Blog

Blog Grid

5 Learning Stages To Create Successful Leaders

5 Learning Stages To Create Successful Leaders

 

Learning is a journey.

Every new skill, concept and idea needs to be considered and then take root. Even if when we accept the idea of the skill, we are still not competent. Competence comes with repeated correct practice, or trial and error, learning from each new experience. As a Learning and Development leader in your organization, you want to help new and developing leaders avoid trial and error. You want to provide the correct tools and information to guide them past the mistakes and make the right competent decisions in the many unique situations they will be tested against. With that goal in mind, let’s look at five learning stages for developing competence and replacing a skill.

Stage 1: Learning A New Skill
Stage 2: Learning A New Skill More Deeply
Stage 3: Applying A Newly Learned Skill
Stage 4: Adapting A Newly Learned Skill To Unique Situations
Stage 5: Replacing Old Comfortable Skills With A New One

Stage 1 - Learning A New Skill

This stage is the introduction of a skill. The skill could be how to conduct a performance review or how to use a “Yes and…” circle. The new skill will feel foreign and uncomfortable. New skills are mostly taught in a development session or classroom. We use “Narrative Immersion” to help ideas sink in faster and with more impact. You may use more traditional methods. The path is the same; skills are introduced and learned at a surface level. It’s like learning the scales on the piano, it’s not music, but technically you’re playing the instrument.

Stage 2 - Learning A Skill More Deeply

Here is where competence starts to develop. Think of tennis, Stage 1, you are introduced to the racquet, the ball, the court and the net. Stage 2, you would be shown the rules, how to swing the racquet, how to deliver a serve. You might even practice a little rally with your coach, to get a feel for how the ball hits the racquet.

Back to our performance review example, we might learn about “Sandwiching Criticism”, using “Feel, Felt, Found” or “WYSIITMB” as more in-depth tools than just the performance form we need to fill out after meeting with a team member. In the development session, we might even role play with each other to get a feel for how the performance conversation might go. All of this is not actual application, and yet some competence is starting to build.

Stage 3 - Applying A Newly Learned Skill.

This is where the new skill feels most uncomfortable.

This is the first or second time the new skill has been used without a safety net. It feels foreign, we might report back that using the new skill felt robotic and insincere. We are at a critical point in the development of the skill. It would be easy to move to old habits and old ways of doing things. The new skill feels less effective because we still have low competence, and as a result, we might abandon it.

You can avoid this by providing support right when your leaders need it. Create “Brain Trust” mentoring circles so that peers can reinforce and support each other in the new skill. Use timely coaching to help them prepare for stage 4 and get more comfortable applying the new skill regularly. The team will only become competent with practice and review. Explain the uncomfortable feelings are expect during stage 1 and stage 2 so that it’s not a surprise in stage 3. Just like a tennis pro trying a small change in their swing, it feels uncomfortable until enough repetition creates muscle memory, and it becomes natural.

Stage 4: Adapting A Newly Learned Skill to Unique Situations

Life and work don’t as always play out as expected. We may run into unique situations that become learning opportunities. As a result, we need to apply our new skills to new situations where it does not fit comfortably. Round peg into a square hole!

As practice, coaching and peer mentorship take hold, and the new skill begins to feel more natural, we apply it to new situations and create new solutions. This is a sign of stronger competence, as we can start to diagnose a situation and use the new skill to solve the problem.

Stage 5 - Stage 5: Replacing Old Comfortable Skills With A New One

This is when true competence takes hold, the old skills no longer seems the right choice. The new skill has become the best tool and replaces old patterns.

It is an ongoing learning challenge to replace old entrenched skills with new ways of tackling a problem. Traditional learning environments are not equipped to handle the final three stages needed to have a skill adopted and impact the organization. Tools like “Brain Trust” peer mentoring, coaching, “Practice-Review” sessions and situational aids are all needed to ensure stage 3 to stage 5 occur, or you’ll miss the chance to create stronger, more capable leaders. Support after the learning is critical and must be part of the journey for your team.

If you’re looking for help developing an entire development journey through all stages, talk to us at Learn2, we’re changing the way the world works by changing the way the world learns.

Understanding your natural approach starts with an assessment. Want to learn your natural approach? Take the assessment, and we’ll continue down this journey together.

Evolving Leadership Development with Natural Abilities

Evolving Leadership Development with Natural Abilities

You want to evolve yourself actively - dare I say intentionally.
You have some sense of what you want out of life and what gets in the way of you having what you want.

What if you could see yourself and your natural strengths?
What if, by seeing your natural strengths and abilities, you could leverage them more effectively?
And what if by understanding your natural strengths, you could also see your blind spots?

Let me introduce you to the Natural Approach.

Your natural strengths allow you to perform effectively - even beyond what others can do. Some of us can organize the hell out of a closet in record time, while others can engage friends and co-workers to get up and achieve something monumental together. Both are valuable. And both tap into the power of human potential.

What if our parents, teachers, sports, hobbies, jobs and partners all cause us to develop individual abilities that become natural for us more than others(Natural Abilities). In some respects, our circumstances empower some natural abilities more than others.

Consider a child growing up on a farm with horses and their natural abilities. Then consider a child of a single working mom in a city. Each would have very different natural abilities.

The reality is that we likely have over-developed and under-developed natural abilities. Meaning that some of our natural approaches are so deeply ingrained we’ll overuse our natural ability. Consider the person with an only hammer for a tool. The whole world starts to look like a nail. Typically screws work more effectively with a screwdriver than a hammer - personal experience on that one. If we don’t have a screwdriver to work with, we still use the hammer, even if we know it is not effective. Developing more tools allows for more effective solutions. Knowing more natural approaches provides for more effective communication and solutions.

Your natural abilities are a massive source of performance and achievement in your life. What if you could actively evolve your natural abilities to create more value?

So if this is true, then we also have natural abilities that are less developed. Those under-developed abilities could be the source of great effectiveness when you decide to develop them.

This is what our Natural Series programs help you and your team achieve.

Generation Z was surveyed and reported that 42% of them interact with their phones more than people. 37% percent of Gen Zs have gone as far as admitting that technology has weakened their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop people skills, according to insights in Gen Z @ Work.

Generation Z

If we look at natural abilities, we might conclude that social and communication skills might be less than desired. Developing an internal program for your team to foster social and communication skills based on the natural approach of themselves and others could have a lasting impact on the entire organization.

Understanding your natural approach starts with an assessment. Want to learn your natural approach? Take the assessment, and we’ll continue down this journey together.

5 Great Questions Great Leader Asks Their Team

5 Great Questions Great Leader Asks Their Team

What makes one company more successful than another? Better products, services, strategies, or technologies? While all of these contribute to superior performance, all of them can also be copied over time. The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the people who are the company. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged significantly outperform workgroups that are not engaged. 

Where companies that enjoy a 60% to 70% employee engagement, the average total shareholder’s return stood at 24.2%; in companies with 49% to 60% of their employees engaged, TSR fell to 9.1 percent; companies with engagement below 25 percent suffered negative TSR. (Source: Employee engagement at double-digit growth companies, Hewitt Research Brief)

In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.

As leaders, we can be tempted to share our wisdom and solve things for people – too often and too quickly. When we do, we don’t allow others to grow, to develop, to come up with a brilliant idea…so pretty soon, they don’t try anymore. So rather than solve the issue for them, ask questions to get the team engaged in problem-solving. The answers become conversations about things that are important or meaningful. Conversations are more likely to turn to action. Action turns into results, and that’s the ultimate goal, engaged teams that take action and produce results.

Here are some of the questions that can help you get started.

1. What do you think?

Instead of offering our answer first, get them thinking, talking and sharing. Hold back, no matter how tempting to share your solution. And when they start talking, make sure you listen and maybe ask a probing question, like “What else?” No judgment, no qualifying, and no hi-jacking. Let them explore with your help. No one has every answer, by engaging your team to think about solutions they add to the answer pool. Your team also starts self-solving as the start to realize they often have the answer to their problems.

2. What would you do?

Asking this question encourages leadership thinking and ownership – at all levels of the company. Again, follow up with probing questions to keep listening. This question also builds confidence and contributes to the answer pool. People feel more engaged and fulfilled when they contribute and when they have an impact. Asking “What would you do?” allows them to help and have an impact on decisions. They now have skin in the game.

3. What’s the real challenge here for you?

The key here is the word “real”. When you ask about challenges, you may open the flood gates. Help them focus on the real problem so that they can begin to find their way out. Focus on the correct challenge is the fastest way to reach a solution. Focusing on the most significant piece of a problem allows the proper resources to be gathered to solve it. Too often, we focus on the small, most comfortable part of the project. As a result, we look like we are making progress when, in reality, the biggest struggle is still to come.

4. Where are you stuck?

Sometimes we need a push…we may need to admit that we are stuck so that we open ourselves to ideas and new perspectives. Asking this question permits your team to accept they are stuck so that they can move forward. It also helps identify the “real” challenge. Being able to point to the obstacles and give it name is an incredibly powerful tool. Often just putting a name to the what’s holding a team member back is enough for them to create their own solution and quickly move past it without you solving it for them

5. How can I help?

When your employee gets stuck, they may become frustrated and disengaged. Asking, “How can I help?” gives hope that they are not alone, and can be the relief they need to move forward. Go through the other questions first; there is a reason this one is last. Recognize that if the previous questions did not produce a solution or move the team forward, they may also not know what help they need. That’s when your experience comes in most valueable. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and dig into this challenge with the team and solve it together. The result is a stronger bonded team, with high trust and respect for each other. Groups that work in this fashion have higher levels of engagement and results.

Learn2 works with leaders to help them develop and implement strategies to engage their teams to get great results. Work with one of our team members to help you achieve lasting change in your organization. Want to know more about your management style? Take our Natural Approach Assessment.

3 Ways To Identify A Disengaged Gen Z Team And What To Do About It

3 Ways To Identify A Disengaged Gen Z Team And What To Do About It

In a 2017 study by Full Potential Group found that 20 year olds(Gen Z) were the least likely to be motivated at work with a full 33% saying that Work/Life balance was a key demotivator. Since we have yet to define what work/life balance looks like from person to person, I’m going to hazard that work is demotivating and that they would prefer to living their life.  Balance has little to do with it.

What’s truly interesting is that 51 years olds(Gen X), scored the workplace as 7.7 out of 10. They found they were motivated by flexible hours, challenging work and freedom to make decisions. They might describe work as an exciting part of life, and they have the flexibility to balance the two.

We could conclude from the study that those starting their careers do not have the luxuries and freedoms of those much later in their career and, as a result, can not balance work and life to the same degree.

What does it mean for a leader looking to improve morale?

Do you give these freedoms to team members just starting on the career journey? As a leader, what can you do to improve motivation and job satisfaction?  Let’s dig a little deeper.

Let’s start with three ways to recognize when your team or individual is not engaged and not motivated.

1. Listen

You’re looking for negative language.  What words are being used to describe the product, the business, the team, the leadership?  Does the language swing to the negative side of the scale?  Listen for feelings that imply they are along for the ride. Do they feel they do not have input, and that ideas and trends just come and go? The language will reflect a lack of control and purpose.

2. Watch

Low morale is demonstrated with low engagement. You’ll notice little to no initiative.  If your team waits for you to tell it what to do, you have low morale and reduced job satisfaction.  You also notice low productivity and poor performance.  Your team will show up less often to work, and they will have more “sick” days. 

3. Measure

Performance is an excellent measurement of morale and engagement. As a leader, what gets measured improves. If you notice the team is missing targets, missing deadlines, and not meeting quality expectations, you should start looking at job satisfaction. Missing project deadlines and making more mistakes by the team or an individual implies engagement is declining.

What do you do?

We now have some easy ways to identify a potential problem. What do you do? Throw a pizza party? Give out an employee of the month award?

Start with taking the time to find out what’s important to each team member. What does balance look like for them or what career goals do they have? When work becomes part of life instead and not an interruption, it becomes easier to balance. When a team member feels they are moving towards a bigger goal, one they have control of, they stay more engaged.

