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Communication Matters: Is Your Logic on Fire?

The American poet, Robert Frost, said, “Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep saying it.” Ironically, in today’s age of instantaneous communication and social media, communication breakdowns are one of the biggest complaints we hear. It’s a […]

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Drowning in Information While Thirsting for Communication

“Nobody ever tells me anything.” “We need to improve communications around here.” “Our biggest problem is we don’t communicate.” “Our leaders treat us like mushrooms — they keep us in the dark and feed us lots of… (manure).” Does your organization need to improve communications? Would you like to get more texts, posts, or e-mails? […]

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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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Lead Change or Be Changed

Are you leading at the speed of change? If the rate of external change exceeds your rate of internal change, you’re going to be changed. Impermanence and disruptive change is a central life force. This never has, nor ever well, change. Constant, unpredictable, and sometimes very sudden change is as predictable and certain as death […]

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Love Them and Lead Them

In his book, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, Kevin Roberts, CEO of the global advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, explains that fads attract, but without love, it’s a passing infatuation. He shows that the most successful organizations create fanatical loyalty that goes way beyond reason to highly charged emotional connections. Chapter titles include “All You Need is Love,” […]

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Leadership and Culture Multiply or Minimize Value-Based Strategies

This month’s issue of Harvard Business Review features an article on how to “Eliminate Strategic Overload.” Harvard Business School professor, Felix Oberholzer-Gee shows “how to select fewer initiatives with greater impact.” He concludes, “creating value for customers, employees, and suppliers sits at the very heart of strategies that result in stellar performance. In the best […]

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Podcast: 5 Steps to Shift Your Company Culture

What are the key leadership trends of the past year? How’s leadership different in Canada? How can a culture be changed? What are the greatest leadership lessons of my career? These are a few of the simple and easy questions BreAnne Okoren asked me in a recent podcast… Right….all quick, easy, and simple issues! BreAnne […]

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Leadership Lessons from Pfizer-BioNTech’s Vaccine Development

One of the biggest success stories to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis is the incredibly quick development of life-saving vaccines. They’re a major step toward getting life back to some semblance of normal. An especially exciting medical breakthrough is the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology now used in Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Medical experts […]

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Reshaping the Leadership and Culture Development Puzzle

In his 19th Century Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Ebenezer Cobham Brewer writes, “Euclid, having opened a school of mathematics at Alexandria, was asked by King Ptolemy whether he could explain his art to him in a more compendious manner. ‘Sire,’ said the geometrician, ‘there is no royal road to learning.'” The timeless quest for […]

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Personality Models: Have Fun, but Step Carefully Around the BS

Life’s full of interesting coincidences or — depending on your belief system — mysterious synchronicities. As I was preparing a retreat proposal with a range of options for Judy’s executive team (last week’s blog), I came across Laith Al-Shawaf’s provocative article, Should You Trust the Myers-Briggs Personality Test? Al-Shawaf, a researcher and Assistant Professor of […]

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Leadership Team Dynamics and Culture Development are Entwined

I recently had a call from “Judy,” an HR VP, to discuss team building. She said their executive team effectiveness is slipping. Team issues and challenges are overlooked, factions are forming, and trust issues are developing. As we discussed (online) executive retreat options, she wondered if using a four-quadrant personality type training program might be […]

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Is Your Team Coughing Up a Culture Hairball?

Recently, I reposted an article on cultural assumptions often being wrong because leaders don’t understand how their current culture is perceived. A reader posted a comment asking if it’s realistic to expect to change the culture of large organizations, especially “mature ones with profound legacies and cultural liabilities.” He then suggested, “it might be better […]

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Are you Building or Hallucinating a High-Performance Service Culture?

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

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Are You Squandering Money on Acquiring Rather than Retaining Customers?

Just how much does satisfying today’s customer reduce the cost of acquiring tomorrow’s? That’s the question headlining a recent article in Harvard Business Review. We know that satisfied customers lead to higher revenues. But how to quantify that to show senior executives the value of building a customer-centered culture? We assume that happy customers reduce […]

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Are You Leading by Accountability?

During a leadership development workshop, we were discussing the keys to building accountability and ownership. One participant told us that he and his wife had their four-year-old grandson, Jordan, for a sleepover at their house. In the morning, he came running down the stairs and reported, “Grandma, Grandpa, somebody peed in my bed!” Now, who […]

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Are You Throwing Gasoline on the Performance Appraisal Dumpster Fire?

Do you eagerly look forward to giving or receiving performance appraisals? Does the experience feel like being poked in the eye with a sharp stick? Are you doing the poking? Most people hate performance appraisals. Not only are they ineffective, they often scorch and burn. Research by Marie-Hélène Budworth, assistant professor of Human Resource Management […]

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Scream Team or Dream Team? A 10 Point Team Check Up

An organization’s culture ripples out from the team leading it. The behaviors of the leadership team are THE single biggest influence on what’s expected/rewarded and discouraged or unacceptable for everyone else. Despite what’s proclaimed in vision, mission, or core values, these set the organization’s true cultural norms. Team meetings reflect the team’s effectiveness. Too many […]

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