Friday, December 31, 2010

My message to you

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The year 2010 is ending. I wanted to take a moment and thank each and everyone of you that have came here to read my blog. To be completely honest I am very surprised at the response that I've had. When I started this back on December 14th, I never imagined that I would have come so far in just a couple of weeks.

Via my blog, I have met some really good people. I've been helped and assisted by people that I've never met. It's a nice feeling knowing that there are still people on this planet that can give without wanting anything in return.

I hope that my articles have been helpful, even if it's only been one person. I want my life to impact others in a positive way. I want people to come away being better for meeting me.

I am very excited for 2011. There will be a lot of changes but I believe that they will be exciting and will open new doors to me. I hope that this platform will continue to grow in size and reach. I am excited to continue meeting like minded people who are simply trying to impact others. I believe that the more people reach out and give, the better this world will be.

Here's wishing each of you prosperity and many blessings in the New Year. Don't be afraid to reach out and impact another life. No matter how small you may think the gesture, I can assure you that it will impact and ripple through those you touch. Utilize whatever platform you have to give back, whether it's at the office, your church, your community, your neighbor or even your own family. Anything you do is better then doing nothing. I challenge you to step out and give, I promise that you will not regret it. I believe that it will be a liberating experience that will make you want to do it again and again.

Once again, Thank you for your time and contributions to our blog, Voices of Leadership. It"s not just my voice, but a chorus of people wanting to change and lead by example. Leaving all of those around us, better for knowing us. Happy New Year, I''ll be back on January 1, 2011.

Sincerely,
Greg

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The puzzle pieces

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As I mentioned in yesterdays Post, I am talking about mentor leadership. Up until now, I have spoken more about groups and teams vice individuals. Yes, the groups and teams make up the whole picture, but we have to get the individual pieces in place for our teams to shine. How do we get the pieces to fit, so the picture is clear?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Layout Changes

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I am experimenting with different looks for our blog. If you like it, let me know. If you hate it, let me know. If you preferred the previous layout, let me know. Your feedback is extremely important to me, I want to ensure that everyone is having a good experience when they come to Voices of Leadership. Thanks.

P.S., Don't forget to become a Fan on Facebook Voices of Leadership Fan Page on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter: @gregoryfarley

People or Raw Material?

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Photoexpress

As we approach this new year, there is talk that the economy is slowly rising. The employer market is slowly shifting to an employee market. I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of people out there holding positions at jobs they can't wait to get out of. What do you see when you look at your employees? Are they raw material or are they people?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let them Shine!

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Photoexpress

“Sometimes creativity just means the daily work of helping others to see a problem in a different way.” ~ Joseph Badaracco.


I've mentioned empowering our people and the fact that creativity has become one of the most sought after skills in the business world. How can we unleash our people's creativity and therefore empower them to achieve new heights of success?

Are your employees in the Lobster tank?

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I had the opportunity to go out to eat at Red Lobster today. As I was waiting to be seated I was sitting in front of the lobster tank. As I peered into the tank I couldn't help but thinking that we have many employees under us that feel just like those lobsters do with their claws taped together. Restricted, uninformed and waiting to be cooked.

“There's a basic philosophy here that by empowering...workers you'll make their jobs far more interesting, and they'll be able to work at a higher level than they would have without all that information just a few clicks away.” ~ Bill Gates

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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photoexpress

“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don't forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.” ~ Unknown
When you receive feedback from your Superiors, Peers or subordinates you choose what you do with that feedback. You can learn from it or you can ignore it. Feedback is important if we are to get better as leaders. That is, if we actually utilize this often overlooked tool.

Positions of Trust

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Lovrencg
Going to the boss and explaining to them that they have made a bad decision is not an enviable place to be. If you've pulled them out of the fire in the past they are a lot more likely to listen. But what if you have been wrong before?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A bull worth taming

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Photoexpress
I just read this article that states that companies are not utilizing social media to garner customer feedback. An astounding 94% of companies to be exact.

