Business

Powerful Conversations: How High-Impact Leaders Communicate

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All leaders talk, but it is what they say and how they say it that determines whether the group succeeds or fails.

Think about it: the leader’s most fundamental and most important job is to be in touch with those around him or her. Whether it is in the hallways or on the phone, in the middle of the workday or after hours, while delivering a performance review to a key employee or a yearly address to thousands of employees, leaders are involved in a constant series of conversations.

Through these encounters, whether brief and spontaneous or scheduled and structured, leaders try to use their time with colleagues, employees, customers, and others to reach a variety of ends. Grabbing a moment, the leader takes the opportunity to influence and direct a member of the sales staff. A weekly meeting becomes a chance to coach a manager and gather information about the department’s morale and its financial numbers. A quick e-mail checks on the progress of a research project and gives a boost of recognition and support to the team. During a strategy meeting, the leader negotiates next steps with division heads and outlines a coordinated approach. At a company awards ceremony, he or she tries to hammer home a message about values and goals. In short, the leader, through his or her conversations, aims to foster relationships, build support networks, and sharpen organizational focus.

Yet outcomes from conversations are too often unclear. Perceptions don’t always match. Influences are frequently not as profound as one would hope. Communication is generally a struggle with mixed, uncertain, and unpredictable results. Too much conversation is ad hoc and hinges on moods, energy levels, relationships, and personalities. Sometimes a leader is right on point. Sometimes he or she clicks and forges a new connection. Other times, the leader misses the mark. Either way, he or she pushes on, lining up the next meeting, setting up the next goal, responding to the latest need for clarification.

Communication is never easy. Inevitably, when a leader is driving change and dealing with conflicting agendas, some conversations provide a challenge that tests the bounds and skill of experience. During the heat of a difficult conversation, you need to fall back on a discipline. You need clear communication that advances agendas, promotes learning, and strengthens relationships. It’s the difference between achieving objectives and having everything fall apart—and the difference between winning and losing.

Imagine having to let a close friend know that he or she is off a project because of poor performance, yet wanting at the same time to preserve the strength of the relationship. Imagine having to make necessary structural changes to an organization, realigning roles and positions in ways that involve cuts in the workforce, yet wanting at the same time to bolster morale and organizational commitment. These are the difficult conversations that High-Impact Leaders face every single day, so what makes them different from any other leader?

High-Impact Leaders are the people who get results. They are the ones who make things happen. They are the leaders who are able to continually advance a clear agenda, get others to buy into it, and move an organization, a division, or a team forward. Being a High-Impact Leader has nothing whatsoever to do with title or rank, because High-Impact Leaders can be found up, down, and across any organization.

-Impact Leaders are the ones who cause no surprises. They are explicit, consistent, concise, and authentic. They sometimes have an abundance of charisma, but that is clearly not a prerequisite. More to the point, High-Impact Leaders are the ones who take charge wherever they are. They are the ones others want to follow. They are also the leaders whose teams others consistently want to join. When they move on to new roles or new territories, they do not travel alone. Others ask to go with them.

These conditions result because High-Impact Leaders use the technology of Powerful Conversations and then match what they say with what they do. Through Powerful Conversations, they develop openness, honesty, and clarity in order to get others to believe and share in their goals, to gain commitments, and to foster trust. And they prove they are worthy of that trust by delivering on their own commitments and by making results happen.

The link between Powerful Conversations and High-Impact Leaders lies in the relationship between two concepts I refer to as Say and Do. I have seen people skilled at the art of Powerful Conversations nevertheless fail as leaders because they fail to live up to their words. As a result, they never become High-Impact Leaders. I have never known a High-Impact Leader, however, who was not also skilled at Powerful Conversations, whether conscious of that designation or not. To be a High-Impact Leader, you have to be able to conduct Powerful Conversations on a consistent basis and live up to the outcomes of those conversations. Why is this important? It has to do with trust—without which conversations cannot progress toward the realization of commitments.