Setting correct expectations is vital. We feel unhappy when our reality falls short of our expectations. If I expect $1,000,000 and I receive $100,000, I am unhappy. If I expect $10,000 and receive $100,000, I am happy. The same amount was received, and the expectation was different. Explain to your team that the current entry-level job they are in is a grind; you once had a similar position. As a leader, you are committed to helping them build the skills, experience and knowledge needed move to the next stage of their career, with the agreement they stay committed and engaged in doing their best in this position. 

When you are 20 years old, 5 years to move ahead is 25% of your current life span.  It seems like forever.  When you are 50, 5 years seems a whole lot shorter.  It took them 4 years for high school, another 4 years to become a college graduate, can you blame them for thinking they can be CEO in another 4 years.  A new expectation needs to be set.

Reward the team and individuals.

Reward your team, as both a team and as individuals, when they show engagement and initiative. That which is rewarded will be repeated. 

Public recognition is a motivating reward. A powerful way to show a person is valued is to take the time to call them out for doing a great job, holding to company values or sharing a great idea.

Use positive language.

Use positive words and be deliberate about your language. Positive language is especially crucial at the individual level. Langauge that focuses on them is best.

Find a common enemy

The last tip is to create a common enemy. It sounds counterproductive, and it’s not. A disengaged team has nothing to rally around. They don’t feel like they have a purpose or a direction. They don’t feel like they are in control, and they feel leadership is to blame for that. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If you create a new common enemy, you are now on the same side. That common enemy can be a competitor. It can even be another department if framed around healthy competition and respect. The point is to give your team common ground and goals that they have control over.

Final thoughts

Morale and engagement is a big problem in today’s workforce, especially with Generation Z and Millenials. These two generations are looking to contribute and expect levels of co-operation and inclusion that can often be at odds with the current status quo of how business has been done in the past. As mentioned earlier, happiness is the GAP between expectation and reality. Close the gap, and you’ll have an engaged and motivated team.

Google’s 5 Rules for Great Teams

Google’s 5 Rules for Great Teams

Google has 5 rules for great teams.

1. Psychological Safety

2. Dependability

3. Structure and Clarity

4. Meaning

5. Impact

Let’s take a closer look at each element.

1. Psychological Safety

Great leaders know that team members need to feel safe. Members are more likely to contribute, bring forward ideas, take a risk and be vulnerable if they feel emotionally safe.

Protect your team members when they take risks. Try to have open conversations. Praise in public. Give personal and performance feedback in private. Don’t let conflicts go unresolved.

Be a great leader that creates a psychologically safe environment and watch your team thrive.

2. Dependability

Team members and the team as a whole need to hold themselves to a high level of accountability. The team finishes on time. They can count on each other to do what they said they would when they said they would do it. They don’t chase each for answers and support.

As a leader be dependable and hold your team to the standard you keep. Discuss the importance of dependability. Create deadlines with the team. Let them decide the time frame and hold the team to it.

3. Structure and Clarity

Your team needs clear roles, plans and goals. Think of a baseball team. The coach does not pitch. The pitcher does not run into the field to catch the ball. Each member has a role and it’s clear. It adds to the effectiveness of the team.

The team needs a goal and a plan to be executed. Want lunch, you need a plan. Are you going out or bringing it in a bag? Are you going to get it or is someone else? When are you eating? Without a plan, you may or may not get lunch. You’ll also sway to other people’s plans, abandoning your own.

Your team needs to know the end goal and then work backwards on how to achieve it, creating the plan along the way.

Back to lunch.

Goal: I want to eat cobb salad at noon.

Plan: Block off lunch on my calendar. Make my salad the night before. Pack it in a carrying container. Place it in the fridge.

Success: I ate my salad at noon.

This simple example demonstrates how even a plan and goal for lunch can transform your life. You’ll eat better, save money and get what you want to eat. The same is true for your team. The team’s success is based on how well they set goals, break down the goal into an actionable plan and then correctly execute the plan.

4. Meaning

Your team becomes more effective when they feel the work they do is personally important to them. You can physically see the difference of someone who feels they are making a difference, and that they feel important to the other team members, the company and clients.

Spend time understanding your team. What goals do they have within the company? What do they need to grow in their roles? Do they have ideas that could be worked on as a side project? Set time aside for them to work on that project. Allow them to create meaning. As a leader be sure to demonstrate they matter and they are valuable to you, the team and the company.

5. Impact

Everyone needs to know that what they do matters. Showing your team the impact they have on the company, on clients, and on other teams will drive them to new levels.

Create physical representations of goals, targets, and results. Money saved, money made, client testimonials and the number of products shipped are all examples.

The more your team can see the impact they have the stronger they feel about increasing that impact.

Final Thought

Work towards developing each of these 5 rules within your team and you’ll see tremendous growth with your team, personally and professionally.

Results versus Reasons

Results versus Reasons

 

Reasons Vs Results is a conversation tool that is used when you hear excuses or reasons why something can’t be done or wasn’t done.

Wishing and hoping, reasons and excuses will never tell the truth. If you say you intend to change a behaviour, have you?

You’ve either got the results you say you want, or you have reasons to explain why not. Developing a rigorous and honest relationship with results moves you powerfully toward creating extraordinary results.

Reasons and results both take time. One is an investment in continuous momentum, and the other stalls us in our tracks.

Results vs Reasons. You choose how you show up every day.

We tend to speak to others about reasons…we want to explain why rather than saying it didn’t work and here is what I am going to do next. Reasons fill our conversations instead of what we are doing to get results. Don’t engage in conversations about reasons – these are time wasters.  Whether the reasons are coming from you or from someone else – they are focusing on blame not on moving forward.

Instead ask:

- What did we learn from that?
- What will we do differently next time?
- How can we salvage this to get the results we are looking for?

People forget they have options. And we sometimes forget that those things don’t really matter. We can’t always wait until we have all of our ducks in a row or all of the answers…sometimes we have to dive in now or even start before we are ready. Cast our vision toward the future instead of the past.

Both results and reasons take time and energy. One moves you forward, and one keeps you where you rooted where you are.

Reasons promote Lack of accountability  - this is a habit and it will be a constant road block to success. The “reason” habit needs to be replaced with simple action and follow through – leading to RESULTS.

 

The 50 Most Influential Women in Business with Blogs You’ll Love

The 50 Most Influential Women in Business with Blogs You’ll Love

Of all the lists we could make right now, this one feels the most exciting. Maybe because it’s a sign of what’s to come in the business world. Women aren’t just getting promoted to the top of big businesses, but they’re creating their own - and faster than ever before. While only 30% of all businesses around the world are led by women, female-run businesses are growing 1.5 times faster than any other new businesses, with some estimates suggesting that they are single-handedly providing over five million jobs.

That’s big news.

This list is a celebration of women who are not only succeeding in business, but who are inspiring and helping others to do the same. While they come from diverse industries and backgrounds, all of them have been chosen for one simple reason: They should be on your radar.

Whether you check into their blogs daily or weekly, keeping your finger on the pulse of what these success female business bloggers are up to is a sure way to keep going, and a fabulous reminder that progress in the business world is being made because women are making it happen - and making sure they help others on their rise to the top.

1. Marie Forleo

Yes, she rubs shoulders with Oprah - and Richard Branson. But Marie Forleo is so much more than just a big name. Her videos, published under the name Marie TV, cover everything from how to be creative in business to how to write better copy. With interviews that you want to watch again and again (like her talk with Elizabeth Gilbert or Anthony Robbins), Marie Forleo is committed to helping women succeed in business. Her tagline “The world needs that special gift that only you have,” encapsulates her passion for ensuring that the women she works with aren’t just successful, but that they’re happy and fulfilled, too. Open blog here.

2. Franchesca Ramsey

An actor, vlogger, and writer, Franchesca Ramsey has discovered the secrets for how to create a life that is fun and successful - and all while doing exactly what you love. The author of the new book Well That Escalated Quickly, Franchesca is quick-witted and hysterical, which makes her business blog one that you actually look forward to reading. And, the best part, is that you’ll learn something to! If you are working on growing or starting your business online, Franchesca is your girl. Open blog here.

3. Ali Brown

Often referred to as the “Entrepreneurial Guru for Women”, not having Ali on this list would be a big deal. A savvy business coach that is followed regularly by nearly a quarter of a million followers, Ali’s latest blogs share an overview of her Glambition podcast episodes (which you should definitely subscribe to). A big enough name to interview some of the most successful and fascinating women in business, Ali’s blog is one you should check in at regularly. Open blog here.

4. Natalie MacNeil

Not only is Natalie MacNeil one of the top coaches for female entrepreneurs, but she’s an Emmy Award winner, too. The brains behind She Takes on the World, Natalie has had a hand in helping over a million different businesses around the world succeed. Known for her ability to break everything down to actionable, easy-to-follow steps, her blog goes beyond just “typical” success tips, covering everything from “superhuman health” to “how to live in alignment.” Her blog also features posts by guests, too! Open blog here.

5. Elizabeth Gilbert

One of the best-known and beloved authors of the 21st century, Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of perennially popular (and life-changing) books, like Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic. Her work in the world of creativity is inspirational for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to find their footing and their fulfillment. In addition to her podcast, Big Magic, Elizabeth keeps up her blog fairly regularly, which is packed with “hashtaggable” takeaways. Open blog here.

6. Nathalie Doremieux

Nathalie Doremieux’s work is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs translate their vision to their online platform. A pro at building websites that are engaging and super successful, Nathalie is the co-founder of New Software Marketing, which covers everything from website design to creating online courses and membership sites. New Software Marketing’s blog is practical and helpful, especially for women looking to take their online business to the next level. Open blog here.

7. Nikki Elledge Brown

The “Communication Stylist”, Nikki Elledge Brown is well known for her work as the host of the popular podcast “Naptime Empires”. A former park ranger, Nikki is a professional writer, speaker, and the creator of the copywriting eCourse, A Course About Copy. Dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find “their real voice” behind their business, her blog is full of personality and, as you might expect, really great writing. Not only will you get to know her (she’s a military wife and mom of two) but you’ll learn a lot about great business along the way. Open blog here.

8. Ash Ambridge

The founder of The Middle Finger Project, Ash Ambridge is a savvy business woman, writer, and self proclaimed smart ass. Her project is unconventional in the business world, and that’s exactly why so many women love it. Teaching women how to be strong, independent, and unapologetically unique, The Middle Finger Project’s blog is your new best friend and guide for creating an online career you totally love. Open blog here.

9. Otegha Uwagba

A writer and brand consultant, Otegha Uwabga is also the founder of Women Who. With an impressive resume that includes time at Vice and AMV BBDO, Otegha’s Women Who is so much more than a blog, although it’s that, too. Offering a Toolkit for women in business, Women Who also delivers awesome advice and inspiration from Otegha straight to your inbox. The podcast, In Good Company, is like a blog you can listen to, which is perfect for those of us who need a shot of inspiration directly into our ears. Open blog here.

10. Sue B. Zimmerman

Also known as the “Instagram Expert,” Sue B. Zimmerman is a genius when it comes to helping business owners find their footing on Instagram through social media strategy. Working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, Sue B.’s blog is empowering and specific, offering a great balance of inspiration and actionable tips for learning how to master Instagram. Open blog here.

11. Emma Drew

Making money online is what Emma Drew is all about. But the best part is that, unlike some mentors that find themselves a little too far in left field, Emma offers practical advice that actually applies to real people. Offering tips on her blog for people looking to create a successful online business, as well as those just wanting to make a little extra money on the side, Emma’s blog also gives you access to a free 6-week money making course and other helpful worksheets and tips. Open blog here.

12. Brene Brown

One of the most influential speakers and authors today, Brene Brown’s voice helps people around the world feel braver and better. For business owners and entrepreneurs, Brene Brown has founded Brave Leaders Inc, which is helping businesses of all sizes create change through courage. Her blog, as you can imagine, is juicy, helpful, and filled with “Ah-ha!” moments. Open blog here.

13. Courtney Johnston

A professional copywriter and business expert, Courtney Johnston started The Rule Breaker’s Club in 2011 while living in Paris. A rebel at heart, Courtney offers advice on her blog about what it takes to really make it in business, no matter what type of business you’re in. She focuses on things like how to increase sales and conversions through awesome copy and step-by-step systems that break down exactly what you need for success. Open blog here.

