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HOW TO SPARK CREATIVITY FOR BUSINESS GROWTH

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Idea and leadership concept Vintage bulbs on wall background

During a recent TEC talk in Saskatchewan, I shared with CEOs the idea that profitable growth relies on our ability to bring new value to the marketplace continuously. After all it’s new value that attracts former customers; its new value that ensures loyalty of our existing customers and it’s new value that can help open up new markets.

However, the challenge is that being creative enough to continuously identify ways in which you can bring new value to the market can be overwhelming…unless you’ve tapped into three key areas in your business.

In this video I share some proven practices on how you can spark creativity to identify and bring bring new value to the market. It’s a short video, only 3 minutes, so make sure you take a moment to watch it!

 

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The Cost Of Procrastination

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Procrastination contest

With my first book Operational Empowerment doing quite well with CEOs and Executives, I’ve been thinking a lot about my second book. I have the idea and numerous examples to support the idea, yet I’ve yet to write more than a couple of pages. I’ve told myself several times that I’m just too busy to write the second book, and the more I tell myself the more I use this excuse with others who often ask what my second book will be about.

Did you notice I said this was an “excuse?” That’s exactly what I’m doing, creating an excuse.

 

You see time is a limited resource. There are only 24 hours in every day, and what we choose to do with these hours is a matter of how we prioritize our personal and professional priorities.

So let me ask you an honest question. What are you not able to “get too?” What are you too busy to work on despite it being a priority? If you’re still unsure, consider these questions:

Which customers have you been meaning to visit? 

What changes to pricing, terms or fees have you avoided introducing? 

What’s been on your list for the past month but you just haven’t found time to get to it?

We are all immersed in busy-work, administrative tasks that provide little support in achieving our objectives, be they personal or professional. The key is to stop thinking, stop coming up with excuses and simply take the actions to move things forward.

Here’s the kicker. If we can’t manage ourselves in this manner, how will we ever expect our employees to take consistent and meaningful actions? You set expectations for your employees through your actions. Run around unfocused and at a hectic pace and you should in turn expect your employees to be doing the same.

Scary thought isn’t it. The single greatest expense in your business mightn’t be productive as a result of their observations of you. The true cost of procrastination really starts to add up doesn’t it?

If you are looking for ideas to overcome procrastination that is in turn impacting your employees, check out chapter 2 of my book titled “A Foundation for Growth and Profitability.”

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What Kind of Impact Have Yo Made?

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water drop

I’m presently squirreled away in my office wrapping a few remaining gifts for my wife and two boys as I write this. I thought it important as we embark on the journey towards the end of 2015 to share with you some thoughts around how you should define and measure your personal success from this past year and it’s not tied to how many steps you’ve taken according to your Fitbit or how much money you’ve saved.

Success by any definition is a measure of impact.

 

Whether this year has exceeded your expectations or been what you might consider a dismal failure, you’ve achieved success if you’ve had an impact on someone or something at some point in time. We all know success isn’t based on money or material things, the reality is in order to be successful we have to aspire to have impact. The good news is each and every one of us can define what impact means to us.

It may be an impact on our family, on our friends or on our employees. Possibly you’ve saved jobs in a shrinking market or helped your kids learn the joys of nature. Whatever you define as impact, consider the extent to which your impact has had. This is your measure of success.

This year I’ve defined my impact as the ability to broaden the reach of my message through my new book Operational Empowerment. Thanks to you it’s already reached Amazon #1 New Release status twice. For this I am grateful, but in reflection the journey has just began.

As a thank-you for helping me make this book #1 on Amazon and to continue broadening the impact all of my clients and colleagues have shared within it, I wanted to offer to anyone who does a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble a free electronic PDF version of my book that you can take with you anywhere to read on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. It’s my way of saying thank-you.

Simply send an email to shawn@casemoreandco.com with a link to your review and I’ll send along the PDF version.

As we say good-bye to 2015, reflect on your impact and more importantly, what your impact will be in 2016.

Happy New Year!

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WHY DRIVERS SPEED UP WHEN YOU PASS

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Hand of man driving on a highway.

I do a lot of driving, typically in the neighborhood of 25,000 miles every year. Throughout these travels I meet thousands of cars on the road and I’ve been known to pass a few. Okay, quite a few. What I’ve consistently found however is that when I pass cars they invariably speed up, only to slow down once I’ve safely passed.

Have you ever experienced this?

The logical question is why other drives (who clearly aren’t using their cruise control) would speed up when someone was trying to pass them. Are they trying to upset the driver or win some sort of illusionary race?

 

I call this the “speed principle” simply defined, as those who follow will tend to do so at the same rate of speed as others closest to them.

Now let’s step away from the car analogy for a second. Do you think the “speed principle” can existing amongst employees in an organization? Your darn right it can! The question is how can we create this dynamic in a way that supports improved productivity and morale, rather than creating an accident or some alternate form of road rage.

