Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Exceptionalism & Leadership

In a recent USA Today article, the concept of exceptionalism was addressed. In the political arena, exceptionalism refers to a particular country (i.e., the good old U.S. of A.) possessing “unique character and unrivaled standing.” There are statements resonating from certain political parties that the current administration holds a less than exceptionalistic view of America. Sometimes a lower exceptionalistic viewpoint occurs in businesses. Perhaps you have witnessed the phenomenon: the leadership of a good company suddenly changes, and the new leader turns a once proud organization into a quivering mass of questioning employees. In many circumstances, a solid leader emerges or is brought in to supplant the lesser leader. Recent examples have occurred in the automobile industry and a smattering of technology concerns. Perhaps the financial industry is next, but I digress. When leaders carry themselves and talk about their organizations with an exceptionalistic air, they show confidence in their company. And confidence is contagious. When confidence spreads throughout a team, only good things happen. For those of you in leadership positions, and as we head into the New Year, I implore you to walk and talk with confidence. Your people need a boost. They will respond positively. While you are at it, write your Congressman and give them a shot in the arm. Perhaps the shockwaves will move up the political chain and our country will once again embrace just how exceptional we are.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2010-12-22 at 12:04 PM
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Leaders: Find the Passion in Team Members

A leader recently confided to me that he was having a tough time motivating one of his team members. As we waxed philosophical on whether motivation can be externally provided or comes from within us, the topic of passion came up. It was agreed that if a leader can mobilize the passions that lay within a seemingly poor performer, they can help the team member to achieve great things in the workplace. The trouble is that most leaders only probe for elements that people are passionate about at work. Wrong. While many people are passionate about work, or parts of it, the key is to find out the one or two passions that truly move a person. As such, ask them this simple question: “What moves you?” I have heard answers that range from baking to playing with my kids to organizing my desk to motorbikes. Once we know about someone’s passion, we can truly know that person. We can talk their language by talking about their passion. And speaking someone’s language fluently and sincerely leads to one other important quality – trust!

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2010-12-15 at 07:13 AM
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Multi-Tasking: Is It Really Efficient?

Recent studies are showing that multitasking is not all that people think it is cracked up to be. John Medina, a brain researcher, states that we lose efficiency every time we switch from one task to another. In addition, Mr. Medina mentioned that the likelihood of errors also increases with multitasking. What should we do instead of multitasking? The answer, states Medina, is to create blocks of time and assign each time period a specific task. In other words, by creating no-interrupt zones we will produce higher quality work, faster. While this will take discipline and some behavioral changes, the increase in productivity makes it well worthwhile. 

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2010-12-14 at 07:17 AM
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Leading Generation Next: The Millennials

The Millennials, those folks born between 1981 and 1992 (age 18 – 29), are a fairly misunderstood bunch. Many Baby Boomers have trouble relating to these high-tech, young hipsters. What is lost on many people is the terrific technology acumen that millennials bring to an organization. In addition, they are surprisingly entrepreneurial. Typically they thirst for task-variety – many people do – so get creative with their job descriptions. According to a recent PEW study, four out of every ten millennials is unemployed. For what it is worth, they tend to be liberal in their political views. With so many of these talented folks on the sidelines, maybe you should open up your blinders and inject some high-octane technology energy into your workplace.   

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2010-12-10 at 07:08 AM
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Becoming a Good Business Writer – 5 Tips

Communication is paramount for leaders. Many people in leadership positions speak well and use communication techniques, such as the Power of 5, to get their messages across. Bravo to all of you who are nodding right now and thinking, “Yup, that’s me.” There is a dark side to communication, however. It is known as the written word. While many of you are terrific or at least competent writers, some of you are not. Let’s face it, most of us can improve our ability to wield the written word. So without going too in-depth, I wanted to share five tips with you that can elevate the level of your writing skills.   

  1. Write often. Every day sounds about right, even if it is just 100 words
  2. Write voluminously. Just think about it as practice
  3. Dust off that old grammar book and read 10 pages a month. Hey, if you have insomnia it could come in handy
  4. Work with an editor, or at least have someone review/critique your writings. It could be someone at work, a friend, or a loved-one
  5. Be open to your editor’s feedback and criticisms. Thicken your skin and acknowledge that feedback is the only way we can quickly improve our writing skills
Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2010-12-08 at 04:30 PM
coaching and consulting • (1) CommentsPermalink
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