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In the topic 'Goals and Priorities'


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How Your Leadership Team Can Slow Down to Speed Up

An old fable tells of a farmer with a wagon brimming full of cabbage heading to a new market. He stops for directions and asks, “How far is it to the market?” The man replies, “It’s about an hour if you go slowly. But if you rush, it will take all day.” It was a […]

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How to Boost Strategic Retreat Effectiveness

Getting your leadership team away from daily operations for a few days of reflection and planning is incredibly effective. I am clearly biased since I’ve facilitated so many retreats. When offsite retreats are well designed and facilitated (a bit more bias), the return on investment is exponential. Planning a retreat starts with clarifying 3 or […]

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How Highly Strategic Leadership Teams Rock

The metaphor of putting rocks, pebbles, and sand in a jar has been used for decades to illustrate the time management principle of prioritization. If we start with sand, then marbles, and finally rocks, we likely won’t get many rocks in the jar. And the jar will have gaps and empty spaces. However, if we […]

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4 Strategic Planning Traps and How to Avoid Them

I recently had a call with a CEO about facilitating a strategic planning retreat this fall with 15 of their top leaders. That will be a refreshing change — we’re all fully vaccinated and ready to get together in person again. The CEO sent me their draft agenda for the session. Looking at the fairly […]

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Taking Care of Busyness to Improve Your Business

In 1891, the Anglo-Irish playwright and author, Oscar Wilde, wrote, “We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.” Over 100 years later, the tradition of industrious stupidity continues. During these times of crisis and frantic change, we can get […]

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Culture Compass: A Six-Point Navigational Framework

When we’re mapping a trip to an unfamiliar destination, it’s extremely helpful to be able to zoom out to see the big picture. We can then zoom in for turn by turn details. A big reason up to 70% of change efforts fail is lack of zoomed out planning. Leadership training, succession planning, service/quality improvement, […]

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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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Time to Assess How You’re Using Your Time?

An old fable tells of a farmer with a wagon brimming full of cabbage heading to a new market. He stops for directions and asks, “How far is it to the market?” The man replies, “It’s about an hour if you go slowly but if you rush it will take all day.” It was a […]

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It’s That Time of Year: How Strategic is Your Use of Time?

Imagine a large jar filled to the brim with golf balls. Is it full? What if marbles were slowly poured in as the jar was shaken until no more could be added? Now is it full? How about sand being trickled into the jar as it’s vigorously jiggled? When the sand reaches the brim is […]

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Podcast: Leveraging Leadership Time

I was interviewing a senior executive to prepare for an offsite planning retreat and I asked about the biggest challenges facing the leadership team. He wearily replied it was their unfocused frantic pace of activity.  “We have lots of projects, goals, and priorities. We’re constantly making lists and setting action plans. But we seldom see […]

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Are Urgent Operational Issues Crowding Out Your Strategic Effectiveness?

There are many reasons leadership teams allow their priorities to be badly distorted. Things that matter most — team dynamics, key strategic priorities, and organization change and development efforts — are often crowded out by things that matter least — the crisis du jour or technical problems better solved by those closest to the action. […]

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Overcoming The 7 Deadly Time Traps for Leaders

In a recent Leadership Team Retreat we used a survey based on 7 Deadly Time Traps for Leaders. The biggest trap this team fell into was Acceleration and Overload. This was closely followed by Reactive and Busyness and Coaching Skills. We agreed these three areas were intertwined. These were creating a growing sense of frantic […]

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7 Deadly Time Traps for Leaders

Recently I was asked to speak at a CEO forum on strategic use of the CEO’s time. This was a great opportunity to review the common themes emerging from our  keynotes and workshops and leadership team retreats. These time traps apply to anyone in a leadership role, but especially to senior executives. How many of […]

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How to Conquer Digital Overload

A New Yorker cartoon shows two people standing at a bar having a glass of wine. One is peering over the top of a tall dog cone around his neck and explains to the other “It keeps me from checking my phone every two seconds.” The Information Overload Research Group reports that “knowledge workers in […]

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Effective Leaders are Proactive not Reactive With their Time

Time is the great equalizer. We all get exactly the same amount of it every day. What a leader does with his or her daily time allotment distinguishes good, bad, and extraordinary leaders. Many less effective leaders are sucked into the busyness trap trying to keep up with their daily deluge of e-mails and stream […]

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Becoming a More Focused Leader with Emotional Agility

Where did 2013 go?! Were the days of the past year a tornado of multi-tasking juggling endless e-mails, phone calls, hurried hallway conversations, and racing between meetings? Did you spend countless hours putting out fires and responding to one problem after another? A major leadership — and life — skill in today’s crazy-busy times is […]

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Five Steps to Making Time for the Work That Matters

Are you frustrated and overwhelmed by a flood of e-mails, meetings, and endless administrative tasks? Does it feel like the harder you work, the less you accomplish? In their article, “Make Time for the Work that Matters,” in the September issue of Harvard Business Review, London Business School professor Julian Birkinshaw and productivity consultant Jordan […]

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Research Shows Strong Leaders Aren’t Controlled by Technology and Workloads

Work overload, 24/7 availability, stretched work weeks, and overflowing in-boxes are overwhelming most professionals and managers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be the less stressed out exception. You can Lead, rather than Follow or Wallow. Linda Duxbury, a professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University was recently […]

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The Dutch Polder Model: Focusing on Our Common Goals

During our April trip to The Netherlands, I was fascinated by the extensive water management skills the Dutch developed over decades of draining and reclaiming land. After learning that 25% of the country is below and 50% is at sea level it’s very clear why this region of Europe is known as “the lowlands.” Polders […]

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The Seven Sins of Learning Impaired Management Teams

My last blog post looked at using the Holiday Season as a reminder of the importance of reviewing, assessing, celebrating, and refocusing – both at home and at work. Besides energizing us, it’s critical to our ongoing learning and development. In offsite retreats and workshops, management teams agree on how critically important it is for […]

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