How will you stay focused this week?©

Okay, folks. There’s only 7 weeks left of 2015. You still have time to make things happen for you and your team, but you are going to need to stay focused on the most important action steps that will help you arrive at the desired outcome you set for yourself this year.

Maybe you have reached that 2015 outcome already. Woohoo! Congratulations. It’s smooth sailing from here. Enjoy the holiday season and rest up for an amazing 2016. A relaxed brain discovers all kinds of amazing solutions.

If there are still a few things you want to accomplish, or that you are required to, you might find helpful a video from Brendon Burchard (about 12 minutes long). It points out some key ways to remain focused.

  1. Make fewer decisions. You want to be sure to remove any decision making from your plate that you can. Are there small decisions that are you making everyday that you can take off your plate and off your mind?   He points out that “mindlessly browsing consumes an incredible amount of brainpower; every new link and every new piece of information to pay attention to eats up your mental energy and reserves.” Save your brainpower for the highest-level thinking that really matters.
  1. Define mission. This one goes back to always start with the end in mind. What is your desired outcome today? This week? This year? 3 years from now?
  1. Say NO to everything immediately, as a first response, from now on. Rather than saying, “sure”, perhaps you could answer with, “That sounds great, but I need to check the other commitments I’ve made and get back to you tomorrow with an answer.”

The amount of binging and dinging that goes on in our world is endless, it seems. I don’t think Steve Jobs created some of the coolest technology every invented so it could control us. In fact, I’m quite sure it was so that we could use it to reach our best outcomes. What distractions can you remove tomorrow that will allow you to focus on the things you know that matter most to you, your team, and your organization?


At your next team meeting you could do a few rounds where each person discusses these three items:

  1. What decisions are they making everyday that they don’t need to be?
  2. What is their desired outcome for the coming year?
  3. What do they keep saying yes to that they need to be saying no to, instead?

Another good reference on this topic is an article from Harvard Business Review entitled, Train Your Brain to Focus.


How will you handle conflict this week?

Yours is not the only workplace with conflict, although it might seem that way sometimes.  Almost all workplaces have conflict. The difference is what type of conflict they have and how quickly it gets resolved.

According to conflict can stem from 6 different areas:

Values conflict: Involves incompatibility of preferences, principles and practices that people believe in such as religion, ethics or politics.

Power conflict: Occurs when each party wishes to maintain or maximize the amount of influence that it exerts in the relationship and the social setting such as in a decision making process.

Economic conflict: Involves competing to attain scarce resources such as monetary or human resources.

Interpersonal conflict: Occurs when two people or more have incompatible needs, goals, or approaches in their relationship such as different communication or work styles.

Organizational Conflict: Involves inequalities in the organizational chart and how employees report to one another.

Environmental conflict: Involves external pressures outside of the organization such as a recession, a changing government, or a high employment rate.

Then there are two basic dimensions:


These dimensions result in five different conflict behaviors. Each style can be an appropriate response. You want to learn how to be strategic when approaching the conflict. Which one of these have you defaulted to recently in a conflict?


Sounds like: “It’s okay with me, whatever you want.”


Feels like a win/lose.


Thinking: “I’ll worry about it tomorrow.”


Believes that “two heads are better than one”.


Action: Working with the other party to negotiate a deal.

Any of these approaches can be effective. We tend to default to a couple of them, though, whether they are totally appropriate for the situation or not.

A grid was developed to determine which behavior might be most effective.


goal high (most important) and relationship low = compete
goal low and relationship high = accommodate
goal AND relationship high = collaborate
goal AND relationship low = avoid
goal and relationship are equally important = compromise 

What conflicts are currently occurring on your team that need to be addressed? You might consider sharing this with your team members and discussing it at your next meeting. Take the lead on any conflict you have by using one of these strategies.

It’s important to note that team member conflicts fall into the “relationship high” category, which would mean that accommodate, collaborate or compromise top the list of behaviors to try first.

Will your team trust you this week?

