Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | May 17, 2012

Investment Chances For Leaders

Guest post – Eric Matthews currently works as a financial advisor is Charlotte, NC. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his two children and blogging about different investment options.

A leader’s job is never finished, and a leader’s life is never beyond scrutiny. No matter what sort of leadership role you hold specifically, it is important to fully realize that those who follow you will take all aspects of your life into account as they judge and react to you. This may not be fair, as certain things that you do may be irrelevant with regard to the people you lead – but, like it or not, part of a leader’s natural job description is to be continually scrutinized. With that in mind, you need to be sure that you are very careful with regard to financial investments.

Many people can become experts and leaders in their respective fields and areas of interest, but it is still extremely easy to become negligent or careless with regard to financial investments. This may be more of a personal matter, but it also sets a bad example and can make you seem less responsible overall. So, how can you look to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, and that you invest your money responsibly and with good potential for stability or growth? For starters, you should understand the basics of various types of strategic investments.

• Stocks – The most “basic” form of investment in some sense, it is likely that you are most familiar with stock investments. Essentially, the way they work is that you invest a portion of your money in a publicly traded company, which technically buys you a tiny portion of that company. Then, as the company’s value increases or decreases (as in, the price of stock goes up or down), you will see the value of your investment rise or fall accordingly. The potential returns are dependent upon when you decide to sell back your shares – essentially, this is high risk/high reward.

• Resources – It is also possible to invest in stable resources, rather than companies, if you have different goals in mind for your money. For example, you can look to invest in gold at a site like Bullionvault. Generally, this is done more as a preservation technique than as an attempt to earn gains. Resources like gold do not rise and fall in value in the same way that currencies do, which means that putting your money behind something like gold may protect its value from the potential consequences of economic downturn.

• Real Estate – Another very popular type of investment, real estate is a subject that many investors actually get a good deal of joy out of. Essentially, the idea is to buy and sell (or rent) properties in an attempt to make money on the overall transactions. This is a very direct practice, and some prefer it because it is a bit easier to control than other types of investments.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 20, 2012

Leadership Done Right Coming Soon

I just want to give a quick update to all of my regular blog followers. About a week ago I decided to start a new website called Leadership Done Right – www.leadershipdoneright.com. I am very close to having it up and running. This site will have more capabilities than my current website and I will have a specific focus on three aspects of leadership (i.e. leadership principles, current leadership examples in the news, and weekly top 5 blog summaries from other great leadership blogs). Please stop by and check it out. Let me know what you think. I hope you like it!

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 13, 2012

Change Creates Opportunities

What do you think of when you hear the word “change“?  Do you get anxiety?  Do you have a hard time sleeping at night?  How do you handle change?  In the fast paced and ever changing business world that we live in, one of the few constants is change.  Change is all around us.  From new leaders to job transfers, there is always some type of change occurring.  One fact of change is that if your organization is not changing, you are probably becoming obsolete.

So how do we look at change the right way?  Change creates opportunities.  The following three opportunities come with change:

1.  Opportunities  For A Fresh Start
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you could do better, but the system didn’t help you do so?  Or, have you been in a situation that you just wanted to get out of?  With each change comes the opportunity for a fresh start.  If you make a leadership move in your company and advance to a new position, you have the opportunity to start over.  You can do things different than you did in the past. Read More…

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 12, 2012

Surround Yourself With Great Leaders

Have you been the leader over people you felt were extremely capable?  What effect did they have on you?  As the leader, it is in your best interest to surround yourself with great leaders.  If you do so, they will drive you to be better.  They will help you be your best self.  They will also ask you the questions others are afraid to ask.

Today, the Wall Street Journal had an article that focused on Pepsi’s move to surround the CEO with outstanding leaders.  The article was titled, PepsiCo Positions Top Officials by Mike Esterl and Joann S. Lublin.  The article highlighted two big moves made by PepsiCo.  Pepsi is surrounding the Chairman and Chief Executive, Indra Nooyi, with two great leaders.  Pepsi brought in the former senior Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive Brian Cornell as the head of one of Pepsi’s largest and most profitable units.  In addition, the longtime company executive John Compton was promoted to President of the company. Read More…

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 11, 2012

The Ethical Leader

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When it comes to ethics, everyone seems to have their own definition of what is ethical and what is not. What is completely ethical to one person may be completely wrong to another person. What is your ethical evaluation criteria? How do you determine if your behavior is ethical or not?

