4 Things Extraordinarily Successful People Do

Successful People Maintain Belief

Successful People Maintain Belief

Have you ever been told your idea was stupid and would not work? Have you ever been denied something due to your race, gender, beliefs, and / or financial situation? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. In fact, successful people share these same experience(s). So how do extraordinarily successful people overcome these potential roadblocks? Do they have more money than most people? Do they have better credit ratings than most people? The answer is no. The answer is revealed by observing how they react during moments when they are treated unfairly or denied the support that would continue to enable their success.

Successful people do 4 things that most people don’t in those situations, and by using the chart below, you will be able to identify actions you can take to develop same the habits of extraordinarily successful people.

When Experiencing a Difficult Situation

Extraordinarily Successful People…

Most People…

REMAIN SOLUTION FOCUSED. They know opportunities always exist no matter what the circumstances are, and they are adept at finding them. REMAIN PROBLEM FOCUSED. They are blinded by the pain associated with their circumstances, and they are blind to the opportunities that exist.
BELIEVE. They believe in their ability to find and seize the opportunities that are identified. LACK BELIEF. Their lack of belief results in a lack of confidence and perseverance necessary to overcome the obstacles encountered.
ACCEPT ACCOUNTABILITY. They always accept accountability for their contributions to current circumstances. DEFLECT AND BLAME OTHERS. They spend the majority of their time defending themselves and blaming others for their circumstances.
FOCUS ON MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS. They seek the wisdom of others because they know they don’t always have the right answers. FOCUS ON FIGHTING TO BE RIGHT. They reject the wisdom of others because they want to be right.

Challenging situations are a part of life. Research consistently has shown how you react to those situations determines your level of success. If you want to unlock your potential and improve your level of success, use the chart above to do an honest self-assessment regarding your reactions to challenging situations. Then take action to develop the habits of extraordinarily successful people. Building new habits takes time and perseverance, and once they become norms of behavior for you, your ability to master difficult situations will increase as will your success.

For more tips and strategies on achieving and sustaining success, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

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3 Ways to Overcome the Number One Barrier to Your Success

The Number 1 Barrier to Success

The Number 1 Barrier to Success

Think of a situation where you felt treated unfairly. Is the pain still there like a knife cutting into your chest? Does the desire to get revenge swell to the size of a 10 story title wave? Do you pray that Karma pays a visit to the person who mistreated you? If you’ve been cheated on, fired from a job, swindled out of money, or taken advantage of by a family member, you know what I’m talking about. We all can point to an instance in our lives where we felt mistreated and wanted to make those who hurt us suffer. While these events and the emotions associated with them may make for great TV dramas like Revenge and Scandal, experiences of mistreatment are not only difficult to deal with, they have an insidious and long term impact on you. They block your success and effectively put your progress on hold.

Unresolved Past Hurts Block Future Blessings

Four months ago, Kim (not her real name) ended a serious relationship because she was cheated on by the man she loves. Her heart is still broken. She still doesn’t sleep well. Listen to Kim talk, and you will hear her blame everybody else for her unhappiness.

When we hurt, emotions typically override objectivity. Too often, we start a success blocking combination – we start to blame others for our circumstances AND we fail to take any accountability for our contributions to the undesirable circumstances. The perfect storm of success blocking occurs once resentment sets in. That’s when unresolved past hurts become the #1 barrier to your success because as long as you are unwilling to face forward instead of looking back, you will stay in reverse and drain the energy of those who care about you.

3 Ways to Overcome Unresolved Past Hurts

Here are 3 ways to get refocused on success instead of drowning in the hurricane of hurt:

1) Stop Blaming Others

Blaming others is convenient. It drains you of focusing on the future, and it keeps you from taking accountability. To stop this natural but unproductive response to pain and hurt, do this – any time you start to blame others, say or do something positive. It’s vitally important that you disrupt the pattern of blaming and replace it with something positive because it works. As Kim is finding out, it takes practice, and it works.