Effective communication that leads to peak performance starts with trust. Trust is tough unless both parties feel safe.   When we don’t feel safe our internal “brain cocktail” consists of fear, power, uncertainty, being right, and group think. Whereas, when we are in the “CEO of our brain”, using our pre-frontal cortex, we are transparent, relationship focused, seek understanding, want to share success and feel comfortable telling the truth.

If you want to build and maintain a high performing team that is capable of solving challenging problems and effectively managing change, this information may be helpful to you.

One of the best books I’ve found regarding leadership and communication, based on the most recent brain science, was written by Judith Glaser, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust & Get Extraordinary Results.

Glaser explains that “when we connect with others, our mind toggles through a series of five hardwired questions at a pace so rapid our conscious mind doesn’t know it’s doing it.” Depending on how our brain answers these questions determines how we will react and interact with the other person:

Question I:  Protect  How do I protect myself, and do I need to?

Question II: Connect  Who loves me, who hates me, and can I trust this person?

Question III: Belong  Where do I belong and fit in?

Question IV: Be strong  What do I need to learn to be successful?

Question V: Partner  How do I create value with others?

If you want to motivate and engage other people to their peak performance, they need to be able to answer these questions in a way that would make them feel safe and trust that you have their best interest in mind.

If you are currently struggling with a particular team member or peer, it’s possible they are answering one or more of these questions in a negative or unclear way. Maybe past experiences with you have made them feel like they need to protect themselves. It could be that they aren’t exactly sure of their role or how they fit in. Maybe they are wondering how they are bringing value to you and the team. It is possible that they simply don’t think that you like them.

conversational-intelligenceA short cut to building trust is to focus on appreciation. Seeking honest ways to intentionally recognize and appreciate specific talents or actions of others can establish safety quickly. Judith Glaser explains:

“When we receive public praise and support, we unlock yet another set of neurochemical patterns that cascade positive chemistry throughout the brain. Highly motivated employees describe the feeling of performing well as an almost drug-like state (because of the dopamine and endorphins released by these interactions, it is actually quite similar). When this state of positive arousal comes with appropriate, honest, and well-deserved (sincere) praise, employees feel they are trusted and supported by their boss. They will take more risks, speak up more, push back when they have things to say, and be more confident in their dealings with their peers.”

How people are effected by ways we communicate:

7 percent to words
38 percent to tone of voice
55 percent to nonverbal behaviors

If you have an unpleasant “resting face” you are going to have to work twice as hard to connect with others to make them feel safe with you. That unpleasant face that rarely smiles, doesn’t make much eye contact, and looks like you just don’t care that much when people are talking to you is working against you if your desired outcome is to inspire others to be their best.


At your next team meeting, discuss the following questions to help build trust and transparency:

  1. Which of the 5 questions does each team member struggle the most to answer with key people at work?
  2. How would they rank theirs and others “resting faces”? When they are talking to team members do they feel like they are being heard and understood by the way they are being responded to?
  3. How appreciated does each team member feel by other team members, you, and the organization?

How will you master the use of your time this week?

Let’s start with a simple self-assessment in regard to how you currently view time.

1.  I commit to completing a task or activity by placing it on my calendar for an exact date and time.  T or F

2.  I track and measure how long each of my activities takes and what result I have gotten from them in relationship to my highest-level outcomes.  T or F

3.  I, my team and my closest family members are clear about what I want to achieve this year and in the next 3 years. T or F

4.  I properly prioritize my activities each day.  T or F

5.  I have been told I am skilled at delegating to others those tasks and activities that they can do better than I can.  T or F

6.  I am able to focus on my most important activities and don’t allow myself to become distracted from them very often.  T or F

7.  I rarely procrastinate my highest 2 priorities each day.  T or F

8.  I rarely feel or think that I have “taken on too much”.  T or F

9.  I rarely feel “overwhelmed”.  T or F

10.  I reach my highest priority goals consistently, and in a way that brings me deeply satisfying accomplishments.  T or F

So, how did you do?  If you marked more than 2 or 3 as false, it’s possible to improve your view and use of time in a way that will get you better results.

