Lead from Strength™

Discover the Natural Leader Already Within You!

by Wayne Ottum

 “Each of us has been put on earth with the ability to do something well.
We cheat ourselves and the world if we don’t use that ability as best we can.”
George Allen – Professional Football Coach

No matter your chosen profession, and regardless of your upbringing, you have a natural way of being.  We all do.  And we intuitively know that our “way of being” is different from those around us, in terms of personality, talents, capabilities, how we best communicate, and how we are motivated.  And we’ve figured out from experience when we are in alignment with our natural way of being, we perform better, feel better, are more fulfilled, have more success, and we get outstanding results.  We may not know WHY we are in alignment, but we know WHEN we are and when we are not.

As a leader in your organization, wouldn’t it be great to be in alignment more often?  Wouldn’t it be great if your staff were also in alignment more often?  Imagine how much more productive, prosperous, happy, fulfilled and successful you and your staff could be if everyone were performing “in alignment” with their natural way of being!  What would it mean to you, as a leader, to have this kind of knowledge, success, fulfillment and peace of mind?

What if we told you that such success and confidence is within your reach and that you need only discover your natural way of being and intentionally use it, and those of your team?  Your natural way of being are your “unique gifts.”  We see it over and over with our clients; when they align their business, their leadership, and their staff to best utilize everyone’s unique gifts, suddenly, almost by magic (though it is far from that), things just seem to get easy.  Yes, there is an “easy button!”

So what are “unique gifts” and how do we discover and use them with purpose and intent to create personal and business success and fulfillment?

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The Authentic Business

by Wayne Ottum

“The advent of Google+ and the emergence of the personalized web means this is more true than ever. Brands, and their advertising partners, must wake up to this challenge and define themselves with clarity, consistency and authenticity.
Otherwise they just might find themselves shouting in a ghost town.”
Simon Mainwaring

If Simon Mainwaring’s warning holds true, and I believe it to be so, then a business must be built on clarity, consistency and authenticity to stand the test of time. As we have discussed in previous newsletter articles, you create clarity in your business with a defined strategic foundation (vision, mission and values). We have also talked about how consistency of action can be obtained through a “strengths-based performance management system.” So then, what does it mean to define your business with authenticity? What is an “authentic business” and why is it important to be one?

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Mastering the Three “Sides” of Performance Management

by Wayne Ottum

In business, words are words; explanations are explanations, promises are promises,
but only performance is reality.

Harold S. Geneen

What is the performance “reality” in your business?  Do you know for certain that each team and individual is performing to the best of their abilities?  Do you have the tools in place to effectively measure and manage performance?  Does your staff clearly know WHAT they are supposed to be doing?  Do they know what it means to do their job well?  Do they know what decisions they have authority to make and how to make them to drive revenue, create value for your clients, improve profits and attain the goals of your business?

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Embrace Your Strengths, Solve Your Weaknesses!

by Wayne Ottum

“At times, our strengths propel us so far forward we can no longer endure our weaknesses and perish from them.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

How do you simultaneously solve your weaknesses through a focus on your strengths? It starts by understanding the three types of weaknesses.

Three Types of Weaknesses

Weaknesses can be broken down into three categories, as shown in the following diagram:

LiFS Weaknesses Chart Flat

Perceived Weaknesses: Weaknesses that others, and often we ourselves, perceive in us. It looks something like this… An individual has the ability to command and control any situation. They can step in, take charge, and get results. This is a great and highly valued strength. Unfortunately, many people perceive someone like this as pushy, bossy, or controlling. Thus, they “perceive” this person’s strength as a weakness. This “perceived weakness” is actually that person’s strength, taken to extreme, without consideration for the potential negative consequences of this natural way of thinking, feeling and behaving. Read more

5 Things to Do Right Now to Start Your Business Year off Right!

by Wayne Ottum

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.“- Chinese Proverb

The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln

The holidays were fun (or stressful, depending on your point of view) but it’s a New Year and time to get back to business.  So, what can you do right now to help your business off to a great start? Here are 5 things…

Reach out to past clients… Review your list of past clients and check in with them to see how they are doing, thank them for their past business, and to ask how you might be of service and value to them now or in the future. If possible, buy them a cup of coffee or take them to lunch. Ask them how your business was of service to them and what you could do to improve. Ask them for referrals, or, if they are willing, write a review to use in your marketing. Chances are, you will have a number of new opportunities in your pipeline and some great new ideas for winning new business or improving your service.

