The Overselling of Engagement

Employee engagement bombards me at workshops, conferences, seminars, social media forums, in journal articles, survey reports and conference room presentations. Everybody’s talking about it. Most don’t know what they’re talking about. When it’s managed well, the engagement of people can take organizations to unheard of heights. When it’s not–and it usually isn’t–it drains finite resources…. Read more

Pick a Pilot and Win

When you need to produce results fast, minimize risk of failure, perfect a concept and create demand for more, then pick a pilot, improve results and replicate. Historically, change efforts were massive, enterprise-wide affairs. Those still have their place. But increasingly, companies are adopting surgical approaches to change. They’re focusing on improving pieces of their… Read more

First Line Leadership: High Quality Equals High Performance

Employee engagement and operating performance are directly tied to the relationship between first line leaders and their employees. Yet many organizations do a lousy job of selecting and developing first line leaders, whose employees can take organizations to unheard of heights. Why the lousy job? It takes time, energy, money and superior execution to produce… Read more

Results Change When Work Changes

In a recent Leadership Report, I said “Results don’t change unless work changes.” If your business strategy isn’t explained in a way that connects people and their work to it, don’t expect much to change. Business strategy formulation is typically about a series of long, secretive, offsite top management meetings followed by all employee meetings… Read more

Zap The Culture of Fear!

Answer the following questions to determine the level of fear in your organization: Are people in your organization afraid to admit their mistakes? Are they reluctant to open up in meetings but when the boss steps out for a phone call they can’t wait to get their opinions on the table? Is there an extreme… Read more

The Nobler Cause of a Purposeful Organization

“I don’t put plates on tables. I make people happy.” That’s Victor, talking to my wife and me at Taller de Tapas restaurant in Barcelona during our recent trip through Spain. Because he’s right about making people happy, we came back three times and used that tapas restaurant as our benchmark when we moved on… Read more

More Communication Departments Add Measurable Value

Why would a communication department deliberately absent itself from the place where it could add the most value? At one of our recent workshops I told the story of a communication manager who’d championed a project to improve on-time delivery in one of her company’s operations. It was an exceptional example of a communication function… Read more

What Can We Do About “Busyness”?

Action Items to Help You Prioritize Last month I addressed a meeting of communication professionals about the universal “busyness” imbedded in most organizations, and shared my belief that much of this busyness is caused by lack of rigorous priority setting. I work with many who are “trying to do everything” when “everything” shouldn’t sit at… Read more

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