Entries by gmader

How’s your team health? Time for a checkup?

The CEO, of a global service company I worked with, focused only on the bottom line of the business and didn’t put a lot of focus on the ‘softer’ side of the business, including building his own leadership team. However, when he identified that his team was not working effectively together and he felt that this was now negatively impacting the company’s performance, he decided to invest the time to train his leaders to operate as a high-performance team. When he started this training with his leadership team their trust was low, leaders were engaged in back-channel chatter and avoiding addressing the business issues, as well as their own inner-personal issues and conflicts, in an […]

Are you managing your objectives or are they managing you?

Aspiring people have personal and professional goals as do most driven teams. However, having goals is a double-edged sword. Goals could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you relate to them. Why? We create goals in order to focus, compel and motivate ourselves and others. If we are ambitious, we typically take on bold and aggressive ones. We don’t stop there; we typically create a detailed execution plan with strategies and milestones. Then we delve into implementing our goals and it doesn’t take long before we are so immersed in the roller coaster of our day-to-day life that we forget that we are the ones who came up with our goals in […]

Can your team handle the tough conversations?

You could say that any team is as strong as its ability to handle and engage in sensitive and tough conversations. The easy ones are easy. Two types of conversation are typically sensitive and tough for people to have – giving or receiving critical or negative feedback, and any topic that requires them to put their own personal feelings, egos, pride and/or agendas aside for the greater good of their company or team. It could be something more complex such as deciding which team to invest in, which team member to promote or re-allocating resources and budgets from one leader’s team to another. It could be something as simple as giving honest feedback to colleagues, […]

Are you afraid to be articulate and clear?

Would you stay on an airplane that was about to take-off if the pilot said the following as part of their pre-flight announcement: “This is your captain speaking. We are about to take off, we’re just waiting for the fuel truck to finish refueling us. They had an issue with fuel earlier on, but I am confident they’ll give us enough fuel for our flight… In addition, as you can see the weather isn’t great out there. Nevertheless, we have a strong aircraft that can withstand the storm, let’s just hope we don’t encounter any lightning…” Would you put your brain, heart, eyes or any part of your body under the knife of a surgeon […]

Stop stating the obvious and start stating your stand!

I was attending a senior Executive team meeting where the topic of the discussion was consolidating the roles and responsibilities of a few key functions in the company in order to drive greater scale, efficiency and cost reduction. The company was commercially successful. However, it was struggling to keep its historical leading market position in the growing competitive landscape, given its high-cost structure. There were layoffs a few months earlier and the leader’s projection showed that if they didn’t come up with more efficient and wise ways to do more with less, they would have to do it again. Needless to say, the stakes were high as the company had to shed some overhead cost […]

Can you tell the difference between Statements and Questions?

I am sure that if I asked you if you can tell the difference between statements and questions you would be offended by the mere question and respond with “Of Course!” However, based on my experience of working with hundreds of teams in many organizations, I have to tell you that people don’t know the difference between the two. You would think that people understand that the appropriate and effective thing to do in conversations and meetings is to “Answer questions” and “Acknowledge statements“. However, in reality, most people tend to “Answer statements” and “Acknowledge questions.” To be honest, people often simply “Ignore questions“. If you want your meetings to take less time, move faster […]

Don’t let past failures stifle your future success

It is a well-known fact that most change initiatives outright fail. Most initiatives start with high expectations and hope for a better future, but because of a lack of follow through and staying the course, they end up producing the opposite effect; managers and employees at all levels who are even more skeptical and cynical about any future prospect of change, including their inability to make a difference in shaping a better future. This is the starting condition of most change initiatives. I see it in most companies. Take for example the regional senior leadership team of a large global manufacturing company that was operating in a very competitive and commoditized market in which their […]

Are you a good communicator?

Most people are really not great communicators. They assume that others see things the way they do, and/or they know what is expected of them, so they either avoid communicating or they communicate in an implicit and ineffective way. Even those who do communicate often, do it in a much less direct and effective way then they think. I was coaching two very seasoned and successful executives in the trust and communication between them. Each of them commanded a very large and critical division. Their divisions depended on each other for their success and the overall success of the company. Because these two executives didn’t trust each other they also didn’t communicate in a transparent […]

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, […]