April 2, 2018

It’s All in the Definition

In working with leaders, teams and cultures, we often find the need to define certain terms. This ensures that everyone is clear on what’s being discussed or decided. Here are some of our primary definitions: Leadership: The skill of influencing individuals and teams to enthusiastically accomplish common goals, previously thought impossible, with character that inspires excellence. Team: A group of people that enjoy being mutually accountable achieving common goals, impossible to achieve individually, with diversity of skills and similar values. […]
April 2, 2018

Communication and Clarity

Productive communication is critical in every organization. Some of the essential aspects of communication include: listening, building trust in relationships, being honest in every interaction, and dealing with conflict effectively. Great team communication must be engaging, motivating and authentic. It must help the team to see the path and the destination. The larger the organization, the geometrically more complex communication becomes. With one-on-one communication, we can watch body language, hear tone of voice and create an immediate feedback loop. With […]
April 2, 2018

Key Characteristics of Powerful Leaders

Top leaders need to be especially good at what they do. The power they have available to them accentuates both their strengths and their weaknesses. Leaders are also not subject to the ordinary checks and balances like other employees.  Additionally, people will magnify the characteristics of the top leader, both good and bad, by mimicking their behavior without even knowing it and use the leader’s behavior as the excuse/justification for what they do. While there are many characteristics of great […]
April 2, 2018

Does Your Team Have Perseverance?

At the beginning of relationships, with new teams, and with new projects in business, there is often a lot of logical discussion regarding the best idea and how to implement it. We discuss both the “what” and the “how”. When others are involved in the decision (e.g., for an acquisition, funding a project, a joint venture, a new important hire), people consider logic and debate over what should happen, who should be involved, how it impacts the overall strategy, does […]
April 2, 2018

Unique Ground Rules for Effective Meetings

Handling meetings effectively today means that you spend only as much time as is necessary on the agenda, making decisions, and then adjourning. The best result from a meeting is full engagement, enhanced creativity and commitment to action from the team. Here are five unique rules we use among the other basic ones (e.g., issuing and closely following an agenda, providing data prior to the meeting) to ensure you get the most from your time. ELMO: this is not the […]
March 28, 2018

Surviving Success and Watching Failure

Have you ever seen a problem coming and not done anything to fix it? Was it someone failing at a project? Perhaps someone was ruining a relationship? A project where the team was not resolving the main issues? Someone was in great pain? Too often we see cultures in organizations where everyone stays in their own “box” very tightly. When they see an issue or problem coming, they do not say anything. (This is the “it’s not my job” or “not my […]
November 10, 2015
Three Companies that Used Adversity to Turn Business Around
Sometimes your best partner is your competitor. If you’re in a competitive industry that’s facing an economic downturn, partnering with another company in trouble could be just the thing to revitalize your business. The revival of American Airlines[1. “American Airlines soars from bankruptcy to S&P 500 club,” March 17, 2015, http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/17/investing/american-airlines-stock-sp500/] is an excellent example of how competitors can work together to overcome hard economic times.
October 21, 2015
Being a Change Facilitator in a Stagnant Company
In a recent study, it was estimated that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies on the S&P 500 will no longer exist in 10 years.[1. “A decade to mass extinction event in S&P 500,” Jun 2014, http://www.cnbc.com/2014/06/04/15-years-to-extinction-sp-500-companies.html] One of the reasons for this is that companies are afraid of expanding outside of their comfort zones. They refuse to innovate, and therefore become stagnant. For leaders who want to take advantage of the rapid expansion in the marketplace, this can become incredibly […]
October 14, 2015
The Art of Persuasion: Follow This System to Learn the Skills You Need to Persuade Effectively
You’ve got your PowerPoint slides cued up, your suit and tie on, and your team’s rapt attention — you’re about to embark on the herculean task of persuading your colleagues to invest a large amount of time, money, and effort in tackling what you think is a huge opportunity for company growth. You’re feeling confident; after weeks of research, you’re certain that your proposal will lead to a big win for the company. But after you’ve explained your way through […]
October 2, 2015
Get One and Make It ‘Shtick’
  In order to create a successful business you have to have a great product or service, an intelligent, dedicated team to support you and a way to get in front of the right people to spread the message. If you are looking for a shortcut to getting noticed quicker you may consider creating a shtick. The shtick doesn’t have to be brazen and bold, but it has to be memorable to work, something people will not forget. In a […]
September 1, 2015
Six Different Approaches to Bonus Programs
The goal of a bonus program is to motivate employees to achieve results in valuable way for everyone. In other words, they should be designed to get everyone from the receptionist to management to leadership to owners all “rowing the boat in the same direction”. Sometimes though, bonus programs are poorly set up, measure the wrong results, set people against each other and/or do not communicate what is happening until after the fact Below is a brief history of bonus […]
March 10, 2015
Leading From the Middle
A while back, a leader we were working with was in a tough spot. He was trying to get the boss (the owner) to grow the business. But no matter what he did, he could not convince his boss to take steps to grow the business. There was much blame, justification and shouldering about why this was happening. Then, later, in a meeting the leadership team was having, we challenged the team to “just do it”. Respectfully, build a rough […]
January 27, 2015
Growth or the Next Step to Big Failure?
This title may be a little extreme, but there are many leaders who have not grown an organization and do not realize the challenges. Growing organizations eat time, energy, cash flow, and morale. Until one has experience with growing a business, it can be dangerous. Growth can be so exciting that it masks a multitude of sins that may be unnoticeable until it is too late. We have a client that has grown to over 16 locations. The leadership team […]
January 13, 2015
The Art of Mergers and Acquisitions
We have been working with several organizations currently undertaking mergers and acquisitions. Through the years, the logic of these transactions is easy. It is what is behind the scenes in the heart, values, and operational culture of the organizations that gets to be “the art of a successful transaction”. The newer players to the market are too simplistic and downplay the heart, the values and the operational culture. Having the deal breakers clear and the reasons for the transaction for […]
September 16, 2014
Selling With Questions
We frequently work with organizations that develop processes. In working with a client recently to develop their sales process, we worked through several exercises to assist them. One technique we see that is missed frequently is asking questions. Too many times, we are trying to sell and say the same general broad words that our competitors use. It is difficult for a business, especially ones in typically commodity businesses, to differentiate what they do. For that reason, we find that […]