2) Think and Speak the Language of Success

When your emotions are engaged and resentment has set in, pay attention to your thoughts and words you use. It is highly likely they will turn negative, and that is why blame becomes such a convenient way to protect ourselves. One of the most effective ways to overcome negative thinking is to (on a daily basis) document at least 3 things you are grateful for. It will force you to think positive thoughts. Another effective strategy to keep thinking and speaking in a positive manner is to constantly answer this question: How does what I’m thinking or saying going to improve my circumstances? I constantly challenge Kim with this question. She may even become irritated with me but I will stay the course because I know there will be a point in time when she will answer the question without any prompting. Success is always achieved in three stages, and the first and most important stage is the “thinking” stage.

3) Get Help for Your ED

As I mentioned to Kim, she needs to get help for her ED – Emotional Derailers. When her emotions override her objectivity, she will be focused on the past. The key to the success of this strategy lies in her support network. Kim will need to enlist the help of a few people she trusts to challenge her when her emotions have overtaken her ability to remain objective. Her support network should do 2 things:

a) constantly focus her attention on being positive

b) have her identify actions she will take to create a better future

Overcoming emotional derailers requires patience, perseverance, and consistency. By following through and getting help for her ED from me and others, Kim will make great progress towards overcoming her unresolved past hurt.

Failing to overcome past hurts not only affects you, it’s like a chronic infectious disease because it infects those close to you. By resolving these success derailers, barriers will be removed while releasing those who have been held hostage as a result of your negative thinking and actions.

For more tips and strategies on achieving and sustaining success, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

17 Actions You Can Take Right Now to Grow Your Success in 2013

The Future is Now

The Future is Now

Most people live in the moment, constantly focusing on the now as opposed to what could be. In my final blog article in 2012, I’m going to share 17 actions you can take right now to grow your level of success in 2013 and beyond. As you read through these simple and easy-to-adopt actions, remember one thing: When you release the limits on what you will do, you have released the limits on what you can do because when you think of limits, you create them. Follow these 17 actions to enable the blessings that await you. So get yourself a pen and some paper, and let’s begin with the first action you can take right now to grow your success.

Declare Your Success in Advance: What does success look like? What would you be doing? Where would you be? What challenges would you need to overcome to achieve your goals? How long will it take you to get there? By writing down the answers to these questions, and identifying the actions you need to take to achieve your success, you effectively declare your success today so that you can achieve it tomorrow.

Think and Speak Positively: The language of success is based on positive thinking, so whenever you experience a challenging situation, think your way positively out of it. Success is found in your choices, and it starts with consistently making the choice to be positive.

Use Social Media to Grow Your Network: Whatever your skills and knowledge gaps may be, find and engage with people on social media who can help you close the gaps. Twitter or LinkedIn are the best for business networking whereas Facebook is effective for personal relationships. If you’re not sure who to follow on these social networks, start by following the people that I follow and go from there.

Get Smart: If you have a need, chances are, there is an app that can help you address the need. Review apps in tech magazines. Ask your friends and colleagues about the cool tools your friends are using. Use Google to find them. The point is, find them and use them!

Develop and Maintain a SUCCESS TEAM: As John Maxwell says, “1 is too small a number to be successful.” List the top four challenges or weaknesses you’re dealing with right now, and use your SUCCESS TEAM to help you overcome them. I define all the key players you should have on your SUCCESS TEAM so read my blog article and take action to recruit the members who you don’t currently have helping you achieve and sustain success.

Develop Habits of Success: We are creatures of habit, and our habits turn into our daily routines. Review your daily habits and routines and look for time wasters, “no value added” activities, and actions that delay or derail progress toward your goals. Write them down, and then identify 3 actions you can take to replace each success-blocking habit. Eventually, success will become a habit.

