Looking for a New Habit? Try Resilience.

How Leaders Use Resilience to Sustain Excellence, by Ryan Hansen

This week marks the first full week of a brand-new decade! I hope that this week finds you full of excitement, optimism, and amazing plans for big things to come in the new year.

As we kick off the new year, it seems that a single topic is getting the most attention: Habits. My inbox and social media feeds have been filled to the brim with suggestions from every expert, influencer, and thought leader on the habits that made them successful. Frankly, every article seems to suggest the same few things. Wake up at 5 AM. Establish a morning routine. Budget your time. Get daily exercise.

Without a doubt, these are good suggestions. I won't disagree with any of them - in fact, I have incorporated many of them into my personal life. However, in everything I have read, one piece is missing: What happens when circumstances interrupt our habits? How do we sustain our positive momentum?

Even with all the planning...

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Reflecting on Lessons and Successes from a Jam-Packed 2019

Reflecting on Lessons and Successes from a Jam-Packed 2019, by Ryan Hansen

Two weeks ago, I was in Centennial, Colorado, setting up for one of our biggest events of the year. Our team was bustling around, welcoming guests and setting out materials for the meeting portion of the day. It was a warm and sunny day at a golf course in this Denver suburb. Later, as our group took to the course for a quick golf scramble, I even managed a mild sunburn.

Wait a second. That was not two weeks ago - that was three months ago, at our Leader-Chip event in September. It sure feels like it was only two weeks ago - 2019 really is flying by! Today, in the heart of December, I'm sitting by a fireplace with a hot cup of coffee on hand and a chocolate Labrador lying across my feet (I don't mind, he's warm!).

It's easy for me to spend this time of year dreaming about our great, big plans for 2020 (trust me, they're big and they're bold). In fact, our team...

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Leading through the Holiday Stress

Leading through the Holiday Stress, by Ryan Hansen


It's that time of year again! The air is changing, the leaves are changing colors, and the days are getting shorter. Joyous holiday plans are coming together, families and friends are gathering around tables, and belts are loosening across the country.


It's that time of year again. The calendars are filling, deadlines are piling up, and the final business days of 2019 are bearing down. Schedules are unpredictable, clients and coworkers are unreachable, and tensions are increasing across the country.


If your workplace is anything like mine, both of these cases are true for you in November and December. The holiday season brings a slew of stressful scenarios, unlike anything the rest of the year has to offer. In many cases, it's the necessary trade-off for spending more time with family and friends to celebrate the season. As team members at every level - from the production floor to the boardroom - spend more...

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Vision 2020 - Your Best Year Yet!

Vision 2020 - Your Best Year Yet! by Jamie Hansen

So here we are in the fourth quarter of 2019. My year so far has been full of adventures, small victories, setbacks, curveballs, and new connections and ideas. The novel and unfamiliar seems to have become the new routine. Whether your 2019 has been a handful like mine or a little more predictable, it's worthwhile to consider what we've learned and what we wish to prepare for in 2020.

Whatever your 2019 has held, my wish for you would be to head into 2020 as strong, confident, and capable as ever. Sounds great, you say, but how is that possible? Here are a few thoughts for your consideration:

  1. Make a list of five remarkable moments from 2019. What's on your list? AN unexpected setback? Something you accomplished that you never guessed you would? Perhaps a life lesson learned the hard way? Write down the moments that come to mind.

  2. Consider how these moments may have been connected. Were you using your strengths? Were you falling...
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5 Tips to Get the Most from a Coaching Relationship

5 Tips to Get the Most from a Coaching Relationship, by Ryan Hansen

This week, Jamie and I had the chance to spend a day with one of our mentors in this industry. It was a blessing to spend this focused time with such a valuable resource, and as the hours flew by we lobbed question after question at him to take full advantage of the opportunity. We came prepared - in fact, we had already spent a few hours meticulously crafting a list of questions to make sure we wouldn't waste a moment. The next day, a thought crossed my mind. "What if I put the same effort and preparation into maximizing all of my coaching relationships?"

If you haven't already read Jamie's piece on the benefits of a coach, make sure to check it out right here. If you've read the piece, you are long past the misconception that professional coaching is some sort of punishment or a "finishing school" for underwhelming employees. For the growth-oriented leader, coaching is a means to...

