Posts Tagged ‘How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK’

Do You Over-manage & Under-lead?

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

One of the most common mistakes that prevents a manager from reaching his or her potential is to over-manage and under-lead. Many of the managers I’ve met over the years don’t even realize that there is a difference between management and leadership, or that developing a balance of both skill sets is essential if they want to grow their team and maximize results. While I can’t explain as well in a few hundred words what takes me two hours to cover in my workshop, I’ll do my best in this space to outline a handful of key differences between management and leadership. Evaluate your own tendencies, and determine if there are adjustments you should make that will help you to optimize your leadership effectiveness.

Think of management as being about paperwork, while leadership concerns people-work. Management involves systems, controls, budgets, forecasting, scheduling, processes and procedures. On the other hand, the focus of leadership is to attract and develop talent, motivate, create vision and values, and build a team that can succeed in your absence. I explain to the attendees of my workshops that there are two categories of tasks you can engage in every day: “stuff” or people. Frankly, management is the stuff part of your job, and it’s so easy to become consumed by that aspect of your daily responsibilities that you have little or no time left for people. A consequence for building an organization that is over-managed & under-led is that the team is likely to be under-developed & overwhelmed.

Management and leadership are equally important. Don’t get the idea that “management” is a bad word. The problem comes when you over-manage, and spend so much time with stuff that you become isolated, aloof, out of touch, and stop impacting your people. The reason I’ve spent so much time over the years writing about and teaching leadership is that it’s the skill set that most managers have had little training in. They get schooled on how to do the “stuff” part of the job (data entry, inventories, forecasts, budgets, scheduling, reading financial statements, etc.) but don’t have a clue how to recruit, interview, motivate, cast a vision, hold someone accountable, or mentor.  While it is common to over-manage and under-lead, it is also possible to over-lead and under-manage. Think about it this way: management without leadership means that you won’t be able to grow what you keep, whereas leadership without management means you won’t be able to keep what you grow.

Here are three of the twenty key differences between managers and leaders that I discuss in my seminars to help attendees become more aware of what they’re doing well, and where they need to make adjustments in their daily approach to leadership:

1. Managers maintain whereas leaders stretch. Managers are decent at maintaining people, but they’re not great at growing them because they don’t spend enough time with them, and were never trained how to evaluate or develop human capital in the first place. They don’t seem to realize that while you can impress people at a distance (in your fancy office), to impact them you must get up close. Leaders, on the other hand, are committed to leaving followers better than they found them. They stretch them out of their comfort zone, provide the tools and personal touch their team members need to grow to their potential, and hold them accountable for results.

2. Managers lead from the rear, leaders lead from the front. Because they are enamored with “stuff,” managers spend more time in their offices getting dazed by data and numbed by numbers, than they do in the trenches acting as a catalyst and unleashing the potential of their team. As they pencil-whip budgets and count beans in an attempt to turn the numbers around, they fail to develop their human capital—turn the people around—so that their people can turn the numbers around. These folks talk like leaders but act like anchors. On the other hand, leaders spend more time charting the course than they do charting results. They focus on what’s happening in the arena and on the horizon, because they know that the front line determines the bottom line.

3. Managers resist change and defend the status quo; leaders rattle the status quo and change before they have to. Managers who spend a good part of their day roosting in an office, surrounded by stuff, or suffering through hours of death-by-meeting, devolve into a defensive posture where they spend more time plugging holes, doing damage control, and reacting than they do initiating change. However, when they lead in the trenches with their people, they see more clearly what needs to be changed and are quicker to take action. Too many leaders, who were successful at one time because they lead from the front and acted as a change agent, gradually withdrew from their catalyst role and begin presiding and administering from their backside. They regress from active to passive; from “lead,” a verb, to “leadership,” a noun. During this regression, they descend from risk taker, to care taker, to undertaker, eventually presiding over a lifeless enterprise that became comatose on their watch.

If you over-manage and under-lead in areas like the three I’ve presented, don’t beat yourself up. After all, we all get off track. What’s important is that you become a more self-aware leader who makes faster adjustments when you stray from a sound leadership style so that your temporary detour doesn’t lead you into a rut which, if you stay in it long enough, becomes a grave.