Be Available to Those You Love: Many people have inadvertently let their immediate challenges and circumstances prevent them from spending quality time with those they care about. Fix this by simply marking time on your calendar to spend with the ones you love. Make it fun. Make it interesting. Just make it happen.

Be Outward Focused Rather Than Inward Driven: It’s easy to be completely absorbed with dealing with your own issues. Successful people never make this mistake. Identify at least three actions each week you can take to help someone else get what they want. As the boomerang effect consistently proves, whatever you invest in others returns to you tenfold.

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: Success is always based on asking questions. The challenge is, most people ask the wrong questions because they ask mostly closed ended questions. I’ve uncovered the formula for success – you should be asking at least 5 open ended questions for every closed ended question asked. Read my article for more insights on asking the right questions.

Stop Right Fighting: As my good friend and success expert Jim Smith, Jr. will tell you, too many people focus on the need to be right rather than focusing on doing the right thing. To ensure you’re focused on doing the right thing, ask yourself two questions: “What am I about to do?” and “What objective does it relate to?”

Recognize Your Fears and Take Action Anyway: Fears and procrastination keep us from acting on our ideas. Starting today, take time to capture all of your great ideas. Write them down, record your ideas on your smartphone, whatever. At the end of each day, make note of your top 2 ideas and identify at least one action you can take the next day to begin moving towards seizing the opportunity. Do this habitually, and eventually success will become a habit.

Spend the Majority of Your Time with Those Who Encourage Your Success: As John Maxwell said in his book Talent is Never Enough, you should spend more time with people who see you not just as you are but as you could be. So make a list of people who encourage your dreams, help you overcome your doubts, and ignite your passions, and make plans to spend more time with these people as soon as you can.

Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Progress: Every excuse blocks your success. Stop making them. Take accountability and responsibility for the contributions you made for everything that happens to you. Once you do, you increase your probability of success.

Keep a Grateful Journal: As one of the most successful people in history, I value the awesome tips Oprah shares in her books and magazines. One of my favorites is an extremely effective strategy for growing your success. She suggests you think of 5 things you are grateful for on a daily basis and write them down. Do this consistently, and you will change your perspective about your day and your life. You will learn to focus on what you have, and once you do, you will always see that the universe is abundant; and by default, you will have more.

Follow an Action Plan to Achieve Success: To achieve and maintain success always requires a plan of action. Don’t have one? No problem. Read, print, and follow the 7 steps to achieving success that I shared in my blog article.

Use Failure to Identify Opportunities: Failing at something is an inevitable part of the process of becoming successful. The key is to be able to experience failure without losing enthusiasm for your goal. You do this by writing down what you failed at and then identifying as many actions you could take to prevent and / or overcome the failure. (see “Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Progress” above)

Look for Opportunities in Other Peoples’ Problems: All products and services were created to provide a solution to other peoples’ wants and needs. Even looking at what is ordinary can yield some fantastic opportunities for success. You just have to train yourself to seek out opportunities that lie between the challenges that people experience. When you see them, capture them and turn your attention to identifying actions you can take to seize the opportunities you’ve uncovered.

You now have 17 specific actions you can take right now to grow your success and the awesome thing about them is that they cost you nothing but the investment of your time and effort. Start by identifying the first 3 actions you will take and take them. This will help you get some quick and easy wins while breaking the total success process into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then move on to another 3 and repeat the process until all 17 have been implemented. Don’t wait. Start right now because success awaits you.

Do you have other tips and strategies for achieving success? I’d love to share your ideas, so please do share your tips in the comments section, and know that you have my appreciation in advance of your sharing.

For more tips and strategies on achieving and sustaining success, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

Top 10 Motivational Quotes of 2012

Infinity Consulting and Training Solutions, Inc.

Infinity Consulting and Training Solutions, Inc.

