A Start-Up Culture? Really?

A Start-Up Culture? Really? In the last few months, I have had the unique and fabulous opportunity to visit a number of different workplaces [retail, direct selling, tech, restaurant, wholesale, etc.] to meet and have dialogs with various CEO’s, COO’s, and CMO’s around their vision, values, and workplace cultures. In this period of time, I have learned invaluable lessons on leadership, strategy, and galvanizing communication. I have captured great thoughts on how to stay ahead of the evolution present in most industries. Adopted ideas on how to make initiatives and adaptations sticky and meaningful for the people in the organization. It’s really been an exciting and energizing three months. Conversely, there is a disturbing trend happening in a lot of workplaces that lackRead More

Stop Tolerating Mediocrity Already

Stop Tolerating Mediocrity Already Frequently, when I meet with an organization for dialogs around a consulting project I assess a few things before either accepting or declining the adventure. One of the things I assess is – if recognition [especially around top performance] is or is not a priority with the organization or if they aren’t open to treating their top performers with special considerations…I won’t accept the project. Great people with great attitudes who are highly-productive in the workplace are few and far between. If an organization has a cavalier attitude towards recognition, reward, and/or results there isn’t a lot I can help them with. They will lose their top talent, ultimately, and fade away from relevance in today’s world. A fewRead 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

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 assignment that they are a certain type ofRead More

Teaching People How To Treat You

Teaching People How To Treat You About three months ago I was consulting with a retail organization and the VP of Stores asked me to visit with him. He wasn’t a person I was directly working with on that project so it was a little unusual but he explained to me that they’d recently promoted two people to District Manager level roles who were having a difficult time assimilating into their new position with their teams. He asked me if I could spend two days with these two new DM’s to identify the issue(s) they were having and give them some guidance. “Yay!”, I said. I missed being in the field, with customers and the hard working people who drive the business. SoRead More

If You Want To Be Successful – Don’t Do These Things

If You Want To Be Successful – Don’t Do These Things Most of us really enjoy reading articles that discuss the habits of successful people. They can be the catalyst for self-reporting and correcting behaviors that may not be helping us move forward. However, the problem with those types of articles is that they give you conditional promises. Sometimes you have to be in the center of a perfect set of circumstances in order to achieve what you want to but because the planets are not aligned – now is not the time for success – and you remain where you are. I am a big believer in perseverance so, I still believe that we need to work each day to give ourselvesRead More

When Verbal “Tee-Ups” Are Given – Beware!

When Verbal “Tee-Ups” Are Given – Beware! Recently I had very interesting interactions with two strangers. One person contacted me through LinkedIn and the other person contacted me through Twitter. I tend to get a lot of emails and direct messages and I make it a point, unless it clearly is someone who wants to sell me something, to respond to all messages. One person started with LinkedIn message and then started texting – no problem…my cell number is clearly listed on my LinkedIn headline. But they kept telling me how honest they were in the midst of their communication. “I am honest, “I will be honest”, “Just trying to be honest”. Oy vey…it was too much and my mind’s warning alarm wentRead 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

The Significance Of Choice

The Significance Of Choice So many of the conversations I have with junior- and mid-level talent revolves around how idle they feel their career trajectory is. So, I ask them a lot of self-reporting questions around this: What projects have you taken on that are stretch-assignments for you? Did you ask for this assignment or was it given to you? What is your understanding as to why you were selected? Were you given meaning & purpose as to how this assignment fits in with the organizational or departmental strategy? How do you – typically – go above and beyond your job description? Tell me about the last time you did and what was the reaction by your peers and the person you reportRead 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

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

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

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

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