The Project Manager’s Most Important Quality

After two decades plus in industry and holding titles from salesperson to Veep and all points in between, I’ve been in charge of a project or 20. Yup, I’ve organized crews on the back of a diner placemat and produced MS Project Gannt charts as big as a middle-school blackboard just like you may have.  I have come to realize that there are many characteristics to getting stuff done and done right, on time and on budget, yet there is really only one that will keep you sane in the process. Read More…

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Don’t Kill with Kindness: 4 Leadership Best Practices for Bosses

When directing and disciplining employees on the job, what approach is correct to get the best long-term performance?  Are you better off being a friend or a tyrant?  Shoot for respected and we’ll call it a day.  Read on to learn why on the job it can be cruel to be kind, and four best practices to get what you want from employees. Read More…

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Three Rules of Management Communication

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Communicating as a Leader in your company is to take a daily exam on life, and you’d better know the rules.  Fail that leadership communications test and you’ll wonder where the productivity went as your company pays for it in lost profits.

Two days ago I came home from the office feeling invigorated and alive.  Five minutes talking with my wife changed all that.  Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that I don’t like talking with my wife.  She was upset because of what happened to her at work, and after hearing about it, I was a bit miffed as well. 

My wife works at a part salary, part commission job selling advertising for a local publication.  She had gone to the office that day anticipating the biggest commission check of her career, and had left home in the morning salivating like one of Pavlov’s famous pooches.  Upon picking up her check, she found it a bit light and did some investigating.  As it turned out, the big guy had changed the commission plan overnight without telling the sales associates.  Read More…

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Write to the Top in Business: 7 Steps to Better Business Writing

In the fast-moving environment we live in today, those who leapfrog to the top have great communication skills, and that means better business writing than the competition. You’ve heard the cliché, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Well, in business, you’d better be able to wield a pen or else you might just fall on your sword. In the Information Age in which we live, it’s a foregone conclusion that your ability to communicate is one of the most critical skills you can master. In business, you’ve got to communicate with clients, employees, suppliers, attorneys, consultants, maybe even legislators. In many cases you can express yourself orally and do just fine; however, you are dead in the water in business if you can’t get your point across in writing. Read More…

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Telework & Virtual Teams Strategy (pt. 2 of 2)

This is the second in a two part blog post on Telework and Virtual Team Strategy with video interview of Phil Montero of Montero Consulting and YouCanWorkFromAnywhere.com fame.

Video Interview

Phil and I get into non-tech elements critical for success when Leading virtual or distributed workforces.  This generates the intangibles necessary for leaders and why authoritarian leadership models won’t fly in a purely virtual situation.  

Check out the video to learn Phil’s gadgetry and secret collaborative software weapon that you can get for the price of…FREE!

Creating a Virtual Environment for Success

Most American models of leadership still use the top-down, authoritarian style of communication when dealing with “subordinates”.  We glorify the strong, brave, dictatorial styles of Jack Welch in business and Patton on the battlefield.  Everything has its place and in the virtual landscape, the world has never been flatter!  Read More…

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Avoid Esoteritisms to Improve Professional Communication Skills

I’ll tell you something, readers, it’s funny.  The more successful we are in business today, the harder we are to understand.  If we don’t strengthen our professional communication skills and fast, we’ll become a society with the best communication tools the world has ever seen except no one will communicate effectively.  We begin to use esoteric, or industry specific, language when we communicate–industry jargon.  Euphemisms replace concrete concepts, and it seems that if one word is good, three or ten must be better.  Your challenge in business is to be a language self-surgeon, skillfully excising this cancerous discourse from your speech before you need chemo-therapy. Read More…

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The Weak Manager Litmus Test—How to Become a Great Leader in Business

How do you identify a weak manager?  Ladies and gentlemen, the Peter Principle is alive and well in American business today.  Many managers get promoted, but few know how to become a great leader in business. 

It seems the biggest sole contributor to obtaining a position in management is to be completely devoid of people and communications skills.  I know, that’s harsh, but that’s the way it is in many companies that I see today.  Being selected as the Chosen One at a company is great for the new manager, especially for his wallet, but it can have a devastating effect on the organization.  Productivity drops off to near nothing, employee morale goes to hell, and retained earnings evaporate under your very eyes.  Management tracks a lot of data and issues a stack of memos like they were born for the job, but they couldn’t lead an army of fire ants to a picnic held by the American Crumb Association.  The managers are weak in the leadership department, and chaos ensues.  What’s really scary is that these traits occur just as much in established managers, people firmly entrenched in their positions and riding it out until they get their gold watch.

Here is the 5 point litmus test to spot a weak manager, a leader in name but not in deed.  Read More…

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Leadership Sand Traps: Tips from the Links to Build Leadership Skills

What a wonderful day in central Florida it was.  The sun is shining, a woodpecker gently taps on a nearby cypress tree, and I’m standing on the first tee at Diamondback golf course, ready to light up the scorecard by shooting in the low eighties.  I use a three iron and stealthily launch a perfectly placed shot in the center of the fairway.  This is going to be big.  My next effort is a four iron, safely landing 75 yards from the bunker-guarded green on this short but hazardous par 5.   Suddenly the heart palpitations are fast and furious, my palms begin to sweat, and I’m feeling the heat because two people I’ve never seen before who my partner and I were paired with are awaiting my magnificent approach to the green.  I skull the sand wedge into the woods, and suddenly the little setbacks that every person who has ever played this game has faced start to loom larger and larger.  I make it off the course alive four and a half hours later—sweat under my arms, sand in my shoes, and expletives escaping my lips about the 110 I just regurgitated on this beautiful landscape.  The flight back to Pennsylvania and more comfortable, wide-open terrain cannot leave soon enough. Read More…

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