Many people follow me on Facebook because I post quotes on my personal and Infinity Consulting & Training Solutions Facebook page that motivate, inspire, and encourage. As we come to the close of another fantastic year, I have identified the most popular quotes as voted by Facebook “Likes”. For your convenience, I’m sharing them here, and I hope you find them to be as inspiring and motivational as my followers did when they were posted. And with that, here are the Top 10 Most Popular Quotes from 2012!

Becoming a Person People Love to Be Around

“Do you want to know how easy it is to be a person people love to be around? It’s very simple. Before you speak, ask yourself – ‘Is what I am about to say going to lift someone up?’ If the answer is yes, say it. If the answer is no, smile and keep your mouth shut.” Author: Sardek Love

Righting a Wrong

“If you’ve hurt someone, every day that you wake up is another chance to get it right. If you’ve made a mistake, every day that you wake up is another chance to get it right. And if you’ve been successful at something, remember every day that you wake up is another chance to get it right – again.” Author: Sardek Love

Helping Others

“Make people fall in love with you by helping them fall in love with themselves first. Give people a front row seat to their own brilliance.” Author: Scott Ginsberg

Believing

“Faith doesn’t always instantly deliver you, but it always carries you through.” Author: Joel Osteen

Overcoming Fear, Pride, Ego, and Unpreparedness

“If you’re not satisfied with your current circumstances, it is primarily due to your fear, your pride, your ego, and your unpreparedness. Stop being fearful – you can’t succeed without taking risks. Let go of your pride – it only serves as a barrier to getting what you want. Get over your ego – it’s limiting, annoying, and it destroys trust. And be in continuous preparation mode – the only way to get what you want is to have the belief you can have it, the discipline to continuously go after it, and the ability to seize the opportunity when it is presented to you.” Author: Sardek Love

Remembering 3 People in Your Life

“Never forget 3 types of people in your life:

1) Who HELPED YOU in your difficult times

2) Who LEFT YOU in your difficult times

3) Who PUT YOU in difficult times”

Author: Unknown

Chasing Your Dreams

“I cheated on my fears, broke up with my doubts, got engaged to my faith, and now I’m marrying my dreams.” Author: Unknown

Learning from Mistakes

“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.” Author: Harold Smith

Achieving Success

“FEAR is what stops you… BELIEF is what starts you…COURAGE is what sustains you.” Author: Sardek Love

Avoiding Stress

“Life is too short to stress yourself with people who don’t even deserve to be an issue in your life.” Author: Unknown

What are your favorite motivational quotes? Share your favorites  in the comments section, and for those that are posted, I will publish them with author credit on my Facebook pages. Thanks for reading my blog, and I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and prosperous new year.

For more tips and strategies on resources that will dramatically enhance your success, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

10 Proven Ways to Stop Making Excuses and Grow Your Success

No Excuse Guide to Success

No Excuse Guide to Success

I love this quote by Jordan Belfort: “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the BS story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it”. Just listen to people talk, and you will hear all kinds of excuses for why they failed to get a raise, get a promotion, resolve conflict at work, or follow through on a commitment they made. Excuses are the greatest destroyer of trust, and in tough economic times, trust is the one thing that distinguishes between average and excellence. So how can you stop making excuses and think and talk yourself into success? 10 proven strategies to stop making excuses and achieve success are revealed in Jim Smith, Jr.’s latest best selling book. I’ll summarize them for you here and strongly encourage you to purchase his book in order to apply all of the excellent tips, tools, and strategies that are included.

Winning Way #1: Own Your Choices

Taking personal responsibility is the first and most important step to stop making excuses. This chapter focuses on being accountable for your choices. By “owning your stuff”, you lay a foundation that automatically enhances your trust-ability.

Winning Way #2: Focus on Positive Outcomes and Expect Success

As Jim says, “What you think about, you will be about. Our thinking alone often plays a significant role in our success. What have you talked yourself into/out of lately?” He provides several tips to eliminate what he calls “distraction-thinking”.

Winning Way #3: Embrace Uncertainty

As Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” Success rarely comes to the timid who are afraid of failure. This chapter provides tips for moving beyond living life in “neutral”.

