. Things like getting feedback, creating ownership, and consistency. Leaders within organizations continually identify empowering their employees as a critical piece to organizational success, and employees constantly seek to be empowered within their roles. So why is the issue of workplace accountability so pervasive? In short: Accountability can be a difficult thing to track. As companies grow and teams are spread out over state lines or even countries, this task becomes even more problematic. Accountability is often defined by a job description and whether an employee is meeting or exceeding the standards set forth in it.  This is all wrong. Accountability needs to come from the top down and resonate...
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2 Big Don’ts if You Want Accountability in Your Workplace

Do you feel that people in your workplace don’t do what they say they are going to do? Are you guilty of overcommitting…or under delivering? Or both? Accountability is a huge problem. The Workplace Accountability Study recently revealed that 82% of respondents have  no ability to hold others accountable , but 91% of people rank accountability as one of the top development needs they’d like to see at their organization. Two don’ts when you want to create more accountability in your workplace. Don’t give advice. Giving advice is one of the worst things you can do when people come to you with problems. Yes, you read that right.  When someone comes to you with an issue and you go straight to advice giving, you are training people to not do the problem solving and work themselves. This has huge consequences to a managers’ time. It can feel so good to...
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Leadership Tips: Plan for 5 Conversations

A common belief that gets in everybody’s way about having Fierce Conversations is that the other person may not be fierce back. Newsflash: That doesn’t matter. Fierce Conversations are not about somebody else needing to operate within the rules. In our workshops, we talk about how many of us probably know somebody about whom we feel: “There is no point in even trying to talk to that person, because…They won’t listen. They’ll get upset. They’ll get defensive, emotional, irrationally— they can’t handle it.” The thing is, when we think that way, we will most likely avoid the conversation altogether. And that is not okay. To kick start having the conversations you really need to have, we encourage people to answer core questions critical to your personal success . Here are five for you to start with:   What one experience do I most want to have my life?   What...
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Try Something New for 30 Days to Achieve Your Goals

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Ted.com and explores how trying something new for 30 days can lead to achieving your most ambitious goals.   The idea behind it is simple. If you really want to achieve a new goal you have set for yourself, try it for 30 days and measure the results. One of the issues with ambitious goals is that we never seem to get the ball rolling because the task at hand is so daunting. We start to form questions in our heads like: Where do I begin? How can I really accomplish this with my schedule? It is easy to populate our minds with these thoughts and put off our goals for yet another year. If your 2016 goal is to get healthier but you cannot commit to a routine, take the 30 day challenge. You can do anything for 30 days, right?...
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Achieving Goals: Wading Through Your Murky Waters

Walter Elliot stated, "Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other." I can relate to this quote a lot lately - both figuratively and literally. Two years ago when I was training for my first Olympic distance triathlon, I had to constantly remind myself one step at a time . It was always on my bucket list to train for a triathlon, and I am so proud that I have a few under my belt now. It opened a totally new understanding about myself and how I can achieve things that seem so big initially. Although my training period brought me a lot of joy, it also created doubts I didn't even know I had about myself and my own abilities. Being an overachiever, "type A" kinda gal, quitting rarely comes into my mind as an option when I set my mind to...
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Leadership Tips: Celebrate National Recommitment Month with Your 2016 Goals

May is National Recommitment Month, which means we should review the goals we set back in January . Have you ever heard of this concept for May? I hadn’t. However, I love it, because we talk every day about how to make sure employees, leaders, and companies get where they want to go. And in order to do this, they must track trends. Conversations are the most accessible tool you have, every single day, to assess if you are heading closer to or further from what you want and need to achieve. Conversations with your team. Conversations with your partner. Conversations with your kids. And most importantly, conversations with yourself. So much in this world is unpredictable, and yet, you always have this way of navigating in your life. I’m sure some things have changed for you since 2016 kicked off. In the first blog I wrote this year, I...
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7 Ways to Improve Employee Development Programs

