Jim Clemmer's Leader Letter

February 2010, Issue 83
Practical Leadership Development for Peak Performance webcast on February 12 (No Charge to Join In)
Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm...on Leading at the Speed of Change
Getting Out of Wallow Hallow: Helping Co-Workers and Team Members to Stop Groaning and Start Growing
Let's Stay Connected With LinkedIn
Integrating Succession Planning, Culture Change, and Executive Team Development
Making a Case for Leadership and Culture Development
Leading @ the Speed of Change: Practical Leadership Development for Peak Performance
Rebuilt Video Section Gives You Dozens of Clips for Personal or Team Development
Inspir-action: Playing to Your Strengths for Maximum Effectiveness
New Coming Events Section on Our Web Site
Leading in Turbulent Times: Building Flexible and Resilient Organizations
Read It Here or Hot Off My Blog
Most Popular January Improvement Points
Marketing Recommendation
Feedback and Follow-Up

Permission to Reprint

You may reprint any items from The Leader Letter in your own printed publication or e-newsletter as long as you include this paragraph:

"Reprinted with permission from The Leader Letter, Jim Clemmer's free e-newsletter. For almost thirty years, Jim's 2,000 + practical leadership presentations and workshops/retreats, six bestselling books, columns, and newsletters have been helping hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. His web site is www.jimclemmer.com."

Connect with Jim on...

February 2010, Issue 83

Growing Speed of Changes

One month gone already! Did you blink and miss it? Like me, you're probably wondering what challenges and opportunities this year - and new decade - will bring to you and your organization. That's very tough to predict. What's predictable is that strong personal, team, and organizational leadership will be even more critical to overcoming and capitalizing on our continuing turbulence and constant change.

Most development professionals and organizational leaders agree the "soft" issues of leadership and culture are vital catalysts to peak performance. But knowing isn't doing. Despite all the talk about leadership, what's missing are practical and concrete steps that lead to peak performance.

Leadership, culture change, and peak performance will be critical to dealing with whatever lays ahead of us. That's the focus of my second no-charge webcast on February 12th. It's also the focus of my highly condensed one-day Leading @ the Speed of Change workshop coming to Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, London, and Toronto. Read all about it in this issue.

Practical Leadership Development for Peak Performance webcast on February 12 (No Charge to Join In)

Given the popularity of my Thriving in Turbulent Times webcast on December 3rd (over 550 sites tuned in), I am partnering with the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) to bring you another fast-paced hour of ideas, inspiration, and how-to applications on developing leadership skills on February 12th. In this webcast, I have distilled my last 30 years of work in leadership and organization development helping thousands of people and hundreds of organizations boost their effectiveness.

For this 60 minute complimentary webcast, I've condensed the key elements of personal growth (leading from the inside out), leading and developing individuals and teams, navigating change, and building organizational flexibility, into five sections:

  • Change Challenges and Choices
  • Keys to Leading Change
  • The High Performance Balance: Managing Things and Leading People
  • Soft Skills, Hard Results: The Power of Emotional Intelligence
  • Timeless Leadership Principles for Enduring Team and Organizational Success

CLICK HERE to get more detailed information about the agenda and to register.

In December, many locations used the webcast as a team event by gathering people in a conference or board room and projecting the presentation onto a screen. You may want to do the same with supervisors, managers, and executives for this session.

Register here for reminders about this event and the link to join in the webcast.

Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm...on Leading at the Speed of Change

Leading @ the Speed of Change is my most requested keynote presentation and workshop by a long shot. These themes have been central to my books and work over the last few decades. Dealing with change is dealing with life. Effectively changing is about continuous growth and renewal.

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't actually living."
- Gail Sheehy, American writer and speaker on our life cycles or "passages"

"The question that faces the strategic decision-maker is not what his organization should do tomorrow. It is: What do we have to do to be ready for an uncertain tomorrow."
- Peter F. Drucker, author of 39 books and hundreds of articles on leadership, management, and organization effectiveness, widely considered to be the father of "modern management"

"It doesn't matter what lens we look through - the lens of those that go from good to great, the lens of zero to great in exciting new industries, or the lens of those that prevail in adversity and last 100 years - one lesson stands out: Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, whether you make it onto the Fortune 500, and whether you stay there, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you."
- Jim Collins, Good to Great and co-author of Built to Last," quoted in "The secret of enduring greatness," Fortune magazine