Winning Way #4: Do More with Your Best

Marcus Buckingham and the Gallup organization pioneered the strengths movement in the early 2000’s. As Jim points out, one of the keys to success is to constantly evaluate how you’re applying your strengths to solve problems and deal with life’s challenges.

Winning Way #5: Listen with Three Ears

In this social media driven and “never have time to do it right the first time but always have time to do it over” world, very few people do a great job at listening. This chapter identifies various ways to listen in a manner that increase your success.

Winning Way #6: Remove Self-Created Barriers

I’m honored that Jim included my story of transitioning from a corporate role into the owner of a successful management consulting firm to a global clientele. In my “fired to success” story, I share 6 strategies for overcoming adversity without excuses.

Winning Way #7: Pursue Your Passion, Not a Paycheck

Only 3 out of 10 people are actively engaged at work, and very often, such low levels of employee engagement results in people doing just enough to get by to earn their paycheck. You don’t have to and you shouldn’t fall into this trap. Find your passion, and live your passion. This chapter helps you figure out how.

Winning Way #8: Give Up “Right Fighting”

Les Brown says “But” is an argument for your limitations and when argue for your limitations you get to keep them. You will be given some great tips to stop playing the “yes but” excuse game so that you can take your success to the next level.

Winning Way #9: Avoid the “Taking Credit” Trap

In this chapter, Jim does an excellent job of sharing how to develop an attitude of contribution as opposed to attribution. By maintaining a focus on others, you naturally stop making excuses. And that helps improve your success.

Winning Way #10: Live with Urgency and Purpose

Too many people have great plans of action that are never acted upon. Jim’s final chapter shows you how to work on your TAN – Take Action Now.

Uneeka Jay, CEO of Powerful U Media Group, provides an excellent summary of the book. She says, “Jim not only calls us out on our excuse making, but he provides a very clear path to take us from excuses to winning. This book is a must-have for anyone who desires to be held accountable for their own success.” I couldn’t agree more!

For more tips and strategies on resources that will dramatically enhance your success, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

10 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Managers

Questions

Questions

In recent client engagements with global organizations such as ArcelorMittal, Pfizer, Saudi Aramco, Ensco International as well as U.S. organizations such as the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the City of Alexandria (VA), I’ve observed two very consistent challenges managers face. Managers in these organizations all share the challenge to consistently deliver results despite ever increasing time and resource constraints. When time and resource constraints are present, they become major drivers of employee behavior and can seriously derail success. For example, employees will stop innovating. Employee engagement will drop dramatically. And efficiency and production can drop by as much as 40%. Some of our clients are tackling the time and resource challenges very well, so what are they doing that others are not? Our observations and recent research shows that high performing organizations focus on the answers to certain questions as a key to sustaining success in incredibly volatile business environments.

Research Identifies the Key to Effective Management Practices

In the article Does Management Really Work? (November 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review), the authors cite extensive research conducted to assess effective management practices. Their research includes data from more than 8,000 manufacturing firms in 20 countries. In short, what they found is that a 1 point increase on their management scoring scale was associated with 23% more productivity, 14% higher market capitalization, and 1.4% more annual sales growth. These present some pretty compelling reasons to adopt effective management practices. And the best performing manufacturers consistently asked their managers a series of questions to sustain success.

The 10 Questions that Maintain a Focus on Sustaining Success

  1.  How are goals cascaded down to individual workers?
  2. Are the targets too complex?
  3. How do you deal with repeated failures in specific business segments?
  4. How do senior managers show that attracting and developing talent is a top priority?
  5. How long is under-performance tolerated?
  6. What makes it distinctive to work at your company?
  7. What does the company do about a star performer who wants to leave?
  8. How do problems typically get exposed and fixed?
  9. What key indicators do you use for performance tracking?
  10. For a given problem, how do you identify the root cause?