14. Crissy Herron

Want to work from home but are afraid you won’t have the motivation to be successful and stay consistent? Crissy Herron’s Indie Biz Chicks blog is where you need to know. An entrepreneur since 2007, Crissy is a Michigan native who uses her Indie Biz Chicks platform to offer advice and inspiration to women in business for themselves, whether they are just starting out or already up and running. Open blog here.

15. Marney Reid

The founder of Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling (SOTGC), Marney Reid is passionate about helping women learn what they need in order to advance their business or professional career. The information posted on SOTGC is created by a community of women who are collaborating and supporting each other on their way to the top. Want to feel inspired as a modern business woman? Getting to know Marney and the women at SOTGC is a great place to start. Open blog here.

16. Alex Beadon

Focusing on topics like social media, selling, marketing, and mindset, Elex Beadon understands what it takes to create and follow a successful online business model. Her expertise lies in online information business models, although her blog offers plenty of information about how to leverage all online businesses in order to live a meaningful life that you really love. Open blog here.

17. Cathrin Frisemo

A guide helping women navigate life as it becomes more and more digitized, Cathrin Frisemo teaches you how to trust your instincts to not only survive, but to also thrive while leading others on the way. An entrepreneur herself, Cathrin’s blog is personal and helpful, giving you great advice while also letting you in on her life adventures, like her new book I’m a Cebra. Open blog here.

18. Tiffany Angeles

Want to learn how to stop chasing money? Tiffany Angeles is the money expert you’ve been looking for. Not only does Tiffany help people achieve their full potential, but she offers “practical wisdom” that shifts your current thoughts and beliefs, opening yourself up to more money and success. Tiffany believes that money and dreams often go hand-in-hand. Her blog is filled with great advice about money, our beliefs, and the thought patterns that hold us back. Open blog here.

19. Beate Chelette

Also known as the “Growth Architect”, Beate Chelette sold her business in a multi-million deal made with one of Bill Gates’ media companies. Since her own business success, Beate has turned her attention to other women in business, creating online courses and training programs that are geared to helping women “succeed alongside the big boys.” The creator of The Women’s Code, Beate’s blog is a vast resource of business-minded information for women wanting to succeed. Open blog here.

20. Carrie-Anne Moss

The well-known actress from the Matrix series, Carrie-Anne Moss has created an incredibly inspiring collective for women, integrating her passion for parenting, yoga, and mindful living, with her brand Annapurna Living.  A “portal for growth and nourishment”, Annapurna Living offers inspiration for women looking to create a life they “crave” and who want to use their voice to gracefully lead others. Open blog here.

21. Denise Lee Yohn

Offering “bites” of knowledge about branding success on her blog, Denise Lee Yohn is someone every business owner should be familiar with. A brand leadership expert, business keynote speaker, and best-selling author, Denise has worked internationally with some of the biggest brands in the world, speaking at corporate events for behemoths like Facebook and Lexus. Open blog here.

22. Colleen Cassel

A career consultant who specializes in leadership, Colleen Cassel is the founder of Upstream Solutions. Her work, including her blog, focuses on mindfulness and how it’s the key to becoming more successful, happier, and productive in business and in your personal life, too. Open blog here.

23. Diana Alvear

A Peabody award winning journalist, Diana Alvear is using her experience to help women learn how to amplify their authenticity in order to use their voice to generate trust and value. Guiding women away from perfection and towards realness, Diana’s audio blog, which is a new podcast she is calling Out Loud, is debuting soon. Open blog here.

24. Rita Barry

The antithesis to the “trendy” website, Rita Barry designs and develops websites for female entrepreneurs that are based in measuring and marketing. Rita’s proven success as a website designer makes her an authority in many areas online businesses are looking to create or optimize. Rita’s expertise allows her to offer women advice for creating a customer journey that works, as well as a funnel that actually converts. Open blog here.

25. Sheryl Sandberg

Since 2008 Sheryl Sandberg has functioned as Facebook’s COO. Before Facebook, Sheryl was the VP at Google. At both companies, Sheryl’s business smarts helped generate the already giants boost revenues through lucrative advertising strategies. As one of the country’s most recognized and influential female executives, Sheryl’s passion project, Lean In, offers in-depth resources for women in business around the world. Open blog here.

26. Alex Head

Although she’s an up-and-comer in the food industry, Alex Head’s blog features must-read interviews she calls “From one girl boss to another…” An entrepreneur as well, Alex owns Social Pantry, which is a London-based catering company that has five different locations. One of Alex’s unique business perspectives is that she employs ex-offenders in England with her business. Open blog here.

27. Serena Guen

Serena Guen has taken blogging to the next level, turning her inspiration into a quarterly magazine known as SUITCASE. Serena, now the founder and CEO of the multimedia company, covers travel and fashion, as well as highlighting inspiring girl bosses and trailblazers, especially in the world of style. Open blog here.

28. Emma Isaacs

The founder of Business Chicks, Emma Isaacs is the type of rule-breaking mentor women love to follow. Emma created Business Chicks as a community for women setting out to achieve brilliant things. Offering connection and support, and tons of awesome advice, the stories shared on the Business Chicks blog is only the very tip of the iceberg. Open blog here.

29. Katrina Ruth Loterzo

An Australian writer with over fifty best-selling eBooks, Katrina has build seven-figure online businesses by “following zero” of the rules. Now an online business coach and success mentor to rebel women, Katrina’s blog is updated (almost) every single day. Open blog here.

30. Renae Bluitt

The creator and editor-in-chief of In Her Shoes, Renae Bluitt is also the founder of Crush Media. Check in at In Her Shoes blog regularly for inspiration from some of the “flyest” female entrepreneurs in the world. Get to know them, and what they wear, for a healthy dose of fun and business. Open blog here.

31. Kimra Luna

As a personal branding and online business strategist, Kimra Luna’s blog on her website, Freedom Hackers, is exactly what you would expect it to be: fun, exciting, and super memorable (oh, and cool, too). Teaching entrepreneurs how to find real freedom through their work, Kimra is an expert in online monetization and building brands that stick. Open blog here.

32. Jenn Scalia

On a mission to help make sure “the world knows your name,” Jenn Scalia knows what it feels like to have a business that is invisible online. While learning how to make her own business (super) successful, Jenn picked up a lot of great tips and strategies (like showing up consistently even when you start to doubt what you are doing), which she shares through her coaching, speaking, and her blog. Open blog here.

33. Cyndi Ramirez

Founder of Chillhouse and editor-in-chief of The Chill Times, Cyndi Ramirez is focused on one thing, making sure you are taking care of yourself. Starting a business, running a business, and being in business isn’t easy for women, which is why checking in with The Chill Times should be part of your regular self-care routine, something that goes beyond “bubble baths and spa retreats.” Self-care via self-discovery is what you’ll find at The Chill Times. Open blog here.

34. Sophia Amoruso

The founder of the incredibly successful Nasty Gal and the author of her book #GIRLBOSS, which is a New York Times Bestseller, Sophia Amoruso even has a Netflix series all about her rise to success. A creative genius and an embodiment of the word “hustle,” Sophia’s blog “Girlboss” teaches aspiring entrepreneurs and go-getters critical lessons on the way to success. Open blog here.

35. Pamela Slim

A successful business coach, Pamela Slim has made a name for herself by advising large companies how to connect with small businesses, bridging the gap between two naturally competitive (and often exclusive) interest groups. Working with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, Pamela is passionate about solving business problems with innovative and effective new ways of thinking. Open blog here.

36. Tara Gentile

A super successful podcast host and entrepreneur, Tara Gentile spends much of her time educating small businesses on how to creatively solve problems with the help of a community and support network. Honest about what works and what doesn’t, Tara is often named one of the most influential podcast hosts for business owners. Her articles are insightful, thought provoking, and educational. Open blog here.

37. Melissa Galt

A guide for entrepreneurs wanting to increase their success and their income, Melissa Galt does everything from coaching to consulting, as well as teaching simple systems that change everything. Having left her successful career in hospitality purchasing, Melissa has learned the rope to business the old-fashioned way - doing it herself and putting in the hard work. Open blog here.

38. Yasmine Khater

An award-winning business specialist and marketing expert, Yasmine Khater is also a psychologist. A well-known TEDx speaker, Yasmine doesn’t just want to help entrepreneurs build businesses - she wants to help build empires. Led by the belief that “business changes the world,” she sees her work as a way to contribute to the greater good. Motivational and smart, Yasmine is somebody you definitely want in your corner. Open blog here.

39. Mayi Carles

An artist by trade, Mayi Carles has learned how to succeed online by following a recipe that includes always being herself and allowing people into her “messy middle.” Mayi offers online courses, including her signature Life is Messy Bootcamp, for women looking to not only cross things off their bucket lists, but who also want to make money doing it. Open blog here.

40. Ilean Harris

An online sales expert and marketer with many accolades, Ilean Harris is also a business trainer and speaker. Her energy and passion to help women succeed will motivate you to follow your dreams. A big believer that you can have it all - faith, family, and your own business - Ilean’s blog gives you step-by-step advice and insight into her personal journey. Open blog here.

41. Amy Landino

A speaker, author, and YouTuber, Amy Landino knows her way around new media success. Having left her “safe path” in the corporate world, Amy is now the host of the popular AmyTV, which inspires people to go after what they want in life. A big believer in being proactive about your dreams, Amy’s blog/vlog is so good that you can (and should) binge on it. Open blog here.

42. Vanessa Van Edwards

A professional “people watcher”, Vanessa Van Edwards is known for her work as a behavioral investigator. Her research lab, the Science of People, is dedicated to learning about the human code in order to, among other things, “teach individuals how to succeed in business and life by understanding the hidden dynamics of people.” Get ready to take notes. Open blog here.

43. Christy Primmer

A “high-vibe, high-five kinda gal”, Christy Primmer has an energy that is contagious, amassing her thousands of followers and an impressive resume of success stories. A coach for women wanting to create a life and business they truly love, her work revolves around creating real, measurable results. Also a best-selling author, Christy’s blog is filled with great advice for women at any stage of their entrepreneurial journey. Open blog here.

44. Allison Braun

Want to work less, have more freedom and make more money? Allison Braun is a business coach that teaches women how to experience and get more (of everything) out of life. A former sexual expression coach, Allison now is a full-time business and lifestyle mentor helping people around the world “upgrade their quality of life.” Open blog here.

45. Rebecca Dickson

Known for her real-deal life hacks, Rebecca Dickson calls herself the “bullshit slayer” and “biz profit-maker.” Having collected a major following of women thanks to her “all-in” personality, Rebecca helps women in business generate more profit by analyzing your business’s current systems and strategies and then “promptly fixing it.” Open blog here.

46. Stephanie Nickolich

Dedicated to teaching female entrepreneurs build “seamless systems” so they can do more while working less, Stephanie Nickolich helps women change their perspectives so they can experience real success in their business and personal lives. Learning from Stephanie is learning how to crush your doubts, master your mindset, and develop business strategies that change everything. Open blog here.

47. Julie Parker

The founder and CEO of The Beautiful You Coaching Academy, Julie Parker speaks and presents regularly about leadership, the power of feminine energy, and entrepreneurship. Also the editor-in-chief of COACH magazine, Julie has worked with thousands of people around the world, inspiring them through her wisdom, intuition, and nurturing energy. Open blog here.

48. Melissa Pharr

Fueled by the belief that “every woman has a remarkable gift to share,” Melissa Pharr has created a multi million dollar business helping women move step-by-step into their own power so that they can achieve ultimate success. Her work helps women “create the mindset of a High Earner” while also turning them into a “money magnet.” Open blog here.

49. Kasia Gospos

The founder of Leaders in Heels, Kasia Gospos is working hard to create a community of female entrepreneurs that feel inspired, empowered, and nurtured. A wealth of information for women in business, Kasia’s Leaders in Heels has resources that range from helpful to eye-opening, as well as practical tips, guides, and lessons for #girlbosses and #mompreneurs that are designed to be shared. Open blog here.

