Supporting Creatives In The Workplace

Supporting Creatives In The Workplace The creative genius is “both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.” – Frank X. Barron As a Learning & Development leader, I am frequently asked how I am able to cater to the various learning styles of people. When I ask the person who surfaced the question to clarify – they usually mean the VARK system of learning. VARK stands for “Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic”. This system is thought to have had something to do with the self-esteem movement of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. So lots of people have clung to their original suggestion that they are a certain type ofRead More

Obstacles To Effective Learning & Development

Obstacles To Effective Learning & Development It still surprises me to learn about the number of companies that opt to deliver learning & development initiatives in either formal- or classroom | seminar-style training knowing that method of information transfer ultimately sabotages the content being shared. We consistently continue to undermine learning and promote forgetting through out-dated, musty models of knowledge sharing. Here are three [out of six] of the greatest impediments to effective programs today: We Need To Minimize Forgetting And Maximize Learning Research on the “forgetting curve” shows that within one hour of formal learning [classroom or seminar style training], people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the information presented. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70%Read More

Do You Know How To Lead A Team & Work Within A Team?

Do You Know How To Lead A Team & Work Within A Team? One of the most obtuse questions I am frequently asked by recruiters or hiring managers that contact me is “Do you know how to lead a team?” [or a variation thereof]. Upon hearing this, I take a very deep breath and instantly know the person asking has only glanced at my résumé or my LinkedIn profile – if they have reviewed my background at all. Following a very dramatic mental eye roll, I launch into my description of how I have been designing and developing effective teams for over 20 years [14 of those years I didn’t have company resources or tools for Learning & Development – I had toRead More

Unlocking Your Potential To Be Amazing At Work

Unlocking Your Potential To Be Amazing At Work For the last three summers I have been very lucky to work with a company based in Austin, Texas for an entire month. In 2016 I was thrilled to support this organization with the creation of a learning & development program for the leaders and the support staff at their home office. In Summer 2017 we updated the program and were able to measure the effectiveness of the training and other initiatives on employee engagement [elevated from 61% to 87%], productivity [increased by 11%], retention [improved by 18%], and revenue [increased by 8%]. This summer the project was expanded to the supply chain leadership team and supervisors which I am in the process of designingRead More

Be A Bold & Inspiring Leader

Bold & Inspiring Leadership The other day I wrote an article that outlined Price’s Law Theory which states that “the square root of the number of people in a domain do 50% of the work.” To put this in a simple to understand formula – if you have 100 people in a workplace, 10 of these people produce 50% of the total results while the remaining 50% of the work is shared among 90 people. In a company with 200 employees – 14 of these people produce 50% of the total results leaving 186 people to share the other 50%. And for most companies and leadership – that is totally acceptable. Objectively, however, it is profoundly unacceptable – especially in today’s quickly evolvingRead More

Who Is Doing The Work And Why It’s Important To Know

Who Is Doing The Work And Why It’s Important To Know Derek John de Solla Price was an information scientist, who is credited as the father of scientometrics. He is the genesis and brains behind the “Price’s Law” Theory. Now, usually when I am learning anything that even remotely resembles mathematics or science I feel a tremendous level of anxiety but I find this particular topic relevant, mostly accurate, and profoundly interesting. Mr. Price had a lot of theories about wealth, literature, and productivity. The theory that caught my eye is specifically related to workplace productivity. In this area, Price’s Law states that “the square root of the number of people in a domain do 50% of the work.” What does this actuallyRead More

Being Of Genuine Service To Your Colleagues

Being Of Genuine Service To Your Colleagues It is an unfortunate reality in today’s workplaces that there is a huge impediment that effects forward momentum, workplace relationships, and workplace culture: Hidden Agendas. Most people have them and when you possess one, you are often working in within a selfish silo. You are placing your objectives over that of the organization and your colleagues. You are prioritizing your agenda over the agenda you were hired to drive. Hidden agendas disrupt to business growth and leadership reputations – in an extremely negative way. Today, it can sometimes seem as if most leaders have become exceedingly skilled at learning to work without revealing|communicating their true intention(s). As a result, too many workers are executing objectives ofRead More

For Fabulous Leaders These Things Are Second Nature

For Truly Fabulous Leaders These Things Are Second Nature I recently shared a story about a toxic leader that was allowed to wreak havoc on their people and – ultimately – the customer experience [and profitability] for approximately five years inside a retail organization. The style of “leadership” that was present in this manager was “Transactional Leadership” [or Management-By-Exception], this is where the leader focuses primarily on what is going wrong, rather than encouraging positive behaviors and contribution and recognizing strong performance. This is a very antiquated, awkward, tone-deaf, and unfortunate management style that was/is endorsed in this droll workplace that values compliance and hours worked by employees over innovation, creativity, and customer experience. In today’s world, with so much information about theRead More

