Inspiring Leadership Video


The Power of 5: Core Values – Inspire Unity and Create Focus

Define Your Values

This process can be used for a company, a team or an individual (or even a family).

1. Gather your team and determine the five (5) words that best describe how you will behave with each other, customers, and key business partners.

Determining a team’s core values may seem simple, but it’s not easy. Why? Because we are complex human beings, who have unique backgrounds and experiences. These differences are incredibly valuable and by working together we can identify and prioritize the values that reflect what is most important to you, your team or your company.

By involving your team they will help every member:

  • Understand the “why?” behind the final outcome
  • Buy-in faster and fully support the final decisions
  • Hold each other accountable
  • Begin to engage by “thinking” and saying “I can make a difference by…”

2. Define what each of values means. This is a productive team building exercise.  Select a core group of team members to write a short definition for each of the values.  Keep it shot and easy to remember.

Need Help?

Need help facilitating a “Power of 5 Values” session.  Aha! Leadership will help your team unite and determine their values in only 90 minutes!  It’s a powerful team-building exercise!

  • I watched you bring 18 people (that never, ever agree on anything) together and actually accomplish this goal in such a short period of time.  We all left motivated, high-fiving and on the same page.  Absolutely amazing!”
  • “By including everyone in the decision making process makes everyone feel responsible for passing on the feelings and attitudes.”
  • “I saw for the first time that when inspired we can all be productive and constructive.”
  • “Since we worked together, I completely understand why and how these values were created.”
  • “My Aha was the realization that although we are all different, we can come together and agree.”
  • “My Aha was realizing that we are all able to work as a team to come up with our company values.”
  • “Thank you for including me. For the first time in a long time. I feel important.”

Next week, we will see how various Michigan Companies bring their values to life.

Use the “Power of 5” to Turbo Charge Your Year!

The number one question I get from leaders is: “How do I ‘make’ my people accountable?”

The answer: Set SMART Goals.

Year after year, we make New Year’s resolutions with the best intentions. According to experts, nearly   97 percent of us fail to turn these intentions into results.  I believe the same mindset holds true for leaders. Year after year, we intend to set goals for our business and suddenly January 5th is here and we have a critical fire to put out…

What do the 3% of us do differently?  Why do they always seem to achieve more year after year.

The answer: They set SMART goals for themselves and their teams.

Dan Mulhern, Michigan’s First Gentleman recently conducted a survey of 365 leaders and found:

  • Only 19% believed in annual goal setting and do it religiously.
  • Nearly 80% believe goal setting has value but sometimes or seldom do it.
  • Only 30% of the leader’s surveyed plan to write down goals for 2010.
  • Only 40% say it is essential to have periodic review of goals.

Goal setting isn’t easy but it’s essential to driving results.  As leaders we must push ourselves and our teams by setting SMART goals.  This is the key to driving accountability!

Why is this important?  If you don’t invest the time to clearly define what you want the team to achieve, then how in the world do you expect your team to invest the effort required to achieve it?

Bottom line: It’s impossible to achieve results when you don’t write down clear goals and it’s impossible to hold yourself and others accountable to vague visions.

Hummm… maybe that’s precisely why we don’t do it…?

5 Easy Steps to Setting Goals

1. Make a list of all of the things that you feel are critical to accomplish this year.

2. Circle the “Power 5” – Using the 80/20 rule, identify those things that will drive 80% of the results for your business.

Don’t focus on the same old goals that you choose every year. Take some time, think about it and identify the 5 activities that will drive the highest impact for your organization in 2010.

3. Create SMART goals using the “Power 5” activities that you identified above.

Define what it means to win.  Be specific.

Answer two key questions:

How will you know when this is accomplished?

How will I measure this?

4. Break the “Power 5” into tasks and assign an owner and due date to each task.

5. Communicate the “Power 5” to your team and schedule a monthly accountability session to review progress.

Links to Aha! Leadership Resources:

What is a SMART Goal?

