Certification Does Not Guarantee Ethical Leadership

Within the business coaching industry and some other “unregulated” industries, there is a continued movement towards certification.  The premise is “certification” will improve the industry because of certain knowledge standards have been maintained.  Unfortunately there is a very large problem with this premise because certification does not guarantee ethical leadership.

ethical-leadership

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We have seen certified industries such as financial, medical and legal all experience the impact of unethical leadership. These industries are highly regulated and individuals are supposed to demonstrate a high level of knowledge, expertise along with ethical leadership.  Yet, even though people may respond with the correct ethical answers, living an ethical life is much more difficult.

Having a Master’s of Science within education, I have the extensive knowledge of how people learn (educational psychology) and the skills to write practical training programs that deliver a positive return on investment. My knowledge base is far more extensive than many “certified coaches.”

Then add in my now 18 plus years of delivering sustainable results within my  own executive coaching, business coaching and organizational development (workplace culture/employee engagement) practice, I truly do not believe certification would add that much to my expertise.  If I were to embrace certification, it would be for my own benefit not to showcase how much more qualified I am than someone else.

I truly wonder how many “certified coaches” begin their day by reading their “core values” or business ethics statement. Each day I read mine.  These are my own non-negotiable ethical leadership behaviors I will demonstrate 24/7.  I developed these from crafting my strategic business plan many years ago.

As noted in yesterday’s blog Is What You Do Priceless?, I recently came across a “certified coach” within the Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas area who was claiming the work of two other noted psychologists from the 1970s as his own.  He was not the first one I have witnessed demonstrating the lack of ethical leadership nor will he be the last one.

Then there are the “certified coaches” who continually steal the published works of others, thinking they will not be caught. I belong to informal group of sales coaches and consultants who regularly monitor their online postings.  When a member finds his or her work plagiarized the group will “bombard” the guilty person with comments. Usually, the post is quickly removed. This just happened yesterday when an unethical sales trainer had without permission plagiarized the works of five members of this group. Due to the quick actions by this group, he removed his blog.

This may sound somewhat jaded, but coaching certification only guarantees money for those who offer certification. Coaching certification does not guarantee a higher income for the now “certified coach” nor does it make him or her more ethical.  If coaching certification really was a true money maker, the majority of business coaches would be earning far more dollars.

Also I have a sincere problem with universities being the official designated coaching certification centers. Given their dismal graduation rates for 4 year full time college students, coaching certification is about making more money and not improving the industry.

No certification does not guarantee ethical leadership.  Some human beings will always take the easy road to make money and the easy road in many instances means engaging in questionable, unethical behaviors. No amount of certification will change those behaviors.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Is What You Do Priceless Expertise?

In sales, business and life, people buy from people they know and trust.  Knowing and trusting come from what I believe is your priceless expertise, not necessarily your formal experience such as education or employment.

priceless-expertise

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The reason your expertise is priceless is because it is yours along.  Only you are you and not someone else. No one can exactly replicate you.  When you attempt to be someone else, you will be discovered as a fraud, as someone not authentic. And we know what usually happens to frauds.

Last week I discovered one such unauthentic person. A friend forwarded me a newsletter from a fairly well known business coach in the Dallas, TX area who was suggesting the Theory of Self-Determination was his own invention. He failed to give credit to the original developers of this theory of human motivation.  His expertise was not priceless. No he was a fraud. Unfortunately, some will believe his dribble because he is viewed as an expert business coach.  And worse yet, he does an incredible disservice to the business coaching industry by his unethical behavior.

Having just returned from a learning conference in San Antonio, TX sponsored by Resources Associates Corporation, I realized there is an incredible amount of priceless expertise in the market place.  Each of the presenters shared their extensive expertise. In doing so, they also shared what made them unique.

Priceless expertise comes from embracing self directed learning and continually applying it to find out what works and what doesn’t work.  To adopt the attitude “I know everything” is foolhardy at best.

When each of us fail to understand we have priceless expertise, we may be willing to market our solutions for far less than they are worth.  We succumb to market pressures and unfortunately devalue our own worth.

