Job RotationJob rotations often fall in the ‘sounds good, but we don’t have time” category for most organizations. Most leaders believe that, in theory, the advantages outweigh the possible negative effects of workplace disruption. Yet, few organizations have an active job rotation strategy or plan. The feeling is that most teams are barely keeping their heads above water. They simply can’t lose any team members, nor can they take extra time to train a temporary outsider. This view is understandable, yet short-sighted. We prioritize what matters.

From job swapping to shadowing and rotations, here are some benefits that alternative job assignments can provide:  Read More

Organizational Culture image

Organizational Culture imageYou never know when you’ll experience an ah-ha moment that transcends the original application.

Two members of our team recently experienced one of those moments while attending a performance of BodyVox, an internationally touring dance company based in Portland. While reflecting on the unfortunate lack of appreciation and support for liberal arts in the education system, Jamey Hampton, BodyVox co-founder and co-artistic director, commented. “We can’t say it’s a cultural problem. We ARE the culture.”

“Ah-ha,” we said. There are no spectators when it comes to culture (both within the organizational context and beyond). Everyone plays a role, and the role leaders play is particularly impactful and should never be underestimated.  If there’s a problem with the organizational culture, then every leader has a responsibility to identify it, shine a spotlight on it, and identify a way to fix it.

The challenge is that organizational culture may seem like an unruly beast that is impossible to tame. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A number of factors influence culture, and each one can be altered to create a stronger alignment between our current state and the one to which we aspire. Let’s explore three main contributing factors:Read More

Time for Change

Time for Change“No one likes change.”

It’s one of those statements we’ve all heard so often in business that we’ve come to accept it as fact. No one likes change. On face value, it seems reasonable. We can all think of some organizational change initiative that was met with resistance by a few (or many) vocal opponents, so anecdotally the statement seems to hold water.

But look past the failed change initiatives and think about the ways we seek out change every day. We buy new cars and homes. We meet new people and build relationships. We start families and change careers. The only constant in our world is change. So, it’s an oversimplification to say “no one likes change.” Next time you hear that phrase, challenge the individual to explain the statement and dig for the deeper issue.

What you’ll find beneath the surface is a core problem that can be addressed proactively.Read More

It may seem like a cliché to say that employees are the most valuable asset in any organization, but if your organization has felt the pain of losing a MVP who failed to transfer their knowledge before leaving, then the cliché rings true. The need to develop a knowledge transfer strategy is not new, yet only a small percentage of CEOs report their organization has implemented an effective knowledge transfer program. And while the “war for talent” certainly is a cliché, the reality is that recruiters and headhunters are targeting your top talent heavily right now and they’re one phone call away from developing their exit strategy. So, if you haven’t invested heavily in your engagement and retention strategy, the holes in your knowledge transfer process will become expensive mistakes.Read More

Photo of Pizza

Photo of PizzaIt’s always in the darkest days that we learn the most valuable and memorable lessons. Years ago, I led a small sales team plagued by organizational inefficiencies. It was the end of Q2 and everyone was frustrated that the senior leadership team was still making adjustments to the sales goals and comp plans. This meant Q1 commissions hadn’t been paid out on schedule, and it was likely that Q2 commissions wouldn’t arrive on time either. On a leadership call, one sales director asked “how do you suggest I keep my team engaged and motivated when they don’t know what their goal is, let alone when they’ll be paid for the sales they’ve made so far this year?!” It’s a question we’d all been asking ourselves, but I’ll never forget the answer he received.   “Well, perhaps you could throw a really reasonable pizza party.”  Read More

Your culture is your brand

Your culture is your brandIn the past few weeks, I’ve had an influx of conversations around organizational culture. In each case, the leaders were concerned about the possibility of their culture turning toxic. As I listened to the unique contributing factors for each organization, ranging from recent mergers to exponential growth and struggling financials, what I heard were managers worried that a scramble for resources and recognition would turn unhealthy. Certainly, that’s a valid concern, and one we should all proactively manage. It takes so little to turn an organization from an award-winning culture to Lord of the Flies.Read More