Eric Jacobson

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

How To Be A Level 5 Leader

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Jim Collins, Level 5 Leadership on December 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Author and leadership expert Jim Collins defines Level 5 leaders as those who:

  • Pursue goals with the ferocity of lions while displaying the humility of lambs.

According to Collins, who has studied leadership for 25 years, this level of leader is a rare breed. This is a leader who:

  • bestows credit generously
  • shoulders blame responsibility
  • puts organization before self

The Importance Of Leading With Purpose

In Leadership, Leadership Books, Management on December 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm

“Purpose is the why behind everything within an organization,” says author John Baldoni, of the book, Lead With Purpose.

Baldoni also believes that it is up to leaders to make certain that organizational purpose is understood and acted upon.  And, to harness the talents of their employees, leaders must recognize their responsibility to instill purpose in the workplace.

Other recommendations include:

  • Make purpose a central focus
  • Instill purpose in others
  • Make employees comfortable with ambiguity
  • Turn good intentions into great results
  • Make it safe to fail (as well as prevail)
  • Develop the next generation

According to Baldoni, purpose forms the backbone of what an organization exists to do; upon which you can build vision and mission.

To define an organization’s purpose, you must ask three questions:

1.  What is our vision — that is, what do we want to become?

2.  What is our mission — that is, what do we do now?

3.  What are our values–that is, what are the behaviors we expect of ourselves?

Some of my other favorite observations from the book are these two:

  • We follow leaders not because they bring us down, but because they lift our spirits with their attitude, words, and examples.

  • No job is complete without a review.  Look at what went right as well as what went wrong.  Understand that failure is not grounds for dismissal.

Lead With Purpose draws on extensive research, field work and interviews with dozens of organizational leaders.  It also includes the results of an exclusive 2010 leadership survey conducted for the American Management Association (AMA) by NFI Research.

Baldoni is a recognized leadership educator, coach and speaker, and the author of Lead by Example and Lead Your Boss.

The First-Time Manager

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leadership Versus Management, Management, Management Versus Leadershp on December 12, 2013 at 7:44 am

First-Time Manager

AMACOM’s (of the American Management Association) sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager — originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business.

The book covers eight core responsibilities of a new manager, including:

  • Hiring
  • Communicating
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Training
  • Monitoring
  • Evaluating
  • Firing

Expert advice is additionally provided regarding:

  • Using Your New Authority
  • Managing Your Mood
  • Building Trust

One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about class in a manager:

  • Class is treating people with dignity.
  • Class does not have to be the center of attention.
  • Class does not lose its cool.
  • Class does not rationalize mistakes.
  • Class is good manners.
  • Class means loyalty to one’s staff.
  • Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others.
  • Class leads by example.
  • Class does not taken action when angry.
  • Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.

The First-Time Manager is an excellent how-to guide for anyone new to managing people.

Other books for new managers include any from the Top 20 list of Leadership Books, as voted on by LinkedIn Linked 2 Leadership group members, who were asked the question:

What’s the first leadership book you would give to a new manager?

Six Essential Project Review Questions

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Management, Project Reviews on December 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Eric Jacobson On Leadership

Here is some great advice from the authors of, Helping People Win At Work.  Those authors, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, recommend you ask the following six essential questions whenever you do a project review:

  1. What did we set out to do?
  2. What actually happened?
  3. Why did this happen?
  4. What will we do next time?
  5. What should we continue to do?
  6. What should we do differently?

Seems simple enough, but how often do we really take the time to step back and ask ALL six of these questions?

  • And, these questions are important to ask even if there was no mistakes made during the project.

Continually planning and executing without the value of a review can blindside you.

Get more great advice from their book.

Three Common Mistakes Leaders Should Avoid

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership on December 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

Eric Jaobson Leadership

In Leading Change, Step-By-Step, author Jody Spiro describes three common mistakes leaders should avoid.

Those are:

  1. Thinking That a Mission is Developed by a Single Leader — Spiro explains that in order to have buy-in from across the organization, the creation of a mission requires negotiation and genuine input from across the organization.  And that means a leader needs to be a good, active listener.
  2. Addressing Too Much in a Single Strategy; Inability to Say “No” — According to Spiro, leaders should avoid the temptation to “pack” a given strategy with several other strategies.  Instead, you should be selective and narrow the strategy to a single thought that furthers your mission and is a niche where you can have a competitive advantage or offer a unique program or service.
  3. Confusing Strategies with Actions — Both strategies and actions specify something that will be done. But, as Spiro explains, actions are more specific and concrete.  The strategy should cause you to determine the approach to addressing the problem and what won’t be done.

