Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

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

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 […]

High-Performance Team

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 […]

Are you willing to go beyond your comfort zone for the good of the team?

I cannot tell you just how many times I have witnessed the following dynamic in organizations: Managers and employees sit around a meeting table, nodding in agreement as their leader explains the plan for a critical change initiative.  Once the meeting is over, people push back their chairs and drift back towards their desks.  As they congregate at the water cooler, they open up to each other: “What a pile of crap!”, “That’ll never happen!”, “I can hardly wait until the weekend!”. Within hours (or less…) these mischievous comments go viral throughout the organization and cynicism, sarcasm and resignation become rampant. As a result, people start paying lip service to the organizational mandate. Meanwhile, their […]

Why is the why so important?

I was working with a team inside of a large technology company that was going through a lot of organizational change. In fact, for the previous three years or so every year they had another big leadership role shift and following that there was always a corresponding reorganization and some layoffs. I could tell that people were getting weary of it all. Every wave of change left people somewhat disoriented and many repeatedly felt like they had to start building things all over again, which was a disheartening feeling. During my long-standing engagement with this team I had many opportunities to asked its leaders and managers to explain the reasoning behind, and purpose of the […]

Be careful what you wish for…

Be careful what you wish for…

A wise man once told me that there are two things that make people upset – when they don’t get what they want and when they do get what they want. Here are two real stories… I was invited to help an organization that was struggling to survive. They had not made their revenue targets for more than two years. As a result, they had to undergo several cost-cutting initiatives, including letting people go. The lack of investment and reduced headcount meant that the remaining people had to do more work. As a result, people felt overworked, under pressure, anxious and stressed with a poor work/life balance. People were resigned and upset, and as you […]

How well are you balancing the strategic and tactical; the new and the old?

I was attending a meeting with the leadership team of a successful technology company that was growing aggressively. The company was barely keeping up with the execution of the massive number of projects they were selling. Everyone was working long hours and extremely hard every day. Leaders were traveling non-stop visiting customers and installation sites in order to motivate the troops and ensure everything was working as well as possible under the circumstances. Needless to say, there were many challenges and issues that required the attention of the senior leaders, least of which, the fact that people were burning out and morale was suffering. This meeting was the first time the entire LT spent quality […]