Several years ago, I worked with a major cereal manufacturer whose leadership was concerned that many of the company’s managers weren’t succeeding.
The managers in question had been with the company for some time and had risen through the ranks, and while the company was doing well overall, the leadership suspected that their managers had the potential to have a more positive impact on the company’s success.
My team started with both an annual performance evaluation, which had already been in place for years, and a 360-degree feedback assessment. The performance evaluation measured operational outcomes — how much cereal was manufactured, quality, safety, etc. Read more…
Take it from me: Fighting with the boss is not a career enhancing experience.
I know this because I have worked for a lot of different bosses over the course of my career, and I have done my share of fighting with many of them.
Yes, I’ve battled at some point with just about every person I have ever worked for, but these arguments really break down into two distinctive categories: Read more…
Sometimes leadership and management jobs just feel ugly and impossible.
I can remember feeling at various points in my career, that the mission just didn’t make sense, or that it was unsupported. I felt like I was out on a limb owning all of the risk, and with not enough resources to succeed.
Or, I felt like the corporate bureaucracy — the board, or another group or particular adversary –, was blocking me (or sabotaging me) from doing the right things that I knew desperately needed to be done.
Welcome to being a leader. Read more…
Call it a combination of ohhhhm and aha!
Those simple, powerful sounds sum up what my colleagues and I think is crucial for organizations when it comes to talent these days.
That is, companies need to be “Enlightened Organizations” in order to be great workplaces and to be successful.
We mean “Enlightened” in both the Eastern and Western senses of the term. Eastern in the sense of principles of wisdom, kindness and harmony. Western in the sense of the Age of Enlightenment, and its concepts of scientific inquiry, progress and analysis. Read more…
I believe in natural selection. When the Internet went crazy last week because some little known company was only allowing their employees six (6) minutes to use the bathroom each day, I didn’t have a strong reaction.
I didn’t care because I know, from experience, that companies only do this because they are forced into the position for some reason or another, or, because they have horrible leadership.
Or sometimes, both. Read more…
CEO’s continue to publicly proclaim their efforts to manage significant and meaningful culture change.
Some miss the mark and show their lack of understanding this critical topic. Others, like Satya Nadella of Microsoft, share a much clearer vision and appear like they truly “get it.”
What separates the visionary and capable culture champions from the vast majority of leaders that don’t understand the culture fundamentals? Read more…
“This is not good. One of the guys on the marketing team I work with just got fired. OMG, they just fired another one. It is just crazy around here now.”
As I read the text messages, I could feel the tension that must have permeated this workplace.
The text was from someone who had been in the world of work for four years out of college. This situation with them went on for two days, and as I got the blow-by-blow, it felt like being in a war zone. Read more…
A common complaint made about development programs is the concern that it will create employee turnover.
As employees develop new capabilities they will be unsatisfied staying in their current roles and will begin actively seeking opportunities elsewhere. People argue that “if we develop our employees other people will hire them away.”
Or as some managers put it, “Why should I develop people just so others can poach them from me?”
Concerns about talent poaching are misguided and extremely detrimental to long-term organizational health. Read more…
Bad managers cost businesses billions of dollars each year.
One of the most important decisions leaders make is simply whom they hire as managers, according to research by the Gallup Organization. Yet Gallup finds companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82 percent of the time.
This is an alarming problem for employee engagement and the development of high-performing cultures. Without the raw natural talent to individualize, focus on each employee’s needs and strengths, boldly review their team members, rally people around a cause, and execute efficient processes, the day-to-day experience will burn out both the manager and their team. Read more…
When you’re feeling good, it’s easy to take your health for granted.
Most of us appreciate when we feel great, but few of us spend the time to figure out how we got there — and how to stay there.
It’s the same with organizations. If nothing’s obviously wrong, if people aren’t leaving in droves, if “people issues” aren’t driving costs up, managers tend to get complacent.
However, if managers are to understand the underlying health of an organization, they need much more than the basic pulse-check of annual performance ratings. Otherwise, they might be bleeding talent before they realize anything is wrong. Read more…