Article – Want Greater ROI From Your Meetings? Six Questions That Will Make The Difference

First there’s the suffocating volume of e-mails. That’s complaint number one. But the next biggest gripe I hear from my clients is that they are spending way too much time in meetings. Do any of these comments ring true about meetings where you work? too long no agenda (or, if there is one, we don’t follow it) rambling, we get off topic a lot little is actually decided could have just circulated a memo the boss does all the talking no follow-through on commitments made I can … [Read more...]

Book Review – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

  By Carol S. Dweck Random House, 2006 ISBN #1-4000-6275-6 John McEnroe reached great heights in the world of professional tennis but, by his own admission, he did not fulfill his potential. Whenever he lost, it was not his fault. Even his defeat at the 1984 French Open he blamed on sound coming from the headset of a network cameraman. As a world class athlete, he felt he had the right to abuse others. In fact, the image of him screaming at umpires is burnished in the minds of a … [Read more...]

Leading and Managing: Are They Really So Different

I'm deep in the middle of Henry Mintzberg's new book, Managing. While not a light read, he does take his typically provocative stand: Instead of distinguishing managers from leaders, we should be seeing managers as leaders and leadership as management practiced well. While we may be able to separate the two forms conceptually, asserts Mintzberg, you can't disentangle the two in practice. This has a certain resonance with me. It has always felt a tad artificial to separate leading and managing, … [Read more...]

Article – A Lesson for Managers from the World of Sales

By far the single biggest concern I hear from managers I work with is, "How can I get my people to do more?" Their number one challenge is how to ensure their employees are motivated. For the answer to this question we turn to the sales professional. Superior salespeople do many things well but one thing stands out. They get into the head of their prospect/customer! They start where their customer is—cognitively, emotionally, even physically. How do they do this? By becoming curious—asking … [Read more...]

The Manager’s Most Important 3 Feet

A professional speaker colleague of mine, Sam Geist, talks about the most important three feet for a sales person–that three foot distance lying between you and your customer. He even hands out yardsticks at his keynote presentations to burnish this point in the minds of his audience. In a similar vein, I put it to you that your most important three feet as a manager is that space between you and your employee. I'm not talking about so much about the physical space but more importantly about … [Read more...]

Article – Delegation: The Forgotten Management Tool

"I never get to the truly managerial parts of my own job." "I'm staying too late at night and working too many weekends." "________is really ready to advance but I have no job to promote him/her to right now." "If I don't give my best people some new challenges soon, I may lose them." Sound familiar? Is this what you find yourself saying (or thinking) these days? You've tried all the time management techniques. You've even upgraded your solfware and tried (unsuccessfully) to re-negotiate … [Read more...]

Why Managers (Too Often) Solve it Themselves

How often do you jump in and solve your employees' problems for them? Probably more often than you would like and, if you are like most other bosses, more frequently than you should. Whether your employee brings you a problem/question or you are addressing a performance shortfall on his or her part, it is really, really tempting just to give him/her the answer and get on with life. I touched upon this phenomenon in my last post. Here now are four reasons for managers' tendency to adopt a … [Read more...]

Breaking News! People Aren’t Things

One of my favorite quotes that gets at the essence of leadership comes from Stephen Covey. I often open with it in my leadership workshops and keynotes: You can't "lead" things. You can't lead inventories, cash flow and costs. You can't lead information, time structures, processes, facilities and tools. You have to manage them. Why? Because things don't have the freedom to choose. Only people do. So, you lead (empower) people. You manage and control things. The problem is, the … [Read more...]

Article – Ouch! It Hurts To Think This Much! (Communicating Performance Targets)

Are your employees clear about what you expect from their performance this year? I should be able to come in as a consultant, sit down one-on-one with any individual who reports to you and ask him or her, "What will constitute 'fully satisfactory' and 'outstanding' performance by you over the current year? Please describe it for me." When I then meet with you and ask the same question about the individual, your answer and theirs should pretty well match. In working with organizations large … [Read more...]

Book Review – Why Pride Matters More Than Money: The Power of the World’s Greatest Motivational Force

By John R. Katzenbach Crown Business, 2003 ISBN #0-609-61065-1 Here is the author's thesis, in a nutshell: an intrinsic feeling of pride based on the relentless pursuit of worthwhile endeavors is a lasting and powerful motivating force. By "pride," he means that wonderful feeling of well being when your employees think they have done something worthwhile...and people whom they respect agree. In 1991 a GM corporate official told the 3500 workers at the Wilmington Car Assembly Plant, "To … [Read more...]