Workplace Wisdom

19 Dec 2017

How to Choose an Inspiring Theme for 2018

Do you know anyone who can’t wait for this year to end? I certainly do, and who can blame them? So many people have had enough of 2017 and its disruptions, from family and work troubles to political turmoil and natural disasters. Some of them are looking forward by making New Year’s resolutions or following the growing trend of designating a single “word for the year” as a way to express a desire or set an intention. Resolutions can be […]

21 Nov 2017

8 Simple Questions Help You See What’s Ahead for Your Business

The other day, when I ran into a mid-level manager I know, he told me that the technical services firm he works for has been acquired twice in the last few years. We talked about some of the challenges of being the acquired company, including this major one: By the second acquisition, no one in power actually cares about who you are or what your real business is; by then, they’re only concerned about how much money the firm can […]

03 Oct 2017

3 Powerful, Practical Fundamentals to Help Change Stick

Change may be a constant in life, but in business, many planned change initiatives either peter out or don’t even take hold in the first place. According to a Towers Watson study, only slightly more than half of all change initiatives succeed, with only 25 percent sticking for the long term, mostly because of a variety of management failures. I consider this a problem of oversimplification — the result of the all-too-common “just do it,” “just say no,” “just tell […]

29 Aug 2017

2 Never-Fail Rules to Make Change Initiatives Successful

Last week I facilitated a senior staff meeting that focused on silo-busting and improving cross-departmental collaboration. The group leader wrote to me afterwards to say he was very happy with how things went, and asked me to help support the process of carrying the work forward. In advance of our next get-together, I sent him recommendations on how to proceed with his team to give the new initiatives the best chance of success. I’m sharing here what I told the […]

06 Jun 2017

In What Ways Is Your Work Like a Cocktail?

It’s a rare thing to chuckle your way through a book on management and leadership. But I was so entertained by The Perfect Mix: Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned as a Bartender by Helen Rothberg, that I had to remind myself to pay attention to the leadership content. This soon-to-be-released book reads as if it’s one part short story, one part memoir, and one part you-can-do-it handbook. Throughout the book, Rothberg imparts major lessons on how to manage […]

16 May 2017

What to Do When Priorities Are in Conflict

Expand your market share. Increase your margin. Reorganize your team. Given the constant drumbeat of new and changing initiatives, it’s reasonable to wonder which priorities are truly the most important. I hear about this from clients with great frequency: “We just can’t get to everything.” “We’re not making enough progress.” “We do a new strat plan every few years, but we don’t seem to have moved any further.” Try Not to Lose Your Way It’s hard to work on more […]

02 May 2017

How to Counteract Two Hidden Problems of Developing Leaders

Clients often ask me to design or participate in their leadership development programs. These programs require significant investment, so senior leaders view them as a way to groom and strengthen high-potential employees — the ones they hope will become change-makers and their eventual successors. But even development programs meant for high-potential employees can sag in the middle: Maybe only a few of the planned courses are delivered, employees complain that their time isn’t being well spent, or the company doesn’t […]

20 Dec 2016

6 Books to Make You Feel New and Improved in 2017

The good life, according to Socrates, is highly examined, and I think it’s definitely enhanced by lots and lots of reading. If you value human development, personal growth, and self-mastery a fraction as much as I do, here’s fresh grist for your mill. These six books are intensely practical: They propose concrete things you can do to make your experience of — and impact on — the real world even better than what you do naturally. In addition to providing […]

22 Nov 2016

The Benefits and Limits of Gratitude

One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving is how American it is, in the best sense of the word. Americans of every stripe and background can celebrate the opportunity to express gratitude. And they can enjoy accompanying that gratitude with feasting — whether it’s the classic spread of turkey, stuffing, gravy, root vegetables, and pie, or a blend of the traditional menu with the foods of their country of origin, creating an innovative, tasty fusion of old and new cultures. […]

05 Oct 2016

How to Help Micromanagers Get Better Results

Some managers who’ve risen through the ranks become overly controlling once they begin to exercise authority. They squelch subordinates’ ability to take risks, develop, and contribute, both individually and collectively. Here are two examples I’ve worked with recently: The Dictatorial Isolationist Anastasia is a transactional, concrete kind of boss. Relationships and fresh thinking don’t impress her. She relates quality of performance to hours worked, visible effort, and immediate responsiveness. Appropriate outcomes aren’t sufficient; she only cares about whether team members […]

 

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