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and explores different ways to improve employee development programs. It’s no surprise that employee development programs are a critical part to the growth and progress of any organization. A 2014 report published by Training Magazine found that over $100 billion dollars is spent annually on learning and development programs, yet many survey respondents felt there is considerable room for improvement within these programs. In his article, Ferrazzi highlights seven challenges that companies must tackle to create truly effective development programs. A few of these include: Providing flexible learning options. One of the greatest issues with development programs is finding the time to actually do them. Companies must cater to the busy schedules of their employees by offering on-demand and mobile solutions. Provide different programs for diverse learning styles. In a multigenerational workforce, it is paramount for organizations to cater...
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3 Tips to Be More Honest in the Workplace

With National Honesty Day approaching on April 30 th , managers and leaders everywhere have an opportunity to evaluate the role honesty plays in their workplace. We surveyed over 1,400 executives and employees and found that 70% of respondents believed a lack of honesty impacted their company’s ability to perform optimally. When the topic of being truly honest comes up, leaders and employees usually express fear that some people can’t handle the “whole” truth. And we say simply: Stop with that excuse. Don’t make other people’s compromises for them. Hold people around you able to listen and learn the truth. It is the much more respectful route for everyone. Oftentimes when people say that the other person can’t handle it, it is really the person tasked with sharing something difficult or potentially trajectory-changing that have the issue in the first place. Be the person in your team, organization, family, and...
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Leadership Tips: Create Opportunity for Your Support Staff

This week honors Administrative Professionals . According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), there are more than 22 million administrative and office support professionals working in the United States. A recent OfficeTeam and IAAP survey of more than 2,200 administrative workers showcased that only 43% of support staff feel their full range of skills are being used, and only 7% of support staff feel they are completely utilized. That means 50% want more opportunity. One of the easiest ways to create growth opportunities is to delegate. Many people view delegation as a way to get rid of menial tasks (what we call dele-dumping ), instead, think about delegating as a way to grow the skill set of a colleague. Think about what is currently on your plate. A couple years ago, I read a piece by Jim Schleckser, CEO of the Inc. CEO Project, he argues that the...
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The Business Logic of Sustainability

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on  Ted.com  and explains the business logic behind sustainability. In 1973, Ray Anderson read “The Ecology of Commerce” and it changed the trajectory of his business. As the CEO of a carpet manufacturer with petroleum intensive processes, he was in a unique position to make a difference and challenge the status quo of the “take/make/waste” industrial system. He decided to embrace technology to improve sustainability efforts and found that there was also a compelling business case behind this approach. Anderson died in 2011, but his legacy and sustainable impact lives on through the Ray C. Anderson Foundation . Through Anderson’s efforts, his carpet company has doubled profits while decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions by over 82%. Anderson’s achievements indicate a few things: If a petroleum intensive company can make dramatic environmental strides, while simultaneously increasing profits – any business can do the same....
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3 Tips to Have Your Team Celebrate Earth Day

Friday is Earth Day, and as inhabitants of this place, we want to show gratitude to where we live. John Muir, Scottish-American environmental activist and author made this appreciation and preservation his mission. He is often called the “Father of the National Parks”. In his 1894 The Mountains of California , Muir said, “ Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees...
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Leadership Tips: Go Outside - It’s Good for Business

Oh, the smell of fresh air. Living in the United States’ Pacific Northwest, it is very normal to go outside as much as possible – rain or shine – to our mountains, lakes, and trails. How often do you go outside? While seeing the beautiful scenery is great for our standard of living, it turns out that going outside is good for business. It feeds our anthropological roots, and it fosters creativity. In the NPR segment, We’re Not Taking Enough Lunch Breaks. Why That’s Bad for Business , Kimberly Elsbach, a professor at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, who studies workplace psychology, states "We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment, to a natural environment." So, what is the easiest way to go outside? Take a walk. Research published in the Journal...
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Business Meetings – The Case for Face-to-Face

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes Insights and discusses the importance of face-to-face interactions as opposed to virtual meetings. As businesses continue to heal from the economic downturn, travel budgets continue to have slow growth within organizations. Currently businesses rely heavily on technology for internal communication, which has replaced interactions that were once had in-person. Although virtual meetings and conferences cut down on costs initially, are they actually costing companies more in the end? Common answers for a preference towards technology-enabled meetings include saving time, money, and increasing flexibility in location and timing. These are all very practical answers. Saving money and time is crucial to any business – but what are these virtual meetings missing? The answer: The human element. After surveying over 750 business executives, the data shows that face-to-face meetings build stronger, more meaningful business relationships, an enhanced ability to read crucial body language,...
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5 Tips for Having a Better One-on-One with Your Direct Reports

