“Strengths At Work” ZONE

by vplis on April 15, 2014

As a strengths-based coach and facilitator, people often share with me that they have taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment but never really did anything with it. While the results were unexpectedly accurate and they experienced several feel-good moments reading their report, they never understood how to  take this extraordinary insight and turn it into something practical and powerful.

There’s more to discovering your strengths than a warm and fuzzy feeling.

strengths_zone2

What is Strengths-Based Development?

My strengths journey began in 2003 when I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. StrengthsFinder is an assessment tool that explains the natural ways in which you think, feel, and behave. These natural tendencies are called talents. Decades of research reveal a person’s talents, [click to continue…]

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Strengths At Work ZONE

by vplis on April 15, 2014

As a strengths-based coach and facilitator, people often share with me that they have taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment but never really did anything with it. While the results were unexpectedly accurate and they experienced several feel-good moments reading their report, they never understood how to  take this extraordinary insight and turn it into something practical and powerful.

There’s more to discovering your strengths than a warm and fuzzy feeling.

strengths_zone2

What is Strengths-Based Development?

My strengths journey began in 2003 when I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. StrengthsFinder is an assessment tool that explains the natural ways in which you think, feel, and behave. These natural tendencies are called talents. Decades of research reveal a person’s talents, [click to continue…]

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I am so excited and thrilled to announce that I completed my Accelerated Strengths Coach training last week in Omaha at Gallup University.

Not only did I learn more about strengths-based leadership and team development (which is my point of passion in my work), but I also learned a lot about myself including opportunities for growth and development.  Even though I had to pay quite a price to attend this training, the entire experience was nothing short of an amazing gift.

Over the last decade working in the area of strengths-based development I have learned when I invest in my development, everyone wins: my clients, myself, my business, and, most importantly, my family.

learningleaders

While I understand the value of learning and self-development, being self-employed and responsible for every aspect of my business, I often tell myself there’s just not enough time or money. This way of thinking is very common among leaders, but it is also a dangerous trap. The reality is, [click to continue…]

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Today I had the awesome privilege of sitting under the teaching of Curt Liesveld, Advanced Learning & Development Consultant at Gallup and co-auther of Living Your Strengths.  In our session Curt reminded us of the importance of trust in a strong relationship and the impact it can have on the performance of those around us.  According to Donald Clifton, former Founder and CEO of Gallup, “Relationships help us to define who we are and what we can become. Most of us can trace our successes to pivotal relationships.”

When I think about the leaders that made the greatest impact in my life, it was definitely the ones I knew I could trust. I could count on them for support and feedback, and I was confident I would be treated fairly if I simply did the right thing. And in that place of trust and confidence, my performance excelled.

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According to Tom Rath, author of Strengths-Based Leadership, the chances of [click to continue…]

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Several months ago at a training event a manager at my table was complaining about her team. She said they were “high-maintenance” and they drained so much energy from her that she was completely and utterly exhausted by the end of the day. She would often close her office door to keep anyone from disturbing her as she worked.

As she talked about her team I could hear the contempt in her voice. Out of curiosity, I asked what she could do differently to improve the chances of a more positive outcome? Her response … “nothing.“

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I can honestly say … “I get it.” I know what its like to work in a competitive business climate where you find yourself trapped in the whirlwind. You get bogged down in the day-to-day work necessary to just maintain “business as usual.” The constant barrage of urgent priorities that demand your immediate attention leave you feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and stressed.

In the book, Play to Win by Larry & Hersch Wilson, they define a rather interesting [click to continue…]

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At the beginning of every leadership development seminar or workshop, I always ask the participants to share with me their greatest challenge. This helps me to customize the content and deliver information that is relevant.

While a few people mention specific skills they want to develop (i.e., give better feedback, conduct performance reviews, improve coaching, etc), most managers come to the workshop wanting to know how to fix the negative behaviors of their team. They are looking for strategies to make their team more motivated, to take more ownership, be more accountable, to change bad attitudes … just to name a few.

The following are 5 “old school” strategies that often generate the biggest problems for leaders and their teams.

