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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Professional Tip: Make a Difference That People Love

I recently attended a presentation by the author David Sturt, who spoke on the subject of creating great work as opposed to good work. David Sturt is an executive vice president of the O.C. Tanner Institute and author of The New York Times best-selling book, Great Work. This difference between good and great work is how people make a difference others love. He focused on how inspired employees rise above and contribute more than expected.

Though Sturt’s career began in market research, he enlisted two PhDs from Harvard and Cambridge to help him design a research study for the book. They first reviewed 10,000 samples of award-winning work. To gain further insight into what makes work great, rather than just good, they also conducted 200 one-on-one interviews. In the process, patterns that influenced the great work emerged and they organized them into five consistent skills. He summarized the common success factors into the following five skills:

Common Success Factors For Great Work

  • Ask The Right Questions

    • Great work begins when we ask the right people what they would love.
    • Think about the people your work serves; customers, team members and partners.
    • Ponder improvements with the recipients in mind.
    • Learn how to ask the right questions:
      • Pause before you begin
      • Consider who your work serves
      • Ask the questions to those who your work benefits
  • See For Yourself

    • Difference makers get out of their own bubble and look with their own eyes:
      • They observe everything and everyone affected by their work.
      • Difference makers watch what people do to see how people experience their work.
      • They look at the process to find out what’s working and what’s not.
  • Talk To Your Outer Circle

    • You won’t get any new ideas if you always talk to your inner circle. Your inner circle is always in a bubble. They are a lot like you.
    • Collect ideas and seek points of clarification from others.
    • All of the best thinking comes from the thinking of your outer circle.
  • Improve The Mix

    • Find out what you need to add and subtract to optimize the work or product.
    • Add what is missing and subtract what is not needed.
    • Look at things that people don’t like; imagine ways to reduce and simplify.
    • Bring old things together in new ways.
  • Deliver The Difference

    • Good workers stop when they feel like the work is good enough; great workers are obsessed with sticking with it until people love it.
    • The real value is created after the feedback from those who benefit from your work begins.
    • Insist on knowing what worked and why; stay with it relentlessly until people love it.
    • Create great work that inspires others; become a catalyst for great work.


The takeaway from his presentation and book is clear – everyone is capable of great work. They just need the environment and skills to ideate, innovate and deliver their product.  If you are looking to be inspired, or create passion in your workplace, I recommend this book.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. We are proud to be independently-owned, with more that 300 employees nationawide. Learn more about our own company philosophy or our unique travel management services.

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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Professional Tip: Body Language Shapes More Than You Think

In attempt to motivate and instill confidence in a fellow business professional, I recommended the TedTalk presentation, ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’ by Amy Cuddy. Though I had seen it before I decided to watch it again and I’m so glad I did! Her presentation holds a very valuable professional tip, backed by science, credibility and passion. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Business School, who has dedicated her life to uncovering the subconscious traits our bodies communicate to others.

In this inspiring Ted Talk, she explains that our body language defines who we are to others. With slopped shoulders we appear submissive. With crossed arms we convey not being open to new perspectives. Conversely, standing tall will make us appear more in control. But Cuddy says body language can effect more than just the perceptions of others. Her research uncovered how our body language effects our physiology. You read that correctly, our body chemistry changes based on the way we hold ourselves.  How can we use this to our benefit? Feeling nervous before a big meeting or proposal? Or maybe just a little unsure before a networking event? Stand in a ‘power pose’ to change your mindset. I wont spoil the entire video for you, but certain poses make you more confident, emotionally, socially and physiologically.

If you haven’t watched this video yet, you’re in for a treat. Even if you have seen it before, I highly recommend a second viewing. Whether you are a struggling with a difficult client, nervous about attending a networking event, or just need a self-confidence boost every once and awhile, you will find a valuable take away in this video. It’s 20-minutes long but worth the time out of your day.  Enjoy!