According to Lucid Meetings research, 55 million meetings occur per day. For average workers that means eight meetings per week. For managers, 12 per week. Meetings can vary from status updates to brainstorming, from company-wide to one-on-one’s. They range from mission critical for completion of a project or milestone to completely useless. And let’s be honest, with so many hours in meetings, it can be easy to go into autopilot. I want to focus on one-on-one meetings, because I see them as one of the best ways to build personal relationships and connections. These meetings give me insights about the person, our team, and the overall operations of the business in a way nothing else can. When effective, they truly give me a pulse on what needs to potentially start, stop, and continue. The catch? I must be willing to REALLY invite feedback and truthfulness into the conversation. It needs...
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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Useless One-on-One Meetings

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams When people think about being a leader and inspiring others, doing something unique often comes to mind. At its core, this is a well-guided strategy. You want to have your own personal style and not be like everyone else. The flaw in going to that reasoning, however, is that the everyday interactions and conversations are often overlooked. While paying attention to the big picture, you can miss the smaller pieces that sometimes make the most impact. So I ask: Do you have regular meetings with your team members or peers that inspire them? Oftentimes, when I talk with people in organizations, the answer is no . In fact, when the people are honest, they say they aren’t inspired by the conversation either. What a waste. Come on,...
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Stress Is Your Brain Trying to Avoid Something

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  The Harvard Business Review  and discusses what factors play into our stress levels as humans, and how to overcome them. Stress within the workplace is nothing new, and all of us have experienced it during our careers at some point. Whether it is a critical boss, a big deadline, or an angry client – they all trigger stress. In the article, Markman explains how stress is an emotional response to our motivational system. There are two components to a person’s motivational system. The approach system is concentrated on accomplishing favorable outcomes while the avoidance system aims to avoid unfavorable outcomes. “Your motivational system engages goals and gives them energy so that you can pursue them. Simply put, when you succeed at your goals, you feel good, and when you don’t succeed you feel bad.” So the key to relieving stress at its...
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Leaders, Curb Your Stress - Find Your Magic Hour

April is Stress Awareness Month. When reflecting on your life, how would you rank your stress level from 1-10? Under wraps? Off the charts? What causes it? Among U.S. adults, work is the second most common source of stress, just behind money, according to the 2014 Stress in America survey from the American Psychological Association. And yes, those go hand in hand, so it is a double punch. With all of the obligations and demands of leaders today, it is more critical than ever for you to make some time for yourself and your goals. Leaders, to bust your stress, find your magic hour each work day. Find an hour that you can focus on specific deliverables of your own. Block this time on your calendar and keep it precious. It is quiet time. Time where there aren’t meetings, one-on-ones, and all of your team’s demands. Do not allow the...
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Leadership Tips: Walk Your Talk…Now

I’m constantly intrigued by what makes leaders the most effective. We talk with leaders constantly. A couple weeks ago, a Harvard Business Review article came out about the most important leadership competencies according to leaders around the world. When 195 global leaders were asked to rate 74 qualities, the number one was strong ethics and safety, meaning a leader has high ethical and moral standards. 67% said this was the most important quality to great leadership. To put it simply: Walk your talk. Don’t do something that you don’t believe in. To quote the piece, “This competency is all about behaving in a way that is consistent with your values. If you find yourself making decisions that feel at odds with your principles or justifying actions in spite of a nagging sense of discomfort, you probably need to reconnect with your core values.” I think about one of my first...
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Retaining Talent In A Competitive Economy

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes  and discusses different tactics with regards to retaining top talent in a competitive marketplace. Old-school retention tactics such as competitive salary, stock options, and cash bonuses are not necessarily key motivators for keeping top performers at your firm from moving on. Companies need to start looking ahead instead of behind, and to do so, it is important to understand the changing demographics of your firm's staff. Employees nowadays seek recognition and collaboration just as much as a competitive salary with stock options.  An employee’s progression towards an annual bonus should be publicized and encouraged, not measured in a board room behind closed doors. So what will you do to retain your best performers? “There are ways to motivate other than creating a dog-eat-dog macho workplace environment. Collaboration rather than competition; praise rather than punishment.” Read the article.

