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Create a Code of Conduct to Create a Covenant with Your Troops

By Bigg Success Staff
03-11-08

Leadership Skills

people 

As a leader, you have to establish the ground rules for your troops. Your rules, also known as your policies, define the code of conduct. If done correctly, they are not a negative. They are a covenant between you and your troops as well as between your troops themselves.

What they are

The problem is that, much of the time, ground rules are written as negatives. So your people view them as negatives. It doesn’t need to be that way. They simply establish how all of you must proceed to get where you want to go.

Your ground rules define how your people work with people – each other, you, your customers, your vendors, your community, and more. They are designed to minimize individual behavior that harms the group effort. Period. When all of your troops understand that, they will buy in to the rules.

Your ground rules should answer these questions:

  • How do things work under your leadership?
  • What behavior is acceptable and unacceptable?
  • What are the consequences for inappropriate behavior?
  • What resources are available to members of our team?
  • What are the team rewards for achieving victory?


Why you need them

Your attorney will tell you that you need ground rules to protect yourself from liability. That’s true – and you should get your attorney’s advice throughout this process. However, there are even more important reasons to establish the ground rules.

Your ground rules help new troops get acquainted with your culture. They will be able to get “up to speed” more quickly when you clearly define the expected behaviors.

They also establish that you are trying to be fair to everybody. There’s a set of rules to which you refer when a certain behavior is called into question. It’s not a who’s who where favorites get treated one way and everybody else gets treated differently.

Occasionally, you will override the rules because of a specific situation. After all, your troops are humans, not machines. You’ll use your best judgment to determine when the good of the group calls for bending the rules a little. If done correctly, your troops will respect you for that.

Keep it simple
Make sure your rules aren’t written in legalese. They should be easily understood by all your troops. If it takes a lawyer to interpret them, rework them.

How extensive your rules need to be depends in large part on the emotional maturity of the people you lead. In general, the more mature your people are, the fewer rules you need. And the fewer rules you can get away with, the better.

Resist the 1% rule

Novice leaders often create rules in response to specific acts by a minority of people (1%) that are infrequently repeated. Then, the overwhelming majority (99%) of their troops has to live with them. This is a primary reason why people resist rules.

For example, picture a leader who says that there is a new dress code because one person out of a hundred is wearing inappropriate clothing to work. Instead of dealing with that one employee, this leader chooses to create a rule for all of the employees.

These leaders see it as an easy solution – it’s easier to write a policy than deal with an individual employee. They may have the time or they may not like confrontation. Whatever the reason, it may be easier in the short run, but it is almost certain to create even bigger problems in the long run when dealt with in this way.

The code of conduct you establish for your troops is essential to insure you reach your goal. You want rules that your people buy in to so you create a covenant between yourselves that insure a smoother path to victory.

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How To Write A Great Report: 7 Tips To Make Your Next Report Stand Out

By Bigg Success Staff
03-07-08

Career Builders

report

Executive Summary

Even though this is the first thing your audience will read, you should write this section last. That’s how you know exactly what to say to give your audience a good overview.

You’ll stand out if you learn to write reports well. Your report should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. This article discusses seven tips to set you apart from the crowd. These tips will demystify the report-writing process. Once you’ve read this article, you’ll be ready to look for your opportunity to put it to work!

Introduction

For some people, writing a report is almost as terrifying as speaking in public. The only way to get over your fear is to dive in and write a report! Then do it again, because if you learn to write reports well, you’ll stand out from your peers.

You’ll start the main part of your report by introducing your audience to your topic. Then you’ll get into the body of your report. Finally, you’ll offer your conclusions and recommendations. After you’ve written all that, you’ll jot down your Executive Summary.

So let’s get started. Just remember – tell them three times:

  • Tell them what you’re going to tell them (your introduction)
  • Tell them (the body of your report)
  • Tell them what you told them (your conclusion)

 

We thought it might be helpful to lay out this article like a report. Our articles don’t normally look like this. However, it seemed like the best way to illustrate the points.

With that in mind, we want to provide you with the framework for effective report-writing.

We’ll lead you through seven tips to make your next report stand out.
#1 – Determine its purpose. What should it accomplish?
#2 – Write to your readers. Who is your audience?
#3 – Proceed in an orderly manner. Research – Write – Summarize.
#4 – Length matters. Cover your topic, then quit.
#5 – Flow logically. Lead the reader from start to finish.
#6 – Appearance matters. Make it visually appealing.
#7 – Review and revise.

7 Tips To Make Your Next Report Stand Out

#1 – Determine its purpose
Before you do anything else, clearly define what your report should accomplish. Are you writing this report to persuade or inform? Will it project into the future or review the past?

If you were assigned this report, discuss its aim with the person who put you in charge. Don’t proceed until you fully understand why you’re doing what you’re doing because everything else flows from that.

#2 – Write to your readers
This is really closely related to the first tip. You can’t write to your readers if you don’t know who they are. Are they experienced or inexperienced? Insiders or outsiders?

Don’t use words, including jargon, that they won’t understand. Provide supplemental information at the end of the report if it will help. Resist the temptation to tout your horn too loudly – your report should do that for you.

Keep your audience at the top of your mind throughout the rest of this process. You’ll look your best by looking out for your readers.

#3 – Proceed in an orderly manner
Now that you know why you’re writing the report, and to whom you’re reporting, you can begin doing your research. Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, you’re ready to start writing.

