Posts Tagged ‘Leadership Development’

What Does Kari Bale’s Body Language Tell You?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I was just on the radio to share perceptions of Kari Bale’s reaction to the news that her husband potentially shot innocent citizens and children in Afghanistan and then turned himself in.

So what did the interview with Matt Lauer tell us?

There are four body language signs that Kari used:

1. Shaking her head back and forth when answering questions.

2. Looking up to her left when answering whether she believed he had done this.

3. Rubbing her right finger over her left hand while in her lap.

4. Smiling.

Now what do all of these signs mean and what do they tell us about what she was saying?

Kari’s shaking of her head while she talked showed her distrust feelings about what she heard and how she couldn’t reconcile it with the man she knew.  Literally her brain was saying “no, no, no, he couldn’t have done this.”

Her looking up to the left was her brain’s attempt to pull the factual logical information she knew about her husband and link it with this new information she was hearing.  It is why you keep hearing her say, “I need the facts.”

Her rubbing of her hand was a way of comforting herself during a tough time and her smile was her brain trying to hold on to life as she knows it.  Remember her reality is the life she and her husband had when he was last home.

It was interesting to me that people were wondering if her shaking of her head meant she wasn’t telling the truth and they thought this was supported by her smiling.  The reality though is the shaking of her head was disbelief in what she heard or inability to reconcile it with life as she knows it and the smiling is the brains attempt to put on a brave face.

I share this with you because when you are in a meeting you will have to match the words and body language to find the truth in the message.  Sometimes a person will tell you what they think you want to hear and other times they really truly don’t believe what they are hearing.

So when you see body language that you can’t figure out, stay in curiosity and ask questions so you can find the real source of the meaning that is hidden underneath.

Get a Body Language Report, click here

Leadership Development – How To Get More Power & Control

Monday, February 20th, 2012

If you grab a handful of sand and squeeze you quickly find it slips right through your fingers until you have no more sand.  It is only by using an open palm and a scooping action that you can gather the most sand and hold on to it.

Power is exactly the same.  The tighter your squeeze and control on your employees the more power you will lose.  The sad thing is, not only do you keep your group trapped, but you also end up being the bottleneck to success for your team.  Literally they can only do as much as you can approve or interact with- so a team of 100 can really become a team of one. (If you haven’t read the book, The Goal, I highly recommend it as it will explain the bottleneck idea very clearly.)

In order to get more power you really have to give power.  You give power by building trust with others on what they need to do and why they need to do it and then you leave them to handle the how to do it.  Now I subscribe to the belief that you give trust and verify.  This means that you give trust to your employees and you remain firm on the outcome agreed to while assisting them with removing obstacles that can stop them from achieving the outcome.

Too many leaders give trust and then sit back in their office in fear or frustration that the person will not be able to execute successfully.  I don’t believe in giving trust that way because it just leaves both parties miserable.  They intuitively feel you aren’t 100% behind them so they end up second guessing every decision they make and you end up in your office chewing up a roll of Tums as you see the deadline looming and no results coming.

So how do you give trust but verify?

  1. State clearly to the person the outcome you are looking for, why it is important and what needs to happen.
  2. Make sure they clearly grasp what is at stake and the “why” behind the project.  The “why” is what will motivate them and will help them make strategic decisions when they have to make tough choices.  Once they know the “why” they can look at each decision through the lens of “will this help us accomplish this project or will it cause a problem?”
  3. Talk openly about the obstacles, barriers, or fears you have with project.  This is the part I see most leaders NOT doing.  They hint around it but don’t come out directly and talk about it.  That is like putting toxins in the air.  Get them out in the open up front.
  4. Talk candidly together about how to overcome the barriers or obstacles or how to handle the fears.  For example, I would rather have a leader say, “this is a high profile project that I will be constantly stopped and asked about at meetings.  My fear is that you will tend to give me light answers like, ‘things are on track’ when what I really need are specifics so I can talk intelligently about it in meetings.  I know in the past that has felt like I am micro-managing you and that is not my intent.  So how will we both get past that?”

Once you have candidly laid out the plan with each other, make sure you include discussion on “how you will stay in contact on the project.”  There should be no surprises with trust but verify as the person should know exactly what your concerns are and what the consequences are if the outcome isn’t met.

As a leader you now become the support network to help your team overcome obstacles, create solutions and leap to success.  You will find you will gain power as others respect your team more and you gain more time back to do what you really should be doing as a leader- making strategic decisions that drive results.

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421

The Shocking Truth About Multitasking – Leadership Development

Friday, February 17th, 2012

I must admit that I am a multitasker.  If I am watching television, I am also playing solitaire on my iPad.  If I am writing, I am also listening to music. Just working on one thing at a time is hard for me so it puzzled me as to why I could get all I need to accomplish done 8 AM to 5 PM.

Leaders started asking me to train them on how to do more with less.  That is the focus of today’s blog.  I want you to be able to be outside, out with your family or being able to pursue other passions.

I found some interesting information about your brain from John Medina, author of Brain Rules.   He found that every time you switch between tasks you lose at least 0.7 seconds.  Now that doesn’t sound like much but what is behind it is really significant.  See Medina found that along with the time loss your likelihood of errors goes up by 50 percent!

This is one of the reasons I find some leaders are productive and others work a ton of hours trying to be productive.  Productivity doesn’t come from multitasking-  It comes from knowing when NOT to multitask.

Here are some times to NOT multitask, why and what you can do instead so you increase your productivity and DECREASE the time you spend in the office.

