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Dunking Trainees in the Training Tank Often Makes Things Worse

Recently a training director asked for a customer service training workshop. As we discussed what she was looking for, it became clear she wanted “customer courtesy” or “smile 101” training. I asked about senior leaders’ active involvement in building a customer-centered culture. Nope. They wanted her to fix the frontline to make happier customers. Been […]

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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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Webinar: Powerful New Approaches to Leadership and Coaching Development

Would you like to: Increase employee engagement by up to 8 times? Double/triple motivation to implement a personal development plan? Build coaching and leadership skills around natural/authentic strengths? Make performance appraisals an inspiring event people look forward to? Double rates of improvement from 360 feedback? What leader or development professional doesn’t want those results? But […]

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9 Ways to Increase Communication at Work

Bob was clearly frustrated. “I keep telling them, but nobody listens,” he fumed. As we looked at his 360 feedback on his communication practices, it was clear why nobody was listening to him. Bob’s communication skills were awful. Bob scored quite high on technical expertise and analytical skills. A big part of his communications problem […]

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Communication Confusion: Have You Fallen into This Common Trap?

Does your organization need to improve communications? Would you like to get more e-mails? Almost every hand goes up when I ask that first question in a workshop. Rarely do any hands go up when I ask the second question. But what do most managers do when they hear people in their organization want more […]

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Bee a Purposeful Leader: Build the Spirit of Your Hive

When our daughter Vanessa was a teenager, we hired her to do some after school general administrative support work at The CLEMMER Group offices. She was happy to earn an hourly wage for a variety of tasks. One of her jobs was typing selected passages from articles and book summaries for entry in my research […]

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To Reason Why: Are You Leading on Purpose?

This summer, 181 American CEOs of the Business Roundtable signed a “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.” For over twenty years, the Roundtable’s Principles of Governance have declared that “corporations exist principally to serve shareholders.” The revised statement replaces the single-minded shareholder focus with “CEOs who commit to lead their companies for the benefit […]

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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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Magnetic Attraction: Building a Culture that Attracts, Engages, and Retains Top People

Is your team or organization experiencing: High “snicker factor” about values Diminishing discretionary effort Rising absenteeism Turnover of top people Declining customer service Resistance to change Lower trust and teamwork Slipping quality levels Reduced health and safety These are symptoms of the cultural malaise or dysfunction many teams and organizations are experiencing today. How many […]

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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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