A Wise Man

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”

—  Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee
More than just a pretty face

 

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The Richest Man In Asia Wants You To Know This

 In summary: relationships are important, learning is important, have a plan, be disciplined, learn to sell. Worth the (short) read:

5 Things the Richest Man in Asia Wants You to Know

Fixing Bad Bosses

Sorry for the title. You can’t actually fix bad bosses. It’s hard enough to fix oneself. It an order of magnitude harder to change the behaviour of others. But trying to fix a person in a position of authority who doesn’t want to improve? Fuggetaboutit.

Fixing Bad Bosses

Good news from Dan McCarthy however: we can still learn from those horrible bosses and get better ourselves.

More “Must Read” Leadership Books

My list of leadership books I recommend is actually less than a dozen. But even that’s too much to throw at somebody all at once. So I’ve parceled them out four at a time. My first set of recommendations  are here: Four “Must Read” Leadership Books.

My hope is that you’ll find something in these books that is simple, actionable, and reasonable. Trying to make a whole bunch of changes at once, whether it’s in our personal lives or in an organization we lead, usually doesn’t work out very well. Our plans collapse under their own weight.T

There is momentum, progress, and sense of accomplishment – even joy – in building up supporting competencies. It’s like compound interest: the more you have the more you get. My suggestion would be to pick one this to get good at and get really good at it. Then pick the next thing and work on that. This approach will give the best chance of success.

And here are some books that will give you ideas for being a better leader:

You don’t have to be a surgeon or a pilot to benefit from thinking about how to get things right in pressure or critical situations. Or even routine operations. An easy read, well written, though provoking.

Bernie works with small, medium (and sometimes) large companies, start-ups, and volunteer organizations to help them set a vision that is executable, effective, and to surround themselves with people who will help them succeed. I believe the workplace is a place to thrive, not just survive. Call me if you want help transforming your business.

“Outliers: The Story of Success”, Or How Be Steve Jobs

Be smart, be lucky, work hard.

Pick two? No, have all three. Excel at one. That’s the “secret” of success.

What makes a fantastically successful, world-changing game-changer like Steve Jobs* (or pick your own extraordinarily successful figure from history or current events.) According to Malcolm Gladwell, those extraordinary people in business, sports, and history are products of circumstance, intelligence, and drive. In other words if not Steve Jobs, then somebody very much like Steve Jobs would have appeared on the world stage and had just as much influence in the technology / business / design realm.

What’s not amazing is that Steve had such an influence on the world. What’s amazing is that lacking the opportunity and culture, so much of the human capital in the world lies untapped. The real question should be, why aren’t there more successful people?

In his engaging style, Malcolm takes us through a series of stories that illustrate how opportunity and hard-work combined allow “outliers”, those who have an exceptional impact in their chosen profession outside the experience of most mortals, to spring into being. He begins by pointing out how most National Hockey League players are born in January, and explaining why this is significant. (At age 10, eleven months of growth is significant, and promising players get more attention, which sets them up for more success and more attention. More than their peers in the same cadre.)

The biggest surprise for me in reading this book is how little intelligence plays a role in success. More precisely, how there is no direct correlation between IQ and success. Yes, you have to be smart, but beyond a certain point being smarter does not make you more successful. Hard work, focused practice of your chosen craft, and the luck or opportunity to use those skills have a greater influence.

This is good news for those of us who do work hard, learn, and apply that learning every day. Now I just have to get lucky. Excuse me while I go review my contact list for relationships that I’ve taken for granted.

If you want to buy this book from Amazon click this link

Best Leadership Blogs and Podcasts

One of my clients needed help with their selling process.  I’m all about process, and I’m a fair hand at writing bids and proposals, but I had no idea about face-to-face selling in the real world. I found a good podcast and just started listening. It helped me get up to speed quickly, or at least helped me sound like I knew what I was talking about.

Good blogs and podcasts are a great way to keep sharpening your leadership and business sword. Learn, find solutions for common problems, or come up to speed on new knowledge quickly.

If there are any that you think I’ve missed I’d be happy to hear about them. I’m always on the lookout for inspired thinking.

Here are my favourites that I listen to or read regularly and why.

Podcasts:

When you don’t have time to sit and read, podcasts are a great way to listen and learn while riding the bus, driving the car, or mowing the lawn.

Manager Tools

If you can only subscribe to one of these recommendations, this is it. My first management podcast subscription and still my favourite. Learn how to delegate, coach, give feedback, and manage your team more effectively using one-on-ones this is the podcast for you. Hands down the best blog/podcast in existence today.

