Entries by gmader

Develop Your Warrior Muscle (Part 1)

Every day we are faced with numerous circumstances and situations over which we have no control. However, we can always control who we’re going to be in those moments and how we’ll react to each situation. The choice is yours: You can deal with problems like a Worrier (i.e., by being a victim, blaming others, and making excuses for yourself). Or you can deal with problems like a Warrior, meaning you accept and own the reality and approach problems head on. Worriers tend to complain. Warriors avoid complaining, because they understand that even when their complaints are valid, focusing on them is a waste of time. Doing so only weakens them and makes them smaller […]

Building a Team of Warriors Starts with YOU

If you find yourself leading a group of people who are locked into that negative, cynical, victim mentality, how do you shift it? How can you not only avoid becoming mired in the negativity, but actually change it? In other words, how do you help your team transition from Worriers to Warriors? The attitude and mindset of any organization or team, no matter how large or small, is always a reflection of its leader’s mindset and attitude. If the leader is a Worrier, the team will follow suit. If the leader is a Warrior, he/she will naturally create the same environment for his/her team. In order to transform a negative environment, you must lead by […]

Do You Have a Team of Warriors … or Worriers?

Even the most technologically-advanced visionaries are reminded that people are still irreplaceable. I work with teams that are located in one city, where everyone works on the same floor of the same building, and yet they don’t trust each other or collaborate well together. I also work with globally-dispersed teams who rarely see each other in person, and yet they function with high levels of trust, purpose, collaboration, and intimacy. So, what determines the effectiveness of team dynamic? At the simplest level, it boils down to people’s attitudes, mindsets, and dedication to the game, as well as their relationships to themselves and their colleagues. We all have our own unique style and brand – a […]

The Untapped Goldmine Of Gratitude

The research is in, and when it comes to employee engagement, recognition is a key factor. During strong economies or when companies are experiencing great success, most leaders feel that they have the wherewithal, resources and ability to invest in recognizing and rewarding the work their people do. This includes pay increases, bonuses and other merit-based incentives. It also includes indirect compensation – such as training programs, events, offsite meetings, and career development. When times are tough, however, companies tend to cut back in all these areas, and employees become frustrated because they (and their work) are not being recognized. However, in both tough and successful times, there is a goldmine of appreciation that most […]

When It Comes To Failure, Choose Your Point Of View

Life is a conversation. Things happen, and we have interpretations about them. That’s the way it works. For example, two people going through the same challenging circumstance or event can have completely different takes on the situation. One might be very upset and have the following reaction to a particular “failure”: That was horrible. I told you so. We shouldn’t have done that. However, another person, when faced with the same situation, might just smile and say: That could have been worse! That was tough, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We stayed in this together and became closer because of it. Both reactions – negative and positive – are valid, but they […]

We’re Halfway Through 2013—But Did You Ever Really Complete 2012?

There’s a distinct difference between ending something and completing it. Events in the physical world have a beginning, middle and end to them – whether we like it or not. We get older. Another year passes. And our lives keep moving forward, towards an eventual ending point. Similarly, there is a physical rhythm to our professional year that is beyond our control. In a way, we’re passengers in time. The year ends, a new year begins, and the sand in the hourglass keeps trickling down. Completion is different. Completion is a mindset, a paradigm, and a way of viewing our efforts, achievements, successes and failures in the most empowering way. We have no control over […]

Should You Axe Your Meeting Agenda?

If you ask the smartest and most experienced leaders what’s one thing that makes their meetings successful — most will tell you it’s having a clear agenda. But contrary to this popular point of view, we regularly see off-sites, strategy sessions and team meetings being held hostage by an agenda — rather than liberated by it. Here’s why. When a meeting is oriented around an agenda, the focus becomes making sure that all the topics listed are talked about in the time they have been allotted. This means that if item X is scheduled to be discussed for 15 minutes, from 10:15 to 10:30, that’s what happens. But what if item X turns out to […]

Balancing The Budget And Employee Morale

When times get tough, most executives move to cut costs, reduce resources and shore up company savings. And while focusing on financial issues in the short term is important, this is often done at the expense of the long-term health of the organization. In a weak economy, it’s of critical importance that leaders practice “giving back” to the company culture, even as things are being taken away. In our experience, it’s deflating and demoralizing to a workforce when things are only being taken away and nothing is being put back in. Leaders often underestimate the level of upset brewing among staff and even misread the fact that people are not complaining to mean that they […]

How To Cultivate Strategic Thinking In Your Company

It’s very easy today for people to become paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. This places a greater demand on leaders to keep staff focused on the prospect of a brighter, yet plausible, future. This week’s post examines how managers can do this by helping their staff learn to think strategically about the company and their own careers. We have found that encouraging strategic thinking from the top of the organization to the shop floor is largely a matter of executive action and intention. In our experience, when executives make strategy development an activity exclusive to the top members of the organization, they discourage strategic thinking. Specifically, executives and managers stifle strategic thinking by not actively […]

Collaboration In A Matrix Environment

Most organizations today have some kind of matrix structure in place, rather than the traditional hard silos of the past. The challenge in a matrix environment is getting people to be accountable and work effectively outside of their function or division. The problem fundamentally is one of ownership. Not knowing who owns what, whom one really reports to and what authority one really has often becomes an excuse for not taking responsibility for producing results. People avoid accountability for the end goal of improving bottom-line profits by claiming conflicting priorities or lack of cooperation as the cause. “They” (meaning the other departments) “won’t come to our meetings to help us,” is the chronic complaint often […]

Different Behavior Means Better Meetings

In our last blog post on this topic, we talked about the difference between a meeting that is organized around an agenda and one that is oriented around outcomes. In today’s post, we further explore this topic by looking at the impact each type of meeting has on team behavior. The fundamental difference between an agenda-driven vs. a results-driven meeting is that they elicit two very distinct types of behaviors from team members. When a meeting is oriented around topics and an agenda, it brings about a greater degree of opinion swapping. For example: Someone expresses his or her point of view on a new product, provoking someone else to state his or hers. That […]

Micro-management Is The Enemy of Strategic Thinking

In last week’s blog post, we discussed the way that leaders’ actions impact the cultivation of strategic thinking within their companies. This week, we continue the theme by examining the role that micromanaging plays in the process. Heed the warning. Leaders who micromanage create an environment of compliance where people won’t think strategically and don’t act as partners. Micromanaging suffocates strategic thinking because it forces people to interact at a tactical level only. It requires people to protect their world, and a huge amount of their energy just goes into how to survive and keep their boss off their back. One research study on micromanagement by Dr. Robert Hurley PhD at Fordham University found that […]