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The Guide – Leaders in the Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 22, 2016 in Building Confidence, Executive Coaching

PRESENCEForest

Successful leaders have a certain “Je ne sais quoi” – an air of authority, trust, confidence and knowledge that inspires others to follow them and move towards the goals they have set. Jungle guides are the most valuable members of the excursion party. Without them, the group may become hopelessly lost, run out of food, or become food themselves. If the guide effectively projects their knowledge and authority, the group will follow the guide safely through the jungle.

As someone moving up the ranks towards leadership, it’s imperative to create your leadership presence early on. In order to be the one that’s tapped to take on new leadership assignments you need to assume the presence of a leader before you can actually be one.

Consider what you say, how you say it and how you look saying it.

WHAT YOU SAY

Leaders phrase things positively. They move as quickly and efficiently as they can through a process to a successful conclusion. Listen to great leaders who choose their words wisely and adjust your delivery to mimic theirs. Researching great speeches of the past is a good place to start to learn to frame your comments positively. Rarely do great leaders talk about all the problems they have had and what they are trying to avoid, they only speak about where they are going and how they are going to get there. Avoid negativity and find the positive in every situation first and only talk about the positive which will eliminate any appearance of negativity.

HOW YOU SAY IT

Contrarians are never the leader – they are the outliers. There are many times you may not agree with something, or have a differing opinion, which is how creativity and growth are often generated. But how you deliver the message is the difference between someone who is considered a leader and someone who is branded as not supportive of the company’s goals. The best way to offer a new idea that may not be in alignment with others’ thinking is to present it as a “brainstorm” by starting off the introduction with something like, “I don’t know if we’ve ever looked at it this way, but what about the possibility of…”, or “These are really important and great ideas, can we brainstorm for a moment here?”. Avoid blurting your disagreement directly out for risk of alienating others in the room. Remember, it is possible that your ideas have been explored in the past and were overlooked or avoided for some reason you are not aware of.

Don’t take it personally if others don’t like your ideas every time. Remember, it takes a village, so do your best to contribute AND collaborate when it’s time for you to support someone else’s ideas that are being adopted.

HOW YOU LOOK SAYING IT

Even if its casual day, a put together look is key. No matter how crazy their morning was, leaders never come in and talk about chaos in their lives, they just manage it. If others view you as unable to manage yourself to be where you need to be and looking ready, you won’t be the one they choose to be a leader. Always putting your best self forward will ensure others view you as a leader at all times. Leaders don’t make excuses, either. They take responsibility for what they do, where they are and their outcomes. They embody this by making it to meetings and appointments on time, dressed appropriately and being organized and ready for the meeting or conversation. Traffic doesn’t keep them from being on time. Their kids don’t prevent them from getting somewhere they need to be when they need to be there. They get it done, consistently and build confidence in others by being reliable and dependable.

Wondering if you are on the right track?  Look at people in the hallway – are they making eye contact with you?  Are they saying hello?  Do the big bosses know you by name?  Take the lead and greet others as they pass you in the hall; introduce yourself in the elevator to someone you know that may not know your name. Leaders are natural connectors, too – introduce others you are with to the people you are meeting to take the lead and position yourself as a leader.

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The Trees – Mission Statements For The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 9, 2012 in Job Search

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The best and brightest greenery is sparse in your part of the jungle. What happened to all of the lush, tropical life that made your spot the best around? According to Erika Anderson, a blogger on Forbes, often the main reason that top talent leaves a company has a lot to do with the organization itself. If it is badly managed, confusing, or uninspiring, who would stay?

What can a company do to keep the best and the brightest resources, talent in which they have invested so much, from leaving? How about going back to the basics and taking a look at the mission statement? How long has it been since you have looked at that thing? Days? Months? Years? Does your company have one? Is it on your website? Do the employees know what it says? Most importantly: does the company follow it and believe in it?

DrDemartini.com describes the mission statement as the vision and inspiration of a company. If it is weak or unclear, it is likely the company’s goals are equally unsustainable. A mission statement should be an exact understanding of what the company and the leadership is committed to and the values of the business. Like the best trees in the jungle, it needs to be broad enough to grow tall, and strong enough to hold itself up to provide an excellent shelter for the wildlife that would flock to its limbs.

Who likes ice cream? Who likes Ben & Jerry’s? Who likes Ben & Jerry’s mission statement? Ben & Jerry’s current mission statement actually has 3 parts. To really pin the tail on the cow, they have defined their mission to encompass social, product, and economic missions. Since 1988, these three one-sentence mission statements have guided Ben & Jerry’s. Their social mission focuses on improving quality of life through their business. The product mission describes Ben & Jerry’s commitment to all natural ingredients and respect for the environment. The economic mission states that the company is working towards profit and growth.

Ben & Jerry’s may not be the only company to have this style of statement, but it is very well liked by its employees. Ben & Jerry’s supports their mission by ensuring that they are working to reduce their waste and impact on the environment, and supporting suppliers that also share their ideals. Cost of living factors in to every employee’s wage and the community is supported through service projects and foundations. Every aspect of the company’s efforts is directly tied to the mission as a fundamental source. A reportedly rich and thriving corporate culture is thanks to Ben & Jerry’s commitment and their follow through with their clearly stated mission.

To retain the blooming and talented trees that make up the company and fuel its passion, they must be watered with a mission they agree with and trust. If you are on the hunt for the best spot in the forest, compare mission statements and research the corporate culture to ensure you are entering a good fit.

 By Lindsay Sellner and Carolyn Thompson

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The Wildfire – Rebuilding After the Blaze

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 21, 2009 in Thinking Positive

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The economy lately has been a little like the California wildfires that recently littered the news; hot and cold areas, hopping from hill to hill, changing directions without warning, rapidly igniting then ultimately extinguishing, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake, yet opening up opportunities for re-growth and rebuilding.

Last week I had the occasion to interview a fantastic candidate; Carl Adams.  Carl was recently the Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer with a large publicly traded local company and is now looking for a new position.  A CPA who led a staff of over 40 professionals, we got to talking about best practices of hiring, and I thought about how similar hiring after a downturn in the economy was to rebuilding the jungle or a forest after a fire.

Plant strategically- when rebuilding a forest, or a team, you need to think about the growth path and what the landscape will look like down the road, as people grow and evolve in their jobs.  Don’t choose a large group of similarly experienced people without a clear growth path for the future laid out.  You’ll end up losing them when you can’t promote them all at once. 

Instead, compliment your own strengths and weaknesses to build a team that will grow together, complement each other in their skills, creating a harmonious group with differing levels of expertise and experience.

It may still look barren now, but the strongest seeds have survived and will sprout into amazingly resilient plants. None of the variety and color has been lost in the heat of the flames. Don’t pass up opportunities to hire candidates who will strengthen your team and your company. A good candidate will require a little room to grow and show what they are made of and fill up the gaps.

Follow one simple rule that is a surefire strategy for success when evaluating people – Ask yourself: does this person have 75-80% of what I’m looking for?  If the answer is yes, then the remaining 20-25% is their growth path that they need to see in order to remain engaged long term. This one idea will ensure every person you hire has a growth path and will ultimately result in longer-term employees and less turnover. 

Back to Carl Adams…if you’re interested in seeing a copy of his resume, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Check out my webinar on Goal Setting! http://www.carolynthompson.net/settinggoalsforsuccesswebinar.htm

Carolyn Thompson

Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on Amazon.com!
and TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB…available on Amazon.com!  

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