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Failing to Set Priorities, Engage People, and Pull Teams Together

Brian’s head was starting to throb as he scrolled through the two-dozen new voice and e-mail messages on his phone while walking to his cubicle. Looks like another crazy day in the hamster cage he muttered to himself. Brian, age 41, was growing increasingly frustrated. Despite working 50 hours and more per week (with an […]

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Leadership Lift: Significantly Boost Effectiveness by Raising Strength Clusters

A block and tackle is a system of pulleys with a rope or cable threaded between them to lift heavy loads. This amplifies the force applied. With enough pulleys or by threading the rope through them a few times, you can pull on the rope and lift 3, 4, or more times the weight you’d […]

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Stupid Busy: Is Your Leadership Team Overloading Your Organization?

For decades, Harvard professor Michael Porter has studied, written about, and consulted top companies and countries on competitive strategy. He’s found that “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” A recent issue of Harvard Business Review features an article on “Too Many Projects.” Authors Rose Hollister and Michael Watkins write, “Leaders keep […]

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Poor Leaders Are Me-Deep in Fooling Themselves

André Gide, French writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature said, “The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.” Sincere hypocrisy came to mind when a workshop participant complained about how badly his manager and their bosses needed that very leadership development session. He said […]

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Motivating Others: Managers Manipulate, Leaders Inspire

Declining or stagnant engagement is an all too common organizational problem. Many people quit their jobs – but still come to work every day. Quit-and-stay and on-the-job-retirement are symptoms of weak leadership. Countless studies over decades show a big gap between what managers and frontline staff feel energizes and engage people. In one such study, […]

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Don’t be Spooked: How to Make Chilling Changes Less Scary

Today is Hallows’ Evening or Halloween. Many believe Halloween traditions came from ancient Celtic harvest festivals. Today little ghosts and goblins harvest treats at neighborhood doorsteps. Halloween is frightening images, blood curdling sounds, and creepy creatures. This can be positive fun and enjoyable when not taken too seriously. Or it can be darkly negative and […]

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Manipulating Isn’t Motivating: Use These Powerful Approaches to Engage and Energize

Jake, a busker, walked into a bar and saw a crowd gathered around a table. On the table was an overturned pot with a duck doing a lively dance on top. Jake immediately saw the huge potential of this act. He negotiated with the bar owner and, agreed to buy the duck and pot for […]

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Giving Thanks Through Recognition, Appreciation, and Celebration

In Canada, the US, and some other countries, fall is a time for thanksgiving. Celebrating and appreciating a bountiful harvest is a powerful tradition from our past. Present research reinforces the power of gratitude in evaluating and extending happiness and satisfaction. Cicero proclaimed, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of […]

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For Better or Worse: The Object of my Perception

What do you see in this drawing? Tilt your head slightly to the left and look at this drawing. Do you see the rabbit? It’s facing to the right with its ears tilted horizontally behind its head on the left. Now tilt your head slightly to the right, and focus on the duck. It’s gazing […]

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5 Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used! If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmmm on…Enlightenment Now

Bill Gates calls this “my new favorite book of all time.” Read my review here. Here’s a small taste of Steven Pinker’s forceful case for reframing where the world is today: “…although the world remains highly unequal, every region has been improving, and the worst-off parts of the world today are better off than the […]

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

One of my favorite bedtime stories as a kid was the story of Chicken Little. It’s a very old folk tale about a little chick who was hit on the head by a falling acorn. The chick believed the world was coming to an end, and set out to warn the King. “Despair springs eternal,” […]

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A Retreat Can Help Your Leadership Team Advance

Does a retreat help a leadership team advance? Or does a retreat mean falling behind as work piles up back at the office? We worked with a CEO to plan and run an offsite leadership and culture development session. He refused to call it a retreat. He insisted everyone refer to the session as an […]

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In Your Dreams: See It to Be It

A senior leader was determined to strengthen her organization’s culture. She recognized that getting her executive team to work together more effectively was a key first step. In preparation for an offsite leadership team retreat I interviewed each executive with a series of team and organization assessment questions and ratings. It became clear that a […]

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Are You Doing it…To…For…or…With…Your Team?

Many studies have shown the impact that control of our situation has on our health, happiness, and effectiveness. In one experiment a white-footed deer mouse was placed in a brightly lit cage. The mouse could press a bar to alter the light. The mouse reduced the lighting to a dim level. The next morning experimenters […]

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Webinar: What to Do About the Performance Review?

What’s your experience with performance reviews? How energizing and helpful are they — to give or receive? Do you look forward to performance discussions with excitement or dread? Do performance reviews in your organization boost, block, or befuddle effectiveness? In a Harvard Business Review article on “The Performance Management Revolution,” the authors write, “hated by […]

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Are You Focused on What’s Wrong to Make Things Right?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A young girl’s elementary teacher hears little Sophia sing at school and recognizes what a beautiful voice she has. The teacher encourages the girl to nurture her gift and has her sing a solo at a school concert. Sophia’s pure, clear voice and passion for music enchants everyone […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm from… “The Hope Circuit”

As a long-time follower of Martin Seligman’s applied research on optimism, happiness, strength building, and positive psychology I devoured his new memoir, The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism. When he began his psychology career in the 1960s, the field focused on lessening misery. Thanks to his groundbreaking research and innovative leadership […]

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Lessons from “The Hope Circuit”: Reducing What’s Wrong Doesn’t Increase Effectiveness

How can the absence of ill-being equal the presence of well-being? Does lessening unhappiness increase happiness? Does getting what is good in life require more than eliminating what is bad? These are among the key questions researcher and professor, Martin Seligman, tackles in his inspiring and insightful new memoir, The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey […]

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Do You Agree on What Customer Service or Quality Is?

We complain that “it” is disappearing. We all want more of “it.” When asked to define “it,” we say, “I’ll know `it’ when I see ‘it’.” Organizations want to be known for delivering high levels of “it.” Many understand that “it” will increasingly determine their success. Team members would like to be known for delivering […]

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