When you’ve finished writing everything else, you’re ready to write your executive summary – the last thing you write will likely be the first thing your audience reads.

#4 – Length matters
Your report should be long enough to accomplish its purpose, but not a single word longer. Anticipate questions and objections and provide responses.

Don’t feel the need to fill space. Don’t be redundant. Communicate effectively – end of story!

#5 – Flow logically
It may sound silly, but some people forget this simple rule – your report should have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion.

It should flow easily from point-to-point. Lead the reader through a logical progression of the topic from beginning to end. Your first point should naturally flow into the second and so on.

#6 – Appearance matters
Your report should be visually appealing. Your readers should get a sense of what you’re saying just by scanning it. Be liberal in your use of headers and sub-headers.

Use color if your budget permits. Present large amounts of data graphically – in a chart, a graph, a table, or some other illustration. Call out important points. Be creative, but make sure it doesn’t interfere with your message.

#7 – Review and revise
Once you’ve written everything, including the Executive Summary, you’re ready to review and revise your document. You should do this once and then put it away, at least overnight.

When you come back to it, review and revise it again. Then put it away. Read through it at least one more time. You should also try to get someone else to review it for you. A fresh set of eyes will often catch mistakes that you won’t.

Concluding Thoughts

You should conclude by reviewing your key points, pulling all your points together, and calling your audience to action.

In this article, we discussed seven tips to make your next report stand out.

#1 – Determine its purpose.
#2 – Write to your readers.
#3 – Proceed in an orderly manner.
#4 – Length matters.
#5 – Flow logically.
#6 – Appearance matters.
#7 – Review and revise.

Now that’s not so intimidating, is it? Report-writing is just a simple, logical process. So now you have the knowledge, but it won’t do you any good if that’s as far as you go.

Look for an opportunity to put this knowledge to use. Then let us know how it goes!

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Facing Off Against Faceless Competitors

By Bigg Success Staff
01-24-08

Career Builders

faceless_mannequin_jpgAs time has progressed, we humans have moved from small, close-knit communities to large metropolitan areas. Now, we’re becoming a global village, thanks in large part to the internet.

Tyler Cowen recently wrote an excellent article for the Wilson Center called The New Invisible Competitors.

He explains the turmoil that many of us are facing as we move to competition that is faceless. We now compete with someone behind a computer in another part of the world instead of the person down the street. Since we can’t see our competition, it is harder to view them as real. But they are!

Here are the personality traits that will fare well with these faceless competitors:

Methodical planners
These people view their work as a game. They plan their strategies like a world champion chess player. They are self-motivated because they focus on their end game. They are not necessarily that competitive; they’re in it for the psychic rewards.

Early adopters
We all know them … perhaps you’re one of them. People who have to be first. First in line. First to try a new product. First to test a new idea. They are thought leaders. Influencers. Innovators. They create an advantage for themselves by being first. They are highly creative people who worry more about their own activities than their competitors.

Introverts
This faceless competition plays well for those who aren’t “people-persons”. They will thrive in this new environment where you’re only visible through your computer.

Dreamers
Creativity will be more valued than ever. Dreamers develop new products and services or they find creative new ways to market these ideas. Entrepreneurs will continue to thrive in this new era. Young entrepreneurs may have a particular advantage, since they often see the need for new products and services first.

Self-managers
People who can reinvent themselves by interpreting market signals and opportunities will also do well in the coming years. They’ll spot trends and get in before the crowd.

We live in an increasingly competitive world. Match your strengths to this list and then decide on your strategy to face off against the new faceless competition. The opportunities are greater than they ever have been. Imagine that!

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Review: Fire Them Up

By Bigg Success Staff
01-24-08

Bigg Book Review 

Fire Them Up!: 7 Simple Secrets to: InspireColleagues, Customers, and Clients; Sell Yourself, Your Vision, and Your Values; Communicate with Charisma and Confidence

Carmine Gallo, communications coach extraordinaire, award-winning journalist, and successful author, has done it again. In his latest book, Fire Them Up, he shares seven steps to inspire people to be their best.

He personally interviewed leaders from companies such as Google, Travelocity, Cranium, Gymboree, The Ritz Carlton, and Cold Stone Creamery. They share secrets you don’t learn in any business class. Secrets to developing relationships by communicating your vision and showing people you believe in them.

Here are Carmine’s 7 steps to “fire them up” along with our quick summary:

#1 – Ignite your enthusiasm
It starts with you. If you’re not fired up, how can you expect anyone else to be? Lead by example. Once you’re fired up, you can move to the next step.

#2 – Navigate the way
Spell out your clearly stated vision of the future. Your vision should be so simple and to-the-point that it can be written on a cocktail napkin.

#3 – Sell the benefit
Explain WHY your vision is important. How will it affect them? How will it affect the world?

#4 – Paint a picture
Tell stories that reinforce your vision and call your people to action.

#5 – Invite participation
Get your team involved in creating a strategy. How do we get from where we are to where we want to be?

#6 – Reinforce an optimistic outlook
Expect obstacles along the way. Keep your vision in front of your people. Persist. Keep inspiring.

#7 – Encourage their potential
Show your people that you believe in them. Offer regular feedback on their performance. Give them a pat on the back when they excel.

We think you’ll find this book extremely valuable, no matter where you’re at in your career. It’s chockfull of stories and tactics from people who have been there. This is “rubber meets the road” advice. When you understand how to apply these principles, you’re on the road to bigg success!