Fortunately the answer isn’t that complex.

If you’ve followed my work or read my book then you know I’m a proponent of employee empowerment that is placing more decision-making power into the hands of those needing to make the decisions – the employees! When creating a community of empowered employees we strategically place those employees who demonstrate a combination of knowledge, collaboration and speed as team leaders, thereby creating a dynamic of the “speed principle.”

 

Simply put, by placing employees who demonstrate high levels of productivity and autonomy and who work closely with others into positions of team champions or leaders, we create a dynamic that naturally attracts employees to want to perform at a level and speed that the champion or leader does.

The “speed principle” at work and helping build a stronger more productive team – who knew?

So the next time you attempt to pass someone and they speed up, remember that they are only doing what comes naturally to them and that you’d be better served to capitalize on this phenomena by creating it within your organization and team, rather than on the road.

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How can we build an operation where employees want to contribute?

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This past week I had the pleasure of meeting with Mike, the CEO of a global automation company, still family owned despite having eight locations around the world. During our discussions when I asked Mike about demand for robotics and his customer base he shared a dramatic example: “In some instances Shawn, our automation has replaced up to 12 employees.”

Clearly industry is changing as we know it, but despite reductions in manpower through the introduction of automation and robotics, the reality is that every manufacturer (and distributor, insurance agency, bank, association) requires people. We may require fewer of them, but those we do have need to have a desire to contribute.

The question is, how can we build an operation in which all employees, young and old alike, actually want to contribute? Fortunately I have the answer and it’s not theoretical, it’s based on the best practices of dozens of my clients from across North America…

Today is the day that my new book from McGraw Hill launches, entitled “Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition.” This has been described by many as a CEOs playbook to build a more collaborative and empowered culture that can create a distinct competitive advantage.

 

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CAN YOU INCREASE EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY BY 10X?

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Past or future, opposite signs

During the past several months I’ve had an ongoing rivalry with a colleague and close friend of mine as to whether the Blue Jays would beat the Cubs in the World Series. It turns out we were both wrong. Our banter back and forth has been cordial, but laden with suggestions as to which team is the best. Obviously our views are significantly influenced by where we live, and more importantly by our dedication to our team.

Truth be told however, when the Kansas City Royals beat out the Blue Jays it was because Kansas City was the better team. Unfortunately diehard Blue Jays fans would disagree and point to numerous missed calls that are the underlying issue.

 

I find this misguided and unfounded argument to be prominent in business as well. It’s not uncommon when I speak with a CEO asking questions about how effective their teams are, how supportive their leadership is and to what extent they are shifting autonomy to their employees that they begin to tell me everything they are doing right, whether or not it aligns with my question or not.

Look, the reality we face today is simple. We are operating organizations and even small businesses using an archaic model of leadership that was derived from the military. Things have changed, people have changed and if we think we can continue to shoe horn our employees into an environment that decisions and communication flow up and directives and instructions flow down we are simply kidding ourselves.

It’s time to break the mold and let go of our fanatical beliefs of what once was relevant is still so today. It’s time to begin to remove front line leadership in support of providing more autonomy and responsibility to employees; it’s time that CEOs spend more time with groups and individuals from the front line (rather then expect their senior leadership team to do so), thus increasing employee productivity.

 

In virtually every organization I enter, with rare exception, there is information and feedback that front line employees have that would be highly valuable to the CEO, yet unfortunately the information never makes it’s way to the top, mostly on account of the broken hierarchy of leadership that restricts and filters information as it trickles upwards.

Today is the day that we need to stop kidding ourselves and agree that the horsepower of our organization is in the hands and minds of our employees, we simply need to provide them with an environment and tools that actually help them to show us what they can really do.

P.S. My latest book, Operational Empowerment is launching November 16th. This has been described by my editor as a great playbook for CEOs, Executives and Directors who want to increase productivity and create a distinct competitive advantage in their market. You can grab your copy here.

 

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Are You Capitalizing on Today's Employees?

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Millennials written in search bar on virtual screen

Today’s employees have the highest level of education to ever enter the workforce. Are you evolving your working environment to capitalize on these higher levels of knowledge and talent? If not then you are missing out on the single greatest competitive advantage that you have.

When you consider the education and demands of employees today (the desire to be an individual, share ideas and be heard), it’s clear that most employees want autonomy to make their own decisions and the authority to take action where improvement or change is necessary. The influences of these desires are actually placing more pressure on front line leaders.

This dynamic will continue.

We need to shift from an environment in which we direct and manage employees to one in which we empower employees to apply their knowledge, skills and abilities. In this brief video I outline the value of empowering your employees, and the steps necessary to shift from a leadership culture to a culture of empowerment.

