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Stop Bribing and Starting Leading

An author writing a book on motivational techniques asked for my thoughts: How do you feel about increased Personal Time Off as an incentive? Flextime? Job sharing? Work from home? Employer-sponsored socializing (BBQs, bowling, game night, etc.)? Are there any hidden drawbacks to these incentives? If these approaches are used to “empartner” people, they can […]

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How Leaders Can Boost Productivity and Reduce Turnover

I was recently asked to contribute to a new leadership book. The author first asked how leaders can boost productivity “apart from salary increases.” Numerous studies show that money can demotivate, but rarely does it motivate. The highest productivity levels come from a good balance of management and leadership. Management is planning, organizing, controlling, strategies, […]

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Communication Matters: Is Your Logic on Fire?

The American poet, Robert Frost, said, “Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep saying it.” Ironically, in today’s age of instantaneous communication and social media, communication breakdowns are one of the biggest complaints we hear. It’s a […]

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Drowning in Information While Thirsting for Communication

“Nobody ever tells me anything.” “We need to improve communications around here.” “Our biggest problem is we don’t communicate.” “Our leaders treat us like mushrooms — they keep us in the dark and feed us lots of… (manure).” Does your organization need to improve communications? Would you like to get more texts, posts, or e-mails? […]

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Inspiring with the Power of Persuasion: Do You Have the Write Stuff?

Bob was clearly frustrated. “I keep telling them, but nobody listens,” he fumed. As we looked at his 360 feedback on his communication practices, it was clear why nobody was listening to him. Bob’s communication skills were awful.   Bob scored quite high on technical expertise and analytical skills. A big part of his communication […]

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How Your Leadership Team Can Slow Down to Speed Up

An old fable tells of a farmer with a wagon brimming full of cabbage heading to a new market. He stops for directions and asks, “How far is it to the market?” The man replies, “It’s about an hour if you go slowly. But if you rush, it will take all day.” It was a […]

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How to Boost Strategic Retreat Effectiveness

Getting your leadership team away from daily operations for a few days of reflection and planning is incredibly effective. I am clearly biased since I’ve facilitated so many retreats. When offsite retreats are well designed and facilitated (a bit more bias), the return on investment is exponential. Planning a retreat starts with clarifying 3 or […]

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How Highly Strategic Leadership Teams Rock

The metaphor of putting rocks, pebbles, and sand in a jar has been used for decades to illustrate the time management principle of prioritization. If we start with sand, then marbles, and finally rocks, we likely won’t get many rocks in the jar. And the jar will have gaps and empty spaces. However, if we […]

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4 Strategic Planning Traps and How to Avoid Them

I recently had a call with a CEO about facilitating a strategic planning retreat this fall with 15 of their top leaders. That will be a refreshing change — we’re all fully vaccinated and ready to get together in person again. The CEO sent me their draft agenda for the session. Looking at the fairly […]

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Lead Change or Be Changed

Are you leading at the speed of change? If the rate of external change exceeds your rate of internal change, you’re going to be changed. Impermanence and disruptive change is a central life force. This never has, nor ever well, change. Constant, unpredictable, and sometimes very sudden change is as predictable and certain as death […]

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What’s The Word and The Force of Your Leadership?

I’ve loved the Beatles for decades. Saturday has been Beatles Day at our house for many years. A big reason I subscribe to Sirius radio is because of Channel 18 — The Beatles channel. Our son, Chris, is now a Beatles fan after all those years of relentless exposure to their music. There are many […]

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Are you Feeling the Love?

Early in my career, I worked in a company with an inspiring and passionate CEO. He often said, “If you love what you’re doing, you never have to work again.” Love that concept! Most of us hate work. It’s a four-letter word. Hard work is why I left the family farm. Whenever a job started […]

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Love Them and Lead Them

In his book, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, Kevin Roberts, CEO of the global advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, explains that fads attract, but without love, it’s a passing infatuation. He shows that the most successful organizations create fanatical loyalty that goes way beyond reason to highly charged emotional connections. Chapter titles include “All You Need is Love,” […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on… Strong Leaders Boosting Positive Emotions

Adding to last week’s blog on Emotions at Work… If you ask subordinates what they want in a leader, they usually list three things:  direction or vision, trustworthiness, and optimism. Like effective parents, lovers, teachers, and therapists, good leaders make people hopeful. – Warren Bennis, An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change   Leadership […]

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Emotions at Work: How Soft Skills Produce Hard Results

Emotions are the heart of life and leadership. Health, happiness, and high performance are highly dependent on emotions. In their seminal book, Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee explain the book title by pointing to emotional impact as being at the very core of leadership. Emotional […]

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Leadership and Culture Multiply or Minimize Value-Based Strategies

This month’s issue of Harvard Business Review features an article on how to “Eliminate Strategic Overload.” Harvard Business School professor, Felix Oberholzer-Gee shows “how to select fewer initiatives with greater impact.” He concludes, “creating value for customers, employees, and suppliers sits at the very heart of strategies that result in stellar performance. In the best […]

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Podcast: 5 Steps to Shift Your Company Culture

What are the key leadership trends of the past year? How’s leadership different in Canada? How can a culture be changed? What are the greatest leadership lessons of my career? These are a few of the simple and easy questions BreAnne Okoren asked me in a recent podcast… Right….all quick, easy, and simple issues! BreAnne […]

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How to Counter COVID Fatigue and Build a Thriving Workplace

How are workers doing as our pandemic drags on? Is it possible to thrive amidst the chaos and struggles of these turbulent times? What can leaders do to build thriving workplaces? These are key questions addressed by Michelle McQuaid during a recent webinar on workplace wellbeing. Michelle has a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and […]

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Leadership Lessons from Pfizer-BioNTech’s Vaccine Development

One of the biggest success stories to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis is the incredibly quick development of life-saving vaccines. They’re a major step toward getting life back to some semblance of normal. An especially exciting medical breakthrough is the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology now used in Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Medical experts […]

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Use Feedback to Pinpoint Your Blinking Blue Dot

A few years ago, our family visited a corn maze. It was a series of pathways cut through a large cornfield. The corn was 7-8 feet high. Once in the maze, there was no way to see over the corn. It was a long and complex maze with many dead-ends and circular loops. Before we […]

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