Time Mastery Image of CoverI just finished by brand new ebook, Time Mastery: 7 Simple Steps to Your Richest Outcomes.  

Steve Jobs didn’t get more of it than most of us to build a company, Elon Musk didn’t get more to build a rocket ship, Warren Buffet didn’t receive more to make his first billion, and Nelson Mandella had to manage his with incredible focus and certainty in order to have the impact he did.

People who have 5 kids get the same allotment as those who have 1 or none.  CEO’s get no more to manage thousands of employees, customers and problems than managers who have dozens.

So, why do we make designing our time so complicated?  Why do we consistently blame time?  Time has such a bad reputation and it doesn’t have a way of defending itself.  Maybe that’s why we frequently blame it when something goes wrong.  It can’t argue back.  Time can’t stand up and say, “Why are you attacking me for YOUR lack of planning and execution?”

It’s time to give time a break and begin realizing that it may not be it’s fault.  What if it is our lack of designing it properly that is causing the results, good or bad, that we are experiencing?  Could it be that time has been getting blamed for our shortcomings in knowing how to use it properly?  It’s not the hammer’s fault when it hits the wall instead of the nail.  Oxygen itself isn’t to blame when it ignites when a spark gets near it.  Is it our bodies “fault” when it responds better to spinach rather than a donut?

Creating a relationship with time in which you respect and understand it is key.  We must stop thinking we can make more of it.  We have to have realistic expectation in regard to it.  We can’t think we can slow it down or speed it up.  We don’t control time and it doesn’t control us.  Time is time.  It’s a fact.  Our feelings about it won’t change it’s rules and principles.

If you want to create a better relationship and understand it better, you need to surrender and accept it’s rules and principles.  Here they are:

Time is fair.   It doesn’t matter how unfair it feels sometime, no one on the planet gets any more or less of it in a day than anyone else.

Time does not discriminate.  Time could care less about your race, gender, age, ethnicity, income, educational background, or anything else you can think of that creates separation between us humans.

Time is consistent.  Yes, it may vary by a fraction of a second each year or a whole minute within centuries, but overall, we get 24 hours in a day 7 days a week.

Time is not effected by how you feel about it. Cursing about it, blaming it, or wishing you had more of it will not effect it’s volume.

Albert Einstein once said, “We can not solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them.”  I haven’t met very many people that would argue with that and yet most don’t seek input from qualified individuals when they continue to get the same results over and over again.  This is a classic example of something that is common sense but is not common practice.

The first step in getting better at designing your time is admitting you might not be doing it optimally.  It’s okay.  Designing your time is a practice.  There’s no way to get perfect at it.  There are too many factors involved in designing it to think that you can “set it and forget it”.  To master time design you’ll need to follow these steps and check in regularly to be sure you are still on track.

To make this process as simple and easy as possible let’s start with showing you the 7 simple steps to time mastery based on the latest research and information gathered from thousands of clients, books, brain science, articles, and seminars in the last 10 years.

Step One.  Focus on your richest outcomes.©

Step Two.  Create and commit to your non-negotiables.©

Step Three. Increase your Time Metabolism.©

Step Four. Map, measure, and monitor your time.©

Step Five. Delegate or eliminate what you procrastinate.©

Step Six. Operate in short sprints.©

Step Seven: Build in rest and recovery periods.©

CLICK HERE to order the Kindle version of  Time Mastery:  7 Simple Steps to Richer Outcomes.  You can also find the audio version on Audible here.

Will you align responsibility, authority and accountability this week?©

Whenever you have been given, or have taken, responsibility without having the authority to make the necessary decisions and execute the strategy to reach the agreed upon outcome, things can go quite poorly. Remove accountability from the mix and well, the outcomes are just plain ugly.