Thank you Jody for this good advice.

Leadership Book Highlights: The Way Of The SEAL

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leadership Traits, Leading By Example, Navy SEAL on December 5, 2013 at 7:41 am

Way Of The Seal

Want to be a leader who is tough? Cool under fire? Able to sense danger before it’s too late? In The Way of the SEAL, ex-Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine reveals exercises, meditations, and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, emotional resilience, and uncanny intuition.

Along the way Divine teaches you how to reaffirm your ultimate purpose, define your most important goals, and take concrete steps to make them happen.

A practical guide for businesspeople or anyone who wants to be an elite operator in life, this book will teach you how to:

  • Lead from the front, so that others will want to work for you
  • Practice front-sight focus, the radical ability to focus on one thing until victory is achieved
  • Think offense, all the time, to eradicate fear and indecisiveness
  • Smash the box and be an unconventional thinker so you’re never thrown off-guard by chaotic conditions
  • Access your intuition so you can make “hard right” decisions
  • Achieve twenty times more than you think

Blending the tactics he learned from America’s elite force with lessons from the Spartans, samurai, Apache scouts, and other great warrior traditions, Divine has distilled the fundamentals of success into eight powerful principles that will help you transform into an effective leader.

A native of Oneida County, New York, Mark Divine served in the U.S. Navy SEALs for 20 years, retiring as a commander, and holds an MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Allyson Edelhertz Machate, who assisted Divine in writing the book, is a Phi Beta Kappa member and the founder of Ambitious Enterprises, an award-winning business that offers expert writing and editorial services to business professionals, publishers, agents, and authors. A New York native, she leads a team of content professionals from her home near Baltimore, Maryland.

Watch Divine Talk About How Negativity Destroys Performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU40ik5br_4

Three Common Mistakes Made By Leaders

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books on December 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Eric Jacobson Leadership

In Leading Change, Step-By-Step, author Jody Spiro describes three common mistakes leaders should avoid.

Those are:

  1. Thinking That a Mission is Developed by a Single Leader — Spiro explains that in order to have buy-in from across the organization, the creation of a mission requires negotiation and genuine input from across the organization.  And that means a leader needs to be a good, active listener.
  2. Addressing Too Much in a Single Strategy; Inability to Say “No” — According to Spiro, leaders should avoid the temptation to “pack” a given strategy with several other strategies.  Instead, you should be selective and narrow the strategy to a single thought that furthers your mission and is a niche where you can have a competitive advantage or offer a unique program or service.
  3. Confusing Strategies with Actions — Both strategies and actions specify something that will be done. But, as Spiro explains, actions are more specific and concrete.  The strategy should cause you to determine the approach to addressing the problem and what won’t be done.

Thank you Jody for this good advice.

How To Listen And Learn

In Communication, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Listening Skills on December 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

In John Baldoni’s new bookThe Leader’s Guide to Speaking with Presence, he provides these tips for listening as a leader and learning as a leader:

When Listening As A Leader:

  • Look at people when they are speaking to you. Make eye contact.
  • Ask open-ended questions, such as “Tell me about…” or “Could you explain this?”
  • Consider the “what if” question:  “What if we looked at the situation like this?”
  • Leverage the “why” question:  “Why do we do it this way?”
  • Employ the “how” question:  “How can you do this?”

When Learning As A Leader:

  • Reflect on what people have told you.
  • Think about what you have not observed.  Are people holding back?  If so, why?
  • Consider how you can implement what you have observed.
  • Get back to people who have suggested ideas to you and thank them.
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate with others.

For nearly 20 years, Baldoni has coached and consulted for a number of leading companies in a variety of different businesses, ranging from automotive and banking to computers, high technology, fast food, and packaged goods.

Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on December 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Inspirational leadership wisdom came awhile back from Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness.

From that health club’s monthly fitness magazine, Experience Life, Akradi says:

  • Once we get comfortable in our habitual patterns, we may fail to notice when they have outworn their useful purpose, or when new alternatives might serve us better.
  • Once you’ve encountered a second way of seeing things, you’re more likely to entertain the possibility of a third and fourth way, too.
  • Do something that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable–and that renders you a little more awake.

Thanks Akradi for encouraging us to break out from predictability.

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