Chasing Shiny, Bright Objects

One of my early consulting engagements was in Kansas City with a team of smart people from Hallmark. The team was charged with improving business processes that were critical to getting new products to market faster. The work took months off the process. It made the company more nimble, giving it a decided competitive edge…. Read more

Dooming Culture Change to Fail – 5 Common Mistakes

If I didn’t know better I’d be firmly convinced that many leaders get up in the morning and deliberately try to confuse the hell out of their employees. I’ve been guiding business leaders through major and minor change processes for more than 30 years. Some target the whole company; others focus on improving branch operations,… Read more

The Purest Form of Transparency

Why do business leaders talk a good game about being open and transparent, but do a half-assed job of it? Here’s how I see it, based on my working with leaders for 30-plus years.  Most have never seriously thought about openness or transparency, although they say they want to be totally open with their people…. Read more

Level Conscious? You’re Underpowered!

The young man in the Indianapolis Colts ball cap sitting at the end of the table had something he really wanted to say. I’ve facilitated thousands of focus groups over the years. I know the people who are itching to tell their story from the look in their eyes.  On this day, we were talking… Read more

A CEO’s Lost Connections

The CEO of a large company recently expressed frustration to me because he had a sense that his people weren’t connected to his vision and the strategy—“despite having explained it maybe a hundred thousand times,” he said. “We need to connect people,” he said. “People in the field need to understand that if they keep… Read more

Have a Trust Issue? Open the Books!

I took a client to open book management pioneer SRC Corporation last week. For them it was an eye opener. For me it was a reinforcement of what’s possible when a company shares vast amounts of the right information with its people. They make smarter decisions and take performance to unheard of heights. SRC has… Read more

Is There a Best People Measure? Maybe Not.

Measurement is a powerful communication device. What you count counts. What you measure tells people what’s important. It drives actions people take and the results they create. When you try to measure too many things it may tell the people you lack priorities because “everything’s important.”

Incentives Must be Done Right

Incentives can play a huge role in driving results upward, but only if they’re part of a larger continuous improvement system. Last year, I worked with a company that had a gain-sharing plan for hourly people. Employees worked to create gains that they, in turn, shared. It was a relatively decent design but its implementation… Read more

Darden—Great Company

I think environment says everything about a company. I don’t care what industry you’re operating in, the parking lot tells your first story. That’s followed by the front door and the first person you meet inside that door. Everything that comes after is merely repetition. Not long ago, I spoke at Darden, the big full-service… Read more