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Dave Crisp

The Same Challenges

Retirees are ordinary people, too. Regardless of life stage, human challenges remain similar. That’s perhaps the biggest lesson. Most challenges are worries that bubble from inside your head. Before retirement you worry you won’t have enough money for current needs let alone future. You worry what happens if you don’t keep healthy, how to keep […]

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About New Objectives

My first step down the new path is to write an ‘About’ section, which I’ve posted and copy here – one that explains where this is headed. Having felt ‘enlightened’ in a traditional, but a non-religious Zen sense at 21, I’ve used Zen successfully all my life to handle opportunities, stress, personal miseries and work […]

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Not Quite A Year Later

Not quite a year later and ideas dawn how the site and themes can be adapted to explore more useful ideas for individuals. The decision to back away from business holds. Lots of new work is being spread in media more widely read than mine, on ideas for improving leadership, work life and results with […]

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On My Way To Something Else

Time creeps up. After five years blogging for Canadian HR Reporter, longer on my own blog and twelve since early ‘retirement’ from being an active SVP HR, it feels like I’ve run the course HR-related topics, hopefully not once too often. My goal has been encouraging people to look at HR strategy for the powerhouse […]

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How We Work On Big Data Matters

Earlier posts on Big Data and Analytics for HR produced some interesting responses – among them a number of pre-packaged program vendors who have put together offerings for HR specifically. These may or may not be a place to start for HR departments with the budget to afford dedicated off-the-shelf solutions. I’m just not sure. […]

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Leadership Skills Different in HR ?

Whether mastering Big Data, increasing innovation or simply ‘getting a seat at the table,’ the leadership debate rages on with respect to what works best in HR. A typical blog piece from the Wall Street Journal insists no one should lead HR without, among other things, previous P&L experience. Need we explain that means Profit […]

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Can HR Strategy Fix Online Recruiting?

When working on strategy it’s good to stop from time to time and assess whether our processes are actually helping at the front line. One of the most basic HR challenges day to day is still recruiting. Putting it online, or at least the resume gathering pieces, seemed to offer a tremendous timesaving and benefits […]

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Very Different Organizations – Similar Solutions

For those interested in practical examples of highly successful leaders in very different circumstances, two recent books are worth a look – Canadian Chris Hadfield’s on his space career and experiences: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and Ed Catmull’s lessons from his CEO role (under owner Steve Jobs, there’s a challenge) at Pixar […]

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The Reality of Leadership In Our Time

With the growing emphasis on emotional intelligence as a critical requirement for leaders, we’re poised to see significant improvements in leadership style and skills across the board. It still won’t happen overnight, but as momentum gets going it’s beneficial to ask what we can expect in the long run. There certainly won’t be a total […]

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Emotional Intelligence – Needed or Not

In the evolving landscape around HR it’s great to see progress on several fronts. Issues we’ve been talking about for years are finally beginning to take root more solidly, or so it would appear – analytics, emotional intelligence (EI) and collaboration to name key items. At the same time it’s always good to step back […]

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Companies Say No To HR Departments

The past week or so has raised a flurry of articles again about doing away with HR. Looking for ways to make organizations simpler and easier to navigate and manage is always laudable… but…. Are radical attempts at simplification realistic for everyone or even for these companies in the long term? First is LRN, a […]

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Leadership is a Team Sport

Books can be tremendously helpful, but we are constantly exposed to the literature of ‘the great leader and how they did it’ in all sorts of publications. Successful leaders themselves write enough books for a medium sized town library on the subject of their own success. Tempting… but useful? As stories perhaps, but not so […]

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Feedback for HR is Valuable However You Get It

One of the newsletters brought a link to a priceless collection of unadulterated feedback for HR. Several observations strike me on this, but you really have to take a look at least briefly to appreciate what’s going on. The title asks: “Human Resources – Friend or Foe?” – a question posed by an IT guy […]

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Feedback for HR is Valuable However You Get It

One of the newsletters brought a link to a priceless collection of unadulterated feedback for HR. Several observations strike me on this, but you really have to take a look at least briefly to appreciate what’s going on. The title asks: “Human Resources – Friend or Foe?” – a question posed by an IT guy […]

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Can HR Timelines Match Business Needs

It really isn’t a question. If Human Resources can’t deliver what the business needs when they need it, there’s no place for HR except for record-keeping and payroll. It’s common for ‘burning platform’ issues to arise that HR can only react to no matter how they try to prepare. Some are inevitable, some aren’t. HR […]

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Can We Teach Strategic Thinking?

