Entries by gmader

It takes more than understanding change to achieve it

I was invited to help a large global service company transform its bureaucratic, siloed and slow culture into an agile, cohesive and innovative one. In order to learn about this company, I interviewed around thirty managers and employees at all levels. They all pretty much told me the same things and highlighted the same issues, challenges, and obstacles that were getting in the way of greater performance and change. They all acknowledged that the organization was too siloed, that managers were too focused on their own area and not enough on the greater success. They all pointed at trust, alignment and communication issues between functions and businesses that were causing tensions, conflicts and hurting effectiveness […]

Don’t underestimate the power of intention

I know too many people who don’t have the reality they want personally and/or professionally and they constantly complain about it, blame others or the circumstances for it and overall give excuses for it. In fact, when I asked one of them the question “How are you doing?” their response was: “Same shit different day!” I have heard different variations on that theme from others… Contrast that with a real-life story (no names) with two chapters: Chapter One: A sales team that was struggling with making their sales targeted numbers for a long time wanted a break. They had enough of wallowing in their sorrows. They wanted a breakthrough; they wanted to start winning and […]

Stop wasting time in worthless meetings

I was working with two different organizations that were going through significant growth and change. One company had completed its second acquisition of a large competitor and was in the midst of integrating teams, products and strategies to optimize this significant change and growth. The other company had done such a great job in their core business of selling machines and hardware that they were expanding their market reach into adjacent areas of software development and consulting. This change required new capabilities, skills, processes and mindset. Needless to say, in both cases, there were many complex details for the leadership teams to debate, make decisions about and iron out both in their growth and change […]

Do not be afraid of the roller coaster of taking a stand

Taking a stand is like putting on a fresh pair of glasses. You start seeing things more clearly. I was working with the middle managers of a global technology-based company. This group was suffering from a lack of internal cohesion and trust, plus communication issues between its members. These negative dynamics had been going on for so long that it was hard for the managers to tell if their trust issues were coming from personal relationship issues or from the fact that businesses and functions were simply not working together cohesively and effectively. However, one thing was clear to the managers – that their issues were hurting productivity, business results and morale in their wider […]

If you want your people to live the values, live them yourself!

Every modern organization has cultural values that outline the type of culture and behaviors the CEO and his or her senior executives want to drive in their organization. The CEO and senior team are typically the ones who stand on the stage and share the values. Most CEOs only mention the values a few times a year in the formal company-wide events. In many cases, this happens because their human resource leader or communications manager adds it in their presentation deck. Some CEOs really care about the values. They see them as their personal endeavor; perhaps the legacy they want to leave behind them. These CEOs find any opportunity to mention, repeat and reference the […]

How to sustain your excitement with the change you want?

Have you ever attended a really powerful and great strategic planning meeting at work where at the end of the meeting you felt truly excited, inspired and hopeful about the new future direction? But then you returned back to your day-to-day work environment and it wasn’t long before the routine, workload, churn and perhaps cynicism around you set back in and you lost that sense of optimism and excitement that you had in that meeting? So how do you sustain your excitement toward a new direction or the change you want to bring about? Here are a few practical suggestions: Speak to as many people as you can about it. The more people you will […]

Are you dealing with successes and setbacks effectively?

Whenever you take on a major improvement, breakthrough or transformation in your team or company, it is inevitable that along the way you will have successes and setbacks.  The bigger you play, the bigger your successes and/or setbacks will be. The only way to minimize the setbacks is to play smaller. The only way to increase the successes is to play bigger.  You will have to determine what is more important for you. When it comes to successes and/or setbacks mindset is everything. I was in a meeting with a team that had taken on a big change initiative. We were meeting after two months to review progress and firm up the plan forward. At […]

Is “good” good enough for you?

Here’s my high-level assessment of corporate and business teams: Many, perhaps most are dysfunctional or mediocre. Some are good. Few are excellent. Unfortunately – this report card doesn’t directly correlate with business results. I say “unfortunately” because pretty much every team talks about wanting to become more effective and some version of moving from “good to great” yadda, yadda, yadda.  However, for most teams this desire lives as a “good idea”, not a “must do”. If only great teams produced great results it would be easier for the dysfunctional and mediocre, and even good teams to confront and own the consequence of their inadequacy. But, things don’t work that way and there are a lot […]

Stop focusing on lagging indicators!

I was supporting a technology company that was going through tremendous growth and change. They had ripped apart and restructured their entire business and they were working very hard on integrating the new pieces. Even though they were going through all this change they were given no relief from achieving their bold sales numbers. What made things worse is that they had fallen short in their few previous quarters. Needless to say, the pressure and stress were very high. Everyone was focused on achieving the next quarter’s results. But, a growing number of leaders were becoming frustrated. They felt that the short-term focus was part of the problem. They believed that the team’s single focus […]

Stop Prioritizing and start Promising!

You would think that getting your priorities straight would be the answer to the overwhelming, stressful burden of too many commitments, too little time and scarce resources.  Well, you may want to think again! Setting priorities is definitely a solution, but it isn’t the most powerful and effective one. You write down everything you are supposed to do, want to do, said you would do and have to do. You then take that list and through some form of screening criteria, rank each in order of importance, sense of opportunity, urgency or obligation. You then tackle each item on your to-do list in order of importance starting with the “A” priorities then, as time and capacity […]

Is your team’s communication candid, transparent and courageous?

Most teams are not good at having the tough, uncomfortable conversations, even if it is necessary for a really important cause. Furthermore, most people are not good at giving honest and direct feedback and coaching to others, especially if it involves negative criticisms and feedback, even if it would make a big difference. Even when team members do attempt to say what’s really on their minds, they often say things in such a diplomatic, vague and sugarcoated way that the impact of their message is lost in its tepid delivery. At times being diplomatic can be an effective approach. It may allow you to address a delicate problem with a teammate in a more sensitive […]

How to build a High-Performance Team

A lot has been written about this topic. I would like to keep it simple.   For me a high-performance team is: A team that is truly cohesive, aligned and trusting. Everyone has each other’s back and people feel they are in it together. Team members address and discuss any topic, no matter how sensitive or difficult – in an open, honest, authentic, courageous, effective and respectful way. People give feedback, coaching and hold each other to account. Everyone is comfortable taking a stand and being explicit about what they are committing to. And lastly – there is no tolerance for gossip, blame, and negative conversations. So, how do you develop a High-Performance team? Here is […]