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The 7 Key Attributes of Successful New Leaders

Consider these 7 Key Attributes of Successful New Leaders to give yourself a running start.

Existing leaders will also benefit from reading along and making course corrections where necessary.


A number of my clients and colleagues have recently ascended to greater positions of leadership at the top ranks of their companies. There’s suddenly even more to do, but have you paused long enough to consider how you should start?

Do you need to do anything differently?

1. Credibility is Foremost

Without it, you’ll look over your shoulder and find no one there. You need to do it by being committed to learning, being humble about what you don’t know and proving to your team that you’re building a transparent and collaborative organization — and they are a critical part of it.

Roll up your sleeves and learn before barking out orders.

Make sure you don’t miss any of these 7 Attributes


What do people see when they look in your window?

Do people see exactly what you want them to see when they look in your window?

I’m sure we can agree on this: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.


Back when I was a bank teller ….

Just after the dinosaurs became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, my first assignment in the Management Training Program of the bank I joined right after college, was as a teller at one of their branches.

Some of you may never have been inside a bank branch, but back then, they were the center of your personal and business banking universe. There was no online capability and everything had to be done face-face.

I won’t belabor my experience … making sure the transactions at my window, and in the entire branch, were balanced before anyone could leave the branch … the often tedious nature of handling deposits or standing around waiting for one … but I remember vividly one of the most powerful lessons I learned on my first day:

If you care about what people see when they look in your window, keep reading


Have You Created a Battle Plan – or is Hope your only Strategy?

Most of us weren’t around during World War II … but D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion of all time.

It involved over 250,000 troops and 15,000 ships landing along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944.


Accident? … or the result of rigorous strategic planning and project management?

Could this happen without planning?

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, (Our 34th President)

Did General Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, lead this effort without any planning?

Of course not, and even if our business plans aren’t quite as extensive, we know (deep down, we know for sure) that we need some sort of an organized planning process to build a successful business.

We need to make sure that everyone’s headed in the same direction … that we don’t ignore the obstacles or overlook the great opportunities on the road ahead … or don’t squander valuable resources chasing rainbows.

Do I really have to plan to have a successful business?

I find myself using General Eisenhower’s phrase repeatedly for at least two reasons … first, because it’s absolutely true … and Keep Reading to learn the 4 reasons you Have to Plan


The 7 Qualities You Need to Get Your Company on the Medal Stand

What does it take to get on the Medal Stand and out of the Grandstands?

Jessica Long. One of the most decorated Paralympic athletes in history.

She’s won 17 Olympic medals. 12 of them are gold.

She holds 13 world records.

She’s been Sports Woman of the Year twice.

She’s obviously a remarkable swimmer.

She did all of it after having the lower part of both legs amputated when she was 18 months old.

Jessica Long’s drive, devotion and discipline are unquestioned.   Her determination is boundless. (NBC produced an in-depth look at her life you can find here.)

Is all of that enough? If you had each of those characteristics in immeasurable quantity, would it be enough to make you an Olympian?

Is drive, devotion and discipline enough?

Probably not.

Keep reading and download the 7 Olympic Qualities checklist …


The 4 Pillars of Long Term Success You Can’t Live Without

4 Pillars of Long Term Success

4 Pillars of Long Term Success

These are the four pillars of any firm’s long-term success

“Lary, give this customer a call. We’ve just received an unauthorized return, and I want these shoes sent back.

“Funny how the green shoes don’t fit and the red ones fit perfectly.”

It wasn’t uncommon for the chairman of company North (you may remember him from the 2nd article in our Culture Series, How Are You Paving the Road to Superior Performance) to stop by my office with a message like this.

I realized later he was talking in code

His remarks were actually a code:

“The red shoes sold well but the green ones the customer bought aren’t selling … so now they’re claiming they don’t fit so they can return them. We’ve had no other such complaints. Tell them we won’t accept them and refuse them at the door if they come back.”

I made a note to contact the customer, figuring I’d call them after lunch when I would be more likely to catch them three time zones away.

No e-mail back then.

