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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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Sonar rings radiating out in the upper right quadrant

A Quick Guide to Informational Interviews

July 3, 2019

How do you decide what direction to head next in your career? Would you like to be more visible inside your company? How do you increase your chances of getting a job offer inside of a company that interests you?

Over the course of my speaking and client engagements I find myself frequently recommending informational interviews as a tactic to learn, as well as gain exposure for your career. Informational interviews are a great way to explore opportunities, discover mentors, and get information about a field of work from someone who has firsthand knowledge.

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Three Reasons You Should Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Up To Date

June 29, 2019

While LinkedIn has become the database of record for our careers, it is so much more than that. It is the one place on the Internet where we make our professional declaration of who we are and what we do. As such, it is extremely useful in building and maintaining a rich network of professional relationships. A current and complete profile makes it easy for friends and network connections to remember where you’ve been and what you’re working on.

In Helpful: A Guide to Life, Careers, and the Art of Networking, I write about eight reasons to keep your profile up to date. Here are three of them.

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Four Questions For Your Direct Reports

June 26, 2019

As you grow as a leader you find yourself spending more time developing people and less time knee-deep in the weeds. Here are four questions to ask your direct reports on a regular basis. If you do so, they will evolve in their ability to deliver results and you will develop as a leader.

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Cartoonish line drawing of a male eagerly raising his hand.

Five Questions To Ask Your Boss

June 25, 2019

Want a better relationship with your boss? It’s easier than you think to create a great working relationship. The secret is effective communications and a mutual understanding of what you expect from each other.

Ask these questions on a regular basis, ensuring that you and your boss are on the same page. Try inserting one or two of them into your one-on-one meetings with your boss — in the most open-ended way you can. Let your boss surprise you!

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Inside Networking: How and Why to Build a Network Inside Your Organization

June 5, 2019

How visible are you at work? Chances are good that you’re making one of most common career mistakes there is — pouring a disproportionate about of effort into doing good work and not taking enough time to get to know other people.

I frequently give talks on careers and networking, and I’ve found many people fail to recognize one of the most powerful opportunities for networking that exists: networking within their own companies. 

This is like wearing a cloak of invisibility.

Networking inside your company is some of the most important groundwork that you can do — and not just for yourself. Building a web of strong relationships up, down, and across your organization is invaluable for any projects and tasks that you could hope to accomplish, especially inside large organizations.

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

How to Search for a Job

July 18, 2017

Nick Corcodilos is one of my favorite sources for advice on job hunting. Leveraging his experience as a best-in-class headhunter, he lends his considerable talents to pulling back the curtain on the absurdity of corporate hiring — and the job-search industrial complex that has risen around it. He doesn’t pull punches and he’s almost always good for a smile or two as well. His weekly newsletter is a never-miss for me.

This week he continues his insightful critique of LinkedIn with illuminating examples of how people commit career suicide in a futile attempt to find a job.

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Diversity in Counsel … Unity in Command

March 14, 2014

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. 

Healthy conflict can be a tense arena. It takes bold leaders to create a safe space where everyone can be heard. And it takes confident followers to speak their mind even when they hold a minority point of view.

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Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. Simple rules for great meetings and teams

March 7, 2014

Working together is hard. Running an effective meeting can be even harder. One of the challenges is that everyone wants to be heard. To make it even more challenging, not everyone speaks up.

Setting a few ground rules is one of the surest ways to get everyone engaged while producing amazing results. Let it be known that you expect full engagement and everyone to be pulling in the same direction. My favorite set of ground rules comes out of the “New Games” movement from the 70’s. Their motto was Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. I can’t think of a better set of guiding principles for great meetings and vibrant teams.

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