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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!>>

 

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Mountain or Molehill? How Do You Build Your Strategic Alliances?

Building and maintaining strategic alliance’s does not need to be viewed as a mountain that can’t be climbed Choose to climb the molehill instead and you will put the process of strategic alliance planning into proper perspective.  This is not to say that developing and reviewing your plan won’t take a lot of hard work and preparation; all relationships do.   Building your strategic alliances and/or partners is the same.

We have found that most advisors have not taken the time to invest in building strategic alliances, much less start to develop a plan.  Yet, those that build alliances generate higher revenues and profits.   It only takes a small number of strategic partners to have a positive impact within your firm.  

In our blog, Strategic Alliances Build A Foundation For Long-Term Success, https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/strategic-alliances-build-a-foundation-for-long-term-success/, we reviewed the steps you should include when developing your Strategic Alliance Plan.

Don’t make your strategic alliance plan a mountain; it only needs to be a molehill

Many advisors avoid the process of creating strategic alliances because it appears to be an overwhelming project with diminutive benefits.  Reality is, by creating strategic alliances you will position your firm to bring value to your clients and your business.  Start and keep your plan small and simple.  Focus on:

  • One or two relationships
  • Create mutual benefits for each organization
  • Align your vision and mission with the partners you choose
  • Mutually commit to specific actions and review, review, review
  • Establish a trial period
  • Define key and measurable metrics
  • Have an exit strategy

Recognize the importance your entire team can play in developing your strategic alliance plan and contribute to relationships that can be established.   You don’t need to take the entire project on yourself.  Delegate pieces of your plan and commit to regular meetings to discuss progress, challenges and overcoming objections.

Ironstone has found that the key factor in a strategic alliance plan is to follow up on metrics and expectations that you and your partners have agreed upon.  Lack of follow up leads to non- productive and one-way relationships.  If you find you are in a one-way relationship, you need to leave and create a new one.

We are curious!!  Does your firm have strategic alliances?  Tell us about it!

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

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

Coming up next, learn about Business Development and Your Firm’s Advisory Board

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
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Do You Have A Bucket List For Your Firm?

Most of us have a bucket list created for our personal lives living in our thoughts or being utilized as a functional document.  A bucket list is the thoughts, dreams and goals that we want to achieve in our lifetime.  It serves as a roadmap to guide and lead us to reach each of those goals.

A bucket list outlines:

  • A list of your life goals
  • A reminder to focus and live by your personal values
  • How you will find joy by fulfilling your goals

Your business plan should serve as the bucket list for your firm.

Developing your initial business plan is essential in achieving the goals you have realized in your mind and will provide you with a written plan to follow, evaluate and revise.   Just as you achieve and make changes to your personal bucket list, you will do the same with your business plan.

A bucket list can change your life.  A business plan will improve results.

Ironstone’s research shows us that approximately 40% of financial advisors actually have a written business plan and even fewer have a marketing plan.  Those firms that implemented a completed business plan have 50% more profits and revenue than firms without a plan.

Your business plan will:

  • Provide you with a complete view of your firm and allow you to examine its viability
  • Show you potential areas for growth and success
  • Ensure that your entire team is committed to each goal
  • Communicate your vision and mission
  • Help you gain an understanding of opportunities and challenges facing your firm
  • Outline areas to create strategies and tactics to reach each goal

In our blog, “Creating A Roadmap For The Success Of Your Firm”  https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/business-plans-creating-a-roadmap-for-the-success-of-your-firm/ we provided 13 focus areas to include in your business plan.  Refer to the focus areas when developing or updating your business plan by incorporating each to gain optimal benefits.

A well thought out “bucket list” or business plan will lay a comprehensive strategy and timeline, both personally and firm wise, for achievement and promising stages of growth.  Download our Business Overview Snapshot to get started on creating your firm’s business plan.   Business Overview Snapshot

Have a Plan B

Be sure to create back-up plans.  We all know there is one constant in life, change.  Examine the challenges you might face and determine how you will overcome them by redefining your existing strategies.

Once you have developed your business plan, don’t file it away until the end of the year.  Use your business plan as a GPS guidance system for running your practice.  Update it often; real-time changes are ideal.  Doing so will ensure  you are following your plan, creating actions to meet your objectives and allow you to hone in on areas that need re-crafted strategies.

Communicate your business plan to your team in order to effectively bring it to life and track milestones to enhance your overall business focus.

As you begin to develop or review your business bucket list, contact Ironstone for templates, tips and best practices that will assist you in taking your firm to the next level.  We have numerous tools and aides available for you and insight that will help you reach the goals you have set for yourself and your firm.  Consider a team development workshop on creating bucket lists – we can help!

Last but not least, enjoy the journey!

We are curious!!  Share your bucket list with us!  What do you want to accomplish in life?

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

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

Coming up next, learn about business development and your referral network!