One of the most important functions of a Powerful Conversation is to create clarity, a critical success factor for building trust. I cannot tell you how frequently I have been involved in situations in which a leader, reflecting on problems that have arisen, says, “I can’t believe they thought I meant that. I never had any intention of doing that.” And the followers say something like, “It’s unbelievable. Our leader made a clear commitment to do this and now denies it was ever part of the agenda.” Both sides shake their heads. Barriers go up. Trust is reduced or nonexistent.

True clarity implies that a leader says exactly what he or she means in such a way that his or her statements are received as intended. This requires openness, honesty, and an active and careful tracking of wants, needs, and commitments. It furthermore requires that those clear statements be lived up to with demonstrated actions built on organizational trust.

High-Impact Leaders today lead in a better way because they recognize that the shortest path to achieving objectives is to build trust and gain clear commitments from others. Specifically, they engage in Powerful Conversations to uncover the wants and needs of others in order to understand what will motivate those people to join forces with the leader and live up to the commitments of a conversation. They skillfully orchestrate the Powerful Conversations in which they engage to make clear all parties understand the exact commitments that have been made. Then they check into those commitments and make sure through follow-up conversations that the commitments can be kept. They track the wants and needs of others and find ways to reinforce their own desire to understand the wants and needs of others, often through continued follow-up conversations. High-Impact Leaders do these things because they know that trust must exist if the leader is to achieve his or her agenda through Powerful Conversations to create positive outcomes for their teams and stakeholders.

by Phil Harkins

Serving Those Who Have Served Our Country

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United Veterans Partnership

MAKING CONNECTIONS, ONE VETERANS AT A TIME!

United Veterans Partnership, Inc. (UVP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community development organization that works with our partners to build more sustainable communities where veterans and their families live, work, play and pray.

The UVP works closely with our partners to deliver programs that connect veterans to better housing and employment opportunities, financial literacy, business development resources and improved access healthcare and healthy food options.

At the end of the day, our success isn’t measured by the number of awards we get or the money we have raised but, rather, by the number of veterans who are living a better quality of life because of a connection that we made.


The Mission of the United Veterans Partnership is to “Help Veterans Build Sustainable Communities.”

For two years, the United Veterans Partnership (UVP) has listened to, communicated with and learned from veterans and other members of the community that the most pressing need is employment and business opportunities after their service to our country has ended. UVP is our answer to helping Veterans find the opportunities need to continue to be successful in the next chapter of their lives.

We are dedicated to helping veterans build communities through outreach programs and leadership development that focus on obtaining gainful employment, financial education, housing, entrepreneurial opportunities in business.

To do this the UVP has focused on striving to meet five goals to help meet the needs of returning veterans and the communities in which they live:

Jobs/Jobs Training: Develop a comprehensive Accelerated Job Training Program to reduce the jobless rate among veterans and partner with local companies to keep veterans employed long after their military obligation has ended.
Connecting the Veteran Workforce to Opportunities: Build stronger linkages between businesses and the central city workforce of veterans through partnerships with the Department of Veteran Affairs and other organizations that share the same goals of helping veterans achieve their goals.

Greater Veteran Involvement in Economic Development: Increase the participation of veterans of veterans with assistance from the UVP on local and regional planning and project development efforts.

Community Development: Deepen thee impact of Veterans on the development of the community, including but not limited to; housing and housing development, economic development, financial education and training, and community leadership opportunities.
Entrepreneurship/Small Business Development: Foster greater entrepreneurship in the community by guiding veterans on the creation and expansion of Veteran owned businesses and franchises.


Source: Our Mission

7 Interview Questions to Help You Assess Emotional Intelligence

“Look for a team player who brings something positive to the company”

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

5 Common Networking Mistakes You’re Making

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Building a network of people that you don’t get along with is completely pointless.

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s the best way to network? is written by Scott Kriz, CEO of Bitium.

All too often, I see people at networking events exchanging business cards and starting up superficial conversations for obviously one-sided, self-serving purposes. But what happens when you leave the happy hour or the conference? How many of those conversations resulted in something substantial? Networking should be viewed as the beginning of long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. While there’s no formula to creating a valuable network, there certainly are guidelines. Here are five lessons I’ve learned while building and strengthening my network:

Be authentic
When I was fresh out of college, I used to attend events and come home with a pile of business cards, trying to figure out how each person could benefit me in my career. Guess how many of those turned into valuable relationships? Not one. Realizing this, I stopped bringing cards with me to events. Instead, I started attending events with smaller groups of people and focused more on getting to really know everyone on a personal level. Over time, I found that people with whom I shared common personal interests tended to provide more value than those with closer professional ties.