In our observations coaching and developing thousands of managers, managers in under-performing organizations are not held accountable to answer questions #1, #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7. If your organization has stopped innovating, experienced a significant decrease in employee engagement, and/or became inefficient and less productive, start your turnaround by asking these accountability increasing questions. Then take action to close the gaps; it’s important to partner with organizations like Infinity Consulting and Training Solutions that can help you close gaps in areas that are not your core competency. Do so, and your organization will be better prepared to fight off the disruptors to your business that are inevitably looking to supplant you in the marketplace.

For more tips and strategies on resources that will dramatically enhance your development as a manager and a leader, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

I Took Time Off to Get Married, and Now It’s Time to Get Back to Blogging!

The Kiss

The Kiss

On November 3, 2012, I married the woman of my dreams in a beautiful ceremony at the National Marine Museum in Quantico, Virginia. Just the week before our wedding date, the area fortunately avoided any damage from the super storm Sandy, which wreaked serious havoc on the northeast United States. I took the entire month off from blogging so that I could enjoy our honeymoon visiting the various islands of Hawaii. If you’ve never been to Hawaii, I highly encourage you to go. The islands have some of the most scenic views in the world.

Now it’s time to get back to blogging, and I am looking forward to continuing to share awesome tips, tools, and strategies that are designed to enable your success. Thank you for your continued support of this blog, and look for a return to my normal blog publishing schedule on Sundays starting next week.

Warm Regards,

Sardek

7 Magazines Every Leadership Training Program Should Include

T+D Magazine

T+D Magazine

As the founder of a global management consulting firm, I personally train over 1,000 managers annually. Additionally, I facilitate several certificate courses for the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) on the topics of leadership development, supervision, consulting, and training. As such, it is imperative I stay abreast of the most effective management and leadership practices in use today. Attendees to every Creating Leadership Development Programs certificate course that I teach consistently tell me how valuable it is that I share a vast list of exceptional resources they can use to help them launch and / or enhance their organization’s leadership development training. So I’m going to share some of my favorite, high quality resources with you too, and you might be surprised to learn a few are free of charge.

T+D MAGAZINE

ASTD is the world’s largest association for training professionals with members in over 100 countries. T+D Magazine is the association’s monthly publication, and it is packed with best practices, emerging trends, and summaries of the latest research affecting employee development in the workplace. ASTD’s reach is truly global as is evident by its global networks and the increase in conferences being held beyond the U.S. borders. And with the recent launch of the Communities of Practice model, I genuinely look forward to reading information shared by my dear friends Pat Galagan and Nancy Olson, the co-managers of the Senior Leaders and Executives Community of Practice. By subscribing to T+D (which you receive when becoming a member of ASTD National), you will remain on the cutting edge of the issues affecting Workplace Learning and Performance professionals worldwide.

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MAGAZINE

Required reading for every business school student, the Harvard Business Review Magazine (HBR) is the pinnacle of publications for trends affecting business. It’s been my experience that most training professionals are not reading the magazine, therefore they do not realize the case studies in HBR are fantastic resources for leadership development training programs. The magazine consistently covers change management, competition, innovation, leadership, and strategy. As HBR Publishing states in its online brochure, “Successful people say they never stop learning.” And I’d confidently say successful leadership training programs always include HBR articles and case studies as a critical resource for their curriculum.

Bonus – the Harvard Business Review Blog network also contains high quality content. Check it out at http://blogs.hbr.org/.

CHIEF LEARNING OFFICER MAGAZINE

For insights into the thinking at the executive level, Chief Learning Officer Magazine is an excellent publication. Every issue is packed with great articles covering a variety of topics of interest to the C-suite that affect workplace learning. Articles on technology, branding, leadership development, innovation, human capital, and more provide exceptional tips and strategies that can be implemented immediately. You get all of this and more, and the subscription is completely free.

