Posted: July 20th, 2014

Sick and tired

I’m accustomed to angry or frustrated groups of training participants but sometimes they are truly a challenge.  A recent group of federal agency employees was so stressed about being reorganized and so angry at the lack of information regarding the purpose and vision for the reorg that it was hard to get them focused on the class material.  It was…

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Posted: July 7th, 2014

Voices in your head

I interviewed a federal employee recently about her experiences working on a public complaint hotline, so that I could write case studies for a training program I’m developing.  She told me stories about crazy people who call the hotline.  There was the man who said someone had given him a penile implant without his permission and he had to go…

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Posted: June 9th, 2014

No complaining

Jon Gordon’s The No Complaining Rule is a short, fun read with a simple concept that anyone in today’s business world can quickly implement.  The book tells a fictional story about a company that combats negativity in its culture by installing and enforcing a no complaining rule. The rule doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about problems or bring up…

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Posted: May 25th, 2014

Measure what matters: happiness

We often make the mistake of thinking that something can only be measurable if we can count it or put it on a graph, especially when it comes to measuring performance.  But measures can be qualitative too, and sometimes if we don’t reach for a qualitative standard we fall into the trap of measuring what can be counted instead of…

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Posted: May 4th, 2014

Using technology to build your virtual team

When the challenges of team building for virtual teams come up for discussion with workshop groups, my usual mantra is that we don’t do anything different when managing remotely; we just have to do more of the same stuff.  Take all the communicating and aligning and getting to know each other that needs to happen in order for co-located teams…

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Posted: March 30th, 2014

The next time you want to complain about Gen Y…

When I was in my 20s I had a real problem with speeding tickets.  New Hampshire has tough traffic laws and I was put up for “habitual offender” a couple of times, although with the help of a fantastic attorney I was never actually certified as habitual.   Good thing, because habitual offenders lose their license for years and sometimes go…

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Posted: March 15th, 2014

The question I can’t answer

One day recently a woman who had been in my team building class stopped by to say hello.  She wanted to tell me a story about how she had been courageous in addressing a safety problem in her building, something that supervisors had tried to brush under the carpet.  She said, “So it would be nice if we could all…

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Posted: February 23rd, 2014

Ruminations on Level 5 leadership

I’m re-reading Jim Collins’ classic Good to Great this week, after many years.  I’m struck by how much clearer the concept of Level 5 leadership is to me now than it was ten years ago. First, a refresher for those who haven’t read the book recently. Collins and his team of researchers studied a group of companies whose stock market performance…

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Posted: February 10th, 2014

Restoring a sense of purpose

I know from experience that a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s work is far more motivating than money or any other tangible benefit.  Back when I was a volunteer for a Colorado mountain rescue team, I would put aside everything on my desk when the pager sounded and race into the wilderness with my teammates, because helping to…

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Posted: January 19th, 2014

To take your tribe to the next level, upgrade their language

After watching Dave Logan’s TED talk about tribal leadership last spring, and blogging about it in fascination, I finally read his book.  Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, which Logan co-wrote with John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, is really about the power of language and how it shapes and reveals the reality of a tribe.  Logan,…

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