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Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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A Must Read! Integrating Leadership Development With Succession Planning

Download Ironstone’s research paper here!

Create An Immortal Succession Plan By Integrating Leadership Development With Succession Planning

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Leadership Audit Checklist-Leaders Leave Legacies-4 Areas To Audit Your Leadership Legacy

Leadership

Are You A Steve Jobs or George Washington Leader?

“Faith In America’s Future” is the foundation theme for this year’s inauguration day on January 21, 2013. As we look ahead to Inauguration Day, we will most likely reflect on the November election and envision what our future holds and study the leadership qualities breathing within the leaders of our country.

True leadership leaves a legacy. Now is the time to audit your leadership style and align it with the legacy you will bestow.  Leadership styles certainly vary as evident when comparing style and leadership qualities between admirable leaders such as George Washington, the first President of the United States, and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple. The two owned very different leadership styles, yet both left a legacy.

THE GEORGE WASHINGTON LEADER

George Washington

 “Although he lost most of his battles with the British, year after year he held his ragtag, hungry army together” – from the EDSITEment resource The American President.

What combination of qualities enabled George Washington to succeed as a leader and emerge as the most significant leader in the founding of the United States of America, to the extent of being called the “Father of the Country”? Resources tell us President Washington embodied experience and strategic thinking as well as being resourceful, quick witted, careful and both gentle and brutal. None of these qualities were cited as the most significant in the man who was able to lead through victory or defeat. Regarded as an indispensable man, his character was the most commonly cited quality, beyond his intelligence and ideas as he emerged to a supreme leader.

THE STEVE JOBS LEADER

Steve Jobs

Most every article you read recalls Steve Jobs broke every rule in leadership.

“He never mellowed, never let up on Apple employees, never stopped relying on his singular instincts in making decisions about how Apple products should look and how they should work”, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera told Forbes.

Jobs’ magnetism was found in his passion, innovation and creativity. Although his leadership style was not adduced by character, it is easy to say that Steve Jobs impacted many lives.

LEADERSHIP TODAY

 Perhaps in today’s world, a combination of George Washington and Steve Jobs would prove to be the epitome of leadership. While expertise and background cling to being vital, it is crucial to develop leaders capable to deal with dubiety and change, to lead and cultivate innovation and creativity, and to make and implement decisions quickly.

#1:  THE VISION OF LEADERSHIP

 Beginning with the end in mind serves as a vital principal to follow in every area of business and personal life. The same holds true in leadership. Knowing where you want to be and what you want to accomplish provides you with a map depicting how you will get there creating viable results.

Leadership requires wrapping surrogate assumptions and paradigms as part of a larger vision that enlivens new representation and inspiring a team to move to a shared vision by building trust.

Avoid setting blanket goals but strive to set specific and measurable goals, which will create increased employee engagement and motivation. Provide employees with an effectual vision easy to understand and concise along with an emotional aspect each team member can embrace.

Inspiring a team to move forward to a shared vision requires building trust: believing a team of people can modify all the challenges that congest creating a future quite different from the present. When your team refers to your firms’ vision, you will equip them with the ability to affirm how their work directly contributes to the big picture of success.

#2:  THE PERILS OF LEADERSHIP

 Effective leadership can be analyzed by reaction to accidental events through effective risk management.  Notable skilled leaders learn from occurrences, employ amended practices and protect team morale.   Effective leaders focus attention on finding a workable solution regardless of the source. Key actions to hone attention towards a solution rather than the sources require leaders to:

· Ask the right questions

· Consult with team members or a focus group

· Embody candor, courage and empathy

Admirable leaders grasp compiled knowledge from their team to recognize applicable solutions. Additionally, effective leaders consult with a mix of people and resources to procure alternative perspectives in order to balance and manage risk.

Regardless of the situation, reacting cogently to change is necessary by uniting a harmonious culture through modeling placid behavior.

Worthy leaders embody candor, courage and empathy through decisions made in the best interest of the firm, team members, clients and their community.

“…You can’t control people through policies, procedures and policing. You can only do it through a strong risk management culture and absolute integrity in all leaders.”