Authority ResponsibilityI had a client, once, that was appointed to be the lead on a major project at the organization where he worked. He was given, and accepted, the responsibility for leading the team that would design and execute the strategy over the next year. He needed to make tough decisions and execute team member modifications that he thought would create the best chances for success. Unfortunately, each time he tried to execute a decision he was told he did not have the authority to make that particular decision. He grew frustrated and eventually angry at those he was reporting to. He knew he would be held responsible if the project was unsuccessful, yet he felt that he was given no authority to make the changes he thought would be necessary to reach the agreed upon outcome.

To avoid this type of situation it’s important that the following steps occur when onboarding a new allocation of responsibility and/or position in a professional or even a personal situation.

  1. All parties must agree on a mutually beneficial desired outcome. What’s the win-win-win? You need to decide what the win for all parties will be. Each party must be motivated towards that outcome, understand and agree on why you want that outcome, and the consequences on what will occur if that outcome does not happen.
  1. Assign roles and responsibilities. Each party needs to be extremely clear on what their roles will be and what they will be held responsible for. This may take several conversations to create and establish a mutual understanding. The big misstep usually comes when Step One or Two is assumed by each of the parties involved. You assume since you’ve had a certain role before that you are going to be held responsible for certain things. The other party has had an entirely different set of experiences when it comes to that role so they are assigning responsibility, in their mind’s eye, based on that set of criteria. If these matters are not discussed, thoroughly, breakdowns and frustrations will mount.
  1. Assign and then COMMUNICATE the authority each person has been given for what they have agreed to be responsible for. How many times have you had a meeting where you were assigned a role, been given responsibility for a task, project, or new position, and then the authority you will need was not outlined clearly to you and not a word was said to anyone else? What ends up happening is that you think you have the authority to set deadlines, call meetings, require certain people to do certain things and they don’t follow your lead AT ALL. They were never communicated with about what authority you had been given and BAM! it happens. You are sitting there at 10p one night, doing everyone else’s “job” and you want to scream. You feel responsible for the outcome but realize you were not given the authority to make it happen. What can sometimes be just as damaging to a team is when a leader oversteps his/her authority, on a regular basis, and team members have no plausible recourse for addressing it. Although most companies feel like they have a Human Resource department that the team member can go to, or that the CEO’s door is “always open” the reality of the situation is that the team member may feel that the daily ramification of “speaking up” is far greater than the reward for having done so.
  1. Create a system of accountability. Don’t think that everyone is an adult and professional and everyone will do what they promised and committed to doing. As the old saying in business goes, “you can’t expect what you don’t inspect”.

Create a system that each person agrees and makes a commitment to follow. Discuss and agree on   consequences when commitments are broken. What happens when you miss deadline? What happens when you miss revenue projections? What are the consequences when all the pieces for a project are not together the night before it is due or the day before payroll is to be posted? Accountability plays a crucial part in reaching agreed upon outcomes. Without it, each team member is left thinking it was “someone else’s fault” that something didn’t happen as planned. And then the drama begins!

I have witnessed some of my best and brightest clients experience great loss, shame, embarrassment, and heartache because they jumped into a position, took full responsibility (as they saw it) for the outcome, but did not discuss the boundaries of the authority they had to execute the agreed upon strategy. At times, they attempted to overstep the authority they were given and that didn’t work out well, either. Other times, they had a strategy that they did not clearly communicate, or inspire others to follow, with the outcome being that they tried to execute all the steps by themselves and couldn’t.

So what happens if you are in the thick of it and are having, right now, this “ah ha” moment that you feel responsible but haven’t been given the appropriate and needed amount of authority to execute a winning strategy? The only way through this is to have the needed conversations, with the appropriate parties, as soon as possible. There’s no way around it. Ignoring the reality of the situation, any longer, could result in even more frustration that will lead to damaging relationships and poor outcomes.


