Giving Thanks

I caught myself reflecting gratefully last week as I overlooked San Francisco from our hotel.  The view ranged from the Bay Bridge all the way

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Be More Weird

I was in Austin last week working with an international group on strategy.  One of the key discussion topics was the need for change and

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Diagnosing Conflict

Conflict in the workplace has three primary sources.  The first two are most common:  Disagreement over objectives and differences over alternatives.  For example, Democrats and

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Appraisal vs. Coaching

There’s a significant difference between appraising performance and coaching performance.  Appraisal is judging the past while coaching has to do with the future.  While both

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Listen Up!

During a heated election season, all the signs of weak communication and miscommunication are on full display.  One clear sign of a poor communicator is

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Your Under-employment Problem

Unemployment is a societal problem; under-employment is an organizational problem.  I am referring to employees who are prevented from excelling because of restrictive jobs, bureaucratic

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Resistance at the Top

The leader who is attempting to shift strategic direction faces three sources of resistance within their organization — the broad employee base, middle managers, and

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What the Doctor Said

“Are you exercising?” he asked. “Yes, sure, I’m going on walks around the farm,” I said. “By exercising, I mean 30-40 minutes, 4 times each

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Changing Tires at 65 mph

Much of my work is either helping executives successfully implement strategy or lead major change.  In either case, success often hinges on preparing an organization

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Poison in the Well

During a college summer I worked for a manufacturing company as a machine operator.  It was boring work.  During the first night, I figured out a

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Fuzzy vision problem

Early in my consulting career, I worked extensively with Wilson Sporting Goods. One day I interviewed an elderly gentleman who was the wood head designer.

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What Do You Mean?

“We want to go from good to great,” a prospective client recently told me.  “That’s wonderful.” I remarked, “Can you tell me what in particular

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Actions and Emotions

The reaction of Afgans to the treatment of religious materials is alarming but it clearly illustrates two points affecting organizational behavior: Emotion is at least

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A Fresh Take

CEO turnover is high. Every week the Wall Street Journal reports on more turnover and that’s just at large companies. In most cases, the new

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Why Not Use a Horoscope?

Assessment tools (Myers Briggs, DISC, etc.) are being touted as useful ways to improve teamwork and productivity.  But they’re really nothing more than a way

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Why Apple is so Profitable

Steve Jobs leapfrogged the competition in computers, music, animated film, cell phones and tablets by developing a distinctive strategy, not by focusing on improving operational

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The Crab Pot

It’s been interesting to watch the rise and fall of various candidates in Iowa this Fall. One candidate will soar in the polls only to

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On the Farm

We have chickens on our farm and, up until a week ago, we had a rooster.  The rooster had to go.  He was bossy with

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Managing By Opinion

In some leadership groups, opinions appear to be more important than facts.  I’ve seen senior management groups where an executive’s in-depth knowledge and experience is

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Preparing for Growth

Many of the strategic plans I see these days aren’t strategic at all — they don’t address business strategy.  Instead, they focus almost exclusively on

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How to kill (or improve)

Strategic plans are worthless unless they are successfully executed. Period. Similarly, high intelligence is worthless if it’s not put to good use. Three things that

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If You Must Downsize: How to Maximize Return on People

Downsizing may reduce costs, but it won’t increase your return on people. In fact, layoffs usually have a negative impact on productivity, morale, employee satisfaction, external reputation, and even the quality of your workforce. It doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these tips to overcome the negatives and get a greater return.

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What turns you off at work?

Endless meetings and approvals, certain personalities, trivial requests, lack of direction from above, mindless policies, wasteful practices, uncooperative people, rumors, gossip….  What things have the

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Energizers

What turns you ON at work?  What policies, procedures, practices, values, management styles, etc. actually help energize you and help you be your best and

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Hope Wins

People want to believe.  They want to know what their leaders see for the future.  They want to be a part of something bigger than

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Return on People

The theme of this new blog is “return on people”.  Every management needs to increase the value of people faster than the rising costs of

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