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


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Strategic Alliances Build A Foundation For Long-Term Success

During difficult market times, building strategic alliances is one of the best investments you can make for your firm. Taking your firm to the next level will require that you incorporate key tactics in your marketing plan to gain market share and improve your client acquisition strategy. To be more competitive and differentiate your firm, having strategic alliances will extend your team and present your firm a way to offer clients a full spectrum of services.

Strategic Alliances Should Be About Your Client, Not Your Firm
One of the biggest mistakes advisors are making today is attempting to build strategic alliances for the benefit of the firm. These types of alliances will fall short of your desired result, providing you with nothing more than a network rather than a true solid alliance producing results.

Center your strategic alliance plan around solutions to meet client needs.

The value of your firm is measured by your client problems, needs, and wants, as well as the quality of solutions you can provide to them. While cost & skill sharing are some reasons why companies form alliances, creating the ability to offer clients more services is the most desirable shared benefit for each partner, including your client.

Begin to structure your extended team with other professionals whose efforts are symmetrical with the needs of your clients. Identify professionals that share your niche and are able to provide solutions for your clients beyond your existing realm of services.

Choose counterparts that you can easily collaborate with, develop good connections, and those that will actively introduce you to new clients rather than waiting for an opportunity to present itself. Perform searches of noncompeting professionals in your community, (such as attorney’s and CPA firms) and then find a mutual connection to help initiate contact. Explore the common motives and objectives between your firm and those of your alliances.

Steps To Creating Successful Alliances:
1. Approach local CPA & Attorney Firms
2. Interview key people to determine their suitability for an alliance with you
3. Implement a systematic process to create strong relationships

  • Create The Vision-describe what your firm and alliances can achieve together
  • • Document and Collaborate-review how each alliance will benefit your firm• Lay the Foundation-mutually commit to specific actions
  • • Staging-include a clear description of opportunities, obstacles, & challenges that each alliance may encounter
  • • Progress-review specific tactics and their results, building on any early successes

An important factor to any successful long-term alliance includes a plan and documentation of future success for each firm. Ironstone can help you structure your alliances by picking the right people to partner with and develop a comprehensive strategic alliance plan.

Contact us for assistance in cultivating a web of alliances with your peers to identify and implement best practices to build a world-class business and achieve bottom line results.

We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here! We always love hearing from 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: Business Development-Advisory Boards
• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Follow us on twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/AndreaSchlapia
• Join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IronstoneCommunications
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Knowledge Is Power

Knowledge Is Power, but Fruitless if Poorly Communicated

Good communicators are those who can listen just as well as talk. Fostering growth of your team members while attending to your individual growth is one of the best qualities of a good communicator. When you truly listen to team members, they feel validated and you will be providing a supportive, compassionate environment that employees can develop and thrive in.

Linking Communication To Your Business Strategy
Everyone wants to be heard. Most firms (over 95%) do not have a formal and comprehensive communication strategy in place. However, most organizational leaders will agree that linking communication to your business strategy is essential to effective and consistent business operations.

Effective communication in your firm will contribute to your organizational success in many ways, such as:
• Building employee morale, satisfaction, & engagement
• Helping employees understand the terms & conditions of their employment
• Developing employee commitment & loyalty
• Providing employees with a voice—an increasingly meaningful issue for employees
• Reducing chance for misunderstandings and potential grievances and lawsuits
• Creating greater efficiency and reducing costs

It is inevitable that companies with effective communication financially outperform those that do not.
Having a powerful and successful employee communication program takes more than just having the right tools in place. It requires building a strong foundation to ensure that employees understand their role in your firm.

The #1 key factor in developing effective communication:
You need to view communication as a critical factor to the overall success of your firm
and key to changing employee behavior.

Building a Communication Strategy
Developing a communication strategy begins with linking communication to the strategic plan of your firm, including your firm’s mission, vision, values, strategic goals and objectives; as well as your brand.

Your communication strategy should include:
• The roles of key leaders
• A budget that allows for the use of various types of communication channels
• A process by which leaders evaluate any particular situation driving the need to communicate
• A method for generating feedback

Avoid the misconception that communication is only about delivering messages to employees about business issues, policies and procedures. Two-way communication plays an essential role in your comprehensive strategy.   As a leader in your firm it is vital to train employees and provide tools needed to continually develop better communication skills.

Our experience and expertise in developing communication strategies will aide your firm in team efficiency and effectiveness. Ironstone has tools available such as the Myers-Briggs Personality assessments that will help you understand and convey meaningful information and express ideas effectively to attain a deeper level of understanding.

We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel to achieving the results you desire.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Communication Strategy. We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here! What services do you provide that are unique from your competitors? We always love hearing from 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-Strategic Alliances
• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Follow us on twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/AndreaSchlapia
• Join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IronstoneCommunications
• Connect with us on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=29647364&trk=tab_pro