Entries by gmader

Do you love your job?

Early in my career, I was facilitating a manager meeting at a manufacturing plant. There were about 100 people in the session and the managers were going around introducing themselves, one-by-one they stood up and shared a few personal things about themselves. At the far-right corner of the hall sat a supervisor, from simply observing his demeanor and everyone’s attention on him I could tell that he was one of the factory veterans. At his turn, he stood up and introduced himself using the following words: “My name is Bill. I don’t remember how many years I have been here, but I have 64 months to go!” and he sat down. There was then awkward […]

Are you tolerating toxicity and unproductivity?

In order for a leadership team of any company to truly operate at a high-performance level, the leaders need to have the courage to look at themselves in the mirror, face reality and take stock of what is working and what is not working in their own team dynamic. The ‘working’ part is easier than the ‘not working’ for obvious reasons. There are always challenges, tensions, and issues between teams and between leaders. At times, teams feel frustrated by the fact that other teams are not listening or providing the support they need. Some leaders feel their counterparts are complacent, arrogant or simply incompetent and not adding value. A few recent examples I have encountered […]

How good is your strategy?

I was supporting the senior leadership team of a global service provider in taking their game to a new level. As part of my preparation for the work with this firm, I attended a PowerPoint presentation of the global vision, mission, and strategy of this firm. It was spectacular both visually and in terms of its content. It was simple, clever, it used catchy phrases and it incorporated a few cool visual effects. It was one of the best I have seen (and I have seen many), I was impressed! Then I started the work with the team, and I cannot begin to tell you how dysfunctional these leaders were. They had significant trust, cohesion […]

Are you failing often enough?

Strange question, you may think, and you are probably right. I don’t mean it literally. However, I am sure you would agree that people who make bolder decisions and choices; people who go for it ‘all out’ tend to have a higher risk of failing. In fact, the bigger you play in any area if you fail you will most likely fail bigger. In contrast, people who play small and safe tend to avoid failures and if they do their failure is much smaller. So, perhaps the right question is: “Are you playing big enough?” What’s big enough? There is no objective definition or metric. Each one of us has to determine that for ourselves. However, […]

Do you know when to ’empower’ and when to ‘command and control’?

In most organizations, a leader who manages in a command and control style is frowned upon and branded as an uncaring tyrant who doesn’t listen to people and doesn’t empower them. While, people’s negative reaction to a top-down command and control leadership style is understandable and most often legitimate, there are times in which a command and control approach is the most appropriate and effective. In fact, at times it is necessary. Take as an example the new CEO of a large global financial service organization. When he took the helm of his organization, he soon realized that he inherited a bigger mess than he anticipated. The financial performance of the company had been on […]

Do you have an attitude of gratitude?

My mother taught me to be polite and say “Please” and “Thank you” when interacting with others. I am sure yours did too. However, there is a much greater potential power in acknowledging, recognizing, praising and thanking people than good manners. Committed people who aspire for excellence tend to often be too self-critical and also too critical of others. We tend to focus on what isn’t working, what is wrong, broken, bad and negative more than on the good things. The critical perspective is often legitimate – meaning, people and teams could do better – and if you are level headed about criticizing yourself in an authentic way without taking it personally, it could be […]

Do you talk about your issues or not?

When it comes to communication and conversation, especially about the more sensitive, touchy and uncomfortable topics there are two types of leaders: the “Let’s talk about it…” type and the “Let’s not talk about it and it will go away…”. Let’s be frank, no one looks forward to, or enjoys discussing the tough topics such as “What is not working?”, “Who is not doing their job properly?” or “Who is accountable for the failure in results?“. People especially don’t like to talk about these topics when they know or suspect that their people are frustrated with, or blaming their leadership, performance or behavior. However, some leaders seem to be braver, more mature or more responsible […]

Are you open to your possibilities?

If you don’t believe that some future goal is actually achievable or likely to happen, would you still put your heart into it and go after it? I am sure your answer is NO! People only really wholeheartedly pursue the aspirations that they believe are achievable and doable. I was trying to convince a client that he can achieve the promotion he wanted to VP in the short time frame he wanted, but he was very skeptical about his odds for success as he could not see any apparent openings for a VP role in the foreseeable future. He kept telling me “There is no way!” This was his outlook and mindset about his chances to […]

Are you controlling or empowering?

I don’t think I have ever met an executive, leader or manager who didn’t pronounce the importance of teamwork and collaboration, then express their commitment to building that environment around them. Unfortunately, I have met quite a few executives, leaders, and managers who said it but when the moment of truth arrived, they were too closeminded, proud, self-righteous or afraid to let go of their control and truly invest in, promote and leverage the collective power of their team. These leaders when in public took every opportunity to express platitudes about “we are stronger together”, “the power of teams” and “feedback is a gift“. However, when their team members wanted to have real, authentic and […]

Never forget the power and magic of Courage

W.H. Murray, the leader of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition that pioneered the path to the top of Mt. Everest, knew something about courage. He shared his experience in a known quote, which I really love: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That, the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and […]

Are you having courageous conversations?

I’d like to share three true stories with you… True Story One: In a very large global financial service organization there was a strategic conflict between one of the lines of business and the regions, who were selling its products. The regions felt they were different. They knew their territory and customers best, so they wanted to control the sales process. But the business unit believed their products were meant to be sold through a consistent global program, which only they could do. Needless to say, this caused a lot of conflicts, tensions, and stress among the senior leaders. It was causing even more anxiety at the middle managers level as they felt stuck between […]

If you don’t have a clear outcome and someone who owns it, you have nothing!

I was supporting a group of senior leaders in a global technology company to create breakthrough projects in a few key areas of their business in which they wanted to elevated performance. As a kickoff, I asked each of the project teams to present their ‘Starting Point Status’. Different projects were at different stages of maturity. However, they all shared a few common mistakes. One team outlined several initiatives, but it wasn’t clear what was the overarching outcome of their project.  So beyond the individual outcome of each initiative, I couldn’t tell if the initiatives they’d taken on were the right ones for this breakthrough project. Another team outlined the outcome of their project, but […]