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Making Conflict Constructive

Making Conflict Constructive, by Cindy Wofford Braun

The drive-up window at the local coffee shop felt safe. A TV monitor displayed each car that pulled up at the order menu, and two baristas worked the early morning shift. The coffee machines were humming, upbeat music was playing, and the smell of fresh coffee tickled the senses. If a conflict was brewing, it was going to arrive as the next driver pulled up to get their morning fix.

Many years ago, I owned this local coffee shop, and conflicts were rare but memorable. One in particular still stands out to me, and as a person who preferred to stuff emotions in the face of conflict, this experience completely changed my approach.

This particular customer had very specific expectations for two specialty drinks. These drinks had to be hand-made and delivered piping hot, with just the right combination of ingredients and foam milk. For three days in a row, this customer found something wrong and berated my employees until they...
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The Value of a Strengths-First Approach

The Value of a Strengths-First Approach, by Michael Beaulieu

One of my favorite programs I am involved in at The University of Nebraska is working as a Student Strengths Coach in the College of Business. I use my knowledge of the Gallup StrengthsFinder to coach freshmen on how to use their Top 5 Clifton Strengths in their daily lives. Between my experience working for Alloy and as a Student Strengths Coach, a few key lessons have distinguished themselves. Here are a few:

1. Focus on Improving Your Strengths, not "Fixing" Your Weaknesses

In high school, I would look at my report and typically see all A's and B's. Except for math, which typically sat at a C or C+. At the time I thought I needed to boost my math grade for scholarships and other applications. However, while my math grade went up to a B, I saw my A's fall down to B's. When I focused my energy on improving a weakness, I saw my strengths decline. I always tell my students not to think of the StrengthsFinder as a progress...

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Confidence: Why You Need it and How to Create It

Confidence: Why You Need It and How to Create It, by Ryan Hansen

Last month, during our Leader-Chip leadership summit, we had an interesting conversation about the role of confidence in succeeding as a leader. Actually, it wasn't a conversation at all - it was a debate! As two of our attendees argued over whether or not leaders can "fake it until they make it," the rest of the group listened closely and even voted on which side they agreed with. More on that later.

What was not up for debate was this: leaders cannot succeed without confidence. Confidence is a prerequisite for leadership. More specifically, self-confidence is the foundation upon which leadership can grow. Vince Lombardi explained it as "Confidence is contagious. So is a lack of confidence." Confidence lets us make decisions, have difficult conversations, and rally the people around us. How can a leader inspire their team members to follow through on a new initiative without confidence? I'll let John Maxwell...

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Why You Can't Undervalue "Soft Skills" Training

Why You Can't Undervalue "Soft Skills" Training, by Ryan Hansen

It probably won't shock you that I'm a big believer in employee development. It's what I do - I'm a trainer and a coach and I write about the benefits of investing in people. Furthermore, I know from experience as a former employee in companies ranging from small to very large that intentional employee development programs are impactful, meaningful, and valuable - both for the companies that drive the initiatives and the individuals who participate. I really like the Richard Branson quote: "Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don't want to."

For many groups, the pressures of day-to-day business operations take priority over employee development activities. The research tells us that this is a mistake that prioritizes short-term objectives over the long-term benefits to an organization.

Here are three key reasons to maintain an ongoing employee development program:

1. Increased...

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Three Lessons from an Unexpected Success

Three Lessons from an Unexpected Success, by Jamie Hansen

I will never forget March 15th, 2019.

Ryan and I were in Orlando, just about to fly home from a John Maxwell Team conference. Typically, these trips send us home inspired and invigorated, but on March 15th we were glued to our phones as we read news reports and texts from friends and family in Nebraska. A cold, snowy winter had abruptly turned into a warm, slushy spring, and eastern Nebraska was facing once-in-a-generation flooding. As my phone pinged with each new message from home, we heard the stories of neighbors evacuating and it became clear that I would not have access to my house after we landed in Omaha. In the next few days, I learned that I had gotten off easy.

At some point during the following week - between slipping past roadblocks and helping neighbors move back into their homes - Ryan and I had the same idea: Alloy should organize a golf fundraiser to benefit flood relief. We had a format from our ...

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