"The Six Phases of Change: 1. Not me! 2. Why me? 3. Deal with me! 4. Oh me! 5. Now me! 6. It's up to me!"
- Luke De Sadeleer & Joseph Sherren, Vitamin C for a Healthy Workplace

"Excellence is about change. We would not have said this in the 1980s or perhaps even in the 1990s. Today it almost goes without saying. Most organizations simply cannot sustain excellent performance unless they are capable of changing."
- Lawler III, Edward E, and Worley, Christopher G., Built to Change: How to Achieve Sustained Organizational Effectiveness

"Call it the resilience gap. The world is becoming turbulent faster than organizations are becoming resilient...To thrive in turbulent times, companies must become as efficient at renewal as they are at producing today's products and services. Renewal must be the natural consequence of an organization's innate resilience."
- Gary Hamel and Liisa Všlikangas, "The Quest for Resilience," Harvard Business Review

"Unceasingly contemplate the generation of all things through change and accustom thyself to the thought that the nature of the universe delights above all in changing the things that exist and making new ones of the same pattern, for everything that exists is the seed of that which shall come out of it."
- Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor

Getting Out of Wallow Hallow: Helping Co-Workers and Team Members to Stop Groaning and Start Growing

As you're working on building or renewing your new success habits this year, you're likely looking for ways to help your team members or co-workers stay out of the swamp of negativity, cynicism, and fear.

A viewer of my December Thriving in Turbulent Times webcast (click to view archived presentation) sent me very positive feedback about how inspirational and useful the messages were for her. She also posed this question:

"I'm genuinely a positive person and quite a high achiever. This comes at a price. My attitude and behaviors often brings ridicule from co-workers who are consistently wallowing in the "Us vs. Them" swamp. These co-workers are so tightly banded, how do I go about breaking through this?

Her question is an excellent one that often comes up in our workshops and retreats. How to deal with negative co-workers is highly situational with no one-size-fits-all answers.

If you're in similar circumstances, a basic and key step is getting team members or co-workers to see their wallowing and its negative consequences. Everyone needs to recognize and acknowledge that when we're faced with personal or workplace changes and setbacks we can lead, follow, or wallow.

It can be very powerful to re-establish group language with humor and terms like "pity city," "bitter bus," "taming the E-mail Beast," "dealing with moose on the table," "C.R.A.P. glasses," "reframing," or "scab picking," to help reframe and change perspectives. Using naming and re-focusing approaches like "Do I hear the bitter bus pulling up outside," "lets get out of pity city and move forward," or "we've overcome problems like this before let's figure out how to do it again" can help shift group norms from wallowing to leading.

This has successfully been done by:

  • Circulating articles, blogs, webcasts or video links, book excerpts, or books.
  • Showing video, audio, or webinar clips at meetings or one-on-one and inviting comments on how to apply these to the team or workplace ("I saw this great piece the other day that I think applies to some of our problems with....").
  • Gently challenging and reframing wallowing conversations toward brainstorming ways out of the swamp.
  • Individual recognition or group celebration of positive progress and results. Link those to how leading behaviors (rather than following our wallowing) made the difference.
  • Encouraging healthy ways to vent frustrations and then move on ("let's have a 10 minute pity party on how stupid this change is or what those idiots just did to us again...").
  • When a co-worker is doing a "grump dump" on you or the group, you might ask "are you just venting right now or are you looking for ideas on how to deal with that problem?"

A key issue and sometimes a big challenge, is staying positive and leading by your own example. For your own on-going development and to swing group momentum from wallowing to leading, you might develop or join a network of colleagues interested in personal growth. This can be a powerful source of learning from others' experiences. It's also a great way for you to reflect on your own experiences and articulate your improvement plans. A group (even just two of you) that meets regularly is an excellent forum for making public declarations or even "contracts" of your personal improvement plans. This approach makes it much harder to back away from forming the tough new habits you know you need to develop.

Let's Stay Connected With LinkedIn

I am steadily increasing my use of LinkedIn to reconnect with so many past Clients, workshop participants, or readers, I've lost touch with over the years and tap into interesting group discussions on personal, team, and organizational leadership. I've been updating and adding to my LinkedIn profile and utilizing it's growing number of features such as connecting to my blog and Twitter feed through my profile's Status Update. I've also just added slides from a January presentation to the Human Resources Professionals Association (see the next item on "Integrating Succession Planning, Culture Change, and Executive Team Development".)

As a blog and Leader Letter reader, I'd love to connect with you. My profile is at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jimclemmer. Click on "View Full Profile." Please send me an invitation to add me to your network and reference that you're a blog reader and/or subscriber to The Leader Letter.

