Alice’s Blog


Big business buzz these days is the (long overdue) overhaul of performance management from being a yearly onerous event to one consisting of continuous coaching and feedback. My colleagues and I are rolling our eyes, having been promoting this concept for years. It is good to see such a sensible idea finally get some traction. (more…)


I am sitting in one of my favorite locations to think and reflect: an art museum. I am musing on the challenges of work that I hear from my clients while I contemplate beautiful art. I have had a number of discussions recently about the choice some of us have made to abandon corporate life and to earn our keep as an independent professional. For me, being my own boss frees me from needing to conform to the structured life corporations need to produce results using large numbers of different people with different talents and quirks.  (more…)


I remember the first time I heard the word telework in the late 1990’s. At the time, I was working in a Fortune 500 corporation and the CEO scoffed at the idea. His comment: “I want to see the parking lot full of cars. That’s the only way I know that work will get done.” We all laughed at his Luddite attempt to stop the progress of this exciting new trend. (more…)

Innovation: Grow It or Kill It

Fresh ideas signpost in the skyA CEO client of mine is struggling to grow his business revenue and market share. The good news is that he is getting new clients and contracts. The bad news is that he is frustrated with his leadership team’s inability to deliver the quality and service levels that are key to the company’s reputation. When we met last week, he was bemoaning a recent gaff – a client deliverable was sent out late due to last minute errors showing up in the work. This incident sharply illustrated that the desired business growth will be stymied by his leadership team’s inability to build operational infrastructure fast enough to support the new client expectations.


What Makes Work Meaningful

256Lately I’ve been thinking about motivation and engagement at work, what drives some folks to be upbeat and others to be dragging in the same work environment. One thing I’ve noticed is that there is an aura of anxiety nearly everywhere due to the gloom of the government shutdown. Yet as I walk the halls of corporate America, I see some folks busily at work contented with their life and at ease with the turmoil around them. How is it that some individuals can navigate rough waters and others seem to sink in misery when things go wrong?


Motivation and Engagement: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Frustrated Parson Jack Russell terrier barking up the wrong tree?My dog Sophie loves to chase squirrels. She is the living embodiment of the aphorism: barking up the wrong tree. When she pursues her grey quarry, the furry bugger escapes by climbing up the nearest tree. Sophie will then patiently wait at its base while the squirrel aerially leaps from tree to tree then descends into a neighbor’s yard. Sophie will stare up the tree for hours, assuming what goes up will surely come down the same tree.


Trust and Risk

risk management concept“Trust me boss, I can handle the next Board presentation on the budget for 2014.” Are there two more feared words in the English language for leaders than “trust me”? On one hand, extending trust evokes risk. On the other hand, not trusting damages relationships, sometimes permanently. Handling issues of trust diplomatically can be a daily challenge for harried leaders.


Is it Okay to Lack Compassion?

240In my June newsletter I wrote about compassion as an essential quality of a great leader. Since the newsletter hit inboxes, I’ve receive quite a bit of feedback from my readers. Compassion seems to be a term almost universally admired yet suspiciously absent in the business world.

Last week, I had a lively discussion with a senior executive. He asked me a provocative question: “Can one have too much compassion at work? Can unfettered compassion be at odds with being a successful business leader?”


Supporting Flexible Work Arrangements

???????????????????“Why does it matter where I work as long as I get my job done?” This is the sad lament I hear from employees whose request to work remotely is denied by their boss. Telework options are rapidly becoming the norm with organizational leaders realizing that the benefits in allowing employees flexibility in their work schedules far outweigh the challenges in monitoring work. Telework polices and procedures abound making implementing remote work schedules much easier than it has been up until now.