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Bit by Innocent Bit, Are You Becoming a Sincere Hypocrite?

Most leaders don’t live by the motto: “do what I say, not what I do.” Their apparent hypocritical behavior is innocent and sincere. They simply don’t know that their actions are seen as out of step with their words. Not checking blind spots can lead to deadly highway accidents. Leaders who don’t seek feedback often […]

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Muting the Messenger: What Leaders Do Silences What Leaders Say

It’s incredibly frustrating for our family to follow the COVID isolation rules while many families we know don’t. What’s been especially infuriating is seeing so many political leaders returning from out of country vacations. Most are directly violating the non-essential travel rules/guidelines drafted by their own governments — for the rest of us little people. […]

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A Bigger Perspective to Avoid the Blues

A few years ago, I facilitated a workshop with managers struggling to stay positive during a very difficult time. We discussed the choice we all have: either we can focus on a problem and let it overwhelm us, or we can keep things in perspective and re-frame what’s wrong within the much larger frame of […]

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Despite Our Incredibly Tough Times, Our World’s Still Getting Better and Better

I kicked off 2020 with my sixth annual post on how our world keeps getting dramatically and relentlessly better and better and better. As in the five years before that, Lose those News Blues and Leave the Dark Side: The World’s Never Been Better, listed over 30 major improvements and 24 sources for further reading. […]

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2020 Hindsight: Soaring or Sinking on the Winds of Change?

What a year!! 2020 is almost over… Like many of us, you’re likely going to stay up on New Year’s Eve just to make sure that old man 2020 is kicked out by a youthful and more hopeful 2021. These holidays will be different — and very memorable! Hopefully, you’ll have some time to pull […]

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Are you Building or Hallucinating a High-Performance Service Culture?

How reasonable would it be to hold a shipping dock worker responsible for the quality of the products in the boxes he or she is shipping? So how reasonable is it for managers to hold the final deliverer responsible for the quality of the products or services he or she is delivering? The person on […]

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Are You Squandering Money on Acquiring Rather than Retaining Customers?

Just how much does satisfying today’s customer reduce the cost of acquiring tomorrow’s? That’s the question headlining a recent article in Harvard Business Review. We know that satisfied customers lead to higher revenues. But how to quantify that to show senior executives the value of building a customer-centered culture? We assume that happy customers reduce […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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