Create and design some time around meeting with key team members and ask them the following questions:

  1. What is our agreed upon outcome?
  2. What do you understand your role to be in reaching that outcome?
  3. What do you feel like you are responsible for?
  4. Do we both (all) agree on the best strategy to reach the outcome?
  5. What authority do you have to execute your role in that strategy?
  6. What system do we have and use for staying accountable to one another?
  7. What consequences will occur when we do not fulfill the commitments we’ve made to one another, to the team, and to our organization?

This, my friends, is where the rubber hits the road. When someone is given the authority but doesn’t feel responsible for the outcomes we get Enron. When an executive constantly takes responsibility and isn’t given authority to execute the strategy we get frustration, turn over, and burn out. Responsibility and authority without accountability leads to chaos and missed targets.

Here’s some additional resources that may help define Responsibility, Authority, and Accountability.

Authority, Responsibility and Accountability: The Right Mix
The section: “Avoid giving more authority than the assignment requires” is particularly relevant in some situations.

Establishing a Chain of Command

Understanding the relationship between authority, responsibility and accountability

Delegating Responsibility and Authority
his article is the one that the above graphic was used from.  Great explanation, in the article, about what creates the results in each of the quadrants.

I’d like to welcome the leaders of Virginia Truck Center in Roanoke, Charlotte, Richmond, Weyers Cave, Columbia, and Chesapeake to the Lynda’s Launch List family of regular readers and to the Cortex Leadership Program.  You guys rock!  Our first week together was fun and I look forward to all the great interactions ahead.  The results you have been able to achieve, as leaders of an excellent organization, speak volumes for your work ethic, intelligence, and abilities.  It’s an honor to be chosen to work with each of you.


Who will get the green eggs and ham award this week?

Not everybody likes change. In fact, there are some who almost rally against it. Even those who like it, don’t exactly care for it when the change seems dictated by somebody else.

As a leader, you are in the business of change. When you manage, you are executing processes and procedures determined to be effective through proper planning. As a leader, you work with others to decide what changes need to occur in order to move your organization forward.

Changing your, or others’ behaviors isn’t easy. Not everybody enjoys the process. In fact, there are some who go kicking and screaming towards the change you want to see in them. Their desire not to even want try to change any of their behaviors, or their thinking, reminded me of recently of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Green Eggs and Ham.

Green-eggs-and-hamIn the book, a character known as “Sam-I-Am” pesters an unnamed character, who also serves as the story’s narrator, to sample a dish of green eggs and ham. The unnamed character refuses, responding, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.” He continues to repeat this as Sam follows him, encouraging him to sample them in eight locations (house, box, car, tree, train, dark, rain and boat), all to which the unnamed character refuses responding, “I do not like them here (Current location) or there (Previous location). I do not like them anywhere.” and with three animals (mouse, fox, goat). Finally, the unnamed character gives in to Sam’s pestering and samples the green eggs and ham, which he finds that he does like after all in the end and happily responds, “I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am.” (excerpt from Wikipedia).

Change itself scares people sometimes. They run from it. The initial anxiety and discomfort it causes gives them a feeling that “this can’t be right. It just feels so wrong!” Actually, any type of change can give you a feeling of discomfort. Change that is good or bad. When your trainer asks you to do 5 more push-ups than you’ve ever done before, does that feel good? Nope. When you are asked to complete the hardest project at work that you’ve ever been involved in and you have to work until midnight, does it give you a warm and fuzzy feeling while you are sweating it out to deadline? Not so much. The best kinds of change probably aren’t going to feel great when you first try them. The deep satisfaction will come later – when you’ve mastered the change.

Will you or someone in your office get the Green Eggs and Ham award this week? Give something new a try. You never know, you might like it here or there. You might like it everywhere. You just might like it Sam-I-Am.

As a side note: Dr. Seuss may have been eating a little Green Eggs and Ham as he was writing the book. Here’s the back story about it:

The vocabulary of the text consists of just 50 different words[3] and was the result of a bet between Seuss and Bennett Cerf (Dr. Seuss’s publisher)[3][4][5] that Seuss (after completing The Cat in the Hat using 236 words)[6] could not complete an entire book without exceeding that limit.