See also: What a game of chess can teach you about networking

Listen and ask questions
While I love sharing stories, I have never learned anything by hearing myself talk. So I try to focus on learning from other people’s experiences by taking a genuine interest in that person and asking them questions instead. For example, a few years ago, I found out the CMO from Microsoft had retired and was living in Southern California. Marketing has always been an area that fascinated me because it didn’t come naturally. I wanted to learn about marketing from the top mind in B2B marketing software so I could better understand it for my own business.

Through my network, I found out that she was going to be at a local accelerator event so I decided to attend as well. It’s amazing how generous people are with their time and their knowledge when you express genuine interest. Mich Mathews is now an investor and board member for Bitium–and a close friend of mine.

Seek out people that you like
Building a network of people that you don’t get along with is completely pointless. Every one of us has our own opinions, tastes and tolerances. Spend your time with people you like and you will find natural alignment. When I started my current company, I was lucky enough to have a co-founder that I had enormous respect for both personally and professionally. We wanted to hire the smartest employees, of whom we also enjoyed working with. Everyone on our current team has been hired through a personal or professional connection. I’m proud of this, not only because I love what we do as a company, but because I love the people that I am building the company with.

See also: Business cards aren’t outdated and 4 other networking tips

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
Some of the best networkers that I know are busy and overcommitted by nature. In order to leverage their networks appropriately and get the introductions I want, I’ve found that the less intrusive and more specific that I can be, the more likely they are to help out. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who is being solicited and read the content of the email as if you are that person. Make your email request is concise, specific, not completely self-serving and most importantly, easy for them to forward on to the person you want an introduction to. Help them help you.

Be yourself
Remember that everyone is just a person, no matter what they have achieved or how well-known they are. It’s easy to get star struck when meeting someone you’ve read about or who is considered a ‘celebrity’ in your industry. Approach them like you would anyone else at an event. Too many times people try to force a conversation because they really admire someone and want nothing more than to be associated with that person. Relax, have fun and don’t try to foster relationships that aren’t natural.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: What’s the best way to network?

How to work a room at an important networking event by Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify.

The one question you have to ask everyone you network withby Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision.

3 signs you’re a serial meet-and-greet networker by Shadan Deleveaux, director of sales multicultural beauty division at L’Oréal USA.

Forget what you know about networking. Do this instead by Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge.

3 networking mistakes you don’t know you’re making by Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite.

Why face-to-face networking will never go out of style by Kevin Chou, co-founder and CEO of Kabam.

How to effectively network (even if you dread it) by David DeWolf, president and CEO of 3Pillar Global.

The only thing you need to keep in mind when networkingby William Craig, founder and president of WebpageFX.

Why social media alone won’t get you a job by Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia.

NYSE President: I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking by Tom Farley, president of the NYSE.

Wisconsin Colleges and Universities by Cost in 2015

Below is a chart of Wisconsin colleges and universities from lowest to highest tuition cost.

Institution Name City In-State Cost Net Cost Website
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire $3,395 $8,555 Go
Madison Area Technical College Madison $3,666 $12,576 Go
Mid-State Technical College Wisconsin Rapids $3,666 $8,614 Go
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee $3,666 $9,071 Go
Blackhawk Technical College Janesville $3,666 $9,193 Go
Waukesha County Technical College Pewaukee $3,666 $9,122 Go
Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac $3,666 $9,617 Go
Western Technical College La Crosse $3,666 $8,802 Go
Northcentral Technical College Wausau $3,666 $9,188 Go
Fox Valley Technical College Appleton $3,666 $6,969 Go
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay $3,666 $8,892 Go
Gateway Technical College Kenosha $3,666 $7,637 Go
Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland $3,666 $7,261 Go
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore $3,667 $7,590 Go
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake $3,910 $8,567 Go
Nicolet Area Technical College Rhinelander $4,039 $6,487 Go
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Hayward $4,560 $6,609 Go
University of Wisconsin Colleges Madison $4,750 $8,410 Go
College of Menominee Nation Keshena $6,000 N/A Go
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point $6,298 $11,820 Go
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Green Bay $6,298 $11,557 Go
University of Wisconsin-Parkside Kenosha $6,298 $9,348 Go
University of Wisconsin-Platteville Platteville $6,418 $12,952 Go
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Oshkosh $6,422 $11,703 Go
University of Wisconsin-River Falls River Falls $6,428 $12,014 Go
           