Integrating Succession Planning, Culture Change, and Executive Team Development

My Slides Now Available

The effectiveness of Learning and Development, HR tools and technologies, competency models, engagement programs, performance management systems, or succession planning, hinges on the organization's culture. Partial and piecemeal programs bolted onto operational practices are dramatically less effective than processes integrated into "the way we do things around here." That culture ripples out from individual and collective executive team behavior.

This was the focus of my one hour presentation on January 28th at the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) annual conference last month in Toronto. My slides from this presentation are now posted on my LinkedIn profile at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jimclemmer. You need to view my full profile and scroll down to "SlideShare Presentations." 

The presentation covered:

  • Identifying the Critical Difference Between Bolt-On Programs and Built-In Culture Change
  • Assessing the Executive Team's Leadership Effectiveness: Signs of Weakness
  • Keys to Moving Executives from Lip Service to Leadership
  • Building Frontline Staff's Leadership Behavior
  • Understanding HR's Choices: Lead, Follow, or Wallow
  • Six Key HR Practices to Build Stronger Cultures

Making a Case for Leadership and Culture Development

A member of a group I belong to on LinkedIn sent me this request:

"I have a presentation to an executive team for a company that provides medical garments to outpatient facilities throughout the US. I will be helping the Organization Development Manager make a business case for leadership and culture development. I'm going to reference Jim Collin's work and some things by a former associate. I know you were very close to this type of thing in the days of Service/Quality and Firing on all Cylinders, the TARP data etc. Is there any particular resource that you could suggest?"

I have touched on this issue in many different ways. Here are some resources that might help:

Our SVP of Consulting and Training, Scott Schweyer, and his team have been doing a lot of work with our Clients around leadership and culture development. We'll be pulling together our experiences and providing them to you throughout 2010. We'd appreciate if you could add to the list of studies and resources you recommend we look at. Please e-mail me at Jim.Clemmer@Clemmer.net or post them in the Culture Change article section of our web site.

Leading @ the Speed of Change:
Practical Leadership Development for Peak Performance

Intensive One-Day Workshops in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, London, and Toronto

Leadership is clearly the key to success. Developing these "soft skills" and aligning them with organizational goals is critical to high-performance in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing world. But despite all the talk about leadership and change, many "change fatigued" development professionals and managers struggle with just how to strengthen personal effectiveness and leadership.

You need practical and concrete leadership actions you can apply on the fly. And you need implementable strategies that work. Drawing from three decades of research, writing, and working with hundreds of leadership teams, I've had a lot of success helping individuals, teams and organizations recognize and develop the key elements of practical leadership that will allow them to thrive in an environment of constant change. This is a rare opportunity to spend a full day tapping into this experience and the rich interactive discussions we always enjoy with keen participants.

CLICK HERE for a detailed workshop agenda, dates, fees, bringing your team, previous participant's feedback, learning objectives, and registration information.

Rebuilt Video Section Gives You Dozens of Clips for Personal or Team Development

Last year we made a strategic decision to move my videos to YouTube in order to make them more widely available. As part of this process we then used a web site component to display and categorize these videos on the main JimClemmer.com web site. Without getting technical - because I am not much of a technie - the component broke down and the video indexing was scrambled while many videos became unusable.

I'm now happy to announce that our new video section has been rebuilt. It's cleaner, faster and more intuitive. Now there are nearly 70 video clips available from live presentations or media interviews. Many are just a few minutes long. Some are ten to fifteen minutes in depth. And a few are even a bit deeper and longer.

CLICK HERE to visit our main video page where you can quickly overview and scroll through all the videos. If you put your curser over any video title a short description of the clip will appear. Click on the title video screen shot for the YouTube clip to pop up for playing. 

We've also sorted the videos into these categories:

  • Media Interviews
  • Personal Leadership
  • Leading Change
  • The Performance Balance (Technology, Management, and Leadership)
  • Leadership Lessons from Emotional Intelligence
  • Timeless Leadership Principles (seven core areas from Growing the Distance and The Leader's Digest)
  • Quality and Safety Leadership
  • Transformation Pathways
  • Keynote and Workshop Style
  • Moose on the Table

You can use these clips for personal growth, inspiring your team, supplementing your development or coaching programs, fostering group action planning, or evaluating how my style or topics fit with a meeting, retreat, or training program you have planned. CLICK HERE to contact Heather or me if you'd like to discuss any of this further.