It is very important to set your own ethical criteria so you know how you will behave in a given situation. In the moment you have to make an ethical decision you may not have the opportunity to think about how to respond. As a leader, you should set an ethical standard within your organization so you and your employees know how to behave. In addition, a code of ethics that is available to your customers will increase confidence in your work. One example of a code of ethics is the code of ethics of the American Society of Civil Engineers which states:

Read More…

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 10, 2012

Weekly Leadership Highlights

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This week was a big week for my blogging life. I posted a blog every single day which is something that I have never done before. The blog posts discussed some relevant leadership topics, highlighted leaders in the news and some of the big changes that are happening, and reviewed some of my favorite leadership blogs of the week. As a recap, see the links below!

Know When To Jump Ship – 3/4/2012
In today’s poor economic climate, many companies are doing all they can to stay afloat. Companies are looking for a leader with a vision. They want a leader to take them from a survival state to a strong and vibrant state where they flourish. The leaders that can do this are in high demand. Struggling companies are trying to attract these leaders away from their existing companies. In addition to struggling companies, some successful companies are trying to upgrade with a new leader to stay ahead of the competition.

The Risks Of Promoting Without Giving Raises – Article Review – 3/5/2012
I read the Wall Street Journal article The Risks Of Promoting Without Giving Raises by Paul O. Lopez. This article explained that there are many companies that want to promote their employees even though they are experiencing hard economic times. The companies give the promotion for two reasons: they know the employees will take on the additional responsibilities to help the company and the promotion will boost employee morale. The companies, however, are unable to provide raises with the promotion. There is nothing illegal or inappropriate about doing this.

Read More…

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 9, 2012

Handle Leadership Adversity With Ease

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As a leader, you will always face adversity. You will see it from your employees, coworkers, and even from people outside your organization. The real question is, “how will you handle it?” Will you run and hide, find a way around it, or face it head on? As the leader, you must be confident when you encounter adversity because everyone is watching. If you falter or show insecurity, people will lose trust and confidence in you as the leader.

So how do you prepare for adversity to handle it with ease? When I was in junior high and high school, I was always taught to plan how you will respond in a given situation before it ever occurs. If you plan out the scenario and determine how you will act, the decision will be a lot easier in the moment of adversity. I followed this approach on many decisions including the decision to not use drugs. I made the decision at a young age that I would not use drugs. This made it very easy when I faced questions because I knew how to respond without having to think twice. I did not have to think about it in the moment or make a decision under peer pressure. This approach was very helpful.

Read More…

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 8, 2012

Go Wide Or Go Deep

In today’s economic climate there are leaders that have very job specific knowledge, while there are other leaders that have a good overview of the company/organization but are great leaders.  Each of these types of leaders has their own areas of expertise.  The question is, “Which is more important to have to be successful?”

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an article about GE titled, The New GE Way:  Go Deep, Not Wide by Kate Linebaugh.  The article explained that new approach that GE is taking with their leadership.  In the past GE had all of their high ranking leaders go from one department/location in the company to another on a regular basis.  The rotations occurred every few years.  This approach allowed GE to develop their leaders with a broad range of experience.  They had experience in many areas of the company, but they didn’t have really specific knowledge in any particular department of the company.  Each area of the company had their experts, but the leaders had general knowledge.

Read More…

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 7, 2012

This Week’s Top 5 Leadership Posts

Each blogger out there has their own niche.  In the leadership world there are many very successful bloggers that blog on a daily or weekly basis.  They have developed a prominence in their particular area of expertise.  I write my own blog about leadership, in addition to following blogs from others about leadership.  Since I review leadership blogs on a weekly basis, I decided to highlight five leadership blog posts that discuss relevant leadership topics. Each of the bloggers is an independent blogger that doesn’t represent a company or other organization.

The Difference Between Management And Leadership by Bret L. Simmons
In the new chapter to the paperback edition of his book, Good Boss, Bad Boss, Bob Sutton asserts that there is a difference between management and leadership, but focusing on it is dangerous (p, 263). He concurs as I do with Warren Bennis that “managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing.” Bob thinks this distinction is accurate; however, focusing on it is dangerous.

Brandon’s Thoughts
This is a great blog that explains some of the differences between managers and leaders.  Leaders need to look at the big picture of the organization and identify the direction they want the organization to go, while at the same time maintaining humility and the ability to do the important core roles and responsibilities of the company in their day to day roles.  Leaders must also pursue education through all facets of their career no matter what their current responsibilities are.

