Posts

Challenge yourself to set down your smartphone

I just returned from a lovely summer vacation at a nice beachside resort. Being the proud workaholic that I am, (I love what I do!) I use these vacations to unplug from work. I, personally, need this disconnection physically and spiritually. Additionally, unplugging greatly contributes to my business success. These times off provide invaluable opportunities to think, reflect, take stock of progress, and to create and plan for the future. As my wife and I were sitting on the beach and by the poolside, the number of people constantly glued to their smart devices struck me; people of all ages, from all walks of life – fathers, mothers, their kids. In fact, with many guests, […]

How to start a great blog

I have had my blog now for around four years. As I have expressed before, I love writing and I love my blog. Taking on the practice and discipline of writing on a frequent and regular basis has inspired and forced me, in the best way, to look inward in order to bring forth, articulate and share new leadership ideas and insights that would be relevant and useful to others. My blog has become my catalyst for new thinking and a key platform for expressing my Self, adding value and making the difference I want to make. It has also deepened my self-confidence and sense of who I am and my purpose. Over the last […]

Why is straight talk so difficult?

I was coaching two entrepreneurs who were partners in a services business. They were very good at what they did and their partnership made them a lot of money and afforded them great market brand and reputation. However, they had very different personalities and they had an acrimonious relationship for a long time. Even though their teams had to work closely together, somehow the two managed to navigate the business conversations and activities while staying clear of the need to directly deal with each other on a personal level. They continued to avoid dealing with their personal conflicts, lack of trust and overall contentious relationship, even though it negatively affected the people under them, as […]

4 Steps to ensure mergers and/or acquisitions fulfill their purpose

I often work with organizations and teams that are going through, or have gone through, internal or external merger or acquisition. Unfortunately, it is a known fact that most mergers or acquisitions fail to fulfill their desired or anticipated potential. I read a statistic, which stated that the archives of the Wall Street Journal show that upwards of 80 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail to fulfill the strategic goals that justified the merger and/or acquisition within the expected timeframe. 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 failure is due to the […]

Stop the Passive Aggressive Behavior

In most organizations, passive aggressive behavior is rampant. The dictionary defines passive aggressive as: a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials. In reality, passive aggressive behavior is actually much worse than this definition suggests. Typical passive aggressive behavior happens in environments where people don’t feel they can fully express their feelings and thoughts–especially the negative ones. So, instead of communicating openly, authentically, courageously and effectively, people tend to pretend that everything is going well, even when they really feel the opposite – irritated, upset and/or angry about what is going on. They say […]

Become attached to your future, not your past

In 1899 Charles H. Duel, then Director of the U.S. Patent office said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” In 1895, Lord Kelvin who was President of the Royal Society said, “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” In 1905, Grover Cleveland, then President of the United States said, “Sensible and responsible women do not wan to vote.” In 1943, Thomas Watson, then Chairman of IBM said, “There is a world market for about five computers.” We all say and think things everyday that we sincerely believe to be true, even though they are not true at all. When we think or say positive things it could be motivating. Even though sometime it […]

Take your head out of the sand

How many times have you participated in a meeting and halfway through it you realized that something important wasn’t being said openly and honestly. You knew that others knew it, too, but no one said anything? How many times have you seen managers and employees sit around a meeting table, nodding in agreement as their leader explained the plan for a critical change initiative. Once the meeting was over, people pushed back their chairs and drifted back towards their desks. As they congregated at the water cooler, they opened up to each other: “What a pile of crap!”, “That’ll never happen!”, “I can hardly wait until the weekend?” By the time these underhanded comments go […]

Five practical things any leader can do daily in order to create and sustain an environment of authentic and effective Accountability

In my last blog, “Accountability; a privilege or burden?” I discussed what accountability truly is or should be.  As promised, I want to share five practical things leaders and managers can do to create and sustain an environment of authentic and effective Accountability. 1.)Make sure people are engaged in setting the goals early on. This practice would most likely be applied differently depending on the size and how disperse the team is. In a small team, it is easy to engage people in the strategy or goal-setting exercise. In a large organization, this principle will have to be implemented in steps. Step one would be to get the entire senior team engaged and aligned. Step […]

Empower yourself to have more courageous conversations

In last week’s blog I stated that most people in most organizations avoid having the courageous conversations. They want things to change, they want more empowerment, responsibility, involvement and authority, but when push-comes-to-shove they often have diplomatic, watered-down or politically correct conversations. In private conversations with leaders, managers, and employees in many organizations, most acknowledge that they are not as courageous as they need or want to be. So, in this post I want to suggest some steps that could empower people and teams to go to the next level in this area: First step – Fess up – In order to change their behavior, people need to first own up to their current behaviors […]

Are you having the courageous conversations?

The senior leaders of a large and successful technology company wanted to improve their overall effectiveness as a team, including their communications and meeting productiveness. The leaders acknowledged that their conversations and meetings were not where not effective and that included: (1) The short-term financial updates and immediate fire drills always took over the meeting’s agendas and the team never got to discuss the more strategic topics of opportunity and change, (2) When the leaders did get to the discussions the same few team members always dominated the conversation and other team members felt unable to contribute, (3) The team debated issues endlessly without reaching conclusions, alignment and decisions, (4) Important decisions that affected everyone […]

Brutal honesty is not enough.

In my last blog I emphasized the importance and benefits of creating an open, honest, authentic and courageous communication environment in teams and in life. In this blog I want to dig a little deeper. Living with a courageous and relentless commitment to openness and honesty is a powerful and, in my view, noble virtue. I am not merely saying this because I have personally adopted this commitment in my own life. I am saying it because I have seen the power of openness and honesty triumph over resignation, despair and challenge, as well as nurture opportunity many times. BUT, I have also seen openness, honesty and bluntness deeply hurt and deflate people. People often […]

Blunt honesty is the right approach both in business and at home.

I love working with leaders who are relentless about driving a culture of open, honest and courageous communication around them. These leaders are about high performance and they have zero interest in, or tolerance for, internal drama or politics. They operate at a high level of personal integrity, authenticity and ownership. And they expect and demand the same from people around them. They make it difficult – if not impossible – for people to get away with doing the things that undermine and weaken the organization: point fingers, adopt a victim mentality, indulge in destructive politics, and “CYA” (cover-your-ass) behaviors that distract from the goals of the organization. Even if these behaviors are very subtle, […]