Professional Pedigree

Professional Pedigree A few months ago I had an interesting experience with an organization who’d reached out to me for a role that was extremely exciting. I was then eliminated because my professional pedigree was – apparently – too akin to that of the backwoods locals in the movie Deliverance to be a fit for their brand. I wish I could say I stoically digested that feedback and haven’t obsessed about why I was contacted and presented as a candidate if pedigree was the singular criteria that identified the “winner” of that job opportunity. So, as things usually do for me, this kooky obsession has led to some research and big questions as to why organizations still don’t truly understand exactly who theyRead More

Ambition…It’s A Good Thing

It is undeniable that most successful people are ambitious. Those of us who dream of more need to be intrinsically motivated to reach for more – whatever that “more” is. It is THAT intrinsic motivation that propels us to try harder, work harder, and press on after experiencing setbacks. Ambition is a great trait. It’s one of those things – along with humor, authenticity, and integrity – that I look for when aligning myself with people, both personally and professionally. It always strikes me as odd when people are offended by or frightened by this trait. People who are self-motivated are few and far between and they are highly-valuable. Some people have a spark and a drive to achieve but that doesn’t meanRead More

Use Common Sense & Be A Kind Person

Use Common Sense & Be A Kind Person It continues to be evident as I work with so many diverse and unique people/groups that far too many issues of miscommunication start with all the labels we assign and adopt for ourselves. We label what kind of leader we are. We label what kind of learner we are. We label what kind of parent we are. We label what kind of shopper we are. We have a harmful obsession with labeling ourselves with nicely packaged ideas of what and who we are. We assign labels for ourselves so that others can understand the fundamentals of our behavior. Why is it that in contemporary culture, we appear to have such a strong desire to dissectRead More

Mature Talent Strategies

Why Mature Talent Strategies Are Necessary Organizations with the most mature talent acquisition functions perform 30% better on business outcomes and are 160% more likely to achieve higher recruiting performance results than organizations with primarily reactive recruiting processes, according to Robin Erickson, vice president and talent acquisition research leader at Bersin by Deloitte. Bersin by Deloitte found that companies with high-maturity talent acquisition functions exhibit 18% higher revenue and 30% greater profitability compared to companies with low-maturity talent acquisition performance. These numbers are real and true reflections of organizations that are investing in a mature and appropriate talent strategy for their business. So, why is it that so many organizations treat their talent acquisition program and candidates so capriciously? Talent acquisition is aRead More

Poisonous Leadership Practices

Poisonous Leadership Practices I was catching up with a friend of mine the other night and we covered a variety of topics during our conversation. We got to the topic of work and I asked how things were going. She mentioned that her new[ish] boss was “weird” but she was waiting for a friend who was planning on recruiting her to another organization. I asked her what “weird” meant. In this context, weird means not accessible, tone-deaf to the needs of anyone that manager didn’t hire, they are profoundly wishy-washy when it comes to approving time off of work, they definitely promote a culture of favorites, and are – in general – a zero-charisma communicator during interactions. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only timeRead More

Prioritize Productivity

Prioritize Productivity Often times I will have a conversation with an executive and almost without exception they will bring up how they are working to make their team more efficient. How they seek to hire leaders who are scrum masters. They require Lean Six Sigma proficiency and certification of their senior and executive level candidates. These are amazing competencies and certifications to learn, have, and know but when it comes to strategy and strategic execution, nothing trumps productivity. Especially in today’s world, when so many organizations are hungry and clawing for growth, senior and executives leaders must bring a productivity mindset to the business, the people they lead, and place accountability around this value. . Company leadership is usually very eager to shareRead More

You Say Finding Top Talent Is Your Greatest Priority…

You Say Finding Top Talent Is Your Greatest Priority… Approximately two weeks ago, I threw an ice cream and snow cone social for my colleagues in Austin, Texas because we’d hit an amazing milestone in the project I am working on and I wanted to say thank you for the incredible level of team work that put us two weeks ahead of the project timeline. It was a nice break from work for an hour or two and a welcome and fun relief from the heat here in Central Texas over the last several weeks. During this social someone brought up the topic of recruiters and job searches and the room erupted in horror stories, initially, and then comical and outrageous stories ofRead 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

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