This is crazy, why would you not utilize a medium that most of your customers are already using? If your customers are using Twitter or Facebook, they are there and are comfortable with those mediums. The wealth of data that could be mined in reference to your customer satisfaction would far out weigh any cost.

With the speed of business approaching the speed of light, you have to get that information fast and start to utilizes it immediately. Can you imagine the firestorm your customers and products could create in a matter of minutes on Facebook and Twitter? Social media is a bull that Leadership needs to grab and harness, the longer it goes rampaging out of control the more likely your business will not keep ahead of the social media curve and the benefits of improving your bottom line.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The "supervisor"

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I was out doing some Christmas shopping this afternoon. I was at Old Navy making a purchase and the young lady that was ringing me up was very nice and giving me very good customer service. As I have done on many occasions, I ask to speak to the manager or supervisor to tell them that the employee was very professional and provided me with excellent customer service. Now, USUALLY the manager or leadership tells me thank you for letting them know and for making the comment.

Not today, when I asked to speak to the manager, the girl looked to her right and said, "She is right here." pointing at the supervisor (I use that term lightly, you will see why in a moment) I then looked at the "supervisor" and said, " Your employee provided me with excellent customer service and I really appreciated it."
"supervisor" says, " I know, I was right here."
REALLY, I'm sure that my mouth dropped open at this point. I know that retail is not a very glamorous position for someone in their LATE thirties and you have come to the realization that this is it for you. No big title, no big house, you are a "supervisor"

Don't get me wrong, I don't fault anyone for working, especially in this day and age. But if your going to be in a Leadership position, please be a good example for your employees and better yet your companies customers.

Have you had bad customer service from someone in a Leadership position? Please tell us about it, share, learn and grow.

Merry Christmas

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To My Readers,

I really appreciate all the support I have received in such a short time in writing this blog. It amazes me everyday that anyone comes here to read my posts when they have so many options. I have striven for a very real and truthful blog, I will continue to write in this manner for as long as there are people interested in reading my posts.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year. I will continue to post on this blog, but I will not be posting full articles again until next Monday, the 27th due to the holiday season and the time required to attend to those festivities.

Thank you again for your support and loyalty. Please feel free to comment on any topics you would like me to cover or Leaders you would like me to write about. Additionally, if there is anything I can do to make this site better for you, the reader, please let me know.

Sincerely,
Greg Farley, Voices of Leadership

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Ripple effect

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"I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."  ~Edward Everett Hale

As I mentioned in my article this morning I had two people in my career that stand out among many. The first was Michael Young.

The second one is James Anderson. Master Chief Anderson was a take charge and take care of the people kind of guy. I wasn't his biggest fan when I first started working with him, mainly because he pushed me hard. It seemed that no matter what I did, he wanted me to do it better. I remember talking to him about what I needed to do or improve on to make Chief Petty Officer. I was a First Class Petty Officer at the time. He told me, "Start acting like a Chief."

Impact a Life

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Photoexpress
~ I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou


Look at the picture to the right. One single drop of water released it's energy and look at the impact on the rest of the water. The energy released by that one drop of water is now passing throughout the rest. I'm gonna share how people have given me their time and energy. How it has impacted my life and those around me. So, go ahead and imagine what impact you could make by just one simple act.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Now this is an awesome award!

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I had to mention this. There's a website called,  Please Fire Me , The site is where people come and vent as to why they want to be fired. If you find yourself bored or that you hate your job. Go on here, you'll feel much better. Oh here's the WHOLE reason for me writing this:
Please fire me. My department won a quarterly award. Our reward was a smiley face finger puppet for each of us.

