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Leadership LibraryI have written more than 300 articles about Leadership, about 1/3 of which have been published by the SF affiliate of the New York Times. You can focus here on specific issues including Communication, Compensation, Governance, Entrepreneurship, Performance, Planning, and Recruiting

Please check out the Featured Articles from our Leadership Library to get you started.

If You’re Not Doing What Only YOU Can Do, Why Are You Here?

The last time I looked, you’re the only YOU there is.

Are you make sure you’re doing the things that ONLY YOU CAN DO?

What about … What Only YOU Can Do?

Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken. ~Oscar Wilde

As an experienced leadership coach leading a group of CEOs and working with other senior executives, I’m constantly reminding every leader to focus more intensely on what only YOU can do.

A.G. Lafley is the former, two-time CEO of Procter & Gamble, who has written and spoken extensively on this topic. You can find a transcript of one of his speeches here, and register to read a more extensive Harvard Business Review article. It will be well worth your time.

Whatever your leadership level, there are certain things that only you can do … and if you don’t, no one will … and it will really help you focus on this critical variable in your leadership level to take a close look at this landmark article.

There is no substitute for YOU.

Make sure you can always answer these 10 Questions

keep reading so you can nail down these 10 questions …

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When In Doubt, Ignore the Darkness. Fly Toward the Light.

For every storm cloud, there’s a ray of sunshine.

But what if there is no light at all? How do we navigate a dark sky when there is no visible alternative?

Fly to the Light

Just after obtaining his pilot’s license, a dear friend from the Midwest found himself surrounded by unexpected thunderstorms.

He clambered for every streak of sunshine he could find, ultimately zigzagging his way to a safe landing.

Here’s what he so eloquently shared about that experience:

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The 4 Essential Practices Required to Finish What You Started | Amazon’s Success

Remember this about Sir Isaac Newton because his 2nd Law has a powerful insight that will help you streamline your business processes and accelerate your growth.

Amazon has one obsessive focus that has helped them achieve online dominance. What is it?

Amazon accounted for 43% of all 2016 Online Revenue

New data from Slice Intelligence shows that Amazon’s innovation is paying off:

“Spending with Amazon – including sales from first and third party sales, Amazon.com and Prime Now – accounts for 43 percent of all the revenue generated in the U.S. online market in 2016. Even more astonishing, Amazon accounted for 53 percent of all online sales growth in the United States. No small feat as e-commerce grew by 24 percent last year, and will likely account for 10 percent of consumer sales in 2017.”

Astonishing is right, and with a market value of $370 Billion, Amazon is on a roll.

How do you account for their meteoric success?

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Skip the Double Talk. Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Magicians are pretty amazing, aren’t they?

They do stuff right in front of our eyes … we’re on the edge of our seats … expecting the unexpected … and even then we have no idea how they just did what they did.

How Did He Do That?

Watch Apollo Robbins, the best pickpocket it in the world, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Somehow, he gets you to look one way while he’s doing something else right in front of you … and you completely miss it.

What kind of magic are we good at? We’re pretty good at turning words on ourselves.

Collateral Damage” is one example, a euphemism for what happens to you and me when we step onto the wrong field at the wrong time.

A lot of damage can also get done in your business when you use a euphemism for a particular business challenge which obscures the real issue.

Before we get there, however, allow me to provide a preamble that demonstrates how deeply embedded this form of double-talk is in our society.

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How Will You Prevent The Toxic Flavor of Public Discourse From Infecting Your Culture?

We have successfully dispatched decency standards from the public conversation.

How will you stay on the high road in your organization while the public discourse has reached a new low.

The Image is Jarring, Isn’t It?

I debated using the image you see above, but I decided to include it so that you’re clear I’m not sugar-coating this subject.

I want you to pay attention and make sure this doesn’t reflect the culture you’re building.

Setting high standards and strong values is a cornerstone of a successful company.

I want you to be “looking” so you don’t let the vulgar and disrespectful standards of our public discourse bleed into your culture and damage everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

What is “Conduct Unbecoming”?

Conduct unbecoming ….

Throughout my service as a US Army officer, this phrase was constantly invoked as the prism through which we were expected to live the examined life. Since so many behaviors could be interpreted as “conduct unbecoming”, it kept us focused on the highest standard we could achieve as officers.

about creating a Code of Conduct …

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How Can I Be Sure You’re Not Faking Authenticity?

