Make Work Happy

Image courtesy of istockphoto/PinkTag

On a recent business trip, I was reading Work Happy at breakfast.  A server walking by noticed the book’s title and said, “I’m all for that!  Who doesn’t want to be happy at work?”  Then we started talking about what makes a great workplace.

The author of the book is Jill Geisler.  She leads the management faculty at the Poynter Institute.  She has one of the most popular management podcasts, “What Great Bosses Know,” with over seven million downloads on iTuneU.  When I read her book, Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know, I was thrilled to find so much excellent management advice packed into a single book.

I didn’t just read the book; I put it to immediate use.  For instance, I recently followed some of her advice on giving feedback.  It was remarkably well-received, and I credit Jill for that.  In another example, how do you answer an employee who stops you and says, “Got a minute?” when you truly are swamped and don’t have 20 seconds.  Jill offers tips that I have already used. 

Why didn’t you write this book much earlier in my career?  You could have saved me from making many mistakes!  What inspired you to write it?

Skip, you and I apparently share the same goal: to help managers avoid the mistakes we made as bosses!  Your blog is a great contribution to that end, and for my part, I’ve been teaching, coaching, writing columns and producing podcasts on leadership and management in my faculty role at the Poynter Institute. But the book’s inspiration came from discovering that my “What Great Bosses Know” podcasts on iTunes U have been downloaded millions of times by people all over the world.  It was evidence of an unsatisfied hunger for credible, practical help among men and women on the frontlines of leadership. That’s why I wrote this workshop-in-a-book. 

New Beginnings

Image courtesy of istockphoto/clu

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”  Frank Herbert

Today I’m announcing personal news.  I am stepping down from my role as CEO of Ingram Content Group and turning over the leadership reins to John Ingram.

Five years ago, I joined Ingram in large part because I was excited about the possibilities ahead for the company.  Excited to work with John Ingram, I signed up to accomplish certain goals, and those goals have all been met one by one. 

Michael Hyatt on Leadership

Michael Hyatt is the Chairman of Thomas Nelson.  In addition, he is a New York Times best-selling author, a speaker, and a personal friend of mine.  He also runs a hugely popular leadership blog, which consistently is ranked among the top in the world.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Michael about what he has learned about leaders from his storied career and his social networking experiences.

5 Characteristics of Authentic Leaders

1.  INSIGHT

2.  INITIATIVE

3.  INFLUENCE

4.  IMPACT

5.  INTEGRITY

Michael explained the five characteristics of authentic leaders:

1.  They have insight.

2.  They demonstrate initiative.

3.  They have true influence.

An Interview With a Capitalist Anarchist

Leadership Lessons Are Everywhere

I’ve always been a believer that leadership principles and examples can be found everywhere.  You can see great leadership at work when you watch a parent interacting with a child.  (I think many of us honed our negotiation skills that way, too.)  I’ve learned great truths from watching a movie.  You can learn great principles from unexpected places if you’re looking for them.

In a previous post, I wrote about Zingerman’s, the Ann Arbor based collection of businesses mostly centered around great food.  One of the founding partners, Ari Weinzweig has written several books about customer service, business practices, and leadership.  You will find leadership principles on display at Zingerman’s.  You will also find that Ari discovered some of these principles in the least likely of places.

An Anarchist Turns Capitalist

As a student at the University of Michigan in the 1970s, Ari was influenced by the writings of 20th century anarchists.  He quotes now obscure names like Mikhail Bakunin, Rudolf Rocker and Nestor Makhno.  (Yes, it is odd that an early anarchist turned into an entrepreneurial capitalist.  If you think that’s strange, it’s just part of many ironies involving Ari.  He grew up in a kosher household and is now the author of The Guide to Better Bacon.  He even runs a Bacon Camp.) Though he obviously abandoned his anarchist roots, he adopted some of the thinking in running a business.  He is also careful to explain the difference between anarchy and anarchism.  Anarchy is a “state of leaderless bedlam” where anarchism is a philosophy based on individual respect and freedom from unnecessary authority.  In any case, it seems that his philosophy led him to a high respect for people, allowing them to pursue their own passions, and giving employees more freedom and choice because they generally will do the right thing.

Are You Low on Rocket Fuel?

In his keynote speeches, Tim Sanders often says, “Confidence is the rocket fuel of success.”  Tim’s ability to ignite your thoughts and propel you to a new destination will have you calling him your personal rocket fuel.

Meet Tim and you immediately sense his energy.  And it’s a good thing he has that energy.  He’s a sought-after international speaker and Fortune 1000 consultant.  He’s also the author of Love Is the Killer App, The Likeability Factor, Saving the World at Work, and his latest, Today We Are Rich.  He was the chief solutions officer at Yahoo! Currently, he is the CEO of Los Angeles tech start-up Net Minds.

Confidence is the rocket fuel of success. -Tim Sanders