Patty Azzarello

Patty Azzarello is the founder and CEO of Azzarello Group. She's also an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/business advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35, and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk). You can find her at patty@azzarellogroup.com .

Articles by Patty Azzarello

Leadership, Training & Development

Want a Competitive Advantage? Get Your Team to Make Faster Decisions

© Stuart Miles - Fotolia.com

Can your team make a decision?

I was recently thinking about a moment in my career that taught me several things about team decision making.

It was many years ago in my staff meeting. I had opened a topic for discussion that I knew the members of my staff disagreed strongly about. Read more…

HR Management, Leadership

How to Succeed Without Getting Sucked Into an Impossible Situation

From istockphoto.com

A while back, I wrote an article about how to start a new job with the most credibility.

There is another important point I want to add.

I see people setting themselves up for failure and credibility loss when they don’t differentiate the cost of doing a great job from the cost of doing an OK job.

Here’s what I mean: When you interview, your conversation is all about proving you know how to do a great job. So you’ll say, “here is how I would improve the [quality, competitiveness, customer satisfaction, marketing effectiveness, service, sales performance], etc.” Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

What Do You Do When a Clueless Boss Makes an Unreasonable Request?

123RF Stock Photo

I recently have written about bosses being addicted to detail, or wasting time by not appreciating the cost of asking a question.

Several people came back to me and asked me to write about the other side of this problem — when your boss stays so high level that they don’t know what’s going on and don’t understand what needs to be done.

These types of bosses are frustrating because they just want things, big things. And when your boss lacks any understanding about what it takes, it’s hard to negotiate a do-able plan.

Here are some ideas about how to make your conversations with a big picture (clueless) boss go better. Read more…

Classic TLNT

A Sad Workplace Truth: People Don’t Just Become More Strategic

Sled dogs image by Bigstock

Editor’s Note: Sometimes readers ask about past TLNT articles. That’s why we republish a Classic TLNT post every Friday

As I am preparing for a session next week with an executive team on Leading Transformation, I got thinking about what blocks organizations from getting done what they intend.

What blocks their business growth? What keeps them from executing decisively on new things?

Very often it’s a realization that the people you have sitting around the table are not the ones you need to take the business where it needs to go. Read more…

Culture, Leadership

Addicted to Details: Getting Leaders and Executives to Just Let Go

123RF Stock Photo

Last week I wrote about the sometimes hidden costs of a leader asking a question, and the danger of not recognizing the risk and expense it can cause.

Another lurking cost I see is what happens when they are unwilling to let go of detail.

Leaders who not only personally require a deep level of detail, but also require that everyone in the management chain understands and processes a deep level of detail, are paralyzing and de-motivating their organization. Read more…

Leadership

The Sometimes Hidden Costs of a Leader Asking Question

123RF Stock Photo

One time when I was running a large organization at HP, I asked my financial analyst partner, “What is the current headcount in my organization?”

He said, “How accurate an answer do you need?

I said, “What do you mean?” At this point I honestly thought he would have said, “1134.”

But then he said, “If you want a number within 10 percent, I could let you know by the end of the day, but if you want a more accurate number, it will probably take me a couple of weeks to check all the systems, and get inputs from my counterparts around the world, and then check with HR about exits and pending offers …” Read more…

Classic TLNT

How to Stop Doing Stupid Stuff and Break Your Bad Workplace Habits

Photo illustration by istockphoto.com

Editor’s Note: Sometimes readers ask about past TLNT articles. That’s why we republish a Classic TLNT post every Friday. 

As a business leader, one of the things I always marveled at was how much crap creeps into a business operation over time. Processes go out of date (and become void of any usefulness) yet they remain as habits.

New chaotic and reactive activities crop up in lieu of sensible process or infrastructure, misunderstandings cause stalls, re-work and duplication, and silos block useful communication — and this is when everyone is generally motivated to get along!

(Misaligned, politicized organizations have a whole raft of additional obstacles that block growth.) Read more…

HR Management, Leadership

What Your Employees Really Need to Hear From You

From istockphoto.com

Last week I wrote about the importance of information sharing across an organization. If you missed it it’s a very important idea.

This week I want to share one more example, specifically about an executive’s responsibility to share information with the team — and the value of doing so.

When I was in my first sizable corporate management role, I wanted to keep my team updated about what I was thinking and doing and deciding. I also wanted to let them know that I noticed and appreciated specific things that they were accomplishing. Read more…

HR Management, Leadership

The Value of Workplace Conflict: Discomfort Says You’re Doing It Right

workplace-conflicts

There are several things that stall progress, but one that occurs a lot is the human tendency to avoid conflict.

It’s almost impossible for a team to make progress on something new, without raising, and working through at least some uncomfortable conflict.

If you are avoiding conflict, you are avoiding execution.

Many teams opt for a false sense of agreement and pleasant-ness instead, because it’s more comfortable. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

With Poor Performers, Is It That They Can’t, or That They Won’t?

cant-wont-230

When someone isn’t doing what you need them to do, a question a leader will often ask themselves is this:

“Is the problem with the person? Or is the problem with me? Should I be doing something different when I am delegating, communicating, or supporting this person?”

This simple decision tree (right) has helped me quickly get out of this quandary.

Is the reason the person is not performing because they “can’t” (they, are not capable or trained) or because they “won’t” (meaning they don’t want to). Read more…