The 100-year plan

In our leadership workshop, I will often ask our students what they think the likelihood is that their business will exist in 100 years. Most of them, if they’re being honest, answer “not likely.” And they’re right. The odds of any business lasting more than 100 years are pretty low. It’s not impossible for a… Read the full article >>

Why Do People Buy Stuff From Us?

This deceptively simple question is one that leaders should ask their employees, again and again. Many years ago, I had a colleague who would call me and ask this question of me – usually at about 3 PM on a Friday. It’s was tempting to answer it by saying that our service was better, or… Read the full article >>

Finding a fit between employees and their jobs and why some policemen shouldn’t be policemen.

One of the most exciting challenges in leading an organization is achieving a good fit between the skills, character, and motivations of individual employees and the job you’re asking them to do. If someone wants a job as an engineer, we would naturally ask if they had the qualifications to be an engineer. Still, we… Read the full article >>

Available, or Present? There’s a difference.

Many managers have bragged to me over the years about how available they are to their peers and employees. “I’ve got an open-door policy,” or “people always know they can talk to me when they need to,” or “I’m all about my people.” Many of these people who tout these characteristics aren’t, in fact, “present”… Read the full article >>

The Humanizing Qualities of the Virtual Workplace

There are legitimate concerns about the loss of human connection in this increasingly virtual world. When we’re videoconferencing, we’re looking at two-dimensional representations of 3-dimensional human beings. We’re looking at pixels instead of flesh and blood. But my business partner Sarah pointed out to me this week that there’s a humanizing element to all of… Read the full article >>

Questions: ask thoughtfully, respond objectively

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

I have to confess. When someone asks me anything that questions my thinking or decisions, I have to get over an immediate response of resistance before I can hear the question objectively. I think I’m able to get over that speed bump pretty well most of the time, but the resistance is almost always there…. Read the full article >>

Federal versus state control and how it relates to your business

Photo by Mackenzie Weber on Unsplash

The great debate about central versus local control If you’re a student of American history, you’re well aware the continuous and often acrimonious debate has been raging for over 200 years about the boundaries between central authority, in the form of the federal government, and local authority as represented by the 50 states and their… Read the full article >>

The cynical voice: how can we meet the deeper needs that our organizations and our world needs

Photo by Iva Rajović on Unsplash

Even as we optimistically try to change the world by advancing the cause of good leadership, the cynical voice – occasionally my own – will sometimes win the day. Human beings are exasperating creatures. We say what we want and then have a devil of a time taking even the most obvious actions to meet… Read the full article >>

Controlling people vs controlling systems and processes

Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash

One of the primary reasons companies have resisted work-at-home arrangements for their employees is their fear of losing control of the behaviors, actions, and choices of their employees. Of course, we need to have many things to control in our business if we are to be successful. We need to carefully design systems and processes… Read the full article >>

A thank you to the leaders in my life

Photo by Pete Pedroza on Unsplash

I’ve been emotional about what’s going on in the world, in my life and the lives of friends, associates, and family. As these emotions showed up for me, I had to admit to myself the things I’ve been holding back – storing my fears in a box which I had planned to open up later,… Read the full article >>