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Archive for month: July, 2012

CEO’s: Why Social Media Should Be One of Your Top Executive Products

If you’ve been on the fence on whether to add social media as one of your executive products, there is no better time then now to begin!

New research continues to come in on how much consumers are using social media, but the numbers for CEO’s and executives doesn’t match up. In fact, according to an article on Harvard Business Review, called “Why CEO’s Should Use Social Media“, written by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott, only a fraction of executives consistently use these products.

Did you know that half of the population uses Facebook? And nearly 40% are using Twitter.

In comparison, only around 7% of CEO’s are taking advantage of Facebook and 4% are on Twitter. The only social media platform where executives outperform the general public is on LinkedIn. So what does this mean for you?

According to the article, IBM recently ran a survey among CEO’s and discovered that over the next 5 years, the percentage of executives using social media is expected to grow from 16% to 57%.

Why the sudden interest?

Top executives and business owners are becoming aware of what the consumer have known all along: Using social media is about creating connections!

Really as a CEO, the possibilities with using social media are endless.

How CEO’s Can Use Social Media

 

  • Engage customers to build relationships
  • Connect directly with suppliers or contractors
  • Express your mission and values
  • Immediately manage consumer questions
  • Develop groups for employees to interact
  • Obtain new contacts and connections
  • Create buzz about a new launch
  • Build trust and credibility

Recent study results from the BRANDFog 2012 CEO Survey, stated that an overwhelmingly 82% of respondents are more likely to trust companies who have a team or CEO visible and engaging on social media.

These results offer an opportunity to those CEO’s that are either already on social media or planning on becoming active.

Regardless of your product or service, your customers are hanging around on social media. Beginning the process now of becoming active and creating relationships, will put you ahead of the curve. When the floods of executives jump on board, you will already have strong and committed relationships built.

So, what are you waiting for?

Are you on social media already? What are your experiences? We’d love to hear your stories. Share them below or visit us on Facebook and share.

 

 

Sustaining Objectivity While Offering Executive Coaching and Consulting

This is for all consultants, coaches, and others who provide advice and counsel.  This is for all of you (us) who spend sleepless nights worrying about the success of others!

From executive coaching to being a leadership consultant, finding a way to be objective about a client, their project, their anticipated success is often a difficult line to walk.  It’s particularly challenging when a consultant’s orientation and value is:

I REALLY want you to be successful! I want you to be happy with your project AND with our work.”

Adding to the challenge in sustaining objectivity is the problem that sometimes, born of frustration and desire to do the right thing, these tapes might be running in our heads:

  • We’ve told you, and we’ve shown you—numerous times.  But you won’t listen!  
  • If you don’t want our advice, why did you hire us?
  • You’re standing at the entrance to business disaster—we really don’t want to go there with you.
  • We’re treating you professionally and with empathy.  When did we become your scapegoat?
  • …and other, sometimes even more unpleasant thoughts intrude on us!

This is normal, and natural for consultants who care and are committed.

We want so much for our clients to do the right thing, to succeed, to receive value from us, that sometimes we forget—it’s not our bed.  We’re only helping to make it.  We aren’t going to lie there forever.

We need to make sure we are ”providing the best advice we can, based on our experience and knowledge to make sure they can make a fully informed decision. We need to allow them to make that decision and then support them to the best of our abilities.”

It can be a difficult line to walk—to support, coach, advise, do all that is possible to ensure the clients’ success.  And then to know when it’s time to say, “It’s your call and, while we may disagree with the process/method/approach/decision, we will do all we can to support you.”

(And then go out and do…whatever it is that makes you feel better…sports, shopping, playing with your dog, or staying in bed on a Saturday morning.)

God bless consultants!

Top Activity on How to Develop Leaders

Looking for one of the best activities on how to develop leaders?

Whether you are looking to develop yourself or your management team, there are many tips and strategies available on how to take your leadership skills to the next level.

However, one of the steps that is often missed is going inward and learning who you are first. If you don’t know what makes you tick, then it is difficult to motivate and encourage others to become their best self too.

A great and inexpensive way to begin, is to start keeping a journal, or if you’d rather call a daily log–go for it.

Often when I bring up the idea of keeping a journal I get a lot of eyes rolling and deep sighs. For some reason, the thought of a middle school girl’s bright pink diary often comes to mind.

Just to give you a little peace of mind, this is not the type of journal I’m talking about.

