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Scream Team or Dream Team? A 10 Point Team Check Up

An organization’s culture ripples out from the team leading it. The behaviors of the leadership team are THE single biggest influence on what’s expected/rewarded and discouraged or unacceptable for everyone else. Despite what’s proclaimed in vision, mission, or core values, these set the organization’s true cultural norms. Team meetings reflect the team’s effectiveness. Too many […]

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How to Ensure Your Meetings Aren’t Virtually Useless

You likely thought too many meetings were time-wasters before this pandemic. Now your “meeting fun” has likely moved online to a higher time-sucking level! Steven Rogelberg, professor and author of the book, The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance, reports that 8 out of the average 23 hours a […]

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Vital Keys to Leading a Fast, Flexible, and Agile Organization

Fast and flexible is vital — even lifesaving — today. Recently, we had discussions with a senior leader about his goal to build a more agile organization. This leader had been talking urgently about agility for the past six months. When we started our coaching and consulting work with his leadership team, it soon became […]

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An Agile Culture Ripples Out From the Leadership Team

Many leadership teams seem to think that talking about agility will magically transform their organizations. If only change were that simple. Talking isn’t doing. A department, division, or organization’s culture ripples out from its leadership team. Organizational behavior reflects leadership team behavior. A team that wants to change “them” needs to start with a deep […]

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Escaping the Change Management Trap: From Rigidity to Agility

There’s lots of talk about building agile organizations. For good reason. The world’s moving way too fast for traditional approaches. They’re too rigid. Organizations that will survive — even thrive — in these disruptive times are fast and flexible. Agile approaches began a few decades ago with software development. According to the Agile Alliance, “One […]

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Is Your Team Out of Focus?

I’ve been interviewing senior leaders and reviewing documents to tailor a keynote presentation for the company’s executive strategy session this month. They’re a textbook example of effectively using the COVID crisis to renew and refocus their leadership and culture development. Their “strategic framework” succinctly cascades from vision, mission, and values to strategic goals, key initiatives, […]

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Taking Care of Busyness to Improve Your Business

In 1891, the Anglo-Irish playwright and author, Oscar Wilde, wrote, “We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.” Over 100 years later, the tradition of industrious stupidity continues. During these times of crisis and frantic change, we can get […]

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Dehumanizing with AI, Automation, and Technical Optimization

In the early 1900s, Frederick Taylor, used “Scientific Management” principles to make the new production lines more efficient. Workers became cogs in the machine; shut off their minds, shut their mouths, and did what engineers and managers told them to do. The factory scene from Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie, Modern Times satirizes that dehumanizing tyranny […]

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Do You Work for a Bully Boss? Are You One?

One of my favorite historical fiction authors is Colleen McCullough. She masterfully weaves extensive research with real and imagined characters to bring an historical period alive. Her five book, Masters of Rome, series is outstanding. In Book 3, Fortune’s Favorites, she describes a scene in the Roman senate when the dictator Sulla asked for any […]

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Zoom Out to See Where You’re Going

A really helpful feature of Google Maps is the ability to zoom in and out. Often pulling back to see the bigger picture gives a better sense of where we are now and where we’re going. In these crazy times, it’s so easy to get stuck at street view. We rush from one task to […]

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Are You Going Deep in Leading Change?

In his book, Going Deep, psychologist, Ian Percy outlines a useful change framework. The PIES model helps to chart the depth of commitment to personal, team, or organizational change. The deeper the commitment, the more lasting the change. The first and most superficial level is Political. Appearances are everything. We make a “politically correct” change […]

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Smothering Silence: What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Is this happening in your team? People are texting each other what they really think during a video or conference call The real conversation happens after the meeting or call Your team doesn’t debate all sides of important issues and avoids touchy topics People agree to a plan of action but then do something else […]

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Every Little Thing: Step Small for the Long Haul

This month is the fortieth anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope run through our community — Waterloo Region. Having lost a leg to cancer, Terry Fox embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. Terry’s shuffle-and-hop running style took him about 42 kilometers or 26 miles per day! I think jogging […]

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4 Ways Learning and Development Ignites or Impedes Culture Shift

Recently I delivered a virtual keynote presentation to a national forum of senior executives on leading change and culture development. During these crazy times, strong leadership is more critical than ever. A central focus of the forum was the pivotal role of learning and development in change efforts. I presented four points that generated a […]

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Balancing Management and Leadership: What’s Your Power Source?

Should leaders push or pull? Light a fire under people or stoke the fire within? Use position or persuasion power? Control with rules and policies or foster commitment with values and trust? Finding the right balance of management and leadership is a continuous challenge. Less effective managers use position power and get people doing things […]

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Changing Our World: 5 Steps for Coming Out of Our Crisis

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet says, “there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” This has become a widely quoted bit of wisdom. It’s both an ancient truth as a cornerstone of mindfulness and on the leading edge of cognitive psychology. Research on the nature of reality, consciousness, and quantum physics is putting […]

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Powerful Leaders Go Beyond Empowerment to Empartnerment

To fix organizational problems or make major changes, managers often hire consultants to analyze what’s happening and provide improvement recommendations. The consulting firm usually interviews people, runs focus groups, and gathers input from a variety of sources. Lots of good ideas are gathered and the best ones presented to leaders along with a recommended action […]

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Humor at Work: Take my Boss…Please!

If you’re a father, I hope you enjoyed Father’s Day and were treated like a king. Over the years I’ve tried to get our three kids to give me the gift of laughing at all my Dad Jokes for just that one day. Still no luck. I think they’re afraid of pulling a groan muscle. […]

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6 Key Takeaways from LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report

LinkedIn Learning’s 4th Annual 2020 Workplace Learning Report reinforces key trends in boosting leadership and organization effectiveness. This report compiles survey responses from 1,675 Learning and Development professionals, 2,000 learners, and 2,932 managers in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. The survey data looks like it was compiled before the pandemic turned our world upside down, […]

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Is What’s Missing Throwing You Off Your Game?

One of my favorite podcasts is Terry O’Reilly’s “Under the Influence,” focused on the advertising and marketing business. Terry’s a master story-teller. He continually finds unusual and interesting stories to start each podcast. His recent podcast, “Setting the Table: Best Opening Stories,” looked back at his stories from over 300 episodes that generated the most […]

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