HR MAGAZINE

HR Magazine is the flagship monthly publication of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM has over 250,000 members worldwide in over 140 countries, so its reach is wide and diverse. The magazine covers topics across the HR spectrum, and the additional content made available via the SHRM website (including webinars, blog articles, etc.) makes this a must have in your leadership development toolkit.

TALENT MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE

Targeted at Human Resources (HR) and Business Leaders, the magazine focuses on the six pillars of talent management:

  1. Recruitment and retention
  2. Assessment and evaluation
  3. Compensation and benefits
  4. Performance management
  5. Learning and development,
  6. Succession planning.

With supplemental content on the web and its social media websites, this is another must read publication. It is also free of charge!

DIVERSITY EXECUTIVE MAGAZINE

Even if your organization does not conduct business outside the United States, it is deeply affected by the true globalization of business. As such, the definition of diversity is…well…increasingly diverse. Diversity Executive Magazine is an excellent publication that helps executives keep a pulse on the ever evolving world of diversity. With a focus on organizational culture and emerging markets within the U.S. and abroad, this is a critical component of every manager’s leadership toolkit. It is also free of charge.

SUCCESS MAGAZINE

Achieving success as a leader cannot be accomplished without increasing one’s “success-ability”, and that is why Success Magazine is on my list of top publications for leaders. With regular contributions from thought leaders like John Maxwell, Tory Johnson, and Malcolm Gladwell, each issue is packed with awesome tips and strategies to help a leader improve every aspect of his/her life.

These 7 magazines are great sources of information, and by reading and citing them, you will ensure your leadership training programs remain current, highly relevant, and aligned with the best practices as shared by the thought leaders of today and beyond.

For more tips and strategies on resources that will dramatically enhance your development as a leader, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

3 Insanely Simple Ways to Increase Employee Retention

Retaining Employees

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Dice.com

Although the U.S. unemployment rate remains too high, the oil and gas industry is experiencing a severe shortage of talent globally. This has dramatically increased the threat from competitors to the point where skilled employees are being offered $3,000 more per month to leave their employers. This puts managers in a tough predicament, and I’ve seen senior managers complicate matters by not ensuring their frontline managers know how to speak in a way that can counteract the primary reasons people are leaving. In fact, I was motivated to write this blog after watching a client’s senior manager struggle while trying to address concerns raised by frontline supervisors. He could have quelled their concerns if he followed these insanely simple employee retention tactics.

START WITH EMPLOYEES’ NEEDS

Even when competitors pay more money, it is not the primary reason most people switch jobs. They leave because their managers fail to effectively address the barriers that would make employee tasks easier, faster, and more engaging. All managers should start by identifying the gaps that fall into the following categories:

1) Infrastructure

2) Talent

3) Process / Procedure

Once identified, managers would be wise to explain what they’re going to do about the gaps and how they prioritized the solutions. As long as employees know the company is addressing the gaps, they’re much more willing to be part of the solution as opposed to constantly being victimized by the problems.

AVOID VAGUE TALK. TALK SPECIFICS

It was painful to watch the manager answer questions about gaps in processes that were causing major problems for employees and supervisors alike. Why? He acknowledged being aware of the challenges yet he offered no specifics on how they were being addressed. This further eroded the trust and confidence of the supervisors. Managers should always be prepared to share specific actions that are being taken to solve the problems. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Here is a simple formula to use that allows trust and confidence to be maintained:

1) Identify the top 3 actions that are being taken to address the gap. Tell them.

2) Tell them who (at a department level) is responsible for completing the actions.

3) Tell them milestone dates so they can measure progress.

Example: We are assessing our compensation structure. Specifically, HR is reviewing industry data, completing a competitor analysis, and reporting back to the executive team within the next 30 days.

Sharing a plan of action creates hope, and often times, that is enough to keep your employees loyal and motivated.

