SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well do you push your own thinking before involving others?

  • Very well — I advance ideas as much as possible before relying on others: 59.4%
  • Well — I could stand to do a little more thinking though: 36.32%
  • Not well — I’m overly reliant on others to advance the thinking: 3.42%
  • Poorly — I rarely advance the thinking before involving others: .85%

Think Then Think Some More. Investing time thinking through your ideas is worth the effort. It increases efficiency as you’re not wasting a stakeholder’s time by having them think through something you can figure out. It builds your skills in terms of creativity and anticipation. It also improves your reputation as a more strategic thinker. So the next time you’re about to involve a stakeholder in your thoughts, pause and ask yourself if you’ve thought about the issue as much as you can. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How effectively do content marketing efforts (blogs, white papers, etc.) drive action by your customers?

  • Extremely — our content marketing drives great lead generation: 6.06%
  • Generally — our content sometimes sparks new conversations with prospects/clients: 34.55%
  • Not at all — our content generates few, if any, comments, feedback or leads: 36.97%
  • Not the point — we only publish content because everyone else does: 4.24%
  • Not relevant — we have much higher priorities than content marketing: 18.18%

Increase Your Return. “That’s Marketing’s job.” Sorry but if you think content marketing is only the purview of marketers, you’re missing a big opportunity. Thought leadership is your product and the leaders in your organization have plenty of it. If you’re not tapping into it, you’re missing out. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Where does the biggest threat to your organization come from?

  • From within — we’re our own worst enemies: 76.82%
  • From the outside — the market is our biggest threat 23.18%

Why is this so hard? It’s surprising and discouraging how many of you feel like the biggest threat to your organization’s success comes from within. 77% is a staggering number. Remember – change can start with you. Spend some time identifying the biggest roadblocks (politics, personalities, decision making approaches, bureaucracy) and resolve to fix some part of that – even a small one – every week. Enlist others to do the same. Change is slow and painful but 77% of you being in your own way hurts even more.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.” (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How important is a SWOT analysis in your strategic planning efforts?

  • Critical — you can’t have a strategic plan without a SWOT: 22.76%
  • Very — a SWOT is an important element of the plan: 34.14%
  • Somewhat — a SWOT can help but it’s not required: 20.00%
  • Not very — a SWOT has marginal value in planning: 5.86%
  • Not at all — a SWOT is a waste of time: 1.38%
  • What’s a SWOT analysis?: 15.86%

Understand the Market and Your Position. A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is clearly an important element of any strategic plan. For those who see it as less important, I suspect it’s because the SWOT is done and then disregarded. To use it effectively, think through the implications of the SWOT. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How much professional reading do you do each month?

  • A ton — more than 5 books per month: 3.82%
  • A lot — 2-3 books per month: 13.25%
  • Some — 1 book per month: 24.5%
  • Little — a book every few months: 42.57%
  • None — I don’t have time for it or interest in it: 15.86%

Reading is Fundamental. It’s a bit surprising and somewhat distressing that leaders are reading so little with almost 60% of you stating you do “little” to “none” in terms of professional reading. Time sounds like a convenient excuse but I’ll challenge that assertion. If you add up the time you spend watching TV, cat videos, and being on social media, I’m sure you can carve out a portion of it for reading. (read more…)