The summer of 2020 has thrown us all for a loop. What were once short-term crisis solutions – virtual and socially distant work environments – look like they are here to stay for a while. In late March, companies reported excitedly that, by and large, employees embraced the sudden shift and engagement and productivity did not seem to suffer. That was five months ago. Fatigue is setting in and, in many companies, employee engagement is waning. It is time, for companies to move out of crisis mode and get on with executing their strategic plans. To do that, they’ll contend with several challenges to employee engagement. Continue reading “Challenges to Employee Engagement: Summer 2020 Edition”
The PeopleCap Playbook
Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.
I count 24 weeks since the music stopped. March 5th turned out to be my son’s last in-person day of 6th grade and the beginning of this never-ending summer. Since then, it seems like every facet of our lives has been impacted in ways large and small. As we emerge from the initial crisis and into a new – and potentially long lasting – reality, it’s clear that some of the changes will be permanent.
This week I spent some time with 20 or so business leaders who reflected on this question of “What’s changed permanently?” Here are some of the themes that emerged: Continue reading “What’s Changed Permanently?”
These are unprecedented times for businesses to be sure. Many of us have worked remotely on occasion, but few have worked entirely remotely – let alone managed a remote work force. I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from some successful virtual organizations. Here are 3 tips to keep your team inspired, productive and accountable while working from home. Continue reading “Keep Calm and Stay Connected”
I have worked with many companies who have described their culture first and foremost as “a family.” What they generally mean is that they greatly value the relationships that they have with their colleagues at work. Though there is nothing wrong with building strong relationships with your colleagues, I have found over the years that the “family” culture has a dark side – a lack of accountability. Continue reading “The Dark Side of the “Family” Culture”
Innovate or die. The accelerated pace of technology disruption is putting companies under increasing pressure to innovate. But many companies miss the fact that there are two kinds of innovation and to win, you need to be good at both. Continue reading “Innovation vs. innovation”
On a recent trip, I flew Southwest Airlines and read a great article by Matt Crossman in the in-flight magazine eulogizing Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s long tenured and beloved CEO who passed away in January. The article describes Herb’s leadership style and the legendary culture he created at Southwest.
If you follow our blog regularly, you’ll be familiar with our description of culture: “Culture is the boss when the boss is not around.” Herb Kelleher embodied this saying. Continue reading “Herb Kelleher is the Boss.”
If your company is growing rapidly, then this book is for you!
Blitzscaling is loosely defined as the playbook for “building a dominant world leading business in record time.” Most importantly, Blitzscaling requires prioritizing “speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty.”
Blitzscaling is not for everyone. We’re talking hypergrowth and first mover advantage here. It’s not for those who crave work life balance or modest market share. This is the winner-take-all model that companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple have built. Continue reading “What We’re Reading: Blitzscaling”
I have been working for months on the content for a 4-hour workshop to help executives lead effectively in a talent-driven economy. This past week, I had the opportunity to conduct the workshop with three consecutive groups of key leaders – totaling about 55 people. At the end of the workshop, the group leader asked each member to provide feedback on what went well and what I could improve. So, by the end of the week, I had stood in front of 55 people each of whom told me something negative about my presentation or my delivery. My self-esteem was in the toilet. Continue reading “Receiving Feedback is Humbling”
Recently I attended my first wedding as a “friend of the Groom’s parents.” I’m happy to report the wedding circuit redux is as much fun as the first time around but with less responsibility. (I didn’t have to wear a bridesmaid’s dress or write a toast!) In between the first dance, the cutting of the cake and the dance floor favorite, “Twist and Shout,” the conversation among the parents of 20-somethings turned to child’s career plans.
One common theme from this group of highly accomplished professional parents was this: Our kids from the on-demand generation may not fully understand that the road to success is long. Continue reading “No Short Cuts on a Ladder”
Evaluating the Executive Director doesn’t have to be painful, overly time consuming or complicated, but it does need to happen.
Evaluating the ED is about three things: goal setting, alignment, and accountability. An ED’s evaluation actually begins 12 months out when the Board and ED work together to establish and agree upon goals for the following year. The process helps to align the Board and ED around those goals and set expectations for how they will work together to achieve them. At the end of the 12 months, the evaluation becomes largely about accountability. Were the goals met? Why or why not? Continue reading “Good Governance: Evaluating the Executive Director”
The National Association of Corporate Directors held its annual Summit in DC this week. The largest gathering of public, private, and nonprofit governing board members never disappoints. Continue reading “10 Takeaways from the 2018 NACD Summit”
I was recently in a Board Governance Committee meeting discussing expanding the board. The CEO presented us with a list of possible candidates and asked, “Who on this list should we add?”
Cue my mantra: “structure follows strategy.” Continue reading “Structure Follows Strategy”
Last week, I got a call from a non-profit in crisis. Trouble inside the organization spilled over into the board room when frustrated employees began calling board members to complain about the Executive Director. Because the Board Chair had not been evaluating the Executive Director annually, he was caught off guard by the sudden negative feedback and became very defensive.
As the issue heated up, the Board Chair, unequipped or unwilling to deal with it, abruptly resigned. Though the by-laws provided for a full complement of officers to carry on in the absence of the Chair, the board had not been abiding by those by-laws and did not have anyone in place to assume the role. When an emergency meeting was called, only a handful of members showed up, signaling a systemic lack of engagement. Continue reading “Good Governance Gets You Through a Crisis”
It’s no longer a buyer’s market for talent. Three key labor stats indicate that companies will be forced to do more to attract, retain and develop talent. Continue reading “Labor Stats Force a Shift in People Strategy”
One of PeopleCap’s 6 Imperatives for High Performance is “Sharpen Focus.” We are always looking for creative ways to help our client companies set clear direction and align their organization accordingly. It was with that in mind that I picked up a copy of Measure What Matters by John Doerr to read at the beach this summer. It inspired me to sharpen my own focus and put into practice the organizational goal setting methodology detailed in the book that promises to “turn good ideas into superior execution.” Continue reading “What We’re Reading: Measure What Matters”
The topic of corporate culture is ubiquitous. You cannot open a copy of the Harvard Business Review or a McKinsey Blog without seeing some reference to corporate culture and the need for executives and boards to manage it. And while there has been a lot published on this topic, we still find that many don’t quite understand what “it” is: They don’t understand what culture is and why it is so important. So, for them, I offer this explanation: Culture is the Boss when the Boss is not around. Continue reading “Culture is the Boss”
I estimate that I have sat through over 100 board (bored?) meetings over the last 10 years and, frankly, I want those hours back.
CEOs complain about a lack of board engagement. But it is impossible to be engaged while sitting through two hours of a quarterly review listing every single task the organization accomplished over the last three months. The truth is that board members do have a lot of value to add. And they are eager to add it. The challenge for CEOs is to run a meeting that invites participation and thought leadership.
Boost your board engagement by changing your agenda. Carve out time in each meeting to: Inform, Educate and Engage. Continue reading “Board Meetings Are Boring.”