Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

When It Comes To Failure, Choose Your Point Of View

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?

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?

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

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

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

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 […]