Do you really know what’s going on?

When we talk with CEOs, presidents, and leaders of organizations, they frequently have one thing in common…. they don’t really know what’s going on deeply in their organizations. They may think they do, or they may suspect they do not. The reality is that it’s impossible to be completely plugged in. Your job as a leader of a company or non-profit is to create the vision, design the strategy to get there, and be the outward face of the organization, among other things. If you have your eyes on the landscape and that 50,000-foot view, you cannot also know what’s
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Admit that Stan is not the “Man”

Let’s say you have an amazing employee: they’re passionate about what they do, they work well with the team, and they produce. Naturally, the next step is to promote them to a managerial role. However, a management position requires new skills, and not everyone is suitable for the role.   So now, your previous stellar employee now falls short.   A Gallup poll of more than 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that the #1 reason people quit their jobs is because of a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Those 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their
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Painting a Clear Picture of What Success Looks Like for Your Company

Dedicated employees want to know how their work fits into the big picture, how their contributions make a difference, and what they need to do to make leadership happy. Employees are hungry for feedback; they want to know where they are doing a good job and where they need to improve. Moreover, they want to know how they are benefiting the company. However, a problem can arise when managers do not accurately represent the CEO’s vision for the company, or if the message gets lost in translation or gets watered down. When this happens, employees lack a clear understanding of
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Do You Have a Rotten Apple in Your Organization?

Toxic employees in the workplace can have drastic effects causing expensive losses within companies. However, it can be difficult to identify an office bully. They can intimidate fellow employees that keep them from speaking with management, and at times, they will even bully and intimidate company management inhibiting their ability to address the negative side-effects this Rotten Apple is causing within a company. A company bully can present itself in many ways: The person who quietly undermines every decision, relationship, and process that isn’t theirs The Conversation Dominator in your meetings who interrupts others, makes snide remarks during discussions, or
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Does this Conversation Forward the Action?

When it comes to communication in business, there is one question to ask yourself at any given time:  “Does this conversation/interaction/discussion forward the action for our company?” I am not talking about water cooler, after-work happy hour, or even networking.  (Even though sometimes action-forwarding conversations can happen in these venues). I am talking about meetings, emails, knocking on a colleague’s door or cubicle (pre-COVID) for a quick question.  Essentially any interaction/conversation that happens when we are on the clock. Having said this, action-forwarding communications are not necessarily as simple as a yes or no question.  Often there are discussions of
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Your people desperately need training to develop crucial skills

I’ve talked before about the crucial need for skills, not technical skills or coding skills or even trade labor skills. Those can all be taught and learned through courses and programs. The training I’m talking about is what we traditionally label “soft skills.” Jeff Wiener, CEO of LinkedIn, continuously talks about the need for those soft skills, and how they’re critical in our ever-changing landscape. These skills include oral communication, written communication, team building, leadership, and time management. 92% of employers say that skill shortages is negatively affecting productivity, employee satisfaction, and turnover. In addition, less than 40% of Millennials
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Creating a Strengths-Based Culture

To be successful, you need to play to your strengths, and the people in your organization need to play to their strengths as well.  All this as opposed to boosting your weaknesses because  of the traditional “weaknesses are  your biggest area of growth and opportunity” drivel that shows up in old-style employee evaluations. Your biggest area of growth and opportunity is really to focus and maximize your strengths. It’s about creating a strengths-based workplace, creating a strengths-based culture. When you do that, you create a winning culture because when you have that strengths-based workplace, it’s transformational. That type of culture
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We’re not selling shovels

Last I checked, I did not see anyone selling shovels on LinkedIn. Why not? Don’t shovels have just as much right to be sold as a $20,000 re-vamp-your-company’s-entire-marketing-strategy package? The answer is, yes, shovels get sold as much (actually lots more) as a $20,000 headhunting “Get exactly the right person in the right seat” campaign. Most of us do not plunk down $20K just because someone else says, “You should do this… it’s a really good deal…. take my word for it.” We would like a little more information and… oh, yes, perhaps get to know the person selling/delivering the
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Managing Working at Home with Children – Egad!

As many organizations continue to work remotely, and now many school districts are doing remote learning as well, the challenge of managing bodies at home, all with different needs, agendas, goals, and emotions, continues to grow. One of our corporate clients asked us to put together some techniques and tips they could share with their employees who have young children at home.  My husband and business partner Mark has a master’s in clinical psychology and had a private marriage and family therapy practice for 28 years.  I have certifications in English, business, and secondary education, as well as having run
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Don’t Just Say Something…Stand There!

I call it therapist mode.   In therapist school we called it “active listening,” meaning listen to understand, not necessarily to comment.  And, if necessary, in an opportune moment repeat what they said back to them so they KNOW you were listening.   One of the credos that stuck with me when I was involved with the Red Cross Disaster Mental health Division was, “Don’t just say something…..stand there!” In other words: don’t talk, just be present and listen.   In any crisis people want to be heard, not given advice, sympathetic prose, or anecdotal stories about how the same
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