The 50 words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.[3]

The event that occurred at Smith Mountain Lake this week saddened me deeply. I’ve worked with the talented and professional folks, at WDBJ-7 for years, although I did not know or work directly with Alison or Adam. What an incredible loss.

I do know and have worked, many times, with Vicki Gardner. She is a champion of our community and one of the strongest and courageous women I know. She proved these things to be even truer this week as she survived the vicious attack.  She deserves so much attention and admiration for her years of dedication to serving our community.  I hope that those years will be highlighted as the nation gets to know her and the type of leader she is.

How will you support your team member’s this week?

Discovering the best way to support each of your team members is a worthwhile endeavor that results in big dividends. Not every team member is motivated by the same thing. It’s your job to figure out how to engage those that your success depends on.  This is the one behavior, out of the 4 key one’s, that can give you deeply satisfying accomplishments.  Without it, hitting the bottom line may be the end of the line.

The payoff to your team member’s of you being appropriately supportive can be:

  • Satisfaction with work, job and supervisor
  • Increased commitment
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased performance

There’s 8 days left for you and your team to download my new ebook, 4 Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors, for free. One of the behaviors that the research highlighted and the ebook goes into detail about, was being supportive. Here’s the quick self-assessment to see how you’re doing.

Read each of these statements and mark what you feel like your competency level is in each of these areas. Give yourself a ranking from 1 – 10. 1 would be saying that you rarely exhibit this behavior, 10 would be that you always, without exception, do.

_____ Friendly, informative and encouraging to your team

_____ Considerate and understanding

_____ Showing concern for your team member’s needs

_____ Empathetic of team member’s challenges

_____ Help others to build their skills and careers

Your scores will help you know which area to zero in on for your next step in developing effective leadership behaviors.

One of the best resources I could find to share with you on this topic was in SlideShare. CLICK HERE to view.

Some of the skills to work on to be even more effective in this area are:

  1. Learning how to listen so others feel fully heard.
  2. Listening from your head, heart and gut.
  3. Treating others as they would want to be treated.
  4. Building and maintaining trust.
  5. Exercising the art of appreciation and recognition.
  6. Communicating technical and professional competence.
  7. Giving and receiving feedback effectively.
  8. Being more focused on their success than your own.
  9. Coaching for peak performance.
  10. Knowing how your resting face and other body language is effecting others.

An exercise you can do with your team this week:

Be aware of how your mood might be affecting your team member’s. Do you walk through the office each morning with a pleasant look on your face?  Do you acknowledge others as they pass you in the hallway? What is your mood in meetings?  Have you taken at least a few minutes with each team member in the last couple of weeks to do a “pulse check” on how they are doing?

Your demeanor towards people who you are responsible for can make all the difference in whether they stay motivated and engaged or not. Make the time this week to recognize and appreciate team member’s for the contributions they make, on a daily basis, for creating the things that are going right in your organization.

You obviously care about others or you wouldn’t even have read this far.  I bet you are more supportive and encouraging than you think.  Just by being more aware and focused on this behavior you will improve it.  Know that you are a capable, smart, tenacious leader that your team member’s want to inspire them.




How effectively will you solve problems this week?

“Problem solving is the essence of what leaders exist to do,” says Glen Llopis of Forbes. The best problem solvers realize that it’s a skill they need to build and refine constantly.

Cortex LeadershipIn my new ebook, 4 Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors, you’ll find this self-assessment to determine which areas of problem solving are strengths and which one’s you can build your skills in.

Read each of these statements and mark what you feel like your competency level is in each of these areas. Give yourself a ranking from 1 – 10. 1 would be saying that you rarely exhibit this behavior or belief, 10 would be that you always, without exception, do.