50. Lisa Christine

One of those “connectors” every entrepreneur can use, Lisa Christine is an entrepreneur at heart, although she has spent much of her life in the corporate world working for major brands like American Airlines and IBM. Lisa loves to solve problems and connect people from all over the world. Her business intelligence and charisma has landed her impressive projects, including working on the STEX, a startup exchange for entrepreneurs created by MIT. Open blog here.

The fact that this impressive list is barely scratching the surface of powerful women who are leading the way in business is exciting to say the least. With new voices being added to the #girlboss movement around the world, it’s a powerful reminder that the world of business is evolving - and that women are leading the way.

 

Apple Business Strategy Illustrates Customer Friction

Apple Business Strategy Illustrates Customer Friction

You know the power of the Apple brand. You’ve seen innovation that transformed how we work, live and communicate. What if the Apple business strategy requires an update? What if the current business strategy leads to a smaller yet still highly-profitable fan base? What if Apple’s closed strategy starts to get holes and customers start to test other approaches.

The article by Emily Ferron is bang on. See here: “Apple Alienation”  and the challenges go deeper than these device issues. As a long-time Apple advocate who converted many, I’m now doubting the customer strategy of Apple.

Take music - I cannot share my own music in my house through Apple TV without buying Apple Music. Then when I buy Apple Music, I don’t have access to all my music on my devices without wifi. Yet the Amazon Fire allows me to plug into the back because it is more open and allows the user to add their music, movies and photos. Closed stifles customer innovation in my case. And I worked really hard to make it work. I can’t use my Apple Airport Extreme… my computer must be on… lots of customer unfriendly experience to protect the closed system.

Take Personal Assistants - Siri really struggles to understand me. Even simple and somewhat obvious requests because she is closed. I expect her to be able to do more and expect her to develop and get better. Yet Alexa has learned 2000+ new commands in 7 months because she is artificial intelligence and she integrates with the other aspects in my house. Alexa is open and learning. The users are shaping her and she is evolving.

Take TV - Apple TV is simple and elegant. Yet when I get an Amazon Fire I get literally 100x more options for search, apps, movies, music, expansion… open again wins. Plus Fire supports 4K. And Apple doesn’t - why - because Apple doesn’t. When you tell people that their netflix on AppleTV won’t play 4K on their new TV they don’t believe me… until they do. I was the same - shocked.

Take Virtual Reality - Apple’s not there. At all. Yes there are plans. And now worth buying a Samsung phone or HTC just to experience the past/current state of VR. I’m sure Apple’s solution will be great yet their strategy of nothing to everything may mean a lot of customers start leaving the closed solution. When you experience greener grass you wonder why Apple has not gone forward. Amazon is emerging as a real competitor in some ways.

Take notebooks. I drool with envy when others touch their screens. Its faster, better user interface is blocked from notebooks and computers. And Apple created that technology yet refuses to provide it to the world. Microsoft is gaining steam as many professionals no longer want to have to work on a tablet and a computer when they can have both. I’m seeing more and more MS Surfaces in our consultant and practitioner pools. I had to buy an MSI computer to run VR since Apple is now behind in graphics processing.

The strategy of closed worked for years for Apple. And now it is coming into question. I trust the Board and Executive Leadership Team are examining this closed strategy closely. Leakage of customers is happening. And brand advocate customers like me are experiencing the benefits of leaving the Apple universe. What happens if Apple continues to lock-down the functionality desired by its customers to drive its strategy? What happens when Apple pushes even diehard fans to test and experiment with other providers.

I sucked it up on VR so I got an iPhone7S. I almost stepped out. Yet the camera really, really is amazing. The Apple TV vs Fire at 3x the price with 1/100th the capability opened the door. The shine is now off the Apple. I perhaps have been blinded by the light. The contrast makes me rethink what I’m buying. Yet I don’t like to pay and want more freedom so maybe I am not a target Apple customer.

Business strategy matters. Customer experience matters. Apple gets that. If we were working with the executive team or board, we’d want to perform an analysis of the friction points for customers. How many are because of Apple’s closed strategy? How could they be resolved? How much friction is there? When you search you find a lot of frustrated Apple lovers like me.

We’d want the leadership to understand that drag is a coefficient. To say this simply, friction increases exponentially. And it may no longer be squared, it may be cubed or even greater when you add up the friction across all products.

What do you think about Apple’s closed strategy? What are your friction points? What are the benefits like virus/harm reduction? As a strategist, I LOVE to support others creating a strategy and engaging leaders and their teams to implement a strategy. Come on Apple - reduce friction! The heat hurts!

 

Get a Jump Start on the Year Ahead: 5 Principles for Brilliant Planning

Get a Jump Start on the Year Ahead: 5 Principles for Brilliant Planning

Hoping that the Law of Attraction will kick in and manifest what you dream of having or doing just because you put it on a vision board doesn’t work.

Writing out a 5 page list of New Year’s resolutions often doesn’t cut it either.

Studies that show that only about 8% of people who actually create those resolutions ever accomplish them. Apparently, the majority of people actually never do much planning at all.

Many people find the world so fast-moving and unpredictable that it hardly seems to make any sense to have much of a plan, because life always seems to be throwing unexpected curve balls at you any way. Some people who consider themselves more creative or intuitive also chafe with the structure of having a “Plan”, preferring instead to be spontaneous and “in the moment” when opportunities or challenges present themselves in this journey called life.

Our attention and energy is pulled into so many different directions 24/7 in this crazy-busy world we live in now. It’s more important than ever before for each of us to identify what’s truly important in terms of our priorities and values. We need to bold and stick a stake in the ground to say what you stand for otherwise you risk feeling stretched to the breaking point and not able to live a life that of meaning on your own terms.

With these 5 principles to guide you, you’ll be able to do some brilliant planning of your own in a way that feels authentic and empowering to you!

  1. Make it Visual

Our brains are very wired to think in images. In fact, about 65% of the population are visual learners. Working with images and other visual cues is a great and easy way to tap into the power of both your left and right brain and access innovation and creativity in your thinking process. Working from a plan that relies primarily on text to convey how to get you where you want to go isn’t taking advantage of that natural affinity of the brain to connect to images.

When you’re doing planning for your business or your life, do what you can to bring some kind of visual component to it. Break out the colored sticky notes and markers. Doodle some images to represent your goals. Finding pictures from the internet or magazines helps to activate a deeper level of connection, energy and commitment to your vision and goals. I’ve created a visual template kit you can use to help you make your plans which you can download here.

  1. Zoom Out to Dream

It’s important to give yourself permission to dream. We spend most of our time and focus being very practical and functional. But when you’re planning, you need to be able to zoom out, get the highest perspective on your life and dream of what you would be most inspired and joyful to create for yourself. Create a picture of what your life or business would look like if you were living as your most expanded, brilliant and confident self.

When I am drawing out a visual map for a client as part of a strategic planning session, I often need to remind people that it is OK to dream. If you’re not willing to dream, you’re only ever going to be able to make incremental change.

If you immediately jump to “Well, how am I going to do that?” you break your creative flow. The dreaming process and the execution process are two different skills sets and two different kinds of energy. Just ask any writer who has tried to write and edit at the same time and they will confirm that experience!

  1. Zoom In to Plan

Once you have dreamed and articulated a vision or possibility that excites, inspires or even scares you just a bit, you’re then ready to zoom in to plan. Put on your strategic planner hat and give yourself full permission to ask the tactical and practical questions like “How can I do that?” or “When can this happen?” and “What experiences and skills have I learned that from my past that I can apply towards my future goals?” The need to harvest the wisdom of your past is central to the design of the Looking Back-Looking Ahead visual template that you can download here.

Your internal project manager can start to chunk down your vision into meaningful projects and time frames. Create some yardsticks for yourself so you can tell if you’re making progress or spinning your wheels and need to make some course correction.

  1. Be Willing to Test

It’s natural when you face a number of choices to want to have some kind of guarantee that things will work the way you hope. I need to remind my clients (and myself too!) that imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. You’ll never know what results you can create until you commit to taking action.

What can help break free of any kind of analysis paralysis when you’re setting your priorities in your plan is to be willing to test. Want to create a new program? Test it out on some beta clients so you can get some feedback and experience before you offer it out to your entire list. Want to develop more friends in the community? Test out having a weekly “connection time” blocked off in your calendar and see what results from that after a few months.

  1. Rinse, Repeat, Re-calibrate

A plan is always just a starting point. It’s meant to be a dynamic compass that you can use to help you keep on course.

Rinse and repeat what is working for you. Be willing to course correct and recalibrate your plan when you aren’t getting the results you want. Celebrate the fact that you’re getting feedback that tells you that your actions aren’t lining you up in the direction you want to be headed in order to reach your goals.

In the Looking Back-Looking Ahead visual template kit, you’ll be able to do all your planning on one single plan that you can use at New Year’s on any time you need to do some planning. You can complete it in less than 10 minutes, plus it comes with an instruction guide and video tutorial. To access your free copy, just click here: Visual Template Kit .

 

How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

Tired of Fixating on Bad News, Global Warming, or Wild Politics?

It’s a wild world out there, and with the bad news headlines front and center, it’s pretty easy to dwell on the negative. There’s good reason to be fearful, negative and stressed…and yet, there is overwhelming evidence that one simple practice can help us to deal with these issues on a personal level, and more importantly to increase happiness - the practice of gratitude.

I know…you’re too busy. But think again.  The benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude are very real and can be enjoyed with some simple choices to build it into your life in simple ways.  In its simplest form, gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging all that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything in it were a miracle, and being consciously aware of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the richness that is already present.

The results of a gratitude attitude are pretty impressive. By practicing gratefulness, here are just some of the benefits you can expect:

- Better and more sleep, feeling more refreshed when you do wake
- Less depressed
- Feel more connected to others
- Expressing gratitude increases goodwill toward others
- Greater overall life satisfaction
- Higher levels of optimism
- More feelings of control in your life
- Expressing your gratitude increases happiness by 4 – 19%. The impact is even greater if you are in a particularly rough place in your life – expect increases in your happiness of up to 25%
- Profound and positive effects on our health - People who kept a weekly log of things they were grateful had fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more
- Overall better mood
- Increase in cognitive functions like memory and problem solving
- Higher marriage survival rates (Try the 5:1 Ratio – 5 positives for every negative in a relationship)
- Schools report lower incidences of violence and misconduct and stronger academic performance

David Steindl-Rast shared this…“If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity and are willing to share.”

Grateful is not a “once in a while” thing, but rather a choice to live your life in a certain way. It’s about graceful living every day.

So enough about why…HOW do you fit it into your life? Try these three simple practices for 7 days – then check in. Pay attention to how you feel, and how others are responding to you. Observe how you handle people and situations. My guess is that you will see a difference…so then build on that. If you don’t notice anything then go back to being grumpy and wishing for more…see the difference then.

Here’s the gratitude makeover…

1. Observe – When we rush through life, we don’t appreciate the incredible things that are around us – the sights, the smells, the laughter, the miracles. Stop and look around for 30-seconds at a time during the day. Instead of just rushing to the meeting a few minutes late – build in some white space so that you can walk to the meeting and notice the incredible architecture in the buildings, or look at the people on the way, say hello to someone who holds the door for you. Notice the little things that make your world a better place. Just deliberately observe for 30 seconds at a time, at least five times a day.

2. Accept / Ask – Rather than getting upset about the money you don’t have, the resources that are stretched, or the house that is too small, flip it around. Accept that it is what it is. Ask what can you do with the money or resources that you do have. Embrace what is, rather than fixate on what isn’t.

3. Act – Share with at least one person every day something that you appreciate about them. Make it genuine and meaningful to them and to you. Adopt the 5:1 Ratio – Say / Do five positive things for every one. And then keep a journal – I find that starting my day with 3 positive things helps me to stay focused on being grateful – starting with what I think when I look in the mirror in the morning. Choose gratitude.

Here’s a great video to get you started - An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness. Just watching this video will give you a kick start.

Gratitude and thankfulness just feel good. It’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, so what are you waiting for? Share your results with us…we would love to share the good stuff as you are leading your grateful life.