New Book Previews & Article: “No Problem” is a Big Problem!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

This month has flown by! Im traveling to Dallas tomorrow to speak at Goodyear’s annual convention at the Gaylord Texan–one of my favorite hotels. It will complete a twelve-speaking-day calendar in January, with a like schedule next month. Gotta love those frequent flyer miles!

Here are two quick updates on my upcoming books and a link to an article on customer service that you should read and apply immediately.

1. Amazon.com already has “How to Lead by THE BOOK” posted. It will be released June 21. Get a sneak preview here: http://budurl.com/hynn

2. Amazon.com also has the revised and expanded paperback version of “How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK” posted. It will also be released on June 21. Take a look: http://budurl.com/gzp6

3. My friend and Small Business Advocate Radio Show host Jiim Blasingame wrote an article called, “No Problem is a Big Problem!” It ties in very well with the Simply the Best Customer Service principles Ive been teaching in my new seminar. Read it and share it with your team. http://budurl.com/45dr 

Six of the nine expected cover-quote testimonials for How to Lead by THE BOOK are in. I should have the rest in a few days and I will share them with you next week!

Day 156-159 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Finish! Dedication! Acknowledgments!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

I received word this morning that my publisher, Wiley, has received the Fed-Ex’d manuscript for How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Fourteen Toughest Business Challenges–one day ahead of the December 15th deadline! Now, I can move on to revise and expand, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, with a deadline of February 15th.

Here’s how the process will now work with Wiley. They will do the following:

1. Read and review the book and make additional proofing changes as needed.

2. Make me aware of any objectionable content they would like me to soften or reconsider.

3. Send the manuscript back to me for final revisions.

In the opening pages of a book the author has an opportunity to write a “Dedication” and “Acknowledgments”. Here’s are the special people I’ve decided to include in this book:

Dedication

This book is dedicated to Jesus Christ and His persecuted followers in “closed” countries throughout the world, and to exceptional organizations like EQUIP, 222 Ministries, and Voice of the Martyrs who serve and support them.

Acknowledgements

It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the following family, friends and co-laborers who have helped me with this book:

* To Rhonda, my wife and business partner. You are the love of my life and if you ever leave me, I am going with you!

* To Russell, for your exceptional work running LearnToLead with Rhonda so that I had the time to write this book.

* To Ryan for your diligent labors in proofing and formatting this book…and for tolerating the many, “Oh, by the way, could you add this to chapter so and so” after it was already complete.

* To Dan and Matt at Wiley for your enthusiasm and support for the By THE BOOK brand.

* To my beautiful and brilliant daughter Ashley, for your recommendations which I have happily included. How did you get so smart?

* To Christian giants of faith like Spurgeon, Simeon, Henry, and Gothard who have added incredible richness to my understanding of the Scriptures.

Now…I’ll get the manuscript to the kind folks who promised to consider writing a cover quote for the book, so they can begin to read it. I need to get all cover quotes to the publisher by February 1!

Day 147-150 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Handle False Accusers!

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Just nine days until the deadline for How to Lead by THE BOOK! I’ve decided to stop at fourteen chapters–I’ve run out of word allotment! I’m at the publisher-prescribed 50,000 words! The others strategies I wanted to include will have to wait for the next book.

Any leader who takes a stand for something is going to encounter false accusations. False accusations normally come as the result of an attacker not having anything legitimate to accuse you of, so they resort to lies. As an author, I endure my fair share of disgruntled comments. Normally for every fifty positive emails, I’ll receive one on the irrational side. It normally has no factual basis and makes false claims. Here’s how I’ve successfully handled these occasions in the past. Perhaps these thoughts can help you remain productive when you endure similar attacks:

1. Stay calm and stick to the facts. Don’t get personal and don’t exaggerate, insult or try to beat down your assailant. Let your mature manner, and the facts you present, do that for you.

2. Your reply should address the concerns they throw at you, but don’t say any more than is necessary. Get to the point and move on.

