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Culture Change: Avoid These Credibility Gaps and Traps

How big is your organization’s aspire/live gap? Does your rhetoric match reality? Is your audio synced with your video? Research and advisory company, Gartner, recently surveyed 7,500 employees and nearly 200 HR leaders of global companies and had in-depth interviews with 100 HR leaders. They found “on average, 69% of employees don’t believe in the […]

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Poor Customer Service: The Writing is on the Wall

Imagine sitting in an overcrowded medical clinic waiting room and spotting this sign on the wall, “When your number comes up, please have your symptoms ready.” You won’t likely ever see that sign. It’s too honest. But there’s a high chance you’ll encounter that attitude. Too many organizations are inside out rather than outside in. […]

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End Meeting Madness: Decide How to Decide

In a senior leadership team retreat last week, decision-making and meeting effectiveness emerged as a barrier during our moose hunting exercise. Meetings are more important than ever in our complex and interconnected world. Research clearly shows that when run effectively, groups make better decisions than individuals do. Effective meetings involve and engage participants in problem-solving […]

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Are You Managing Human Capital or Leading People?

Is your organization staffed by human capital? Do you talk about head count? Do managers talk about “their people?” Phrases like “head count,” “human capital,” and “my people,” dehumanize and objectify. We could push this further and make the same argument for “human resources.” Managers who see others as an “it” or property, might make […]

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Are You Being Poisoned by a Toxic Culture?

During a retreat with the leadership team of a large healthcare organization, we were running a little behind schedule so I said we’d move fairly quickly through the Responsibility for Choices principle in our leadership discussion. Fortunately, an astute participant piped up with, “Jim, I think we need to talk about our ‘blaming and disclaiming’ […]

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Moose Mess: Boeing’s Culture May Have Caused Those Tragic Crashes

In the wake of two fatal crashes of Boeing’s new 737 Max jets, Harvard Business School professor and author of a new book on creating psychological safety in the workplace, Amy Edmondson, published an article on Boeing and the Importance of Encouraging Employees to Speak Up. She writes, “The accidents and the resulting media attention […]

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Is Your Culture Powering or Souring Your Brand?

Imagine trying to cool your house in the middle of a tropical heat wave when you’ve left all the windows and door wide open. That’s brand management in many companies. Companies spend big dollars on research, marketing, and promotions to attract customers. But poor service experiences don’t match the brand promise. So customers drift away […]

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This One Culture Factor Leads to 5.5 Times Higher Growth

Are your own people your biggest barrier to higher innovation and agility? That’s what recent research from Great Place to Work found in a study of 792 companies totaling about 500,000 employees. In this new study, Innovation by All, Great Place to Work concluded organizations with high-trust cultures involve and engage many more employees than […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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A Retreat Can Help Your Leadership Team Advance

Does a retreat help a leadership team advance? Or does a retreat mean falling behind as work piles up back at the office? We worked with a CEO to plan and run an offsite leadership and culture development session. He refused to call it a retreat. He insisted everyone refer to the session as an […]

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Webinar: What to Do About the Performance Review?

What’s your experience with performance reviews? How energizing and helpful are they — to give or receive? Do you look forward to performance discussions with excitement or dread? Do performance reviews in your organization boost, block, or befuddle effectiveness? In a Harvard Business Review article on “The Performance Management Revolution,” the authors write, “hated by […]

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Do You Agree on What Customer Service or Quality Is?

We complain that “it” is disappearing. We all want more of “it.” When asked to define “it,” we say, “I’ll know `it’ when I see ‘it’.” Organizations want to be known for delivering high levels of “it.” Many understand that “it” will increasingly determine their success. Team members would like to be known for delivering […]

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