Print“What helps people, helps business.” —Leo Burnett

Last week, I got a much-needed haircut. I went to see Rodger, who has been cutting my hair for 13 years. In that time, he has become a great friend and mentor. Rodger has opened a number of high-end salons with his wife, Lisa, and they’ve created the kind of environment that builds loyal customers for life. The energy from his team is awesome, and I constantly reflect on what billion-dollar companies could learn from their small yet meaningful business.

After another great experience, I drove home and pushed myself to articulate why I love getting my haircut with Rodger. Furthermore, I wanted to find words to describe his team and why they’re so unique. It’s funny how experience drives emotion. Instead of finding strategic words my business school professors would be proud of, I kept reflecting on a basic human need. You see, the reason I love my haircuts is simply this: Rodger and his team make me feel like I matter. (read more…)

There is one thing, one talent that matters more than all of the training, titles and corner offices combined could lend to your ability to lead. It doesn’t matter if you’re a top executive or a junior admin – it can lend the same weight.

That skill is influence, and can also be practiced, honed and refined. That’s correct — you can and must increase your influence on your own; no one can bestow it upon you.

People are attracted to leaders they can believe in. Whether you’re just starting out, or managing a team of dozens, people both above and below you want and need to see that you can inspire others and bring about positive change. No matter where you sit within an organization or in your life, you can make an impact.

So what is influence? Influence is your ability to alter or change a situation. Depending on the stage of your career, you may be able to do this by providing a welcome opinion, making certain critical things get done, or by making the final decision on moving forward with a project or initiative. (read more…)

Leaders must be the type who look at the glass as half-full versus half-empty. Why?

People need to be inspired, and they will only feel inspired if their leader is positively disposed — and joyful.

A leader inclined to be positive is one who looks at challenges as opportunities. A leader inclined to pessimism is one who sees challenges as roadblocks. One way to spread joy is let people know two things. One, you care about the work. Two, you care about them as people. That gives people joy.

Caring about them really means talking about the work, having a meaningful conversation about what they are doing, and how they are contributing. You provide them with resources and support, and you recognize them for success.

That is joyful.


John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. (read more…)

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

In a moving video talk, comedian Michael Jr. describes the power of knowing your “why.” In it, he showed an audience a clip from a different event, in which he asked a member of that audience to sing the opening stanzas from “Amazing Grace.” The gentleman, a music teacher, began in a deep baritone and sang the refrain flawlessly.

After praising his performance, the comedian asked the teacher to do it again, but this time painted a scenario of true appreciation, such as a family member being released from prison. Not surprisingly, the second performance far outshone the first. This time, the song was performed with added feeling and emotion. The words were more animated and the tone was deeper and richer. Michael Jr. concluded that, “When you know your ‘why,’ then your ‘what’ has more impact, because you’re working towards your purpose.”

Leadership expert Simon Sinek calls this “the golden circle.” He says that it’s not enough to know what you do and how you do it. (read more…)

Although business leaders try to boost performance by enforcing rules, their efforts lead, ironically, to disengagement and apathy, and an estimated 70% of employees in the United States remain miserable in their jobs.

The issue lies in employee morale. To create an inspired, high-performing workforce, leaders should promote five basic human values: positive assumptions, trust, inclusion, challenge, and recognition.

By making these into core company values, leaders can motivate employees to do their best work and to spread positive energy. Incorporate each value into your daily operations in the following ways:

1. Positive assumptions

Leaders who have built highly successful teams share many high-performance attributes. One is so subtle and uncomplicated that it’s often overlooked: cultivating positive beliefs about people.

Assumptions about people — positive or negative — drive your behavior, which, in turn, drives their behaviors. It’s difficult to embody the other values on the list without adopting this foundational principle. (read more…)