Don’t multitask:

  1. In Meetings.  Your focus needs to be on hearing the facts so you can make informed decisions.  If you find meetings aren’t productive, restructure them so each person shares what the outcome of the meeting is and why you are relevant to and the discussion. If they can’t define that, don’t go to the meeting.  I can’t tell you how many leaders have found they are in the wrong meeting, or they are the wrong person at the meeting or that the person running the meeting has no clue as to what is the outcome they need from the meeting.
  2. When doing emails.  I recently got called by an executive that wanted to know how to “fix” a bad email she sent.  She had been multitasking between a phone call and the email when she typed up the email and hit send.  Well it had some critical information in it that was not suppose to be sent to all but she had automatically hit “reply to all.”  Now she was trying to do the reverse dance which is never pretty.
  3. Employee one-on-ones.  This is their time to be in front of you with full attention on them.  If you have a person who doesn’t handle their time well, educate them on how to have an effective meeting with you.  Show them how to prioritize what they come to you with and what things they should run with and not involve you in.  To start this process, at the end of each meeting for the next two months, share what worked and what can be improved so you are more helpful for them in accomplishing their goals.
  4. In a negotiation.  I know this one sounds obvious yet you wouldn’t believe how many times I see people looking at email, the internet or notes while they are negotiating.  This is one time you need your brain 100% on the other person, not you.  I recommend you always stand when negotiating on the phone so you eliminate the desire and temptation of focusing on anything but that call.

ONE HOT TIP– block off time each week that is your time for strategically working on key projects.  You will find you accomplish much more when you close your door and know you have complete focus.  I have had executives that prior to coaching with us, took their blackberries and laptops on all trips because they were constantly needed.  After going through coaching and learning “focused strategic attention” they are able to let go.  One executive just went on a three week vacation and never called in, checked voice mail or emails the entire time.  He said, “I have never been so energized coming back to work. It was amazing all my team accomplished as well!”

Multitasking for low brain activities isn’t bad.  When you are watching TV go ahead and play solitaire, but when you are working on high intense discussions, projects or plans block the appropriate time off for you to fully concentrate on the topic at hand.

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421

How to Guarantee Your Job… Or Practically!

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Is there really a sure fire way to protect your job?  Well as we have all seen with this economy the blunt answer is no.  However, there is a way you can ensure the greatest success for you and it is more in your control than you think.

So how can you ensure your success?

Well, a recent study of over 2000 employees and 800 managers across four generational categories – Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Matures show that the key to success lies in your outlook. Not the Microsoft kind of Outlook but rather your own personal outlook and attitude.

Eight out of 10 employees attribute their ability to stay motivated and focused is due to their positive attitude.  They found that their ability to stay focused and positive has allowed them to find new avenues of growth in their company.

Today companies are placing a higher emphasis on communication and accountability.  So here are some ways you can shift your outlook or further develop your positive attitude to make you a more valuable asset at work.

  1. Look for additional responsibilities you can take on.  There is an enormous difference in how you are seen as a team player when you seek out new responsibilities versus when you accept new responsibilities asked of you. The latter is passive while the former is strategic.  You want to be seen as strategic.
  2. Look for collaborative opportunities.  It is becoming more and more important to be innovative and collaborative.  Look for ways you can stretch and intertwine two or more teams together on a project.
  3. Work to put yourself out of a job.  I know that one seems ridiculous but I will tell you in 20 years of working with top level executives I have found that the people who are continually systematizing their job, shortening processes and making their position “irrelevant” are exactly the people who become relevant to the organization.  They see you as efficient, effective and completely relevant.


Look around and see what you can do to improve even one small process or to even eliminate it in the next 30 days.  Once you have accomplished that, pick another one.  Each time you become more efficient share what you did, how you did it and what the impact has been.  People will notice.

PS:  Join us for our next no-cost Impression Management webinar, The Key Ingredient To Executive Presence – The Secret Sauce That No one Tells You About!

3 Little Known Factors That Can Affect Your Advancement

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I was amazed when I got Jennifer’s email.  Jennifer, a high level senior director in a company , was looking to be promoted.  I was coaching her on what she needed to do in order to demonstrate leadership at the next level.

She had  a few glaring issues that she didn’t even see as important.

I am going to share them with you now so you don’t make the same mistakes.

1. You are always on.  Jennifer thought that emails were suppose to be written fast and demonstrate your ability to quickly resolve issues.  So Jennifer typed in all lower case letters-even the word “I” was done as “i”.  As a leader you are always on so make sure your emails, memos, and presentation of your thoughts is consistent all the time.

2.  Ask more than tell.  Great leaders ask great questions.  They are always probing to get the right information in the right way so they can make well informed decisions.  Watch in a week how much you tell others what to do and how much you draw out the knowledge in others.  You don’t have to have the most knowledge to be the best leader but you do have to know how to access knowledge when you need it.

3.  Balance counts.  A really good leader who is ready to be promoted to the next level is rarely the last one there with their light on.  Each time you are the last one there you are telling the top executives that you are at that threshold of what you can handle.  The top executives we work with find that they are able to reduce their work time by over 25% WHILE INCREASING how much they are able to get done.  Be more efficient by blocking off time to think ahead of projects instead of just being reactive to events.

In order to move ahead you have to look, not at your performance to date, but to how your performance aligns with the next level up.  Operate at that strategic level today and when the next opening comes up you will naturally come to mind.

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421