From my observations, I believe priceless expertise is embedded within true forward thinking leadership. Here is where the rubber meets the road. These individuals are continually challenging the status quo, seeking what others fail to seek and achieving what others fail to achieve.

So before you discount your price, ask yourself are you discounting you? Maybe now is the time for some personal reflection so you can gain clarity around your own priceless expertise.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Intuition – The Gut Brain for Business and Leadership Success

A wise mentor once said to me “Given enough information your intuitive sense will be validated.” Intuition some suggest comes from our gut brain as described by Dr. Robert Cooper in his book Get Out Of Your Own Way or by others as an unknown sense that has always been with us. What I do know is intuition supports both business and leadership success.

leadership-successWhatever the source, intuition is the gut brain for business. For example, have you ever met a potential client and felt immediately that this was a good fit or conversely met a prospect and couldn’t get away from him or her fast enough? Or maybe you received a sales referral, made the first contact and your gut brain is screaming “No way?”

Why did you have those strong feelings? And more importantly, why did you listen to them?

What happened when you failed to listen to your intuitive sense? Did you experience an internal “I told you so!”? Maybe, after ignoring your “gut brain” because you were afraid of being judgmental, you took a chance and the end result confirmed your intuition. No where is this sense, intuition, more needed than in business and leadership success.

Why should you listen to your intuitive sense beyond your own hits and misses? We all have heard the failure rate of small businesses especially solo entrepreneurs. I believe one reason for these failures is because these entrepreneurial innovators failed to ignite their own intuition and leveraged the power of that intuition in their small businesses.

In business, we must not ignore these feelings. When we use these feelings in conjunction with a solid decision making process, we can work smarter and then work even harder as we strive towards achieving our desired results. Our intuition helps us to prevent miss steps provided we are willing to hear the messages from our “gut brain.” By listening which is not to be confused with immediately acting, we can achieve far greater leadership success.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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The Power of 3 For Better Time Management

Did you know we experience more change in one year than our grandparents experienced in their entire lifetimes? With information doubling every year, businesses downsizing personnel and change almost being a warp speed phenomenon, no wonder time management is a growing concern for business leadership.

time-management

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A recent search on Google for time management retrieved nearly 1/2 billion hits with time management training accounting for almost one half of those hits. This suggests that time management is important to many and especially for those in business leadership roles.   On my website one of the most frequently download PDFs is this curriculum on Time-Management-Leadership.

The Power of 3 Rule is a great way to improve the effectiveness (doing the right thing) of your daily business leadership time usage. However, there is some preliminary work that must be taken before you can implement this rule.

First, return to your strategic plan and determine what needs to be done for the current quarter. Then look at your current tasks and identify only 3 important activities for the forthcoming or current week that are quality focused and aligned to that plan. Some of these activities may include making phone calls, sending out direct mail pieces, organizing your office, filing paperwork, spending time with family or friends or exercising at the fitness center.

After you have selected just 3 things to focus on during the week, write them down and carry the list with you at all times. For you will now have to say “No” to a lot of other people and potential activities that will interfere with your selected Power of 3. As this rule has a one-week time frame, you will be able to say “Yes” after the week is over to some of those things that you said “No” to earlier. Because of this limited time focus as well as limited activities, you will realize immediate results.

Take action right now and identify just 3 activities that you will focus on for the rest of the week and let me know of the results.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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How to Be One of the Few to Avoid Small Business Failure

Why do small businesses fail? The Small Business Administration (SBA) has researched small business failure extensively. Back in 2004, the SBA identified the launch of 580,900 new employer businesses and the closing of 576,200. This report suggests that every minute one business is closing while one is opening.

small-business-failure

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More current research suggests this small business failure rate is in decline. Yet with over 70% of all businesses here in the US being non-employed (meaning having no employees) and these small businesses included as both full and part time, determining the actual small businesses failure rate today is difficult.

Many business writers to business coaches attribute business failure to a lack of strategic planning, a lack of leadership, a lack of vision, a lack of processes, the list is endless. Dan Kennedy, a renowned marketing and sales expert said that there is no business success or failure, but rather people success and people failure. However, the problem with identifying one reason for small business failure is the problem.

