"Do you think you should..?" is a Solution in Disguise!

"Do you think you should..?" is a Solution in Disguise!

Have you ever felt like you wanted your team members to be more proactive? Most leaders genuinely want to empower their teams. We know it is not effective or scale-able to have one person doing all the thinking for the group.

Yet when we try to encourage our team members to take ownership and solve problems, often we unwittingly sabotage ourselves with Solutions in Disguise. 

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When "How can I help?" isn't as helpful as you think

When "How can I help?" isn't as helpful as you think

"Why is it when I ask my senior leaders "How can I help?" I rarely get a response I can do anything with? People seem to struggle for an answer when I know they are overloaded and desperately need help. I don't get it. What am I missing?"

During a coaching session, the CEO of a mid-sized manufacturing company recently shared these frustrations with me. This man cares deeply for his team and company. He is concerned about what his people need, and wants to empower then with the right resources to be successful. He wants to help!

Every one of his intentions are good. Yet he's probably asking too much of his people - without realizing it.

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Which Gets More Maintenance—Your Car or Your Co-workers?

Which Gets More Maintenance—Your Car or Your Co-workers?

It's easier to regularly invest small amounts of time and energy into our most important relationships than it is to wait until major repair work is needed. And dealing with conflict in the workplace when it's an occasional vibration under the hood may prevent full-on relationship engine failure.

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Setting limits without saying no

Setting limits without saying no

Whether you are an individual contributor, a department head, or a CEO answering to a board, you can often find yourself in the position of being asked to do more work than is possible given the time and resources available.

The bad news is I don’t have a magic formula for adding infinitely more work capacity.

The good news is I do have some magic phrases for responding to requests (or demands) for more work in a way that manages your capacity while still being a good team player.

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What's your personal kryptonite?

What's your personal kryptonite?

You probably have your own personal kryptonite - at work.

I discovered how kryptonite can affect leaders when my firm was working with the owner of a highly successful remodeling company. Our project involved streamlining and organizing processes, and while confirming the project schedule I couldn’t help but notice the paperwork stacked wall to wall behind the owner’s desk

“I’m curious. What’s with that?” I asked

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Three steps to getting better results with the same team

Three steps to getting better results with the same team

As leaders, we feel a lot of pressure to get the best results possible for everyone connected to our company. As the person ultimately responsible for those results, we often shake things up by getting rid of “non-performers” and bringing new blood into our team. This strategy can work well – until one day it doesn’t. How often have you brought in someone new to discover you just traded one set of challenges for another? 

Sometimes the trust of the team suffers as they wonder who’s next. Sometimes the person who left was doing more than you realized. Sometimes you find out the grass looked greener on the other side of the fence because it was really AstroTurf.

What if instead, we could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the people already here?

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Control-Z Culture: Helping or Harming Your Team?

Control-Z Culture: Helping or Harming Your Team?

Maybe you remember the typewriter days. It used to be a typing mistake meant ripping out a whole sheet of paper and starting over. Then correction fluid was invented, which progressed to a correction tape right in the typewriter. Today, pressing Control-Z is a quick way to "undo" and eliminate almost any mistake we might make on our computer...

A recent conversation has me wondering if a culture of Control-Z could be diminishing people's contingency thinking...

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Why superheroes anyway?

Why superheroes anyway?

We're on a thematic journey of superpowers, superheroes, and kryptonite to get a different perspective on the everyday challenges of doing our best and asking the best of others at work.

One reader asked "Why superheroes? Isn't that a bit hokey for a professional firm that works with leaders and teams?" 

Good question. Here's our take on the reasons for "going superhero"...

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Empower yourself and your team by saying thank you

Empower yourself and your team by saying thank you

We help teams build vulnerability-based trust as the basis of becoming a high performing team. A key element to creating this type of trust is admitting when you make a mistake.

There are several potential ways to admit a mistake, and each has different implications for your team:

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