 

Blog Fulllwidth

5 Learning Stages To Create Successful Leaders

5 Learning Stages To Create Successful Leaders

 

Learning is a journey.

Every new skill, concept and idea needs to be considered and then take root. Even if when we accept the idea of the skill, we are still not competent. Competence comes with repeated correct practice, or trial and error, learning from each new experience. As a Learning and Development leader in your organization, you want to help new and developing leaders avoid trial and error. You want to provide the correct tools and information to guide them past the mistakes and make the right competent decisions in the many unique situations they will be tested against. With that goal in mind, let’s look at five learning stages for developing competence and replacing a skill.

Stage 1: Learning A New Skill
Stage 2: Learning A New Skill More Deeply
Stage 3: Applying A Newly Learned Skill
Stage 4: Adapting A Newly Learned Skill To Unique Situations
Stage 5: Replacing Old Comfortable Skills With A New One

Stage 1 - Learning A New Skill

This stage is the introduction of a skill. The skill could be how to conduct a performance review or how to use a “Yes and…” circle. The new skill will feel foreign and uncomfortable. New skills are mostly taught in a development session or classroom. We use “Narrative Immersion” to help ideas sink in faster and with more impact. You may use more traditional methods. The path is the same; skills are introduced and learned at a surface level. It’s like learning the scales on the piano, it’s not music, but technically you’re playing the instrument.

Stage 2 - Learning A Skill More Deeply

Here is where competence starts to develop. Think of tennis, Stage 1, you are introduced to the racquet, the ball, the court and the net. Stage 2, you would be shown the rules, how to swing the racquet, how to deliver a serve. You might even practice a little rally with your coach, to get a feel for how the ball hits the racquet.

Back to our performance review example, we might learn about “Sandwiching Criticism”, using “Feel, Felt, Found” or “WYSIITMB” as more in-depth tools than just the performance form we need to fill out after meeting with a team member. In the development session, we might even role play with each other to get a feel for how the performance conversation might go. All of this is not actual application, and yet some competence is starting to build.

Stage 3 - Applying A Newly Learned Skill.

This is where the new skill feels most uncomfortable.

This is the first or second time the new skill has been used without a safety net. It feels foreign, we might report back that using the new skill felt robotic and insincere. We are at a critical point in the development of the skill. It would be easy to move to old habits and old ways of doing things. The new skill feels less effective because we still have low competence, and as a result, we might abandon it.

You can avoid this by providing support right when your leaders need it. Create “Brain Trust” mentoring circles so that peers can reinforce and support each other in the new skill. Use timely coaching to help them prepare for stage 4 and get more comfortable applying the new skill regularly. The team will only become competent with practice and review. Explain the uncomfortable feelings are expect during stage 1 and stage 2 so that it’s not a surprise in stage 3. Just like a tennis pro trying a small change in their swing, it feels uncomfortable until enough repetition creates muscle memory, and it becomes natural.

Stage 4: Adapting A Newly Learned Skill to Unique Situations

Life and work don’t as always play out as expected. We may run into unique situations that become learning opportunities. As a result, we need to apply our new skills to new situations where it does not fit comfortably. Round peg into a square hole!

As practice, coaching and peer mentorship take hold, and the new skill begins to feel more natural, we apply it to new situations and create new solutions. This is a sign of stronger competence, as we can start to diagnose a situation and use the new skill to solve the problem.

Stage 5 - Stage 5: Replacing Old Comfortable Skills With A New One

This is when true competence takes hold, the old skills no longer seems the right choice. The new skill has become the best tool and replaces old patterns.

It is an ongoing learning challenge to replace old entrenched skills with new ways of tackling a problem. Traditional learning environments are not equipped to handle the final three stages needed to have a skill adopted and impact the organization. Tools like “Brain Trust” peer mentoring, coaching, “Practice-Review” sessions and situational aids are all needed to ensure stage 3 to stage 5 occur, or you’ll miss the chance to create stronger, more capable leaders. Support after the learning is critical and must be part of the journey for your team.

If you’re looking for help developing an entire development journey through all stages, talk to us at Learn2, we’re changing the way the world works by changing the way the world learns.

Understanding your natural approach starts with an assessment. Want to learn your natural approach? Take the assessment, and we’ll continue down this journey together.

Evolving Leadership Development with Natural Abilities

Evolving Leadership Development with Natural Abilities

You want to evolve yourself actively - dare I say intentionally.
You have some sense of what you want out of life and what gets in the way of you having what you want.

What if you could see yourself and your natural strengths?
What if, by seeing your natural strengths and abilities, you could leverage them more effectively?
And what if by understanding your natural strengths, you could also see your blind spots?

Let me introduce you to the Natural Approach.

Your natural strengths allow you to perform effectively - even beyond what others can do. Some of us can organize the hell out of a closet in record time, while others can engage friends and co-workers to get up and achieve something monumental together. Both are valuable. And both tap into the power of human potential.

What if our parents, teachers, sports, hobbies, jobs and partners all cause us to develop individual abilities that become natural for us more than others(Natural Abilities). In some respects, our circumstances empower some natural abilities more than others.

Consider a child growing up on a farm with horses and their natural abilities. Then consider a child of a single working mom in a city. Each would have very different natural abilities.

The reality is that we likely have over-developed and under-developed natural abilities. Meaning that some of our natural approaches are so deeply ingrained we’ll overuse our natural ability. Consider the person with an only hammer for a tool. The whole world starts to look like a nail. Typically screws work more effectively with a screwdriver than a hammer - personal experience on that one. If we don’t have a screwdriver to work with, we still use the hammer, even if we know it is not effective. Developing more tools allows for more effective solutions. Knowing more natural approaches provides for more effective communication and solutions.

Your natural abilities are a massive source of performance and achievement in your life. What if you could actively evolve your natural abilities to create more value?

So if this is true, then we also have natural abilities that are less developed. Those under-developed abilities could be the source of great effectiveness when you decide to develop them.

This is what our Natural Series programs help you and your team achieve.

Generation Z was surveyed and reported that 42% of them interact with their phones more than people. 37% percent of Gen Zs have gone as far as admitting that technology has weakened their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop people skills, according to insights in Gen Z @ Work.

Generation Z

If we look at natural abilities, we might conclude that social and communication skills might be less than desired. Developing an internal program for your team to foster social and communication skills based on the natural approach of themselves and others could have a lasting impact on the entire organization.

Understanding your natural approach starts with an assessment. Want to learn your natural approach? Take the assessment, and we’ll continue down this journey together.

5 Great Questions Great Leader Asks Their Team

5 Great Questions Great Leader Asks Their Team

What makes one company more successful than another? Better products, services, strategies, or technologies? While all of these contribute to superior performance, all of them can also be copied over time. The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the people who are the company. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged significantly outperform workgroups that are not engaged. 

Where companies that enjoy a 60% to 70% employee engagement, the average total shareholder’s return stood at 24.2%; in companies with 49% to 60% of their employees engaged, TSR fell to 9.1 percent; companies with engagement below 25 percent suffered negative TSR. (Source: Employee engagement at double-digit growth companies, Hewitt Research Brief)

In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.

As leaders, we can be tempted to share our wisdom and solve things for people – too often and too quickly. When we do, we don’t allow others to grow, to develop, to come up with a brilliant idea…so pretty soon, they don’t try anymore. So rather than solve the issue for them, ask questions to get the team engaged in problem-solving. The answers become conversations about things that are important or meaningful. Conversations are more likely to turn to action. Action turns into results, and that’s the ultimate goal, engaged teams that take action and produce results.

Here are some of the questions that can help you get started.

1. What do you think?

Instead of offering our answer first, get them thinking, talking and sharing. Hold back, no matter how tempting to share your solution. And when they start talking, make sure you listen and maybe ask a probing question, like “What else?” No judgment, no qualifying, and no hi-jacking. Let them explore with your help. No one has every answer, by engaging your team to think about solutions they add to the answer pool. Your team also starts self-solving as the start to realize they often have the answer to their problems.

2. What would you do?

Asking this question encourages leadership thinking and ownership – at all levels of the company. Again, follow up with probing questions to keep listening. This question also builds confidence and contributes to the answer pool. People feel more engaged and fulfilled when they contribute and when they have an impact. Asking “What would you do?” allows them to help and have an impact on decisions. They now have skin in the game.

3. What’s the real challenge here for you?

The key here is the word “real”. When you ask about challenges, you may open the flood gates. Help them focus on the real problem so that they can begin to find their way out. Focus on the correct challenge is the fastest way to reach a solution. Focusing on the most significant piece of a problem allows the proper resources to be gathered to solve it. Too often, we focus on the small, most comfortable part of the project. As a result, we look like we are making progress when, in reality, the biggest struggle is still to come.

4. Where are you stuck?

Sometimes we need a push…we may need to admit that we are stuck so that we open ourselves to ideas and new perspectives. Asking this question permits your team to accept they are stuck so that they can move forward. It also helps identify the “real” challenge. Being able to point to the obstacles and give it name is an incredibly powerful tool. Often just putting a name to the what’s holding a team member back is enough for them to create their own solution and quickly move past it without you solving it for them

5. How can I help?

When your employee gets stuck, they may become frustrated and disengaged. Asking, “How can I help?” gives hope that they are not alone, and can be the relief they need to move forward. Go through the other questions first; there is a reason this one is last. Recognize that if the previous questions did not produce a solution or move the team forward, they may also not know what help they need. That’s when your experience comes in most valueable. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and dig into this challenge with the team and solve it together. The result is a stronger bonded team, with high trust and respect for each other. Groups that work in this fashion have higher levels of engagement and results.

Learn2 works with leaders to help them develop and implement strategies to engage their teams to get great results. Work with one of our team members to help you achieve lasting change in your organization. Want to know more about your management style? Take our Natural Approach Assessment.

3 Ways To Identify A Disengaged Gen Z Team And What To Do About It

3 Ways To Identify A Disengaged Gen Z Team And What To Do About It

In a 2017 study by Full Potential Group found that 20 year olds(Gen Z) were the least likely to be motivated at work with a full 33% saying that Work/Life balance was a key demotivator. Since we have yet to define what work/life balance looks like from person to person, I’m going to hazard that work is demotivating and that they would prefer to living their life.  Balance has little to do with it.

What’s truly interesting is that 51 years olds(Gen X), scored the workplace as 7.7 out of 10. They found they were motivated by flexible hours, challenging work and freedom to make decisions. They might describe work as an exciting part of life, and they have the flexibility to balance the two.

We could conclude from the study that those starting their careers do not have the luxuries and freedoms of those much later in their career and, as a result, can not balance work and life to the same degree.

What does it mean for a leader looking to improve morale?

Do you give these freedoms to team members just starting on the career journey? As a leader, what can you do to improve motivation and job satisfaction?  Let’s dig a little deeper.

Let’s start with three ways to recognize when your team or individual is not engaged and not motivated.

1. Listen

You’re looking for negative language.  What words are being used to describe the product, the business, the team, the leadership?  Does the language swing to the negative side of the scale?  Listen for feelings that imply they are along for the ride. Do they feel they do not have input, and that ideas and trends just come and go? The language will reflect a lack of control and purpose.

2. Watch

Low morale is demonstrated with low engagement. You’ll notice little to no initiative.  If your team waits for you to tell it what to do, you have low morale and reduced job satisfaction.  You also notice low productivity and poor performance.  Your team will show up less often to work, and they will have more “sick” days. 

3. Measure

Performance is an excellent measurement of morale and engagement. As a leader, what gets measured improves. If you notice the team is missing targets, missing deadlines, and not meeting quality expectations, you should start looking at job satisfaction. Missing project deadlines and making more mistakes by the team or an individual implies engagement is declining.

What do you do?

We now have some easy ways to identify a potential problem. What do you do? Throw a pizza party? Give out an employee of the month award?

Start with taking the time to find out what’s important to each team member. What does balance look like for them or what career goals do they have? When work becomes part of life instead and not an interruption, it becomes easier to balance. When a team member feels they are moving towards a bigger goal, one they have control of, they stay more engaged.