Businesses are complex by their very nature even the SOHO. To believe that only one factor will either make or break a business is foolhardy and contributes to the silo solution mentality. This approach is simply stated like this: If I fix this one problem, then everything else is OK.

Successful businesses harness what I call the dynamic forces of performance – strategic planning, execution and measurement. These forces, much like the forces in nature, act upon each performance field such as profitability, customer service, growth and innovation just to name a few. When all 3 forces are in alignment, the field experiences tremendous energy and improved performance happens. The processes of People, Goal Achievement and Quality unite the forces and close any performance gaps between the forces.

All of these forces and processes operate within the eye of leadership. Effective leadership is necessary to manage each of the forces as well as the processes. If leadership is not present, then the forces fail to maximize their impact upon the field and business failure is the ultimate result.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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The Essential WHY Unasked Leadership Questions

Leadership is very much like the buying and selling process. To be bought as a leader, the leader requires understanding why he or she should be bought by each follower. If the leader is not bought, possibly he or she failed to answer these five (5) unasked leadership questions?

leadership#1 Why – Why You as the Leader?

Why should the follow buy you? For some this could be 30 years of leadership expertise, experience to even your ethics and values.

#2 Why – Why Me as the Follower?

Why should I as the follower make this decision to follow you? This question returns to What’s In it For Me? or WIIFM.

#3 Why – Why This Decision or Solution?

Why will your decision or solution work with the needs of the follower and will it intrinsically motivate him or her to accept (buy) that decision?  When this question is properly answered, the astute and forward thinking leader will have the ability to provide both a logical and emotionally intelligent response that implies or directly states a return on the follower’s investment.

#4 Why – Why Take Action Now?

Why should I the follower take action now? If you have properly identified your follower (think emerging leader) as being a decision maker, having a financial goal, having specific needs and wants and an urgency to follow, this question should already be answered. Again, as in sales, solid fact finding and excellent questioning will answer this question to those who may follow you.

#5 Why – Why this Investment?

Why should I pay this price of time, energy, money and emotions to become your follower? By answering the earlier Whys, you have already built value and this value should not be a significant Why. Unfortunately, when the leader has a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance one, then value probably has not been established. This Why question cannot be answered without the leader building value.

TAKE ACTION to begin to answer these questions or fine tune your existing responses. People challenge leadership because of one or more of these five Why questions remain unanswered.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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What Really is Leadership?

Read any business magazine, professional journal or popular business websites and you will discover numerous articles devoted to the topic of leadership. With thousands of articles and hundreds of books, leadership still appears to be illusive in its definition.

leadership

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So how does one define this illusive word? Peter Drucker has stated that “leadership is all about results.” In building a business, results are the bottom line. However, Drucker’s definition does not truly encompass the full breath of leadership especially if you wish to take your business to that next level.

Here in Northwest Indiana as with many other communities, we have some leaders who have achieved the results, but their methods have gained them notoriety as corrupt and unethical individuals. History has revealed countless leaders who achieved results but at the expense of others such as Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin not too mention current heads of state in North Korea and China along with the Middle East. Without solid, positive core values or what I call non-negotiable behaviors, businesses will ultimately fail and created economic havoc for their employees and their communities.

Beyond the core values, Drucker’s definition may suggest leadership begins from within each individual, but the definition must clearly start at the source. By using the word desired implies that some planning, strategy and critical thinking skills have taken place. Business results are not achieved “willy-nilly” or haphazardly, but with purpose and clarity.

President Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.” For it is that planning, the application of critical thinking skills that separate truly effective leaders from less than effective ones.

By more clearly defining leadership as being individuals who consistently deliver the desired results while demonstrating positive core values, we begin to change our beliefs about leadership. No longer do we confuse leadership with management; that leadership is only for the business owner or the executive team; or that leadership is community service. Nor will we accept any results, but rather results than can be directly tied to specific strategies and tactics. Now, we can begin to look at the strengths of each individual and how those strengths can be further developed.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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The Confusion For Realtors When It Comes to Marketing and Selling

Believe it or not most Realtors are marketers not salespeople.  They confuse marketing and selling.

marketing-and-sellingNow some real estate agents reading this may bristle at this statement regarding confusion between marketing and selling. Yet the reality is the market has changed and more of the control is in the hands of the sellers and buyers.