Company Cascading Goals Worksheet

SMART Goal Setting Worksheet

Action Plan Worksheet for tracking large goals

Department Goal Summary Worksheet

“Nothing can stop a man with the right mental attitude of achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help a man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

“The thing always happens that you really believe in and the thing you really believe in always happens.”  Frank Lloyd Wright

Do as I say… not as I do…

They desperately seek your approval.  They’re watching everything you do.  They’re listening to every word you say.  Not only are they watching and listening – they’re acting on it.  They’re doing the things you do.  They’re saying the things you say.

Who are “they”?

They’re your team members.  “They”‘ could also be your kids if that’s what you were thinking!Someone I respect greatly, very simply stated, “People follow their leaders.”  Your actions dictate what’s acceptable and what’s expected from your team.  Whether you do it consciously or unconsciously, you’re creating your team’s culture.  Whether you want to or not, right now, you’re leading by example.

Your language becomes their language.  Your actions become their actions.

  • Blow off their emails and phone calls – they’ll do the same with your clients’ emails and phone calls.
  • Gossip and speak poorly about other team members and clients – they’ll do the same.
  • Create obstacles for others to get some of your time – they’ll do the same when it comes to their time.

Here’s the good news: the same is true for the good stuff.

  • Take a vested interest in their success – they’ll do the same for your clients and other team members.
  • Stay upbeat and positive – they’ll do the same.
  • Speak highly of your internal and external clients – they’ll do the same.
  • Seek to understand before seeking to be understood – they’ll do the same.

Make them feel important, appreciated, valued, and liked – they’ll make your clients feel important, appreciated, valued, and liked.

Get it?

The bottom line is a “Do as I say – not as I do” approach may work short-term, but will never work in the long run.  You can’t constantly beat on your folks and expect them to hug your clients.  What we’re talking about here is conditioning.  Just as you’re conditioning others, the people you’ve been watching your whole life helped condition you.

Here’s how you begin to fix it:

  1. Accept responsibility for your team’s behavior.
  2. Identify the specific behaviors you want to change within the team and write them down.
  3. Take a good, hard look inside and pinpoint the instances where you’ve exhibited those behaviors.  Write them down.
  4. Create a pattern interrupt – something to stop the behavior when you catch yourself doing it.  This is something meant to change your physiology: clapping your hands, pumping your fist, a chant, etc.  Write it down.
  5. Insert a replacement habit – the way you expect yourself and others to react.  Write it down.
Don’t be too hard on yourself as you work to catch those bad habits and replace them.  It took a long time to build those habits.  It will take a while to replace them.

Lastly, while you need to take responsibility, you can’t blame yourself for the individual behavior of every team member.  They’ve had years of prior conditioning before you.

Bottom line: don’t underestimate your influence in helping them change.

Awesomely Simple

Check out this link awesomely_simple to watch an overview of John Spence’s book Awesomely Simple.  In it he discusses the importance of Mission/Values/Goals, How to hire successfully and much more.

T-Shirts Launch, Leaders Inspire


Keeping the Vision

Recently I read some statistics on the Internet that said in order to stay aligned with their company’s vision, people need to be reminded of that vision every twenty-eight days.I’m not sure how they came up with twenty eight days; seems like an odd number to me. But suffice it to say, people need to hear about your vision on a regular basis in order to stay motivated.Great leaders think about vision a lot. But the problem is, most of us are thinking about it more than we are talking about it. And if vision is that important, we need to be constantly asking ourselves, “What’s our vision and how are we doing at communicating it?”.In many organizations, once a vision sentence is crafted, it’s often written on a piece of paper and put in a notebook, only brought out again a couple of times a year at new trainee orientation or in a leader’s speech. Occasionally it might make its way onto a mug or a T-shirt.

A T-shirt is an awesome way to launch a vision … 

However, as leaders, our job is to breathe life into the vision and fill the words with meaning that stir people in the deepest parts of their souls-the parts that long for significance and transformation. We need to come up with creative, compelling, and repetitive ways to talk about the vision, and then we need to make the words come alive. Sometimes we even need to say those words in different ways so that people can see every facet of the vision, kind of like the shifting colors of a kaleidoscope.

Vision is about stirring and provoking, reminding and imagining. It’s about showing people the wonder of an improved future and infusing them with hope. Vision is about creating a reason to believe again.

The above was an excerpt from Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands: Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership by Nancy Ortberg.