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”
A lot of leaders are struggling to lead young team members effectively. And sure, some of it relates to the Millennial generation. There are generational markers that shape our perspectives: My generation had MTV and Nintendo, Millennials have social media and smart phones. Those things definitely shape who we are. But I also think many of us Gen Xers were ambitious, impatient, wanting the world and quite convinced that we could be doing a better job in the CEO’s chair (okay, well I certainly was). Continue reading “Leading Young Employees”
While conducting interviews with employees for a client, one person leaned in at the close of the interview and said, “You’re so easy to talk to. Thank you so much – it feels like therapy!”
The great part was that this organization isn’t facing any issue of note and the interview was pretty basic, as interviews in my world go – nothing heavy or emotional came up. It’s not uncommon for people to respond this way following an hour telling me about their work lives, some even get a bit choked up or cry. Continue reading “Listening Is Therapy”
Recently, I was out of town facilitating a Board/CEO retreat. The retreat was incredibly productive. Everyone willing to put tough issues on the table and candidly discuss them. At the end of the retreat, strained relationships had been strengthened, expectations had been clarified and agreed upon, and there was an understanding and appreciation of the value each member of the Board could bring to the CEO. There was an enthusiasm, cohesion, and excitement in the group that hadn’t been present for months. To say that I was riding high would be an understatement. Continue reading “You Can’t Leave without Telling Me!”
By now, most of us have attended some training session where we practiced listening and repeating back to a partner what we heard. The importance of listening has been drilled into us for a while. But in my experience, a lot of leaders fail at Listening 101. Continue reading “When Leaders Don’t Listen”
At some point, leadership transition is a reality for all companies. One HR executive I recently spoke to is concerned that her 300-person company has built such amazing employee loyalty that approximately 35% of their workforce will retire in the next five years! Another organization is concerned that their founder-based brand will not survive the CEO’s retirement. And the CEO of yet another larger company has unintentionally sparked a c-suite jousting match leaving his executive team more focused on positioning themselves for his crown than on working together to run the company.
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.
Communication is most effective when it flows up and down a two-way street, without roadblocks. While this may seem elementary, many companies are just beginning to realize the value of employee feedback.
I was reminded of the power of open communication during a recent follow-up session with a client; despite major organizational changes the employee adaptation was swift, and the negative feedback was minimal. What was their secret? Company executives relied heavily on employee feedback and input when developing organizational changes, and implemented this feedback in meaningful ways. Continue reading “Feedback Follow-Ups”