New Survey: Business & Political Leaders – What Do You Expect?

With caucuses and primaries in full-swing in the United States, there is a lot of talk about political leadership in our country. At Fierce, we are very interested to explore the traits and characteristics for ideal leaders, in both business and politics. There is so much commentary for what makes great leaders like this and this and this . And the question is: What do you think? AND Does your view on leadership change depending on the position – for the boardroom and Capitol Hill? Please take our brief survey today, by clicking here.

Leadership Tips: Appreciate a Golden Egg

Yesterday was Easter in the United States, and often the day includes Easter egg hunts. Kids, young and old, search high and low to collect as many eggs as possible. It’s an exhilarating experience when it is happening, and when it is over, an egg count determines the winner. There are so many analogies to this egg hunt in corporate life. We run after the most leads, the most deals, the most talent, and then we find ourselves continually measuring where we stand to others. Did we beat so and so? Did we hit our target? The actual chase and constant “measuring up” isn’t even the biggest issue – it is the lack of appreciation for what we have. It often makes me think about a story from Aesop’s sixth century B.C. fables. You may have heard this: ONE day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found...
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4 Habits of the Most Successful Leaders

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Forbes and discusses four habits the most successful leaders have in common. It is undeniable that the greatest leaders in the world share similar habits to continue their success. Great leaders transform organizations, quickly captivate the audience of a room, and most importantly – they teach others around them how to be great leaders by example. In today’s society there is a leadership gap , resulting in an uninspired workforce lacking the most important facet of business: leadership. So what is the common thread between great leaders? “People are eager to learn from them, and are mobilized by their missions. And great leaders make the impossible happen every day, igniting passion and innovation throughout an organization.” Read the article.

Leadership Tips: Practice Patience - Relationships Aren’t Built Instantly

We get what we want at a faster speed than ever before. Amazon delivers items in one hour. Starbucks provides coffee through a drive through. Uber arrives at your doorstep in a matter of minutes to take you anywhere you need to go. The list goes on and on; there are on-demand services for walking dogs, receiving massages, house cleaning, etc. While our accessibility to products increases, we must remember that people are not things . To share a moment, to build a relationship, to better understand one another, there is not an on-demand option. It requires many conversations...and patience. Patience is becoming a rare mineral in this bustling world we live in. Practice more patience in your conversations. Patience with yourself when a conversation doesn’t go the way you want it to. Patience with someone who brings an issue to you that seems unfounded. Patience with someone who tells...
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Roselinde Torres - What It Takes to Be a Great Leader

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Ted.com and uncovers the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future. A recent leadership study conducted by The Conference Board found that 4 of the top 10 challenges that CEOs face are focused on leadership. Yet, many organizations lack a well-developed leadership pipeline. CEOs know their organizations cannot retain highly engaged, high-performing employees without effective leaders who can manage, coach, develop, and inspire them. So I ask: How do we address the every-widening leadership gap? First, we need to start by distilling the characteristics of great leaders.         Read the complete transcript here.

What Presidential Candidates Could Learn From Pope Francis

The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.  -Adlai Stevenson With the political primaries in full swing, voters' blood is boiling listening to would-be future leaders of our country. Candidates from both parties have left voters confused, frustrated, disgusted, frightened and angry. An "us vs. them" mentality has created a wider divide than ever before. Who can voters trust? Who can really fix what's broken? What will our country become? While it may sound a bit cheeky, and certain political purists may roll their eyes at the sentiment -- we need Pope Francis. If he were running for president, he'd get my vote, and I'm not Catholic. I love this Pope. In a mere three years, despite serious obstacles, he has accomplished major bureaucratic housecleaning, set new directions and priorities for a global organization not traditionally known for its...
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Leadership Tips: Make Your Own Luck

Steve Jobs once said, “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” I have always been intrigued by his statement, because the “something” he references seems very juicy. And it is an internal thing. Everyone can have it. So what makes some people have “it”? How do some people know they have “it”? Why do some people seem to always be searching for “it”? This idea came up for me again last week when we kicked off our 2016 Fierce Lunch & Learn Series. Happiness expert and best-selling author, Neil Pasricha, talked with our team about his recently launched book, The Happiness Equation . The premise is to take common ideals about happiness and use research and tangible tips to help people be happier in their lives. One...
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Why Work-Life Balance Isn't Just a Women's Issue Anymore

