Let Me Be Perfectly (and Radically) Candid With You

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  

Good advice, right? Well – not really. Especially at work.

It turns out that following this old adage at the workplace leads to inefficiency, job dissatisfaction and, most importantly, unsatisfactory results for the organization.

OK, I can hear many of you saying right up front: “Hey, wait a minute, can being ‘the nice guy’ at work really be all that bad??”

Yes, it can.

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Let Me Be Perfectly (and Radically) Candid With You

Minding Your Business in a Post-Truth World

It was recently announced Oxford Dictionaries had selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year.

Now, before we go any further, let’s make sure we all know exactly what this highly-trending phrase means.  Oxford defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

Huh.

So, right now, I believe I can hear many of you saying, “Cute phrase…but what does it have to do with me, or my organization?”

Well, although the “post-truth” era has most often been cited in relation to the current and rather insane political landscape, it has created negative ramifications for organizations and individuals within the business world as well.

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Minding Your Business in a Post-Truth World

Tapping the Wealth of Hidden Talent

How to Develop Leadership Potential in Others and Ourselves

Nearly every CEO in corporate America wrestles with the same serious problem—one that threatens their current and future profitability. It’s the huge and growing gap between the demand for talent and the availability of talent.

This talent crisis is keeping executives up at night.

  • In a 2014 survey, 70 percent of corporate executives ranked “capability gaps” among their top five challenges.
  • Nearly two-thirds of CEOs are concerned about a scarcity of key skills.
  • Worldwide, one in three employers is struggling to fill vacancies due to a lack of available talent—the highest number since 2007. They’re also struggling with the resulting revenue losses.

Apart from the difficulty they face finding outside talent and developing their own future leaders, companies struggle to retain their best people. When they attempt to fill the vacancies left behind, they hire the wrong candidates 82 percent of the time. And too little is being done to turn things around.

This shortage of talent is a complex problem, made worse by the shifting demands and uncertainty of a global marketplace. To begin to address it effectively at the organizational level, there are at least three questions you must ask.

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Tapping the Wealth of Hidden Talent

Want to Be a Great Leader? Learn How to Tell Great Stories.

Want to Be a Great Leader? Learn How to Tell Great Stories.

What makes a leader great? What does a leader need to accomplish great things?

I’d say storytelling ranks near the top (if not #1) on both lists. Leading minds in academia and business, including Howard Gardner and Noel Tichy, say the same.

Part of a leader’s job is to convey big ideas, get people on board, and inspire them to act. Facts and logic don’t move people; stories do.

Our love of stories, and our emotional response to them, is hard-wired in us. Before we could write, we drew on cave walls to capture the stories our elders told. Stories bring us together and help us make sense of the world. It’s all part of the human experience.

The business world is no different. Stories provide purpose and meaning, and they promote progress. The ability to tell a good story is something no business leader can succeed without.

Continue reading “Want to Be a Great Leader? Learn How to Tell Great Stories.”

Want to Be a Great Leader? Learn How to Tell Great Stories.

What Accomplishment Is (and Isn’t)—and Why It Matters

What have you accomplished lately on the job?

Notice I didn’t ask what you’ve done lately. That’s an entirely different question. I’m asking what you’ve accomplished.

Here’s where I’m going with this.

Decades ago, when I first started in business, I was hired by a multinational bank. The person in charge of inducting us trainees said, “Every month, now that you have a job, pull up your resume and update it.”

I thought his advice to us new hires was . . . interesting. But his point was this: Use your resume as a tool to hold yourself accountable. Make sure you can say you’re accomplishing things on a regular basis.

I took that advice to heart. Today, I advise all my clients to do the same—right after I explain what real accomplishment looks like.

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What Accomplishment Is (and Isn’t)—and Why It Matters

Are You Productive Enough? Here’s a Good Way to Tell.

Think about the people you work with on a daily basis. Some of them know how to make a difference. In fact, they’re hell bent on it. Others show up, check a few boxes, and go home.

Let’s focus on the latter camp. This camp includes two groups of people. I call them the dreamers and the bureaucrats.

Dreamers are the ones who toss out idea after idea. These ideas may be good; they may be interesting. They might even be revolutionary. But none of them ever happen. As brilliant as dreamers can be, and often are, they’re all sizzle and no steak.

Bureaucrats, on the other hand, strictly adhere to guidelines. They think and act inside the box. They may get the daily minutiae done, but they can’t seem to focus on the larger goal.

In many ways, these two groups are a world apart. The dreamers are strategic thinkers; the bureaucrats are tactical thinkers. But they have something important in common.

They aren’t producing anything of real significance.

Do you identify with one of these groups? Are you unhappy about it? Then it’s time to take a few steps to your right.

Here’s what I mean by that.

Continue reading “Are You Productive Enough? Here’s a Good Way to Tell.”

Are You Productive Enough? Here’s a Good Way to Tell.

3 Strategies When Investing in Talent

Bonds. Stocks. Mutual funds.

Chances are when you think of savvy business investments your mind favors those of the financial fashion. After all, it’s a natural correlation; financial investments lead to financial rewards.

However, if you really want to see your organization grow in the global marketplace there is a much more valuable commodity you should be coveting: talent.

But it’s not as easy to obtain as you’d think.

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3 Strategies When Investing in Talent

Strategic vs. Tactical: How Your Personality Type Impacts Your Career

I have two questions for you.

  1.  Are you a strategic thinker, or a tactical thinker (or both?)?
  2.  Professionally speaking, where do you hope to be in 5–10 years?

Before you answer #2, you must answer #1.

Many people don’t know how to answer the first question. Either they confuse strategy and tactics (a leading cause of long, meandering meetings), or they lack self-awareness. So they pursue career paths that don’t suit them and wonder why they can’t get any traction.

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Strategic vs. Tactical: How Your Personality Type Impacts Your Career

Want to Accelerate Your Career? Try This Simple Word.

There’s a word many famous leaders have used to transform companies, industries, and cultural norms—not to mention their own personal fortunes. If this word isn’t in your vocabulary, it needs to be.

  • Rosa Parks said it to a bus driver in 1955.
  • Mark Zuckerberg said it to Yahoo in 2006, after the company offered him a measly $1 billion for Facebook.
  • Robert Downey Jr. finally said it to drugs and became one of Hollywood’s biggest comeback kids.

In each of these cases, the word “no” meant the difference between confusion and clarity. Stagnation and growth. Mediocrity and excellence.

Continue reading “Want to Accelerate Your Career? Try This Simple Word.”

Want to Accelerate Your Career? Try This Simple Word.