Click here to watch video
 

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P.S. My latest book, Operational Empowerment is launching November 16th. This has been described by my editor as a great playbook for CEOs, Executives and Directors who want to increase productivity and create a distinct competitive advantage in their market. You can grab your copy here.
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Improving Performance for Long-Term Success

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Performance Improvements

“Businesspeople stand on the threshold of the knowledge society. In this society, a company’s competitive advantage will come from an historically underdeveloped asset: the ability to capture and apply insights from diverse fields.”~ Peter Drucker (The Economist, 2001)

Improving performance for long-term success requires a two-pronged managerial approach: Focus on reducing errors while increasing insights. Your business will stagnate without improvements on both fronts.

Most managers concentrate on reducing errors: the obvious half of the equation. They know mistakes are visible, costly and embarrassing. They apply their training to spot gaps and errors, and they implement measures to eliminate mistakes.

But many managers forget about the second step. Businesses cannot surge ahead in the marketplace without creating insights. If you’re too intent on eradicating uncertainty and accurately predicting workflow/resources/schedules, you may not be receptive to your people’s fresh ideas—suggestions that can save your company time and money.

Each of us is guilty of falling into predictability and perfection traps. Upholding the status quo yields the results we know, so why bother risking something new? But problems arise when we quash employees’ creative insights.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica.

 “Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.
 

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindfulleadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
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Are You Dealing With Dysfunction?

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resposibilities

During a talk to a group of CEOs in Indiana last week on Empowering People for Profit, we spent time discussing how to increase the productivity and morale within their teams. There were two specific issues that arose from our discussions, namely that of creating a focus on developing facilitative leaders and resolving conflict within a dysfunctional team.

I’ve discussed facilitative leadership previously, so I want to share some of the approaches we discussed relative to dealing with team dysfunction, because truth be told every CEO in the room was dealing with dysfunction to some extent.

Of the eight reasons why teams can be dysfunctional, the most common issue amongst this group was the perception of teams and employees failing to take responsibility for their projects and actions.

 

One of the most common reason for employees failing to take responsibility in my experience results from directive leadership. Consider for example that leaders create the environment, both real and perceived, that employees operate within.

If several employees fail to take responsibility for their projects or responsibilities, the first person to look to is the leader of the group. Lack of responsibility is quite common amongst teams today on account of our continued desire to hire individuals into leadership roles that are technically competent (able to perform effectively in their role) rather than people competent (able to support, motivate and create collaboration within their team).

Sound familiar?

To increase the level of responsibility that employees accept in their role, leaders must be effective at nurturing an environment in which employees understand what their responsible for, how it supports the team and how it will ultimately support the organization.

So if you’re struggling with how to increase the responsibility of your employees, look first to the competencies of your leaders. People competence and a high degree of emotional intelligence far outweigh technical competence when it comes to building a high performing team.

 

P.S. Are you looking to improve the competence of your leaders and overcome team dysfunction? Grab a copy of my book Operational Empowerment, now available on Amazon. Watch for the official launch on November 16th with more resources and tools to come!

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IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME (AND STAY)

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Skyscrapers in blue tone

This past week I spoke to a group of CEOs at the National Association of Wholesalers in Chicago on the topic of building a stronger team in an intergenerational workforce. Of the points we discussed, the one I continued to bring up again and again is that of environment.

If you want to attract and retain the best of the best, above all you need to have a work environment that is appealing. Put another way, you can invest heavily in creating an attractive image of your company; a fancy website, excessively descriptive job ads and a fresh coat of paint in the front lobby, but none of this matters one iota if the work environment employees are ushered into is poisoned.

 

 

What does a poisonous work environment look like?

* Functional silos rather than cross functional teams

* Front line leaders that are directive rather than facilitative

* Insufficient or non-existent dialogue between front line employees and senior management

* Minimal to no involvement of front line employees in business improvement initiatives

So what can you do to improve the productivity, performance and morale within an intergenerational workforce? More importantly, how can you ensure that the talent you attract actually sticks around once you bring them onboard?

Here are a few points we discussed that can be easily introduced, and often at no cost:

1. Select front line leaders based on their ability to create collaboration, rather than being technically competent. The power of a team comes not from the leader, but from the leaders ability to help the team collaborate productively.

2. Create more opportunities for employees to interact cross-functionally, from job sharing to cross-functional teams. The more employees understand the roles and responsibilities of others, the better their decision-making capability and the greater their value to the business and it’s customers.

3. Institute simple systems and methods to allow front line employees to connect and communicate with senior leadership, including the CEO. The more frequent and frank the dialogue between front line employees and senior management, the greater the interest and engagement in the future success of the organization.

For more in-depth ideas as to how to capitalize the talent that you have, grab a copy of my new book from McGraw Hill “Operational Empowerment” due out October 16th, 2015.

How are you building an environment that inspires employees to show up and participate?

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