5 Ways Leaders Can Teach Instead Of Tell by Terry Starbucker
“Just get it done”

I was 16, and working in a gas station. A customer had come in to get his flat tire fixed. It was a busy day, and my boss was busy handling other customers, so he told me to fix the tire.

The trouble was, I had very little experience doing that, and I especially feared the machine that took the tire off the rim – I had merely one chance to watch someone do it a week or two before.

Brandon’s Thoughts
This post talks about the five ways a leader can teach instead of tell as the title mentions.  The five ways are: (1) Repetition, (2) Consistency, (3) Plain English, (4) Common Sense, and (5) “Hands On” Is Better.  The main point of this blog is that leaders should lead by example and not just by telling their employees to get the job done without giving direction.  Leaders that do this will be much more well liked.

5 Ways For Leaders To Listen Harder by Craig Jarrow
At a recent conference I attended, I heard someone say that the higher leaders advance in an organization, the less truth they receive.  In the conversation that ensued, it was discussed how executives receive less feedback from their teams and organizations. This was attributed to positional authority, employee job security fears, and other organizational factors.

Leaders may receive less direct feedback, but they do receive feedback. In fact, workers will often tell them more because they think (and hope) their leader can impact the issues that they bring. The good leader may need to listen harder.

Brandon’s Thoughts
This post talked about things leaders must do to listen to their employees and understand the needs and challenges of their organization.  As leaders move up in their organization, they are less likely to get straight answers from those they work with because of their title and position.  The five things leaders should do are: (1) Walk the Workplace, (2) Listen, Don’t Solve, (3) Corroborate Multiple Sources, (4) Don’t Assume You Are Right, and (5) Ask Questions (Lots of Them). By doing the five things mentioned, leaders will stay informed and be able to lead their organization with understanding and confidence.

Strategic Supervisors by Wally Bock
In the late 1990s, Marine General Charles Krulak took a look at how the world and warfare were changing. He saw a world where the operating environment was increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). He decided that what the Marine Corps would need to operate successfully was what he called “strategic corporals.”

Strategic corporals are front line leaders willing and able to take initiative and make important decisions. That’s exactly what we need in business today, except I’d call those people “strategic supervisors.”

Brandon’s Thoughts
This post talked about the importance of giving strategic supervisors the ability to make decisions and act.  He explained that when you hired that person to be the supervisor, you saw something special in them.  If you really believe that they are special, you will let them act and be who they are to help the organization succeed.

When Leadership Fails by Jeremy Statton
Rainy days. Flat tires. The worst case scenario. As the saying goes, it happens. And so does poor.

Leadership failures are often the result of:

  • Poor planning
  • Inexperience
  • Stubbornness
  • Lack of vision
  • Pride

It happens more often than we would like to admit, especially when it is our fault.

When we are the victims, though, we notice it all the time. We see ourselves as being stuck in our circumstances. We complain. We gossip. We throw our hands up in the air and ask, “What if?”

Brandon’s Thoughts
Although this blog pointed out some factors that lead to leadership failure, it focused on what leaders can learn from a failure.  Jeremy suggested five qualities leaders should have after a failure.  They were patience, diligence, experience, honesty, and the ability to move on.  As leaders demonstrate these qualities, they will be able to learn more quickly from their failures and they will move on quickly.  They will benefit as well as those they lead.

Summary
Each of these blogs addresses a different aspect of leadership that will help you to be a better leader! I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I did.  What are your thoughts on these posts? Please share your thoughts and comments in the comments section below!

Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | March 6, 2012

Leaders, Know Your People

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Do you walk in every morning and go straight to your office? Once you get to your office, do you focus on responding to all your emails? Then you run from one meeting to the next and before you know it your day is over. Does this happen day after day, month after month? While you were in this routine, did you talk to your employees? Did you ask them how they were doing?

There are two prominent types of leaders: the work focused leader and the employee focused leader. The work focused leaders stay to themselves and only do their job. They don’t make time for their employees because their work is “FAR MORE IMPORTANT”, or so they think. They are full of reasons/excuses as to why they can’t help their employees. They are great at deflecting their people’s concerns. These types of leaders focus solely on their projects and success. They are also quick to anger when others ask them questions they don’t like. I am sure you know the type of leader I am talking about.

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