Archive for Leadership

Controlling vs Empowering Leadership

The function of LEADERSHIP is to produce more leaders, not more followers. Although leaders have a vision and ability to make that vision a reality, they differ in the means and tactics they use to accomplish that vision. James MacGregor Burns, in his classic book Leadership, indicated that there are two types of leaders: Those who lead through control and coercion; and those who lead by inspiring and empowering others. You want to be in the latter group, because that is the effective approach.

Let’s focus on some of the characteristics of an empowering leader since that is what we want to be.

  • Empowerers are people who accomplish their objectives by creating an environment that elicits the internal motivation and commitment of those they lead.
  • They view the people they lead as capable human beings with their own will, feelings and opinions.
  • They seek mutually beneficial goals and even seek to raise those they lead to higher levels of motivation, behavior and even morality.
  • These leaders, according to Burns, judge their effectiveness not by press clippings, but by actual social change or the transformation of individual and organizational attitudes and behaviors.

As leaders, to empower those you lead, establish the boundaries and encourage people to be self governing in how they execute within the boundaries. To put it simply, the leader defines the “what” and the people decide the “how” for themselves. This approach is a whole lot better than issuing directives. Some elements that define the boundaries within which people are expected to work are:

· Expected Outcomes

· Resources

· Time Frames

· Constraints

Therefore, be an empowering leader, unleash the full potential of your people and create a win-win situation, you have content people/employees and your organizational results improve.

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Are We Falling Behind in Employee Development?

Many firms are taking a wait-and-see approach to providing their employees with the necessary training and development opportunities until the impact of the government’s interaction in the financial services and banking sectors is known, and companies move closer to the growth mode. Do not wait, take action now and give yourself and your staff the leadership and accountability advantage that K&A Solutions’ seminars or programs offer.

A lack of investment in employees is threatening the ability of many leading industrialized countries to maintain global competitiveness in the post-recession economy. A study by Cognisco, entitled “Knowledge - The New Commodity,” highlights that developed countries such as the U.S. and UK are likely to face the biggest challenge due to a decrease in spending on knowledge development in response to the recession. In comparison, according to the 301 firms surveyed in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s February 2009 Asia Business Outlook Survey, few businesses in emerging Asian markets plan to decrease training budgets. This contrasts with industrialized countries, where a large number of firms are cutting employee investment rather than increasing it.

As a manager, your success is measured not simply by your individual contribution, but by how well you get the work done with and through others. During a recession, managerial effectiveness is vital to organizational success and there is little room for compromise. Our Leadership program provides management training in the skills every manager must have in order to achieve team synergy and success.

Learn how to fine-tune your management style; create an atmosphere where motivation can flourish; use coaching as a tool to improve performance and job satisfaction; and communicate more effectively up, down and across the organization. Take the training program and you will be able to tackle your challenges with confidence and drive performance for you and your team.

The importance of management skills for administrative professionals also goes beyond heightened professional growth and career development, especially during a recession when the demands made on their abilities can quickly multiply. The benefits of management skills for administrative professionals, as well as for the team they support, are numerous. More effective communication, increased efficiency and a greater ability to handle conflict are just a few of the results of enhanced management skills for administrative professionals. Sign your administrative professionals or potential managers for the Compass program.

The Compass program is ideal for seasoned administrative professionals, including executive secretaries, administrative assistants, secretaries or other members of the administrative support staff who are striving to refine their management skills in order to enhance their careers and add to their organization’s effectiveness. New supervisors with less than three years of supervisory experience, process and production supervisors will also benefit from the Compass training.

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In troubled times, businesses need to retain and nurture their talents

Throughout the business world, the battle continues, cut costs to the bone. However, in the midst of downsizing it is dangerous to view the continued development of your people as a cost. The truth is that training is more imperative in a recession than when things are stable. Employees are a company’s long term advantage and organizations that fail to continue to invest in their people will risk their own survival.

It is important to create an environment that supports the participant’s successful transition from program learning to producing valuable results on the job. The programs that we offer at K&A Solutions covers how to apply the Universal Principles, learned during the courses, to real life situations at work or in your personal life to add value, linking to business objectives and key result metrics.

Businesses need to organize leadership efforts around high performance and excel in every aspect of their operations. To achieve that, they must develop high performance leaders throughout their organizations, who in turn must build high performance teams. These teams must develop and implement high performance strategies, and all of these ‘musts’ need to be perfectly aligned in order for the whole to work.

