HERE’S HOW TO GET A FREE COPY OF MY NEW BOOK

Join "The Uncommon Commodity" Book Launch Team and Help Spread the Word

It’s a little hard to believe, but my new book, The Uncommon Commodity: A Common Sense Guide for New Managers, is almost here. I wrote it to help new, first time managers be more successful in making the transition into management and leadership.

All too often, well-meaning executives pick the brightest performer or highest producing worker to be the team lead, yet these people have little if any understanding of what it takes to become a manager. This book will help accelerate the smooth transition.

You can find out more about it here. I’m confident this book will make a huge impact in the lives of those who read it. It will help YOU make a difference!

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I’m also confident we can’t launch this book successfully without you. That’s why we are actively recruiting an Uncommon Commodity Launch Team to help us spread the news. If you’d like a chance to join, click here.

There are a number of benefits for joining up. As a launch team member, you’ll receive:

  • A complimentary physical review copy via mail (sorry, U.S. residents only).
  • Exclusive access to a private Facebook group where we’ll interact, strategize, and share ideas.
  • A special thirty-minute group phone session with me prior to the launch of the book.
  • And more!

There are a few requirements to help us leverage everyone’s involvement. Team members must:

  • Read the book ASAP upon receipt.
  • Provide feedback and engage with us via Facebook or email.
  • Write a brief book review on Amazon and/or some other retailer site. Pro or con, you decide!
  • Help spread the word about the book in any way you can, to your existing platform and beyond.
  • Share ideas and brainstorm additional ways we might further expose the message to an even greater audience. All ideas are welcome.

Here’s how the selection process works. First, make sure you’re signed up. You can do that here.

Next, on Wednesday, May 25th, we’ll select 300 applicants. We’ll pull these names randomly from all submissions to be a part of the team. And you won’t have long to wait. We’ll notify members via email by end of day on May 27th.

Thank you so much for your willingness to join in! The Uncommon Commodity is going to help countless people improve their work as a manger. And your participation in our launch efforts can help make it happen.

Question: What difference can you make by joining our launch team? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Leadership, It’s in the Bag

When trying to coach leadership, there is one word picture that does so much more than all the others. That picture is golf. Those of you might ‘hate golf’ or don’t know much about it, please stay with me.

The game of golf is a collection of challenges intentionally designed to test your skills. In a standard round of golf, there are 18 holes, each with their own unique set of characteristics. Some of the holes are longer than others. Some have water obstacles, others have sand. Some have both. Elevations change, grass changes, shapes and cuts give every hole a special personality.

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You tee of on each hole, hoping to reach the green in as few strokes as possible. Once you have reached the green, all that remains are a few shorter touches to sink the ball into the cup, but oh how hard those last strokes can be. The turns and twists of the surface of the green make some hard uphill runs while others are slippery downhill slopes. Here, even the length and density of the grass can influence your effectiveness at putting.

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LinkedIn Makes New Launch

LinkedIn-logoIn case you missed it, LinkedIn has launched a whole new dimension to their already global reach for business professionals. Their new segment, called “ProFinder”, allows freelance workers, consultants, and contractors the opportunity to stake a new flag in cyber turf.

I’ve been a long time advocate for building personal brands on LinkedIn, going all the way back to 2009 and my critically acclaimed (See Fortune magazine April 2010) program creation called “12.5 Ways to Get Ahead Using LinkedIn”. In that program I focus attention on the amazing fact that by building an effective profile and using the other features in LinkedIn, anyone can establsih themselves as a go-to expert in their field.

Now, with ProFinderTM, the stage is set for a formal marketplace where service providers meet shoppers.

Click either of the buttons below to compare the look/feel differences between my profile links already posted on the two sites:

Original LinkedIn Profile

ProFinder Profile

You will notice the content is fundamentally the same, but the presentation is very different.

Joining ProFinder is a bit of a process. So far, it is FREE. But watch when and how LinkedIn may change to model the revenue pipelines of UpWork.com (formerly eLance.com) and Fiverr.com where the platform gets a cut of the revenues on each project.

More About ProFinder

6 Reasons Change Is So Challenging

Exploring 6 Phases

It’s no coincidence that the word ‘change’ fits into the word ‘challenge’. Change is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or unpredictable.

We all face changes in our lives. Whether on a personal level or at work, change is inevitable.

By taking a deeper dive into the dynamics of the human change process, we can better understand our reluctance to change or the steps where the change process breaks.

For most people, it’s not the idea of change itself that is so daunting, but rather the transition phases of the cycle where there is nothing to hold on to. Think about the last time you faced a serious change. Then look at this diagram and ask yourself how you moved through each phase.

Here is a diagram that shows the 6 stages of change.

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Stage 1 follows immediately after change has taken place. It is characterized by feelings of loss and fear. Those affected by the change are likely to feel paralyzed and disempowered by the change that has taken place.

Stage 2 is a period of negative thought and doubt. Individuals tend to feel resentful of the change that has occurred and they will actively resist embracing the change around them.

Stage 3 is a passive stage characterized by feelings of anxiety and discomfort. Those affected by the change are likely to be unproductive and feel as if they are powerless to determine the outcome of events.

The danger zone in the change cycle lies between stages three and four. Change management is essential to ensure that individuals make the transition from stage three to stage four.

Stage 4 signals a shift to positive thinking surrounding change. A creative atmosphere surfaces and participants are likely to feel energized and excited about new possibilities.

Stage 5 brings greater understanding of the change process. Productive behavior returns and participants feel greater confidence about the change that has occurred.

Stage 6 refers to the final integration of change into the new way of working. Because participants understand the necessity of the change that has taken place, there is a feeling of satisfaction and a commitment to ensure full integration.