Authenticity is top of mind more than ever these days.

You can get away with a lot these days (Ferris Bueller) … stumble whike giving a speech, lose your train of thought, make mistakes …. but if you’re authentic, you’ll get a hall pass for all of it.

You can get away with a lot these days … but if you’re faking authenticity, you'll get caught sooner or later.

It’s Pretty Easy to Get Faked Out

Years ago I was traveling regularly to Asia, and wanted to buy my wife a Cartier tank watch, a style that was very popular at the time.

I visited a reputable jeweler where most of my partners had been shopping for over 20 years, and found exactly what I was looking for. My wife was ecstatic, and I saved a lot of money over what I would’ve spent in the U.S.

Then Again …

Keep reading to learn how to be more authentic

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Thrilled That Your 2017 Plan is Finished? Any Chance It Might Get Implemented This Year?

Finishing your 2017 plan feels great … but if you’re not working it with intense and relentless focus, it’s DOA.

The harsh reality is that the so-called strategy formulation part is important … and as challenging as it may be, it’s by far the easiest.

For some reason, it just won’t implement itself.

Your 2017 Plan is just the Starting Line

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. ~Dwight Eisenhower

I know you’ve seen this quote before … because I use it like they vote in Chicago – regularly and often.

Why?

Because it captures the essence of the planning activity that so many executives miss. THat includes the CEOs and senior executives who complain that the exercise of creating an annual plan is basically … worthless.

They usually say something like,

“ It’s a waste of time to create a plan every year … and a budget and a forecast to go with it … because the future is unpredictable and it never turns out the way we plan it anyway.”

Military strategist Helmuth von Moltke is famously known for this simple quote in response:

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

What’s your experience?

Keep reading so you don’t miss the 6-Pack of Annual Plan Success

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What Are You Doing to Make 2017 the Best Year Ever?

The New Year is always a great time for renewal and for a fresh start … but don’t let yourself get bogged down by a bunch of new resolutions that you aren’t fully committed to keep.

For starters, follow Oscar Wilde’s simple mantra for 2017. It gets easier after that.

What am I doing you ask?

For one, I am recommitted to journaling and goal tracking in a more formal way this year.

While I already keep a Daily Journal, it’s mostly for what we might consider “highlights” of the day – special events, get-togethers with family and friends, books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen … things like that.

I haven’t used it for more mundane or routine things, but this year, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to formally track my goals and accomplishments.

In only a few days, I’ve noticed that it’s made me much more attentive to those goals and more eager to move them forward every day.

There are also a lot of software tools out there to help this process. I am expanding and strengthening some existing tools, and exploring several new ones. I’ll let you know what I’ve learned in the coming days.

These are a few of the 2017 Goals I’m tracking

This year, I’m going to keep track of the 2017 goals I have identified:

Start tracking some of these goals

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10 Things You Can Do in 2017 With No Talent

Sure, talent is always a plus, but there are a lot of things you can do that require no talent at all.

This is a holiday season post, so while I’m taking a little time off, I wanted to encourage you to think about what you can do in 2017 without any talent at all!

What Can I Do If I Have NO Talent?

You may have seen a list like this somewhere, so I won’t belabor it.

If nothing else, it is a valuable reminder that you have a contribution to make.

While I’m sure you DO have talent, probably in many areas, this is a reminder that talent is not required for some of the most important behaviors that make us successful … at work, at home, in our community … in LIFE.

1. Be on Time

As many of you know, I’ve written about this before. Nothing could be easier.

That’s why it’s #1 in my E-book, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – 7 Remarkably Simple Steps to Earn Respect.

2. Work Ethic

I think you already know this.

Hard Work will cure a lot of ills, and overcome virtually any lack of talent.

Keep reading for 8 more things that require no talent …

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The 12 Course Tasting Menu of Business Excellence

Yes, the holidays are here and already the list of things to do continues to grow – completing the annual budget, planning parties, visiting with friends, figuring out what to get who for when … and so it goes.

Yet, my spirit remains strong, so I’ve prepared a menu of 12 holiday treats that I hope will slide down like Amaretto eggnog in front of a winter fire.

It’s a Smorgasboard

This 12 Part Tasting Menu is a smorgasbord – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – of lessons I’ve learned from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence.

This meal is a great way to grace your executive table for 2017.

1. It’s Never About You

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?

Fail.

keep going to get all 12 Tasting Menu items …

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