Building a high performance organization requires a special blend of leadership, strategy and teamwork. The recipe for success is different for every organization, but the ingredients are much the same. If you are not sure where to start, my recommendation is, if you ‘must’, start with leadership. Outstanding results can be achieved by changing the way work is organized and empowering the people who do that work. This is known as high performance work systems! A survey of the literature found that high performance companies achieve an average of 37% higher productivity on various measures of success.

At K&A Solutions, our purpose is to help businesses or organizations become high performing, to enable them to achieve:

 Excellent Customer Service
 Increased Profitability
 Reduced Operating Costs
 Improved Efficiency and Cycle Time
 A Culture of Commitment, Trust and Collaboration among Employees

Empower your employees, provide them with the appropriate training and you will not need to tightly manage them, they will take ownership and view their job as their responsibility and they will be prepared to deal with changes brought on by the environment. Take Southwest for example, due to environmental changes, they developed their 20 minute turnaround time due to cash constraints, they had fewer planes but they got them back in the air quicker. They developed a discipline in this adversity, which has served them well through today.

We all know that real change requires commitment and hard work. Therefore, take action to eliminate waste, improve quality, provide better customer service, redefine your leadership role from one of controlling to one of empowering others and become high performing and competitive. Call us NOW to assess what your needs are, you cannot go wrong with that move.

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Set your GOALS for 2009 and ACHIEVE them for REAL ……….. no kidding.

Happy New Year!!!

Goals help you see things as they could be, not as they are. Ask yourself “why not?” instead of “why” and live your dreams now, set goals for 2009 and beyond and turn things around and make life better than it was in 2008 for yourself, your family, your friends, your community and ………….all.

If you want to achieve success beyond your wildest aspirations, live a life of passion and purpose; live your BEST life NOW; achieve all your dreams and goals, no matter how grand they may be, you CAN. Simply Perform on Purpose, by moving from the SYMPTOMATIC Performance up to the SYSTEMATIC High Performance.

This article may be long, but it is interesting, so read along ……..

The Competency Grid

Let’s take a look at the competency grid, which clearly shows the progression from “Not Knowing and Not Aware” clueless and blundering through life to “Intuitive and Instinctive” where every action you take moves you effortlessly towards success.
Where do you see yourself on the grip? Be as honest as you can with yourself, because guess what, you do not need to tell anyone, this will help you look into your inner self and figure out what you need to do.

Stage-1: Unconscious Incompetence.

Stage-2: Conscious Incompetence.

Stage-3: Conscious Competence.

Stage-4: Unconscious Competence.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people in the world, men and women alike, in every walk of life have in common? How did they achieve such spectacular success? Each transformed his or her VISION into outstanding Results over Time. You can too!

Stage-1: Unconscious Incompetence.

You may or may not know something is wrong. You may not even be AWARE that you have a problem, let alone serious issues with your performance. It seems like dark forces are holding you back from all that you are meant to be. You work hard, but have the feeling that there’s an easier way, a smarter way, but you just don’t know what it is.

Going through the same motions, day after day, you hope and pray that someone will step in to help you. You know that something is not quite right, but fail to see the warning signs. Of course you are willing to do the work, but have no clue what you need to do differently to break free of the self-imposed bondage you have put yourself and your family in. So you wish and wait, burning up precious time in the endless cycle that we call “getting ready to get ready.”

The key is to recognize the SYMPTOMS, and quickly find or get the CURE!

Stage-2: Conscious Incompetence.

At this stage, you can SEE exactly, step-by-step, what you need to do differently to produce far greater results in far less time. You become VERY AWARE of your strengths and weaknesses. You are CONSCIOUSLY AWARE that all your symptoms are the logical extension of Stage-1 Performance issues, manifested in your life.

You are highly AWARE that these symptoms will persist until you DO something to make them GO AWAY. You still haven’t DONE anything differently YET, but you feel better because you KNOW that these symptoms all have a common CAUSE. The good news is that almost NOBODY stays at Stage-2 for long. The great news is that once you KNOW there is a CURE for Stage-1 Symptoms, almost NOBODY moves backward to oblivious cluelessness!

Stage-3: Conscious Competence.

