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Soft Skills Becoming More Important In Highly Technical Environments

An editor for a major Information Technology (IT) publishing firm contacted me for an interview on how the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and IT staff have a tendency to focus narrowly on technology and down play teamwork, communication, and “people issues.” But, as she rightly pointed out, “soft skills are becoming increasingly important as IT […]

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Why So Many Organizational Change Programs Fail

One organizational problem that keeps repeating itself is the high failure rate for implementing new organizational improvement efforts like increasing customer service levels, re-structuring, mergers/acquisitions, introducing new technologies, performance management systems, leadership training, and the like. I recently wrote an article on this recurring problem for a new column I am writing for HR Professional […]

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Verbal Communications and Meeting Effectiveness

Within a few minutes of my article excerpt below going out through our Improvement Points service, I received Larry Beckon’s e-mail. April 18 – Improvement Point “There are many ways we can continually improve our verbal communication skills. These might include joining Toastmasters, taking a public speaking course, getting personal video based speaking feedback, personal […]

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Kenotes on my keynotes

Keynote speaking is in the midst of a major transition reflecting the larger customer-is-in-control forces at work in our society. Not too many years ago, a well known keynote speaker proudly declared, “I don’t change my speech, I just change my audiences.” Old fashioned shades of Henry Ford’s often quoted comment that his customers could […]

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Growing and Developing Others

One of the amzing things about the internet is the reach it allows. Here is an exchange I had from Kishore in India. “Jim I have read most of your books and passed on your books to my friends. I have been following your writings for more than 6 years now. I am currently writing […]

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The birth of a book

As I am working on my latest book, (a fable about Moose-on-the-Table) I reflected back to 2003 and the the publication of last book, The Leader’s Digest. I was asked if the arrival of my fifth book (technically this is my seventh since the “new” Firing on All Cylinders was expanded and totally rewritten for […]

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Attention Deficit Disorder is Becoming a Major Management/Organizational Crisis

Recently an Improvement Points subscriber sent me this e-mail after “A colleague recently forwarded one of your ‘Improvement Points’ newsletters to me (Stop Working and Start Living) and it was right on the money for what I needed to hear that day. Today I am an employee that has been recently moved to a leadership […]

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Who is in Control of Your Time?

Many managers are getting sucked into an incredible vortex of busyness and daily fire fighting. It’s becoming a bigger and bigger challenge to keep themselves and others focused and strategic in this 24/7, always-on, Blackberry culture. This is a large and rapidly growing problem that we are seeing in more and more organizations. When left […]

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Feedback That Fuels my Tank

Just after the April issue of my monthly newsletter, The Leader Letter, was sent out I received the following e-mail. Since subscribers don’t pay for the service – and it takes me at least a day a month to produce – feedback like this provides a bit of “psychic pay” for all this “voluntary labor!” […]

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Moving from Victim to Navigator

A subscriber who has read The Leader’s Digest “for about the 6th or 7th time” (he’s going to know the book better than me!), sent an e-mail asking about the section in the book entitled “Steering the Course” (page 59), where I discuss the three choices of Navigator, Survivor, or Victim. This discussion is always […]

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Working in the Team versus Working on the Team

A growing problem we see with many management teams in less than outstanding organizations, is they don’t feel they can afford to take time out from hectic daily operations to step back, look at their effectiveness, and refocus their work. In other words, they have no time to learn. About one month after finishing a […]

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What I’m reading

Our local daily newspaper runs a feature in the book section each Saturday asking local personalities and community leaders what they’re reading. Here’s what ran in The Record on the same day as the world famous Elmira Maple Syrup Festival (the little town of Elmira, ON swells in size by ten times for this event […]

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Improvement Points feedback

I love to get comments like this one from Sharon, a subscriber responding to a recent Improvement Point she received. Whether it’s in a workshop or an e-mail, comments like hers so wonderfully bring alive the point I’m trying to get across. For those of you who don’t know, Improvement Points is a free subscription […]

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The Final (and Fatal) Ten Percent

Many managers want to increase engagement, ownership, and commitment to the team and organization. This is becoming a huge crisis as retention, innovation, service/quality improvement and the like, become major organization performance issues. A common complaint of people who aren’t highly engaged or don’t feel very committed to their team or organization, is micromanagement. Micromanagement […]

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My monthly newsletter

I published my first issue of The Leader Letter in April 2003. I said in that inaugural issue that it was going to be a try-monthly – we’d try to get it out each month. I am happy to say we didn’t miss a single issue in the last four years! Most months I’ve enjoyed […]

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I’m just making this up

A fun activity I am squeezing into my schedule is writing a completely different style of book that we’ll be publishing later this year. This one has the working title (often not the final title) of Moose-on-the-Table: A Fable of Courageous Conversations in the Workplace. This book is my first work of fiction. It’s a […]

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My Cluster Theory

One of the few things that drives me a little nuts about this business is how my workshops and speaking engagements cluster together. I can go for a week or more with few or no engagements. Than all of a sudden there are 6, 8, 10, or more all in row with little to no […]

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Warm Feedback on a Cold Day

As we’re trying to thaw out from an usually cold winter in Southern Ontario, I received the following letter from a Client of ours (and fellow Canadian) vacationing in Florida. While the setting Scott described made me colder with envy, his warm comments on my last book sure help to energize and cheerlead me on […]

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Increasing your influence

Have you ever been able to clearly predict that a situation was going to go wrong in your team or organization? Like most of us you probably said (hopefully just to yourself) “I told you so?” Have you also caught yourself muttering “I kept telling them this was a problem but nobody would listen?” Some […]

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Keeping Problems in Perspective

I was running a Leadership @ the Speed of Change workshop with a group of participants who were struggling with staying positive during a very tumultuous time in their organization. We were talking about the choice we all have: either we can focus on a problem and let it overwhelm us, or we can keep […]

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