Ask Me Anything

I often get great questions from people via email, social media, at conferences and in client meetings. Recently, I received a question from Chris D. who asked about ways to manage two groups of people who need to work together—those who are young, eager and willing to work within a new organization and culture and… Read more

Build a Business of Turned-On Business People

If you want to build trust and take performance into the stratosphere, open the books. Share information that matters to improving operating and financial results. Celebrate people when they score big successes.  Repeat. Open book management is the purest leadership communication philosophy I’ve seen and worked with. It’s grounded in the notion of creating businesses… Read more

First Enron; Now Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo and its CEO John Stumpf have no doubt had better weeks than last week. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells $185 million for opening deposit accounts and transferring funds without customers’ approval. This came five years after Wells paid $85 million in fines for selling higher interest rate mortgages to customers who… Read more

Touch Screen TVs Don’t Fix Safety

I conducted a communication assessment of an under-performing operation inside a larger company. It has a poor safety record and is missing its quality, service-delivery, productivity and cost goals. Employee retention rates are poor. The assessment revealed no core communication process managed by the leadership. People throughout the operation complained about disconnected, often-conflicting information that… Read more

On Meetingship

One of the best leaders I’ve ever worked with also ran the best meetings. His name is Mike and he’s a rock star in a large corporation.   He and his colleague, Mary, invited me to help turn a west coast operation around so the company could decide whether it would keep the operation or sell… Read more

Leaders: Are You Harboring Bullies?

My client held back tears as she explained to me how a powerful woman in the so-called C-Suite humiliated her in front of her employees. “Jim, you wouldn’t believe how she challenged everything I said–even common sense–and facts that she knew were true but wouldn’t admit it,” my client told me. “It was awful, just… Read more

The Activity Trap: A Barrier to Customer Excellence

Communication departments have huge opportunities to improve the customer experience but many don’t capitalize on them. Why do they leave money on the table? Communication people tell me they’re mired in an activity trap that they can’t emerge from, yet they fully acknowledge that improving the customer experience would add more value. They believe social… Read more

Amanda

I’ve had the honor of mentoring many people during my career as a consultant.  Amanda was 23 when we worked at her company’s Kansas City manufacturing plant. Our mandate was to help a new plant leader turn the operation around. The plant’s culture was autocratic. “My way or the highway.” Plant management and its two… Read more

Are You a High Performer? Check Here!

Do you consistently excel in every performance category that’s critical to your success?  If you do, you’ll continue reading because you’re obsessed with continuous improvement. If you’re not a high performer, you’ll read on because you want to become one or you’ll move on to something else because you’re comfortable with the state of mediocrity… Read more

Bring on the Band: Let’s Change the Culture!

Most CEOs who think they need to improve dramatically probably do. They usually get into the mess they’re in because they didn’t execute a customer-focused business strategy well. Execution starts with enabling people to change how they do their work. Results don’t change unless work changes, all things equal. But not all leaders understand this…. Read more