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 suggestion that they are a certain type ofRead 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

Let’s Work Together – I Am Available As Of August 19th

Let’s Work Together – I Am Available As Of August 19th It is that time again! I am just completing a fabulous Leadership Development project with the Best. Colleagues. Ever in Boston which will be wrapped up as of August 15th. Now, I am in the market for a new, challenging, and exciting gig – gigs – or [preferably] a permanent role. I am absolutely eager to join and organization where I can bring my passion for growth & self-development initiatives, driving metric levers, sustainability, and profits. I am extremely proud to be able to offer more than simply a difficult-to-verify-list of previous accomplishments and an index of employment filled with fluffy adjectives [however, I do have a  online résumé for you toRead 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

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

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

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

You’re Busy – Yes, We Know…

You’re Busy…Yes, We Know… In an average week I have at least a dozen conversations with people about how frequently everyone must broadcast how busy they are. These are – often – leaders who have a responsibility to be available and accessible to their people to support them, engage with them, communicate strategy [and help them see their role in it], develop them, etc. Most of the time, as leaders, these are fundamental responsibilities to their role. So, why are we not making time for these things? What are we “so busy” doing instead of our jobs? Why do we insist on telling everyone we are “super busy” all the time? Interestingly, in 1899, Thorstein Veblen, one of the biggest theorists on conspicuousRead 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

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