It used to be taught that as you rise to higher levels in organizations you do less day-to-day work and dedicate more time to strategic thinking. Canada’s management guru, McGill/INSEAD professor Henry Mintzberg, pretty much laid that to rest quite a few years ago with his seminal study of what CEOs do all day long. […]

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The Role For HR in the No-HR Organization

If you’ve been following the previous couple of posts, you’ll know they discuss a new book about changing the way organizations typically work in some very radical ways, with the one example, which the book is about, showing how it can work and produce far happier people and far better results. Some will worry (and […]

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Testing Your Faith in Leadership

Richard Sheridan provides an intriguing, easy to read and helpful insight into a form of organizing and management style that is bound to have revolutionary impact at some level. For those who missed the last post, here again are the key links: to the book – Joy Inc., How We Built a Workplace People Love […]

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Keeping Up With Evolving HR Practices

It’s great to see the messages about modern HR strategy getting out across the world. Not so far away but in a traditionally different business environment, a U of T, Howard University graduate, Dr. Kwame Charles led a session with CEOs for his home country’s HR managers in Trinidad and Tobago. He writes about it […]

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Let Us Get Positive About HR

After writing a series of posts recently about how HR is seen negatively by inevitably being caught in the middle on many issues, I’ve come to peace with the idea there will always be a steady stream of ‘hate HR’ articles and we shouldn’t mind. It’s the nature of the job. We can build on […]

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Using Big Data for HR Improvement and Strategy

Readers will know I’m a proponent of HR exerting more leadership in the use of Big Data – that means all the data we can get our hands on about our operations and people and the statistical systems to connect it and make it meaningful. We gather mountains of information on performance, training, succession planning, […]

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How Organizations Miss An Easy, Obvious Boost in Results

Having time to read takes one through fascinating pathways that illustrate how much management, leadership and HR thinking is changing among those in the know. Last week a retail newsletter I keep up with out of interest in a former job pointed to a lengthy annual report by Deloitte that has massive, useful stats on […]

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Different HR Dinner Conversations

Breaking routine and a new year always provide new insights, but it can be tough to distill those into useful bits. A friend asked about two HR strategists’ high level ideas – that HR should be values based and that it should focus on long and short term organizational health rather than allowing itself to […]

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The View From Actively Disengaged (Part 2)

The last post noted reasons why the stream of articles like ‘why we hate HR’ will never cease. It relates to people who are actively disengaged in our organizations, but perhaps not in ways you’d first expect. Two core problems are beyond HR’s scope – the taste for conflict stories in most reporting or Dilber-like […]

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The View From Actively Disengaged (Part 1)

Sometimes a series of items triggers new thoughts. That can be productive, but you have to look carefully from several viewpoints to get the best perspective and it may take you through some twists you didn’t expect. First a regular reader forwarded a link to another ‘why we hate HR’ article. My first reaction was […]

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Continually Learning To Succeed In Business By Really, Really Trying

The Industrial Relations Centre at Queen’s University, which offers useful HR and Labour Relations training, asked if I’d write a piece for their revamped web launch. The chance to write something longer was intriguing. A logical subject seemed to be how important it is to keep learning if you want to advance in HR (or […]

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Big Data Update: Are We Getting Ready?

