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Sound-bites: Ideas for Leading Effectively

  • Success as a leader is built one encounter at a time. Make certain to make each one count.

  • Before you start your day, prepare your attitude for success. Focus on what impact you want to have on others today and then live it.

  • Leading others in periods of uncertainty requires an extra-level of care and handling. Your role is to create a safe zone. If you don’t, fear stifles creativity and problem-solving.

  • Just because someone gives you feedback doesn’t mean it’s valuable. Always consider the source and the intent.

  • When assuming responsibility to lead a new team (a team that is new to you), resist the urge to tell. Instead, observe and ask. You’ll have ample time to influence the team.

  • What are you reading this week or month? What are you planning on reading? If you’re not reading and learning, you’re moving backwards at the speed of change.

  • Treat the professional development of your team members like a series of video-game level up situations. New challenges, new opportunities to strive, fail, learn and ultimately succeed. Mix in ample real-time feedback and you’re doing your part!

  • It’s Leader AND Manager. No one wants a leader who cannot manage or a manager who cannot lead. Learn to do both. 


In my year-end and beginning of year conversations with coaching clients and colleagues, I ask about what they plan on doing to strengthen as leaders in the upcoming year. The answers are always thoughtful:

Be in the moment more with my team members. –CEO

Teach more–Director of Product Management

Spend more time out from behind my desk and with my team members. I want to go to them and offer help, not require them to come to me. SVP-Marketing

Read more in my field–VP of Sales (Note from Art: I think he knows the reading one always warms my heart, but heck, he’s in sales, so he is always selling!)

Take better care of myself so that I can take better care of my team–Regional Director (Note from Art: I love the mind/body/results connection implied by his goal!)

And like the most thoughtful of those much discussed but oft ignored new year’s resolutions, the intent is good, but without creating a regimen to record, monitor and measure your performance, these great goals often fade in the rear-view mirror of the passing months. While that might sound like a great deal of work, it’s a small price to pay to move forward and remain focused on your important leadership goals. 

5 Tips to Help Keep You on Track with Your Leadership Goals:

1. Where possible, translate your goals into digestible measures. If your objective is to read more, set a quota of books per month or pages per week and record your results. The same applies for activity-based goals such as time with your team or number of customer visits. Whether you track them in your tried-and-true moleskine notebook or on your tablet or mobile device, as long as you find an easy way to record and then review success and progress, you are arming yourself with either positive reinforcement or encouragement to amp up your game.

2. Connect the measures to outcomes. Add statements of impact to your quantitative measures. If more frequent staff interaction leads to updated professional development plans and an increasing number of stretch assignments, you’ve made the contact or face-time goal meaningful!

3. Publish your goals and ask people to hold you accountable. Nothing prompts personal accountability by asking those impacted by your goals to keep you focused and committed. After a particularly painful 360-degree review, one manager recognized her need to provide more frequent feedback to her team members. They were hungry for it and she was not supplying it in adequate volume. She described her commitment to improving in this area and asked her team members to hold her accountable. They did and next year’s 360 was dramatically improved in this one area.

4. Find a Swim Buddy. If the group accountability is a bit uncomfortable for your area of improvement, find a colleague you trust to share unvarnished feedback and ask him/her to keep you honest and focused. The Navy Seals use the term Swim Buddy to reference someone who is there with and for you in all circumstances during your training. The same technique works great in professional environments. Remember to offer to reciprocate.

5. Don’t let a momentary slip derail your positive intent. Behavior change is difficult. If you fail in one week, month or quarter, reset your targets, but don’t give up. If improvement was easy, we would all be smoke-free, physically fit over-achievers. 


The 90-day ACCELERATE program, led by Executive Coach, Art Petty, is intended for any professional (non-executive) motivated to move further faster in their career this year. Together, we’ll define objectives, assess strengths and gaps and develop strategies and tactics to help you strengthen and achieve your goals as a professional. Enrollment is limited. Learn more about the ACCELERATE program...


What I'm Reading 

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen et. al. The father of the idea and series of books on The Innovator’s Dilemma, along with his co-authors, takes a time out from business strategy and challenges us to think and act in ways that bring satisfaction and peace in our lives. Inspired by his own medical challenges and the realization that many of his Harvard college graduating classmates had ended up somewhere south of happy and a few ended up in jail, this is a thought-provoking read for all of us. 

Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith. Coach Goldsmith is at the top of the food-chain of corporate coaches in our world, and his book Triggers deals with the vexing issue of making and succeeding at positive behavior change. This might be perfect timing to help you stay on track and succeed with your personal and professional resolutions this year! 

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction. It turns out, you can predict the future. Kind of. This is a great read on strengthening your ability to make sense of the noise in our world and form accurate predictions. There’s a lot of science behind the conclusion that developing superior forecasting skills (significantly better than random luck) is in fact possible for all of us. 

And for fun: The Penn Cage Series by author Greg Iles. After Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer, I needed some more legal/action thrillers. I’m on book number 4. It’s great airplane reading after you’ve digested my recommendations above! (Hey, life can’t all be serious.


Art’s Keynote: Level-Up—Surviving and Thriving in an Era of Change, focuses on the 5 critical survival and success skills required by anyone focused on growing their careers while helping their firms and teams navigate change. Looking for an extended format? Art extends the Level-Up content into a half-day workshop!

Session with Art Petty was great, very informative, reassuring, positive and energizing.

This was a great way to start my day and give me some thought of how to engage myself and career in 2016. Thank you for the opportunity!

Today's topic, sis going to help us a lot, in looking what we do and try to do it different and better. Thank you.


Interesting Reads

At the Washington Post, “Why Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Challenge to Himself Might Just Work.

From FastCompany: “Study finds that smart people live longer than not smart people.” 

From “A Navy SEAL’s Secret for Pushing Yourself Way Beyond Your (Supposed) Limits.”


In Case You Missed It...

Note from Art: in addition to my Management Excellence blog, I was honored to be named the Management and Leadership Expert at I will be actively blogging from and for both sites.