Teams

How Are You Filling Your Idea Pipeline?

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I’ve just been reading a terrific new book called High-Profit Prospecting by my friend and colleague Mark Hunter. Mark is a consummate sales professional, and his book is about how to keep your sales pipeline full so that you never run out of valuable prospects.

I’m not a sales professional, but I am an idea professional. And, just like I think it’s vital for people in the sales business to keep their sales pipelines full, I think it’s ...

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What Does it REALLY Mean to Be a Producer?

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“So, what does a producer really do?”

During my 15 years as the Executive Producer of Seattle’s hit comedy TV show Almost Live!, I was asked that question a lot. Many times by members of my own staff.

“What does a producer really do?”

I used to answer that question from a very specific, TV-centric focus. Made sense, right? I mean, I was a TV producer, after all.

But after working with thousands of leaders in hundreds of industries, I’ve realized that what I ...

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Are You About to Lose One of Your Best Employees?

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I’m angry at Janie’s boss.

I don’t know Janie’s boss. I’ve never met Janie’s boss. But I do know Janie. Janie is one of the most diligent, hard-working, eager-to-learn people I’ve ever met. But because Janie’s boss doesn’t understand one of the basic rules of leadership, Janie is being made to feel like a failure in her job, and is thinking about leaving. So what’s the rule that Janie’s boss doesn’t understand? It’s this:

It’s a leader’s job to create an environment ...

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Great Teams Focus on the Mission, Not the Squabbles

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This weekend I was lucky enough to have VIP seats to see a performance by the U.S. Navy’s precision flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. They are, by any standard, an incredible team. They fly 18 inches apart at 400 miles per hour, while simultaneously doing coordinated turns and maneuvers — all of this in a plane that costs $56 million. And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, think about how mad you were when you got that ...

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Are You Playing to Your Strengths Every Day?

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Yesterday I was the closing keynoter for a conference of credit union leaders. One of the speakers who was on before me mentioned what was, to me, a startling statistic. He said that the average credit union CEO spends roughly 60% of his or her day just dealing with regulatory red tape. For the record (in case you’re not a credit union professional), this is not the best or most productive use of the CEO’s time. Which begs the question:

Are ...

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Why Leaders Need to be More Like Shakespeare

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Leaders should be intelligent, right? I mean, it doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s kind of the ideal. We want our leaders—community, corporate, political—to be intelligent.

But what kind of intelligent?

There are some leaders who know everything there is to know about their industry. Other leaders have read dozens—maybe even hundreds—of books about leadership. Some leaders are particularly strong in emotional intelligencwilliam-shakespeare-62936_1280 Continue Reading →

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Is This the Key to an Interesting Life?

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“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.”

~ Samuel Johnson

If there were a “magic bullet” trait for living an interesting (and interested) life, I would have to echo Dr. Johnson’s sentiments and go with curiosity.

I’ve found that the most intelligent, the most interesting, and the most creative people that I know tend to also be the most curious.

[You: “Curious about what?”]

[Me: “Good! You’re curious about that! Way to go!”]

Curious about, well, everything. These people have ...

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A “Basic” Trick to Boost Your Team’s Creativity

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Imagine this: There’s a crisis looming in your business.

[You: “Why do you have to be so negative, Bill?”]

 [Me: “Fair point. Let’s reset.”]

Imagine this: There’s an opportunity looming in your business. [You: “Thank you.”] And now you need your team to come up with creative ideas to best take advantage of this great opportunity. You want them to “think outside of the box.” You want them to “go wild!” You tell them, “Let your imaginations flow!” You expect magic.

And instead, you ...

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Why Aren’t You Hearing Your Team’s Best Ideas?

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Why are the people on the frontline such dullards? I mean, really, these people couldn’t come up with a creative idea if their jobs depended on it. Thank goodness you don’t expect too much from them, right? Because if God forbid, your business somehow depended on them for creativity, you’d be in serious trouble! Am I right?

No, I’m not right. I’m very, very wrong. And if the above paragraph sounds like either you or your business, you are very, very ...

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Are You Killing the Creativity in Your Business?

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“Creativity” is one of those things (like its close cousin “risk-taking”) that nearly all leaders love to hail, praise, and rhapsodize over. So why is actual creativity in the workplace so rare?

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It’s because hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing are free and have no consequences. (Although, actually, they do; more on that later.) It’s kind of like hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing ...

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