If you take a look at this article written on Forbes by Daily Muse called, 6 Ways Keeping a Journal Can Help Your Career, there are some great points on how a journal can help with a career.

Taking it a step farther, a journal or daily log, can also help with your life, your business, and your leadership development.

Keep in mind what a journal looks like for each person is different. Some like to keep a voice recorder, some like to type it on a computer, and others enjoy the traditional paper and pen. The key is to find your style and stick with it.

Leader Development Through Journaling

 

1. Track good ideas. One of the most important impacts that a journal can have on your life and business is the ability to keep track of ideas that are good. The Forbes article talks about the timing of exceptional ideas and that they can come when you least expect them. When you have a journal nearby (or recorder or computer), you can add these ideas to your list.

2. Take away lessons. Throughout the course of a day, you are constantly learning lessons, good or bad. Keeping track of these lessons will give you a reference to refer to when needed.

3. Listen for advice. Whether it is a boss, coach, best friend, or a book, advice surrounds us on a daily basis. When you hear advice that is worth saving or even better savoring, write it down. You never know when you might need it again.

4. Blow off steam. There is no other place that is safer for blowing off steam than your journal. When you are angry or frustrated, it helps to get it out and then let it go.

5. Self admiration. You may think this sounds a little self indulgent, but if you can’t admire yourself, who else will? When someone compliments you, write them down. Keep track of what you do right and the successes you are experiencing, no matter how big or small.

6. Plan the future. One of the best actions to do with your journal is to dream and plan your future. Write down your future goals and where you want to be in 1, 5, even 10 years.

Keeping track of the intimate details of your inner thoughts, provides you a go to resource when you need it. Whether you are making long term goals, creating a great idea, or need a pick me up, your journal is one of the most valuable items for your personal and professional development–and it doesn’t need to cost a dime.

Do you journal? Share your experiences below or visit us on Facebook and share.

I’d love to hear from you–

Thanks,

Joy Pecchia, Executive Coach, Minneapolis

 

Stephen Covey: A Leader Who Influenced So Many

Before there was Dr. Phil and “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, there was Stephen Covey–a leader, a visionary, and an inspiration for so many.

This week the world heard the news that this great man passed away. His impact will never be forgotten. Through his words and insights, he helped pave the way for understanding mindset and how it affects life.

In honor of his passing, I’d like to share a few of my favorite quotes from Stephen Covey.

1. Management works in the system. Leadership works on the system.

2. Live out your imagination, not your history.

3. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

4. There are three constants in life…change, choice, and principles.

5. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

6. I teach people how to treat me by what I allow.

7. Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire from under you, chances are it will burn briefly.

8. It is easy to say, “no”! when there is a deeper “yes”! burning inside.

9. He who has a why can deal with any what or how.

10. The ability to manage well doesn’t make much difference if you’re not even in the right jungle.

As we say goodbye to a man who affected so many, we have an opportunity to revisit what he taught so well. RIP Stephan Covey and thank you for your impact on my life.

Getting Better and More Timely Responses: Questions and Respond-Bys

Tips and Techniques on Proper Email Etiquette

One of the challenges for an email sender (requester) is making sure that questions are answered. One of the challenges for an email receiver is finding the questions in an email.

Here’s a technique to help both the sender and the receiver for proper email etiquette.

Does it make you crazy when you ask several questions in an email, and they are all not answered? Then you ask again, waiting for the answer again—too much to-ing and fro-ing.

Options to fix this include:

• Only ask one question per email.  Effective, but not too efficient
• Make the questions stand out in the text.

A useful technique is to make the question a different color.  It’s easier to answer     what we notice!

Do you think this could work for you? 

When a deadline for response is requested…same challenges as above for both the sender and the receiver.  Part of the problem may be that the receiver doesn’t notice easily the date!

A good habit to adopt is to list the deadline FIRST and in bold in the email.  An example is:
Response to this email is needed by end of day, Friday, July 20th.

That gives the receiver an immediate heads-up about the urgency and timing of the response.  This may be especially helpful to people to don’t open every email, but only preview to get the gist of the message as they come in.

Do you think this could work for you? 

What Characteristics Describe the Most Effective Leader?

What separates a good leader from the most effective leader?

The question may surprise you, because maybe you are thinking that they are the same thing. However, you can be a good leader, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a great one or the most effective leader.

For example a good leader will be able to help when change is needed, by developing a plan to solve a problem. But, a great leader will foresee the problem happening and put the proper changes in place, preventing a problem from ever occurring.

