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

What The Reports Aren’t Reporting

What The Reports Aren’t Reporting Yesterday was probably my most difficult travel day in my 20 year history of international and domestic travel. I spent a fabulous week in Romania last week visiting with a really innovative organization and executive leadership team and experiencing their beautiful country and fabulous people. Yesterday, I was excited to fly from Bucharest to London with a scheduled 40 minute stop in Munich. What was supposed to be an easy four and a half hour flight turned into a 14 hour travel day due to mechanical issues with our airplane. We were asked to depart our plane in Munich while they worked through the mechanical issues and/or another plane arrived. So, given my extra free time, whilst notRead More

Creating An Organizational Ecosystem Of Learning

Creating An Organizational Ecosystem Of Learning One of the things that became exceedingly apparent during several of my conversations and visits with various companies last year is that most organizational learning and performance strategies fave fallen behind what is now expected in the evolving workplace and what is needed to give the employees a competitive edge both in their current role and for their future conveyable marketability. A few organizations have expressed to me concern about the declining value and impact of their traditional training strategies and were pursuing and developing strategies to be proactive about making it a valuable and viable tool and on-going resource for their people – which I love and admire. However, there are still too many organizations thatRead More

Powerfully Communicating Strategic Vision To Your Team

Powerfully Communicating Strategic Vision To Your Team As a leader we dream of of building a team filled with people who are naturally innovative, conscientious, creative, self-motivated, who go above and beyond their job description because they are hardwired to do so and they enthusiastically and seriously own their career path and professional growth. If you are lucky enough in your career to build a team of effective and productive people, count your lucky stars, reward yourself, and appreciate and recognize the heck out of them! “Engagement is a renewable daily decision that is voluntarily given when the company has proven worthy of it.” –Jason Lauritsen, Talent Anarchy As leaders our organization’s vision is ours to own, communicate, and keep top of mindRead More

You Say Self-Promotion; I Say Think Again

You Say Self-Promotion; I Say Think Again Thanks to social media, email, and our never-ending connectivity to the internet – it is a VERY noisy and busy world out there. Self-promotion standards of etiquette are frequently shifting and vague, at best. And sometimes we can all lose sight of what is acceptable, invisible, and healthy self-promotion and creep into the arena of terrifically obnoxious. I use, primarily, two networking | social media platforms, LinkedIn & Twitter. I love LinkedIn. I live on LinkedIn. I love networking and connecting with others in my industry and with those whom I think it would be mutually beneficial relationship. Over the last several years, I have learned a thing or two about making connections that are viableRead More

7 Ways To Encourage A Culture Of Innovation

7 Ways To Encourage A Culture Of Innovation Effective and smart leaders know they have to maintain a competitive edge within their industries in order to capture their piece of the proverbial pie. Therefore, it is essential that a business continually improves upon what it offers – in product, service, and|or experience – and how it operates to ensure that they are maximizing all opportunities that exist and building a sustainable and agile business. One of the qualities that separates bland and forgettable businesses [even if at one point they were novelty and popular] from outstanding ones is innovation. Organizations that construct a culture that encourages innovation – at every level of the business – allows them to remain adaptable and forward-thinking. ThoseRead More

Saccharin Leadership: Enough Already With The Sugar-Coating

Saccharin Leadership: Enough Already With The Sugar-Coating One of the principles of great leadership and a way the most successful leaders distinguish themselves – in any industry – is by building great relationships with their colleagues. They have unwavering reputations for being authentic, empathetic, and reliably honest. Global research from Edelman’s Trust Barometer reveals that despite integrity being the most desired leadership quality, only about 25% of people think their bosses actually have it. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of integrity is: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values and the quality and state of being complete or undivided. If integrity is the most desired leadership quality and if we commit to being authentic, truth-telling business partners and true leadersRead More

Making Your Own Luck In Retail

Making Your Own Luck In Retail As I have mentioned in a past article or two – I have been consulting for an extremely challenging company – in the recent months – to assess the company culture and challenges that exist in the field that are impeding growth and negatively impacting brand reputation. One of the biggest challenges that, frankly, I have never experienced before was an overwhelming lack of interest in personal growth initiatives of the field leadership and store leadership teams. It was almost as though they fought learning so that they had an excuse not to deliver results. They were happily and proactively ignorant of almost any expectation of their role and responsibilities but, holy cow – could they referenceRead More

Practicing Personal Accountability

Practicing Personal Accountability As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been very busy for the past few months. So much so, that writing has fallen by the wayside a bit, unfortunately. I have, literally, been searching for free moments here and there to start, work on and finish this post because it is about a real challenge we are facing in retail. So here we go… I am working with three organizations right now and one of them is a specialty retailer that is really feeling the challenges that so many smaller retailers are feeling but they also have added another layer of challenge where they hire predominantly to the criteria that their Store Managers are warm bodies with a pulse.Read More

8 Signs You Have A Terrible Retail Employee

8 Signs You Have A Terrible Retail Employee Back in February I wrote about the 15 Traits Of A Terrible Retail Leader, which – to date – has been my most shared blog post. I put myself – and several of my colleagues – under a microscope of self-reflection to ensure that we were focused on being the best leaders for our team that we possibly could be. That post was the catalyst for a lot of conversations, and a lot of email dialogs, some very vivid Skype dialogs. All of those things were wonderful and fun results simply for talking about real issues we experience and we deal with and our team members deal with every day. Today, I wanted to writeRead More