Now that you can actually SEE what’s standing between you and your goals, it’s easy to systematically take smarter actions. You are now AWARE of your performance positives and negatives, you quickly amplify your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses. Put simply, you know what to do, and you do it!
You become a paragon of efficiency and effectiveness, you find new ways of working smarter, competing smarter and living smarter.

You are “working” your Personal Bookmark daily.
Stage-3 Competence becomes a simple matter of doing your 4 R’s with increasing frequency:

You do the RIGHT Things consistently…

You do things the RIGHT Way consistently…

You do them at RIGHT Time consistently…

You do them for the RIGHT Reasons consistently…

Stage-4: Unconscious Competence.

This is the fun part! You instinctively take smarter actions. You intuitively make smarter choices. Your performance is on cruise control, quickly moving you towards the success you desire.

Stage-4 performance is where you do the impossible and make it look effortless! At this stage, your self-confidence virtually explodes, your self-esteem is magnified a thousand fold. You are at the pinnacle of success, looking down from amazing heights with no fear of falling and no fear of failing!

You are living your Purpose, because you are Performing on Purpose. You are a Purpose-driven Success. This stage is what makes great athletes, top sales people and executives. It gives you the power to achieve all your dreams and goals.

Stage 4 performance gives you the power to ACHIEVE the success you truly desire, both personally and professionally. This is High Expectations coupled with Brilliant Execution. This is where all your hard work pays off.

Put simply, the “secret” to success is only 4 words long: High Expectations - Brilliant Execution.

2009 is right around the Corner

Therefore, for 2009 if you are not already there, why not become successful on purpose? Get out of the heartbreak of Stage-1 performance and live in Stage-4. If nothing else, it is easier to be a success rather than to put up with all those Stage-1 symptoms!

After all, who WERE the most successful people on Earth BEFORE you ever heard of them? That’s right, people with a dream… just like YOU… but along the way they developed the POWER to meet or exceed growing Expectations.

You CAN too! Just move up to Stage-4 Unconscious Competence.

You can achieve results beyond expectations. You can become all that you are meant to be. You can live the life of your dreams, live your best life, starting right now, not sometime, someday, maybe. The secret to success can be stated in just four words: Expect More - Execute Better.

Want to be WEALTHY; POWERFUL; HAPPY; Greater Peace of Mind; More Fulfilling Relationships; Greater Job Satisfaction; Be Your Own Boss; More Energy; Unstoppable Achievement; Greater Freedom; Make a Bigger Difference; More Exciting Dreams; Realize Your Dreams; Greater Self-Confidence in difficult situations; Freedom from Bad Habits; Great Adventure; Freedom from Monotony; Stop Worrying; End Procrastination; Relief from Stress; Reason to Get Up in the Morning; Passion to Live; Become Inspiring; Become Amazing; Stop Wishing and Waiting; Make Every Day Your Best Day?
Then Expect More - Execute Better.

How do you do that? Raise your Expectations, perform so that you meet or exceed them.

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Keep Up to Date as Trends Change

Many companies are going to great lengths today to understand future patterns of talent supply and demand, enhancing hiring and retention practices, tapping underemployed resources, utilizing more flexibility with available employees and getting involved in talent initiatives.

Interestingly, the concept of “shoring” is being expanded beyond the regular off-shoring, because the labor costs continue to rise all over the world. Now we have options such as, nearshoring - creating operations in nearby foreign countries, inshoring - using shared services or homeshoring - telecommuting and other alternatives. Be creative and invest in your most important assets, your employees and get the best out of them.

It is important to realize that cost can be reduced, not only through technology improvements, but more importantly through HIGH PERFORMING EMPLOYEES. Therefore, there is a big payback to keeping employees continuously trained and up to date. Employees that receive continuous training know the Company has a vested interest in their success and are committed to their long term well being and give back by planning and executing assignments effectively. As said by SHRM, every night your most important assets walk out of the door, so let’s help you make sure they come back the next morning.

One does not necessarily have to double speed all the time to double productivity; one can increase results by combining complimentary tasks, projects or roles. Plan ahead and look for ways to maximize time, such as, prior to beginning a task, see if there is anything else that could be done simultaneously. By finding a way to do two things in the same block of time, one can achieve twice the results with little extra effort. This makes one more productive and efficient, helping move towards the expected results. Planning is imperative!

We all have dreams and aspirations and we owe it to ourselves to turn those dreams into REALITY. However, if we never get around to taking the necessary action, we will never achieve the results that we want and achieve the success we desire. So turn those Dreams into Goals and turn the goals into Plans and turn the plans into Explicit or Specific Actions.

