Energy of the People

It’s during the challenging moments that your people make the biggest difference. Each person in your organization is a source of energy, with a unique set of gifts to contribute, and the potential to leverage these together with their distinctive insight and experience, to convert products and services into strategic value for your customers. This energy is focused like a laser when employees share commitment to a common purpose and culture. And unlike other forms of energy, …

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Who Leaders Need

While seeking to improve results, leaders are perpetually balancing the preservation of the status quo with the need for innovation and improvement.   Keep what’s working, with its efficiency, reduced risk and expected result, or challenge the organization to consider the possibilities of doing something better, pursuing productive change in which the outcome is uncertain.  Because the leader relies on others to help determine the right balance in this exercise, and to drive change when that is what’s required, hiring the right people …

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Leadership is a People Business

Leaders learn by leading, and they learn best by leading in the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. ~ Warren G. Bennis   The pace of change challenges leaders to be bold. But the unpredictability of bold actions can cause fear and anxiety within a leader’s team, inhibiting them and potentially compromising the expected outcome. For such actions to be successful, it becomes a leader’s priority to minimize the team’s stress, to help them become …

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Cultural Capital – the New Frontier of Competitive Advantage

We’ve begun returning to the office, emerging from months of virtual-only connectivity. Many leaders are discovering that the lack of in-person interaction has caused their company’s culture to fray.  Businesses are living entities, communities with cultures built and nurtured by all those whose energy and commitment have produced the company’s progress. Their culture binds them to one another, enabling the execution of strategy and achievement of goals, creating value for customers, the business and each other. Culture is how things get done.  Leaders have increasingly …

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Employing Empathy

Empathy, the capacity to understand another person’s perspective and feelings, is often described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice. Empathy is a skill that enables leaders to scan large sets of data and establish priorities, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information by assessing signals, anomalies and novel patterns that compel their attention. For those who master it, employing …

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Preserving Culture in a Downturn

When business turns down, and layoffs are necessary, preserving culture can be challenging for leadership.  Leaders who sustain the dignity of those who must depart, who communicate clearly and honestly, employ a fair, ethical process, and offer resources to assist are seen as modelling a company’s core principles, thus preserving some trust with the survivors.  A poorly managed downsizing damages that trust, perhaps irrevocably. It also crushes morale and loyalty, increases resentment, and reduces employee engagement …

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Investing in Appreciation

During this prolonged time of disruption and stress, those you lead benefit from your personal attention in letting them know that they are appreciated and valued. The return on these efforts is higher individual and team performance, greater collaboration, increased willingness to invest in changes that deliver improvements, and enriched job satisfaction for your people.  Good employees are hard to find, develop, and keep. And replacing trained, experienced people is often quoted as the #1 non-productive cost …

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Customer Experience Insulation

The customer-driven market is the future of business. Those who thrive in it anticipate disruption, partner with key customers, relentlessly challenge the status quo, and drive, rather than adapt to, change. Decisions related to these strategies rely upon urgent, unfiltered feedback from customers. How insulated are you from this direct feedback? When a small business delivers a poor customer experience, the leaders quickly learn about it. Complaints rise and customers leave. Post-purchase reparations are expensive, and goal achievement is …

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3 Ways to Lead Better in the Virtual World

The exclusive use of virtual business methods, fostered by our shared Covid experience, has challenged many leadership paradigms. Particularly hard hit are those processes that rely on interpersonal skills to develop trust and to cultivate the collaboration necessary for teams to drive change, take ownership and improve results.  Leaders who have traditionally used their relational skills to strengthen their personal connections with those they lead, to encourage open, transparent communication, and to better understand what emotions are motivating the …

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Cultivating Shared Accountability

High performing teams embrace shared accountability. Having committed that the ownership of their decisions is shared by the team rather than by their leader alone, they rely on one another to achieve results. The leaders of these teams cultivate this environment of shared responsibility by: Ensuring that all team members operate under common standards of performance, fostering appreciation and satisfaction; Encouraging team members to challenge the status quo, to experiment, and to leverage their initiative and experience, driving …

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