Articles

Pictogram of two rowers rowing towards the left

Continuous Improvement: It’s Not Just for Processes Anymore

June 9, 2020

Continuous Improvement” is a mantra for just about all areas of our businesses and — if we’re ambitious — our lives. Companies make huge investments in everything from lean manufacturing to agile development methodologies knowing that the best way to make things better is through steady and continuous improvement. We reengineer our business processes to have feedback loops so we can learn from what we have done and build on those learnings.

Learn. Improve. Repeat.

It’s a no-brainer, right? The relentless pursuit of perfection, as Lexus would say. Everything is fair game. Nothing is exempt from the beneficent outcomes of continuous improvement…

Well, almost nothing.

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The word "Mentor" written in different colored chalk on a chalk board

Mentors are everywhere, if we but know where to look.

June 8, 2020

Success can be elusive. The building blocks of success are subtle and nuanced. For those who have made it big, the real reasons for their success are rarely the things they remember and write about.

This is where mentors come in.

In our quest for growth, progress, and success, we have this latent desire for someone who will take us under their wing and co-pilot our journey from the mailroom to the corner office. Or, more realistically, we imagine a relationship with a mentor who meets with us once or twice a month over a long period of time and imparts wisdom like a college professor working through a syllabus.

It doesn't work that way.

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Extraverted Man

Debunking the myth that extraverts make better networkers

November 25, 2019

The world is awash in myths and bad advice about networking. The most frustrating of all might be the myths that involve the notion of extraversion, often prodding those of us of the introvert persuasion to “just be more extraverted.” While it’s absolutely true that you must be visible to be successful, building professional relationships in a meaningful way is infinitely more nuanced than simply being more extraverted.

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How to Craft a Great Résumé / LinkedIn Profile

November 6, 2019

Hiring managers don’t really care what you’ve done. They may ask about it, but it’s not what they’re trying to figure out. What they care about is what you’ve learned and what you’re ready for. Here’s how spell those out in your work history.

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Hand drawn steps with the steps in a hiring decision.

The Evolution of a (Hiring) Decision

September 18, 2019

From the perspective of the hiring manager, finding the right person to fill a job opening can be an arduous process. When we’re on the candidate side of the table, we lose sight of this complexity. Our goal is to get a job and, as they say in baseball, we “swing for the fences” at every step. We say things like “I would love to work here” before we know much at all about the role, the team, the company, or the compensation. We confuse our end game (get a job) with the incremental objective of moving forward in the interview process. We allow our primary goal to blind us to incremental goals.

The key is to move yourself along the process one step at a time.

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New Job starting day or date circled on a calendar with a red marker

Got a Job Offer? Your Start Date May Be Earlier Than You Think

July 29, 2019

Whether it’s with a new company or a new role within your existing organization, new positions are tremendous opportunities to leap forward in your career. However, beware that you and the hiring manager may have very different ideas as to your actual start date.

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Man in a suit, palm up, gesturing stop.

Good Boss / Bad Boss

July 27, 2019

Good bosses matter. The context you create for your top talent can mark the difference between a mediocre and a top performer. At one point in my career I went from being ranked a mediocre performer by the worst boss I ever had to being in the top 10% by the best boss I ever had. I was working just as hard for both bosses. The only thing that changed was my boss.

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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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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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