Leadership on Trial, A Manifesto for Leadership Development

#3:  A BAND OF BROTHERS IN LEADERSHIP – Lessons From The Front Lines

Without followers, a leader is simply one person with a goal or an idea. Realization of relying on the support, knowledge and skills embodied in a team is vital to noble leadership.  Successful followers are not idle robots waiting for commands, they understand the vision of the firm and freely support leadership without reservation. The most compelling team members are those that possess the ability to lead and follow.

Followers have the ability to assess situations and respond accordingly without requiring incessant need for direction and supervision.

Followers shift to leaders at different intervals throughout any given day. Being a great follower is just as important as being a great leader to achieve success.

Many leaders and managers have difficulty in refraining from a micromanagement leadership method. Despite the known benefits of delegation and yielding team members authority in departmental decision making, many managers have difficulty in surrendering power. Leaders need teams to acquire triumph. Relying on team members provides:

· Increased ownership in outcomes

· Improves productivity

· Aids in prioritization

 An example of incredible teamwork is displayed during The Crucible in the United States Marine Corp. The Crucible emphasizes trainee teamwork under stress. Recruits get 8 hours of sleep during a 54 hour exercise and are allowed very little food while undergoing tough physical activities. It isn’t long before the band of brothers are tired and hungry, but as they continue going they come to the realization they can call on reserves they didn’t know they had. By day two of the ritual, recruits realize they have to rely on each other.  No one gets through the crucible alone. When leaders support followers, ideas mold into form and visions become reality.

#4:  LEADERSHIP DILIGENCE

 Through challenge, impressive leaders will find opportunity. Without opportunities, development and new obligations are impeded.  In Max Lucado’s book, Great Day Every Day, he shares wisdom each of us can apply:

“You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid.

So start looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good judgement, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for people who are not afraid of troubles.”

Symbolic occasions make you a better leader whether they take place at work or in your personal life and no matter where they happen they are an important part of leadership development. Link the occasion to a gift of opportunity; step up and be or do something you have never done before.

IN CONCLUSION

Leadership is innately about people which helps us to understand why the most experienced technical expert may not make the best leader in a given environment.

Leaders display the behavior that is compensated. Firms should ensure that performance management systems do not reward individuals who manage only by exercising their authority.

 Leaders are much more obsequious and are people you learn from rather than take orders from. Audit your leadership attributes in the four key areas discussed. Download Ironstone’s Leadership Audit Checklist Here:   01.05.13 Ironstone Leadership Audit Checklist

“Good leaders create a vision, passionately articulate the vision, and relentlessly drive the vision to completion.”

Michael C. Hyatt/Publisher, Former Literary Agent & New York Times best selling author

  We are curious!

Do you have a leadership program or process in place at your firm? Tell us about it!

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

 Read more about our coaching and consulting program here >>

Start your transformation with Ironstone as your Partner for Performance

Contact Ironstone with your questions & let’s get started!

Have a question or comment for Ironstone? Contact us!>>

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Building Your Ark– How To Ensure Your Strategic Planning Meeting Stays Afloat

Noahs-Ark-Cartoon-600x450

While we know that Noah’s Ark wasn’t built in day, we are told Noah had 120 years to plan and strategize before the “flood” to construct an ark. It would be nice to have 120 years to build our strategic plan and to know what obstacles and challenges we will face, but we know the reality of the ever evolving financial world.

I know many financial advisors hold bi-annual or annual strategic planning sessions and year after year follow the same boring format without a true understanding of what strategic planning should be.

As many of you are reviewing year end reports and developing strategies for the new year, implement effective strategic planning sessions throughout the year to achieve the goals you envision for years ahead.

While I believe it is a healthy practice to schedule group strategic sessions, I do believe that firms are failing to carry out the strategies and tactical implementation processes discussed during these meetings. Strategic planning should be evaluated throughout the year by measuring results to identify successes, uncovering gaps in a plan and hunting for improvement opportunities on a regular schedule.

What Is Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning should strive to answer fundamental questions:

  • Where do we want to be one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now?
  • Who is our ideal client?
  • What are our major goals?
  • What is our vision?
  • What is our mission?

Your strategic planning meeting will entail forward thinking to visualize where you see your firm in the future. Review and create modifications to your vision statement in alignment with the goals of your firm five or ten years from today.

