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The PeopleCap Playbook

Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.

A Framework for Scaling Down or Shifting Rapidly

None of us has seen a moment quite like this. Unfortunately, while some are scaling up at rocket speed to get food to those in need and provide medical care to those without insurance, far too many organizations are facing the reality of urgently scaling back or shifting resources in the hopes of surviving this crisis. Continue reading “A Framework for Scaling Down or Shifting Rapidly”

Keep Calm and Stay Connected

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”

Navigating Employee Layoffs in the Wake of COVID-19

The economic impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching and potentially devastating. Many small businesses are facing the very real possibility of shutting down. Larger businesses are confronted with the possibility of having to significantly reduce headcount to survive.

We tend to talk about these business decisions using sterile business terms like ‘Layoffs’ or ‘RIFs’ – terms that are highly impersonal. But for most leaders, decisions about letting people go are intensely personal. Continue reading “Navigating Employee Layoffs in the Wake of COVID-19”

Leading in Uncertain Times

We are facing uncertain times, for sure. There are a lot of questions we simply don’t have answers to. There is a lot of stress.

There is also a lot to feel really good about within the nonprofit community – in fact, it’s filling my heart and making we want to scream the rest of this post from the rooftops! Continue reading “Leading in Uncertain Times”

We’re Burning Out Our Leaders

A shocking number of nonprofit professionals live in a state of overwhelm and near burnout. According to Kathleen Kelly Janus in her book Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference, 50% of nonprofit employees are on the verge of burning out, a statistic that is even higher for nonprofit leaders. Too many nonprofit EDs live in a state of exhaustion for extended periods of time. And, it’s not because they fall short on leadership skills: I believe it’s due to several factors that are unique to the nonprofit sector. Continue reading “We’re Burning Out Our Leaders”

Saying No is the Key to Having an Impact

In the nonprofit world, we struggle with saying no. We hate to think that we might (1) hurt someone’s feelings, ruffle feathers or (2) fail to do something that could improve someone’s life.  This empathy and commitment to help are what make nonprofit professionals so exceptional. It’s what allows them to work long hours for less pay. It’s what inspires them to lend their time and talents to hard work, day after day. It’s also what keeps them working harder and harder but feeling like they’re not realizing the desired result of all that effort. It’s what burns them out. Continue reading “Saying No is the Key to Having an Impact”

Before You Promote

There are multiple factors, completely unrelated to ability, that drive decisions to put employees in people management positions, including the desire to: attract and retain top talent; recognize and reward service; or the need for someone to manage a growing team. Often these ancillary reasons result in managers who can’t manage. Successful leadership development begins with leadership selection. Continue reading “Before You Promote”

100,000 Opportunities to Build or Dilute Your Culture – Lessons from Delta

By formulanone from Huntsville, United States - Delta N981EV Bombardier CRJ200 Takeoff ATL June 2015, CC BY-SA 2.0

Last year, I was asked to serve on a panel in Atlanta with senior executives of Cox Automotive, Rheem Manufacturing, and Delta to share insights on cultivating an effective culture. Cox Automotive, Rheem, and Delta were on the panel because of their vigilant commitment to maintaining a positive and productive culture for all of their employees. Collectively, they have over 100,000 employees, and their cultures are shaped every day by the actions and decisions of each of those 100,000 employees.

On my way to Atlanta, my Delta flight was delayed almost two hours. Fortunately, I was flying in the day before my panel, but most passengers were flying in for business meetings that day, and the delay was causing significant disruption to their schedules.  Tensions and frustrations were high. Continue reading “100,000 Opportunities to Build or Dilute Your Culture – Lessons from Delta”

Herb Kelleher is the Boss.

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.”

Leading Young Employees

baby in a necktie

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”

Get in the Rink

I can’t roller skate. Never learned. While roller skating isn’t a skill I need regularly at this point in my life, the reason I can’t roller skate is important.

When growing up, it seemed like every birthday party was at Skateland. Every. Single. One. I couldn’t skate; and so every time, I sat at the tables outside of the rink and watched everyone make fools of themselves – slipping and falling. Some kids were so bad, they had to have a walker to hold them up. I wasn’t about to make a fool out of myself, and I stayed safely on the outside. Continue reading “Get in the Rink”

Receiving Feedback is Humbling

people in audience

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”

Leading an Investor-Backed Company

 

puzzle pieces

Growth is a double-edged sword. Success provides the opportunity to grow. Growth is a reward for hard work and success. And yet, growth is hard. It often requires a new focus, new leadership, different skills, and possibly a new structure. As CEO, you are tasked with building a new, larger company while continuing to run the company that currently exists. The downside to growth is that it comes with significant risk; because so much has to change, you can’t just go back to the way things were if the change is not successful. In many ways, growth is an all or nothing endeavor – it is critical to get it right. 

This dynamic becomes even more complex when the growth is backed by investors who join your Board. Continue reading “Leading an Investor-Backed Company”