Posts

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, […]

Is your Leadership Team making a positive or negative difference?

Any organization is a reflection of its leaders and leadership team (LT). If the leaders build a strong and genuine team dynamic of trust, unity, communication and ownership among themselves, these characteristics will be cascaded through the veins of the organization and internalized in its culture and DNA. If the leaders operate as individual silos, not a team, their people will follow suit. And, if they have trust issues among themselves, harbor resentments or are the source of negativity or victim behaviors, the same issues, sentiments and behaviors will be inculcated throughout their organization. And, it doesn’t matter what leaders say in public. Even if it’s all the politically correct things, their people will watch […]

Agreeing to disagree is always a cop-out!

How many times have you seen the following scenario? A team meets to discuss issues that are critical to the organization’s future. The conversation goes on and on without resolution, as different people have divergent opinions about the best course of action. When the leader tries to bring it to a conclusion, they are no closer to alignment. They leave the meeting “agreeing to disagree.” Such meetings are worse than a waste of time: they actually damage the organization, which is then no closer to making the necessary decisions and assuming responsibility for them. People have stayed within their comfort zones at the expense of moving the organization forward in new and dynamic ways. This […]

Are you expecting what you haven’t been promised?

Having hopes, dreams, and expectations is a good thing, for the most part. Sometimes, however, having expectations can be a source of disappointment and frustration. We have expectations in most areas of our life. At work, we expect our boss and colleagues to treat us a certain way. And we expect that things that are not working well in the work environment will get addressed and fixed in a timely manner. In our personal relationships, we expect our partners to treat us lovingly, and with respect and generosity. And, we have clear images and standards about what all that should look like. In fact, if you self reflect on this you’ll see that we have […]

Having Effective Conversations to Build or Restore Trust in Any Relationship

There are some people with whom we easily build trusting, productive relationships — people with whom we connect and take our relationships to the next level without much trouble or controversy. But there are other relationships — personal and professional — that require more work, either because past dealings or misunderstandings have created mistrust or animosity, or because different personalities make it harder sometimes to find common ground. Sometimes there is a problem in the relationship that we need to address or react to. But at other times, even if the relationship is functioning sufficiently, we want to take it to a higher, better level. Communication: The Key to Transforming Relationships Trust, relationships, partnerships: These […]

Building a Team of Warriors Starts with YOU

If you find yourself leading a group of people who are locked into that negative, cynical, victim mentality, how do you shift it? How can you not only avoid becoming mired in the negativity, but actually change it? In other words, how do you help your team transition from Worriers to Warriors? The attitude and mindset of any organization or team, no matter how large or small, is always a reflection of its leader’s mindset and attitude. If the leader is a Worrier, the team will follow suit. If the leader is a Warrior, he/she will naturally create the same environment for his/her team. In order to transform a negative environment, you must lead by […]

Do You Have a Team of Warriors … or Worriers?

Even the most technologically-advanced visionaries are reminded that people are still irreplaceable. I work with teams that are located in one city, where everyone works on the same floor of the same building, and yet they don’t trust each other or collaborate well together. I also work with globally-dispersed teams who rarely see each other in person, and yet they function with high levels of trust, purpose, collaboration, and intimacy. So, what determines the effectiveness of team dynamic? At the simplest level, it boils down to people’s attitudes, mindsets, and dedication to the game, as well as their relationships to themselves and their colleagues. We all have our own unique style and brand – a […]

4 Steps To Creating Total Strategic Alignment

Most leaders believe that it takes between six and 12 months, or longer, to develop a strategy. They mistakenly think that the criteria for a meaningful strategy are the amount of research and market analysis that goes into it, and the time spent vetting it with experts. But our observation is that how well communicated a strategy is, is far more important than how logical or well researched it is. The effectiveness of any strategy is directly proportional to the level of ownership, commitment and accountability among the executive team. A strategy is only as good as the levels of commitment the people who are accountable to fulfilling it, possess. Here are the essential fours steps […]

Why Agenda Driven Meetings Don’t Work

A key principle of generating total alignment and engagement is ensuring that you are always working backward from a deliberate, desired future — rather than merely extrapolating or perpetrating business as usual. When it comes to meetings — which consume enormous amounts of most managers’ time — this principle can make the difference between meetings that make a big impact, and those that waste valuable time. To begin with, most meetings are designed backwards. The agenda planning starts with the questions: How much time do we have? and What do people think we should talk about? The reason we say these meetings are designed backwards is because the time allocated for the meeting should be […]

What Can Executives Do To Drive Employee Engagement?

In the last three posts on the topic of organizational commitment we looked at evaluating your companies level of commitment, the way two different CEO’s handle commitment and examined the warning signs for lack of employee engagement and commitment. In this final post of the series we asked a few other authors to give us their take on the topic: WHAT CAN EXECUTIVES DO TO DRIVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT? Here’s what they had to say. “Manage your inner control freak.  You can’t — and won’t — inspire employee engagement and commitment unless you loosen the reins and let go of control.  As a leader, you are there to champion the vision and keep people focused on […]

Six Warning Signs You Lack Employee Engagement and Commitment

In the past two blog posts regarding this topic I explored the problem of lack of commitment and looked at two case studies. In this post I examine what to do if you want to tackle your commitment problem. Where do you begin? What are the most effective ways to assess if and where there are commitment problems? Here’s a list of some observable indicators: 1. People don’t speak up even when they know things aren’t being dealt with honestly and directly. This is relatively easy to spot, especially in meetings. Everyone knows important issues are not being addressed. Yet they fail to speak up because of fear or cynicism. 2. Missed commitments met with […]