Institution Name City In-State Cost Net Cost Website
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Whitewater $6,519 $11,332 Go
University of Wisconsin-Superior Superior $6,535 $11,565 Go
University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie $7,014 $14,264 Go
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Eau Claire $7,361 $12,940 Go
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse $7,585 $12,927 Go
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee $8,091 $14,882 Go
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison $9,273 $16,536 Go
University of Phoenix-Milwaukee Campus Milwaukee $10,560 N/A Go
Rasmussen College-Wisconsin Green Bay $10,764 N/A Go
Herzing University-Kenosha Kenosha $11,150 N/A Go
Herzing University-Brookfield Brookfield $11,150 N/A Go
Herzing University-Madison Madison $11,150 N/A Go
Maranatha Baptist University Watertown $11,980 N/A Go
Northland International University Dunbar $12,290 N/A Go
Anthem College-Brookfield Brookfield $13,806 N/A Go
Globe University-Madison East Madison $14,040 N/A Go
Globe University–Green Bay Green Bay $14,040 N/A Go
Globe University–Madison West Middleton $14,040 N/A Go
Globe University–Wausau Rothschild $14,040 N/A Go
Globe University-La Crosse Onalaska $14,040 N/A Go
Globe University-Appleton Grand Chute $14,040 N/A Go
Globe University-Eau Claire Eau Claire $14,040 N/A Go
The Art Institute of Wisconsin Milwaukee $14,868 N/A Go
Strayer University-Wisconsin Milwaukee $15,300 N/A Go
DeVry University-Wisconsin Milwaukee $15,930 N/A Go
Madison Media Institute Madison $16,309 N/A Go
Bryant & Stratton College-Milwaukee Milwaukee $16,530 N/A Go
Bryant & Stratton College-Wauwatosa Wauwatosa $16,530 N/A Go
Bryant & Stratton College-Bayshore Glendale $16,530 N/A Go
Bellin College Green Bay $20,000 N/A Go
Lakeland College Plymouth $21,960 N/A Go
Alverno College Milwaukee $22,656 N/A Go
Viterbo University La Crosse $22,740 N/A Go
Silver Lake College of the Holy Family Manitowoc $22,950 N/A Go
Marian University Fond Du Lac $24,300 N/A Go
Mount Mary University Milwaukee $24,598 N/A Go
Wisconsin Lutheran College Milwaukee $24,620 N/A Go
Edgewood College Madison $24,666 N/A Go
Cardinal Stritch University Milwaukee $24,800 N/A Go
Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon $24,930 N/A Go
Carroll University Waukesha $27,039 N/A Go
Northland College Ashland $29,000 N/A Go
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Milwaukee $29,474 N/A Go
Saint Norbert College De Pere $31,266 N/A Go
Ripon College Ripon $31,329 N/A Go
Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee $32,880 N/A Go
Marquette University Milwaukee $34,200 N/A Go
Carthage College Kenosha $34,850 N/A Go
Lawrence University Appleton $40,926 N/A Go
Beloit College Beloit $40,970 N/A Go

2015 University Rankings- Wisconsin

11 Top-Ranked Wisconsin Colleges and Universities

Top Ranked Universities in Wisconsin- Highest Overall School Score

5 Steps For Building Trust And Credibility

In today’s hyper-connected and transparent marketplace, brands and products arrive and depart at hypersonic speeds.

According to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, For the first time, trust and transparency are just as important to a company’s reputation as the quality of their products and services. In U.S.A., these two elements stand even higher than product quality.