The Dangers & Signs Of A Bad Boss

The Dangers & Signs Of A Bad Boss A few years back I worked for a truly toxic, broken retailer. Their people promotion criteria was extremely flawed and – objectively – bizarre. Their store staffing model was awful and counter to any acceptable level of customer experience delivery. Their executive leadership and senior-level leadership was, frankly, pernicious. They hired and retained people that severely lacked integrity or any sort of moral center. There were no organizational values. There was no vision other than some blurry “intersection of something and something” phrase. However, like in any fractured environment, there were a few really great people who I was [and am] always happy to help and support after I separated with the organization. According toRead More

You’re Busy – Yes, We Know…

You’re Busy…Yes, We Know… In an average week I have at least a dozen conversations with people about how frequently everyone must broadcast how busy they are. These are – often – leaders who have a responsibility to be available and accessible to their people to support them, engage with them, communicate strategy [and help them see their role in it], develop them, etc. Most of the time, as leaders, these are fundamental responsibilities to their role. So, why are we not making time for these things? What are we “so busy” doing instead of our jobs? Why do we insist on telling everyone we are “super busy” all the time? Interestingly, in 1899, Thorstein Veblen, one of the biggest theorists on conspicuousRead More

Exit Strategies For Non-Productive Workplace Conversations

Exit Strategies For Non-Productive Workplace Conversations Studies have shown that in the workplace we generally cannot go for longer than 11 minutes without being needed by a coworker. That statistic seems fairly benign when I originally discovered it. Recollecting an average week at work, I know that that number is very realistic. However, when I distill down this simple statistic the challenge presents a very real obstacle to productivity and performance. According to a 2016 LeadershipIQ survey, 71% of people report frequent interruptions when they’re working. Meanwhile, only 29% say that they can successfully block out everything else while working. Here is some interesting reality…when people get interrupted frequently, there’s only a 44% chance that they’ll leave their day feeling like “today wasRead More

Staying Sane Amidst Workplace Chaos

Staying Sane In A Toxic Workplace Even in relatively healthy workplaces we can occasionally encounter toxic colleagues, a terrible boss, or unanticipated chaos. These situations may create some turbulence for a spell but are usually easily recovered from. Then there are the really toxic environments that create personal and professional havoc. These environments feed off of pandemonium and confusion. Knowing how to maintain your sanity in a toxic workplace may feel like a full-time job in and of itself when we need to live within them five days a week, at least eight hours a day but there are some ways to cope with the crazy and create a bubble of sanity and order for yourself while encouraging positive vibes. Whether it’s becauseRead More

Their Perception Is The Reality

Their Perception Is The Reality When I begin working with a new organization and incrementally along the way [if it is a long term project] I utilize employee surveys for feedback. I also conduct group interviews and solicit individual feedback to gauge if initiatives are working and the specific impact(s) they are having. In my framework assessment period I always conduct a company wide electronic engagement survey. This survey is 100% anonymous and the organization supports “thanks for participation” event if we hit a 90% survey rate which encourages most team members to provide feedback.  Additionally, during this period I closely examine communication channels and effectiveness. I observe team and company meetings and assess how teams work together. Towards the end of theRead More

The Retail (R)Evolution

The Retail (R)Evolution About 15 years ago I met and became friends with a semi-well-known Academy Award nominated producer/director. When he first approached me, his opening line was that he wouldn’t put me in movies because I was “too funny looking”. It was a great opening line and – let’s face it – fair enough. I didn’t know who he was when he introduced himself – even though he co-produced one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. What I did know is that after grabbing a cup of tea with him, he was funny and he was indeed one of the most interesting people I’d ever have the pleasure of spending a significant time with. During the initial getting-to-know-you phase ofRead More

Leadership Labels & Categories

Leadership Labels & Categories The other day I was having a dialog with someone I hadn’t spoken with before and, during the conversation, I surfaced the fact that leadership buckets, titles, categories, labels [whatever you prefer to call them] frustrate the heck out of me because it minimizes what leaders are capable of, and do. every day. I work profoundly hard to NOT to be easily or accidentally placed into any type of leadership theory bucket or any other shallow and pedantic category by those with whom I work or even simply interact with on an occasional basis. Every day I work hard to evolve, learn, and grow through, and with, the realities of the business and the people that are in frontRead More