What the hell are you waiting for? Read the Full Article to see what he was expecting


Productivity Tip | 4 Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Summit

Break the impasse. Reach the Summit.

Too often we set these BHAGs (“Big Hairy Audacious Goals”) but don’t create the milestones and timelines that give us a chance of achieving them. Put these 4 Ground Rules into action to make sure you reach the summit. 

Set up Base Camps to Reach your Goal


Today is one of those occasions when I’m not sure what this article is about … so I’m going to let you decide.

“Thankfully, perseverance is a good substitute for talent.” — Steve Martin

Is it about resolve, our ability to persevere, to vigorously pursue an idea, uncover its value to our business and set out to relentlessly apply it?

Or, is it about execution, our ability to follow proven processes to implement sustainable change in our business?

Didn’t Mom teach us to take small steps?

It was probably our moms who first taught us to break down a big task … like cleaning our room … into smaller steps, like “hang up your jacket, put your shoes in the closet,” so that we would ultimately accomplish the bigger goal.

Did we need that coaching because we hadn’t resolved to do it in the first place and mom was on to us?

Or were we so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task that we didn’t know how or where to start? (more…)


Leadership Insights | The 8 Principles of Effective Delegation

What’s Your Delegation Score?

Delegation isn’t just a handoff so you can walk away and do something else. It is a critical leadership skill that you must master if you want to expand your reach, take control of your time and achieve the work-life harmony you’re seeking.

Learn the 8 Principles of Effective Delegation.

Score = 0 from 3 people


How often have you failed with delegation?

How often have you wondered why a project went wrong, or why someone never finished the task you were counting on them to finish?

How many times have you complained about projects that you’re managing … missing their deadlines, going over budget (not under budget very often, huh?) and not getting done as you expected?

How did you feel when you were called on the carpet by YOUR boss wanting to know why the project you’re handling is stalled?

Why didn’t your delegation succeed?

When we’ve delegated some or all of a project to someone else, we’re embarrassed … and probably a little teed off … but we’re also too often thinking about the wrong things like …, “damn that John, he just can’t be counted on” … or, “she doesn’t get it” … or something like, “they can’t ever seem to follow through” as we tick off all the reasons why the people on our team have let us down. (more…)


Leadership | One Simple Way to Trash Your Brand Anthem

Any chance that you’re tone deaf?

A brand anthem expresses to your customers the core values related your brand and products, much like a vision statement expresses the core values of your company.

Are you trashing your Brand Anthem?


I was sitting in an exceptionally beautiful church on Easter Sunday morning.

There were garlands of fresh daffodils and orchids draping the sanctuary.

Easter lilies were everywhere, consuming the floor of the chancel and the empty spaces on the altar rails. Small children were dressed in their Easter finery, sitting awkwardly in their new suits and dresses anxiously awaiting the Easter Egg hunt following the service.

Time for the Processional Hymn

Christians everywhere know that the hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” also starts the Easter service and marks the procession of ministers and laity down the aisle to the altar.

It is unarguably the best known Easter hymn, a holiday staple like O’ Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World and other holiday songs at Christmas.

I’ve pretty much know that Easter hymn by heart … sang it every year as a child … and can’t imagine an Easter service without it. (more…)


Leadership Insights | Do you really think you’re Resourceful?

On a recent morning, I headed to a favorite place just down the street to fetch a couple of lattes for my wife and me.

Our forbearers would have awakened in woolen underwear, stepped in the dark onto a cold dirt floor, and stumbled outside to chop some wood to start a fire in the cook stove balanced on the rocks outside.

They would have tossed some coffee grounds into a beat-up metal pot … grounds that had already been used for several days … filled the pot with water, boiled it … and at some point, would finally get that first bitter cup of java.

No coffee house down the road, no car to get there, certainly no latte or cappuccino. Eat what you kill, literally. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t gonna get it.

Lots of resources but ….

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” Benjamin Disraeli

In many ways, we’re much less resourceful than our forefathers.

While we may have expanded the definition of community in many positive ways, using our physical and social media “mobility” to create unimagined connections, we’ve also become more dependent on external resources to get through our day.

In some ways it’s probably better that we’re co-dependent. (more…)