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Forbes and explores how men and women have similar priorities when it comes to valuing work-life balance. Work-life balance has been a hot-button topic for years and conventional wisdom tells us that women struggle the most with juggling work and personal responsibilities. But a recent national study by Bain & Company is bringing new issues to light. Researchers found that nearly equal numbers of women and men want to prioritize family and life outside of work over career progression. How successful is your organization at integrating work and life? Source: http://www.forbes.com

Spearheading Employee Recognition: Welcome to the Age of Being Seen

We live in a time where everyone is visible more than ever before -- now we can even see how far our reach extends with profile views, shares, tweets, and “likes.” In a world where every failure, frustration, and triumph is publicly recognized online, an unexpected yet poignant result is that conversely, many of us feel less “seen,” both in the workplace and at home. According to a 2011 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey, 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were recognized more often in the workplace. Recognition is inspiring and if we had more of it, we’d probably work harder with our families and friends as well. As more and more people compete for attention and appreciation in the workplace and beyond, there is a silent undercurrent brewing, an epidemic of people not feeling acknowledged or seen for their valuable contributions. This is where our friend and...
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Leadership Tips: Say “No” More

When you look at your life – at home and at work – what is one thing you do that makes your heart sing? Is it learning to speak a new language? Spending quality time with your partner? Volunteering? Reading more books? It is your job to make time for that thing . No one else will. You can point and say that you are too busy at work, or the kids take that time, or you are too tired. And no one is going to prioritize your time for you except you . It isn’t an easy task to make the time for what is most important. When I think about this internal challenge, I always think of what Iain Thomas said: And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, 'This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry...
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How to Build a Culture of Originality

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on the Harvard Business Review , and explores how empowering the lone wolves in your organization can actually fuel your team’s success. Leaders are tasked to find ways to constantly innovate, otherwise they risk falling behind the competition into obscurity. Yet in the search for the next great idea, they still cling to workplace cultures that promote conformity and alienate the troublemakers. History has shown that the world’s most prolific visionaries are often labeled rabble-rousers, disrupters, heretics, and radicals. Even Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of the 21 st century, was labeled a troublemaker by a teacher. In order to promote original thinkers and innovators in your organization, you first need to build a culture of inclusion. It starts with empowering your employees to speak up. Learn how one junior officer in the U.S. Navy transformed the ultimate bastion of bureaucracy...
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Leaders, Don’t Follow the Oscars - Stop Once a Year Recognition

Last night was the 88 th Annual Academy Awards – an annual tradition to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements. Essentially, it is a once a year recognition program for people in the industry. People get dressed up and wait to hear the results. In some ways, it isn’t much different than what happens in many organizations. So I ask: Do you have once a year recognition program? Do promotion opportunities come once a year? Waiting every 12 months for a “main event” announcement is not how recognition should happen. According to a Bersin & Associates study , only 17 percent of employees indicated that their organizations’ cultures strongly support recognition. This lack of effectiveness is largely driven by the misdirected nature of most recognition programs: 87 percent of organizations reported that their programs are designed to recognize service or tenure. These programs do not meet the needs of today’s employees,...
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Dan Pink - The Puzzle Of Motivation

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Ted.com and uncovers what really motivates employees to perform better. One of the biggest mistakes leaders make in their career, is assuming feedback conversations are a one-way street. Feedback shouldn’t just be about communication what went wrong or right. We also need to spend time understanding what inspires people to do their best, because that is where the answer to employee motivation really lies. In his 2009 TedTalk: The Puzzle of Motivation, Dan Pink explores the three elements required for intrinsic motivation. Do you know what matters to your team?         Read the complete transcript here.

Are You a Feedback Genius? Test it!