Creativity and brainstorming are essential to the quality and outcome of your meeting. Each team member should feel free to share new ideas without criticism but through inspiration. A true leader will inspire and enlighten team members to engage in discussion while feeling a sense of contribution to the overall success of the firm. When your team truly believes in the vision of the firm and contributes valuable ideas that are recognized, you will increase employee engagement, productivity and cultivate a positive culture in your firm.

Incorporate Tactical Plans Into Daily Operations

Once the strategic planning session has ended, dissect your plan by incorporating sub-headings or smaller tactical plans into your daily operations by:

  • Assign specific actions to team members
  • Create or update SOPs
  • Design a time-line or flow-chart for each strategy including specific tactical steps to ensure the goal is measurable and attainable
  • Schedule mini-meetings to measure results of a specific task
  • Share progress and results with the entire team through weekly meetings or by creating a visual blueprint in your conference room

Reviewing Your Strategic Plan

By incorporating your strategic plan into your daily operations, you will have accomplished a major milestone that many firms fall short. However, to be effective and achieve results, your strategic plan needs a time-line or flow-chart of its own. Group collaboration will be effective once or twice a year, but only if the strategic plan is tested and measured year round. Review key fundamentals in your strategic plan by:

  • Assign team members to each key issue in your strategy plan
  • Create time-lines and flow-charts for each fundamental, including review, research and testing times, success measurement and gap identification
  • Apply problem-solving techniques and offer pliable solutions
  • Identify new trends
  • Prepare detailed reports reflecting your findings

When team members become involved in the fundamental goals of the firm, productivity, engagement, employee retention, accountability and professionalism increase. Often, the team is excluded from strategic planning year round, leaving them with an overwhelmed and confused feeling after a long strategic session. Team involvement to reach vital goals year round will result in highly efficient and successful strategic planning sessions.

Following the guidelines above will ensure your “ark” is able to withstand the flood rather than sink.

Read more about Staff Meetings:

Just Another Meeting or A Meeting Of The Minds?

When Was The Last Time You Attended A Productive Meeting?

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

Read more about our coaching and consulting program here >>

Start your transformation with Ironstone as your Partner for Performance

Contact Ironstone with your questions & let’s get started! 

Have a question or comment for Ironstone? Contact us!>>

Share your strategic planning session successes or disasters!

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
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A Born Leader? Would Your Office Elect You?

We have all heard it, “He/she is a born leader!” Do you believe that to be true?

Leaders are not necessarily born as leaders, instead, they encompass the desire and willpower to become an effective leader. Successful leaders develop through education, training, self-study and experience.

With the election behind us, we can wonder what changes will take place under the leadership of our elected officials. Will our leaders serve our country, states and communities keeping promises and the  hopes and dreams of us, “the people” in mind? If you held an election today in your office, would your team choose you as its’ leader? What characteristics and qualities does a leader need in order to be chosen to lead our nation, our community or yet, your firm?

We have identified that leadership is primarily learned. The skills and knowledge a person possess contribute to the development of leadership, while other attributes make a leader unique such as:

  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Ethics
  • Character

At the most basic level, a leader is someone who leads another. That alone probably isn’t going to be enough to land a leadership victory. A true leader carries vast qualities under one hat. People are naturally drawn to successful leaders because they inspire others, they are likeable and they lead through example. Failure of leaders to live up to employee expectations is the heart of leadership tribulations.

So, How Do You Get Elected To Run Your Office?

We have gathered a list of the most important qualities employees want in a leader.  Here they are:

  • Trust Employees typically rank trust as the #1 trait essential to that of a leader.
  • People skills Employees prefer an environment where they can thrive, share and grow vs. the traditional “command and control” style of leadership.
  • Good communication skills Be honest and open about what is happening in your business.
  • Decisive Provide clarity and direction in decision making and use structured dialog to aide in reaching group decisions.
  • Motivational Strive to bring passion and positive energy to the workplace every single day. Consider the rollercoaster of the nation’s economic status – you still have your business. Provide your employees with a source of positive energy.
  • Inspiring Those that can inspire a group of people to perform at a higher level, produce more effective, efficient and productive teams.
  • Accountable Being accountable means accepting responsibility for outcomes both good and bad.  You don’t blame others.
  • Developers Leaders develop and empower their team in ways that allow their employees to feel successful, most of the time.

