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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Becoming an Extraordinary Coach

We’re back from an invigorating week at Zenger Folkman’s international partner conference in the mountains of Utah. A highlight of the week was our certification to deliver ZF’s unique and powerful skill development system The Extraordinary Coach. Here are a few gems from The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow. “A leader […]

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A Balanced Approach for Highly Engaged Employees

click to enlarge Many organizations recognize that highly engaged employees create dramatically higher levels of customer satisfaction. Highly engaged employees are less likely to quit and leave — or to quit and stay. A workplace with engaged employees is 2 – 3 times safer, more productive, creative, and producing much higher quality. Lots of organizations […]

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Is Your Culture Anchored in Strengths or Weaknesses?

Most organizations we’re working with today have declared a set of values. Posters, slides, banners, screen savers, newsletters, flyers, and framed parchments proclaim what the organization stands for. Many of these values statements assert a commitment to excellence, respect and integrity, customer focus, teamwork and collaboration, service/quality, responsiveness and the like. This is an important […]

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“How to Be Exceptional” is Destined to be a Landmark Leadership Book

Leadership has been a lifelong passion for me. I read thousands of books, papers, articles, and blogs on the topic. I’ve also written seven books, hundreds of articles and blogs, facilitated over a thousand retreats and workshops, and delivered hundreds of keynotes on personal, team, and organizational leadership. As I wrote in the September issue […]

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Leadership Development: Are You Trapped by Paradigm Paralysis?

Lord Kelvin was a highly decorated and recognized 19th century British mathematical physicist and engineer. The list of his pioneering contributions to electricity, thermodynamics, and the emerging field of physics is a very long one. He was knighted by Queen Victoria for his work on the transatlantic telegraph. The guy was a genius. He’s also […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Making Strengths Productive (Peter Drucker)

One of the first management books I read when I became a supervisor at Culligan Water in the mid-seventies was Peter Drucker’s slim and wisdom packed book, The Effective Executive. Chapter 4; “Making Strengths Productive,” was especially helpful. In subsequent management roles I found myself recalling or referring back to his practical and powerful perspectives […]

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The Enduring Impact of Focusing on Strengths

Years ago a 7th grade teacher gave her class an up close and personal exercise in finding and building on strengths. She began by circulating sheets of paper that had only the name of each student at the top of each blank page. Students were asked to identify what they felt was the greatest strength […]

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Building Organizational Muscle: Why Building Strengths Pay Greater Dividends than Fixing Weaknesses

Last week I met with an HR VP to discuss lifting organizational performance through leadership and culture development. The company was doing well and growing through a few strategic acquisitions. Levels of customer satisfaction, service/quality, safety, productivity, and profits were good but not great. He and the senior team were looking for ways to boost […]

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Leadership Competency Models: Why Many Are Failing and How to Make them Flourish

Last week’s two blogs on leadership competencies generated some stimulating discussion and feedback on the promise and problems of this popular approach to leadership development. Given the central importance of this issue to leadership and organization development, both blogs are now available as a white paper. Click on Leadership Competency Models: Why Many Are Failing […]

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5 Keys to Make Leadership Competency Models Flourish

My last blog post looked at how Why Many Leadership Competency Models Are Failing. This post looks at what has been learned over the decade of implementing the Strengths-Based Leadership Development System. Jack Zenger, Joe Folkman, and their team have compiled a huge body of research on the best practices for developing and effectively using […]

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6 Reasons Many Leadership Competency Models Fail

Most progressive organizations today are using leadership competency models to outline the key skills and behaviors they want to see in their supervisors, managers, and executives. Leadership competency models can provide a structured framework for defining and developing those behaviors that have the biggest impact on an organization’s performance. Used effectively, they become a roadmap […]

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This Just In…Kissing up to Your Boss Doesn’t Work

Last month Zenger Folkman issued a press release in honor of National Boss Day. Not realizing there was such a day (does that say something about me as a boss?), I looked it up. I learned that it’s celebrated on October 16 in the United States and Canada as “a day for employees to thank […]

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Positive Psychology, Strengths, and Leadership

I first encountered Martin Seligman’s work on the power of optimism in the mid eighties. I’ve been an avid reader of his research and groundbreaking work ever since. When he was president of the American Psychology Association in 1998, he founded the Positive Psychology movement. Last July, I attended the first Canadian conference on Positive […]

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November 28 Webinar on Building Organization Muscle

Last week we held our morning briefing in Toronto on Developing Exceptional Leaders. During the first part of the morning I delivered a 90 minute overview of the unique and revolutionary Strengths-Based Leadership Development System. You can view a condensed version of the material I covered in an archived webinar on The Strengths-Based Leadership Development […]

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Three Strategies to Dominate in a Scary Economy

Tomorrow is Halloween. So it’s fitting to read a very well written piece in Fortune about “how smart companies are facing the doomsayers with great ideas and fearless moves.” Senior Editor at Large, Geoff Colvin, has been a long-time favorite business writer of mine. He often shows how the best leaders build the strongest companies. […]

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Powerful Combinations: Drive for Results and Builds Relationships

Last week I was facilitating a two-day development retreat with a management team in Western Canada. We were discussing Zenger Folkman’s powerful research on the statistical correlations and interactions of leadership behaviors. I wrote about this evidence-based leadership approach last month in Leadership Cross-Training is Powerful and Revolutionary. This research has led to a very […]

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9 Points for Getting 360 Degree Reviews Right

My last two posts have focused on dealing with feedback fears and using feedback to move us forward. As we work with Clients to implement our Strengths-Based Leadership Development System we’re tapping into Zenger Folkman’s extensive knowledge base and rapidly expanding our experience and expertise in using 360 feedback tools. It’s an incredibly powerful vehicle […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Using Feedback to Lead Forward

“The eye cannot see its own lashes.” – Chinese proverb “Superior performers intentionally seek out feedback; they want to hear how others perceive them, realizing that this is valuable information … one common mistake is focusing on people’s weaknesses and failing to note their strong points. This can be demoralizing rather than motivating.” – Daniel […]

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9 Ways to Get Over Your Feedback Fears

Canadian Thanksgiving Day was earlier this month. That holiday Monday was cool with bright sunshine and blue skies. After our traditional Oktoberfest Family Day lunch (Kitchener-Waterloo celebrates their German heritage with the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich) our family decided to visit a corn maze. It consisted of a series of trails and pathways cut […]

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Manifesto for a Leadership Development Revolution

I’ve been delivering keynotes, webinars, facilitating workshops, and discussing our Strengths-Based Leadership Development System for the past month with many highly experienced HR, Learning, and OD executives. It’s been fascinating to see most of them go through the same struggle I did when I first dug into the compelling research. On the one hand, comments […]

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