AMPLIFY INNOVATION BY CROWDSOURCING SOLUTIONS

Change initiatives fail a whopping 75% of the time because management does not ask for employee input. There is an insanely simple fix to this problem. Establish a process for acquiring feedback. More than likely, you’ll need to eliminate the #1 management behavior that is destroying profitability. Ensure all managers focus on answering the question, “Where do we go now?” while enabling employees the ability to identify the path of least resistance for “how they go there now.”

Employees are much more likely to stay when they know barriers to their success are being addressed, they know what to expect, and they have an opportunity to help create the solutions. Failure by managers to do those 3 insanely simple things will result in their organizations becoming training programs for their competitors.

For more tips and strategies on increasing employee engagement and retention, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!

5 Incredibly Effective Ways to Double Membership in Your Professional Association

Professional Association Members

Professional Association Members

There are nearly 90,000 trade and professional associations, and their members are typically some of the top leaders in their respective industries. According to a good friend who manages recruiters for the Discovery Channel, associations are tremendous sources of information used to identify professional skill sets, which aids in the development of hiring and retention strategies. Unfortunately, the recession hit associations particularly hard with many struggling to keep their member retention rates above 80% (anything below 80% is a signal of problems in the value offered to members). As economic conditions improve, it is a perfect time to focus on growing and strengthening membership. On October 19, 2012 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm), I will be sharing 5 incredibly effective ways to double chapter membership at the 2012 ASTD Chapter Leaders Conference, and here is a preview of the road map attendees will be using in my session.

Define Your Customers by Creating Customer Personas

As Millennials enter the workforce in increasing numbers, they’re fundamentally changing the way associations attract, retain, and engage their customer base. The engagement process is increasingly becoming complex, and associations must revisit their definitions of the ideal customer. This requires answering key questions such as:

What challenges are your customers facing at work? What is your ideal customer’s marital status? What is their urbanicity (urban, suburban, or rural)?  By answering these questions, you start to get a pretty clear picture of the various types of customers you want to target, which reduces operating costs.

Develop a Buyer’s Matrix

Too often, associations use a one size fits all approach in their product and service offerings. This is an extremely ineffective strategy because, as the previous step will reveal, different customer personas have different needs. By developing a buyer’s matrix, the association will identify the most likely objections to becoming or maintaining membership, which enables it to create strategies for overcoming them.

Align Products and Services to Customer Needs

This may sound pretty obvious yet most associations make one mistake that drives members away – they fail to adapt as customer needs change. Customers who become members want products and services that address their pain points and make their lives easier. By continuously assessing customer needs, associations also will determine which industry and organizational trigger events can be used to enhance the value of the products and services offered. And doing that will make retention much easier.

Develop an Irresistible Value Proposition

The majority of association leaders do not come from a background in marketing and sales, so it comes as no surprise that there is an overwhelming focus on product and service features. For example, ask an association representative about their organization, and they’ll talk about a website or talk about professional development. The focus on features does nothing to entice a prospect or retain a member. So what’s the best approach? Read my article on creating irresistible value propositions for a simple formula that you can apply immediately to enhance the value of your offerings.

Create a Compelling Elevator Pitch

It’s imperative, at the local level, to effectively market the value offered to your members, yet few leaders know how to deliver a compelling pitch that makes people become a new member or renew their existing membership. Fortunately, the process of creating an effective pitch is fairly easy to develop, and with a little practice, can become a powerful membership drive tool. In a separate blog article, I outline a ridiculously simple process for creating strong elevator pitches that you can use immediately to compel people to invest in a membership in your organization.

The process outlined in this article is an incredibly effective road map that, when used consistently, provides the foundation from which you can double your membership fairly quickly. For a more in-depth explanation on using this road map, attend my session at the ASTD conference. If you can’t attend, then email us at info@ictscorp.com to schedule a free 30 minute coaching session. We look forward to seeing you at the conference and / or talking with you soon.

For more tips and strategies on creating highly engaging member experiences that increase membership recruiting and retention, visit my website at www.ictscorp.com, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!