Who Should Receive Leadership Development?

All too often, when I ask a client whom they would like to include in their leadership development initiative, they respond with, "Well, we have X senior managers and Y middle managers and Z supervisors. Can we do something for all of them?" In other words, when they hear the word "leader" they think of only people at the top level plus anyone who has at least one employee formally reporting to them. I must confess, I apply this same filter a lot myself. I may influence the client's answer by … [Read more...]

What Whole Foods CEO Would Advise His “Younger Self” to Do

John Mackey is an entrepreneur who has built his very successful business with a genuine eye on his core values. His journey to leading today's Whole Foods is an interesting one. What began as one store in Austin Texas, is now close to 400 outlets employing  80,000 staff and grossing over $12 million. "So John," asked the interviewer in yesterday's Washington Post, "if you could go back to those early years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?" Having read the full … [Read more...]

Physician (Manager), Heal Thyself Too

You probably sit down at least annually with each of your staff to have a conversation about their growth and development in their current job and perhaps with an eye to future roles. You look at an array of possible learning vehicles, such as external courses, internally provided workshops, special assignments, job shadowing, coaching, mentoring, webinars and so forth. If you are serious about supporting them you schedule at least a quarterly check in as to what they have been learning and … [Read more...]

Link Your Training to What the Business Needs

I am amazed at how the training strategy in so many organizations is no more than a catalogue of training courses from which people across the enterprise can pick. In some cases courses are linked to specific competencies and stated corporate priorities but, in fact, more often they are not. Why is this so commonplace? Three possible reasons immediately jump to mind: HR goes to line leadership and solicits the critical skills required to support the strategic direction. But the line side … [Read more...]

Senior Leader Challenges – Here are Four Biggies

We keep hearing about how leaders today face a hugely more complex world than even a decade ago. And looking out ahead, it promises to get worse. But just what is this complexity everybody's talking and writing about? The Center for Creative Leadership has done a good job at answering this question. Surveying over 1000 participants in one of its premier senior leadership programs, the researchers at CCL uncovered four clusters of challenges: Global forces & market shifts Systems, … [Read more...]

Developing Gen Y Leaders

What leadership competencies do newly minted Millenial employees need to develop, from the get go? And what strengths do they, as a cohort, bring to the workplace? We hear so much "gen Y bashing" these days. We hear the stereotypes: unfocused, texting obsessed, ADHD prone, the world owes me recognition and, BTW, I'm pretty well ready for the C-suite…now! The Center for Creative Leadership set out to learn more. They conducted a study of about 500 managers and reported the results last year in … [Read more...]

Developing Leaders for the Horizon

They say Wayne Gretzky was a step ahead of other players because he skated to where the puck was going to be. Are you developing your up-and-coming leaders for where your markets and your environment are going to be? Will your leaders be prepared for the daunting complexity that's coming? Or are you preparing them for today or maybe just the next year or two? The Leadership Circle, whose 360 assessment profile and Culture Survey we use with our clients, says that even today's (forget about … [Read more...]

They Won’t Know if You Don’t Get it Right

Recently I spent two days teaching front-line managers in an installation service company how to have effective conversations around job performance. The training included an approach that was new to the managers and thus involved for them a new way of thinking. Instead of telling, they were to do a lot more asking of questions and get the employee to take greater accountability. At the end of Day 2 I turned the meeting over to the Director of Field Operations to sum up and close. He left … [Read more...]

TED Talks Videos Worth the Manager’s Eyeballs

If you haven't yet run across TED Talks, I heartily recommend you check them out. "TED" stands for technology, entertainment & design. The organization began way back in 1984 and calls itself "a nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading." It holds two main conferences each spring, plus a global conference in the summer, and licenses a number of smaller programs held around the world. Experts and thought leaders from many disciplines present at these conferences. They are filmed and then … [Read more...]

Step into Your Leadership Strengths

I was working with a coaching client recently, "unpacking" the results of his Leadership Circle Profile (360˚ feedback assessment). While his profile was very positive–he is doing well as a leader–I was struck that on several less desirable factors (e.g. Passive, Critical, Arrogance) he scored himself high while his employees saw him as low, not demonstrating these factors very often.   What does it mean when we as leaders see ourselves one way and our staff another? And when this … [Read more...]