A Feedback Genius: Someone who is strong in both giving and receiving feedback. This person gives feedback frequently and chances are that has made them pretty good at it. This person welcomes feedback and receives it with interest and gratitude (most of the time). Would you consider yourself a feedback genius? Feedback is something that everyone craves, yet many people do not give enough of it. When we talk about Fierce Feedback, we define it as a conversation in which we have the opportunity to see what we may not see. And in order for people to feel engaged, they need to be learning about their discipline, their role, and most importantly, about themselves. According to a 2013 Zinger Folkman study of 22,719 leaders, leaders who ranked at the bottom 10% in their ability to give honest feedback to direct reports received engagement scores from their subordinates that averaged 25...
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Leadership Tips: “Feed” Others with Your Feedback

Recall a time in the last month that you, as leader or peer, needed to give someone feedback – positive or constructive. Did you give it? Why or why not? Consistently throughout my work week, there are at least three or four times that someone will describe a situation to me about someone else, inside or outside of work, and my response is the exact same: Did you give he or she that feedback? (And I often ask the same question while processing the situation myself.) Feedback should be given for both positive and constructive intent . If Katie impressed every single person in the room in her last client presentation, did you give her specific feedback about how great she was? And going further, the impact it has on you? Or on the flip side, if Dan was tentative and less poised in his last presentation, did you give...
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There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on the Harvard Business Review and explores the link between sleep and leadership. Being an effective leader requires a lot of skills, including an ability to be present, communicate effectively, and a strong emotional intelligence. But before we can do all that, we first have to take care of ourselves. That means getting some much needed shut eye. And many of us aren’t getting enough of it. According to the article There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep , sleep deficiencies can undermine important forms of leadership behavior and eventually hurt financial performance. What is sleep loss costing you? “Sleep deprivation impairs the ability to focus attention selectively: Research shows that after roughly 17 to 19 hours of wakefulness (say, at 11 PM or 1 AM for someone who got up at 6 AM), individual performance on a range...
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3 Don'ts for Leaders Who Want to Grow

If you watched the Grammy’s on Monday night, you probably heard Taylor Swift’s speech where she said: “I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there.” While the Kanye controversy makes that quote extra juicy, there is truth to what she is sharing for leaders. Your job as a leader is to build people up. To give others credit and not worry about the people who are wishing you ill. If you want to grow, here are three things...
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Leadership Tips: Think for Yourself, for our Country’s Sake

Today is President’s Day in the United States, which is fitting as we have the political primaries in full swing. In the six years I have worked for Fierce, I have never felt a stronger need for Fierce Conversations to happen on our congressional floor, between our representatives, with our presidential candidates, AND with ourselves. The leaders in our country need to step up. And we do too. My expectation for our country’s leaders is for them to be fierce. This means they must gain the capacity to connect with people – of all different, sometimes competing, viewpoints – on a DEEP level. They must build relationships instead of destroy them. They must bring people together, instead of pushing them apart. They must raise the best solution without making others wrong. And we must expect this of them. This week’s fierce tip is to think for yourself for our country’s...
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The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Profiles International and explores the impact emotional intelligence can have in the workplace. When people think about organizational culture they are typically referring to the group’s shared norms and values that drive everyday behavior. But that’s only half the story. An organization also thrives on a team’s emotional health. If left unchecked, it is only a matter of time before stress levels hit a critical mass. For today’s leaders, it’s incredible important to not only be aware of, but also manage an individual’s and team’s emotions. Where does your organization measure on the EQ scale? [getImage src="/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Emotional-Intelligence-Infographic-2.11.16.jpg"] Source: Profiles International

Head & Heart: Emotions Belong in the Workplace

We humans behave for emotional reasons first, then for rational reasons. It is a fact. Psychology professor, Daniel Kahneman, was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics after his studies proved this. With common phrases like “check your emotions at the door”, it is no surprise that people stray away from talking about them. The thing is – people crave sharing their emotions – establishing that deep connection. After over a decade of doing this work, Fierce has been opening the dialogue and including emotions with all different people – engineers, retailers, male, female, executives, front line. So how can you incorporate emotions in your workplace? You must ask. When someone brings you an issue, you must ask about their emotions. In our coaching model we understand the critical role emotions play in building relationships and changing behavior. In our 7-step mineral rights model, we pose the question in multiple...
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Tom Wujec - Build a Tower, Build a Team

    This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Ted.com and provides one activity that will uncover everything that is holding your team back. In theory, teamwork should bring organizations together, produce better results, and increase organizational adaptability. But in reality, most team projects start with individuals jockeying for power. And that’s where the team dynamic needs to shift. In his 2010 TedTalk: Build a Tower, Build a Team , Tom Wujec shared that we all need to stop trying to be the CEO of ‘X’ project. Can your team handle the marshmallow challenge? Read the complete transcript here.
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3 Tips to Build an All-Star Team

