John Kotter was one of the first to document a change cycle. William Bridges helped many to deal with the stress of change with his book on transitions. Others too numerous to list followed in the subsequent decades, creating mounds of change cycles and ways to master the chaos of change.
How do we build business organizations that last when faced with volatility and chaos? Being in leadership in these environments reminds me of the plate-spinning juggling acts of yore: look away for a glance sends plates crashing to the floor. (Note: if this metaphor makes no sense to you, google “Ed Sullivan plate spinning”) (more…)
Over those years I’ve read a tremendous amount on the topic of developing leaders, enough to have my own set of rants and raves on the topic. If there is one aspect of leadership development that I see as an unconscionable waste of time and money, it is defining leadership as a box on the org chart. (more…)
When a number of clients are asking for the same service, I sit up and ask: what is going on that the same pain, the same challenge is popping up with some regularity. (more…)
These days, I vacillate between labeling myself with one of these two appellations.
When I am being crotchety, things that others accept as a normal part of life are irritating the heck out of me. (more…)
I rarely do but recently had such an experience. I was attending a business breakfast listening to a CEO talk about current issues and challenges facing the business community. I must admit that my mind was starting to wander when he said “… the war for talent is a big impediment to growth …” War for talent? The last I heard that phrase was back in 2008, pre-recession. (more…)
To illustrate, when I started facilitating leadership programs, the gold standard was week-long leadership retreats. The week involved piles of different assessments, group work, and reading mountains of leadership authors. The belief was that total immersion into leadership issues was required to turn managerial technicians into leadership exemplars. (more…)
It is a chicken-and-egg conundrum: do our words produce our thoughts, or do our thoughts determine our word choice? Yes, and yes. We choose our words based on our thinking of an issue and our thinking is swayed by the words we use to describe issues.
Most of the time, I am fairly unconscious about my word choice. When the result of my communication is not as expected, I will slow down and be more intentional about how I choose to describe things. (more…)
The election is behind us and we can go back to business as usual. Sadly, my clients and colleagues tell me differently. The months and months of divisive blather has promoted an “us vs. them” mentality that has damaged cooperation and collaboration in workplaces and communities. When I visit my clients, I see an absence of chatter, people are pulled inward and show a reluctance for small talk in fear of slipping and saying something to offend the “other.” (more…)
Something in the American can-do psyche abhors an unsolved problem. Mention a problem (or the euphemistic “challenge”) in a business meeting and before you can blink an eye you will have a plethora of suggested solutions. “Try this” might be an appropriate strategy for light-weight problems but more serious, systemic issues need a thoughtful analysis before jumping to the fix. (more…)