Reach out to your partners… Contact your suppliers and trade partners and ask them how the partnership is working for them, what you can improve, and how your company might serve the market better. Once again, ask for referrals. Ask how your company can be of additional service and value to them. You will likely hear a lot of good things that will re-energize you, discover some opportunities for improvement, and generate new business that you can take action on right now.

Set a focus… What is one thing you know your business needs to accomplish, improve or start doing? Establish it as an organizational focus, set a goal to achieve it, and build an action plan to get it done. Whether it is something you have to do yourself or you need a team, start today. Put the team together, build the plan and work the plan, including holding yourself and staff accountable for results. A plan with a clear purpose to improve your business. Now that’s exhilarating!

Stop that… In the same vein as determining the one thing you need to start doing, there is likely one thing you and your organization needs to stop doing, discontinue, or redirect. What is it? Stop it now, right now! Cut it loose and let it go! If it involves staff layoffs, killing a product line, or some major organization shift, build a plan to manage the emotional impact of change, but decide now to do it, set a date and work the plan. Whew, that feels better already!

Get staff involved to generate new ideas… Your greatest asset is your staff. That’s worth repeating… Your greatest asset is your staff! Get them together for a brainstorming session and ask, “How can we make 2015 a great year?” Then listen. Make it safe for everyone to talk and get their ideas out and on the table. Let staff prioritize the ideas. Assuming they are truly achievable and within the financial means of the company, take the top 1-3 ideas, assign staff to build a team, plan, execute and measure, and let them go do it. Be sure to reward them when they meet and exceed your expectations!

Activity breeds results and the right activities breed the right results. These 5 activities will not only focus you and your staff on the right activities but they will get your year off to a fast and profitable start.


About the Author

Wayne Ottum is an expert in helping business owners achieve a clarity of direction, focus and authenticity that naturally drives their business to ever greater levels of success. He is the President and Founder of Ottum Enterprises, LLC (ottum2.wpengine.com) and creator of the Lead from Strength™ methodology of business planning, leadership and management. Built on over 30 years of experience in the fields of business education and consulting, Wayne guides you to Lead from Strength™. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneOttum or @OttumEnterprise and find him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/pub/wayne-ottum/0/31/958/.

If you would like more information on our Lead from Strength™ methodology and how we can help you take your business to the next level, just email us at info@nullottumenterprises.com. To find more information about what it means to Lead from Strength™, visit us at www.leadfromstrength.com.

Creating a Business Plan… with Real Meaning!

9 Essential Keys to Planning for Success in Your Business

By Wayne H. Ottum

That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps
the most important cause
of business frustration and failure.
Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern business planning

If business planning is as valuable as we are told (and it is), then what we need is a way to plan so that the resulting plan is a plan with real meaning. One that literally compels you to act because it is a plan that naturally moves you toward what you truly desire. It is a plan that feels in alignment with who you are authentically, so you act from a place of strength using your unique gifts. It is a plan that works for you and your business and where everyone feels fulfilled and eager to work that plan every day.

There are 9 essential keys to creating a Business Plan… with Real Meaning:

  1. Clearly define success: To quote Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you are going, you probably will wind up somewhere else.” A clear and compelling vision of success charts your course what you truly desire and allows you to let go of hundreds of choices that don’t take your business where you want it to go.
  2. Know your purpose: Know what you do, for whom you do it, and what value you create. If you are not building and improving your products and services, marketing and selling to those who will buy, and delivering on the value proposition when they do, just what ARE you doing in your business? A clear purpose, or mission, focuses the day to day action of everyone in your organization.
  3. Take an “integrated” approach to your business and your life: Work/Life Balance means one competing vs. the other. An integrated approach, however, means one is working to support the other, and vice versa, more like gears meshing together seamlessly. Ensure your life and business support one another, and encourage the same throughout your organization.
  4. Understand your strengths: Know your unique gifts, and those of each of your staff, and align them to their roles to create optimal opportunity for outstanding performance AND fulfillment in every role.
  5. Know where you are today: Every journey begins from the same place, where you are, right now. Thus, to chart the course to the success you have defined for your business, you must honestly and comprehensively assess where your business is today.
  6. Prioritization and focus: Even the greatest professional jugglers can only manipulate 5 or 6 balls at a time. It’s the same for managing a business. You need to focus on the 5 to 6 (or fewer) things that are most important to you and your organization right now and work them in the right order. Then, and only then, do you move on to the next.
  7. Set meaningful and SMART goals: Meaningful goals are the milestones that align to your vision, mission, values and focus. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Meaningful and SMART goals have the right context of focus and priority and they have a defined plan and assigned responsibility to achieve them.
  8. Measure, manage and celebrate often:Tell me how I am measured and I will tell you how I perform,” is a common saying in business management. By continually measuring individual, team and organizational progress toward your meaningful goals, you naturally and most effectively drive performance. And remember, it is important to celebrate the wins along the way, give those “Atta-boys” during the process, and reward the very behavior you seek.
  9. Set the right “attitude” example: If you are waiting to feel happy, fulfilled, etc., WHEN you become successful in your business, then you will always be chasing happiness rather than experiencing success. Being happy IS the key to success. Success is reached BECAUSE you are happy, positive and grateful for all the steps along the way. So, set the right example for your organization. Choose to be happy now. Feeling this way each day comes from the confidence of knowing… Knowing your direction, knowing what you do and do best, and knowing how to act intentionally, on purpose and authentically to live, not just dream about, the business you truly desire.

Take a moment now to imagine your business moving up to the next level, teams working toward a shared vision, everyone using their unique gifts to naturally and most effectively deliver on the shared mission, and all acting with integrity while authentically representing your firm. Imagine knowing where you are in that journey, how you are doing, and having the right information at your fingertips to change course immediately, if needed, while celebrating your successes along the way. You don’t have to imagine anymore, you can create a Business Plan… with Real Meaning right now.

By implementing these 9 essential keys in your organization you will unlock the doors for creating a truly meaningful business plan and set the stage to experience even greater levels of success. We are here to help. Please visit our website at www.leadfromstrength.com, email us at info@nullottumenterprises.com, or give us a call at (206) 351-4656 to schedule your free one-hour consultation.

About the Author

Wayne Ottum is the President and founder of Ottum Enterprises, LLC, a consulting firm committed to guiding business owners, executives and individuals to ever greater levels of success through discovering and fully utilizing their unique gifts. An expert in clarity and widely known as the “Coach’s Coach,” Wayne’s trademarked coaching processes guide you to discover the personal and authentic clarity that empowers you to take confident action, each and every day, to achieve what you deeply desire. Wayne is also an exciting motivational speaker and provides many “ah-ha” moments for every audience. He is the author of Live from Strength, creator of the Lead from Strength™ methodology, and director of the Business Growth Challenge™ consulting process. Built on over 30 years of experience, Wayne guides you to Lead, Live & Love from Strength™.  Follow him on Twitter at @WayneOttum or @OttumEnterprise or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Does Your Work Environment Create Top Performers?

By Wayne H. Ottum

“Select a person, set expectations, motivate the person and develop the person… If a company’s managers are unable to play this role well, then no matter how sophisticated its systems or how inspirational its leaders, the company will slowly start to disintegrate.”
Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman in ”First, Break All the Rules” 1999.

The professional development aspect of the culture of an organization has an enormous impact on its ability to continually and effectively reach its strategic objectives. In order to create an environment that fosters top performance in the pursuit of these objectives, an organization must Lead from Strength™. In fact, the quote above is from the book that started the “strength” movement when the Gallop organization studied and reported on what makes a great manager in the book entitled, First, Break all the Rules. The result? Those great managers “broke all the rules” that focused on determining and “fixing” the weaknesses of their staff. Instead, these great managers discovered the particular strengths needed for the particular role, aligned staff’s strengths to those roles and then set expectations, motivated and developed those strengths.

To determine if you are creating an environment that fosters success now and in the future, we encourage you to ask your employees the following 10 questions routinely and continually:

1. Is your role clearly defined and do you know what is expected of you in your role with the company?
2. Do you have the necessary resources to complete your work properly?
3. Is your work aligned with your strengths, skills and passions?
4. Do you feel your supervisor cares about you as a person?
5. Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
6. Do you feel your work is important to the operation and growth of the company?
7. Do you feel your coworkers are committed to doing quality work?
8. Do you have solid relationships at work?
9. Is career progress clearly defined and consistent across all departments?
10. In the last year, have you had the opportunity to learn and grow?