3. Acknowledge their right to disagree, but not their right to be wrong or to lie. In other words, if they’re expressing a different opinion, fine. However, if they’re accusing you of something false, set the record straight.

4. Stay on a high road. Conclude your response cordially and again–resist the temptation to get personal and put the nuisance in his place! You may have the intellect and ability to chew him up and spit him out. Don’t. Use only what is necessary to disarm their attack and make your defense. The last thing you want is a prolonged dialogue with someone who has nothing better to do.

The lesson: if someone offers you legitimate criticism, listen to it and see what you can learn from it. But when they falsely accuse you, take the more proactive steps listed above.

Day 132-135 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Avoid These Two Dangerous Leadership Mistakes!

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I’ve now completed 35,000 of the 50,000 words needed to finish How to Lead by THE BOOK. I’ve covered eleven major business challenges thus far making for short, to-the-point chapters.

Last night I put the finishing touches on the chapter, “What are two of the most dangerous mistakes I must avoid to become a more effective leader?” Obviously, there were lots to choose from! However, I decided to include the following two major blunders in the book:

1. The tendency to prioritize “stuff” over people.

2. The tendency to become too dependent on yourself.

Here’s an excerpt of how I opened the chapter:

Man’s Wisdom and Way

“Leadership brings pressures that will cause you to make mistakes. No one expects you to be perfect. If you fall short, ask forgiveness. When you commit leadership errors, learn from them.  The bottom line is that, since everyone makes their own share of blunders, yours are none of their business.”

If you believe the veracity of Man’s Wisdom and Way, please re-read chapter two, and pay more attention this time! As a leader, your mistakes are everyone’s business because your actions have a greater impact on the culture, morale, momentum and organizational results than any one else’s. You also have the responsibility of setting a righteous example for followers. To appreciate your influence on their behavior, you must grasp that the positive actions you take in excess followers will emulate in moderation. However, the negative actions you initiate in moderation, your followers will imitate in excess. You also accrue a bad reputation and encourage further cultural corruption when your own words and deeds are inconsistent. Sir Francis Bacon explained it well: “He that gives good admonition and bad example builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.”

THE BOOK’s wisdom and way

You are not expected to become perfect. But you should strive towards imitating a perfect Lord and Savior as you are instructed in Ephesians 5:1: “Therefore be imitators of God.”  Many leaders use the fact that they cannot become perfect human beings as license to stop striving.

As a leader, you are expected to do more than grow old; you are presumed to grow up and minimize your errors, correct your mistakes, and respond to missteps backwards with a steady gait forward.

Leaders face many temptations and often fall into common traps that affect their character and performance. Loose morals, lousy judgment, outright ignorance, and blatant stupidity are the culprits beyond most failures. However, there is one primary perpetrator that underlines each of these causes: pride.  In How to Rum Your Business by THE BOOK (Wiley, 2009), I devoted an entire chapter explaining how pride is the number one cause of leadership failure. Suffice to say, that if you struggle with either of these common leadership mistakes I mention in this chapter, pride is at the root of your problem. And if you suddenly became defensive or defiant in the face of my accusation that you may have a problem with pride, it is certain evidence that you are guilty as charged!

Day 129-131 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How do You Hold People Accountable?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Yesterday I spoke at a Leader’s Forum in Cincinnati with my friend and best-selling author, John Maxwell. There were 150 leaders in attendance and the topic of how to hold others accountable was one of the issues we addressed.

The first chapter of How to Lead by THE BOOK will tackle this challenge. Below is an excerpt that opens the chapter. It helps create perspective on the basis for accountability. In a future post, I’ll list some of the seven steps for accountability that I present in the book.

Man’s wisdom & way

“Get in their face with tough talk. Intimidate, threaten, and bully. If they don’t like it, they should either step up or opt out!”

In the one thousand leadership presentations I give each decade, I’ve discovered that this old school palaver is still the strategy of choice for many misguided leaders. While trying to find the right word to describe this tendency herein I couldn’t decide whether to use hopeless, futile, or stupid. Thus, I’ve decided to define this method for accountability as: hopelessly futile stupidity.