_____ When faced with a problem do you consistently widen your options

_____ Frequently test your assumptions

_____ Effectively have implemented the solution that was decided on

_____ Utilize a long-term, rather than a short-term emotional approach             to problem solving

_____ Consider your blind spots when it comes to task or people when solving a problem

_____ Consider your super powers versus your weaknesses when it comes to solving problems

_____ Prepare to be wrong or fail when implementing the solution you’ve decided on

_____ Consider unintended consequences of the solutions you will implement

To execute the behavior of effective problem solving, or any of the other behaviors I mention in the ebook, leaders must first possess these core competencies in order to execute the top 4 leadership behaviors successfully:

  • Building and maintaining trust
  • Effectively designing their time for themselves and their organization’s highest level outcomes
  • Obtaining knowledge, understanding and different viewpoints of their industry, organization, and departments they serve
  • Developing a clear vision based on identifiable, organizational and personal values

The download is free for the next 3 weeks of the ebook and it will provide you with skills and practices to assist you in being even more effective at solving the continuous stream of challenges you face everyday in your organization.

I want to send out a huge thank you to Teresa Chambers who was a wonderful support and chef for our first ever Woman’s Possibilities Retreat this week at a beautiful setting at Massenutten Resort in Virginia. The 3-day journey was a great opportunity to see breakthroughs occur and clarity be defined by some tremendously talented and already successful woman. Along with setting, and locking in each leader’s desired outcome for the coming year, I guided them through a zipline experience and exercises of the mind and body that were designed to create the confidence and fortitude to overcome any obstacle they may face moving forward.

If you would like to have a corporate retreat for your team, let me know. We can work together to design a special one just for your organization.

I am looking forward to presenting at upcoming team building events this month for groups from Roanoke College and Carilion Clinic.

Which 4 behaviors will account for 89 percent of your leadership success this week?

Out of these top 20 leadership behaviors, which 4 do you think really matter according to McKinsey & Company, a global firm that invests more than $400 million dollars annually in knowledge development for leaders?


Here’s the top 20 leadership behaviors to choose from:

  1. Be supportive
  2. Champion desired change
  3. Clarify objectives, rewards, and consequences
  4. Communicate prolifically and enthusiastically
  5. Develop others
  6. Develop and share a collective mission
  7. Differentiate among followers
  8. Facilitate group collaboration
  9. Foster mutual respect
  10. Give praise
  11. Keep group organized and on task
  12. Make quality decisions
  13. Motivate and bring out best in others
  14. Offer a critical perspective
  15. Operate with strong results orientation
  16. Recover positively from failures
  17. Remain composed and confident in uncertainty
  18. Role model organizational values
  19. Seek different perspectives
  20. Solve problems effectively

There were 4 out of the 20 that McKinsey found to explain 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness. They were number 1, 15, 19, and 20. Yep. Your focus on those 4 behaviors could mean the difference between your success and failure in reaching your desired outcome.

  • Be a supportive leader (my resource guide will tell you more about each of these behaviors and how to build your skillset in them)
  • Operate with a strong results orientation
  • Seek different perspectives
  • Solve problems effectively

So how do you measure your effectiveness in those behaviors and develop them?

I’m releasing a brand new ebook on our new Cortex Leadership Consulting website this week entitled: 4 Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors that will help you quickly measure your effectiveness in each area.  You’ll then learn, why you might be challenged in that area, which practices and skills sets are most effective in helping you modify your behaviors, and a simple and easy method for getting you started with the change you want to see.

The e-book is currently designed for participants of our Cortex Leadership Program classes and individual executive coaching clients. It is, however, helpful for any professional looking to be more effective in their leadership role.

From many years of training and consulting leaders along with the data from our system and hundreds of executive coaching sessions, each chapter will help you and your team quickly identify which exact behaviors you need to modify to improve the results you are currently getting.

Simply follow these two steps:

  1. Pick one of the 4 behaviors you would like to further develop that would have the biggest impact on your desired outcomes for this year. Feel free to respond to this email with which one you choose and I will send you a Chapter from the ebook that corresponds with that behavior. 
  1. Ask your team which behavior they believe should be a stronger part of your team culture. If it’s different than the one you picked, send that behavior choice to me as well and I will send you a resource guide for that one, too.

