Recent Blog Posts

By: Beth Flynn, Monday, May 19th, 2014

Run a Social Club, Not a Sweatshop!

Smithson, D. (2014). What managers don’t know: how to be a better manager, leader, and entrepreneur?

“How many times do you hear people say: ‘There can’t be much work going on here with all the talking?’ Do you say it yourself? If you do, why do you?

The fact is that we spend almost half of our waking hours in a working environment!  If we’re not enjoying the time then we’re going to be miserable.  And if we’re miserable then we’re hardly likely to be very productive are we?

It never ceases to amaze me how many managers fail to understand a very simple premise: a happy worker is a productive worker (p.80)

·        What are ways we can create a happy/fun culture that increases productivity?

·         How can we educate leaders to understand that happy workers equal a happier work day?

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Tags: leadership, manager, management, Leader, entrepreneur, productivity
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By: Beth Flynn, Monday, May 12th, 2014
  • I am a leader
  • I'm not afraid to decide.  When anything goes wrong, I face reality, and decide what's best for everyone, not just myself
  • I know how to respond in an instant.  Just do what's best.  Just do the right thing.
  • I'm candid in the moment
  • I think on my feet, and when someone knocks me on  my ass
  • I'm not afraid to talk without a script
  • I'm not afraid to make a mistake
  • I take responsibility for my decisions and my errors - I take "blame" out of the leadership equation
  • I tell the truth, so I don't have to mince my words, or have to remember what I said
  • I earn respect
  • I earn trust
  • I select the best people to help me lead (not my best friend's) - I will attract the best people in the country and the best people in the world.
  • When people offer their help.  I will accept their offers as often as I can
  • I set goals with my people, not for them
  • I stand up for what is right
  • I won't back down from those who seek to harm us
  • I won't back down from those who oppose freedom
  • I speak from strength and conviction
  • I listen with the intent to understand
  • Id don't ask for respect, I earn it
  • People may not like my decisions, but they will like me personally
  • I am resilient
  • I recover quickly and with a resilient attitude
  • I resolve to do better next time
  • I do everything I can to build and maintain my reputation
  • I'm not just a leader, I'm a student of leadership (Gitomer, 2011, p. 216-217).


What are some leadership affirmations that you use?



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By: Beth Flynn, Friday, May 02nd, 2014

Positive People Triumph

Stuff happens but how we respond determines whether an environment is negative or positive.  If you believe that only good things will happen, then you’re naïve.  Positivity doesn’t mean you’re immune to bad things happening.  What if means is that if you are a positive person-you will triumph.

Please share an example where, as a leader, you have triumphed when stuff happens.


From: Ades, E. (2013).  The positivity handbook


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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, April 01st, 2014

1.  Assume people are hungry for information.

2.  Abandon management-speak.

3.  Do a 360 degree stroll around your messages before delivering them.

4.  Watch your creative language.

5.  Know when to speak in specifics and when in generalities (p. 86-88).


What are some tips you use to improve communication?

What is the best communication advice you have ever received?

From:  Geisler, J. (2012).  Work happy: what great bosses know.  New York:  Center Street.

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Tags: Communication, bosses, information, messages, language, speak
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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, April 01st, 2014

Kings, heads of government, and corporate executives have control over thousands of people, and endless resources, but often do not have mastery over themselves.  From a distance, larger-than-life leaders may look firmly in control of their businesses and their personal behavior.  What about up close?  Personal mastery is a difficult thing.  For example, can you think of any politicians in recent years whose personal behavior was revealed as opposite to their espoused values?  Or consider Fortune magazine's article a few years ago about why CEO's fail.  The records of thirty-eight ineffective CEO's revealed that all were good at cognitive stuff - vision, strategy, ideas and the like.  Things broke down during execution.  The CEO's behavior did not follow through on their thoughts and words.  Action did not follow intention.  Things as simple as sitting too long on decisions, not confronting underperforming subordinates, or not delivering on commitments ended up harming the company.  The CEO's had plausible excuses, but it seemed clear that their actual behavior did not reflect their stated intentions.  They seemed to know what to do but were not doing it. 

Have you ever had a clear intention and then failed to follow through (p. 5)?

What are some ways as a leader you can execute your vision, or strategy?

How can you make sure that your actions reflect your intentions?


From: Daft, R. L., (2010).  The executive and the elephant: a leader's guide for building inner excellence.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, April 01st, 2014

“For the most part, many of us encounter visions whilst working for some corporation or government organization.  And for the most part, visions are boring, bear little relation to the reality of wider organizations and become nothing more than a plaque behind the reception wall.  But we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss how powerful a vision can be at creating real excitement and momentum and become a driver for change!

Stop and consider – when you’ve been at your best, at your most stoppable, hasn’t that been when you’ve had a clear idea of what it was that you wanted or needed to achieve?  You weren’t willing to quit until the job was done, or take no for an answer, or be slowed down by the negatives coming from others.  And these successes have arisen from ad hoc and very narrow visions of what you were aiming for – just think therefore about how much more effective you would be if you had a clear vision for all of your life!

The same is true for your business.  You must have a vision, and your vision must excite you and if you have employees it must excite them too (p 31-32).

·         What is your personal vision?

·         What are suggestions for making your personal and/or business vision more exciting?


