Dealing With A Bad Boss

Dealing With 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 to a McKinsey study,Read 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Compels People To Stay At A Bad Job?

What Compels People To Stay At A Bad Job? I have been extremely lucky  in my career to work with some truly amazing organizations, and more importantly, truly fabulous leadership. I have also had the beneficial experience of working in environments that are not-so-amazing. I consider myself fortunate to have only encountered a toxic company and their toxic leadership twice in my career. Both times I recognized my value and decided to move on to a new opportunity that would excite me and would allow me to be…me.  One of those experiences concluded in early 2015 and inspired me to create a “No Jerks Policy” for my career that I firmly stand behind to this day. One of my favorite things about myRead More

Defining Culture Through People

Defining Culture Through People Typically, when I begin a dialog with an organization – one of the first things we discuss “culture”. From my perspective, organizational culture is defined by how people inside the organization interact with each other. How a company involves their team at all levels and includes them in building the culture. Culture is learned behavior; not an assigned one; it’s not a by-product of anything other than the people, starting with the CEO. Each company creates their own unique organizational culture by the individuals they invite onto their team and then by actions the people take once inside the organization; not the other way around. Behaviors Are Contagious Research by UCSD’s James Fowler and Harvard’s Nicholas Christakis, has shownRead More

Why Dr. Jeckyll Becomes Mr. Hyde After Your Resignation

Why Dr. Jeckyll Becomes Mr. Hyde After Your Resignation Recently, I had an interesting experience that I had not previously had in my many years as a working professional. For the past couple of years I have worked in various roles as a consultant. In most cases – that I am extremely grateful for – my consulting contracts have been extended two or more times as the companies and I excitedly saw elevation in the area(s) we were focusing on improving. About six weeks ago I was offered a contract extension for a project that I had signed on for, originally for a 12 month period. As there had been some significant leadership changes just prior to the 12 month end date, IRead More

Being Positive In Today’s Retail Landscape

Being Positive In Today’s Retail Landscape Authentically positive people inside the retail industry are rare – most retailer leaders and team members walk around with a “negativity bias“. It is an unfortunate but very real trait we encounter in most of our retail coworkers and team members. One of my greatest challenges last year was really trying to turn around this propensity of people to possess a dangerous and overwhelming sensitivity to unpleasant or negative thoughts, comments, and/or news. Research shows that because we tend to favor the negative over the positive feelings/memories that we have to have a ratio of five positive events to one negative to maintain a healthy “balance”. Given the current retail industry environment – we experience a barrageRead More

Developing Managerial Courage In Retail Leaders

Developing Managerial Courage In Retail Leaders As I mentioned in my last post, it has been a wildly busy several weeks. I am currently working on an amazing project with a company that is extremely challenged with their Store Leader level of employee. The company I am currently supporting does not invest in their people. Store leaders are selected using an outdated set of criteria – with the most important and valued “skill” that their store leaders can possess is [wait for it…] compliance. Very rarely am I working with an organization that is extremely healthy – sometimes it happens [but not very often] – in the case of this project, the company is struggling. It is struggling with its organizational culture, employeeRead More