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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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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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So, you think you can dance? The choreography of networking.

November 14, 2013

Think back to the last time you were at a wedding — or any event with a dance floor. There was no shortage of well-meaning people encouraging the wallflowers, “Come on … get out on the dance floor … it’ll be fun … you’ll have a good time.”

In our Western culture we just assume that everyone can dance. But when you look at the people on the dance floor you will see a wide spectrum of skill. There will be some who are excellent dancers, with a total command of their body and the room.

At the other end of the spectrum, there will be a few who can’t dance at all and are just flailing in loose approximation to the rhythm of the music. And then there will be people who think that they are good dancers but, in all honesty, are not.

And so it is with networking.

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Never Give Up!

September 2, 2013

Diana Nyad has just completed an amazing feat of endurance and perseverance. To try and put it into perspective, imagine going without sleep for 53 hours. Now imagine walking for 110 miles during those 53 hours. Finally, instead of walking, imagine swimming 110 miles in shark and jellyfish infested, open ocean during those 53 hours. It belies belief.  And yet, Diana has just accomplished this historic feat. It was her fifth attempt, trying first in…

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Lucky Breaks

August 26, 2013

Tony Danza’s break into television came out of left field. He was not an aspiring actor. Instead, he was an aspiring boxer. He was working out in a New York City gym when a producer for Taxi approached him and asked him if he wanted to be on television. The rest is history. Tony’s account of his adventure during the “Not My Job” section of this week’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is a delight. There is always an element of…

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Quote that reads: The ideal organization makes explicit efforts to transcend the dominant currents in its culture.

Great Places to Work

April 26, 2013

For years I have been refining my thinking on leadership and vibrant organizations into a model that I call “Cohesive Leadership.” This month, HBR published an article that validates and reinforces everything I believe in. Sweet…

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Apple corporate logo, black

Cohesive Leadership at Apple

February 27, 2013

I define a cohesive team as one that wants to work together, that is constantly learning how to work together, and focuses on leveraging the talents and strengths of every member of that team. I believe that Apple is lead by such a team.

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Back view of female swim coach, wearing COACH shirt, giving instruction to her swimmers

Two Kinds of People…

December 3, 2012

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who see a coach as a sign of weakness … and those who know that working with a coach is an avenue to greatness.

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The Creative Spirit

November 6, 2012

Max Weber said long ago that the Protestant ethic provided the underlying spirit of thrift, hard work, and efficiency that motivated the rise of early capitalism. In a similar fashion, the shared commitment to the creative spirit in all its many manifestations is what underpins the new creative ethos that powers our age. — Florida, Richard (2012-06-26). The Rise of the Creative Class–Revisited I am deeply enjoying the profound insights in Richard Florida’s updated classic The…

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People follow you because…

July 19, 2012

I believe, however, that pitches are won — and people are willing to follow you — not because you’ve twisted someone’s arm, but because people see that you understand them, that you’ve applied the time and the sensitivity to do so, and that you possess a special gift that can help them reach their heart’s desire. — Kevin Allen, Win the Pitch: Tips from Mastercard’s “Priceless” Pitchman

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