Having a grand mission, a wonderful attitude, remarkable organizational skills, exceptional time management, physical strength and mental energy without taking action will only leave you wishing and waiting. Be empowered and take control of your destiny and make those dreams real to achieve the success you desire. Will Power to Succeed is pure determination necessary to triumph over fear, uncertainty and doubt as you move towards your most cherished dreams and goals. Training helps put it all into perspective for you, so cease the opportunity and keep learning, make TRAINING or LEARNING a life long practice.

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You always need good ambassadors for your business - Your Employees

The current economy and the uncertainties in wall street may be impacting your business operations on a day to day basis. At first it may seem like a challenge, but you can turn it into an opportunity and move ahead. One thing we can depend on, is having good employees and leadership that are reliable and would deliver, even in times like this.

As we all know, the financial crisis is not impacting only wall street, it is having an effect on main street as well. This gives us a great opportunity to look at what we are doing carefully and see what we can change quickly to impact our cash flow and bottom line. Some businesses are doing well or okay and others are feeling the pinch, so regroup and look at your priorities.

To keep the business running smoothly, you need well trained, reliable and dependable employees. Keep in mind, there are ways that companies of all sizes can compete for top notch talent and few employees leave their current job solely for more money. If your company pays within a competitive range, most employees will not switch for a salary increase. There are two main reasons why employees stay with you: the work atmosphere and the supplementary benefits the employees have become used to. These are advantages that any size company can use and they can be effective in both attracting qualified new hires and retaining your current employees.

First, it is necessary to provide a competitive base salary; therefore if your salaries are 25% below market, you will lose your employees, so you need to reassess that. A basic medical coverage program at a reasonable cost to the employee is also essential. Any other additional benefits you choose to offer helps and it depends on your business needs and budget. It is important not to extend yourself too much by trying to offer everything, pick those benefits that best meet the needs of your employees and work within your business plan.

The cost for retaining good employees will still be less than the cost to replace and train a new employee. Keep in mind that the only thing worse than losing a trained employee is keeping an untrained one. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep the continuity in training at all times. Ask yourself this question; why do trainers or sport stars for basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming, gymnastics to name a few, train continuously? They have to keep in shape and it is critical for them to keep the continuity if they want to do better. In the same way, it is essential to continuously learn or train your employees or yourselves.

To create a strong brand in your business, you need to understand that your employees are your brand. More than anything else, they build trust or break it, create terrific experiences or terrible ones, or form emotional connections with customers or create a gap. Creating a culture where employees represent your brand requires open communication, respect, trust and the employees need to be inspired by their leaders. Share your mission, vision, values and strategy with your employees and as long as they understand and connect with your corporate vision, they will incorporate that vision in their day to day operations on the front lines.

Your employees are your ambassadors to the public and when there is an emotional bond with your brand, they provide fantastic customer experiences. They WOW your customers. Therefore engage your Employees, and differentiate yourself from your Competition!

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The Focus of Leadership

Choosing service over self-interest.

American newspaper commentator Walter Lippmann defined leaders as “the custodians of a nation’s ideals, the beliefs it cherishes, of its permanent hopes, of the faith which makes a nation out of a mere aggregation of individuals.”

Custodians. The word means a keeper, a guardian, or a caretaker. It is a proactive word that implies action on the part of the bearer. Custodians hold something in trust on behalf of others. It is not a behavior motivated out of self-interest.

A custodian then, is an individual who upholds what is best for all people even if it may not be in their own interest to do so. A custodial role must be approached as a temporary role, preserving something greater than the self—principles of enduring and lasting value. This is an attitude of mind that focuses on the task at hand and not on what the leader may gain from the position. It implies a caring and concerned relationship between leaders and followers; individuals motivated by their constituents’ best interests.

This idea seems at odds with what we see happening around us today. In all too many arenas, we see many of our leaders holding nothing in trust for those they purport to serve but advancing only their own ideals and hopes.Today, it is often difficult to tell if our leaders are serving themselves or us. And it is all too common to find leaders simply helping themselves to privilege and power. Mismanagement, deceit, greed, and frying-pan-into-the-fire problem solving all beg the question, “Where are our leaders leading?” “To whom can we look to for the direction we need?” Is Lippmann’s statement merely an idealistic, unrealizable dream?
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