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…)

Your team is made up of some of the best — you have seen them in action and you know they’re great players. Every day, you see them minimize risk, manage issues and deliver quality work. They almost always execute flawlessly and you trust them to get the job done, praising and motivating them to perform well. Do you trust them enough to let them make mistakes?

There’s value to being able to follow a known path and complete the work, but we all know that projects (and lives) rarely follow a script. There are always unknowns and unexpected issues, no matter how well you plan.

Think about these specific questions:

  • Do your employees feel confident that they can tackle the day-to-day challenges with creativity and innovation?
  • Are they free to try something new, welcome to suggest taking a chance that might deliver faster, cheaper or better results?
  • Do they know you’ll be there with them, not there against them, if it doesn’t work out?
  • (read more…)

A few weeks ago we kicked off our series, ”Moving Up the Value Chain of Speaking Approaches” with a look at the Expert presentation approach.

If you missed the previous articles in the series, see:

Business leaders know firsthand the importance of aligning a team and galvanizing members to take action. To achieve this result, you need to convey information and connect with your audience. When your presentation goes beyond sharing information and includes a call to action, the Interpreter speaking approach will help you to rise to the occasion and ensure your success.

When to take the Interpreter approach

As an Interpreter, you’re in the moving business. Your job is to move people from point A to point B. Many times that goal translates as moving listeners from the “status quo” to a new way of operating. (read more…)

The annual performance appraisal might be among the most reviled of time-honored workplace traditions. And it makes sense.

Managers must invest countless hours in a process that endeavors to boil a year’s worth of a human being’s contribution down to a series of check boxes, numeric ratings, and bulleted highlights. Employees — those human beings whose contributions are being over-simplified — may look forward to a chance to discuss their performance (since those conversations generally happen infrequently) but often leave feeling empty, demoralized, and undervalued.

As organizations like Microsoft, Adobe Systems, and The Gap jump ship on the traditional performance appraisal and the press continues to pummel this business practice, one might wonder if the annual performance review will soon go the way of the dinosaurs. Likely not! At least not until the value it’s intended to bring can be re-created through other means.

Performance appraisals are designed to serve multiple masters:

  • At the organizational level, they provide critical information for workforce alignment, succession planning, compensation calibration and budgeting.
  • (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 common mistake leaders make during periods of fast growth that I should avoid?

yec_Rob Fulton 31. Spending money before it’s there

I’ve seen a lot of my colleagues get a little too excited a little too early during periods of fast growth. They want to display to their team and to their peers that the paradigm has shifted for them and that they’re doing better financially, so they purchase items that show that off to the world. I believe this is almost always done in haste, and way before they’re actually able. (read more…)