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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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How to Turbo-Charge Your Leadership with Informal Feedback

One of our most recent popular blogs was on bully bosses and featured a quiz to help determine if your boss is a bully or just a poor leader. A follow-up blog on leading up included five ways to deal with a bad boss. But what if you’re a bully or poor boss — and […]

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Many Leaders are Allergic to Feedback and Blissfully Ignorant

In our executive coaching and Extraordinary Leader workshops, we see a wide variety of responses to leaders receiving their 360 assessment feedback. We generally see one of these four responses: Prisoners of Score These participants are most often in workshops where the leader was forced to participate. They want to serve the minimum time in […]

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How to Avoid Spinning into the 360 Degree Feedback Death Spiral

The use of 360 degree assessments has exploded in the past few decades. They’re now widely available in a bewildering variety of tools used for leadership development, executive coaching, performance management, personal growth, etc. Do a Google search on variations of 360 degree feedback, assessment, or tools and go shopping among millions of options. The […]

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Reshaping the Leadership and Culture Development Puzzle

In his 19th Century Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Ebenezer Cobham Brewer writes, “Euclid, having opened a school of mathematics at Alexandria, was asked by King Ptolemy whether he could explain his art to him in a more compendious manner. ‘Sire,’ said the geometrician, ‘there is no royal road to learning.'” The timeless quest for […]

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Personality Models: Have Fun, but Step Carefully Around the BS

Life’s full of interesting coincidences or — depending on your belief system — mysterious synchronicities. As I was preparing a retreat proposal with a range of options for Judy’s executive team (last week’s blog), I came across Laith Al-Shawaf’s provocative article, Should You Trust the Myers-Briggs Personality Test? Al-Shawaf, a researcher and Assistant Professor of […]

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Leadership Team Dynamics and Culture Development are Entwined

I recently had a call from “Judy,” an HR VP, to discuss team building. She said their executive team effectiveness is slipping. Team issues and challenges are overlooked, factions are forming, and trust issues are developing. As we discussed (online) executive retreat options, she wondered if using a four-quadrant personality type training program might be […]

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Is Your Team Coughing Up a Culture Hairball?

Recently, I reposted an article on cultural assumptions often being wrong because leaders don’t understand how their current culture is perceived. A reader posted a comment asking if it’s realistic to expect to change the culture of large organizations, especially “mature ones with profound legacies and cultural liabilities.” He then suggested, “it might be better […]

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