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

They Do Understand, They Just Don’t Care

They Do Understand, They Just Don’t Care When organizations tell me about the issues that make their business difficult, they present it as if they are very alone and their challenges are unique to their business. Occasionally, I run into a new business impediment that really allows me to exercise my problem-solving, creativity, and innovation but most companies share common problems. Frequently – especially in retail – the primary challenges lie in communication, inspiring & motivating, and offering relevant and relatable learning & development opportunities to all levels of team members through effectively and consistently delivering to them the information they need and want in a way they want and need it. When executive or senior leadership begins the dialog around their businessRead 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

The High Cost Of Not Developing Your People

The High Cost Of Not Developing Your People US companies spent more than $70 billion [internationally, $130 billion was spent] last year on learning and development. Unfortunately still, the majority of training that takes place is mandated at a specific time, in a stuffy conference room or via the intranet with a boring and ill-prepared instructor/speaker stumbling through poorly designed and miserably tedious PowerPoint slides. Even with the amount of money spent in the US on learning and development, the average employee only has approximately 1% of their week to dedicate to their learning & development. Taking a deeper look into training among various size organizations, the team at Shift Disruptive E-Learning found that organization’s with fewer than 100 employees provide an averageRead More

Embracing Creativity In The Workplace

Embracing Creativity In The Workplace The moment you set foot into a creative workplace – you can sense it. There is a unique and compelling buzz in the air; individual work spaces are often playfully unorthodox, and people are energetic, engaged, and eager to interact and share ideas. Some organizations and executives think that buying colorful and playful furniture and instituting a casual dress-code constitutes as “creativity”, this is so not true… All organizations – hopefully – invite and welcome creative people to join their team. Those people and their minds should be encouraged. But there is an important distinction between acting on the occasional “out-of-the-box” idea and cultivating creativity as a business strategy. THREE TYPES OF CREATIVITY Most people have a limitedRead More

Integrity – A Workplace Non-Negotiable

Integrity – A Workplace Non-Negotiable 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. If you type “What Do Bosses Lie About” into Google Search it returns almost 2.5 million results! So, I don’t know how provocative it will be to share that…I have found – especially in the last few years – that there is a staggering level in the lack of integrity in today’s workplaces. This is my third attempt at writing about this topic. Generally, when I start on a new blog article I always have an outline in my head to address the issue, I have examples to share, bullet pointsRead More

How To Be Productive When Bored At Work

How To Be Productive When Bored At Work If you’re bored, that means you’re boring – Mrs. Schellenberg [my 3rd Grade Teacher] I have never forgotten this statement. I can clearly remember to whom and how Mrs. Schellenberg said it. I can remember what I was wearing that day. I remember what subject we were studying. For some reason that nugget of wisdom snapped at a fellow student in such a perfectly scary-teacher-way really stuck with me. As a result, I have always looked inward when I am “bored” and find things to do that are “productive” and occupy my mind, my body, and my time. There are some pretty shocking statistics around boredom at work…here are a few to marinade in: EmployeesRead 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

Great Leaders Know How To Rally Their Team

Great Leaders Know How To Rally Their Team Pretty soon it will be a new year and a new quarter for businesses…change will happen. It’s inevitable.  Especially following these critical times of year – leaders face enormous employee & customer scrutiny when their companies are struggling, distressed, or missing targets. Most leaders measure their success in bottom line contribution, team attrition, time to fill, productivity metrics…and when those slip, everyone sees it happening, the yentas talk about it [endlessly], the information is accessible on social media and through company reporting. The best leaders confront those challenges proactively, with a plan, and an energizing communication style that can inspire action. When the heat is on, and pressure intense, they rally their troops through honestRead More

Elevating Employee Experience [Psst…It Benefits The Company, Too]

Elevating Employee Experience [Psst…It Benefits The Company, Too] In the first 10-14 days of working with a new organization I put together a comprehensive framework assessment of the key areas that need to be addressed for maximizing effectiveness  and productivity around the vital areas of leadership development and culture improvements inside an organization. I have been consulting, primarily,  for slightly longer than two years and though I go into each new role hoping to find something wildly different and unusual to work on…the fact is, that the issues across most organizations are the similar in the areas of leadership development & culture. When I enter a new business and I start to authentically build relationships with the team members in the company –Read More

Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure

Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure Let’s face it – as a leader…losing your cool in the midst of confusion and chaos at work can make you lose credibility – fast – with your colleagues, your team, your customers, and  even the executive team. Unfortunately, there are a lot of workplace challenges that create pressure for individuals. Especially as this is the time of year for annual meetings to take place in many organizations and the start of Q4 in other industries that really rely on elevated business to keep them healthy or get them into a healthy position. These events can create havoc for a team if they lack a strong team mentality and/or lack critical competencies such as time management, focus, communication,Read More

Dealing With The Victim Mentality In The Workplace

Dealing With The Victim Mentality In The Workplace Sometimes it takes me a while to work up to writing about a certain topic – this is definitely one of those as I understand it can be provocative. However, it is a topic that is a real and pervasive issue in far too many workplaces. I have always had challenges dealing with people who choose to be victims of their lives. It’s constantly something I am working on – as a leader – because dealing with ambitious, driven, accountable people is energizing and engaging for me.  I find it incredibly frustrating dealing with people who perceive themselves as victims of the universe. These are people that frequently believe that exceptions should be made forRead More