Inspir-action: Playing to Your Strengths for Maximum Effectiveness

By February, many people who resolved to make positive changes this year are floundering. It's easy to get pulled down by a few slips off our intended path.

Pick up a cup of water or coffee and estimate how heavy it is. Now hold it straight out sideways at shoulder height. How much heavier does it feel? What if you hold it that way for five minutes? How about an hour? Imagine if you tried to hold it that way for a day. In the unlikely event you could, your arm and shoulder would need serious medical attention.

Focusing on our weaknesses causes us to hold on to past failures, and our shortcomings, for far too long. The longer we hold on, the heavier those burdens become. As we hold on, we fantasize and magnify those weaknesses. We make the proverbial mountain out of a molehill. Dwelling on weaknesses and all that we've failed to accomplish is deadly to our health, happiness, relationships, performance, and just about everything else in our lives.

Some Steps for Playing to Our Strengths
Here's a menu of ideas to help you, compiled from my new book Growing @ the Speed of Change: Your Inspir-actional How-To Guide for Leading Yourself and Others through Constant Change:

  • Complete tests like VIA Character Strengths, the Kolbe Index, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Gallup's Strength Finder Profile, Social Styles, and so on, to determine your personal style and how you can maximize your preferences and strengths while working effectively with varying styles among co-workers or team members.
  • You can manually brainstorm a list of all of your strengths. Your list might also include Emotional Intelligence, technical aptitude, service orientation, training/teaching, speaking, writing, self-discipline, helping others, visionary or strategic thinker, or trustworthiness. List any quality or strength you feel you have to some degree. Now cluster similar strengths until you have three to five groups. Put a heading or title on each group. Cluster headings might include Persuasive Communications, Leading Others, Personal Growth, Achievement Drive, or Generosity. Write a sentence or short paragraph defining each cluster. These are your core strengths. They are your energy source.
  • If you're in a management position but your work isn't energizing you so you can energize and lead others, you have four choices: (1) Do nothing and wish for your "fairy job mother" to appear, poof!, and straighten out your life; (2) Get out of a leadership role so you stop dragging others down to your low energy level; (3) Realign your work with your values and strengths; (4) Figure out what your ideal job is and go find or create it.
  • Develop hobbies or special interests that play to your values, strengths, and passions.
  • Don't focus on your weaknesses unless they become "fatal flaws" that seriously hold you back. Instead, concentrate on your strengths and how to align all aspects of your life with them.
  • If you're a sumo wrestler, don't waste time trying to be a ballerina. We can't teach frogs to fly. Don't allow others to "should" on you by making you feel guilty about your weaknesses (as long as they are not fatal flaws) and telling you what you should do. Do what aligns with your values, strengths, and purpose.
  • Ensure that your day planner and calendar reflect your values and play to your strengths. Schedule personal and professional activities that are aligned to them. Don't allow today's pressures to crowd out what's really important in your life.
  • Analyze your calendar and meeting agendas for the past few months. Do they clearly reflect your top goals, priorities, and strengths?
  • If your work needs realignment, talk with your boss about your values, strengths and what you'd like to change in order to be more effective.
  • If you have tried your hardest to align your work to your strengths and haven't been able to do that it may be time for you to find other opportunities. Life is too short to live in misalignment outside your strengths zone.
  • Identify a complementary partner in your business, on your team, or in your personal life, whose strengths are your weaknesses. Work together to balance each other. This won't always be easy or conflict-free. Practice give-and-take based on connections around your shared vision, values, and purpose.
  • Develop and keep expanding your Blessings and Brag list. List every accomplishment, strength, and success you've ever had or thing you're grateful for. Make it as long as possible and keep it growing. Review the list whenever you're feeling down on yourself, anxious, or a little sour.

New Coming Events Section on Our Web Site

Our business is almost exclusively customized internal sessions for specific Clients. I've typically done very few public events that have open attendance. However, over the next six months I do have a higher level of Canadian presentations and workshops (and the Feb 12th webcast) with open attendance. So we've added a Coming Events section to our web site. CLICK HERE to access it.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Building Flexible and Resilient Organizations

February 22nd Toronto Breakfast Meeting, Strategic Capabilities Network

Turbulent times create fear, frustration, and uncertainty. When these negative forces flood through the workplace, they often wash away morale and motivation. This can create "change fatigue" as organizations deal with:

  • Continuous changes in leadership, direction, processes, and organization structure
  • Relentless pressure to do more with less in meeting ever-increasing customer demands
  • Accelerating cycles of new technologies, methods, and approaches
  • A rapidly shifting workforce with a new generation of employees bringing different expectations
  • Unceasing pressure to continuously innovate and grow in response to global competition

It's impossible to predict where all this change is taking us. But one thing is certain - the pace of change is going to keep accelerating. And to thrive in turbulent times, organizations must change perceptions and behaviors to change results. Now - more than ever - everyone at all levels must be a leader. Everyone must embrace leadership as an action not a position. Leadership is how we behave not the role we're in.

