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

Lousy Change Leadership Causes Change Fatigue

If you’re like people in many companies today, you’re damned tired of the pursuit of constant change. I don’t blame you. I see first-hand what you’re going through–and where it comes from. Leaders who don’t have a clue as to how to manage or lead a change effort do more harm than good.  Take “The… Read more

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

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