Entries by gmader

The Power of Starting

Many years ago, I played the classical guitar. At the time I was even half-decent at it, and it brought me great pleasure. I stopped playing about 26 years ago, but about a year ago I picked it up again and I have been playing ever since. To be honest, it took a while between the time that I decided to start and the actual time that I started. I kept procrastinating the starting point because every time I intended to start playing negative thoughts came up about the challenge of starting again from scratch. Starting again as a beginner felt daunting, so I convinced myself to start another day, and this happened a few […]

Are you promoting ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking?

Most leaders and teams don’t seem to be good at thinking outside the box; thinking in new and different ways from the way they are accustomed to. Even when teams are engaged in conversations about improvement and change these conversations frequently have their roots in, “What have we done to date?” “What are our current resources and capabilities?” and “How do we measure up against others?”. The end game so often seems defined by some rearrangement of the same familiar stuff. As the saying goes: “Rearranging the deck seats on the Titanic” Even though the benchmark mania has somewhat passed in corporate America, for many companies the bar seems to still be set by other […]

Move your orientation from Activities to Outcomes, then Breakthroughs

I was participating in a performance review meeting with a successful division of a global technology company. In this meeting, the team members responsible for leading the key strategic initiatives were updating the entire management team on the status and progress of their initiatives. With slight variations, pretty much every presenter jumped almost immediately into the details of the metrics they are tracking, the status of these metrics and the activities their initiative team is involved with. None of the presenters provided any higher level context on the purpose and objectives of their initiative, or where they aim to take it. Based on these updates you could tell how efficient the team was at tracking […]

Why are leaders so afraid of facing issues?

I am all about empowering people and I do everything I can to ensure people always leave any work I do with them feeling more empowered, hopeful, enabled and energized than they came in. The dictionary defines empower as: Make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. It takes different approaches, methods and conversations at different times to empower different people. Sometimes you have to reinforce what people are naturally strong at and what they are doing well in order to empower them. Sometimes, this means reminding them of how great they are. However, at other times you may need to shake people up and help them confront […]

Are you able to unplug and disconnect?

I just returned from a successful winter vacation at a great beachside resort. I say “successful” because being the proud workaholic that I am I determine the success of my vacations on my ability to unplug, disconnect and truly rejuvenate. A long time ago I concluded that when I really want time off, I have to spend it in a place that supports that cause; a place where I don’t need to carry a wallet, buy food and drinks; a place that doesn’t have easy access to internet or internet at all. Unfortunately, in today’s digital era it is becoming increasingly challenging to find places that don’t have internet. We can’t even escape from it […]

What are you out to prove?

Being a leader means adopting a certain point of view about people, circumstances, opportunities and challenges. It means being oriented around perspectives and conversations that promote and generate new possibilities and effective action, rather than cynicism, resignation and excuses. It means always being the champion for “what’s possible” and “how can we make it work” rather than “why we can’t…” and “why it won’t work…”. Every point of view is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you ever noticed that when you have a point of view that something isn’t possible you always gather evidence and proof of your circumstances and environment to support and prove that point of view? And, if you change our mind, even […]

Are your commitments strong enough to justify your time?

Do you have a commitment to any of these things: To be healthy and fit? To advance at work? To have a nurturing relationship and/or family? Are you spending enough time doing the things you want and need to do in these areas in order to be as successful and happy as you would want? If not, are you one of those people who say: “I know, I have to find the time to exercise…” or “I have to make the time to spend with my family…”??? Too often I hear people give the excuse of “I don’t have the time…”, “I can’t find the time…” or “I need to make the time…” when they […]

Why is it so hard to integrate newly acquired organizations?

I read a staggering statistic which stated that upwards of 80 percent of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fail to fulfill the strategic goals that justified the merger and/or acquisition within the expected timeframe. What is even more shocking is that in many cases, the resulting organizations are less effective and less successful than the original two by themselves. My personal experience and observation have led me to believe that this repeated failure is almost always due to the fact that most teams and organizations focus almost exclusively on the content and process but they don’t invest enough time and effort on the cultural, personal and human aspects of their integration. This almost always leads to […]

Stay real and don’t be blinded by slogans and buzzwords…

The use of catchy slogans internally across organizations and even within individual functions is becoming ever more prevalent.  Slogans like: “Winning Together”, “New ideas. Better HR”, “We deliver results” and the like, are slogans we will all recognize. Similarly, buzzwords like “Empowerment”, “Accountability” and “Collaboration” also get liberally used, often without substance. Slogans and buzzwords in and of themselves are not bad. In fact, most of these represent healthy characteristics and direction. I understand the reasoning behind them. Everyone is overworked and under-resourced so leaders who want to energize, motivate and inspire their people are constantly looking for the latest fads; new messages, slogans and ways to infuse renewed energy and hope to the troops. […]

Be careful of the two-headed monster!

Accountability is one of these corporate concepts that could make a great difference in almost every aspect of any company’s culture, performance and business results. Unfortunately, in most organizations and teams ‘accountability’ is simply not practiced or effectively promoted and nurtured. In fact, in most organizations, there seems to be awkwardness when dealing with accountability. In some organizations accountability is not a big topic. People don’t bring it up and they don’t even expect it. This is simply because they don’t know how to approach it or bring it about. However, in most modern organizations people do bring up the topic of accountability on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the fact that the concept is being […]

Are you leading with power or force?

In my work with organizations, I meet many effective managers and executives who have a wide variety of leadership styles and personalities.  Some drive progress in a proactive way and others are more reactive. Some make things happen directly, while others talk a good game but only play it through others. Some are self-centered and selfish in their pursuit of results, while others are generous and kind. Some promote politics and fear around them when they get things done, while others get results by inspiring and motivating others to do their best. When it comes to driving results and making things happen there is a difference between leaders who lead with force and those who […]

Don’t stop while you are ahead

Most teams make the classic mistake of taking their foot off the gas in their change initiatives when things actually start to change. They commit to change, work hard to make changes and then at the most critical moment when things start to improve and change, they abandon the rigor, discipline and focus that brought them to the change in the first place. This is a typical human behavior that most or all of us are guilty of from time to time. How many of you can relate to the following example: You decide to lose weight and/or get into physical shape. You sign up to the gym, hire a personal trainer and perhaps even […]