Articles

Pictogram of two rowers

Engaged Employees: Rowing? Or Drilling Holes?

July 23, 2019

Disengaged employees outnumber engaged employes by more than 2:1. To put this in perspective, imagine you have ten people rowing in a boat:

  • Three would be rowing in the right direction.
  • Five would not be rowing at all.
  • Two would be drilling holes in the boat!

This is crazy. There is no need for the modern workplace to be so dysfunctional.

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Group Of Business People With Their Hands Together

Diversity in Counsel … Unity in Command

July 21, 2019

Alfred Sloan, when he ran General Motors in the 1920s and 1930s, would refuse to make a decision at a meeting if no one could argue a strong case against what was being proposed. He felt that if no one had any objections to what was being decided, it was because they had not thought long and hard enough about the question under consideration.

Alfred Sloan understood that the best ideas — along with the best decisions — are forged in the crucibles of healthy conflict. If there are no objections leading up to a decision, then either people just aren’t trying hard enough or your team isn’t working on hard enough problems. Clear thinking, innovation, and good decisions depend on diverse perspectives and opposing points of view. 

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Black dominoes falling against a blue background

Influencing Change: I Can’t Hear You

July 19, 2019

Change is hard. Influencing change is even harder. Sometimes — when we are trying to lead, or influence, or help someone grow — it can be baffling to see people stuck, unclear on what to do or unwilling to move ahead.

We may explain every way from Sunday and still they don’t get it.

The reality is, something is clear to us because we understand it. For someone who doesn’t understand, they can’t even hear what we are saying. The german writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, a person only hears what they understand. He was right.

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Stylized status report with three bullet points

A Weekly Status Report: Just Do It!

July 18, 2019

To be successful you must be visible, and that means people in your orbits know what you’re working on. In particular, what does your boss think you’re working on? Control the message. Status reports are the way to do it.

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Two Caucasian women arguing and distrusting each other

Conflict At The Office? A Simple Start to Fixing It.

July 16, 2019

Friction is a part of life. Without it, the world would fall apart. Without friction between physical objects, your car tires wouldn’t grip the road and your shoelaces would not stay tied. The world holds together because we have learned to harness friction when we need it and minimize it when we don’t.

Friction exists in human relationships as well. Unfortunately, instead of harness it, we tend to ignore it.

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2x2 grid of pastel colors

Build The Team: Alignment vs. Results

July 13, 2019

What do you do if you have someone on your team who produces great results but isn’t exactly a “team-player?” Do you have a prima donna or a lone-wolf on your team? Is there one team member who produces great results but comes up short on the category of “works and plays well with others?”

Teams are complicated organisms, propelled by the energy and interpersonal dynamics of the members.

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Blank name tag

What do you do?

July 12, 2019

Imagine a scenario where you are meeting for someone for the first time. If you live in America, there is a good chance that the conversational exchange will go something like this:

An opening volley of small talk …

A bit more small talk …

Something about the weather …

And then someone will inevitably say … (wait for it …)

“So, what do you do?”

How do you answer the question, “What do you do?”

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A road diverging in a foggy woods.

Beware the Sirens

July 10, 2019

Discipline is choosing between what you want now … and what you want most.

We are on cruise control most of the time in our lives, unconsciously choosing what we want in the moment, not even realizing we could make a deeper choice. This article uses the mythical Sirens to help us get clear on what we want most in life. Strap yourself to the mast of your ship if you must, but develop the discipline to choose in every moment what you want most over the endless stream of temptations that you think you want now.

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The question "What is Culture?" written in chalk on a blackboard.

What is Culture Anyway?

July 8, 2019

When it comes to building great organizations, just about everyone would agree: culture is important. Culture is the heart and soul of an organization. When we hire people, we hire for “fit” into our culture. There are even companies who have Chief Culture Officers. And, of course, there’s the ever-popular trope that Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.

But what is culture anyway? If it’s so doggone important, how do we know what we’re looking for? And how, perchance, might we shape and build the culture that we want?

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An introverted man on the left and an extraverted man on the right

Where Do You Think? A Key Difference Between Introverts & Extroverts

July 5, 2019

There are many contrasting and complimentary differences between introverts and extraverts: where we get our energy, what stimulates us, how we feel about small or big groups, to name but a few. The contrasts are rich and numerous. However, as a long-time Myers-Briggs practitioner, I find that the most defining characteristics of the introvert / extravert spectrum is where people think.

In general, extraverts tend to think externally; they need to verbalize their thoughts to think. Thoughts are actually formed as they are verbalized. They speak to think.

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