2nd Quarter 2016 Emerging Leaders Newsletter

Articles in the 2nd Quarter 2016 Emerging Leaders Newsletter.

Come to Emerging Leaders “Secret” Speakeasy Reception at the 2016 ISA Annual Convention

Like secret passwords? What about award-winning bourbon? What about free award-winning bourbon?

Come to the Emerging Leaders “Secret” Speakeasy Reception at the 2016 ISA Convention and you’ll get both those things, plus:

  • A chance to meet and network with key leadership from the Emerging Leaders group, the ISA Board of Directors and more
  • Information on the Emerging Leaders Regional Summits, coming to Atlanta and Chicago in August 2016
  • A chance to win a FREE registration to the 2017 Emerging Leaders Summit

The Secret Speakeasy is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, inside the ISA Annual Convention’s opening reception, from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., in the Rosemont Hyatt Ballroom. The password to get in is:

“Hair of the Dog”

See you there!

Emerging Leaders 2016 Recap

2015 Emerging Leaders Summit participants

The 2016 ISA Emerging Leaders Summit was held February 15 to 17, 2016 in San Diego, Calif., at the Hard Rock Hotel.

“This year’s summit was our best one yet,” John Corely, Emerging Leaders Chair, said. “We had excellent content, highlighted by Kathleen Durbin and Mike Staver’s presentations on leadership, which was delivered in a top-notch venue at the Hard Rock hotel in San Diego. We were excited to have a lot of new faces this year, representing a broader number of member companies than ever before.”

The summit kicked off with a trip to ISA’s fundraising partner, Workshop for Warriors (WFW), at its headquarters in San Diego, Calif. While there, the Emerging Leaders were able to see how WFW helps veterans by giving them advanced education in engineering/manufacturing skills like C.A.D. design, welding, etc. Attendees were also given the opportunity to speak with the owner and founder of workshop for warriors, Hernan Luiz y Prado. (Prado and Workshop for Warriors will also be at the 2016 ISA Annual Convention, at booth 718, should you want to learn more about the charity.)

The Summit’s welcome reception was held poolside, at the hotel’s roof pool and bar/cabana area. The casual introduction to the group allowed for the perfect networking setting to meet fellow Emerging Leaders.

The first morning of the Summit opened with an early breakfast hosted by the ISA Women Industrial Supply Executives group (W.I.S.E.). Kathleen Durbin, CEO of General Industrial Tool and Supply and W.I.S.E. Committee Member, and winner of the 2015 John J. Buckley Lifetime Achievement award, gave the first session of the summit. She covered a wide range of topics, including leadership and building a career.

Following Durbin was Mike Staver, with his session titled “Leadership isn’t for Cowards: How to Lead Courageously in a Turbulent Age.” Staver’s session covered the value of courage, as well as understanding your staff and what it takes to motivate them.

That night the group met at La Fiesta, a restaurant in the heart of the Gaslamp district for a group dinner, pictures and networking.

The summit concluded the following day with speaker Jim Pancero. Pancero’s session dealt with understanding each generation’s differences and how to craft your sales leadership toward your talent and clients alike.

ISA and the Emerging Leaders would like to thank everyone who made this year’s Emerging Leaders Summit possible.

If you're interested in more info about upcoming summits or what else the Emerging Leaders has to offer, contact Dan Ehinger at DEhinger@ISApartners.org or call (215) 320-3862.

Sponsored by the ISA Emerging Leaders, the Summit is open to all ISA members and non-members.

Introducing: The Emerging Leaders Regional Meetups being held this year in Atlanta and Chicago the week of August 15, 2016. Drive out and join other emerging leaders for networking events and leadership training.

7 Ways Leaders Can Unearth the Fear That Lurks Behind the Blame Game

Mike StaverWhen you arrive at the office each morning, you find yourself in a blame-free zone. Your team attacks projects proactively and with confidence. When a problem arises, everyone involved “owns it” and takes corrective action.

Bob in marketing says he’s responsible for an event flyer going to the printer late, and stays late to overnight them to the client. Meanwhile, Sally in accounting emails, “The client’s invoice was wrong because of our miscalculation. We’ve called and apologized.” And so it goes with every employee, in every department … and then you wake up.

