Last year on 1/1/16 my family and I started a gratitude jar. It was my wife’s idea. She is always trying to coming up with clever ways to create stronger family bonds and to get us to reflect on the good in our lives. We get so busy living that we often forget those little things that we were blessed enough to enjoy. She took two mason jars, one empty and the other full of small cut up pieces of construction paper and a pen. The idea was that anyone in the family could write down something they were grateful in that day, date it and stuff it in the jar. At the end of 2016 we would dump all the pieces of paper on the table and read them as a family. I am happy to say the jar is full. However, I did see a lot momentum for the first few months and then we seemed to get a little slack about it. The good news is that it did make us think about those little things we were grateful for and I am really looking forward to reading these experiences as a family.

As I was I thinking about that and my final blog post for 2016 I thought it would be a great idea to go look back at what most interested our Cultureinfusion.com readers in 2016. I also admit I stole this idea from my friend Alli at Break The Frame  because I liked it so much. So I hope you enjoy seeing what the most viewed post was for 2016. If you have any ideas about what you would like Bill and I to write on in 2017 please leave us a comment.

Can You Articulate Your Value?

Why is it so hard for us to articulate our value to others? As a leader the most important thing I can do is invest in relationships. These relationships have to be with those who report up to me, my peers, and those above me. It is from those relationships that I create value. I can only see value from these relationships through action. The action I am searching to create the most as a leader is trust. In order to add value to any organization I have to be trusted.

Sex In Culture

A healthy work culture should embrace differences. If differences are not embraced change will never happen. If change does not happen then your organization will soon find itself perfectly equipped to be successful in an environment which no longer exists. If we cannot change with the demands of customers we will fail. Look at large companies who did not make the change: JCPenney, Sears, Sports Authority, Radio Shack and many many others who did not deal with change appropriately. The changes they ignored had to do with how the internet has changed the way people do business.

Do you Know Who Your Offensive Line Is?

Real leaders understand that it is their team’s hard work, as much as their own, that helped propel them to the top. To achieve any vision, you have to be diligent, focus on building and maintaining a strong and dedicated team. And this is done directly through the leader’s actions. Remembering at all times that leadership is not a title. We all know that just because someone is placed in a leadership role it does not make them a leader. A title might make them a boss it does not make them a leader; never confuse the two.

Do You Know Your True North?

Leadership is a privilege not a right. Great leaders are inclusive, humble, and inspire each member of the team to do their very best. I believe in a collaborative approach to leadership; one that respects the contributions and perspectives each person brings to the team. A team is not unlike the human body, each part has a purpose. One part of the body cannot function on its own; each member of the body is required to make the body whole.

Building Trust, How Hard Can It Be?

The basic underlying trait that every great leader has is the ability to instill trust between themselves and those they lead. It really does not matter how masterful a leader is in the art of communication or how experienced you are in your field, if people do not trust you then you will have no real influence. That might be hard to swallow for some. Leaders can fall into the trap of  working harder, analyzing the data and producing strategies only to become frustrated when they do not see the results they worked so hard to achieve. You may get people to respond by showing them the numbers, sparking their competitive spirit, but you will not be able to sustain that inertia. In the long run people will become disenchanted with idea of working harder to improve a numerical ranking. What people will never tire of is working hard for someone they trust

What does Math have to do with it?

Leading others requires the same building, expanding, and repeated experiences to arrive at a deeper understanding of how to lead. True diligence of a leader is to remain engaged despite how we feel and to not confuse exposure to a situation as complete understanding. I cannot become a great leader if I engage and disengage based on how I feel. It did not work for me in the area of math growing up and it has never served me well in leadership. As leaders we have to study leadership, apply theories in the real world and allow ourselves to fail.

Hiring Practices

I am always fascinated at this human exchange. Whether you are the person being interviewed or the one doing the hiring, the interaction is awkward at best. Two people (or more) square up to check each other out. The first thing both parties have to do is state their value. As the candidate you must impress the hiring manager by showcasing your past achievements and what you can add to the new organization if hired. As the hiring manager you must showcase yourself and your organization as a place that people would want to work. Let’s not forget that when we are talking to candidates, we too have to sell ourselves in this competitive market.

New Leader Perspective

I have had the privilege of being around great leaders for the majority of my career and life leading back to my days in school. From playing for a high school football coach who ranks in the top 5 nationally in all time wins to working for executives who have turned down the opportunity to be in the inner circle of a billion dollar corporation in order to start something meaningful, I have observed all of these leaders from afar and done my best to draw from their examples.

Great Leadership Does Not Happen Haphazardly

So why is creating a leadership foundation critical to the success of your organization? Without a compass, we will lose our way. We must all share the same true north in order to function as a high performing leadership team.  “Credibility is the foundation of leadership.” “If you do not believe in the messenger, you won’t believe in the message.”– Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership Challenge

Leaders and Lemons

Do you remember that old saying “When it rains it pours?” How about the one that says bad things always comes in threes? My friend Alli wrote a great post on the later saying on her blog Break the Frame titled “Ever Wonder: Why do Bad Things Happen to Me” check it out here. There is a fantastic video there that I have to say I found my inner self saying “guilty of that” many times while I was watching it. So over the past couple of weeks I have had my chance to sing the “poor me” anthem several times.

 

 
Happy 2017!

@chrismwalden

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