There are other lessons to learn from “Apollo 13”. Changing your organization may be like bringing a spacecraft into Earth’s atmosphere – without careful planning and proper course correction, things may miss their targets, overheat… or worse. Continue reading Feeling Gravity’s Pull
Consultants are frequently (OK, always) asked to change a client’s culture for them. Can’t be done – that has to come from the inside.
What we *can* do is recommend specific behaviors – and trust that hearts and minds follow. Continue reading Own Your Culture: Fake It til You Make It
Certified Man of Action Bob Gates was faced with a daunting challenge: successfully implementing a landmark cultural shift in the US Armed Forces – before Congress and President Obama could unsuccessfully botch the same job.
Lessons from the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ can apply to any change effort. Continue reading When Change is the Call of Duty
Former Defense Secretary and Honorary Man of Action Robert Gates salvaged two wars and shook up the Pentagon, while providing valued counsel to both Republican and Democratic presidents.
There are plenty of lessons to be learned from his memoir – about decision making, understanding culture, and getting shit done. Continue reading On Defense: Decisions, Debates, and Duty
Remember that obnoxious Comcast call? It probably wasn’t the employees fault – he was just doing what offered him the most reward (or least pain).
A case study, based on what I learned from George Carlin records. Continue reading Balancing Rewards and Behaviors: A Case Study
Would you take business advice from this man? I did!
And here’s what I learned about motivating – and demotivating – employees. Continue reading Everything I Need to Know I Learned from George Carlin
As long as we’re in the process of banning words, let’s get rid of an insidious term that thwarts accountability and makes it all-too-easy to become a Man of Excuses. Continue reading There Is No ‘They’
The best of them bleed it out, while the rest peter out.
And other things about being a leader I learned from listening to loud music. Continue reading Learn to Fly: Management Lessons from Dave Grohl
A recent experience serving up barbecue reminded me of a few things that can make it easier for employees to perform well. I seem to recall that being called “leadership”.
A pulled-pork parable of clarity, command, and kudos.
Continue reading Leadership Is a Dish Best Served
‘Totality’ may have been the most over-used word this week.
But the difference in the skies for those “in the path” and those just outside of it was striking.
The difference between 99 percent and “totality” is… well, absolute. Continue reading When Step Change Is A Giant Leap
A lot of “Change Literature” wants you to follow one set, magically correct path.
Trouble is, every organization is different. For one, that path may be too narrow – for another, it may be too wide.
Some things to consider to make your change effort Just Right. Continue reading Goldilocks Your Change
‘Hmmmm. I can’t let this meeting end without contributing SOMETHING…’ Continue reading The Golden Rule of Meeting Participation
Clarifying objectives – that is, understanding the rationale behind expectations – allows a Man of Action to act wisely.
Properly articulating the “why” improves customer satisfaction, response speed, employee engagement, and more.
(Part One of Two) Continue reading What’s The Objective?
There are going to be times when you think, “Am I absolutely off my rocker? Or is everyone else?”
Your options are to absolutely lose your cool, or to find a common perspective. Here are some tips for the latter.
Continue reading Am I ‘That Guy’?
After a few weeks of doing basically nothing, United Airlines’ CEO reached out with… really nothing but an empty email. (Well, they cleared up when he’ll call the cops on customers).
One of many things United needs is to take a hard look at its business processes, and make sure all employees understand their intent. Continue reading The Skies Still Ain’t So Friendly
Shakespeare gave us the language of love, but he also gave us some darn good rules for management.
Most of his tales – with the exception of Henry V – are cautionary ones. Here are seven things you definitely don’t want to do! Continue reading Seven Leadership Secrets from Shakespeare
The piece in Sunday’s NYT – “I’m Not Texting, I’m Taking Notes” – managed to push every one of my (analog) buttons. Punks with no experience – and even fewer good ideas – have invaded our cubies and want to take over, NOW.
Naturally, I know exactly what must be done to move forward. But how did we end up like this? How have we destroyed the Organization? Some thoughts… Continue reading Talkin’ Bout the Squished Generation
Will ‘Accountability’ repeat as the Most Annoying Buzzword of the Year???
Fill in your brackets and follow the fun! Continue reading March Madness! Annoying Buzzword Edition
Don’t let the ball drop on making improvements in the New Year. Instead of quitting smoking or eating fewer carbs, why not try to build some healthy habits in the workplace?
Here are a dozen ideas to get started. Continue reading Twelve Resolutions for a Better 2017
People don’t “cause” problems because they want to – it’s generally because the culture not only allows it, but encourages it!
Here are some questions to consider to see if your performance environment is out of balance. Part 3 of 3. Continue reading Seeking Balance with ‘People Problems’
In my previous post, I discussed the temptation of assigning blame during any kind of root cause analysis.
No matter the cause, understanding how employees were – and will be – expected to behave is key to successfully implementing a fix. Continue reading Expect Better
Even high-profile investigations get knocked off course when they pursue WHO to blame, rather than the underlying causes behind WHY it occurred.
In this post, the first of three, I discuss the hazards with chasing the Who and not the Why. Continue reading Good Investigators Don’t Search for the Who
Before any Change Management can begin, organizations must feel the need for change.
Here is a cautionary tale of a client who did nearly everything wrong, and still felt no need to act. Continue reading How to Make Your Change Effort Fail
In the latest HBR, Facebook claims to have reinvented the annual performance review. They haven’t. But you can.
Here are five ways to reinvent your performance reviews.
“How about you just shout out your ideas and I’ll keep writing them down until this Post-It note is all filled up?” (c) The New … Continue reading The Rules of Brainstorming
One of my clients actually differentiated between ‘meetings’ and ‘working meetings’. EVERY meeting should be a ‘working meeting’!!!
Here are some tips other clients have implemented successfully to keep their meetings from being a tragic waste of human spirit. Continue reading Five Ways to Change Your Meeting Culture
You don’t have to go to every meeting you’re invited to.
Here are some ways to figure out which ones you need to attend, which ones really need you, and which are just clogging your calendar.
‘I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t clear. But I thought I told you to keep your mouth shut.’
‘I had to tell them something.’
‘You tell me you want these guys off your back. Next thing I know, you’re saying, yeah, maybe they can have a piece of Mr. Lovejoy. I couldn’t believe my ears.’ Continue reading Giving Up Mr. Lovejoy
If paranoia, fear, and/or curiosity are the primary reasons to attend a meeting, consider finding more productive things to do with your time.
No one ever got promoted for attending meetings.
‘Boy, changing things around here is like turning a ship. It takes a lot of time and a lot of ocean.’
Ships turn on a dime. Here’s how – and what it means for your change initiatives.
A ‘KT Classic’ by RJB and firm principal Sam Bernstine. Continue reading Sailing Through Change
There is no such thing as ‘negative feedback’ or ‘positive feedback’ – just feedback.
Here are five steps to using feedback to effectively manage employees.
Another ‘KT Classic’ from the only ‘Football Correspondent’ in the consulting industry. Continue reading Booing Is Not Feedback