Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


5 Distinctions for Leaders & Business Owners

Volume: November 2014

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com 


Carol and Bob own a business. It is doing well, yet they face many challenges. As their business nears the end of the year, they are beginning to plan for next year. They have created an action plan regarding expanding revenues. In addition, they have taken a sharp pen (in some cases a machete) to cut their costs and expenses. They also have thought to themselves: “We need to do more; what are the intangibles?” Good thinking by Carol and Bob, because it is often the intangibles that makes a business distinctive. Did you notice that word – distinctive? It is used with purpose, because we need to do more than differentiate our organizations from our competitors. We must be distinctive. Webster’s defines distinctive as: “Creating a clear and unmistakable impression.” So as leaders, what actions (i.e., intangibles) can we begin to execute that will make us distinctive and carry positive momentum into the next year? Luckily, there are five listed below.


1.  Crush the grapevine. When times are hectic or chaotic people often gossip like crazy. Mitigate the negative impact of the grapevine by communicating frequently with your team members. Tip: during your communications seek to dispel erroneous rumors that are flying around the grapevine. This action helps to discredit the grapevine, as well as those who propagate its content. 


2.  Huddle up. Let people know (in real time) what twists and turns are going on within the organization. Morning huddles are a great way to quickly get information out to your people on a regular basis. Mid-week email communiqués are also a nice way to keep people apprised of the good, the bad, and the ugly.


3.  Grow skills. Many organizations these days have to do more with less. The only way to effectively accomplish this is to make certain your team members are constantly beefing up their skills and fine-tuning best practices. Training and development has never been more important. Seek to identify two skill sets that each team member could enhance. In addition, let your top performers know they are valued by creating a formal plan to grow their skills


4.  Maximize brainpower. You have an abundance of talent and ideas on your team. Much of it is unrealized. Purposefully and formally tap into the ideas and talent of your team members via formal brainstorming sessions. Here are a few quick tips regarding brainstorming sessions.

  • Define the purpose or subject matter
  • Treat every idea like a great idea
  • Keep your opinions on the sidelines
  • Resist the urge to go immediately into solution mode
  • Encourage and support involvement
  • Vote for top ideas
  • Flesh it out (i.e., dig deeper on the best ideas)
  • Summarize the outcomes 


5.  Keep chins up (yours and your team’s). Be realistic about events and happenings impacting your business, yet maintain a sense of positivism regarding potential outcomes. While leaders cannot motivate people - in my opinion motivation comes from within - they can uplift morale by carrying themselves in a confident manner. Hopefully your business is thriving. Good. No matter what your situation, use positive body language, an energetic tone of voice, and sincere eye contact to continually lift the morale of your team members


Bonus tip: Celebrate like crazy. Be a hawk for good things happening in your workplace and celebrate the heck out of the great accomplishments that your team members deliver.  


Well folks, there you have it: the tale of Carol and Bob, as well as a handful of actions that can make you a distinctive leader. It is always an honor to connect with you – many thanks for a great year so far. Let’s all be distinctive in the months and years to come!


Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based executive coach, leadership development expert, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching, strategic planning, and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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