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Organizational Restructuring: Do it with Them, Not to Them

Recently I was talking with two executives about our approach for an upcoming leadership team retreat. We discussed their retreat objectives, possible agenda items, pre-assessment options, and who would participate. They’d recently brought together four departments into one service organization. They talked about rebuilding their organization structure and how to “fit the puzzle pieces together.” […]

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Fixing Performance Management: What’s the Point ?

What’s your experience with performance reviews? How energizing and helpful are they — to give or receive? Do performance reviews enhance, stunt, or do little for increasing effectiveness? Do you look forward to performance discussions with excitement or dread? The October issue of Harvard Business Review features an article on “The Performance Management Revolution.” The […]

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Focusing on Strengths Webinar: What Extraordinary Leaders Do Differently

Peter Drucker first advised building strengths in the 1960s and it became a constant theme throughout his work. In 1990 psychology researcher and professor, Martin Seligman, published his book, Learned Optimism, and launched the positive psychology movement. In 2001, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, their book, Now, Discover Your Strengths. I read, reread, and cited […]

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Culture Crash Causes the High Failure Rate of Leadership Training

About 10 years ago we customized a series of leadership training workshops for a large company. Over the next few years nearly 1,000 supervisors and managers went through the two-day workshops. Ratings were high and participants reported numerous positive outcomes and benefits from attending. However, senior executives didn’t participate and we weren’t able to get […]

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Resilience, Positivity, and the Power of Leadership

I grew up in the small farming community of Milverton, Ontario, in Perth County just north of Stratford. Arden Barker was a farmer, local politician, and well-known community builder. His wife Helen was also very active in the community and wrote a weekly newspaper column filled with her wit, experiences, observations, and philosophies. Helen was […]

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Leadership, Engagement, Culture, and Learning Top Global Trends Survey

Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2016 identified the top ten organizational issues through surveys and interviews with more than 7,000 business and HR leaders from 130 countries. Other than using the dehumanizing phrase “human capital” (treating people as breathing assets with skin, things, or “head count“), this report provides strong research on what’s needed to build […]

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Key Leadership Lessons From Our Most Popular Workshop

Of all our custom keynotes and workshops topics, the most popular continues to be variations of Leading @ the Speed of Change. One reason for that is in today’s fast-moving world it’s easy to be overwhelmed by rapid changes and difficult problems. While we can’t control the changes, we can manage our response. It’s not […]

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Webinar: Accelerating Leadership Development: Why We Should Do This Now!

The great American founding father, author, and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, was highly devoted to lifelong learning and continual personal improvement. His book, The Art of Virtue (edited by George Rogers), is an inspiring account of Franklin’s life and an instructive guide to his improvement process and personal effective system. Franklin once said, “If you empty […]

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The Impact of Leadership on Employee Engagement

Whenever we poll leadership audiences on how many of their organizations are concerned about employee engagement, most report this is as a vital issue. It’s been well documented that highly engaged employees lead to much higher levels of productivity, customer service, innovation, and quality with lower levels of turnover and absenteeism. To boost mediocre or […]

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Motivating Leaders to Implement Individual Development Plans

Despite extensive use of competency models and annual performance appraisals, our research shows that only 10 percent of leaders have an individual or personal development plan and are actively making progress on it. What’s going on? Most leaders are career driven and want personal and professional growth. Many want promotions, bigger opportunities, and higher levels […]

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Inspiring “Yes, I Can” Video Redefines Disability and Pushes the Limits

What’s a disability? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a condition (such as an illness or an injury) that damages or limits a person’s physical or mental abilities.” But just where are those limits and who defines them? The more we learn about the boundaries of human performance the more we understand how our perceptions shape our […]

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Contagious Leadership: What Are You Spreading?

Martin Luther King, Jr., American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement once said: “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what […]

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Practical Resources for Leadership Team Retreats, Meetings, or Conferences

Where’s summer gone already? July and August seem to move at a much higher speed than the rest of the year. I hope you’ve had some downtime to rest and recharge before heading into a busy fall. As I wrote in “Does Your Leadership Team Need Strategic Focus?“, fall is a popular time for leadership […]

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Webinar: Using Leadership Levers to Build Critical Strengths

Archimedes was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineer. He was the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena. His understanding of the lever provided a foundation for pulley systems, engineering, and a variety of machines. He famously illustrated leverage by stating “give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.” Many […]

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Are You a Culprit in The Great Training Robbery?

Is your organization using a “spray and pray” approach to training and development? What kind of return are you getting on your investment? Michael Beer is Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at Harvard Business School. He and his colleagues are working on a paper focused on “The Great Training Robbery.” They’re finding that some […]

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Feedforward Rather Than Feedback to Fix Our Broken Performance Management Systems

Research by Marie-Hélène Budworth, assistant professor of Human Resource Management at York University, shows that managers giving feedback to staff changed their performance 1/3 of the time, had no effect another 1/3 of the time, and actually reduced performance 1/3 of the time. What if a medical treatment was only effective 30% of the time […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm from… “Firms of Endearment”

(see my review of Firms of Endearment ) “The search for meaning is changing expectations in the marketplace and in the workplace. Indeed, we believe it is changing the very soul of capitalism.” “Consider the words affection, love, joy, authenticity, empathy, compassion, soulfulness, and other terms of endearment. Until recently, such words had no place in […]

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Review of “Firms of Endearment”

If the reason for a company’s existence is just profit, they won’t be very profitable. But if a company isn’t profitable, it won’t exist long enough to serve any other purpose. That’s what we call the purpose-profit paradox. Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose draws from an extensive research […]

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The Key to Organizational Agility is Leadership Speed

Do you feel like you’re expected to move faster and do more? Are you often frustrated that your organization moves too slow and gets stalled? If your organization were to move faster, would it substantially influence your success? These questions were recently asked in a Zenger Folkman survey on agility and leadership speed. Agreement with […]

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Double Development Impact with Manager Support

Nearly 200 years ago farmers in Scotland began dipping or bathing their sheep in a solution of insecticide and fungicide to protect them against parasites, ticks, and lice. Today many organizations practice a form of “development dipping.” Leaders are dunked in a development workshop or learning activity in the hope that something sticks. When dipped […]

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