Google, being composed mainly of engineers and having tremendous resources, may be the poster child for applying ‘Big Data’ to HR. They research the relative values of benefits to adjust their offerings. They study leadership keys statistically to determine what skills make the most effective leaders (a business case that’s even hit Harvard)… and much […]

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Basics of Effective Team Leadership

Exchanging emails with professor David Hurst of Regina’s Graduate School of Business (after my review of his new book a few posts back), we agreed that experienced leaders such as those in his EMBA program generally know what effective leadership looks like and therefore think our struggle to describe it better is ‘obvious.’ That got me […]

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Copernicus, Quantum Physics, Leadership and Engagement

Galileo was still being persecuted for promoting the idea that the Sun was the center of the universe 100 years after Copernicus first suggested it. That’s how difficult it is to change embedded ideas. Prior to that all sorts of incredibly complicated math for the time was invented to try to describe the observed movements […]

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Check Out Who Hates Human Resources and Why

In the interests of sometimes getting down in the trenches to see the context of HR in action, I note this item that popped up on my Google Alert for Human Resources. (I must be among the worst at getting ranked on Google since these weekly alerts are supposed to collect ‘all’ the items on […]

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New Ways of Looking at Leadership (2)

Are they really new? As mentioned in the last post’s review of David K. Hurst’s new book, The New Ecology of Leadership, Mary Kay Follett wrote and consulted about many of the issues we struggle with today nearly 100 years ago. He quotes her: “… leaders think they can substitute new ideas for old before […]

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Can We Get Good People Management Going At The Top?

Friend and colleague David Creelman formed Creelman Lambert with Andrew Lambert and collaborated on an extensive report that won this year’s Walker Award from HR People & Strategy (www.hrps.org). Simply entitled The Board and HR, it reviews findings from interviews with CHROs and Board Directors including a CEO and chairman from 28 top notch organizations […]

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HR News Puzzles But Reinforces Importance

Sometimes you just want to take a minute and be thankful things aren’t worse in your own territory and wonder where HR strategy goes off the rails. The past week brought news of a shake up at Bonneville Power in Oregon in which the top two executives were relieved of duty (COO and Administrator) due […]

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Can So-Called Wicked Problems Be Solved?

Wicked is a word Complexity Science applies to problems composed of multiple overlapping issues that seemingly can’t be resolved without solving all of them together. As the world’s problems become more complex and intertwined this applies to more of what we deal with at many levels. On the grandest scale, weather problems appear to be […]

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New Generations, New Leadership Styles?

New perspectives keep arising in the continuing quest to understand why Boards and senior executives rarely take advantage of the obvious. That is we know results are far better in companies managed by collaborative, coaching-style leaders, yet even today relatively few are consciously developed or chosen for senior roles. Of course we know that like […]

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What Would Develop More Effective Leaders –Three Keys

Motivation provided by great examples: – Toyota, Google, Southwest Air and one or two in nearly every industry – ought to be moving more organizations toward better models of leadership and leadership development, but that isn’t happening nearly as quickly as one would hope. Motivation is just one key. A second likely key finally clicked […]

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So: Can We Create Good Leadership Development?

To summarize what we’ve covered so far – effective leadership creates 3 times the business results of tech skill training and numerous other strategies, creating the biggest payback of any business strategy you can implement. It takes time to become a very good leader – years to reach the ranks of the best, but much […]

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Digging Out Leadership Facts (Part 3)

So – as a continually developing leader you’ve decided to take charge of your development, to seek out better leader models and stay open to questioning. Questions like: Is this the right direction for you and your organization at this time? Who can help? How can you engage them? How will you undertake trial and […]

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Digging Out Leadership Facts (Part 2)

An interesting brief look at leadership development points out the most common way leaders develop is to develop themselves by copying the actions of those they believe to be good leaders and doing things differently from leaders they consider bad. He goes on to note, not in jest, that none of us would want to […]

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Digging Out Leadership Facts

Leadership clearly isn’t getting any simpler. The more one reads, the more it’s clear the flood of new ideas will exceed any effort to ‘keep up.’ But everyone sees ‘trends’ so presumably one might figure out where the best are going. Even that is mixed. Yet we can pick out a few pegs to hang […]

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Unknown Leaders – Is There A Model?

