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Can You Get Rich by Visualizing Yourself Rich? April 13, 2012

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By Robert Frank

The idea that you can get rich by picturing yourself rich has a long and oft-mocked history.

Even before “The Secret” — the blockbuster bestseller that said that good thoughts lead to success – there were similar tomes like “The Science of Getting Rich” published in 1910 and “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937.

All of the books have the same premise: You can visualize your way to wealth.

Hard work? Revolutionary ideas? Luck? Timing? Nice to have, maybe, but apparently not as powerful as picturing your way to riches, these books say.

It’s not hard to see why critics have often made fun of the theory as part of a “flight from realism.”

Yet Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Spanx, is apparently big on such visualization. In Jean Chatzky’s new book “The Difference,” Blakely says that “I believe you can take mental snapshots of your future and what success looks like to you. If you mentally see yourself in a scenario, you’ll start to make decisions in your life that get you there.”

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Good Managers Lead Through a Team April 4, 2012

Posted by mrpaulmulder in Business Innovation, Leadership.
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We consider the ability to manage a team so important that, in a recent book, we made it one of the “3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader:” Manage Your Team — the first imperative — is about creating a real team and managing through it. For the record, the other two imperatives are Manage Yourself — which is about building relationships based on trust, not authority — and Manage Your Network, which is about connecting and collaborating with those you don’t control.

“Manage your team” might seem clear and straightforward. Yet when we talk about it, we often find it’s not an intuitive concept for many managers and for some it even cuts against the grain of what they think they should do as bosses.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain the problem, as we’ve come to understand it, is through the phrase we used above — manage “through the team.” By that we mean you should use the social dynamics of the team to manage individual members, rather than managing members primarily one-by-one. This is a critical distinction that many managers miss. Though they extol the benefits of teamwork, they insist on managing their teams individual-by-individual. Thus, they virtually insure that their groups will never become true teams.

Every group is not a team. Most are not, in fact, and so it’s good to start with a definition.
A team is a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common team purpose and challenging goals related to that purpose.

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Six Characteristics of Highly Effective Change Leaders September 23, 2011

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In today’s rapidly changing business environment, quickly identifying new opportunities and taking action to capture them is no longer the private domain of industry leaders—it is a matter of survival for every business and for every employee. As Pulitzer prize-winning author Thomas Friedman noted in his book, The World is Flat, not just every company, but every individual is competing today in a global economy.

While being a change leader may not be easy, the first step is knowing what it requires. People who are effective leaders of change have six characteristics. As a supervisor and leader, knowing these six characteristics helps you in several ways. First, you want to cultivate these qualities in yourself. Second, you can factor these characteristics into your hiring decisions. Third, you will want to cultivate these characteristics in your team culture by taking steps to reinforce them and avoiding steps that contradict them. Here are the six characteristics of change leaders:

Read More: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2010/08/20/six-characteristics-of-highly-effective-change-leaders/

US Bank Picks SA for Growth September 2, 2011

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IN A report outlining the long-term growth outlook for European, Middle East and African (Emea) countries, Bank of America Merrill Lynch says SA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the markets with the most promising 10-year growth outlook.

“Based on an analysis of growth determinants from demographics to leverage, we conclude that this decade Turkey, SA and Saudi Arabia will improve their growth performance. We see the highest average level of growth in Turkey (4,8%) and SA (4,2%), with most of the rest of the region clustered between 3%-4%.”

Under a heading, South Africa: not spent yet, the bank forecasts that stronger than expected consumer spending and a stimulus from government investment on infrastructure are likely to boost growth to 5% between 2013 and 2016.

Read More: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=152420

Warren Buffett Wisdom May 3, 2011

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“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick your associates who’s behaviour is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” – Warren Buffett

3 Ways to Encourage Risk Taking February 25, 2011

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Over the past few years, the economy has forced many companies to play it safe and take few, if any, risks. If your company culture has become — or always has been — risk-averse, try doing the following three things to turn it around:

1. Evaluate risk-taking. Take an honest look at your company or unit and assess whether people avoid risks. Utilize interviews, skip-level meetings, or anonymous surveys to gauge whether people feel anxious or hold back ideas.
2. Make idea-sharing safe. Create a “safe space” where managers and employees can voice their concerns, feedback, and ideas — without fear of retribution.
3. Experiment. Ask a team in a part of the company you want to grow to conduct a series of rapid-cycle experiments to test new ways of working. Make it explicit that failure is acceptable as long as learning comes
from it.

Source; Harvard Business Review

Raising Prices Pays Off for Some October 29, 2010

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Earlier this year, Allen Ackerman decided to charge more for his firm’s employee-placement services. The company, A-List Placement LLC, did not land some potential new customers, he says, but revenue is up 30% compared with last year.

Mr. Ackerman’s move to hike prices comes as more of his peers are doing the opposite. September marked the 22nd consecutive month in which more business owners reported cutting average selling prices than raising them, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, D.C. Only 12% of owners said they raised prices, the survey showed.

“Owners and managers are struggling to maintain sales volume and market share,” says Ralph Zuponcic, managing partner at pricing strategy firm PricePoint Partners LLC in Hudson, Ohio. “To save that, many will drop prices,” he says. “The economy is driving that.”

