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Moose Mess: Boeing’s Culture May Have Caused Those Tragic Crashes

In the wake of two fatal crashes of Boeing’s new 737 Max jets, Harvard Business School professor and author of a new book on creating psychological safety in the workplace, Amy Edmondson, published an article on Boeing and the Importance of Encouraging Employees to Speak Up. She writes, “The accidents and the resulting media attention […]

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Is Your Culture Powering or Souring Your Brand?

Imagine trying to cool your house in the middle of a tropical heat wave when you’ve left all the windows and door wide open. That’s brand management in many companies. Companies spend big dollars on research, marketing, and promotions to attract customers. But poor service experiences don’t match the brand promise. So customers drift away […]

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Bright Managers Often Race Headlong Into this Trap

During a keynote presentation on balancing technical expertise, management, and leadership at a company conference of senior managers, I discussed how very smart managers with deep technical expertise frequently direct rather than develop others (often seen as micromanaging). Really bright “techno-managers” can come across as “if I want any of your ideas, I’ll give them […]

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Are You Taking Care of Busyness?

How many times has this happened to you? You FINALLY take the time (often not that much) to learn a skill or connect with an expert and wind up with time savings that pay back again and again: You’re struggling to find a shortcut in MS Word that you think will save time. After endless […]

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Are You a Leader on the Grow?

Stanford University professor of psychology, Carol Dweck, has become well-known for her work on the power of a growth mindset. Her research shows this is vital to success and fulfilling our potential. Spring is a great time for gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere to reflect on growth. I enjoy perennial gardening in our yard. As I […]

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This Common Mistake Dramatically Increases Resistance to Change

I was waiting to deliver a workshop on “leading change” at a company’s management meeting of their top leaders. The new CEO was setting the context with observations of his first few months, his vision for the coming years, and the strategic priorities for the next year. Essentially his message boiled down to, “you’ve been […]

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Chicken or Egg: Communication, Coaching, Culture Change, or Leading Change?

Which came first; the chicken or the egg? That’s the age-old question of cause and effect. It’s often difficult to know which is which. For example, do caring families create members who feel loved or do loving members create caring families? Is he unhappy because he’s ungrateful or is he ungrateful because he’s unhappy? Do […]

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I’d Love Your Input on my New Book

Which development topics are your top priorities today; communication, coaching, culture change, or leading change? Perhaps your answer is yes; all of them? As I posted recently, I’ve been working on a book development project for the past 18 months. It started with eight development topic areas. After readers ranked ordered those, we ended up […]

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This One Culture Factor Leads to 5.5 Times Higher Growth

Are your own people your biggest barrier to higher innovation and agility? That’s what recent research from Great Place to Work found in a study of 792 companies totaling about 500,000 employees. In this new study, Innovation by All, Great Place to Work concluded organizations with high-trust cultures involve and engage many more employees than […]

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Readers as Leaders in My New Book Development

In the fall of 2017, I began a book development project by reviewing over ten years of blogs, research, and our workshop/retreat topics to identify core themes and topics most relevant in these turbulent times. Eight major topic areas emerged. In the spring of 2018, I asked readers to Help Us Distill Today’s Vital Leadership/Organization […]

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Leaders Don’t Wait, They Initiate

Last month’s issue featured an exchange I had with a reader on Dealing with Stupid Busy Leadership Teams Overloading Their Organization. I wrote that strong leaders like George who refuse to be victimized by undisciplined senior leaders have three choices. Paul, “a first level manager,” e-mailed to tell me about a “fourth option I’ve used […]

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Losing Heart…and People: Confusing Efficiency and Effectiveness

Recently I worked with the senior leadership team of a large warehouse and logistics company. They’re growing so rapidly they’re having big problems finding people to staff their distribution centers. A major part of that problem is turnover. They’re losing warehouse workers almost as quickly as they’re hired. Costs are soaring and projected to get […]

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Culture Drift or Shift: Team Members Learn What They Live

Many organizations have a set of core values along with vision and mission statements. And many leaders are frustrated that people in their organizations aren’t getting the message. Teamwork, customer service, quality, trust, communication, or whatever’s declared as culture ideals aren’t lived. But people are getting the culture message from their leaders. They see it […]

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For the L of It: Leadership and Love

I once asked a manager how many people work for his company. He said, “About half.” After we assessed their organizational culture, we found he was overly optimistic. They had a very large number of disengaged people. It wasn’t hard to see why the organization’s results were poor and getting worse. As someone in a […]

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Losing Touch with These 5 Leadership Principles Leads to Communication Failures

Daniel Boone once said, “I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.” Of course, being a real ‘he-man,’ he would never ask for directions! Many leaders are bewildered about communication problems in their organizations. A well-known line uttered by a desperate sailor in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime […]

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Communications Conundrum: Eight Interconnected Causes of Breakdowns

Is “we really need to improve communications around here” a common refrain in your workplace? It’s a very common frustration and complaint. ‘Increasing Communications’ was the highest voted topic by nearly 500 readers who completed our “reader sourcing” survey on key topic areas for the new book I am working on. Given the importance readers […]

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Dealing with Stupid Busy Leadership Teams Overloading Their Organization

I had an exchange of messages with a reader about my blog post Stupid Busy: Is Your Leadership Team Overloading Your Organization? The reader, who we’ll call George, wrote, As a middle manager who is on the receiving end of this, you are hitting the nail squarely on the head. Unfortunately, there is no way […]

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Do Your Meetings Suck? How do You Know?

Raise your hand if you’re an above average driver. According to the American Automobile Association, 73% of drivers feel they’re better than average — a statistical impossibility. How’s your meeting leadership? You likely feel that many meetings you attend suck. That’s because…many do. Too often meetings suck time and energy out of everyone. And most […]

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New Year Entertainment: Predictions, Forecasts, and Projections

What’s ahead in this shiny New Year stretched out in front of us? Since the dawn of civilization, humans have wanted to see into the future. Seers, prophets, and fortune-tellers of all sorts have responded to — and preyed upon — the primal desire we have to reduce the uncertainty of what lies ahead. This […]

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Don’t Get Sucked in by the Gloomy Headlines: The World’s Getting Better and Better

It’s time for our annual dose of reality. Let’s start the New Year with a perspective check. We’ve heard way too much from the “nattering nabobs of negativity,” purveyors of pessimism, and deliverers of doom. Let’s ditch the “crap glasses” and get real. Let’s look at what’s truly going on in the world. This annual […]

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