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

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

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

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

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

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

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