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Lip Service or Leadership: Are We Really in This Together?

Over the years, many managers turned, “people are our most important resource” into an empty cliché. Their behavior treated people as “assets with skin” or “human capital.” As one executive put it, “I’d really enjoy my job if I didn’t have to deal with people.” “We’re in this together” is the latest phrase ringing hollow […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Partnering not Patronizing

Sam Walton built Bentonville, Arkansas based Wal-Mart into the world’s largest retailer through treating staff as respected partners. One of his legacies was to “treat them as partners and they will treat you as a partner and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.” A scout leader was trying to lift a fallen […]

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Layoffs Rarely Pay Off: Here are 15 Alternatives

Your values are showing. Tough times are when the tide goes out to sea and exposes the jewels or junk that’s been under the surface. Words like, “our people are our most important resource” now prove to be empty rhetoric or compassionate reality. Leaders who care about people and building long-term trust, treat layoffs as […]

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How the Pandemic Could Positively Reboot and Re-energize Our Organizations

We’re in the midst of one of the biggest disruptions of our lives. I’ve been a lifelong collector of failed (often hilarious) predictions and prophesies showing how uncertain life can be. As the old Yiddish adage reminds us, “Man plans, God laughs.” It’s also been said that anyone peering into a crystal ball soon learns […]

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Trust Matters: It’s Critical in These Disruptive Times

Is your organization suffering from truth decay? Honesty, integrity, and trust are critical in chaotic times. We need everyone actively engaged in looking for innovative new ways to deal with unprecedented disruptions. In their study, Innovation by All, Great Place to Work concluded organizations with high-trust cultures involve and engage many more employees than most […]

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Leading the Way: 13 Approaches to Navigate Through the Storm

Many people can sail the ship when the sea is calm. The real test is during fierce storms. Even mediocre managers can get by during calm times. Today’s massive storm calls for strong leadership. The American Pulitzer Prize winning author, Willa Cather once observed, “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some […]

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Tips and Techniques for Leading in Turbulent Times

Shift happens. These days lots of shift is hitting our plans. We don’t choose what changes may hit us, but we choose how to respond. When I catch myself whining or taking a trip to Pity City, I often think of W Mitchell. In his highly inspiring book, It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s […]

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Bounce Back: 9 Ways to Strengthen Resilience

In Japan, the Daruma Doll is a good luck charm with a rounded bottom. When knocked down, it bounces back upright. This ability to bounce back is a symbol of perseverance and good luck. We’re getting knocked down pretty hard. Bouncing back is vital to getting through these tough times. Here are a few ways […]

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We Can’t Let the Pessimism Plague Infect Us As Well

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all woke up this morning and the Coronavirus pandemic was a big April Fool’s joke? Unfortunately, it’s not and won’t go away soon. But it will go away. In 1848 William Blackwood wrote in Blackwood Edinburgh Magazine, “When an Eastern sage was desired by his sultan to inscribe on […]

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Coronavirus Crisis: Reasons for Hope During These Dark Times

As Heather and I work from, and stay home, to be part of the solution, I found myself gorging on way too much negative news. As my sleep and mood deteriorated, I went looking for an antidote to the pessimism plague. I began a search for reasons to be optimistic. One of the first articles […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on… Ego

In his recent Globe & Mail column, “The Benefit of Silencing Our Own Egos,” Harvey Schachter writes, “Columbia University psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman observes on the Scientific American blog that media debates he watches these days want to make his head explode: ‘All our egos are just too damn loud.’ And those out-of-control egos we […]

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Constructive or Destructive: Is Feedback Stoking or Stifling Performance?

At our youngest daughter’s sixth birthday party, a five year- old boy hit Vanessa on the head. Asked to apologize, he politely refused: “Mr. Clemmer, I don’t apologize unless I see teeth marks or blood.” Many managers don’t realize the problems they’re creating unless they see teeth marks or blood. The most insensitive managers are […]

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Dunking Trainees in the Training Tank Often Makes Things Worse

Recently a training director asked for a customer service training workshop. As we discussed what she was looking for, it became clear she wanted “customer courtesy” or “smile 101” training. I asked about senior leaders’ active involvement in building a customer-centered culture. Nope. They wanted her to fix the frontline to make happier customers. Been […]

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Culture Compass: A Six-Point Navigational Framework

When we’re mapping a trip to an unfamiliar destination, it’s extremely helpful to be able to zoom out to see the big picture. We can then zoom in for turn by turn details. A big reason up to 70% of change efforts fail is lack of zoomed out planning. Leadership training, succession planning, service/quality improvement, […]

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Let’s be Frank: The Heart Part

Frank is a manager for a technology company who I first wrote about his personal transformation in Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. The hugely successful career everyone envied him for on the outside was merely a facade for the equally overwhelming unhappiness he felt on the inside. He was […]

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Delegation Dilemma: Are You Trapped and Overrun by Monkeys?

The senior and middle managers frustrated the General Manager of a large organization. She felt managers weren’t using their time effectively. “Many of them are managing a level or two below their position. They’re trapped in micromanaging daily details. They need to be more strategic with their time and learn to delegate.” She wanted delegation […]

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Charisma Confusion: It’s Often a Weakness and Humility a Strength

Is humility a key trait of highly effective leaders? Are charismatic leaders who can stir strong emotions more effective leaders? Questions about these intertwined leadership characteristics recently came up in workshops and online discussions. Charismatic leadership seems to especially confuse many people. It’s a popular media stereotype of strong leadership. As much as I enjoy […]

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Answering Questions About Powerful New Approaches to Leadership and Coaching Development

Last week, I delivered a 45-minute webinar on Powerful New Approaches to Leadership and Coaching Development. This webinar condensed the key research and approaches from The Extraordinary Leader and The Extraordinary Coach workshops. An 11-minute Q & A session followed the webinar presentation. I was able to answer just seven questions and couldn’t get to […]

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Engaging and Energizing: Are You Leading in the Key of E?

Are people in your organization leaping out of bed eager to get to work? Or is work a four-letter curse word? What’s the Laughter Index in your workplace? In the most effective organizations, leaders are often “leading in the key of E” by engaging and energizing people. It’s so vital. And too rare. Leadership researcher […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Hacking Our Pessimistic Neuro Programing

These comments and excerpts come from my last two blogs on Lose Those News Blues and Leave the Dark Side: The World’s Never Been Better and Don’t Start the New Year Losing Touch With Reality “In Christian tradition, the four horsemen of Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death usher in the apocalypse. Compared to 100 years […]

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