If you ask these questions routinely and you are continually improving your scores in these areas, chances are your company, and your staff, is in very good shape. You have developed a healthy culture that effectively creates top performers. You are in a scenario where you have formed one of the keys to continually reaching your strategic objectives. You are also in very rare company. Probably the top 1% of all companies. Congratulations!

If, on the other hand, you feel your staff would agree with 6 to 8 of these questions, then while your company may not be visibly struggling, you are vulnerable. If the market shifts dramatically or if you lose a key person in your organization, you could suddenly find yourself in rough waters. If continuously reaching your strategic objectives or taking your business to the next level is what you desire, you should address the current gaps in your company’s culture. Only then will your company have the necessary environment for sustaining long-term growth and value.

And if your staff would disagree with 5 or more of these questions, then you are most likely experiencing tough times; and if you are not now, you soon will. The environment you have created in your company is one that potentially (or eventually) leads to dissatisfaction and poor performance. Realigning the cultural environment of your company should be a top priority.

The most desired culture is one that is geared toward achieving the company’s strategic objectives, from the inside out! It should not only foster success now, but should also create top performance in the future. It is an organization where you choose to Lead from Strength™. But there is no one “right” culture, only the culture that is “right” for your unique organization. To consistently reach your unique objectives, this high performance culture must be aligned with the organization’s strategy, structure, process, tools, and people through a focused and thorough annual strategic planning process.

If you are interested in more information on how to:

• Effectively align your organization to foster an environment that creates top performance;
• Develop a meaningful annual strategic planning process, and
• Lead from Strength™

…please visit our website at www.leadfromstrength.com, email us at info@nullottumenterprises.com, or call us at (206) 351-4656.


About the Author

Wayne Ottum is the President and founder of Ottum Enterprises, LLC, a consulting firm committed to guiding business owners, executives and individuals to ever greater levels of success through discovering and fully utilizing their unique gifts. An expert in clarity and widely known as the “Coach’s Coach,” Wayne’s trademarked coaching processes guide you to discover the personal and authentic clarity that empowers you to take confident action, each and every day, to achieve what you deeply desire. Wayne is also an exciting motivational speaker and provides many “ah-ha” moments for every audience. He is the author of Live from Strength, creator of the Lead from Strength™ methodology, and director of the Business Growth Challenge™ consulting process. Built on over 30 years of experience, Wayne guides you to Lead, Live & Love from Strength™. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneOttum or @OttumEnterprise and find him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/pub/wayne-ottum/0/31/958/.

Lead from Strength™: Mastering the Three “Sides” of Leadership

by Wayne Ottum

“You manage things; you lead people.”
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

 “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
General Dwight Eisenhower

 “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership.
That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.
Warren Bennis

Leadership.  There are plenty of great quotes about it, but what does it really mean?  To begin any discussion of leadership, the best place to start is with a definition.  You know when you are in the presence of a great leader and when you’re not, but most of us struggle to define the term.  Of course, the desire to “define” leadership is so that we can “become” a better leader.  We think, perhaps rightly, that if it is definable, it can be replicated.

The following definition can be found in the dictionary[1]



[lee-der-ship] noun

  1. the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group: Synonyms: administration, management, directorship, control, governorship, stewardship, hegemony.
  2. ability to lead: Synonyms: authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness; sway, clout.
  3. an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction:
  4. the leaders of a group:

Ah…, not very helpful when you’re trying to figure out HOW to lead, is it?  Reading through The 100 Best Quotes on Leadership[2], you will find dozens of different “definitions” from a wide variety of authors.  But how do you take that and discover your own leadership style, through trial and error?  Not the best approach.

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Intimacy as the Foundation of a Relationship

Intimacy is the foundation of a loving relationship on which romance and passion are built and sustained, as well as the engine that drives the romantic energy in the relationship.  Intimacy is about the connection, direct communication, understanding, and trust that come from close association, contact and familiarity, and very personal and private interactions between two people.  Being intimate says, “I love you,” and so much more!

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