The BOOK’s wisdom & way

While visiting the Mount of the Beatitudes in Israel, I was struck by its prominence in height and stature compared to its surroundings. Thus, it is fitting that Jesus chose this spot to teach on the topic of elevated values and expectations. In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus outlined the revolutionary values of the Christian faith with His Sermon on the Mount. He presented clear behavioral standards, along with appropriate rewards or penalties contingent upon one’s obedience. Whereas the Old Testament ended in Malachi 4:6 with a curse, Jesus began His ministry teaching on the Mount with a blessing: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. You are able to bless your people in a like manner when you clearly define what you expect from them. You simultaneously strengthen your organization as doing so provides an essential benchmark for accountability.   

Why did Jesus set forth expectations and values so early in His ministry? For the same reasons you must do so within your organization: You cannot possibly hold anyone accountable until you define what you expect in the first place! But even more importantly, it gave Him a chance to model what He expected with His own life. Even when Jesus’ mouth was closed, He taught by His example. You must do likewise. After all, you cannot credibly hold others accountable for the behaviors you’ve defined as non-negotiable unless you personally live them.

There is no record in Matthew of Jesus offering feedback to anyone, much less holding them accountable, until He had clearly defined what He expected from his followers. Using THE BOOK as a guide, consider the seven subsequent thoughts and rules to help you create a higher accountability culture in your organization. (Coming in a future post).

Day 127-128 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Balance Your Work & Home Life!

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

The feedback I received over the past 17 months since the publication of How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK has convinced me that most business people have a very strong interest in improving their work-life balance. This is because my chapter in that book on this topic generated as much or more feedback than any other issue.

In How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’m including a chapter that will dig deeper into this highly important matter. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter, How do I balance my work and home life?

Man’s wisdom and way

“My family understands that the long hours I spend at work is the sacrifice we all make to live a comfortable life. Besides, we’ve learned that quality time is more important than a quantity of time spent together poorly. While it may be tough for them to fully understand the career investment I’m making now, some day they will appreciate what I’m doing for them.”

Many leaders earn well but they don’t live well. They sacrifice their family, health, friends, and relationship with God for more stuff. They work hard to secure a golden retirement and add years to their life. But, in the process, they fail to add life to their years. Anyone extending years to their life without adding life to their years merely perpetuates the depth and duration of their emptiness.

The BOOK’s wisdom and way

Any Christian feigning confusion over what should be most important in his or her life should win an Academy Award for best actor. The Bible makes resolutely clear in Matthew 6:33 the proper ordering of one’s priorities. You can rest assured that balance, provision, and happiness in all other sectors of your life are contingent upon getting this right:

But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33. I assume that since Jesus didn’t stutter with this sentence that you caught the intended sequence for your life’s priorities.

In the Book of John, Jesus reveals the secret for bearing much fruit in your life. Again, there is no gray area:

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Frankly, if your relationship with God isn’t what it should be, your relationship with others, including those living in under your roof who should mean the most to you, will suffer and fail to reach its potential.

What your family needs more than your paycheck, a big house, nice cars, a college education or fancy vacations is spiritual leadership from a mom and dad who have made their relationship with God the priority in their life. Only after your heart is humble enough to rank God first in your life will you ever be able to properly value your family.

Day 115-116 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Don’t Cheat Your Champions!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

More great news yesterday! Fifteen months after its publication, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK is still making best-seller lists. It placed #20 in the Hudson Bookstore/Newsstand Airport Bestseller List in locations nationwide!

Setting behavioral standards, and then holding people accountable for those standards, is a key leadership responsibility. When standards aren’t set, employees can behave recklessly and then claim they “didn’t know that’s what you expected.” Here’s an excerpt from the chapter on values from How to Lead by THE BOOK:

The BOOK’s wisdom and way

The Bible abounds with examples of God creating and communicating the non-negotiable behaviors that He expected His people to live by. The Ten Commandments and Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are prime examples. Creating, living, and holding others accountable for core values are essential leadership responsibilities. Core values serve multiple purposes;

1. Core values create the DNA of your organization. They differentiate you from competitors.

2. Core values make it easier for employees to know what to do in situations where they cannot check with authorities or ask for permission.

