Growing leaders grow organizations! This is something I’ve talked about and written about for many years, but my emphasis has been almost exclusively on the “growing leaders” part of the phrase. In recent years, my passion for helping leaders has not waned, but I have new energy for helping leaders “grow organizations.”

If your focus, like mine, has been on helping individual leaders grow, congratulations! You may be perfectly positioned to take your organization to the next level. Personal leadership capacity is a prerequisite for growing organizations, but the strongest leaders alone cannot do what a strong organization can do. The collective force of scores, hundreds, even thousands of people working together can accomplish and sustain remarkable results.

Several years ago, I had the privilege to lead a team to explore what growing, vibrant, healthy organizations look like, and more importantly, what makes them so powerful. After a multi-year exploration and scores of conversations with leaders of amazing organizations, our team reached four primary conclusions. (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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Q. What is one thing I can do to inspire my team to work harder than we have been in order to meet goals without damaging morale?

yec_Nicolas Gremion21. Have a clear finish line

One of the best things about running a marathon is hitting that finish line, which everyone participating knows is 26.2 miles away. Likewise, make sure your team knows where your finish line is, and what they’ll get for crossing it (a break, for example). This will act as a motivator. Having no (or an improbable) finish line can be very damaging. (read more…)

Leading others effectively is a balancing act. A leader is charged with getting work done through others while maintaining decorum and possibly even creating workplace inspiration at the same time!

In most organizations, the only metrics that are consistently measured, monitored and rewarded are performance numbers — projects completed on time, analysis and reports done, operating within budgeted parameters, profitability, etc. Leaders can easily get caught up in the “tidal wave” of an exclusive focus on results.

Results are certainly an important thing, but they’re not the only important thing. Workplace sanity and civility are equally important!

We know this is true because our best bosses made sure our work environment was a safe and respectful one. They inspired our performance while making us feel valued, trusted and honored. And, they ensured that we treated our colleagues with the same respect.

Despite these “best boss” experiences, many of our organizations today focus entirely on results. (read more…)

These days you can’t go a week without hearing about the virtues of flexible schedules. They greatly reduce absenteeism and environmental impact, and spur faster company growth.

As the workforce becomes more and more mobile, the 9-to-5 grind is becoming less and less attractive. But for every company that gets lauded for instituting a four-day work week or allowing employees to make their own schedules, there are hundreds of “in-between” companies that hear the benefits loud and clear, but are unable to affect a major policy change for various reasons.

Working 9 to 5

Case in point: We send thousands of products to our customers each month (the core of our business), and we are beholden to the 9-5 expectancy of shipping providers. Could we institute a four-day work week for our office workers? It would mean re-examining how we do business on a fundamental level, and not just with shipping — the majority of our customers work 9 to 5, Monday through Friday as well, and we end up basing project-management expectations, customer service schedules and team meetings on their availability. (read more…)

Imagine that one of your best employees came into your office and said that he wasn’t happy with his job because you don’t focus enough on career development. How would you respond? Would you even know what he was talking about?

Leaders tend to think career development and career advancement are interchangeable terms; however, these are two very different concepts.

Career development is the lifelong journey of a person’s work identity. It’s the big-picture view of someone’s ultimate career goal and includes her years of education, training and jobs. Career advancement is a short-term step or goal — just one part of the bigger career development picture.

Not everyone wants both. Traditionally, people viewed career advancement as moving up the corporate ladder through promotions, but business leaders should avoid falling into the trap of thinking that’s what everyone wants. Some employees want opportunities to develop in their current roles.

It’s important to engage with employees in a way that motivates them, which is easier to do when you understand their goals. (read more…)