Leadership is so clearly important for developing and carrying out effective strategies that there is a never-ending stream of works attempting to boil it down to the factors that pave the way to high performance for both leaders and their teams so they can be duplicated. One very impressive addition is a book called The […]

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Beyond Sheryl Sandberg – Lean Out

I’m glad to see the stream of articles about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, seems to be improving as people actually read the book. One of the better ones arrived in the New York Times by Anne-Marie Slaughter, who recognizes the value of both Sandberg’s urging that women develop more confidence in their contributions and possibilities […]

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Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

The person who convinced me to join Goodreads, the site where readers review and make recommendations about the books they read, sent a link to a work called Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by professor/consultant Richard Rumelt. It is truly insightful and thought-provoking. If I were still in the business of consulting on strategy this is […]

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When Logic Fails Blame Your Employees

The tale was passed around in an earlier career life that when Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, arrived in a Board room to do a deal with a high-flying IT guy, the signs of ego could hardly fit in the room – a flying squad of bodyguards (disguised as aides) paving the way beforehand, gold […]

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Sex Jokes Driving Interest in HR?

It doesn’t seem very strategic, but recently a number of start-up company and related issues have hit the Internet in various ways that make one think about HR from other points of view than the large-company situations we usually expect are driving strategy in the field. One, for instance, was directly about sex jokes and […]

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A Good Example of Antifragility Thinking

A friend and reader of the posts on Antifragility pointed out a great example of where it applies. He noted, as others have, that we use antifragile strategies fairly often without having had a name for them. My point, and the point of the book, Antifragile, is simply that having a name helps us by […]

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Bullying of HR Staff at Work

There are just so many hours in a day to keep up of course. One book that slipped by from 2009 was Teresa Daniel’s Stop Bullying at Work: Strategies and Tools for HR and Legal Professionals. If I saw it at the time, I’d have passed over it as just technical advice we probably already […]

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Strategically Ending Work-at-Home

The last month saw two major operators with significant Work at Home arrangements end them suddenly. Both are relatively newly hired turn-around CEOs who seem to have concluded it hurts performance or they can’t turn performance around working in that environment. Without being inside (and possibly for insiders, too) it’s difficult to tell exactly, but […]

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Love or Hate the Sheryl Sandberg Firestorm –We Need It

We can probably trust Sheryl Sandberg is happy with the firestorm since it will undoubtedly bring tremendous attention to her March 11 book release: Sandberg, her book and her new organization! Like many who are commenting I haven’t read it (yet). Unlike many I’m open about that. I suspect if I wait for the library […]

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Why Do We Miss Antifragile Solutions?

Robust or strong is an in between or neutral position between fragile and antifragile according to Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his new book Antifragile, which has been the subject of two earlier posts. He points out that antifragile solutions usually produce far bigger returns than merely robust ones that simply continue us along the status […]

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What is Antifragile Really?

In a nutshell, antifragile is the missing third piece of the following spectrum from worst to best as Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out in this book named for his newly coined word:      Fragile (the fatal end – affected badly by turbulence or the unexpected)        – Strong (unaffected, able to go on just as […]

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More Value In Encouraging Varied Styles

Sometimes I just plain enjoy an article because it hits a note of positivity that seems to further good strategic logic for organizations in a really useful way. Today’s email pointed to this item about the value of problem-makers in organizations – don’t suppress them, it suggests, but encourage them (encourage them raise problems, but […]

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What Culture Would You Establish (Part 1)?

Writing the last post about the impact of the CEO on an organization’s behavior got me thinking further about what kind of cultures CEOs establish. Clearly it reflects them, their habits, their approach to and views of the world. However a new CEO taking over an existing operation is working against the culture already in […]

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The CEO as Chief HR Officer

It’s often said that success has many parents while failure is an orphan. Successfully building organization culture probably fits into this well. If it succeeds it’s the result of the entire senior team working effectively together. The CEO becomes the figurehead, but also has to participate by walking the talk. If that doesn’t happen no […]

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How Do CFOs and CHROs Differ? Or Do They?

I know I’m still an HR guy at heart when an article on the evolving role of CFOs annoys me. Then I take a second look and ask myself why? We’re ALL missing something critical. It’s because we all tend to look at the world from our siloed points of view. Each function is starting […]

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A Great Exercise That Makes Several Great Points

The Internet overlaps on itself in interesting ways. The blog of the Leadership program of Pittsburg’s Duquesne University posted a New Year’s exercise I didn’t immediately recall seeing before, but which makes tremendous sense. It’s actually from a book by David Novak that I mentioned some months ago. There was so much in that book […]

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Personal Balance Issues

Turning to the question of personal balance is a new book that’s getting attention by Clayton Christensen and co-authors, How Will You Measure Your Life. From a macro view, Christensen is promoting work-life balance and is widely lauded for it (the book made Fast Companies ‘Best 12 of 2012′ among others). He advocates putting more […]

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Secondhand Gunfire – Dangerous To Your Health?

