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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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Many Competency Models are Failing. 5 Keys to Make Them Flourish

Competency models are widely used for 360 assessments, performance management, and leadership development. When used well, they provide a strong framework for defining and developing key behaviors, increasing leadership and culture effectiveness. But most aren’t used well. That’s a key reason so many studies have documented so many failed leadership and organization development programs. I […]

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Bullying or Bad Boss: Bad Person, Inexperienced, Unskilled, or Cultural Artifact?

Tomorrow we publish my February blogs in the March issue of The Leader Letter. This issue focuses on bully and bad bosses. The line between a bad boss and a bully boss can be tough to discern. It’s mostly about intentions. Bad bosses often intend to do well — and many times overrate their own […]

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Are you a Bully or Bad Boss? How do you KNOW?

We’ve just completed a series of blogs on leadership hypocrisy and bullying or bad bosses. You may have completed our bully boss quiz. It’s very easy to see bad or bullying leadership in others. It’s much tougher to recognize our leadership shortfalls. As American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership, Jonathan Haidt, says “we […]

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Leading Up: How to Lead an Ineffective Boss

Is your boss a good person who’s doing a bad job? Many ineffective leaders are. If you scored your boss less than 29 points on last week’s bully boss quiz, you can: Live with the status quo — but don’t jump on the Bitter Bus and “Cs the day” with criticizing, condemning, and complaining. Work […]

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Is Your Boss a Bully or Just a Really Poor Leader?

It’s been very frustrating to hear of the toxic workplace created by Canada’s ex-governor general, Julie Payette. Last month’s independent report details examples of “yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations.” Forty-three of the staff members interviewed described the culture Payette created as “hostile or negative.” Twenty-six people called their workplace “toxic” or […]

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Are They Going to Believe You or Their Own Eyes?

As legend has it, Alexander the Great was leading his forces across a scorching terrain. For eleven days, they marched on. The soldiers were exhausted, and their throats parched. On the twelfth day, the advance guard brought Alexander a helmet containing a cup or two of all the water they could find. The troops watched […]

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Thoughts that Make You Go Hmmm on…Leadership Hypocrisy

A baker suspected that the farmer who was supplying his butter was giving him short weight. He carefully checked the weight, and his suspicions were confirmed. Highly indignant, he had the farmer arrested. At the trial the judge was satisfied and the baker chagrined at the farmer’s explanation. He (the farmer) had no scales so […]

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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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