Change Challenges Culture

In a market experiencing greater uncertainty, complexity and competition, the prime directive for leaders is not to manage to the status quo, but to make things better – to lead strategy or cross-functional change initiatives that create value, improve competitive advantage, and strengthen business sustainability. Leaders build and strengthen culture – and change challenges it. That’s why these initiatives must be led from the top. They are strategic and complex, requiring focus, agility, and accountability. …

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Moments of Truth

Every business confronts moments of truth – those moments when something that was promised to a valued customer goes wrong. It may be a quality challenge, a performance failure, an urgent repair, or a delayed vital delivery. Whatever the issue, it’s these moments, when the value you promised to deliver is compromised, and your relationship is in jeopardy, that your customer experiences the true culture of your business, what you truly value. When a business …

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Mixed Messaging

In his book, ‘On Listening to Another,’ Douglas Steere shares this insight: “In every conversation between two people, there are always at least six persons present. What each person said are two; what each person meant to say are two more; and, what each person understood the other to say are two more.” All leaders want to communicate with clarity, avoiding mixed messages that invite these multiple personalities into their conversations and discussions. Clear communications …

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Change or Progress

Leaders deal with change almost every day. Sometimes it’s intentional, meant to produce sustainable improvement. Other times, it can be a reaction to evolving circumstances. Many times, there’s a need to act with urgency. Whatever the motivation, rarely is change easy to implement. Leading a team from a known, comfortable situation toward an unknown one, is a fundamental and expected challenge of leadership. And the first milestone on this journey is achieving team commitment to the new direction. Promptly …

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Building Enduring Relationships

Relationships are the essence of life. For businesses, and those who lead them, relationships are lifeblood. Enduring relationships are characterized by two defining principles – caring and responsibility. When leaders solicit suggestions, express appreciation, and share credit, they create a positive environment where employees feel valued and motivated. A more personal sense of caring is revealed when a leader seeks to learn what a direct report values, aspires to, and is motivated by. Leaders who …

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Setting Team Expectations

Leaders don’t improve results all by themselves; the people in the business produce the results, because they want to grow and succeed. Leaders do create the conditions that enable those they lead to fulfill their aspirations, to achieve their Company, and their developmental, goals. One of these conditions is setting expectations. Once their expectations are understood, leaders can cultivate their team’s shared commitment – to one another and to goal achievement. Productive expectations include these …

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Attributes of Successful Strategy Champions

Strategies are often launched or refined at the start of a new year. And while you may have conceived the strategy, its successful implementation often depends on those in your team who appreciate why the strategy is necessary, believe in it and your Company, and have the critical thinking and interpersonal competencies to drive it forward. During strategy implementation, there will be challenging moments that provoke cynicism and compromise morale. At such times, asserting authority …

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Shaping An Innovation Culture

Shaping your culture to nurture innovation begins by encouraging your people to challenge the status quo, asking what is possible. And doing so in a manner that preserves respect for the certainty, efficiency, and reduced risk that precedent has delivered. Since developing a novel technology or product is typically too lofty a goal and too risky a proposition for most businesses, it’s a more realistic expectation to motivate the exploration of what can be done …

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Questioning Performance

The approaching year-end is a milestone that often triggers an assessment of performance, yours and those who produce yours. What’s your default approach for reviewing performance with your team? Does your discussion focus on goal status, and how you assess what a direct report did, or could do, to impact it? Or, do you probe how that person evaluates their performance, why it occurred, and what they need from you going forward? If this was …

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Your Team’s Two Types of Labor

We know that the most effective teams collaborate, take ownership, and improve results. We know that the leaders who build these teams have the experience and emotional intelligence to understand how their mindsets and actions affect those they lead, enabling the development of trust that strengthens relationships and cultivates their teams’ shared accountability. And, we know that these leaders, who rightly acknowledge their responsibility to develop the talents of those they lead, continuously engage with …

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