Change management is the facilitation of a structured period of transition from a current, as-is state to a future situation in order to achieve sustainable change.

Effective change management ensures that change takes place within predictable parameters, without causing unnecessary confusion or anxiety. Click here to see how we can help you manage change.

* Diagram source: SMC Group

Portions reproduced by special permission from ProjectXChange

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating Your Personal Brand

I am honored to be a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.

Routinely we are asked to answer questions coming in from the Forbes readership. In this article I and my other coaching colleagues explore the topic of personal branding.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only organization comprised of leading executive business coaches and career coaches. Members are hand-selected by the Council’s selection committee. Find out if you qualify at forbescoachescouncil.com/qualify.

To learn more about my coaching programs, email me here.

Date: April 26, 2016
Appearance: Forbes Coaches Council
Outlet: Forbes Coaches Council
Format: Magazine

For more information, contact HeadwayExec.com

SFT: A Simple Reminder for Leadership Performance

Dr. David L. Cook is a sports performance coach and business consultant who has made the phrase “SFT” famous. Leadership performance can be reduced to these three little ideas.

You might know Dr. Cook’s name from a little book title “Seven Days in Utopia”. The book was made into a movie starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black. The story is a fictional journey of a young aspiring golf superstar (Black) who has a colossal meltdown on the world stage of golf, suffering a series of bad choices and shots that take him to a score of 15 on the final hole of a big tournament.

Utopia

Angry and frustrated at the game that seems to have betrayed him, he wrecks his car while driving thru the scrub brush of the Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio. Destiny introduces him to an old cowboy (Duvall) who himself was once an aspiring golfer with a lot of growing up to do. For the next seven days, Duvall takes Black under his wing to teach him a few things about golf and, more importantly, life.

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Is Common Sense an Uncommon Commodity?

Don't overthink a problem

While researching some new management and leadership material recently, I was struck by a regular, recurring theme in the reviews of numerous books I found. The books were all centered around my passion for helping first time managers. The search had me looking for better ways to guide each of you towards better success and happier endings.

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Stepping Stones

Helping others rise to greatness

What do you think of when someone says something about a stepping stone? The origin comes from placement of stones across a stream so that a pedestrian can walk across the flow of the water without getting wet.

Courtesy 123rf.com

Often the stones are placed by hikers trying to make a crossing in a river. The stones can be randomly placed or symmetrical.

I like to picture these stones when I think of key people who have been major influencers in my life. Likely, you too have had mentors or significant personalities that have played a role as a stepping stone in your life.

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A Brand New Leadership Tool: Grace

Are you a giver of grace?

A colleague reported to me attending a seminar and hearing a very experienced COO make a presentation about “grace management”; adding grace to your management and leadership repertoire.

This topic seldom gets mentioned in any Top 10 list of attributes for managers. I love the idea of coaching and teaching about applying grace in the business world.

GRACE is not a person or a thing. Rather, in my humble opinion, grace is a state of mind. We can’t earn it. Many feel they don’t deserve it. So, I believe that is why I have yet to find the topic of grace being spoken about in any of the management and leadership books I follow. Could there be a movement brewing? Let’s start one!

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Making S*#^ Up or Getting S*#^ Done

MSU or GSD: Which do you do?

Once on a big consulting engagement, I was at dinner with one of my colleagues. We were chatting about how the project was going. It was complex and fluid, scope was squishy at best, and the client was under severe regulatory pressure, so emotions were frayed and pressure was high.

My friend, the “expert”, said “Well Doug, I guess we can either make s*#^ up or get s*#^ done” (I am trying to keep this rated G).

MSU or GSD – what a battle cry! So what does this mean? Well, for starters, when there is an absence of direction, focus, scope, or purpose, it is tempting to be able to fill in the gaps. Thus the temptation to make ‘stuff’ up (MSU).

Ah, but truth is, in business you usually cannot really make things up. You have to deal with facts, circumstances and reality. If you can grasp those elements, you can focus on getting ‘stuff’ done (GSD).

MSU is like wearing a mask

MSU is like wearing a mask

Young, first time managers may be easily tempted to MSU versus GSD. The big boss may be demanding some answers that you are not ready to give, so you MSU. Yikes! Perhaps it’s not even a lie, but still it only serves to divert attention while you work on the truth.

On the other hand, always being able to get stuff done makes you the expert, the go-to person, and the builder of great value.

Unless your business is story telling or writing, making things up is not perceived to be valuable. Rather, it can be downright troubling once discovered. Credibility will be shot.

Getting things done is a far more meaningful achievement in business of any kind.

Here are some ways to avoid MSU:

1. See the gap, know the gap. Gaps happen; gaps in understanding, information, and circumstance. Do not be tempted to simply fill the gap (thus MSU). Instead, seek to gain the proper resolution to fill the gap. Go get something else done (GSD) to uncover the missing pieces so the gap is filled with applicable material. Then solid decisions can be made.

2. Know with whom you are dealing. Are the other people around you prone to MSU? You should never fall victim to that approach. Seek out reasonable understanding. Don’t settle for someone else’s results if you think they are MSU.

3. Have measurable expectations. Remember the absence of quantifiable information can contribute to MSU. Work toward tangible goals and objectives upon which all parties have agreed.

4. Prepare your plan. Working through an effective planning effort can eliminate most uncertainty. Of course things may change, but usually not too far off course. A central plan eliminates most of the need for MSU.

5. Be a ‘Do-er’ –  If your natural instinct is to get things done, then you will GSD. If you struggle with GSD, work on it. Make it a habit. Get some coaching. Follow the examples of other leaders around you who are known for their ability to GSD.

The simple difference between MSU and GSD can be monumental. The next time you feel tempted to simply make something up, take a pause, reflect, and choose to get something done!