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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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Don’t Start the New Year Losing Touch With Reality

What if you invited me into your house and I sprayed a noxious gas that made you and your family sick? What if I also dumped a big barrel of stinking sewage on your kitchen floor? You’d likely have me arrested. You’d get out of the house until the mess is cleaned up and the […]

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Lose those News Blues and Leave the Dark Side: The World’s Never Been Better

It’s the most wonderful and inspiring time of year. After many hours of researching books, articles, and websites, let’s kick off 2020 with what’s become my annual New Year’s blog on how the world keeps getting better, and better, and better, and better… This tradition started six years ago with “A Dose of Reality: Our […]

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Leadership and Life Lessons from the Big Guy in Red…and from Scrooge

It’s that exciting time right before Christmas when kids cram for their big performance review. Where will the big guy watching from the North Pole mark them on the naughty-nice scale? Will it be enough to get them into the next gift bracket? In the hustle and bustle of your own cramming, busyness, traveling, and […]

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Webinar: Powerful New Approaches to Leadership and Coaching Development

Would you like to: Increase employee engagement by up to 8 times? Double/triple motivation to implement a personal development plan? Build coaching and leadership skills around natural/authentic strengths? Make performance appraisals an inspiring event people look forward to? Double rates of improvement from 360 feedback? What leader or development professional doesn’t want those results? But […]

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On The Leading Edge to Cut Wasteful Employee Engagement Efforts

There’s a direct line between levels of employee engagement and service/quality, productivity, innovation, safety, revenue, profitability, and other key results. That’s well documented, and most leaders strongly agree. Where agreement falls apart is how to boost engagement levels. Some leaders feel that running organizational surveys and giving that aggregated data to managers will somehow get […]

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Are You Flushing Leadership Development Dollars Down the Drain?

During a break in a recent leadership development workshop, I talked with the HR Director (let’s call him Rich) about all the work they were putting into revamping the organization’s promotion and performance management system. Rich said they were basing their promotion process on their performance appraisal and rating system. Their big problem is getting […]

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Review of “The New Extraordinary Leader”

Almost 20 years ago, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman began a two-year research project to review 360 assessments on over 20,000 leaders. They sought to pinpoint the leadership competencies differentiating the top 10 percent of leaders from the bottom 10 percent of leaders. Jack and Joe correlated assessments of the best and worst leaders against […]

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9 Ways to Increase Communication at Work

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 communications problem […]

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