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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or We appreciate the continued support!


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Fidelity: The Third Principle of Great Leadership

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, July 20, 2015

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

                                                Helen Keller, Advocate for the blind and deaf

Les was a master of defining what is, and what is not, a worthy purpose. When he called the first-ever professional sales training program for representatives accountable to no one, the whining was deafening. On the first day of mandatory attendance one could feel the tension in the room as the new vice president of sales stood before his class. “Welcome,” Les began. “I know that many in this room would rather be working back home. I understand that.” And then he made this promise. “By this time tomorrow I’m confident that all of us will be on the same page.”

The next day a strange metamorphosis took place as every person in the room was engaged in the day’s discussions. It was later that I learned that Les had sent flowers to the wives of every representative attending the program. With each bouquet he attached the following note: “I want to personally thank you for allowing me the privilege to both train and inspire your husband. Your sacrifice will be rewarded in the near future. Best wishes, Les.”

It wasn’t long before my mentor earned the confidence of everyone on the sales team as we all signed on for a worthy purpose.

Helen was another leader that had a gift for motivating her team. As the new vice president for nursing, she was responsible for over 700 clinical professionals. However, her initial challenge was to address a serious morale problem among the nursing ranks.

The first day she started Helen asked her executive assistant to schedule one-on-one 30 minute sessions with every nursing supervisor, manager, and director in the organization. Around-the-clock meetings were held with over eighty staff.  No conversation was off limits as some nurses shared their anger, others cried, and almost everyone opened up with what he or she felt was both right and wrong with the organization.

Within two weeks this remarkable woman had won the respect of the entire nursing force. There were three reasons why Helen won their support. Helen listened. Helen was professional. And Helen had a great sense of humor. All three of these traits help to build a foundation of trust. And “trust” is fidelity’s cornerstone.

David Eich 
Marketing & Public Relations Officer
Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

Tags:  Challenge  Confidence  Engagement  Fidelity  Listening  Morale  Motivating  Professional  Purpose  Sense of Humor  Team  Trust 

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Three Cornerstones of Confidence

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Friday, April 18, 2014

I am always amazed when I watch great athletes and championship teams at what a fine line there is between superior confidence and self-doubt. How often do we see a player or team on a hot streak or coming off a championship season suddenly hit the skids and profess that their confidence is shaken?  How can anyone be so good one day and then profess that they have trouble believing in themselves the next?

Losing streaks and shaken confidence can hit each one of us and our organizations at any time.  History is filled with stories of companies that were on top of the world and lost their way for a variety of reasons. Harvard Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter studied many business and sports organizations that have hit both ends of the confidence pendulum in her book Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin and End. She identifies what I call three cornerstones of confidence that organizations must address to turnaround a downward spiral or maintain a winning streak.

Accountability. Kanter says accountability is missing in most losing streaks, when “people stop talking, stop practicing and stop trying or become accustomed to finding fault than facing facts.  To shift the cycle from losing to winning, leaders must develop accountability—the discipline and responsibility of the best athletes and teams.”

Cultivating Collaboration.  When organizations go on losing streaks, people’s confidence in one another is lost.  It’s up to the leaders in the organization to lead that turnaround. It starts with including everyone on the team in developing and implementing turnaround strategies. Leaders need to set ground rules for team behavior, new goals and new respect for a healthy team building process. This includes getting people connected to each other, carrying out work in teams and communicating an inclusive environment of mutual respect.

Inspiring Initiative and Innovation.  Kanter says leaders should be guided by four principles:

1)      Believe in people and their power to make a difference

2)      Direct the energy tied up in negativity into positive actions

3)      Make initiative possible and desirable

4)      Start with small wins—things that people can control

Even the most supremely confident leaders and their teams will experience more than one crisis of confidence during their careers.  Starting a new winning streak begins with a willingness to honestly face the facts and make changes to “business as usual.”  View your personal and organizational setbacks as opportunities to build a new championship team that will enjoy many more victory celebrations.

Ross Woodstock, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development
Kolt Communications, Inc.

Ross Woodstock is an executive coach/consultant with Kolt Communications in Okemos, Michigan.  During his career in leadership, management and consulting, Ross has become widely known as an innovative leader, creative problem solver and an inspiring communicator. As an executive coach, Ross helps leaders achieve sustainable growth in their careers.  He also works with organizations to help them develop their high potential leaders. He received his ACC coaching credential from the International Coach Federation.

Tags:  Accountability  Athletes  Championships  Collaboration  Confidence  Initiative  Innovation 

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