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
Coachfootballplayer

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 […]
April 8, 2016
preserving company culture
Preserving Your Organizational Culture During Company Growth
I’d been a dedicated customer of a local food company from the day they opened. Lily had started out as a small-scale gardener and baker, selling her vegetables and sweetbreads at area farmers’ markets. That’s where I discovered her, and I made her table a regular stop on my Saturday morning rounds. As demand grew, she hired a few friends to help her expand her garden and bakery. After a few years, she had requests from local restaurants, a regular […]
March 28, 2016
hiring for team fit
Google and Yale Study Shows Experientially Diverse Teams Yield Productive Chaos
When we think of efficiency, we tend to picture something mechanical like a train–a well-tuned system that chugs along, each part working in unison, creating a beast of unusual power. And it is true that trains are very efficient, which is why when we create teams in our companies, we try to craft the most efficient possible group. Lots of time and money is spent figuring out which teams would have the smoothest dynamic. It turns out, though, that in […]
March 21, 2016
wooing key employees
Dean Smith Shows Why Inclusive Leadership of Diverse Teams Fosters Creativity and Flexibility
Dean Smith began his long and historic coaching career at the University of North Carolina in 1961, at the tender age of 30, but already with a long history of compassion and inclusion behind him. As a high schooler in rural Kansas in the late 1940s, he pushed his school to integrate the basketball program, which at the time had separate teams for black and white players. He kept that activism up at UNC, where he signed the first African-American […]
February 26, 2016
hiring for team fit
Choosing Project Team Members: The Five Employees You Need on Every Team
Kaitlyn’s company had a big contract coming up and she wanted to put the perfect team together to finish the job. As a very involved CEO, her first step seemed obvious. She went straight to the resumes. She knew she needed a coder, a designer, a technical writer, a customer support person, and a manager. She’d just choose the best person for each job, and then she’d have her dream team, right? Wrong. As she compiled her list, Robert, her […]