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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

The Work of Leaders

Creating value is the work of leaders.  It’s a perpetual challenge, involving the preservation of key customer relationships, the constant quest for innovations, and the relentless pursuit of quality, productivity and sustainability, all simultaneously occurring in accordance with the company’s culture.  Preserving proactive, strategic customer relationships yields insights about evolving aspirations, goals and needs, which enable adaptations to ensure that these valuable relationships endure.  Observing and assessing trends from industry or market engagements encourages the curiosity and anticipation …

Read more

The Core of Emotional Intelligence

Leaders with high emotional intelligence (EI) understand their own emotional state, enabling them to more accurately gauge the emotions of others, and to exercise empathy to better understand the genesis of these emotions. Employing empathy stimulates more thoughtful and productive dialogue, accelerating conflict resolution and producing more deliberate decisions. It’s the core ingredient of strong emotional intelligence. Leaders driving change appreciate the role that emotions play in motivating people to invest in change initiatives. Those who master the use of empathy, appreciate …

Read more