Yep. Instead of facing the workday with excitement, most leaders want to crawl back under the covers from sheer dread of what awaits them at the office — excuse-making, blame-shifting and responsibility dodge ball. The underlying culprit is something you might not suspect — fear.

An organization that has perfected the blame game is one where hidden fear — fear of failure, of confrontation, of difficult tasks — runs rampant. And guess where these kinds of energy-draining, counterproductive cultures originate? That’s right — with the leaders.

Blame-based leadership seeks to find a bad guy so that there is someone to absorb the problem, like a lightning rod absorbs a bolt of otherwise dangerous electricity. If a bad guy can be found, then everyone else can take a collective sigh of relief.  For example, if it’s operations’ fault, management can’t have done anything wrong.  When it’s someone else’s problem, no one takes action to solve it.

Removing fear and establishing a take-responsibility culture begins with the leaders. Once you have let followers know that you are on their side and want them to win — while establishing that you won’t settle for anything less than the highest degree of execution and performance — they’ll begin to adopt your fearless attitude.

Read on for my advice on how you can take responsibility and help your followers to do the same:

  1. Look at the man (or woman) in the mirror. You can’t expect your followers to change their attitudes while you stay mired in your old blame-based thinking. That’s why Step One in creating an excuse-free company culture is taking a good, hard look at your own tendency to blame others and at the underlying fear driving it. A few common culprits include: fear of failure, fear of being underprepared, fear of confrontation, fear of risk, fear of being wrong and fear of being unpopular.

    Overall, strive to proactively confront any policy, person or mindset that is holding you and your organization back. Be an obstacle remover and push yourself to take bold, decisive action. And if (actually, when) you do screw up? Set a good example and “own it.” Overall, you’ll find the rewards of being a fearless leader will far outweigh the consequences.

  2. Get real about how your organization handles mistakes. What happens when someone on your team screws up or takes a risk that doesn’t pay off? If the answer is that a leader swoops in to mete out swift and certain punishment to the offending employee, two things will happen: The blame game will flourish; after all, no one wants to be the fall guy when something goes wrong and most people will shy away from taking any risks at all in the future.
  3. Preach the “choose or lose” gospel.  It’s when employees feel powerless that they toe the company line, mindlessly follow orders or simply choose to do nothing. As a leader, you need to make employees understand that they always have a choice. (And yes, doing nothing is a choice.) It’s important to make sure that everyone in your organization considers the full range of options, even those that might seem impractical or illogical at first glance. Here’s why: Once you realize you have choices, it’s a lot harder to blame others for your actions, or lack thereof.
  4. Set crystal clear goals with deadlines.  Have you ever left a meeting thinking your team had made lots of progress, only to find out later that none of the great ideas came to fruition? As deadlines were missed and mistakes were made, everyone conveniently blamed someone else, claiming they didn’t know they were responsible for those tasks. Well, if you didn’t spell out a who-does-what list, maybe they really didn’t know — but just as blame-game-inducing is the anxiety that comes from uncertainty.
  5. Get people thinking in terms of solutions, not problems. Cliché as it might sound, a can-do attitude is the remedy for blame addiction and the cornerstone of a culture of responsibility. There’s nothing wrong with telling your followers: “From now on, I want to hear fewer reasons why we can’t and more suggestions for how we can.” Those messages to the group will make your conversations with individuals easier because they will already know your expectations.
  6. Dissect outcomes in a “no excuses” moratorium. Choices and attitudes/mind-sets are all well and good, but let’s face it — you are in the results business. At the end of the day, you either have the outcome you hoped for, or you have a pile of useless excuses. To help your direct reports take more responsibility, examine the results of all projects and initiatives together. Trace how your people’s choices and attitudes impacted the final outcome, and don’t let them (or yourself) off the hook.
  7. Partner up. You might have heard of accountability partners in terms of losing weight, exercising more, reaching financial goals, or growing personally or spiritually. But have you ever considered using them in your organization? The fact is, pairing your people up in “accountability teams” that get together twice a month to talk about their goals and their progress can really increase the amount of responsibility everyone feels.

Mike Staver is the author of “Leadership Isn’t for Cowards” (Wiley, June 2012, ISBN: 978-1-118-17683-2, $24.95). For more information, visit his website at www.mikestaver.com.