Leadership for the Nimble Organization

active girlThe word ‘agile’ gets tossed around a lot these days among business gurus.  Although it achieved fame in the software development industry, referring to a method for rapid software development, it has found its way into the business lexicon to denote an ability to move quickly and easily as the business environment shifts.  The trouble is, that ‘quickly and easily’ is pretty elusive for a lot of organizations. Continue reading

What Really Pumps Employee Engagement?

In a recent post (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/employee-engagement-isnt-getting-better-gallup-shares-mark-c-crowley), Mark C. Crowley, author of Lead from the Heart, shared some sobering news from a recent Gallup poll:

U.S. Employee Engagement November 2015“According to Gallup, growth in (employee) engagement has remained flat for most of 2015 – and we’ve seen little more than a two-point increase over the past two and one-half years.” Continue reading

Back to the Playground: Building Your Social Skills

Kids having fun“For all the jobs that machines can now do — whether performing surgery, driving cars or serving food — they still lack one distinctly human trait. They have no social skills.  Yet skills like cooperation, empathy and flexibility have become increasingly vital in modern-day work. Occupations that require strong social skills have grown much more than others since 1980, according to new research. And the only occupations that have shown consistent wage growth since 2000 require both cognitive and social skills.” Continue reading

The Inadequacy of Succession Planning

Succession PlanningDoes your organization have a good succession plan?  Yes?  What happens if tomorrow new technology completely upends your product, and you need new expertise, or different customer relationships?  Will the same people be the right ones to move through your succession process in order to address these market disruptions? Continue reading

When the Performance Review Disappears

JahresgesprchA galloping new trend that has gone beyond the youth-dominated tech industry and into the more venerable bastions of corporate stability like GE and Cigna is a move away from the performance rating – and in many cases, the annual performance review as well.  What is driving this trend, and what does it suggest for today’s leaders? Continue reading

No Time for Respect

businesswomanEric passed Julie in the hallway, nearly pushing her against the wall as he bustled past, head down.  “And hello to you, too, boss,” called Julie to the retreating and unresponsive form of her manager.

Nadine mockingly put down her employee Adam in a meeting, “Well, that statement was pretty typical of your shoot-from-the-hip style with no interest in data.”

In the middle of a meeting with his employee Joyce, Bruce picked up his ringing phone without so much as an apology and spent 10 minutes making plans for his weekend golf outing. Continue reading

Social Media Policies that Work

Social Media Road SignAsking a group of small business owners what keeps them awake at night, one interesting comment got a lot of discussion: “I worry about my employees inadvertently embarrassing themselves and the company – or worse yet, causing the company legal problems – by what they post on social media.  And it’s not what they do on company time that worries me – it’s what they unwittingly do on their own personal posts that I fear could cause problems.”  The reaction from the group of business owners confirmed that there is a good deal of worry, lack of information, and confusion about a company’s ability to control fallout from its employees’ off-the-clock social media activity. Continue reading

When New Technologies Meet Old Social Norms

technologies in officeGary grew more and more offended as his senior colleague, sitting in on his presentation of a major new direction for the company, kept looking at his watch. “He just wants out of here,” thought Gary, “and he’s signaling his impatience to everyone.”  Gary finished his presentation as quickly as he could, giving little time for questions. Continue reading

Is How You Communicate Changing How You Work?

Peter was having trouble expressing his discomfort with the direction he was getting from his board of directors.  They were asking him to share less in-depth analysis of trends, and to just give them the highlights.  They didn’t want to digest all the information he felt was important to the company.  They considered his communication style to be overly wordy, and had asked him to tighten up his communications. Continue reading

Tweet, Talk, or Tête-à-tête

Communication has morphed in a generation or two.  Hello brevity; goodbye lengthy tomes.  Hello volume, and more volume!  Hello impersonal vehicles (I can talk all day to someone on chat and never see her).  Hello many sources of communication.

There’s good news and uneasy news in these changes.  If brevity equals greater clarity, it’s a good thing – but how often are Tweets misinterpreted?  It’s great to have more options for communication – but the Number 1 complaint among professionals today is the overload of communication.  The ability to talk more with people on social media opens doors, but does it accomplish all the business needs effectively? Continue reading