Read Next:

7 Tips For Staying Productive On Business Trips 

Tips For Staying In Shape While Traveling

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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Leadership, Influence, and Willing Followers

what_makes_a_leaderAs we enter the New Year, it’s always good to reflect upon how we lead, if we really do lead, and what influences us to follow others.

We can all be leaders and influence others. A formal title does not guarantee that anyone will have willing followers. As I read what others have to say on this topic many interesting ideas have been proposed. I’ll share a few that were worthwhile to me.

Dr. Travis Bradbury wrote an article “What Makes a Leader?” referencing a quote from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” This seems like a good test to determine leadership effectiveness. Bradbury later clarifies what leadership is not and points out that “You can be a leader in your workplace, your neighborhood, or your family, all without having a title.” He also outlines that leadership and management are not synonymous. Managers spend most of their time managing things; leaders lead people. He states: “Leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good.”

Another good article that really simplifies things is “The Single Leadership Trait That Adds the Most Value to Companies,” written by Aaron Webber. While it may seem a bit simplistic, I thought his ideas had merit. He proposes that “The single most important leadership attribute is constancy, or consistency.” It makes a bit more sense when he explains, “Being consistent in terms of who you are and the theme of principal-based direction you provide is absolutely critical to leadership, or else people will disengage.” He continues, “People need to be able to count on who you are and the principles you are driven by.”

Finally, I’d like to share some thoughts from Lolly Daskal’s blog post “Become the Leader Worth Following.” Daskal proposes that, “Examples of leaders are everywhere. Many are powerful, many are popular, but few are worthy of being followed … They are the people we count on. They are the ones we want to follow without being told.” She concludes with this: “Leadership is a privilege, and making yourself worthy of being followed comes with great responsibility.”

I hope that in 2016 we will all be more introspective and ask ourselves if our actions are inspiring people to become more. Can they count on us? And are we worthy of being followed?

 

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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Making Personnel Adjustments: 3 Questions to Determine if it’s a “Right Fit”

I had the opportunity to attend the GBTA Masters Conference earlier this year, along with our CEO, Mike Cameron. While there, we were able to meet and talk with Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great. In fact, Mike shared his notes from Jim’s keynote address with our blog readers in this post.

One of the concepts Jim teaches in Good to Great is that as leaders, we need to get the right people “on our bus,” and make sure they’re in the right seat. I have always found this metaphor useful when making critical personnel decisions. I also believe that we, as company leaders, need to take responsibility for the development and growth of our managers by providing training and coaching opportunities.

But the question on my mind during Jim’s speech was: How do we know when we should continue to invest our time and energy to help an individual be successful in our organization, and when do we decide that they are in the wrong seat, or worse, that they should not even be on the bus? Clearly the decisions derived from that question can be pivotal for both the company and the individual impacted by the decision.

I posed this question to Jim and he offered an insightful response. He said it helped him to reflect on three questions when faced with a tough personnel decision:

1. Are the individual’s values aligned with the organization’s?

If there is a mis-match in values then there is no hope that the relationship will work. No amount of training or coaching will solve this problem. The best decision is to end the relationship.

2. Does the individual have the will to succeed in the organization?

If lack of will is the issue, but the individual has both the values and the skills for the position, then the best course of action is to provide coaching to help motivate the individual. Some patience is appropriate in this situation, however you can’t continuously “blow air into their balloon.” At some point, they must develop their own willpower for long-term success.

3. Does the individual have the skills necessary to succeed in their role?

Individuals can have both the values and the will to succeed, but lack in key skills needed in their position. In these situations, we can afford to be more patient because skills can be taught, particularly if they are willing and able to learn and have the desire to succeed.

I hope you’ve found this framework as useful I have in making important personnel decisions that will help your organization achieve the success you deserve. I also encourage you to read Good to Great to discover additional leadership insights. And remember: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it” (Dwight D. Eisenhower).