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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmmm….Ensuring You Don’t Become a Moose

“I make mistakes. I’ll be the second to admit it.” – Jean Kerr, American playwright “…. people around us may tend to collude with our denial. Among the more difficult kinds of information to get in organizational life is honest, constructive feedback about how we are doing, especially about our lapses. Coworkers, subordinates, and bosses […]

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Emotional Intelligence Even More Important in Electronic Age

Milli Murray sent me the following e-mail in response to an item on Emotional Intelligence in the August issue of The Leader Letter. She makes an excellent point on how EI is becoming ever more important. It’s clearly a major factor in leadership effectiveness. “I really enjoyed the article on Emotional Intelligence. In an age […]

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Can Change be Managed or is that an Oxymoron

A UK reader writes: “I was interested by your article on change management being an oxymoron (see “Change Management is an Oxymoron”). Fundamentally I agree with much of your article. Unless we are personally ready, willing and able to accept change then no amount of theory or application of models will be successful. However, I […]

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Powerful Proof That Leaders Are Made, Not Born

For over thirty years I’ve believed to the core of my being that high performers are made, not born. Otherwise I would have given up long ago! When I was a sales trainer with Culligan Water Conditioning back in the seventies I wrote a fictitious (and facetious) series of birth and death announcements making fun […]

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How to Tell If You Have a Moose Problem

One of the features of our new Moose on the Table web site is that we’ve posted the assessment exercise I have been using for a few years to help managers and management teams assess the size of their moose problem. Go to www.mooseonthetable.com/moose_exercises.aspx and find out what kind of moose are living in your […]

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The Motivation Myth That Won’t Go Away

In the movie, Groundhog Day, actor Bill Murray plays Phil, a weather forecaster who spends the night in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he is to do a broadcast the next day (February 2), broadcasting the annual ritual of the coming out of the groundhog. He wakes up the next morning, does his story and is annoyed […]

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Assessing Management Commitment

A woman rushed up to famed violinist Fritz Kreisler after a concert and cried, “I’d give my life to play as beautifully as you do.” Kreisler replied, “I did.” There’s commitment and then there’s commitment. Here’s a scale of the wide range of executive commitment we often encounter: Permission – allows managers or staff support […]

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Site Seeing

We’re always working to improve our web site. The two most important aspects of any site are usability and findability. Findability is something a little more subtle. Most folks come to our site because they know me through referral from a colleague or have attended a workshop or seminar. But a lot of folks come […]

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The story behind the story

I started using the Moose-on-the-Table metaphor in the mid to late nineties when helping management teams identify and address the issues that were getting in the way of higher performance. Just like dysfunctional families, many such teams find it easier to avoid tough conversations. But rarely do problems get better when left unaddressed. Rather, the […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmmm……on Avoiding Difficult Conversations

Excerpt from Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work (Chapter Three; “The Dread POETS Society”) “We go back far enough together for me to know just what leadership you’re capable of,” Harold said. “I don’t know how you’ve lost your way. I’m going to tell you this as a friend as […]

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Most Popular September Improvement Points

Improvement Points is a free service providing a key thought or quotation from one of my articles, provided three times per week, directly to your e-mail inbox. Each complimentary Improvement Point links directly into the full article on our web site that spawned it. If you’d like to read more about that day’s Improvement Point, […]

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More Moose Hunting

As generally happens whenever I use the Moose-on-the-Table approach (go to http://www.clemmer.net/excerpts/authentic_comm.shtml for an explanation), it generates lots of feedback and questions. One reader asked, “How would you, or can you, change the leadership style of individuals who have come to believe that this is normal behavior?” Here’s my response: Changing the leadership style of […]

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Moose Hunting: Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Moose

Brainstorm potential Moose issues by asking for ideas on the “dumbest things we do around here,” “biggest barriers to reaching our goals,” “major implementation issues we need to address,” “pet peeves,” “dumb rules and forms,” “things that drive you crazy,” or the like. List each point. Cluster the similar points until you have 5 – […]

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Moose Still on the Loose

I continue to use the analogy of “Moose-on-the-Table” with many management teams to get at issues that are blocking their progress but aren’t being discussed (click here for an excerpt from The Leader’s Digest explaining this concept). I was working with the head of a small professional services organization where prior to the retreat, her […]

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Is That a Moose Standing on the Table?

One of the more popular metaphors I have been using in workshops and management retreats is the notion of Moose-on-the-Table. It’s a playful, fun way to open up deep, authentic conversations about problems or issues that aren’t being addressed. When I work in the U.S., people are sometimes more familiar with the idea of Elephant-in-the-Livingroom. […]

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Keys to Effective Reward and Recognition

A reader from Australia e-mailed me: “to seek your professional opinion on the current situation I am facing as the Reward & Recognition strategy leader for a large organisation and its customer contact call centres. My question to you is, is it best to slowly eliminate ineffective parts of an R & R program or […]

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What Lies Ahead?

Around the start of many New Years, I am often asked to write articles or columns predicting the year ahead. What a useless exercise that is! I have no idea what lies ahead of us. Researchers, such as William Sherden in his outstanding book, The Fortune Sellers: The Big Business of Buying and Selling Predictions, […]

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We Can’t Separate Personal and Professional

On the eve of his retirement from Industry Canada, Brian Johnstone sent me a thoughtful and reflective e-mail. With his permission, I am sharing a portion of it that draws the critical connection between personal and professional success. “Jim, your articles continue to provide focus and inspiration for me. I’m preparing to retire and this […]

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Forming Leadership Habits: Leadership Tips and Techniques

There are about as many views and definitions of what encompasses “leadership” as there are experts in this field. There is one point that most leadership researchers and developers agree on: leaders are made, not born. Leaders are rarely naturals. But the ultimate level of mastery is to make it look natural. The great Italian […]

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Emotional Intelligence Even More Important in Electronic Age

Milli Murray sent me the following e-mail in response to an item on Emotional Intelligence in the August issue of The Leader Letter. She makes an excellent point on how EI is becoming ever more important. It’s clearly a major factor in leadership effectiveness. “I really enjoyed the article on Emotional Intelligence. In an age […]

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