Alice’s Blog


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, why don’t you go learn this here now so that you get a car yourself.” 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.


The Importance of Face-to-Face Conversation

Surfing the netWhen I talk with business leaders about the importance of effective communication, I stress how critical it is to choose the best context and setting for the message. If you want to praise someone for a job well done, you want as many ears as possible to hear it so that you are communicating to a wider audience that this is the kind of work you value. Conversely, if you need to correct someone’s work, you need to do so in a setting that allows for them to question your feedback, respond to it, and take notes about what they will do differently next time. (more…)

The Art of Sequencing

247Last week I participated in a fun and informative yoga workshop called The Art of Sequencing. In yoga, sequencing refers to the order in which you do yoga poses, going from simple stretches to more complicated poses. When one has a yoga session properly sequenced, the physical effort builds up slowly toward the final, most challenging pose.