Entries by gmader

Are you afraid to say “I don’t know” and “I need help”?

I was working with a large global technology company that was struggling with making its quarterly sales and revenue numbers. For several quarters in a row, they missed their forecasted and committed numbers. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who’s eyes you are looking from), the head of sales was a friend of the CEO, so he didn’t fire him. Instead, every quarter, the CEO would confront and challenge the head of sales who always insisted that he knew wasn’t working and what he needed to do. The head of sales fired a few managers, and he reorganized his sales team a few times, but none of it made any difference. He continued to miss his […]

In memory of T. Boone Pickens

I am dedicating this week’s blog to a great man, entrepreneur and business icon who passed away on September 11, 2019 at the age of 91, T. Boone Pickens I have met quite a few highly successful and wealthy entrepreneurs and business leaders over the years. Some of them inspired me, some did not. T. Boone Pickens inspired me. He accumulated and lost a great deal of wealth in his life. He was a bold entrepreneur who stayed true to his vision and business values his entire long life. He took bold risks, even in the face of adversity, he reinvented himself a few times in his life, and he was always open to new […]

Do you spend more time explaining or committing?

I was attending a sales planning session of a global service company in growth mode.  Their Head of Sales kicked off the meeting by asking the sales leaders to think big; outside the box, and not let past and current issues and barriers get in the way. Each regional sales leader then had approximately 90 minutes to present their plan and receive questions, comments, and feedback on their thinking. However, instead of first making bold declarations of what they are planning to do and then outlining the barriers and risks and how they were planning to overcome them, the leaders took a very different approach. They outlined their conservative growth plans, and then they spent […]

Do you just complain or actually do something about it?

I am constantly blown away by my observation that people in organizations – at all levels – prefer to complain and whine about the things they are not happy about rather than doing something about it. In fact, when things don’t work effectively, people tend to spend more time covering their behind – i.e., making sure everyone in the universe knows it is not their fault, instead of trying to figure out how to fix the problem. That is why people rarely step up to outright declare, “You can count on me – I will fix this!” Instead, they prefer to copy the entire universe on their self-protection emails…  or as these are referred to […]

Are you tolerating the blame game?

I was speaking with a senior executive in a global company who has a successful division. He described his team in the following way: “I have great, smart and committed people, but we don’t work as a powerful team. Trust is not high, we don’t address big issues well and I am especially frustrated by the fact that there is too much blame.” I’ve known this executive for many years. He is a great leader, he has always had successful teams and he got to where he is by always achieving strong results. This time was no different. His business results were very strong, but he wanted to make them even stronger by getting rid […]

Don’t underestimate the power of intention

I know too many people who don’t have the reality they want personally and/or professionally and they constantly complain about it, blame others or the circumstances for it and overall give excuses for it. In fact, when I asked one of them the question “How are you doing?” their response was: “Same shit different day!” I have heard different variations on that theme from others… Contrast that with a real-life story (no names) with two chapters: Chapter One: A sales team that was struggling with making their sales targeted numbers for a long time wanted a break. They had enough of wallowing in their sorrows. They wanted a breakthrough; they wanted to start winning and […]

Agreeing to disagree is always a cop-out

Too often I see the following scenario: A team meets to discuss issues critical to the organization’s success. 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, in fact, they can actually damage the organization, which is then no closer to making the decisions and assuming responsibility for them. People stay within their comfort zones at the expense of moving the organization forward in new and dynamic ways. Take as an example a successful […]

Are you dealing with successes and setbacks effectively?

Whenever you take on a major improvement, breakthrough or transformation in your team or company, it is inevitable that along the way you will have successes and setbacks.  The bigger you play, the bigger your successes and/or setbacks will be. The only way to minimize the setbacks is to play smaller. The only way to increase the successes is to play bigger.  You will have to determine what is more important for you. When it comes to successes and/or setbacks mindset is everything. I was in a meeting with a team that had taken on a big change initiative. We were meeting after two months to review progress and firm up the plan forward. At […]

Stop Prioritizing and Start Promising!

You would think that getting your priorities straight would be the answer to the overwhelming, stressful burden of too many commitments, too little time and scarce resources.  Well, you may want to think again! Setting priorities is definitely a solution, but it isn’t the most powerful and effective one. You write down everything you are supposed to do, want to do, said you would do and have to do. You then take that list and through some form of screening criteria, rank each in order of importance, sense of opportunity, urgency or obligation. You then tackle each item on your to-do list in order of importance starting with the “A” priorities then, as time and capacity […]

How to make your meetings more productive and fulfilling – part two

In my last blog, I stated that one of the most common complaints I hear in organizations is “We have too many meetings.” To coordinate and drive a complex team and business you do need enough points of contacts to make sure plans are clear and people are on the same page. Getting all the stakeholders in one room at one time is often the most effective way to do that. Unfortunately, even though people have the right intent at heart because they don’t know how to run effective conversations people too often leave these meetings feeling that they didn’t produce enough value and progress, and therefore they were a waste of their time. And […]

How to make your meetings more productive and fulfilling – part one

One of the most common complaints I hear in organizations is “we have too many meetings.” I believe in most organizations there are too many meetings. However, I also believe that what is causing people’s frustrations about meetings is the fact that most meetings are ineffective. They don’t produce enough and they don’t leave people with the experience of ‘time well-spent’ and having produced great accomplishments. If you make your meetings much more powerful and effective I believe people will feel differently about “too many meetings.” Here are a few practical tips for making your meetings much more productive and fulfilling: Focus on achieving outcomes, not discussing topics This guideline may seem simple and common […]

How much honesty can you stomach?

If you ask the senior leaders of any organization how things are going in their organization, they would probably give you an upbeat, positive, optimistic description. If you then ask the shop-floor employees, the same question you would probably hear a different story. From many years of experience, I can attest that there is often a dissonance between how senior leaders view their organizational and business reality and how employees do. While senior leaders often paint a rosier picture and claim that things are going well, even if there are issues, their people often highlight all the issues and describe things as not going that well. In addition, employees often express frustrations about their senior […]