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Generating Keen Energy That Electrifies a Powerful Culture

Managers often hire consultants to help them solve major organizational problems. The consultant will interview key leaders and staff, run focus groups, and gather input from a variety of sources. Many ideas are sifted through, and the most relevant one presented to management along with the consultant’s recommended action plan. What’s too often a sad […]

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Powering with Passion and Teaming with Energy

  In A Tale of Two Managers: Command versus Commitment, I contrasted two leaders, Denise and Joel. Denise balances management and leadership very effectively. Joel is out of balance with a techno-management approach. He’s the poster boy for making STEMM leadership an oxymoron. Denise uses a collaborative approach to partner with people. She sees people […]

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Is Your Leadership Creating an Energy Crisis?

Ever heard comments like these in your organization? “How many people work in your organization?” “Oh, about half.” “The most dangerous place in this organization is at the exit door around quitting time. You’ll get trampled.” “Working is like a nightmare. I’d like to get out of it, but I need the sleep.” “I used […]

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Passion Pulse Check: Are You Loving It?

Early in my career, I worked in a company led by an inspiring and emotionally intelligent CEO. He often said, “If you love what you’re doing, you never have to work again.” I loved that idea. Most of us hate work. It’s a four-letter word. Hard work is why I left our family farm. Whenever […]

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Are You Coachable? Does it Matter?

How would your direct reports, peers, and boss rate you on this question – “Does this leader seek and respond to feedback?” Their rating pinpoints your coachability. Your coachability correlates very strongly with your leadership effectiveness. In their new research paper, The New Leadership Frontier: Coachability, Joe Folkman, Jack Zenger, and Kevin Wilde found that […]

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Do They See the Leader You’re Trying to Be?

An elderly gentleman went to the doctor about a gas problem. “But,” he told the doctor, “it really doesn’t bother me too much. When I pass gas, they never smell and are always silent. As a matter of fact, I’ve passed gas at least 10 times since I’ve been here in your office. You didn’t […]

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Being the Change We Want to See in Others

When Mark was 6 years old, his parents took him to a movie. Kids under 5 got in free. His parents told the cashier he was 5, and they didn’t have to pay for Mark. Reacting to his quizzical look as they walked into the theatre, Mark’s Mom said, “It’s OK, son, everybody does it.” […]

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Authenticity: Beyond Leadership Doing to Being

Neuroscientist and Emotional Intelligence author, Robert Cooper, made several trips to Tibet as part of his research on the inner side of leadership. He quotes a wise elder who became a mentor and guide, “It is from the heart.” He touched his palm to his chest. “In Tibet, we call it authentic presence. It means, […]

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Authenticity: To Boldly Grow Our Inner Space

In their book, Learning to Lead, Warren Bennis and Joan Goldsmith, write, “To be authentic is literally to be your own author (the words derive from the same Greek root), to discover your native energies and desires, and then find your own way of acting on them. When you have done that, you are not […]

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Honesty and Integrity are the Bedrock of Trust

A two-minute video tells an inspiring story of honesty and integrity. Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was just a few feet from the finish line but became confused with the signage and stopped. He thought he’d finished the race. A Spanish athlete, Iván Fernández, was right behind him. Realizing what was happening, he started shouting at […]

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A Culture Compass Charting Your Pathway to Peak Performance

For most of my career, I’ve been a “monomaniac on a mission” about integrating change and development efforts within a systemic culture development process. Way too much money and time has been wasted with isolated programs that don’t provide broader context, support, and follow-through. Decades of our experience and countless research studies show the power […]

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At the Crossroads: Piecemeal Programs or Culture Change?

Leaders wanting to focus their organization on boosting service/quality performance stand at a critical crossroad, choosing which road will take them to that higher ground. Their two main routes are piecemeal programs to “fix the frontline” or a long-term cultural change process. As they look down both roads, first appearances can be deceiving. The piecemeal […]

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Rethink the Link: Strengthening the Customer Service Chain

How reasonable is it to hold a shipping dock worker responsible for the quality of the products in the boxes he or she is shipping? 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 the front […]

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The Times and the Paradigms are a-Changin’

It’s been 60 years since Bob Dylan wrote his iconic song, The Times They Are a-Changin’, heralding the massive societal shifts about to rock the 1960s. We could apply these lines to today’s organizations: Your old road is rapidly agin’ Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand For the […]

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The Rating Game: Markers of a Flawed Customer Culture

Heather and I recently returned from an extended vacation. We had an excellent dining room server every evening and great food. In our third last dinner, he told us about a customer satisfaction survey we’d be receiving when our vacation was over. He emphasized how important the ratings for his service were to his career […]

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The Fear Factor: Dark Energy from the Dark Side

When we’re bogged down wallowing in the swamp, we’re often mired in negativity, pessimism, and fear. Decades of studies show that pessimism dramatically increases sickness and depression and hastens death. Future historians might look back to our day and marvel at our unhygienic practices of “emotional germ theory.” Here are a few examples of how […]

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Don’t Get Bogged Down Wallowing in the Swamp

Last week’s post discussed our choices in stepping up or slipping down when facing turbulence, adversity, or unwanted change. This often involves suffering or loss — a loved one, our health or physical mobility, a relationship, a job, money, autonomy, control, or status. It’s so easy — and often comes too naturally — to slip […]

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WFL: Slipping Down or Stepping Up?

  Many people in leadership roles don’t act like leaders. Conversely, people without formal authority can be very strong leaders. Most of us aspire to lead our family, communities, professions, relationships, or workplaces. Leaders are inspired and inspire others. A central theme in my decades of trying to understand, apply, and teach leadership skills is […]

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It’s Not What Happens to Us, But What We Do About It

A few years ago, my wife, Heather, broke her ankle slipping on the ice in our driveway. No one heard her cries for help as she lay in pain. The snowbanks prevented any neighbors or people driving past noticing her. She dragged herself back up the frozen driveway to the side door. She yelled for […]

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Are You on the Horns of a Bad or Bully Boss Dilemma?

In Colleen McCullough’s historical fiction novel, Fortune’s Favorites, she describes a scene in the ancient Roman senate when the dictator, Sulla, asked for discussion of his proposal. Ofella spoke up in opposition to Sulla’s plans. Without saying a word, Sulla motioned to his henchmen waiting at the doors. They carried Ofella out to the courtyard and […]

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