5 Rules for Being a Person Others Want to Follow

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Sep 10, 2018

In his book, The Art of Possibility, renowned orchestral conductor Benjamin Zander shares a simple idea he calls “Leading from Any Chair.” He writes:

“A leader does not need a podium; she can be sitting quietly on the edge of any chair, listening passionately and with commitment, fully prepared to take up the baton.”

I believe the same is true for all of us who work in organizations. Anyone in the house can lead. We don’t need special authority or a title. We don’t need a certain technical expertise. Heck, we don’t even need permission. We merely need the desire to engage others in moving the ball.

The real leadership question is: Will other people WANT to follow you?

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4 Ways Leadership Involves Change

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jul 13, 2018

The distinction between management and leadership has been debated for decades. Great minds – such as Warren Bennis, Stephen Covey, Grace Hopper, and John Kotter – have argued that management and leadership are different. I've argued the difference, too.

  • Bennis: “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things.”
  • Covey: “Leadership deals with direction. Management deals with speed.”
  • Hopper: “You manage things. You lead people.”
John Kotter of Harvard Business School put it this way:

Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership is about coping with change. -- J.Kotter, Harvard Business School

I like Kotter’s thinking. A defining distinction about leadership is its focus on change. After all, in the work-world, change is all around us.

As I’ve reflected on this idea over the years, I’ve come to realize the most effective leaders focus on creating change in four key ways.

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Anniversary Memory: Culture Creates a Milestone of Memories

Posted by K. Prelesnik on Jun 28, 2018

A lot has changed since June 2003. Looking around Lemberg’s office, you’d likely recognize some faces from that year – one of which is celebrating an anniversary this month.

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"Birthday Week" -- A Leadership Lesson

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jun 14, 2018

It’s “Birthday Week” at our house. Birthday Week is an annual tradition that begins six days before my wife’s birthday, ending and culminating on the anniversary of her birth. It’s a tradition invented by her dad, my father-in-law.

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My experience in the ISA Elite Class

Posted by Zach Wenger on May 31, 2018

It’s difficult to put into words how great of an experience the ISA Elite program, and the ISA (International Sign Association) Sign Expo in general was because I don’t think there’s a word that would suffice. Boarding the plane in Milwaukee, I was a bit nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I had never been to an expo before, let alone part of an elite group. After meeting everyone and seeing the show floor, all of those nerves went away.

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Anniversary Memory: 1950 Service Invoice

Posted by E.V. Thompson on Apr 6, 2018

When you save a receipt or invoice, we'll bet that you aren't expecting to find it 68 years later. Imagine our surprise when an invoice from 1950 showed up tucked among some old business cards, images, and news articles.

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Anniversary Memory: Stock Markets, Depression, World War and Electricity

Posted by E.V. Thompson on Mar 15, 2018

William Lemberg began Lemberg Electric Company, Inc. in 1928, just before the stock market crashed. In the years that followed, the industrial and manufacturing industries shrunk and unemployment numbers grew. By 1930, according to EC&M, less than one third of all wire men in the U.S. were employed. 

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Every Leader Needs Feedback (Including YOU): Four Reasons and Six Tips

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 23, 2018

Frank, a marketing director for an international distributor, was having dinner with Victor, his vice-president boss, on a trip together to Germany. Frank and Victor were visiting from the U.S. for a meeting the next day with Victor’s international marketing team. Frank used this private opportunity to give Victor some feedback.

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Leadership Is Simple But Not Easy

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Dec 19, 2017

In my last post, I shared a simple analogy that equates leadership to rowing a row boat. The two oars of a row boat represent the two fundamental dynamics at play in leadership. These two dynamics are people and results.

The idea is simply this: As leaders, we need to be focused on the needs of the people we lead and on the organization’s need for results – at the same time. To lead effectively, we must operate these two elements simultaneously and with equal force, just like oars of a row boat. Otherwise, we go in circles.

While this idea of leadership as a balancing act between people and results sounds simple, let me be clear: Simple is not the same as easy.

There are three reasons this idea can be challenging to put into practice.

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Demolishing silos and building teams: 5 activities for a more cohesive culture

Posted by E.V. Thompson on Nov 28, 2017

Cohesive teams are engaged and work together, diverging and converging over problems that mean a lot to your business. It’s important to have team members who have a great rapport; who not only trust one another enough to diverge and challenge the status quo but who can also come together over an idea -- regardless of whose idea it was. You need team members who are secure enough in the group to take risks and let one another shine.

Leaders who are looking to balance their results-based style with some people-based energy can start by allowing time for team-building. This can be as simple as morning chats with fresh coffee, a few minutes of padding for casual conversation during work meetings or casual Friday shared lunches.

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