Setting correct expectations is vital. We feel unhappy when our reality falls short of our expectations. If I expect $1,000,000 and I receive $100,000, I am unhappy. If I expect $10,000 and receive $100,000, I am happy. The same amount was received, and the expectation was different. Explain to your team that the current entry-level job they are in is a grind; you once had a similar position. As a leader, you are committed to helping them build the skills, experience and knowledge needed move to the next stage of their career, with the agreement they stay committed and engaged in doing their best in this position. 

When you are 20 years old, 5 years to move ahead is 25% of your current life span.  It seems like forever.  When you are 50, 5 years seems a whole lot shorter.  It took them 4 years for high school, another 4 years to become a college graduate, can you blame them for thinking they can be CEO in another 4 years.  A new expectation needs to be set.

Reward the team and individuals.

Reward your team, as both a team and as individuals, when they show engagement and initiative. That which is rewarded will be repeated. 

Public recognition is a motivating reward. A powerful way to show a person is valued is to take the time to call them out for doing a great job, holding to company values or sharing a great idea.

Use positive language.

Use positive words and be deliberate about your language. Positive language is especially crucial at the individual level. Langauge that focuses on them is best.

Find a common enemy

The last tip is to create a common enemy. It sounds counterproductive, and it’s not. A disengaged team has nothing to rally around. They don’t feel like they have a purpose or a direction. They don’t feel like they are in control, and they feel leadership is to blame for that. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If you create a new common enemy, you are now on the same side. That common enemy can be a competitor. It can even be another department if framed around healthy competition and respect. The point is to give your team common ground and goals that they have control over.

Final thoughts

Morale and engagement is a big problem in today’s workforce, especially with Generation Z and Millenials. These two generations are looking to contribute and expect levels of co-operation and inclusion that can often be at odds with the current status quo of how business has been done in the past. As mentioned earlier, happiness is the GAP between expectation and reality. Close the gap, and you’ll have an engaged and motivated team.

Google’s 5 Rules for Great Teams

Google’s 5 Rules for Great Teams

Google has 5 rules for great teams.

1. Psychological Safety

2. Dependability

3. Structure and Clarity

4. Meaning

5. Impact

Let’s take a closer look at each element.

1. Psychological Safety

Great leaders know that team members need to feel safe. Members are more likely to contribute, bring forward ideas, take a risk and be vulnerable if they feel emotionally safe.

Protect your team members when they take risks. Try to have open conversations. Praise in public. Give personal and performance feedback in private. Don’t let conflicts go unresolved.

Be a great leader that creates a psychologically safe environment and watch your team thrive.

2. Dependability

Team members and the team as a whole need to hold themselves to a high level of accountability. The team finishes on time. They can count on each other to do what they said they would when they said they would do it. They don’t chase each for answers and support.

As a leader be dependable and hold your team to the standard you keep. Discuss the importance of dependability. Create deadlines with the team. Let them decide the time frame and hold the team to it.

3. Structure and Clarity

Your team needs clear roles, plans and goals. Think of a baseball team. The coach does not pitch. The pitcher does not run into the field to catch the ball. Each member has a role and it’s clear. It adds to the effectiveness of the team.

The team needs a goal and a plan to be executed. Want lunch, you need a plan. Are you going out or bringing it in a bag? Are you going to get it or is someone else? When are you eating? Without a plan, you may or may not get lunch. You’ll also sway to other people’s plans, abandoning your own.

Your team needs to know the end goal and then work backwards on how to achieve it, creating the plan along the way.

Back to lunch.

Goal: I want to eat cobb salad at noon.

Plan: Block off lunch on my calendar. Make my salad the night before. Pack it in a carrying container. Place it in the fridge.

Success: I ate my salad at noon.

This simple example demonstrates how even a plan and goal for lunch can transform your life. You’ll eat better, save money and get what you want to eat. The same is true for your team. The team’s success is based on how well they set goals, break down the goal into an actionable plan and then correctly execute the plan.

4. Meaning

Your team becomes more effective when they feel the work they do is personally important to them. You can physically see the difference of someone who feels they are making a difference, and that they feel important to the other team members, the company and clients.

Spend time understanding your team. What goals do they have within the company? What do they need to grow in their roles? Do they have ideas that could be worked on as a side project? Set time aside for them to work on that project. Allow them to create meaning. As a leader be sure to demonstrate they matter and they are valuable to you, the team and the company.

5. Impact

Everyone needs to know that what they do matters. Showing your team the impact they have on the company, on clients, and on other teams will drive them to new levels.

Create physical representations of goals, targets, and results. Money saved, money made, client testimonials and the number of products shipped are all examples.

The more your team can see the impact they have the stronger they feel about increasing that impact.

Final Thought

Work towards developing each of these 5 rules within your team and you’ll see tremendous growth with your team, personally and professionally.

Results versus Reasons

Results versus Reasons

 

Reasons Vs Results is a conversation tool that is used when you hear excuses or reasons why something can’t be done or wasn’t done.

Wishing and hoping, reasons and excuses will never tell the truth. If you say you intend to change a behaviour, have you?

You’ve either got the results you say you want, or you have reasons to explain why not. Developing a rigorous and honest relationship with results moves you powerfully toward creating extraordinary results.

Reasons and results both take time. One is an investment in continuous momentum, and the other stalls us in our tracks.

Results vs Reasons. You choose how you show up every day.

We tend to speak to others about reasons…we want to explain why rather than saying it didn’t work and here is what I am going to do next. Reasons fill our conversations instead of what we are doing to get results. Don’t engage in conversations about reasons – these are time wasters.  Whether the reasons are coming from you or from someone else – they are focusing on blame not on moving forward.

Instead ask:

- What did we learn from that?
- What will we do differently next time?
- How can we salvage this to get the results we are looking for?

People forget they have options. And we sometimes forget that those things don’t really matter. We can’t always wait until we have all of our ducks in a row or all of the answers…sometimes we have to dive in now or even start before we are ready. Cast our vision toward the future instead of the past.

Both results and reasons take time and energy. One moves you forward, and one keeps you where you rooted where you are.

Reasons promote Lack of accountability  - this is a habit and it will be a constant road block to success. The “reason” habit needs to be replaced with simple action and follow through – leading to RESULTS.

 

The 50 Most Influential Women in Business with Blogs You’ll Love

The 50 Most Influential Women in Business with Blogs You’ll Love

Of all the lists we could make right now, this one feels the most exciting. Maybe because it’s a sign of what’s to come in the business world. Women aren’t just getting promoted to the top of big businesses, but they’re creating their own - and faster than ever before. While only 30% of all businesses around the world are led by women, female-run businesses are growing 1.5 times faster than any other new businesses, with some estimates suggesting that they are single-handedly providing over five million jobs.

That’s big news.

This list is a celebration of women who are not only succeeding in business, but who are inspiring and helping others to do the same. While they come from diverse industries and backgrounds, all of them have been chosen for one simple reason: They should be on your radar.

Whether you check into their blogs daily or weekly, keeping your finger on the pulse of what these success female business bloggers are up to is a sure way to keep going, and a fabulous reminder that progress in the business world is being made because women are making it happen - and making sure they help others on their rise to the top.

1. Marie Forleo

Yes, she rubs shoulders with Oprah - and Richard Branson. But Marie Forleo is so much more than just a big name. Her videos, published under the name Marie TV, cover everything from how to be creative in business to how to write better copy. With interviews that you want to watch again and again (like her talk with Elizabeth Gilbert or Anthony Robbins), Marie Forleo is committed to helping women succeed in business. Her tagline “The world needs that special gift that only you have,” encapsulates her passion for ensuring that the women she works with aren’t just successful, but that they’re happy and fulfilled, too. Open blog here.

2. Franchesca Ramsey

An actor, vlogger, and writer, Franchesca Ramsey has discovered the secrets for how to create a life that is fun and successful - and all while doing exactly what you love. The author of the new book Well That Escalated Quickly, Franchesca is quick-witted and hysterical, which makes her business blog one that you actually look forward to reading. And, the best part, is that you’ll learn something to! If you are working on growing or starting your business online, Franchesca is your girl. Open blog here.

3. Ali Brown

Often referred to as the “Entrepreneurial Guru for Women”, not having Ali on this list would be a big deal. A savvy business coach that is followed regularly by nearly a quarter of a million followers, Ali’s latest blogs share an overview of her Glambition podcast episodes (which you should definitely subscribe to). A big enough name to interview some of the most successful and fascinating women in business, Ali’s blog is one you should check in at regularly. Open blog here.

4. Natalie MacNeil

Not only is Natalie MacNeil one of the top coaches for female entrepreneurs, but she’s an Emmy Award winner, too. The brains behind She Takes on the World, Natalie has had a hand in helping over a million different businesses around the world succeed. Known for her ability to break everything down to actionable, easy-to-follow steps, her blog goes beyond just “typical” success tips, covering everything from “superhuman health” to “how to live in alignment.” Her blog also features posts by guests, too! Open blog here.

5. Elizabeth Gilbert

One of the best-known and beloved authors of the 21st century, Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of perennially popular (and life-changing) books, like Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic. Her work in the world of creativity is inspirational for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to find their footing and their fulfillment. In addition to her podcast, Big Magic, Elizabeth keeps up her blog fairly regularly, which is packed with “hashtaggable” takeaways. Open blog here.

6. Nathalie Doremieux

Nathalie Doremieux’s work is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs translate their vision to their online platform. A pro at building websites that are engaging and super successful, Nathalie is the co-founder of New Software Marketing, which covers everything from website design to creating online courses and membership sites. New Software Marketing’s blog is practical and helpful, especially for women looking to take their online business to the next level. Open blog here.

7. Nikki Elledge Brown

The “Communication Stylist”, Nikki Elledge Brown is well known for her work as the host of the popular podcast “Naptime Empires”. A former park ranger, Nikki is a professional writer, speaker, and the creator of the copywriting eCourse, A Course About Copy. Dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find “their real voice” behind their business, her blog is full of personality and, as you might expect, really great writing. Not only will you get to know her (she’s a military wife and mom of two) but you’ll learn a lot about great business along the way. Open blog here.

8. Ash Ambridge

The founder of The Middle Finger Project, Ash Ambridge is a savvy business woman, writer, and self proclaimed smart ass. Her project is unconventional in the business world, and that’s exactly why so many women love it. Teaching women how to be strong, independent, and unapologetically unique, The Middle Finger Project’s blog is your new best friend and guide for creating an online career you totally love. Open blog here.

9. Otegha Uwagba

A writer and brand consultant, Otegha Uwabga is also the founder of Women Who. With an impressive resume that includes time at Vice and AMV BBDO, Otegha’s Women Who is so much more than a blog, although it’s that, too. Offering a Toolkit for women in business, Women Who also delivers awesome advice and inspiration from Otegha straight to your inbox. The podcast, In Good Company, is like a blog you can listen to, which is perfect for those of us who need a shot of inspiration directly into our ears. Open blog here.

10. Sue B. Zimmerman

Also known as the “Instagram Expert,” Sue B. Zimmerman is a genius when it comes to helping business owners find their footing on Instagram through social media strategy. Working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, Sue B.’s blog is empowering and specific, offering a great balance of inspiration and actionable tips for learning how to master Instagram. Open blog here.

11. Emma Drew

Making money online is what Emma Drew is all about. But the best part is that, unlike some mentors that find themselves a little too far in left field, Emma offers practical advice that actually applies to real people. Offering tips on her blog for people looking to create a successful online business, as well as those just wanting to make a little extra money on the side, Emma’s blog also gives you access to a free 6-week money making course and other helpful worksheets and tips. Open blog here.

12. Brene Brown

One of the most influential speakers and authors today, Brene Brown’s voice helps people around the world feel braver and better. For business owners and entrepreneurs, Brene Brown has founded Brave Leaders Inc, which is helping businesses of all sizes create change through courage. Her blog, as you can imagine, is juicy, helpful, and filled with “Ah-ha!” moments. Open blog here.

13. Courtney Johnston

A professional copywriter and business expert, Courtney Johnston started The Rule Breaker’s Club in 2011 while living in Paris. A rebel at heart, Courtney offers advice on her blog about what it takes to really make it in business, no matter what type of business you’re in. She focuses on things like how to increase sales and conversions through awesome copy and step-by-step systems that break down exactly what you need for success. Open blog here.

