When a Leader Says No

Sign reading "no"

‘No’ is a word that holds incredible power. The word itself is short, strong, and impossible to ignore. However, as social individuals who are inclined to find opportunities to please and support one another, wielding such a powerful word is both difficult and rare. Saying the word ‘no’ makes many people uncomfortable. The fear of disappointing or angering another individual often forces individuals to say yes to things that they don’t want to do. In the end, we say yes to far too much and become bitter and burnt out due to that one word. It’s a problem that must … Read More

Seven Signs Your A-Player Has an Exit Plan

Photo of A-Players

Without a moment of thinking, you should be able to name the A-players on your team. He/she is a shining star who requires very little of your energy, willingly takes on the biggest challenges, outperforms their colleagues, has a positive attitude, is reliable, supports the team, and makes everyone around them a better employee. A-players are incapable of failure. They rise to the top because success is in their DNA. Famously, Steve Jobs once said that the A-players he recruited to Apple could outperform an average employee at a rate of 50 or 100 to 1. Given that A-Players are … Read More

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: