Corporate Learning: Are You Still There?

Watching TV

“Are you still there?” That phrase always makes me laugh when it pops up on my TV as I binge watch a season of Netflix shows in one sitting. I always think, “I’m not sure…am I still here? Is it still light outside? How many episodes have I even watched?” Sure, I’m breathing and have a pulse, but I’ve been sitting in one spot for so many hours that my Fitbit thinks I’m sleeping. Netflix has popularized binge-watching so pervasively that we associate this kind of extreme passive digital consumption with the entertainment platform. Perhaps that’s why it’s so disturbing … Read More

Workplace Gardening: Leading Marigolds, Weeds, and Walnut Trees

Talent management experts often compare companies to complex, living organisms. Green thumb or not, most individuals can understand that in order to grow, a seed must find a home in solid soil, be watered regularly, and be nurtured. They must adapt and weather storms and defend themselves against predators. With enough care and devotion, those plants will flourish and become an important part of a colorful, diverse garden. Continuing with the garden metaphor, I find the Marigold Effect is a powerful way to illustrate the impact each individual has on the organization’s culture.

Coping with the Open Office Plan

The verdict is in. Open office plans are a trendy disaster. Before we dive into how to engage your teams in spite of their office environment, let’s explore what we’ve learned in the past decade. Thanks to a number of Silicon Valley giants who boasted about their innovative office floor plans, the fad to dissolve the existing cubicle/structured office design really took hold in the early 2000’s. Organizations worldwide took notice and sought to replicate the cost savings, modern look, and casual vibe pioneered by Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc. The term “open office design” includes several variations including assigned workspaces … Read More

Getting a Training & Development Diagnosis

At least once a week, I receive the following phone call: “Hi there, we need to do some training in our organization, can you help with that?” The request seems like the start of a great conversation, but then it derails rapidly when I ask follow-up questions like “why” and “what kind of challenges would you like to address?” These shouldn’t be tough questions, but sadly, they often catch the prospective client by surprise. If medical doctors received the same kinds of requests leadership and team development coaches receive, it might look something like this:

The Most Underrated Leadership Competency

When we think about what it takes to be an effective leader, it seems the list of key competencies is exhaustive. Interpersonal skills, communication skills, resilience, drive, strategic thinking, courage, conflict management, integrity, learning orientation, adaptability, accountability, influence, creativity, financial acumen, and vision all rank high on the list of top competencies for leaders. We could easily triple the length of this list by brainstorming additional key competencies, and yet, we might never uncover one of the most crucial traits for a leader—self-awareness. Few would argue that self-awareness is unrelated to leadership success, but it rarely makes the top 10 … Read More

Knowledge Transfer Challenges for Virtual Teams and Independent Leaders

The importance of Knowledge Transfer is well-recognized across organizations. From on-boarding to promotions, succession planning and expansion, the success of every employee depends largely on the accessibility of critical knowledge and historical context. Well-documented systems can share what is done and how, but understanding why requires effective on-going communication between team members. Most organizations struggle to implement knowledge transfer systems, but they’re especially difficult to execute with two key groups: virtual teams and controlling managers. Before we dive into the specific challenges for those two groups, it’s important to understand the foundation of any knowledge transfer strategy. For knowledge transfer … Read More