Your the best Employee!
photoexpress | Roslen Mack

Going Nowhere

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Photoexpress |Mary Keuffer
 Your team hears that there's a promotion available in the company. One of your team members was in the running but didn't get the promotion. They come to you and ask, "Why didn't I get the job?" What do you tell them? How can you take this moment and soften the blow while also rebuilding this worker into a more efficient and productive member of the organization. So that the next time they are up for promotion they get it. Read on

The illusion of communication

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credit
Global business with employees and customers all over the world. How do we ensure that what we are communicating is getting received in the proper context?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gator nearest the boat

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photoexpress  | Julie Balderston
 As leaders of our teams we are always looking to the horizons ,looking for trouble that may be a distraction or hazard to our teams vision or goals. This enables us the ability to steer clear of it or at least prepare for it. But what happens when suddenly you need to alter course?

What's keeping CEO's up at night?

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photo | leo-blanchette
     IBM conducted research where they interviewed, face-to-face, 1,500 CEO's from across the Globe asking them several tough questions. The one common theme that was encountered about the ever changing landscape of business was that a good majority of CEO's felt ill-equipped to deal with the change and complexity of their markets and consumers.Three distinct insights arouse from this published report.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why should you care if people like you?

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I really enjoy finding new people that I've never had the chance to read about or meet. I have not had the opportunity to meet Seth Godin. I believe that I would like to, he seems like my kind of guy. Here's the link to his blog. I really enjoyed this observation he made. Enjoy.

EMPOWER YOUR PEOPLE

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(Part 1) (Part 2) Finishing up my profile on James F. Lincoln, I would like to focus on what I believe to be one of his greatest abilities, Empowering his people. For his time he was a revolutionary thinker that was able to put his forward thinking into tangible results. For example, His workers wages nearly doubled during the Great Depression. That feat alone would have put him into the annuls of Great Leaders. He continually looked for ways to make his workforce more efficient and profitable not only for the company but for the workers as well. How did he effectively Empower his people?


JAMES F. LINCOLN PART 2

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(Part 1 here) In a interesting turn of events I had the opportunity to talk with a friend last night and he was venting about his work and the way his manager leads his team. I guess, I should say, he was venting at the lack of leadership and how the manager does not go out of his way to empower his employees or show them appreciation. For example, The manager started a internal contest with the team that for every unsolicited positive feedback the company received for a team member, the company would give the employee $20 per positive feedback. Problem is, the contest ended on November 30th and the manager still has not rewarded the employees who received the positive feedback per the rules of his contest. This manager promptly took a very good idea and has now turned it into a BIG NEGATIVE. The employees are now even more disgruntled for not receiving the rewards for their efforts. I can honestly say that my friend is a very hard working man. Would perform above and beyond regardless of the incentive. But, you can see how the employees are disgruntled about it.

How would have James Lincoln handled this situation? By all accounts he would have implemented a similar program to encourage the employees and their efforts. The key difference would have been that he would have promptly followed up on his incentive program and made a big deal about handing out the rewards to the employees. There by encouraging the increase in productivity and setting new standards of performance.

Friday, December 17, 2010

JAMES F. LINCOLN

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"The Christian ethic should control our acts. If it did control our acts, the savings in the cost of distribution would be tremendous…Competition, then, would be in improving the quality of products and increasing efficiency in producing and distributing them; not in deception, as is now too customary."
James F. Lincoln


Between 1914 and 1965 James F. Lincoln authored an outstanding story of business ethics, productivity growth and industry leadership at the Lincoln Electric Company. 


Some of the things that he pioneered and what makes him important to Leadership and Management:

  • Created piecework pay and a employee advisory board in 1914
  • Established group life insurance polices for employees in 1915.
  • Implemented paid vacation in 1923.
  • Developed employee stock ownership plan in 1925.

A FISH OUT OF WATER

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http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=851














They say pride comes before the fall. I think that we as Leaders would do well to follow that warning. We often tend to find ourselves getting "Better than others" after a series of successes either by ourselves or by our team. How can we keep Pride from creeping in and destroying all that we have worked so hard to achieve?