As we get closer to Super Bowl Sunday, there is a lot of talk about teams. Who will win? Who will have their head in the game? Just like in athletics, building a high-performing team in your organization requires effort and heart. When you are part of one, you feel it. Some people call it “being in the flow”. All-star teams do not happen by luck. To build them, they take practice, discipline, and the ability to learn from mistakes. The difference between an A team and an A+ team is the difference between a million in revenue and a billion in revenue.” – Paul English, Kayak Say Thank You The reality is that many people do not spend enough time appreciating one another. A great exercise that we have used internally at Fierce requires each individual to sit at the front of the room in a chair for two...
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Lessons of Leadership from Fast Company's Innovation Festival

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Fast Company and shares the insights of today’s top entrepreneurs and innovators. Good leaders are contagious. They enable us to forge our own paths, but are also there to coach us when we stumble. They inspire us to dream big and act on the possible. They also have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. A recent study by a Fortune 500 bank revealed that great leadership is proven to double an organization’s bottom line. But what separates the extraordinary leaders from the rest? “Look at the things that everyone else believes to be a bad idea. If you’re chasing something that everybody else believes to be a good idea, there are probably a hell of a lot of other people chasing that same thing.” Read the article

3 Mindset Shifts for Millennial Leaders in 2016

Millennials have recently become the largest generation in the workforce . Because of it, we are seeing a shift that signals more workplace adjustments are on the horizon. The mindsets, expectations, and values of the workforce are changing. And when our external worlds change, we must too. Here are three shifts in mindset that all leaders today should take into consideration. And if you are a new millennial leader, use these to set a fierce foundation for the years to come. Shift #1 “Your job is to be right” to “ Your job is to get it right” As a leader, this is a huge mindset shift with how you show up…every single day and in every conversation. If you go into conversations (whether one-on-ones or meetings) to justify and build the case for your “brilliant” ideas, then it won’t take long for others to pick up on the fact...
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Leadership Tips: Find Your Inner Entrepreneur, Live with the Possible

Have you recently cracked open Seth Godin’s book, What to Do When It is Your Turn [and it’s always your turn ]? It’s one of my favorite coffee table books. And on top of that, when our Fierce marketing team read it, we all had so many takeaways – personally and professionally. This is one of my favorite segments: The safest dreams we experience are dreams with no hope of coming true. The dreams of superpowers, omnipotence, of immortality. The teenager who dreams of stardom but never puts in the work isn’t dreaming, he’s hiding. Superman is a safe bet, because none of us will ever have to become the Man of Steel or fly off a building. Concrete dreams, on the other hand, are based on effort and a keen sense of what is possible. Concrete dreams juxtapose the what if with the maybe , they expose us to...
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Scott Dinsmore - How to Find Work You Love

    This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on ted.com and identifies the one question everyone needs to answer in their lifetime. When was the last time you woke up really excited to go to work? Was it yesterday? A month ago? Last year? We all have a right to be passionate about the work we are doing. After all, the average American will spend over 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. It’s time to stop making excuses and start thinking differently. In his 2011 TedTalk: How to find work you love , Scott Dinsmore shared that we can’t hope to inspire others if we aren’t inspired ourselves. And we can’t get inspired unless we know what we are looking for in our lives. So, I leave you with this last question. What is the work you can’t live without? Read the complete transcript here.
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Let’s Get Flexible: 1 Tip to Create What You Want at Work

It is the end of the era of pushing the “one size fits all” experience in the workplace. Employees expect a degree of flexibility and customization, whether that entails setting their own hours, working remotely, job sharing, or some other out of the box solution. While Boomers may be stereotyped to think this is an “entitled” approach to work, Boomers want the flexibility too. Hey, who could blame them? Blending life and work is more attainable than ever. And, change is hard. At Fierce, I talk with HR leaders who are working every day to give their employees what they want and need, while still upholding their organization’s responsibilities and goals. It is not an easy task. Yet, they must evolve their thinking to solve pressing work-life issues for their best and brightest. For example, take employees who seek to work fewer hours, whether for personal leave reasons or just...
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