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In the topic 'Organization Improvement'


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Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times

I’ve known Paul Born for many years and have deep respect for his work founding the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement in 2001. Their community-based work has reduced poverty for 250,000 people in Canada and many other countries. When Paul gave me a copy of his latest book I expected it would center on his […]

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Special Webinar on Developing Leaders at Wilfrid Laurier University

WLU is a dynamic and fast growing university in the heart of “Silicon Valley North” in Waterloo. A core part of their mission and values is nurturing a culture that “inspires lives of leadership and purpose.” Our daughter, Vanessa, is a Laurier graduate. Living in Waterloo Region, I’ve spoken to various student groups and conferences […]

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Institute for Performance and Learning: Helping Learning and Development Add More Value

Just as Human Resource Leaders Need to Create More Strategic Value there’s a huge need for Learning and Development professionals to do the same. Last year Rob Pearson became the new CEO of the Canadian Society for Training and Development. I reconnected with Rob at a Conference Board of Canada Learning and Development meeting last […]

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Clear Leadership Team Retreat Objectives and Outcomes Are Vital to Success

My last blog, “7 Reasons Change and Development Programs Fail“, concluded that a senior leadership team retreat lays the foundation for successful change and development initiatives. This is often the intact senior leadership team heading up a department, division, or the entire organization. Depending on the retreat objectives and length, one or sometimes two, levels […]

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7 Reasons Change and Development Programs Fail

A long list of studies shows that 50 – 70% of leadership, culture, and organization change and development efforts fail. For example, a Harvard Business Review article by Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria on “Cracking the Code of Change” concludes, “the brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail.” These efforts typically […]

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New Keynotes and Workshops to Motivate, Energize, and Inspire Leaders

Since bookings in our business are much slower in the summer, I’ve often used the time for writing books, reflecting, and planning. One of my projects this summer was to step back and look at the bigger and evolving picture of our keynotes and workshops. Most of my keynotes and workshops are tailored to a […]

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Podcast and Slides: How to Create a Coaching Culture

A recent study by the International Coach Federation showed that strong coaching cultures are correlated with much higher financial performance. Companies with an above average coaching culture showed revenue 19% higher than all others in their peer group. At last July’s leadership summit Kathleen Stinnett delivered a keynote presentation on How to Create a Coaching […]

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Four Keys to Transforming Safety Culture

In organizations with safety risks, leaders loudly proclaim their commitment to health & safety. But every day we read news reports of another worker badly hurt or killed on the job. The stark contrast in injuries and deaths between very unsafe and extremely safe workplaces — often in the very same industries — can be […]

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4 Vital Competencies That Differentiate Top HR Leaders from the Rest

We started working with Troy, an HR leader with a consumer goods manufacturer, last spring. He reached out for help with culture and organization development because communication breakdowns had created extreme silo behavior causing engagement and productivity levels to drop. Working with Troy we found the common ground among the competing departments and he adroitly […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Culture Development

A few thought provoking excerpts from, The Culture Blueprint: A Guide to Building the High-Performance Workplace, by Robert Richman: Culture change is not a strategy or an initiative. This is a total mind shift. Once you truly experience it, you can’t go back. Without taking care of your people, who will deliver? In order to […]

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Six Lessons in Culture Development from Zappos

Recently I delivered a keynote presentation on culture and leadership development at a senior leader’s conference. Robert Richman also spoke at the event sharing his insights and experiences as co-creator of Zappos Insights, a program for educating companies on the powerful culture of Zappos that catapulted the American online shoe retailer from a startup in […]

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Ten Critical Questions to Assess HR’s Effectiveness

Over the years we’ve worked with many Human Resource executives. We’ve also facilitated a few hundred offsite executive retreats as part of Culture and Organization Development. Step #2 in that process, setting up and following through on the executive retreat, is where we see the starkest differences in HR leaders. The biggest differences often show […]

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Attributes of Cynical and High Service/Quality Cultures

“I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” “Work sucks, but I need the bucks.” “I’d rather be fishing/sailing/golfing/…” Surveys show that these phrases express the feelings of a growing number of frontline performers today. Too often these contagious feelings spread throughout a team or organization. How many of these attributes of cynical […]

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7 Steps to Building Bolder (and dramatically more effective) Leaders

Are the leaders in your organization timid or bold? What is bold leadership? How does it differ from timid leadership? How much of a difference does bold leadership make? Zenger Folkman recently studied 360-degree reports on more than 50,000 leaders in all industries and from all parts of the world. This new research identified leaders […]

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Using 360 Assessments for Talent/Performance Management versus Personal Development

360 assessments are now being used by over 85% of larger and leading organizations. As I wrote in “9 Problems with 360 Multi-Rater Assessments” there’s a growing backlash and resistance to their use because they often search for gaps and weaknesses. Our work with Zenger Folkman has shown that 360 data on a leader’s effectiveness can […]

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8 Ways to Build Leadership Development on the Job

Last year we started offering one-on-one phone coaching around The Extraordinary Leader 360 assessments and building strengths-based personal development plans. These typically involve 2, 3, and sometimes more sessions about a month or two apart. As leaders have reported back on their progress we’ve further developed and expanded their action plans. Typically the first step […]

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Reversing 9 Attributes of Cynical Cultures

How many of these points apply to your organization? High “snicker factor” on your vision, values, or mission statements Declining or stagnant employee engagement levels Absenteeism and “mental health days” Difficulty attracting or hanging on to top talent Waning or plateaued Client/Customer satisfaction Resistance to change Weak trust and teamwork Less than stellar service/quality levels […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Organizational Culture (Part Two)

The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen. It is the people inside the company, those on the front lines, who are best qualified to find new ways of doing things. – […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Organizational Culture (Part One)

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue … but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look … – Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet, and philosopher Before we can learn to lead, we must learn […]

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Making People Stronger for Organizations and Organizations Stronger for People

Decades of research shows that many leadership development programs have little impact on creating lasting behavior change. Sometimes called “spray and pray” or “sheep dipping,” many efforts provide one-off learning or development events in the hope that something will stick. With weak follow through and little connection to daily work life it rarely does. Decades […]

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