Growth and Culture

With the economy recovering and business picking up, I have been asked the following question several times by clients and potential clients in the past few weeks...

"How do we keep growing and maintain our culture at the same time?"

That is a great question.

Align Your Team in 2011: Part 3

Things seemed to be changing quickly. In just a matter of three months, Ben was unexpectedly promoted from Consultant to Manager, Angela was hired and then quit, and now Henry was coming on board.

“So, how’s it going?” Ben's Manager Steve asked.

“Swamped,” Ben replied. “Henry’s started as of last Tuesday and so far seems to be working out pretty well.”

“Great,” Steve responded without knowing that Ben was about to continue.

“It’s nice having another resource around.”

“What?” Steve asked as he looked sharply back at Ben.

Success: One Step Beyond Defeat

I have found myself reading works by Napoleon Hill, an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal success literature. In the early nineteen hundreds, Andrew Carnegie commissioned him to interview over 500 successful men and women in order to discover and publish their formula for success.

A Hero has Passed

Last week Dick Winters died at age 92.

He was described in a Wall Street Journal article as the leader of a valiant World War II paratrooper company that became famous a half-century later in historian Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers. I first read the book while I was on active duty, and then later watched the HBO miniseries (about 10 times).

Align Your Team in 2011 - Part 2

The Leadership Story

It had been almost three weeks since their last one-on-one, but having returned from India and with Angela's sudden departure, Steve was anxious to get the process started again. He reflected on how easy it was for pressing matters to get in the way of focusing on important things like coaching his people.

Ben was rushed and a bit frustrated that he had to attend this one on one. Especially today, it seemed there were so many deadlines waiting on his attention.

The Same Old Boring All-staff Meetings

You know what I am talking about.

All-staff meetings, Town Halls, Team Forums. They have many different names, and their original intent was good.

But, here's where they go wrong...

The CEO or senior leader stands in front of the group, tries to break the ice through a method in which no one responds, goes on to give an update on the business, then asks the question, "do you have any questions?"

And no one responds.

Thirty minutes of diatribe from the leader. Thirty minutes of silence from the audience.

Lead with questions, not answers

"Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights."

- Jim Collins, Good to Great

Trying to be Invulnerable?

We read about them every day – the charismatic, hard-driving leaders who have led their organization from the trenches into an amazing turnaround.

The leaders we don’t usually hear about are the humble, modest, reserved, gracias, mild-mannered, and self-effacing leaders that famous author and business Guru Jim Collins describes as Level 5 Leaders in his book Good to Great.

Shockwaves Part 3: Avoiding Costly Senior Leadership Team Mistakes

In the first two parts of this article, I discussed the impact that senior leadership teams have on their organization. The behaviors that begin at the senior leadership team level ripple through an organization, and just like a wave that grows as it nears its shore, those behaviors also grow and get repeated - regardless of whether they have a positive or negative impact on the organization.

Getting Clear on Your Vision for the Team

In almost any leadership book you read about, you'll hear that having a vision is important. But, for many people, the idea alone is difficult to understand. And, as a result, having a vision becomes elusive.

Getting clear about your vision for the team isn’t rocket science, and most leaders make it more complicated than it needs to be. It is simply being able to communicate the purpose of the team, where you would like the team to be, and how you would like the team to get there.

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