Websites devoted to residential and commercial real estate make it far easier for buyers to find homes. This is called marketing, attracting attention.  Sales leads now call the listed realtor or a friend who is a real estate agent to schedule an appointment to see the home.  FACT: There were no sales skills (selling) taking place.

Sellers are also more educated as they are learning what to do before even selling their homes.  With many homeowners being baby boomers without mortgages, they know what they want to walk away with at closing.  Sure in some instances, the expectations are unrealistic, but in many more those expectations are very realistic.

For years, realtors showed homes. They would walk potential buyers (sales leads) through and possibly highlight the features of the home.  Sometimes open houses would be scheduled.  Open houses were more for finding new listings (marketing) than actually selling the home.

Marketing is not selling be it homes, professional solutions or tangible products.  However selling is marketing.

When Realtors recognize there is a difference between marketing and selling, possibly they may change their sales behaviors including their real estate marketing messages. Who knows especially given people love insanity because it worked in the past.

P.S. Part of this confusion is because many Realtors lack a sales process. Here is one 7-Step-Sales-Process-ADVSYS that works for most salespeople. Yes it is free, no charge, my gift to you.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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What’s Fueling Your Leadership Engine?

Remember the story about the Little Engine?  Many of us are familiar with this childhood story. Would you believe this story can be directly applied to fueling your own leadership engine?

leadership-engineEach of us as leaders are our own little engine. We try and try and sometimes we succeed and other times we fail.  Leadership brings both success and failure to the table.

What fuels our leadership engine is our emotions, our experiences and our expectations.  This is all part of our own self determination.  Through the mastery of our environment, the autonomy of making choices and our purpose as it relates to others, we fuel ourselves each day as we chug up those molehills to mountains.

When we believe in ourselves because we have the necessary knowledge (expertise) we are more driven to move further down the path or up the mountain. Then, when we know we have the ability to make choices instead of being forced to behave one way or another, we only add more fuel to our leadership engine fire. Finally, when we know we are relating to others, we are not only improving our lives, but improving the lives of others, we continue to fan the flames of that fire.

Each of us has the innate capacity to be exceptional leaders, to go where others have not gone, to experience what others have not experienced. Possibly because we have had obstacles that prevent us from mastery, autonomy and purpose, we fail to see our own leadership potential.

The incredible aspect of being a forward thinking leader returns to our own autonomy.  We have the choice to fuel our leadership engine or not to.  So what is your choice?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Time to Deep Six Your Leadership Development Model

Did you read the article and the study that revealed two third of millennials will be leaving their current employers because of the lack of leadership development by 2020?  Worse yet one quarter of those millennials are looking to leave by the end of 2016.

leadership-misalingmentIf you have millennials in your organization and are looking to them in your succession leadership plan, possibly is now the time to review your current leadership development model and potentially embrace a new one?

The majority, no the super majority of leadership development models are competency based.  And therein lies the problem. Competencies do not play to everyone’s natural or developed talents. This is a one size fits all cookie model and fails to leverage the incredible untapped potential within each of your employees.

In the book Fail-Safe Leadership, the authors bring forth this idea of results based leadership model instead of the tried and tired competency based leadership model.  In today’s knowledge economy, having a results driven model makes far more sense because it aligns to the strategic vision. Here are some of the differences as noted by the authors:

Competency Based Model

Results Based Model

Traditional approach Leading edge approach
Difficult to link to operating systems Links directly to operating systems
Difficult to identify emerging leaders Emerging leaders are easily identified based on ability to achieve results
Process of developing leaders is relatively slow and inefficient Process of developing leaders is relatively fast and efficient
Difficult to measure against results Easily measured against results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Drucker said “Leadership is about results.”  If your SMB is not achieving you desired results, then this suggests there is a problem within your leadership development process or training program. (Note:  I dislike using the phrase leadership training because we train dogs. I prefer leadership development because we develop leaders.)

With the staggering number of younger employees looking to leave because of little to no leadership development, now appears to be the best time to start changing how your SMB develops your future leaders before they go somewhere else for that leadership development.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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