  1. STOP focusing on their weaknesses! It is impossible to nurture a high-performing team when the leader points out everyone’s flaws and weaknesses. We all have them. A more effective strategy is to build a team that complements one another’s strengths and fills in [click to continue…]

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What It Takes to Become a Crucial Leader

by vplis on March 1, 2014

Today’s economy demands a new kind of leader. A courageous leader who pokes the box, challenges the status quo, or breaks the rules, even in the midst of an increasingly complex business climate. Anyone can follow a map, but remarkable leaders seize opportunities by designing the map!

Innovation.  It is not just a business strategy for the creative team or senior management. Innovation is the responsibility of everyone! From the c-suite to the front line, leaders must abandon the old philosophy “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and look for ways to create new methods, ideas, products or services to keep their competitive advantage.

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In a recent IBM study of 1,500 CEOs, over 60% cited creativity as the most crucial leadership quality needed over the next five years. However, another study reports a mere 26% of employees are often or regularly encouraged by their manager to look for new solutions or to take risks. More than a third (41% in the US) said they are never encouraged to do so. The irony … creativity is crucial in a thriving organization but very few leaders actually allow or encourage their employees to be creative. [click to continue…]

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My husband and I were blessed to take a vacation out west a few months ago. We absolutely love spending time in Arizona. We love renting a 4-wheel drive Jeep and going off road to explore the mountains and the desert.  It is simply amazing how the landscape changes from the tall ponderosa pine trees scaling the mountain sides in Flagstaff to the ominous mountains of brown rock covered in cactus in Phoenix, to the more flat terrain covered with blowing tumbleweed in Tucson.

Sedona, AZ

This year we decided to spend a couple days in Sedona. Our condo had a perfect view of one of Sedona’s signature red-rock mountains. When I walked out that afternoon onto our balcony, I was captured by one of the most breathtaking displays of God’s creation I had ever seen.

As I sat there trying to take in all the beauty of the red rock mountains, I realized that no matter the people or businesses that might come and go in that city … no matter the weather patterns that might come and go in that city — those magnificent red rock mountains would still be there. No matter what might be going on in the lives of the people who called Sedona their home, the one thing they could always count on to be a consistent part of their landscape would be the red rock mountains.  Life might bring about change, but the mountains would remain consistent.  And with that consistency, comes a sense of assurance and security.

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When I came up with the idea of writing a blog on the importance of “caring” for your employees as a leadership skill, it quickly became apparent that this was not some revolutionary idea. There has been a lot of talk around this topic dating back  to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs research from 1943 to 1954.

The research behind Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides compelling evidence that individuals are motivated by being a part of a close-knit group that expresses care, concern, and respect for one another. When their basic needs are met in the workplace, we (the leaders) benefit from our team reaching their remarkable potential!

Happy Boss

 

The dictionary defines CARING as “displaying kindness, concern, and empathy for others.”

Is this really such a bad thing? Is it possible we (as a team) could achieve remarkable results while displaying more kindness, more concern, or more empathy towards others?  I’m not talking about doing away with setting goals, raising the bar of excellence, setting high expectations, or throwing out accountability. No! I’m talking about making the process of achieving the goal equally as important as achieving the goal itself, therefore, emphasizing to the team that behaviors matter!

Here are just a few benefits of caring for your team. [click to continue…]

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In my last blog post I asked the question “Is there a need for civility in social media?” Since my post I have become more aware of the lack of simple human courtesy … and its not just in social media. Once I started looking I saw it everywhere. Whether you are at a restaurant, business meeting, or a family reunion, it is inevitable that someone will lose their cool and become anything but polite or courteous.

The dictionary defines civility as “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.” While it is a struggle at times to see this demonstrated, I hope the acts of politeness and courtesy are not a thing of the past.

Young Woman Sitting in Front of a Computer and Laughing

With today’s push for fast food, instant news, instant messaging delivered 24/7 to your smart device, and every news and online media source asking for an uninformed, uneducated opinion to a current event, is it possible we are becoming a society who is impatient and completely self-centered and self-absorbed?

Aside from the human decency perspective or the social responsibility of extending kindness and understanding to others, when we treat others with a lack of civility, we (or me being the person who is uncivil) ultimately lose. My behavior reinforces a professional  brand that is perceived by others as a positive or negative brand. And because I want to be seen as someone who is polite, professional, and polished, I am highly aware of the need to extend respect and courtesy to others, even when it is a stretch to do so.

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