Weak Link in The Chain of Command

I write this under the strain of frustration, anger, and sadness.  Someone very close to me – and all her staff – are suffering deeply from the short-sighted, fear-based actions of bad bosses.

Beware the invoking of “the chain of command.”  (more…)

If You Believe In It, Sell It

Most leaders don’t get the importance of effective salesmanship — inside their organization.

Recently, we’ve been working with a group of managers (more…)

Time to retire the carrot and stick

School teachers and administrators are cheating to gin up the scores of their students on standardized tests.  So reported the New York Times last week.

The reaction to this story (more…)

Sustaining the Motivation to Excel

I got pushback yesterday on a presentation I did on motivation.  I was challenging sacred cows, and a number of the business people present didn’t like it.

My central message:  (more…)

Time to Get Tough?

In a group-coaching session yesterday with senior managers at a Fortune 500 company, the title question above came up:  When is the right time to get tough, or strict, with my employees? (more…)

The Power of Listening

If you’ve ever attended a management training, you’ve been told you have to listen well if you want to manage well. Still, it’s one of the hardest things for leaders to do. After all, our leadership culture (more…)

Workshop Announcement

In my blog post last week, “Perils of the End of Recession,” I challenged you to ponder how to keep your best employees from leaving when they once again have employment options.  (more…)

Perils of the End of Recession

The recession ain’t all bad.  For one thing, your employees are a captive audience.  Not many other options out there for them.

But with the recession ending, (more…)

2 Sides of the Leadership Coin

People grow best where they continuously experience an ingenious blend of support and challenge; the rest is commentary.

It’s a rare aphorism that captures the essence of leadership in a single sentence, but (more…)

Curb Their Anger

In an elementary school where I used to teach, the “behavior room” (where the bad kids got sent) displayed this poster:  “It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to be mean.”

I don’t care how “invaluable” the employee is — (more…)

Motivation 101c: Power of Connection

Our bodies haven’t changed substantially since the Neolithic.  We have the same brains, same nervous systems, same musculature.  But to survive, our Neolithic ancestors absolutely depended on their tribes.  “Solitary” meant “dead.”

(more…)

Motivation 101b: The Drive to Thrive

There’s a creation story from India that goes something like this:  The world began as a smooth sea of milk.  Then a small wavelet formed.  Forever after, (more…)

How Hard Do You Push?

How hard should a leader challenge others to perform or to change?

It’s one of the most intriguing questions about leadership.

(more…)

Motivation 101a: The 2 Essential Drives

To motivate folks, you need to know what makes them tick, right?

Well, maybe not.  You can make them do stuff through intimidation.  And you can bribe them.  (more…)

Delegating with Discipline

Due diligence?  Do delegate!  Do you delegate with discipline?

If you’re like most of our clients, the answer is no.  And that’s a bigger problem than you might realize. (more…)

A Plan As An Act Of Optimism

It’s that time of year—to reflect on the old year and to start making plans for the new one. This year it seems harder somehow to think ahead. Times have been tough.

I read a column this morning about what we might dub the current decade (a la “the Roaring Twenties” or “the Fabulous Fifties”). The writer suggested the “Uh-Ohs.” Between 9/11, two difficult wars, Hurricane Katrina, a disputed election, a fractious body politic, and a deep recession, it might not be a decade to remember fondly. (more…)

Vision: The Commitment Factor

“I call for all leaders to awaken and plan for the future with hope and creativity.”

Jim Hessler, my business partner, wrote those words in his blog post this week.  There’s more power in them than you might recognize.  He was discussing strategic planning in a depressing time … but he was really talking about so much more … (more…)