A 49-year-old father of two hits his alarm clock at 6:30 a.m., starts a pot of coffee and prepares for his daily commute. For the past three years, Bill Lewis has worked for a large company based in the heart of New York City; even though his home in Texas is nearly 2,000 miles from the office, Bill’s daily commute only takes him a few steps. Along with a rapidly growing percent of America’s workforce, Bill Lewis is a telecommuter, a remote employee. He completes his daily assignments from his front porch, sends e-mails from a coffee shop down the street, and holds conference calls in his living room.

In the past 10 years, this type of work environment has become one of the fastest growing trends in the corporate world. According to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, it is estimated that telecommuting rose 79% between 2005 and 2012, and with the constant evolution of communication technology, this trend shows no signs of stopping. (read more…)

The hours ticked down to launch time, and Roger Boisjoly had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

It was January of 1986, and the highly respected Morton Thiokol rocket engineer and thermodynamicist was pleading with his supervisors and NASA to postpone the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on that unusually cold Florida day. Icicles extended for hours from the shuttle and the launch platform, and NASA had never before launched in such cold weather. In fact, it was 15 degrees colder on this day than on any prior shuttle launch.

Boisjoly presented hard data and evidence to support his point — that the O-rings on the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters would fail, leading to an explosion, the loss of the Challenger and the astronauts on board. Boisjoly had written a memo less than 1 year earlier about the clear evidence of the O-Ring failure following a prior launch, and he was concerned that the extreme cold temperatures on the morning of January 28, 1986 would lead to a disaster. (read more…)

When I started in the field of leadership development (when gas was 89 cents a gallon), the model we used looking like this:

  • When someone got promoted to team leader, supervisor, or manager, they were sent a memo (no e-mail yet) from HR informing them that they have been registered for a mandatory four-week supervisory training course.
  • When they showed up, some (or most) of them kicking and screaming, HR told them everything they had to learn, showed them step-by-step details, made them practice (role plays), and then sent them off to do good and no harm, never to be seen or heard from again.

Sadly, there are many organizations that are still using this outdated method of leadership development. While this model is inherently flawed in a number of ways, the biggest problem with it is that people won’t grow or change unless they want to. They need to be intrinsically motivated to change, and in order to be motivated, they need to have a sense of autonomy, or control. (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 the most important question you can ask your employees about how well you’re doing as their leader?

yec_Michael Quinn1. Do you trust me?

I think trust is what binds every leader to their employees. Do you trust that I’m taking this company in the right direction? Do you trust that I have your best interests in mind? Do you trust that I’m working to keep this company successful? I believe that if they genuinely feel that they can trust and rely on leadership, they will strive to be their best as well. (read more…)

You prepare. Practice. Revise. Prepare some more. Practice again. You have a solid presentation ready to go. And yet somehow, it all falls flat when the camera rolls. And you just don’t know why.

When presenting “on camera,” what you don’t know can hurt you. Fortunately, there are a few trade secrets that can make the difference between mayhem and magic. With the help of trusted colleagues Glenn Gautier (executive producer, 2+Communications), and TV host, media trainer Scott Morgan (The Morgan Group) below are 12 tips (plus a bonus!) that will ensure the camera hangs on your every word.

 

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Remember, appearance matters

1. Use caution with color. Be sensitive about the colors you choose to wear: avoid green (if you will be speaking against a green screen), black, white, or bright red. Another no-no: shiny fabrics or busy patterns like houndstooth. Women look good in jewel tones with simple, matte jewelry. (read more…)