The majority of small-business owners are lowering or holding firm on price points as consumers keep close tabs on their spending, according to the NFIB. The price wars will likely heat up as the holidays approach, Mr. Zuponcic says.

But some research indicates that racing to lower prices—even if it lures more customers—doesn’t usually put a company ahead. Even in down economies, raising prices just slightly can have a greater bottom-line impact than lowering them, according to a study in the McKinsey Quarterly, published by the business management advisory firm McKinsey & Co.

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Source: Emily Maltby, The Wall Street Journal

When your team turns on you. October 25, 2010

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It can happen to even the most competent leaders. Your team members disengage or stop coming to meetings. They refuse to, or simply don’t do, what you ask of them. They begin meeting without you. When these things happen, it may be that your team has turned against you. For a leader, this can be a disheartening and terrifying experience, but it is not irreparable. By being open to what is happening, listening to your team and being direct, you can regain the group’s confidence and your effectiveness as a leader.

What the Experts Say
“Building strong, good teams at the beginning is the best thing you can do to prevent problems in the first place,” says Deborah Ancona, the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of X-Teams: How to Build Teams that Lead, Innovate, and Succeed. Unfortunately, even your best efforts may not be able to prevent a team from turning. Teams begin to disrespect leaders for all sorts of reasons. You may have failed to involve them in important decisions, or claimed too much credit for their work. “If team members do not feel respected by the leader, they will reciprocate the sentiment,” says Deborah H. Gruenfeld, the Moghadam Family Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior and Co-Director of the Executive Program for Women Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Or it may be that certain individuals don’t respect each other, or are holding grudges, and are turning on you because you haven’t done anything about it. “Typically people start something when they feel they haven’t been heard or something has happened that they think is unfair,” says Gabriella Jordan, the President of the Education Division at The Handel Group, an executive coaching firm based in New York City, and co-author of “Designing Your Life,” a course taught through MIT. Regardless of the reason for discontent, you may be able to earn back your team’s trust and commitment by using the following approach.

Name What is Happening
As with most problems, the first step is to admit to yourself what is going on. This is not always easy. “The signs that a team has turned hostile can be tough to discern,” says Gruenfeld. Therefore, you need to be attuned to signs of conflict. “Teams that have turned on their leader but are not prepared to address the problem might appear pleasant but ‘checked out.’ They might be reluctant to engage or spend time with the leader, fearing that their true feelings will leak out,” says Gruenfeld. “In many cases teams that have lost faith in their leader will respond not with overt hostility, but with what looks more like apathy. The energy that once went toward supporting the leader’s goals and initiatives will be deflected toward other, more personally satisfying activities, like gossiping about the leader, avoiding team assignments, looking for new employment, and goofing off.”

Once you’ve identified the problem,…

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Source: Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review

What Not to Spend Your Time On October 18, 2010

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This is a fourth in a series of conversations on personal productivity between Bob Pozen, chairman emeritus of MFS Investment Management and senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, and Justin Fox, editorial director of the Harvard Business Review Group.

JF: What about those of us who aren’t CEOs?

The key, I’ve found, is to become messianic about the principle that everybody owns their own space. This is the human resources analogy to bottom-up investing.

Under this approach, every employee is viewed as the owner of a small business — his or her division, or subdivision or working group; the performance of this unit is his or her responsibility. As the boss, my role is to provide my reports with resources, give them guidance and help them do battle with other people in the broader organization. But they own their own unit.

I can’t emphasize this principle enough because at every level, employees need to feel they’re in charge. An effective leader not only has to set priorities but also has to mobilize the organization to implement them. But this will happen only if the employees have a true sense of owning these functions in the broadest sense. I’ve seen quite a few organizations where employees say, “I didn’t do X because it wasn’t within my job description, or no one told me to do it.” These are flagrant violations of the ownership principle.

JF: So how do you instill this ownership principle?

You don’t describe in detail the tasks that employees should be doing. Instead, you present a general set of priorities for the upcoming year, and let your employees formulate the specific ways to implement them. You also ask: “What are the metrics by which I should judge your success?”

When I became president of Fidelity Management & Research, we faced a major challenge because the fund business had grown so rapidly. So we created lots of small units within the company to provide many employees with the opportunity to “own” their unit. While we recognized that creating so many units would bring coordination challenges, it was worth the price to give portfolio managers more say over the activities of their own investment groups.

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Author: Robert C. Pozen and Justin Fox

Leading Views: Five Essential Leadership Questions October 5, 2010

Posted by mrpaulmulder in Business Innovation.
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In The Mirror Test author Jeffrey Hayzlett reminds us that “having the mindset of a leader is more important than learning tactics of leadership that fill thousands of books and seminars nationwide. After all, tactics can change and vary depending on where your business is and they type of business it is. The need for strong leadership does not. Success and growth depend on it. Your employees depend on it. The mood of your company depends on it.”

So the first question you need to ask, says Hayzlett, is not “How do you lead?” but “Can you lead?” If yes, then ask the following:

  1. Am I acting like myself or trying to be someone else?
  2. Can I read the signs in my business and be decisive and do the things every leader must do to succeed?
  3. Am I the right fit for what I am doing in my business? Am I doing what I do best?
  4. Am I dealing honestly with my employees and making them part of my business?
  5. Can I eliminate the external (employee) and internal (ego) obstacles that hold my business and me back?

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Author: Jeffrey Hayzlett