3. Core values provide a filter to help you hire and promote the right people.

4. Core values provide a filter to help you fire the wrong people.

5. Core values help create a culture that supports your vision.

6. Core values provide a benchmark for behavioral accountability.

Years ago, the team member that violated values and possessed a dearth of character was the pariah. A sad indictment of our times often proves opposite. The contemporary outcast is the soul refusing to cede his principles, who forgoes what is easy or popular for what is right. In some circles, these principled Daniels and Ruth’s are rewarded with mockery, ostracizing, and vindictiveness. By failing to create and enforce core values that champion these heroes and weed out offenders, you aid the offenders and cheat your champions

Day 101 How to Lead by THE BOOK: An Interview Mistake You Must Avoid!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will have three chapters on the various aspects of hiring:

1. Recruiting.

2. Interview strategy.

3. The best interview questions to determine strength of character.

I will also have a variety of other hiring tips to improve your chances of hiring a great employee. In addition, I’ve decided to remind readers of two key hiring tips I presented in How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, since they are easily forgotten. Here’s one of them. It’s one of the most common mistakes made when hiring:

  1. Don’t get blown away by personal appearance! Making emotional decisions during interviews based on your own prejudices, stereotypes, and personal appearance is one of the most common hiring errors. Remember the words of God to Samuel as he was evaluating Jesse’s eight sons in his quest to discover who to anoint as king. Samuel was blown away by the “king-like” appearance of Eliab:

So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees: for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:6-7.

History goes on to show that Eliab was far too petty and selfish to have been a great king.

It also helps to remember that one chapter before Samuel’s encounter with Eliab, he anointed Saul as Israel’s first king. Saul was an abject failure as king. But take a look at how his physical appearance is described: And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Samuel 9:2.

How many “Saul’s” have you seen during your career—or perhaps even hired—only to discover later that their style disguised the sad fact that they lacked substance?  Endeavor to see job candidates during an interview as God sees them: from the inside out. Look at their heart and hire with your head!

Day 96 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Overcome the Six Temptations of Successful Organizations!

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

As I was gathering research material for a chapter on overcoming complacency that I will include in How to Lead by THE BOOK, I came across an outline I had written for, How to Overcome the Six Temptations of Successful Organizations. This outline became the final chapter in my book, Up Your Business, which was first published in 2003. The revised and expanded version was released in 2007.

Back in ’03 business and the economy were better for many of us than they are today and I felt compelled to include the six temptations as a warning  for leaders to not let up and lose their momentum during robust business periods. For many of you, business has taken a turn upward this year over the past couple of years, and it may help to be reminded of these six points. Here they are:

The Six Temptations of Successful Organizations:

1. The leaders stop working on themselves and become know-it-alls.

2. The leaders stop thinking big and slide backward into a maintenance mode.

3. The leaders stop leading from the front and spend too much time in their offices.

4. The leaders stop building a team and become too dependent upon themselves.

5. The leaders stop holding others accountable because it doesn’t seem as necessary.

6. Everyone abandons the basics.

How many of these temptations have you or your organization fallen prey to? Face them and fix them now!

Yesterday I flew from Los Angeles to Huntsville, Alabama where I will conduct my Simply the Best Customer Service Workshop this morning. During the flight, I worked on another chapter for How to Lead by THE BOOK. It covers biblical strategies for recruiting and hiring great people. I believe that readers are going to be amazed at how thoroughly the Bible speaks to this subject and how helpful its team building principles are. I’ll include actual character-determining interview questions in the book: over a dozen of them! This will help you hire people who share your values and have the attitude and integrity necessary to positively contribute to your organization.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, my publisher wants me to add an additional chapter to the revised version of How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, which is scheduled to be released in June. After considering many possibilities, I decided on this topic for the expanded version of the book: How to Lead Effectively Through Crisis! The world is becoming a more complex and challenging place in which to live and lead. Because of this, I believe that a “crisis leadership” theme will always be relevant, applicable and helpful. We never know what surprises lurk around the corner. The wise will be prepared for them before they manifest.