Smithson, D. (2014). What managers don’t know: how to be a better manager, leader, and entrepreneur? 

By: Beth Flynn, Thursday, March 27th, 2014
From: Daft, R. L., (2010).  The executive and the elephant: a leader’s guide for building inner excellence.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

All of us have these two parts within – the wise and intentional inner executive and the unconscious inner elephant, which does a good job for us most of the time.  The friction between inner executive and inner elephant occurs when they have different ideas about desired behavior.  The inner elephant is concerned about its own needs and comforts, and is often stronger than the inner executive.  The inner executive can see the bigger picture even if it has not learned how to guide and control the elephant.

For a leader, the ideal situation is for the inner elephant to work as the servant, the inner executive to work as master.  Of course everyone faces situations where the inner elephant’s urges seem far stronger than the inner executive’s good intentions.  This is like the inmates having more influence than the warden.  Managers who do not have a well-developed inner executive will not lead themselves consciously and intentionally, just as a company without a CEO and executive team will not have an intended strategy or the capability to coordinate disparate departments for strategy execution. 

When in its proper role, the inner elephant thrives as a follower, not a leader.  Ideally, leaders will understand their own elephant, and will be conscious of its habits and needs.  When a person is “unconscious,” however, he or she tends to live at the mercy of the inner elephant, following its needs and impulses without concerns for others or a bigger picture.  When “conscious,” a leader can be intentional about doing the right thing (p. 11-12).

  • When have you used your inner executive to see the bigger picture?
  • How can you become “conscious: about doing the right thing?
By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Adversity is one of the most potent forces in life, one that can bring out your best or your worse.  Ultimately, it's up to you.  How will you handle obstacles?  Will they be roadblocks or springboards?

Consider this unlikely ascent to Greatness:  In 1922, when Ernest Hemingway was still struggling to get published, a suitcase containing almost all of his drafts and manuscripts was lost on a train.  Left with only two stories out of all his efforts, Hemingway was crushed.  But upon the advice of his good friend and already-established author Ezra Pound, he re-created all he could of what had been lost, and in so doing established one of his stylistic trademarks - bare-bones language and a simple, journalistic tone.

Rather than throwing in the towel when he was faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, and thus robbing the twentieth century of one of its most important literary voices, Hemingway listened to Pound's encouragement and used the devastating situation as something to make his work stronger (p. 108).

  • How do you handle adversity or obstacles?
  •  How have you turned challenges into springboards?

From: Yaeger, D. (2011).  Greatness: the 16 characteristics of true champions. New York: Center Street.

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By: Beth Flynn, Monday, March 17th, 2014

A Conversation for Connection is the first step in building a relationship that leads to working together to accomplish meaningful results.  It enables people to understand one another’s preferred communication style.  While it may sound initially like small talk, this conversation is in fact very important in helping us get to know each other.  We can observe how others pace themselves, gesture, ask questions, listen, enunciate, and maintain eye contact.  This gives us clues to their preferred communication style.  We can listen for the types of things the other person wants to talk about, which gives us clues to their values and motivators.  It also helps us to notice when changes occur in any of these areas later as the conversations goes deeper (p. 63).

How do you use conversations to connect with others?

From:  Hayashi, S.K. (2011).  Conversations for change: 12 ways to say it right when it matters most.  New York:  McGraw-Hill.

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By: Beth Flynn, Monday, March 17th, 2014

Always Think of Consensus as Win-Win, Not Compromise.  In a decision-making situation, win-win indicates the development of a solution that does not dilute any strong convictions or essential needs of individual group members.

Determine in Advance the Fallback Decision Option if Consensus Cannot Be Reached. Most decisions must be made by a deadline, and generating consensus does take time.  Therefore, do not impose unrealistic time limits that doom the consensus effort before it begins.

At Key Decision Points, Combat the Illusion of Consensus by Explicitly Testing for It.   The illusion of consensus is the most common trap to snare the unwary facilitate/leader.  The trap comes in two forms the silence trap and the hubbub trap.  The silence trap is when group members who are not fully committed to the course of action often hold back their comments because they assume that everyone else’s silence implies agreement or support, and they are reluctant to disrupt the “unity” of the group.  The hubbub trap is when the majority masks the silence of the other two people, and the manager, reinforced by the chorus of supports, declares that she has a solid consensus.

Develop Share Values Regarding Consensus.  In order to put the consensus decision-making process in proper perspective and enhance its effectiveness, all task-oriented groups, need to take some time to decide what consensus means to them and how consensus will operate within their group.  Consensus cannot be a win-win process unless all members agree on what it means and how it functions within their group.

Stamp Out the Declaration “I Can Live with It.”  Groups that routinely used and accepted the I-can-live-with-it pronouncement to signify support for a given proposal were observed to reach nominal consensus – consensus in name only. 

Use the Consensus Option at Key Decision Points.  Consensus should be used for major elements of a decision, not the many specifics (Kayser, 2011, p 99-111).

What are some leadership decisions you have made lately?  Which of these priniciples did you use?


From:  Kayser, T.A. (2011).  Building team power: how to unleash the collaborative genius of teams for increased engagement, productivity, and results. (2nd edition).  New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Tags: Decision Making, leadership, Consensus, Solution, Develop, Values, Groups
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