Lead from Strength™

Discover the Natural Leader Already Within You!

by Wayne Ottum

 “Each of us has been put on earth with the ability to do something well.
We cheat ourselves and the world if we don’t use that ability as best we can.”
George Allen – Professional Football Coach

No matter your chosen profession, and regardless of your upbringing, you have a natural way of being.  We all do.  And we intuitively know that our “way of being” is different from those around us, in terms of personality, talents, capabilities, how we best communicate, and how we are motivated.  And we’ve figured out from experience when we are in alignment with our natural way of being, we perform better, feel better, are more fulfilled, have more success, and we get outstanding results.  We may not know WHY we are in alignment, but we know WHEN we are and when we are not.

As a leader in your organization, wouldn’t it be great to be in alignment more often?  Wouldn’t it be great if your staff were also in alignment more often?  Imagine how much more productive, prosperous, happy, fulfilled and successful you and your staff could be if everyone were performing “in alignment” with their natural way of being!  What would it mean to you, as a leader, to have this kind of knowledge, success, fulfillment and peace of mind?

What if we told you that such success and confidence is within your reach and that you need only discover your natural way of being and intentionally use it, and those of your team?  Your natural way of being are your “unique gifts.”  We see it over and over with our clients; when they align their business, their leadership, and their staff to best utilize everyone’s unique gifts, suddenly, almost by magic (though it is far from that), things just seem to get easy.  Yes, there is an “easy button!”

So what are “unique gifts” and how do we discover and use them with purpose and intent to create personal and business success and fulfillment?

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The Authentic Business

by Wayne Ottum

“The advent of Google+ and the emergence of the personalized web means this is more true than ever. Brands, and their advertising partners, must wake up to this challenge and define themselves with clarity, consistency and authenticity.
Otherwise they just might find themselves shouting in a ghost town.”
Simon Mainwaring

If Simon Mainwaring’s warning holds true, and I believe it to be so, then a business must be built on clarity, consistency and authenticity to stand the test of time.  As we have discussed in previous newsletter articles, you create clarity in your business with a defined strategic foundation (vision, mission and values).  We have also talked about how consistency of action can be obtained through a “strengths-based performance management system.”  So then, what does it mean to define your business with authenticity?  What is an “authentic business” and why is it important to be one?

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Mastering the Three “Sides” of Performance Management

by Wayne Ottum

In business, words are words; explanations are explanations, promises are promises,
but only performance is reality.

Harold S. Geneen

What is the performance “reality” in your business?  Do you know for certain that each team and individual is performing to the best of their abilities?  Do you have the tools in place to effectively measure and manage performance?  Does your staff clearly know WHAT they are supposed to be doing?  Do they know what it means to do their job well?  Do they know what decisions they have authority to make and how to make them to drive revenue, create value for your clients, improve profits and attain the goals of your business?

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Mastering the “Three Sides of Leadership in Action”

by Wayne Ottum

“It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises,
but only performance is reality.”
Harold S. Green

Last month’s featured article talked about the Three Sides of Leadership.  In summary, as a leader, it is your responsibility to clearly define a situation or effort you are leading and create a clear vision of success for your team/company.  When the situation is defined, it is easier to align the unique gifts you and your followers bring to the table to the actions required.  Doing so provides the greatest likelihood of naturally motivating others to act to achieve the success you have defined.  Once these three “sides” of leadership are aligned (the leader, the followers, and the situation), it’s time to take intentional action to tackle the situation at hand while managing individual and team performance, providing feedback, and making midcourse corrections when needed.  That is, it is time for Leadership in Action!

Humans need clear, effective and concise information in order to perform effectively.  We know this intuitively when we interact with children.  As parents, we set boundaries, discuss expectations, and reward good behavior (or discipline poor behavior).  With these actions, we guide our children to understand what is right and what is not.

But as leaders of adults, we often forget that those who follow us also need – and desire – this kind of clear direction and guidance.  Everyone needs to know their boundaries.  It’s like creating a “swim lane” for your staff, where they have the autonomy to do what is needed within their lane to drive toward success, and alerts everyone when they stray too far from the desired course.  When this information is not provided, as humans, we will simply fill in the gaps on our own so we can accomplish what we think needs to be done.  Trouble is…

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Lead from Strength™: Mastering the Three “Sides” of Leadership

by Wayne Ottum

“You manage things; you lead people.”
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

 “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
General Dwight Eisenhower

 “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership.
That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.
Warren Bennis

Leadership.  There are plenty of great quotes about it, but what does it really mean?  To begin any discussion of leadership, the best place to start is with a definition.  You know when you are in the presence of a great leader and when you’re not, but most of us struggle to define the term.  Of course, the desire to “define” leadership is so that we can “become” a better leader.  We think, perhaps rightly, that if it is definable, it can be replicated.

The following definition can be found in the dictionary[1]



[lee-der-ship] noun

  1. the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group: Synonyms: administration, management, directorship, control, governorship, stewardship, hegemony.
  2. ability to lead: Synonyms: authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness; sway, clout.
  3. an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction:
  4. the leaders of a group:

Ah…, not very helpful when you’re trying to figure out HOW to lead, is it?  Reading through The 100 Best Quotes on Leadership[2], you will find dozens of different “definitions” from a wide variety of authors.  But how do you take that and discover your own leadership style, through trial and error?  Not the best approach.

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Creating a Business Plan… With Real Meaning!

9 Essential Keys to Planning for Success in Your Business

By Wayne H. Ottum

That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps
the most important cause
of business frustration and failure.
Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern business planning

If business planning is as valuable as we are told (and it is), then what we need is a way to plan so that the resulting plan is a plan with real meaning. One that literally compels you to act because it is a plan that naturally moves you toward what you truly desire. It is a plan that feels in alignment with who you are authentically, so you act from a place of strength using your unique gifts. It is a plan that works for you and your business and where everyone feels fulfilled and eager to work that plan every day.

There are 9 essential keys to creating a Business Plan… with Real Meaning: Read more

Does Your Work Environment Create Top Performers?

By Wayne H. Ottum

“Select a person, set expectations, motivate the person and develop the person… If a company’s managers are unable to play this role well, then no matter how sophisticated its systems or how inspirational its leaders, the company will slowly start to disintegrate.”
Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman in ”First, Break All the Rules” 1999.

The professional development aspect of the culture of an organization has an enormous impact on its ability to continually and effectively reach its strategic objectives. In order to create an environment that fosters top performance in the pursuit of these objectives, an organization must Lead from Strength™. In fact, the quote above is from the book that started the “strength” movement when the Gallop organization studied and reported on what makes a great manager in the book entitled, First, Break all the Rules. The result? Those great managers “broke all the rules” that focused on determining and “fixing” the weaknesses of their staff. Instead, these great managers discovered the particular strengths needed for the particular role, aligned staff’s strengths to those roles and then set expectations, motivated and developed those strengths.

To determine if you are creating an environment that fosters success now and in the future, we encourage you to ask your employees the following 10 questions routinely and continually: Read more