Alloy Solutions Leadership Blog

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Two Questions to Transform Your Communication Skills

Two Questions to Transform Your Communication Skills, by Ryan Hansen

You know those moments where you hear something and it immediately changes the way you think? That wave of clarity crashes over you, and suddenly it all makes sense! I call these instances "lightbulb moments," and they have marked some important realizations throughout my life.

Two years ago, I had a lightbulb moment I'll never forget.

As I was sitting in a hotel conference room in Orlando, Florida, a trainer caught my attention with this line: "Today, I am going to instantly improve your communication skills with just two questions."

Looking back, I think I rolled my eyes. Okay dude, sure you are, I thought. Let's see you impress this room of trainers...

Then the trainer explained the two questions, and my lightbulb went on.

Human Behavior is Predictable.

People are funny. There are billions of us, from hundreds of countries, cultures, races, and religions, and yet, in many ways, we're all the same.

The...

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Protecting Your "New Normal"

Protecting Your "New Normal" by Ryan Hansen

Two months ago, how many of us knew the best spot in our house for a video call? How many of us knew how to share our screens or choose a virtual background? How many of us had ever attended a "virtual happy hour," or even heard of such a thing?

The last few weeks have been unusual, to say the least, and it appears that we're in the early stages of returning to something that resembles business as usual. So as the homeschooling winds down and video calls begin to dwindle, you might consider: Are there any components of this time that I want to continue?

That question might have sounded crazy in March, when everything was unfamiliar territory. Weeks later, though, some of us have started to find a new routine. We've adopted new schedules, picked up new habits, even tried to learn new skills. Surely some of those are worth keeping, right? Let's take a look at some of the common themes from this period of isolation.

...

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5 Tips for Building the Culture You Want

culture ryan hansen values Jan 29, 2020

5 Tips for Building the Culture You Want, by Ryan Hansen

How do you feel about workplace culture? Does anything come to mind when you see those words together? Maybe you're thinking about bean bags and ping-pong tables. Some leaders managers will literally roll their eyes when you mention it (That's not a joke - I've seen it!) On the other end of the spectrum, some leaders value their workplace culture, hold it close, monitor it, and actively work to protect it. These are the organizations that I want to spend time with.

If it's not abundantly clear, Alloy Solutions believes in creating cultures where high-performing team members want to work and succeed. A great culture should bring the best out of the people that work in it. A strong culture is a competitive advantage for the organization: LinkedIn says that companies with strong cultures can cut their hiring costs by half, and Gallup says that companies with strong cultures see a 10%...

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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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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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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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Making Feedback a Priority

Making Feedback a Priority, by Ryan Hansen

How many times have you heard a colleague lead a conversation with, "Can I give you some feedback?" Has that phrase ever preceded a long string of generous compliments? Of course not. "Can I give you some feedback?" has become an acceptable stand-in for, "Can I give you some criticism?" So it's no wonder that many of us equate feedback with criticism and recoil at the thought of unsolicited "feedback."

The inconvenient reality is that feedback - done correctly - is the source of growth, for both leaders and contributors. Feedback gives us guidelines to help us direct our efforts and gauge our own performance. Good leaders should crave feedback and build it into their team's culture.

To make your feedback effective, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Focus on Behaviors, and Be Specific. Don't let feedback become a commentary on anyone's character. People can change their behaviors long before their personalities. Positively affirm...
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