Cautious of fraud, scams, and scheming marketing tactics, customers are beginning to perceive the world defined by genuine or contrived. More often than not, they’re basing their buying decisions on how authentic they judge an offer to be.

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Unfortunately though, many companies don’t practice trustworthiness and credibility. Alternatively, they attempt to grow their firms based what they believe customers want to hear.

But listening to prospects and customers and mindlessly responding back what they state isn’t going to earn trust or relationship capital from the customer. It is not about deceiving people with amazing commitments. Rather, it is about courageously proclaiming what you believe, and then withdrawing to observe who is attracted to your idea.

Credible brands are able to earn a loyal following; a social community, so to speak. Happy customers will share their experiences with peers and friends, and if the company stays true to its messaging and continues to deliver products and/or service that are in alignment with the customers’ hopes, it will be on the path toward building a relationship capital brand built for the long-run.

If you’re thinking of elevating your organizational culture, launching a startup or developing a brand, think of the 4 attributes of earning Relationship Capital (RC):

•Character
•Competence
•Good Intent
•Proactivity

Take the Free Relationship Capital (RC) Test. I welcome you to take this assessment in confidence as we never share this information outside Standard of Trust.

 5 Steps For Building Trust And Credibility

The following steps are by no means the only ways to build trust, credibility, and relationship capital, but they are the most important.

1. Define Your Purpose and Guiding Principles

The first step is to determine what your credibility is composed of. You will need to choose which guiding principles you are willing to commit to no matter what. If you commit to the open standard principles of Relationship Capital (RC), they are the following:
•Honesty
•Accountability
•Responsibility
•Support
•Respect
•Trustworthiness
•Emotional Boundaries

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Your ability to embed this relationship capital guiding principles into your company’s purpose will be an effective way in earning and building relationship capital with your stakeholders that will sustain long-term distinction.

For example, the Purpose of the Standard of Trust Group is:

To make a difference to business organizations and their stakeholder relationships through the capture, measurement, and utilization of open standards of relationship capital. To assist business leaders and their organizations to compete by out-behaving the competition.

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Let me “Warn” you. Do not make superficial commitments to the relationship capital guiding principles or other principles you may select. Inauthentic behavior will be found out by the social and digitally connected tribe and your reputation and credibility will be damaged

2. Determine How You Will Demonstrate Authenticity

Look for the moments to demonstrate your authenticity. Whether it’s online with social media or your LinkedIn blog, or in offline interactions with others, take the time to learn and understand your audience and permit to learn and understand you too.

3. Be Open

How far would you go to show your authenticity and credibility? Decide how you will demonstrate your guiding principles and how open you want to be. Then make a plan of action for showcasing this openness.

4. Be Consistent

Keep your communications consistent. The messages that you’re sending out through marketing, promotions and social media should be in alignment with the offline experience that you provide to customers.

5. Prepare For Resistance

Finally, get ready for the resistance. When you build a certain level of awareness, you’re going to get people who oppose. Don’t let this dishearten you or sidetrack you from your guiding principles and purpose. Stay committed to your principles, and you will earn respect (and relationship capital) from the people around you. Your loyal and customers, employees, partners, and brand ambassadors will defend and support you.

Conclusion

Whether a business leader, entrepreneur or startup, committing your authentic self is about being true to your guiding principles and fulfilling your stated commitments to your stakeholders (customers, employees, or partners).

Leading with authenticity is not for everyone, but those who decide to utilize this as the foundation for establishing or nurturing a relationship capital business or a relationship capital brand will learn that building a company based on purpose, performance, and relationship capital will provide sustainability despite the accelerating changes that may come in the future.

By Robert Peters

Sources: Standard of Trust: Leadership

10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your main idea

TED Blog

When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. At TED2014, David Epstein created a clean, informative slide deck to support his talk on the changing bodies of athletes. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX Lead creates Keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.

We asked Aaron to bottle his Keynote mojo so that others could benefit from it. Here, 10 tips for making an effective slide deck, split into two parts: the big, overarching goals, and the little tips and tricks that make your presentation…

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