Leadership doesn’t happen haphazardly. It takes a lot of self discipline, a vision and a goal to continually develop and enhance your own set of leadership skills and knowledge. Leadership also means you are leading a group, working together to accomplish common objectives and goals. Being a successful leader also means you have a successful, engaged team by your side.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

-Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Political Economist & Author

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached. 

Read more about our coaching and consulting program here >>

 Start your transformation with Ironstone as your Partner for Performance

Contact Ironstone with your branding questions & let’s get started! 

Have a question or comment for Ironstone? Contact us!>>

 

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Unleash Your Team

Unleashing your team from the chains of a micromanaged and controlling culture will create positive growth, a winning team and take your leadership skills to a new level!

Leaders are sometimes afraid to let go of the leash and open a new world of possibility to their firm. When team members are afraid to share and contribute ideas, grow and learn in their current environment and expand their horizons, they become bored, unchallenged and will most likely leave your firm for something better.  It is the harsh truth; you must care about your team to create employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.

In our blog, Implementing Team Development Programs Often Overlooked”, we outlined a process to implement a team development program. By following each step, you eliminate the need for micromanaging your team.  Trust me, your team does not want to be micromanaged!  The four components that Ironstone focuses on to implement a team development program are:

  • Preparation
  • Incentives
  • Benefits
  • Technology

Read more about each component in our blog : https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/implementing-team-development-programs-often-overlooked/.   Once you have put these components into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their individual positions within the firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

How Do You Begin To Unleash Your Team?

Perhaps the first place to begin is to take inventory on your leadership skills.  A team that performs well depends on your leadership abilities, training and development you provide and being a coach your team members can trust.

Being a coach to your team is highly motivational and almost guaranteed to improve performance.  As a leader, your role is to help your team understand their positions.  It is their job to take ownership of assigned job descriptions and design a process to carry it out effectively.  Willingness to support your team’s development sets an example and will contribute to the culture and performance of your firm and team members.

 Tip: Ask team members how you can help them develop their own solution.

As humans, most of us thrive in a continued growth and development society which consists of ongoing training and learning. A team development program will contribute to the natural desires of dedicated employees. Team development will:

 

  • Help team members adjust to changing job requirements
  • Create a pool of qualified team members for possible new roles within your firm
  • Develop a more effective, efficient and productive workforce
  • Produce team members capable of taking on new significant challenges and reach firm goals

Understanding Needs of Your Team 

 Identifying the needs of your team is crucial in implementing a successful team development program.  Some training will need to be universal and apply to most, if not all, of your team members.  However, each team member is unique and owns a specific skill and passion set.  Goals and objectives of team members will be parallel when they relate to overall firm goals but will be dissimilar in relation to their individual job duties and responsibilities. Talk to your team to find out what training they want and need.  Work with them to develop a personal plan that will help them get the training they need in an economic and efficient manner.     Start by holding one-on-one meetings to discuss:

  • Job Descriptions
  • Training and developmental needs
  • Current performance levels
  • Areas for improvement
  • Action steps to fill any gaps

How Well Do You Develop Your People?

*Mind Tools (www.mindtools.com) offers a great quiz for you to take, allowing you to evaluate your leadership skills and identifying areas for improvement. The quiz identifies five main factors related to developing people. This will give you a clear understanding and foundation to develop a plan for yourself to improve your personal team development skills.  Follow this link to take the quiz!  http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/team-development.htm

(*Mind Tools-www.mindtools.com)

 How did you score?   Let us know!!

In the ever evolving world of change, helping your team adjust to change while remaining successful, sends a clear and concise message that you care.  If you are willing to support your team’s growth and job satisfaction, you will retain good people and an engaged workforce.  Once you have implemented a training and development program into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their position within your firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

 “What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? 

Not training them and keeping them.”

– Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker

 Learn more about how Ironstone can impact the operational effectiveness of your firm!  Read more at www.ironstonehq.com  Want more information on team development?   Contact us at http://ironstonehq.com/contact/

 

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Your Team Is A Reflection Of Your Leadership Skills – Learn How To Hire The Best!