If you or your organization is not currently a client of Cortex Leadership Consulting, I would ask that you consider how I might be able to assist you in reaching your goals through one-on-one coaching sessions or group leadership training or a team building retreat this Fall.

If these articles are valuable to you and your team, let me know how you are using them. Your feedback helps me serve my clients more effectively.


Will you be a good boss or an amazing one this week?

Good is the enemy of great. That’s the opening line of Jim Collin’s now famous book Good to Great It’s one of those things that stuck with me – probably because I’m an over achiever like most of you.

I stumbled upon an article that I thought might speak to those of you that don’t want to settle for mediocre or average when it comes to being someone’s boss. So many of you, that I know and have attended my classes, have a true heart for wanting to serve the people you work with in a way that stands out for them and your organization.

Top ranked leaderFor that reason, the 10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do, written by Kevin Daum of Inc. might be something to print out and strive to achieve over your career. These are definitely things that John Maxwell in his book, 5 Levels of Leadership, might have described in level 4 or even 5.  They are a step beyond common sense, and are definitely not common practice. The principles behind them are what you learn in Cortex leadership classes. They are stated in the article in a way that gives you tangible differences between the level you might be at and the one you are striving to become. Practice, not perfection. None of us are capable of exercising these principles 100% of the time. It’s the striving towards them that will make you great to those you serve.

Here’s some excerpts directly from the article:

  1. Good bosses maintain control and get things done.  Amazing bosses know efficiency can be the enemy of efficacy in the long run and so they work to create an atmosphere of expansive thinking.
  1. Good bosses foster a sense of community, making room for everyone.  Amazing bosses form an internal culture by design rather than default.
  1. Good bosses invite creative thinking.  Amazing bosses know how to integrate creativity into daily conversation.
  1. Good bosses create an open environment for voicing concern and frustration.  Amazing bosses create an environment where people are empowered to make change on their own to improve product, process, and procedures.
  1. Good bosses encourage career development for their employees.  Amazing bosses integrate individual learning and development into every job description so that personal growth is required and rewarded.
  1. Good bosses run effective and efficient meetings.  Amazing bosses make sure that everyone on the team understands the difference between a valuable meeting and a waste of time and resources.
  1. Good bosses build trust so people feel safe.  Amazing bosses encourage consistent interaction and high performance within the team so they succeed or fail together, creating bonds of loyalty to the company and each other.
  1. Good bosses create happiness in the workplace.  Amazing bosses constantly seek and execute ways to help employees gain deep personal satisfaction from their responsibilities so they are inspired and excited to come to work.
  1. Good bosses make sure people are responsible for their roles and actions.  Amazing bosses promote personal accountability by providing clear communication and buy-in as to the culture, vision, and goals of the company.
  1. Good bosses know how to praise and show gratitude.  Amazing bosses know how to instill a deep sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment in individual team members.

An exercise you might try this week:

Ask yourself which of these 10 practices do you consistently deliver to your team? Determine HOW you deliver on those. What methods do you use? What is your thought process behind them? Why are those important to you?

After you make those notes, go over them with the people you serve that supervise others and help coach them to execute those practices with their teams.


Which one might you be missing the mark on? Do you have a belief that is holding you back from fully embracing that one on the list? Do you need to develop skills in order to execute it? Maybe you are struggling with designing the culture you want or executing its principles. It’s possible you’ve never thought about how to integrate creativity into every conversations or how to promote consistent interaction and higher level thinking on your team. No problem. There are all types of resources out there for these things. If you’ve been to Cortex classes, look back through the practices and modules you’ve learned. Create a thinking pair with another leader that is more advanced than you at that item. Ask questions. Become curious. Ask your team for ideas on how you can improve in that area. Ask you coach…me, when we have our next coaching session or training class.

If you didn’t want to be amazing and have a high performing, deeply satisfied team, you wouldn’t even have read this far. You rock! You are exactly what is needed and have what it takes to lead your team through the most difficult of challenges.

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