We’ve Made It Clear! No, You Haven’t!

Listen for it. They’re all saying it. Our rancorous politicians try to persuade us and each other that they’ve made perfectly clear what they haven’t. By saying, “We’ve made it clear,” they expect us to believe it. But we humble citizens know whether they’ve made something clear or not.  We’re pretty good at understanding reality…. Read more

A Leader’s First 30 Days Are Free

The Honeymoon Doesn’t Last… I’ve spent much of my career working with new leaders—leaders who were suddenly responsible for leading a company, one of its business units, regions, labs, manufacturing plants, or branch operations. New leaders encounter many of the same early challenges and make the same mistakes. Depending on the size of the organization,… Read more

Stupid Rules

One of the best leaders I’ve worked with is Dave Rabuano who helped turn around Owens Corning’s flagship plant in Newark, Ohio.  Dave is a people guy, but he’s no softie. He gets big results. He began his turn-around listening to the operation’s 1,200-plus employees. He wanted to know what prevented them from being the… Read more

Does Your Communication Department Create Output or Outcomes?

One of our clients wants to enter 2015 drivel-free. That’s right.  Drivel-free, as in free of babble, gibberish, or blather. This corporate communication department is on a march to shift from an expensive cost center that “puts out stuff” to one that creates value by fixing operational problems caused by poor communication. Leaders are increasingly… Read more

What Generational Differences?

I’ve had my fill of articles, studies and research about generational differences and the huge impact they will or are having on how we lead businesses today. I think it’s a bunch of bunk. Here’s why. I’m a baby-boomer and was influenced in one way or another by all the stuff that went on as… 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

Learning the Value of “No”

I’m currently advising a large company that typifies almost every company I know, in one respect.  Everyone is busier than hell. Last week a 30-something woman framed it perfectly, “We spend most of our days in back-to-back and sometimes double and triple-booked meetings. Then we go home at night or on weekends and try to… 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

Where Have All the Leadership Role Models Gone?

The recent gutter fights between the President and leaders of Congress have given me plenty of presentation material. While players in Washington were fighting it out like school children (“It’s your fault! No, it’s your fault!”), I was addressing two different audiences on leadership. The Washington spectacle enabled me to say, “Here’s a situation that… 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