14. Crissy Herron

Want to work from home but are afraid you won’t have the motivation to be successful and stay consistent? Crissy Herron’s Indie Biz Chicks blog is where you need to know. An entrepreneur since 2007, Crissy is a Michigan native who uses her Indie Biz Chicks platform to offer advice and inspiration to women in business for themselves, whether they are just starting out or already up and running. Open blog here.

15. Marney Reid

The founder of Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling (SOTGC), Marney Reid is passionate about helping women learn what they need in order to advance their business or professional career. The information posted on SOTGC is created by a community of women who are collaborating and supporting each other on their way to the top. Want to feel inspired as a modern business woman? Getting to know Marney and the women at SOTGC is a great place to start. Open blog here.

16. Alex Beadon

Focusing on topics like social media, selling, marketing, and mindset, Elex Beadon understands what it takes to create and follow a successful online business model. Her expertise lies in online information business models, although her blog offers plenty of information about how to leverage all online businesses in order to live a meaningful life that you really love. Open blog here.

17. Cathrin Frisemo

A guide helping women navigate life as it becomes more and more digitized, Cathrin Frisemo teaches you how to trust your instincts to not only survive, but to also thrive while leading others on the way. An entrepreneur herself, Cathrin’s blog is personal and helpful, giving you great advice while also letting you in on her life adventures, like her new book I’m a Cebra. Open blog here.

18. Tiffany Angeles

Want to learn how to stop chasing money? Tiffany Angeles is the money expert you’ve been looking for. Not only does Tiffany help people achieve their full potential, but she offers “practical wisdom” that shifts your current thoughts and beliefs, opening yourself up to more money and success. Tiffany believes that money and dreams often go hand-in-hand. Her blog is filled with great advice about money, our beliefs, and the thought patterns that hold us back. Open blog here.

19. Beate Chelette

Also known as the “Growth Architect”, Beate Chelette sold her business in a multi-million deal made with one of Bill Gates’ media companies. Since her own business success, Beate has turned her attention to other women in business, creating online courses and training programs that are geared to helping women “succeed alongside the big boys.” The creator of The Women’s Code, Beate’s blog is a vast resource of business-minded information for women wanting to succeed. Open blog here.

20. Carrie-Anne Moss

The well-known actress from the Matrix series, Carrie-Anne Moss has created an incredibly inspiring collective for women, integrating her passion for parenting, yoga, and mindful living, with her brand Annapurna Living.  A “portal for growth and nourishment”, Annapurna Living offers inspiration for women looking to create a life they “crave” and who want to use their voice to gracefully lead others. Open blog here.

21. Denise Lee Yohn

Offering “bites” of knowledge about branding success on her blog, Denise Lee Yohn is someone every business owner should be familiar with. A brand leadership expert, business keynote speaker, and best-selling author, Denise has worked internationally with some of the biggest brands in the world, speaking at corporate events for behemoths like Facebook and Lexus. Open blog here.

22. Colleen Cassel

A career consultant who specializes in leadership, Colleen Cassel is the founder of Upstream Solutions. Her work, including her blog, focuses on mindfulness and how it’s the key to becoming more successful, happier, and productive in business and in your personal life, too. Open blog here.

23. Diana Alvear

A Peabody award winning journalist, Diana Alvear is using her experience to help women learn how to amplify their authenticity in order to use their voice to generate trust and value. Guiding women away from perfection and towards realness, Diana’s audio blog, which is a new podcast she is calling Out Loud, is debuting soon. Open blog here.

24. Rita Barry

The antithesis to the “trendy” website, Rita Barry designs and develops websites for female entrepreneurs that are based in measuring and marketing. Rita’s proven success as a website designer makes her an authority in many areas online businesses are looking to create or optimize. Rita’s expertise allows her to offer women advice for creating a customer journey that works, as well as a funnel that actually converts. Open blog here.

25. Sheryl Sandberg

Since 2008 Sheryl Sandberg has functioned as Facebook’s COO. Before Facebook, Sheryl was the VP at Google. At both companies, Sheryl’s business smarts helped generate the already giants boost revenues through lucrative advertising strategies. As one of the country’s most recognized and influential female executives, Sheryl’s passion project, Lean In, offers in-depth resources for women in business around the world. Open blog here.

26. Alex Head

Although she’s an up-and-comer in the food industry, Alex Head’s blog features must-read interviews she calls “From one girl boss to another…” An entrepreneur as well, Alex owns Social Pantry, which is a London-based catering company that has five different locations. One of Alex’s unique business perspectives is that she employs ex-offenders in England with her business. Open blog here.

27. Serena Guen

Serena Guen has taken blogging to the next level, turning her inspiration into a quarterly magazine known as SUITCASE. Serena, now the founder and CEO of the multimedia company, covers travel and fashion, as well as highlighting inspiring girl bosses and trailblazers, especially in the world of style. Open blog here.

28. Emma Isaacs

The founder of Business Chicks, Emma Isaacs is the type of rule-breaking mentor women love to follow. Emma created Business Chicks as a community for women setting out to achieve brilliant things. Offering connection and support, and tons of awesome advice, the stories shared on the Business Chicks blog is only the very tip of the iceberg. Open blog here.

29. Katrina Ruth Loterzo

An Australian writer with over fifty best-selling eBooks, Katrina has build seven-figure online businesses by “following zero” of the rules. Now an online business coach and success mentor to rebel women, Katrina’s blog is updated (almost) every single day. Open blog here.

30. Renae Bluitt

The creator and editor-in-chief of In Her Shoes, Renae Bluitt is also the founder of Crush Media. Check in at In Her Shoes blog regularly for inspiration from some of the “flyest” female entrepreneurs in the world. Get to know them, and what they wear, for a healthy dose of fun and business. Open blog here.

31. Kimra Luna

As a personal branding and online business strategist, Kimra Luna’s blog on her website, Freedom Hackers, is exactly what you would expect it to be: fun, exciting, and super memorable (oh, and cool, too). Teaching entrepreneurs how to find real freedom through their work, Kimra is an expert in online monetization and building brands that stick. Open blog here.

32. Jenn Scalia

On a mission to help make sure “the world knows your name,” Jenn Scalia knows what it feels like to have a business that is invisible online. While learning how to make her own business (super) successful, Jenn picked up a lot of great tips and strategies (like showing up consistently even when you start to doubt what you are doing), which she shares through her coaching, speaking, and her blog. Open blog here.

33. Cyndi Ramirez

Founder of Chillhouse and editor-in-chief of The Chill Times, Cyndi Ramirez is focused on one thing, making sure you are taking care of yourself. Starting a business, running a business, and being in business isn’t easy for women, which is why checking in with The Chill Times should be part of your regular self-care routine, something that goes beyond “bubble baths and spa retreats.” Self-care via self-discovery is what you’ll find at The Chill Times. Open blog here.

34. Sophia Amoruso

The founder of the incredibly successful Nasty Gal and the author of her book #GIRLBOSS, which is a New York Times Bestseller, Sophia Amoruso even has a Netflix series all about her rise to success. A creative genius and an embodiment of the word “hustle,” Sophia’s blog “Girlboss” teaches aspiring entrepreneurs and go-getters critical lessons on the way to success. Open blog here.

35. Pamela Slim

A successful business coach, Pamela Slim has made a name for herself by advising large companies how to connect with small businesses, bridging the gap between two naturally competitive (and often exclusive) interest groups. Working with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, Pamela is passionate about solving business problems with innovative and effective new ways of thinking. Open blog here.

36. Tara Gentile

A super successful podcast host and entrepreneur, Tara Gentile spends much of her time educating small businesses on how to creatively solve problems with the help of a community and support network. Honest about what works and what doesn’t, Tara is often named one of the most influential podcast hosts for business owners. Her articles are insightful, thought provoking, and educational. Open blog here.

37. Melissa Galt

A guide for entrepreneurs wanting to increase their success and their income, Melissa Galt does everything from coaching to consulting, as well as teaching simple systems that change everything. Having left her successful career in hospitality purchasing, Melissa has learned the rope to business the old-fashioned way - doing it herself and putting in the hard work. Open blog here.

38. Yasmine Khater

An award-winning business specialist and marketing expert, Yasmine Khater is also a psychologist. A well-known TEDx speaker, Yasmine doesn’t just want to help entrepreneurs build businesses - she wants to help build empires. Led by the belief that “business changes the world,” she sees her work as a way to contribute to the greater good. Motivational and smart, Yasmine is somebody you definitely want in your corner. Open blog here.

39. Mayi Carles

An artist by trade, Mayi Carles has learned how to succeed online by following a recipe that includes always being herself and allowing people into her “messy middle.” Mayi offers online courses, including her signature Life is Messy Bootcamp, for women looking to not only cross things off their bucket lists, but who also want to make money doing it. Open blog here.

40. Ilean Harris

An online sales expert and marketer with many accolades, Ilean Harris is also a business trainer and speaker. Her energy and passion to help women succeed will motivate you to follow your dreams. A big believer that you can have it all - faith, family, and your own business - Ilean’s blog gives you step-by-step advice and insight into her personal journey. Open blog here.

41. Amy Landino

A speaker, author, and YouTuber, Amy Landino knows her way around new media success. Having left her “safe path” in the corporate world, Amy is now the host of the popular AmyTV, which inspires people to go after what they want in life. A big believer in being proactive about your dreams, Amy’s blog/vlog is so good that you can (and should) binge on it. Open blog here.

42. Vanessa Van Edwards

A professional “people watcher”, Vanessa Van Edwards is known for her work as a behavioral investigator. Her research lab, the Science of People, is dedicated to learning about the human code in order to, among other things, “teach individuals how to succeed in business and life by understanding the hidden dynamics of people.” Get ready to take notes. Open blog here.

43. Christy Primmer

A “high-vibe, high-five kinda gal”, Christy Primmer has an energy that is contagious, amassing her thousands of followers and an impressive resume of success stories. A coach for women wanting to create a life and business they truly love, her work revolves around creating real, measurable results. Also a best-selling author, Christy’s blog is filled with great advice for women at any stage of their entrepreneurial journey. Open blog here.

44. Allison Braun

Want to work less, have more freedom and make more money? Allison Braun is a business coach that teaches women how to experience and get more (of everything) out of life. A former sexual expression coach, Allison now is a full-time business and lifestyle mentor helping people around the world “upgrade their quality of life.” Open blog here.

45. Rebecca Dickson

Known for her real-deal life hacks, Rebecca Dickson calls herself the “bullshit slayer” and “biz profit-maker.” Having collected a major following of women thanks to her “all-in” personality, Rebecca helps women in business generate more profit by analyzing your business’s current systems and strategies and then “promptly fixing it.” Open blog here.

46. Stephanie Nickolich

Dedicated to teaching female entrepreneurs build “seamless systems” so they can do more while working less, Stephanie Nickolich helps women change their perspectives so they can experience real success in their business and personal lives. Learning from Stephanie is learning how to crush your doubts, master your mindset, and develop business strategies that change everything. Open blog here.

47. Julie Parker

The founder and CEO of The Beautiful You Coaching Academy, Julie Parker speaks and presents regularly about leadership, the power of feminine energy, and entrepreneurship. Also the editor-in-chief of COACH magazine, Julie has worked with thousands of people around the world, inspiring them through her wisdom, intuition, and nurturing energy. Open blog here.

48. Melissa Pharr

Fueled by the belief that “every woman has a remarkable gift to share,” Melissa Pharr has created a multi million dollar business helping women move step-by-step into their own power so that they can achieve ultimate success. Her work helps women “create the mindset of a High Earner” while also turning them into a “money magnet.” Open blog here.

49. Kasia Gospos

The founder of Leaders in Heels, Kasia Gospos is working hard to create a community of female entrepreneurs that feel inspired, empowered, and nurtured. A wealth of information for women in business, Kasia’s Leaders in Heels has resources that range from helpful to eye-opening, as well as practical tips, guides, and lessons for #girlbosses and #mompreneurs that are designed to be shared. Open blog here.