Advanced Selling Podcast

“Helping businesses grow their businesses with modern strategies and philosophies” and helping me make me sound like I knew what I was talking about. Plus they’re funny. I knew this was a good series when they talked about how it’s important to let a prospect know up front that it’s OK for them to say “No.”

HBR Ideacast

Like the Harvard Business Review but can’t afford the subscription or re-prints? Listen to their free podcast instead.

Blogs:

Results.com Growth Tips

Results.com has a subscription service for our clients which provides them with weekly tips on running their business written by a variety of business execution specialists and practise managers. It’s for the open-minded, ambitious business owners that we work with.

John Spence Achieving Business Excellence

Long time author, consultant, and lecturer John Spence share the fruits of his prolific reading and travelling knowledge distilled into straight-forward, usable posts. He knows which questions to ask, and he usually knows the answers too.

Heath Brothers

Want to learn how to write and speak in a concrete, visual, and emotional ways that moves people to action and makes your message memorable? Or what to focus on when driving change in an organizations? The authors of modern classics  “Made to Stick” and “Switch – How to Change When Change Is Hard” share what they’ve learned.

General Interest:

TED Talks

The Technology Entertainment and Design Talks now ubiquitous among the Internet intelligentsia. These video podcasts cover a wide-range of topics such as how social network predict epidemics or how to re-program fruit-fly brains. Inspiring and beautiful.

Grammar Girl

Write better English, sound smarter. Not bad for anybody who writes or speaks and wants to do so intelligently.

Bernie works with small, medium (and sometimes) large companies, start-ups, and volunteer organizations to help them set a vision that is executable, to be effective, and to surround themselves with people who will help them succeed. I believe the workplace is a place to thrive, not just survive. Call me if you want help transforming your business. 

Simple Things To Learn To Be a Better Boss

Are you a good boss? Do you enjoy what you do? Would you do it if you didn’t have to work for money? Do leap out of bed in the morning?

Do your values, believes, and ideals line up with the values of the company and people you’re working for and with? Do you know what to expect from the people you work with when tough decisions are being made?

Are you good at what you do? Do you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to be the best? Have you learned how to pick the right people, including the ones that fill in your blind spots? Have you learned how to deal with conflict, and encourage creativity, because if two people in a meeting agree, then one of them is unnecessary.

Do you know the basics – have you learned how to give feedback, run meetings, communicate effectively, and inspire other people. Do you make good decisions? Do you know how to coach, delegate, and hold yourself others accountable? Can you build life-long relationships, deliver, and measure your results? Do you keep learning?

If not, why not? What’s the one thing that you need to work on next to make yourself a better boss in the next year?

Have a great Christmas and enjoy the return of the sun. The next couple of weeks of the blog will be repeats of greatest hits and popular blogs from the last year. See you in the new year.

TED Talks You Should Watch

The Technology, Engineering, and Design conference videos you should watch, because, well, just watch them and you’ll understand. In this top ten list: the science of intrinsic motivation, a neuro-scientist who survived a stroke holding up an intact brain and spinal column, and statistics that actually inform.

What could be cooler? OK, maybe it’s just me.

What Life-Long Learning Looks Like

If successful business leaders and top executives are life-long learners, then what does that look like? Here’s how to read your way to the top.

Your Personal Board of Directors

There’s a current article that tells you to forget mentors, and instead employ a personal board of directors.

It’s good advice, but mentors still have their place.

What the HBR article describes is a high-octane version of networking. Which is great. Having a network of experienced and knowledgeable relationships invested in your success is a good thing, and something every successful project manager or executive will intentionally cultivate.

The reality is that mentors are hard to find. In this increasingly connected world, the time needed to develop and maintain personal relationships seems to slipping away from us. We’re so afraid of missing out something, somewhere, that we try to do everything. That just leaves us dazed and exhausted.

Yet the value of one-on-one mentor-ship is enormous. For both the mentor and the protégé. Try is some time and see what happens. If you’re the protégé it’s like having a career champion. If you’re the mentor you’ve established a valuable, life-long relationship. Talented people will be striving to work with you because you develop your people. It’s win/win.

So keep an eye out, either for that experienced, knowledgeable, and caring mentor to take you under her wing, or for that bright, energetic rising star that can really contribute to your success in the long run.

Mentoring is dead, long live mentoring!