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 has nothing to do with business, 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 went off. TheRead 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

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

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

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

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

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

Exit Strategies For Non-Productive Workplace Conversations

Exit Strategies For Non-Productive Workplace Conversations Studies have shown that in the workplace we generally cannot go for longer than 11 minutes without being needed by a coworker. That statistic seems fairly benign when I originally discovered it. Recollecting an average week at work, I know that that number is very realistic. However, when I distill down this simple statistic the challenge presents a very real obstacle to productivity and performance. According to a 2016 LeadershipIQ survey, 71% of people report frequent interruptions when they’re working. Meanwhile, only 29% say that they can successfully block out everything else while working. Here is some interesting reality…when people get interrupted frequently, there’s only a 44% chance that they’ll leave their day feeling like “today wasRead 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