  • Praise Others: When there's cause for praise, direct it at the team, individual or the support staff who really put the effort in or came up with the winning play. Also, don't forget to direct praise at your Spouse, Children,Parents or Friends. Most of us do not get where we are in life without the support of others.
  • "We" instead of "I": Whenever talking of recent successes use the term, "We" instead of "I" Acknowledging a team effort and atmosphere will also keep you grounded and make those working with you a lot more appreciative of your leadership when they receive recognition as well. 
  • Feedback: Keep a open door policy whenever possible. Your team will enjoy the fact that they can come to you with issues or problems and not feel like they will be looked down upon or disciplined for it. Also, keep your friends close and seek their counsel and feedback as well. They will help you keep grounded.
These are just a few things that I feel will keep us all from floating to high. What other things have you done or can suggest to keep us grounded? Please leave a comment.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

AFTER THE FAILURE, NOW WHAT?

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I would like to follow up on my last post. I believe that a lot of leaders miss out on this opportune moment to help in the recovery process when a failure or missed deadline has occurred. As I have heard many people make the statement, " It's not how you fail, It's about how you get back up" No one likes to fail, let the team down or cause your company to miss that important contract.

When this moment arrives we absorb it, we take the member or team aside and get the "Why, where, what and How" from their point of view. We then take external input if available and put it all together. After we have analyzed it all we come back and do training and start building them back up. It's easy to just flame throw everyone and everything when things go bad. It shows our people a lot to be accountable and to hold them accountable. It's even better to then build them back up with facts and improved practices.




















http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/200902/fear-failure

FORGIVE AND THEN LEARN FROM IT

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Continuing on the theme of accountability.

As previously mentioned, a good leader has to learn to accept mistakes and failures as a part of growth and risk. Being accountable for the good and the bad. Along with that is holding your employees accountable for their mistakes. Holding accountable doesn't mean public executions. It means pulling them aside, capturing the moment to teach, to learn.

Encouraging a culture in your company or office of talking about failures and their causes will go far with your employees. Analyze why the failure occurred and  then implement the proper steps to ensure that particular failure doesn't re-occur. If we are ever going to break new ground in our businesses we have to foster an atmosphere where people aren't afraid of taking different approaches to accomplishing the mission or task.

Yes, there will be failures and loss. But with each failure we will learn more about our people and ourselves. Along the way we will also discover possibilities and new ventures that we would have never discovered without these failures. Learn from these failures and then forgive your people. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that we can use to empower our people.


“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ACCOUNTABILITY, ARE YOU HOLDING YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE?

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As leaders it's easy to get caught up in titles and a nice income. But, how do you react when the pressure is on? What do you do when your team drops the ball, doesn't convert the third down play? I have seen leaders who have no problem taking credit for making the call that led to the touchdown. But when the play ends in a sack or turnover allows the blame to fall at the feet of their team. We must be able to take the good with the bad. We have to accept that we are as human as the people we lead. Good leaders absorb the blow of bad news or missed deadlines. More importantly, we also take the time to turn it into a learning lesson for our team and ourselves. We all know the feeling of having to go to the top to deliver bad news. Keep that in mind the next time one of your employees comes and falls on their sword. You choose how you will react. You choose whether to have mercy or to have their head on a silver platter. Our employees will respect us when they know that we can deal with and absorb any news.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this and any examples that you may have as well.

YOUR TEAM IS IN CRISIS MODE, WHAT DO YOU DO?

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I have been in many situations where the next minute of time will decide if you fail miserably or will come out looking like Superman. As leaders we are faced with difficult decisions that are ours alone to make. That is why we are leaders, that is why you must stay accountable to your people and to your shareholders. The following article gives a quick example of how you can make or break your reputation as a leader. What will you do?

http://leadership.13apples.com/leadership-psyche-1/
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Good article about why conflict is sometimes a good thing.

http://blogs.hbr.org/kotter/2010/12/the-good-fight-how-conflict-ca.html

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL, I'M A BLOGGER

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I finally got the courage up to start this blog. I want this blog to be a place where professionals can come and get thought provoking articles about Leadership and how we lead our people. I am not claiming to be an expert in Leadership. But, I do have over 20 years experience leading people. I hope that you will enjoy this and pass it on to someone else who might be able to use the knowledge contained herein.
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