Hiring exceptional talent is a significant component to the overall success of your firm.  Hiring the best people for your firm should always be your goal even when the economic culture is not ideal.

As a leader of your firm, your team of employees is a direct reflection of your leadership skills.  The quality of your team is measured by several benchmarks including accomplishments, adaptability, flexibility, innovation, teamwork, accountability, and overall quality. 

Begin with outlining your hiring business process.  When outlining your process, start with the end in mind and create a written recruitment plan that includes a strategy and an outline of your hiring process.  Creating a written plan will help you indentify the profile of your ideal new hire.  Engage talent through use of email, telephone and mail and screen potential candidates.  In the selection process consider involving multiple members of your team.

Talent matching has to become an integral part of the hiring process.   Ironstone can assist you during your hiring process with tools and support decisions that are critical to the overall success of your business.  Matching technologies will aide you in identifying top candidates that meet specific criteria. Results of matching or assessment tools should not be used to label, evaluate, or limit an applicant but used a measurement preference rather than aptitude.  Ironstone will help you administer screening processes and determine who your most compatible applicants are.

Skills and experience will always catch your attention, but the “fit” is often overlooked during the hiring process.  Align the best people to the position in your firm with a combination of the skill, experience and passions of your applicant.

Once you have selected your ideal candidate make sure that you follow through with an onboarding process.  Onboarding is as essential to your firm as it is to your new employee.  Orienting employees to the workplace and their specific role in your firm is one of the most neglected functions in many firms.

Developing an onboarding process for your firm should include more than an initial “new hire orientation.”  Onboarding of a new employee should continue through the first full year of employment.  Possible components of your process include (but are not limited to):

  • Ironstone’s hiring 10-step process (contact us for details)
  • An offer letter
  • New hire packet
  • Orientation & training sessions
  • Meet & greet with co-workers
  • Overview of your firms culture
  • Pre-scheduled meetings with managers & mentors
  • Early performance reviews

Your firm will reap the benefits of a well organized on-boarding strategy including increased morale, reduced turnover, increased production and reduced costs.  A documented process will make a new employee feel welcome and comfortable.

Contact Ironstone for assistance in your hiring & onboarding development.  We have numerous tools and aides available for you.

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™! 

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Strategic Planning & Your Business Plan


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Do You & Your Staff Hold The Key To Organizational Skills?

Do You & Your Staff Hold The Key To Organizational Skills?

It seems so simple that organizational skills and their importance often get overlooked as a necessary quality of good leadership.

Effective management of organizational details lie in the art of being able to see how everything works together to complete a project.  Hone these skills to create a razor sharp team.

“For entrepreneurs, ignorance is not bliss. It’s fatal. It’s costly. And it’s for losers. You either get organized, or get crushed.” – Donald J. Trump

Increasing productivity and remaining relatively stress free requires three BASIC organization skills

  • Prioritize – Make a list of everything that needs to be done on a daily basis.  Once you have created your list, put them in order of importance.  Finally, estimate how much time it will take you to complete each item.  The difficulty sets in when assessing a “time-value” to each item, as it is human nature to underestimate the time it takes us to complete a task or project.
  • Manage Your Time – While you are assessing “time-values” to your tasks and projects, identify other things that are wasting your time.  What can you do to change or eliminate time wasters?   Some things may be out of your control, like interruptions from a co-worker or boss, however much of it is in your control if you are able to distinguish the urgent versus the important.
  • Eliminate Clutter – It takes time to eliminate clutter, but will save you time in the end.  Eliminating clutter will improve your productivity by clearing your mind and surroundings, which in turn will lower stress levels.  By keeping your things sorted you will be able to find what you are looking for quickly and easily.

The purpose of this component in Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™ (The Human Element), is the development of individual and team efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of the business.  The evolution of this fundamental revolves around organizational skills, management of teams, refined roles and responsibilities, and accountability for performance.  This opens the lines of communication throughout a team to create a positive culture.  “Everyone is on the same page” is very simple to understand but in reality, there are many directions and agendas driven by egos, greed, and lack of leadership.

Use our Personal Management Matrix to organize & Execute around your priorities.

PersonalManagementMatrix

We want to hear from you!  What tools do you use at your firm to improve time management?

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Strategic Planning-Compensation