Close

Blog

We Don’t See the World As It Is, We See the World As We Are

“Tell me about the people at the organization you just left,” said the senior manager who was screening candidates to fill a key leadership role. “They were uneducated and lazy,” the candidate responded. “You always had to keep an eye on them because they were constantly trying to goof off or rip off the company. […]

Read post »

You Can’t Raise Performance with Low Expectations

In his book, The Excellence Dividend, Tom Peters writes, “In an Oscar acceptance speech, the late director Robert Altman said: ‘The role of the director is to create a space where the actors and actresses can become more than they have ever been before, more than they’ve dreamed of being.'” You’ve likely had a limiting […]

Read post »

Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Humankind

A few favorite excerpts (so many to choose from) of my review of Rutger Bregman’s Humankind: A Hopeful History. …to stand up for human goodness is to take a stand against the powers that be. For the powerful, a hopeful view of human nature is downright threatening. Subversive. Seditious. It implies that we’re not selfish […]

Read post »

Review of Humankind: A Hopeful History

How many of these assumptions describe the reality of humankind: Corruption and cruelty lie just beneath the surface and can easily be pulled out of people. Civility is a thin veneer covering people’s selfish, sometimes evil tendencies. Laws and punishments are needed to curb dishonesty and violence. We’re all born into a world of sin […]

Read post »

Are You Leading by Accountability?

During a leadership development workshop, we were discussing the keys to building accountability and ownership. One participant told us that he and his wife had their four-year-old grandson, Jordan, for a sleepover at their house. In the morning, he came running down the stairs and reported, “Grandma, Grandpa, somebody peed in my bed!” Now, who […]

Read post »

Are You Throwing Gasoline on the Performance Appraisal Dumpster Fire?

Do you eagerly look forward to giving or receiving performance appraisals? Does the experience feel like being poked in the eye with a sharp stick? Are you doing the poking? Most people hate performance appraisals. Not only are they ineffective, they often scorch and burn. Research by Marie-Hélène Budworth, assistant professor of Human Resource Management […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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, […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »

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 […]

Read post »