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Losing Heart…and People: Confusing Efficiency and Effectiveness

Recently I worked with the senior leadership team of a large warehouse and logistics company. They’re growing so rapidly they’re having big problems finding people to staff their distribution centers. A major part of that problem is turnover. They’re losing warehouse workers almost as quickly as they’re hired. Costs are soaring and projected to get […]

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Culture Drift or Shift: Team Members Learn What They Live

Many organizations have a set of core values along with vision and mission statements. And many leaders are frustrated that people in their organizations aren’t getting the message. Teamwork, customer service, quality, trust, communication, or whatever’s declared as culture ideals aren’t lived. But people are getting the culture message from their leaders. They see it […]

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For the L of It: Leadership and Love

I once asked a manager how many people work for his company. He said, “About half.” After we assessed their organizational culture, we found he was overly optimistic. They had a very large number of disengaged people. It wasn’t hard to see why the organization’s results were poor and getting worse. As someone in a […]

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Losing Touch with These 5 Leadership Principles Leads to Communication Failures

Daniel Boone once said, “I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.” Of course, being a real ‘he-man,’ he would never ask for directions! Many leaders are bewildered about communication problems in their organizations. A well-known line uttered by a desperate sailor in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime […]

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Communications Conundrum: Eight Interconnected Causes of Breakdowns

Is “we really need to improve communications around here” a common refrain in your workplace? It’s a very common frustration and complaint. ‘Increasing Communications’ was the highest voted topic by nearly 500 readers who completed our “reader sourcing” survey on key topic areas for the new book I am working on. Given the importance readers […]

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Dealing with Stupid Busy Leadership Teams Overloading Their Organization

I had an exchange of messages with a reader about my blog post Stupid Busy: Is Your Leadership Team Overloading Your Organization? The reader, who we’ll call George, wrote, As a middle manager who is on the receiving end of this, you are hitting the nail squarely on the head. Unfortunately, there is no way […]

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Do Your Meetings Suck? How do You Know?

Raise your hand if you’re an above average driver. According to the American Automobile Association, 73% of drivers feel they’re better than average — a statistical impossibility. How’s your meeting leadership? You likely feel that many meetings you attend suck. That’s because…many do. Too often meetings suck time and energy out of everyone. And most […]

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New Year Entertainment: Predictions, Forecasts, and Projections

What’s ahead in this shiny New Year stretched out in front of us? Since the dawn of civilization, humans have wanted to see into the future. Seers, prophets, and fortune-tellers of all sorts have responded to — and preyed upon — the primal desire we have to reduce the uncertainty of what lies ahead. This […]

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Don’t Get Sucked in by the Gloomy Headlines: The World’s Getting Better and Better

It’s time for our annual dose of reality. Let’s start the New Year with a perspective check. We’ve heard way too much from the “nattering nabobs of negativity,” purveyors of pessimism, and deliverers of doom. Let’s ditch the “crap glasses” and get real. Let’s look at what’s truly going on in the world. This annual […]

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Season’s Readings for Reflection and Renewal

This is a great time of year to put our lives in perspective. As business slows down during the holidays, we can step back from the life canvass we’re painting with our daily brush strokes to review our personal masterpiece. Year-end reviews are highly valuable to my personal growth and development. Decades ago, Heather and […]

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Thoughts That Make you go Hmmm…from Peter Drucker

Photo – Jeff McNeill CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been a lifelong follower of Peter Drucker’s seminal work on personal, team, and organization effectiveness. After writing that post, I went into my research database and found I’ve filed over 130 of his quotes, articles, and excerpts. Here […]

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Hinge of History: A Major Leadership and Culture Transformation is Underway

The 10th annual Global Peter Drucker Forum just wrapped up in Vienna, his birthplace. Forbes senior contributor, Steve Denning entitled his report on the session, A Major Transformation of Management Is Already Underway. The first management book I ever read way back when was Drucker’s The Effective Executive. Published in 1966 (I didn’t read it […]

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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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