Drawing from my new book, Growing @ the Speed of Change: Your Inspir-actional How-To Guide for Leading Yourself and Others through Constant Change, I will outline concrete how-to solutions that combine inspiration with practical action plans - something we call "inspir-action." This interactive session provides practical approaches and tools for leading strategic organizational change. Each participant will also receive a complimentary copy of Growing @ the Speed of Change.

CLICK HERE for more details and to register.


The items in each month's issue of The Leader Letter are first published in my blog (updated twice per week) the previous month. You can wait to read it all together each month in The Leader Letter or you can read each item as a blog post and have them sent directly to you hot off my computer by signing up at http://www.jimclemmer.com/blog/. Just enter your e-mail address in the upper left corner box under "Sign up for E-mail Blog Notification."

Most Popular January Improvement Points

Improvement Points is a no-charge service to bring timely and inspirational quotes from my articles to subscribers three times a week. Built around our new topic index, Improvement Points are crafted to help you become a better leader of yourself, your team and your organization. Each Improvement Point links directly to a full article on our web site. If you'd like to read more about the point being made in that day's Improvement Point, you simply click on the "Read the full article now" link below each IP. Many subscribers circulate especially relevant Improvement Points articles to their team, Clients, or colleagues for further discussion or action.

Here are the three most popular Improvement Points we sent out in January:

"There's an old saying that teaches, "the clearer the target, the surer the aim." Its common sense: We can't achieve top-level performance if we're not clear what it looks like. But however obvious this critical coaching strategy may seem, many managers fail to practice it."
- from Jim Clemmer's article, "The Coach's Playbook"
Read the full article now!

"Just as the terms "management" and "leadership" are often used interchangeably, goals and visions are often perceived to be the same thing. They are not. While both are critical to success (and are therefore highly interconnected), the management act of goal-setting is quite different from the leadership act of visioning."
- from Jim Clemmer's article, "Leaders Help People See Beyond What Is to What Could Be"
Read the full article now!

"Success isn't how far we've got, but the distance we've traveled from where we started."
- from Jim Clemmer's article, "Leaders Put Good Intentions into Action"
Read the full article now!

Marketing Recommendation

If you're looking for marketing support, I'd highly recommend you talk with Aidan Crawford (www.aidancrawford.com.) For the past three years Aidan has been working with me to upgrade and optimize our web site to significantly increase traffic.

He also produces this newsletter and supervises its distribution through aweber.com. Over the past three years Aidan has digitized my books, arranged for distribution through online sites like Amazon, helped launch Moose on the Table and Growing @ the Speed of Change, marketed public workshops, produced audio and videos, wrote and distributed press releases, prepared and sent email marketing blasts, along with a host of other related work.

All this has taken us to a new level and I'm now reducing the launch of new projects and initiatives to maximize everything we've done so far. Part of Aidan's time is now available to provide similar on-going services to other speakers or consultants. Visit his site for more information on his services.

Feedback and Follow-Up

I am always delighted to hear from readers of The Leader Letter with feedback, reflections, suggestions, or differing points of view. Nobody is ever identified in The Leader Letter without their permission. I am also happy to explore customized, in-house adaptations of any of my material for your team or organization. Drop me an e-mail at Jim.Clemmer@Clemmer.net.

Keep learning, laughing, loving, and leading - living life just for the L of it!!



10 Pioneer Drive, Suite 105,
Kitchener, ON N2P 2A4
Phone: (519) 748-1044
Fax: (519) 748-5813
E-mail: service@clemmer.net

Please post or forward this newsletter to colleagues, Clients, or associates you think might be interested - or on a 'need-to-grow' basis. If you received this newsletter from someone else, and would like to subscribe, click on the link below: www.jimclemmer.com/newsletter

10 Pioneer Drive, Suite 105, Kitchener  ON  N2P 2A4
Phone: (519) 748-1044 ~ Fax: (519) 748-5813
E-mail: service@clemmer.net

Copyright 2010 © Jim Clemmer and The CLEMMER Group