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The PeopleCap Playbook

Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.

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”

Board Meetings Are Boring.

bored at a board meeting

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.”