It seems incomprehensible to many Canadians that the US won’t regulate guns much more strictly after the horrible cases of 2012. As a sometime visitor to the US, this engages a more of my attention than it used to when it was just ‘somebody else’s problem.’ But we have to recognize the flow of guns […]

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Can There Be Too Much Balance?

Short answer: yes and no. It’s helpful to understand when or why. You can’t go wrong reflecting about balance in any and every situation. Doing so vastly improves perspective, which in turn enables better decisions and solutions. So in one sense there’s no such thing as ‘too much balance’ when trying to sort out objectives […]

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Balance Is Finally Gaining Recognition in Leadership

Even people who appreciate the usefulness of balance sometimes are at a loss to find it. A key first step is just recognizing the opposite values in any paradox provides. These surround us constantly because we’d all like to have everything pretty much both ways. Not for nothing the expression ‘have our cake and eat […]

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Balancing As An Everyday Skill

Recognizing the core issue of balance in all situations makes it easier to see balance in your own work and life. Things are rarely either/or, but contain parts of both opposing views. Looking for this in every situation becomes second nature with practice as with any skill or habit. Every newspaper has articles that demonstrate […]

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Work-Life Balance

It’s been a few years since hosting as well as speaking at several work-life conferences. The topic continues to get a lot of play and undoubtedly will throughout our lifetimes. It is vitally important to individuals and families not to mention businesses and organizations who depend on productivity from staff. Typically the presentations and published […]

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Some Books Deserve A Long Life

There are many excellent books today that simply reiterate things we should already know, like the two I reviewed in previous posts. Then there are those destined to become classics of new knowledge the way Jim Collin’s Good to Great (2002) did. It remains one of the most cited on leadership, adding the concept of […]

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Let’s Reassure Ourselves: HR Can Be Strategic & So Can We

One of the few things I recall specifically from long ago sessions by Tony Robbins is his repeated assertion that, “Frustration means you’re about to break through.” When you’ve chewed away at a problem long enough something gives and you start to see the light, but in the moments before you do, it seems as […]

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Book Review (Part 2)

The two books recommended in the last post (The Power of Habit and Rip It Up) make great sense and point us toward methods for cutting through to better results faster with less stress and struggle. But they aren’t really about new ideas. So why do we need a continuing stream of such works when […]

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Book Review (Part 1)

Every human resources operation has to be concerned with developing leaders and leadership. I keep reading the latest and set out to review a new book that a friend recommended, which I’d only glanced at – “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I wasn’t sure how to approach it since habit is one of […]

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CEOs Modeling Leadership (Part 2)

A growing number of CEOs are evolving who get it – that effective leaders today listen and ask questions to learn more than they expect to simply give orders. Encouragingly, the media sometimes report on these and occasionally get it right as well. But even so the tone of many articles still leaves way too […]

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CEOs Try Modeling Leadership, But Haven’t All Answers (Part 1)

In post after post, we review examples of how leadership needs to evolve beyond one person at the top pretending or being seen as having all the answers. 75% of CEOs say they want subordinate leaders who collaborate (which is to say people who recognize they don’t have all the answers) so these individuals are […]

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Push/Control or Encourage/Support?

One of the best CEOs I worked for was considered a tyrant by many (not unusual among reasonably effective CEOs). The biggest factor in his favor was his genuine interest in continuing to learn and grow himself as well as coaching others he felt showed promise. The two together seem relatively rare. Most either think […]

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How Do You Give Up Control, But Keep It?

In the last post I mentioned that what CEOs want today – more leaders, innovation and the collaborative behavior that produces these – all require CEOs learning to collaborate themselves, which in turn feels like giving up control. So how to do you give up controlling every decision, yet keep control of what counts and […]

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