Forbes recently posted an article called, Being a Great Leader Means You Go First, written by Todd Wilms. He discusses the three most important characteristics that separate a great leader from a good leader.

Keep in mind that being a great or the most effective leader may not always mean you are the most popular one. Your decisions may have you standing alone at times. However, with your vision in place, you can lead to success.

Characteristics of Great Leaders

 

1. Know what lies ahead–even around a corner. Whether it is you leading alone, or you leading with the help of adivors, seeing a clear road ahead of you will help you plan for problems and successes. To help you understand you path, make sure to:

  • Know what worked or didn’t work in the past
  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you
  • Pay attention and listen at all times

2. Always make the right choice–no matter how difficult it may seem. Making the right choice may not be the choice that everyone else wants you to make. However, you have information and insight that the crowd doesn’t understand. Make them understand why this is the choice. It is your job as a leader to bring your team on board.

3. Stand strong and don’t waver in your beliefs. You have a vision, a plan, and a set of beliefs. These are untouchable and need to never waver. Others will try to deter you or add their two cents to change your mind. You will hear opinion after opinion on what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing, but it is your job to stand your ground.

If being a good leader is enough for you, then don’t worry about these characteristics. However, if you strive to be a great leader and do great things, learn them and allow them to become part of who you are, each and everyday.

Thoughts on being the most effective leader? Do you agree with these characteristics? Share your comments below or visit us on Facebook and tell us what you think.

Strategy for Growth: Don’t Forget About Your Customers

Current customers are one of the most important aspects for your business strategy for growth.

Summertime is often a tough time for businesses to experience growth. Regardless of your business, the pace is slower, vacations are abundant, and the overall atmosphere is more relaxed–effecting your growth of business.

So what do you do, just accept it and wait?

It is so easy to get caught up in the everyday marketing efforts of finding new customers. However, if you need business now, one of the easiest places to look, is within your current customer base.

Why?

Enhancing your relationship with people who already love what you offer, ensures their loyalty for the duration–even during the slow months.

I recently read an article on Harvard Business Review, titled To Sell More, Focus on Existing Customers. This article, written by Rick Reynolds, discusses the importance of your current customers and how to ensure you are making your relationship with them sustainable.

Strategy for Growth: Tips on Strengthening Relationships With Current Customers

 

1. Develop customer service skills. Reynolds recommends that whether you have a frontline staff or you are the frontline staff, invest in customer service training. Those who deal directly with customers on a regular basis need to understand all aspects of your company, including protocol and procedures.

2. Be responsive. Regardless of whether a customer is unhappy or thrilled, when they contact you and your business, be responsive. Acknowledge what they have to say and be committed to their needs.

3. Become the expert they expect. To develop your customers into raving fans, be proactive in developing a product or service that showcases your expertise. Don’t let your offerings go stale–remain innovative and have them wanting more.

4. Understand expectations. Your job is to meet expectations of your customers. However, if you are not sure what the requirements or expectations are, how can you meet or exceed them? Be sure you are not misleading and giving them what they expect.

Regardless of whether it is the summer slow season or the beginning of the year growth spurt, taking care of your existing customers first, ensures your growth and business sustainability. You already have a relationship, so enhancing it will provide you the growth you need.

Start with your existing clients first, then focus on new ones.

Ready to implement this strategy for growth? Have questions on where to get started? Ask them below or visit us on Facebook, where we would love to connect.

Corporate Limbo and Its Effect on Growth of Business

Can being in limbo really impact your growth of business?

Worse than a root canal, more frustrating than being put on hold by Accounts Receivable when THEY didn’t log your payment, more irritating than non-working signal lights at a busy intersection—asking for something and not knowing when or if you’ll ever get a reply!

Limbo—you don’t know when it’s going to end…you just wait, and wait…

Maybe even leading to an impact on your growth of business.

If you send a request for something—answer to a question, additional information, “please review”, and so on—and you are NOT in limbo, then everyone wants YOUR correspondence list!

What to do to free people from Limbo:

 

  1. Answer promptly.  Promptly for us is defined as 24 hours. (No-brainer here!)
  2. Reply with “I’m unable to focus on this right now, but will get back to you by….” And then actually do it!

While the second technique does run the risk of MORE emails to read—you will know what to expect.  You will have the opportunity to say “Please focus NOW—this is HOT.”

And both parties will receive validation that we ARE important to each other.  Working collaboratively means “never having to say you’re sorry” when you get the 2nd or 3rd request for the same thing!