50. Lisa Christine

One of those “connectors” every entrepreneur can use, Lisa Christine is an entrepreneur at heart, although she has spent much of her life in the corporate world working for major brands like American Airlines and IBM. Lisa loves to solve problems and connect people from all over the world. Her business intelligence and charisma has landed her impressive projects, including working on the STEX, a startup exchange for entrepreneurs created by MIT. Open blog here.

The fact that this impressive list is barely scratching the surface of powerful women who are leading the way in business is exciting to say the least. With new voices being added to the #girlboss movement around the world, it’s a powerful reminder that the world of business is evolving - and that women are leading the way.

 

Apple Business Strategy Illustrates Customer Friction

Apple Business Strategy Illustrates Customer Friction

You know the power of the Apple brand. You’ve seen innovation that transformed how we work, live and communicate. What if the Apple business strategy requires an update? What if the current business strategy leads to a smaller yet still highly-profitable fan base? What if Apple’s closed strategy starts to get holes and customers start to test other approaches.

The article by Emily Ferron is bang on. See here: “Apple Alienation”  and the challenges go deeper than these device issues. As a long-time Apple advocate who converted many, I’m now doubting the customer strategy of Apple.

Take music - I cannot share my own music in my house through Apple TV without buying Apple Music. Then when I buy Apple Music, I don’t have access to all my music on my devices without wifi. Yet the Amazon Fire allows me to plug into the back because it is more open and allows the user to add their music, movies and photos. Closed stifles customer innovation in my case. And I worked really hard to make it work. I can’t use my Apple Airport Extreme… my computer must be on… lots of customer unfriendly experience to protect the closed system.

Take Personal Assistants - Siri really struggles to understand me. Even simple and somewhat obvious requests because she is closed. I expect her to be able to do more and expect her to develop and get better. Yet Alexa has learned 2000+ new commands in 7 months because she is artificial intelligence and she integrates with the other aspects in my house. Alexa is open and learning. The users are shaping her and she is evolving.

Take TV - Apple TV is simple and elegant. Yet when I get an Amazon Fire I get literally 100x more options for search, apps, movies, music, expansion… open again wins. Plus Fire supports 4K. And Apple doesn’t - why - because Apple doesn’t. When you tell people that their netflix on AppleTV won’t play 4K on their new TV they don’t believe me… until they do. I was the same - shocked.

Take Virtual Reality - Apple’s not there. At all. Yes there are plans. And now worth buying a Samsung phone or HTC just to experience the past/current state of VR. I’m sure Apple’s solution will be great yet their strategy of nothing to everything may mean a lot of customers start leaving the closed solution. When you experience greener grass you wonder why Apple has not gone forward. Amazon is emerging as a real competitor in some ways.

Take notebooks. I drool with envy when others touch their screens. Its faster, better user interface is blocked from notebooks and computers. And Apple created that technology yet refuses to provide it to the world. Microsoft is gaining steam as many professionals no longer want to have to work on a tablet and a computer when they can have both. I’m seeing more and more MS Surfaces in our consultant and practitioner pools. I had to buy an MSI computer to run VR since Apple is now behind in graphics processing.

The strategy of closed worked for years for Apple. And now it is coming into question. I trust the Board and Executive Leadership Team are examining this closed strategy closely. Leakage of customers is happening. And brand advocate customers like me are experiencing the benefits of leaving the Apple universe. What happens if Apple continues to lock-down the functionality desired by its customers to drive its strategy? What happens when Apple pushes even diehard fans to test and experiment with other providers.

I sucked it up on VR so I got an iPhone7S. I almost stepped out. Yet the camera really, really is amazing. The Apple TV vs Fire at 3x the price with 1/100th the capability opened the door. The shine is now off the Apple. I perhaps have been blinded by the light. The contrast makes me rethink what I’m buying. Yet I don’t like to pay and want more freedom so maybe I am not a target Apple customer.

Business strategy matters. Customer experience matters. Apple gets that. If we were working with the executive team or board, we’d want to perform an analysis of the friction points for customers. How many are because of Apple’s closed strategy? How could they be resolved? How much friction is there? When you search you find a lot of frustrated Apple lovers like me.

We’d want the leadership to understand that drag is a coefficient. To say this simply, friction increases exponentially. And it may no longer be squared, it may be cubed or even greater when you add up the friction across all products.

What do you think about Apple’s closed strategy? What are your friction points? What are the benefits like virus/harm reduction? As a strategist, I LOVE to support others creating a strategy and engaging leaders and their teams to implement a strategy. Come on Apple - reduce friction! The heat hurts!

 

Get a Jump Start on the Year Ahead: 5 Principles for Brilliant Planning

Get a Jump Start on the Year Ahead: 5 Principles for Brilliant Planning

Hoping that the Law of Attraction will kick in and manifest what you dream of having or doing just because you put it on a vision board doesn’t work.

Writing out a 5 page list of New Year’s resolutions often doesn’t cut it either.

Studies that show that only about 8% of people who actually create those resolutions ever accomplish them. Apparently, the majority of people actually never do much planning at all.

Many people find the world so fast-moving and unpredictable that it hardly seems to make any sense to have much of a plan, because life always seems to be throwing unexpected curve balls at you any way. Some people who consider themselves more creative or intuitive also chafe with the structure of having a “Plan”, preferring instead to be spontaneous and “in the moment” when opportunities or challenges present themselves in this journey called life.

Our attention and energy is pulled into so many different directions 24/7 in this crazy-busy world we live in now. It’s more important than ever before for each of us to identify what’s truly important in terms of our priorities and values. We need to bold and stick a stake in the ground to say what you stand for otherwise you risk feeling stretched to the breaking point and not able to live a life that of meaning on your own terms.

With these 5 principles to guide you, you’ll be able to do some brilliant planning of your own in a way that feels authentic and empowering to you!

  1. Make it Visual

Our brains are very wired to think in images. In fact, about 65% of the population are visual learners. Working with images and other visual cues is a great and easy way to tap into the power of both your left and right brain and access innovation and creativity in your thinking process. Working from a plan that relies primarily on text to convey how to get you where you want to go isn’t taking advantage of that natural affinity of the brain to connect to images.

When you’re doing planning for your business or your life, do what you can to bring some kind of visual component to it. Break out the colored sticky notes and markers. Doodle some images to represent your goals. Finding pictures from the internet or magazines helps to activate a deeper level of connection, energy and commitment to your vision and goals. I’ve created a visual template kit you can use to help you make your plans which you can download here.

  1. Zoom Out to Dream

It’s important to give yourself permission to dream. We spend most of our time and focus being very practical and functional. But when you’re planning, you need to be able to zoom out, get the highest perspective on your life and dream of what you would be most inspired and joyful to create for yourself. Create a picture of what your life or business would look like if you were living as your most expanded, brilliant and confident self.

When I am drawing out a visual map for a client as part of a strategic planning session, I often need to remind people that it is OK to dream. If you’re not willing to dream, you’re only ever going to be able to make incremental change.

If you immediately jump to “Well, how am I going to do that?” you break your creative flow. The dreaming process and the execution process are two different skills sets and two different kinds of energy. Just ask any writer who has tried to write and edit at the same time and they will confirm that experience!

  1. Zoom In to Plan

Once you have dreamed and articulated a vision or possibility that excites, inspires or even scares you just a bit, you’re then ready to zoom in to plan. Put on your strategic planner hat and give yourself full permission to ask the tactical and practical questions like “How can I do that?” or “When can this happen?” and “What experiences and skills have I learned that from my past that I can apply towards my future goals?” The need to harvest the wisdom of your past is central to the design of the Looking Back-Looking Ahead visual template that you can download here.

Your internal project manager can start to chunk down your vision into meaningful projects and time frames. Create some yardsticks for yourself so you can tell if you’re making progress or spinning your wheels and need to make some course correction.

  1. Be Willing to Test

It’s natural when you face a number of choices to want to have some kind of guarantee that things will work the way you hope. I need to remind my clients (and myself too!) that imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. You’ll never know what results you can create until you commit to taking action.

What can help break free of any kind of analysis paralysis when you’re setting your priorities in your plan is to be willing to test. Want to create a new program? Test it out on some beta clients so you can get some feedback and experience before you offer it out to your entire list. Want to develop more friends in the community? Test out having a weekly “connection time” blocked off in your calendar and see what results from that after a few months.

  1. Rinse, Repeat, Re-calibrate

A plan is always just a starting point. It’s meant to be a dynamic compass that you can use to help you keep on course.

Rinse and repeat what is working for you. Be willing to course correct and recalibrate your plan when you aren’t getting the results you want. Celebrate the fact that you’re getting feedback that tells you that your actions aren’t lining you up in the direction you want to be headed in order to reach your goals.

In the Looking Back-Looking Ahead visual template kit, you’ll be able to do all your planning on one single plan that you can use at New Year’s on any time you need to do some planning. You can complete it in less than 10 minutes, plus it comes with an instruction guide and video tutorial. To access your free copy, just click here: Visual Template Kit .

 

How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

Tired of Fixating on Bad News, Global Warming, or Wild Politics?

It’s a wild world out there, and with the bad news headlines front and center, it’s pretty easy to dwell on the negative. There’s good reason to be fearful, negative and stressed…and yet, there is overwhelming evidence that one simple practice can help us to deal with these issues on a personal level, and more importantly to increase happiness - the practice of gratitude.

I know…you’re too busy. But think again.  The benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude are very real and can be enjoyed with some simple choices to build it into your life in simple ways.  In its simplest form, gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging all that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything in it were a miracle, and being consciously aware of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the richness that is already present.

The results of a gratitude attitude are pretty impressive. By practicing gratefulness, here are just some of the benefits you can expect:

- Better and more sleep, feeling more refreshed when you do wake
- Less depressed
- Feel more connected to others
- Expressing gratitude increases goodwill toward others
- Greater overall life satisfaction
- Higher levels of optimism
- More feelings of control in your life
- Expressing your gratitude increases happiness by 4 – 19%. The impact is even greater if you are in a particularly rough place in your life – expect increases in your happiness of up to 25%
- Profound and positive effects on our health - People who kept a weekly log of things they were grateful had fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more
- Overall better mood
- Increase in cognitive functions like memory and problem solving
- Higher marriage survival rates (Try the 5:1 Ratio – 5 positives for every negative in a relationship)
- Schools report lower incidences of violence and misconduct and stronger academic performance

David Steindl-Rast shared this…“If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity and are willing to share.”

Grateful is not a “once in a while” thing, but rather a choice to live your life in a certain way. It’s about graceful living every day.

So enough about why…HOW do you fit it into your life? Try these three simple practices for 7 days – then check in. Pay attention to how you feel, and how others are responding to you. Observe how you handle people and situations. My guess is that you will see a difference…so then build on that. If you don’t notice anything then go back to being grumpy and wishing for more…see the difference then.

Here’s the gratitude makeover…

1. Observe – When we rush through life, we don’t appreciate the incredible things that are around us – the sights, the smells, the laughter, the miracles. Stop and look around for 30-seconds at a time during the day. Instead of just rushing to the meeting a few minutes late – build in some white space so that you can walk to the meeting and notice the incredible architecture in the buildings, or look at the people on the way, say hello to someone who holds the door for you. Notice the little things that make your world a better place. Just deliberately observe for 30 seconds at a time, at least five times a day.

2. Accept / Ask – Rather than getting upset about the money you don’t have, the resources that are stretched, or the house that is too small, flip it around. Accept that it is what it is. Ask what can you do with the money or resources that you do have. Embrace what is, rather than fixate on what isn’t.

3. Act – Share with at least one person every day something that you appreciate about them. Make it genuine and meaningful to them and to you. Adopt the 5:1 Ratio – Say / Do five positive things for every one. And then keep a journal – I find that starting my day with 3 positive things helps me to stay focused on being grateful – starting with what I think when I look in the mirror in the morning. Choose gratitude.

Here’s a great video to get you started - An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness. Just watching this video will give you a kick start.

Gratitude and thankfulness just feel good. It’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, so what are you waiting for? Share your results with us…we would love to share the good stuff as you are leading your grateful life.

 

News Archives

Categories