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iancook

A Different Kind of CEO?

A more integrated leader? A post conventional CEO? Chad Dickerson, CEO of the online commerce site, Etsy, may well fit these descriptions. At least his mindset about leading from the top reveals some of the contours we look for in a 21st century leader. In an interview for the On Leadership section of the Washington Post […]

The post A Different Kind of CEO? appeared first on Fulcrum Associates | Micro Leadership Macro Results.

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Three Aspects of Mandela to Guide Us All as Leaders

So much has been written about Nelson Mandela and leadership that I hesitate to add to the pile. But it’s hard not to since he so exemplifies the more highly developed human being at the core of the very best leaders. Of the many examples and behaviors, I think three are central for all leaders. These three […]

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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,” […]

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Millennials? You Still Manage Them as Individuals

Amy Gallo, in her recent Harvard Business Review blog post, addressed what she calls four essentially false beliefs about the Millennial generation in the workplace: They are completely different from what Boomers were at that age. They want more purpose at work than previous generations do/did. They seek more work/life balance too. They need special […]

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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, […]

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The “Tyranny of the Immediate” Tyrannizes Leaders Most of All

You’ve probably had a time and priority management course somewhere along the way. Or, maybe you’ve read a book about it. You learned about how often the less important tasks take up too much of our time, to the detriment of our not tackling the more significant areas of our job duties. There’s a reason […]

The post The “Tyranny of the Immediate” Tyrannizes Leaders Most of All appeared first on Fulcrum Associates | Micro Leadership Macro Results.

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What Does Virtue Have to Do with Leadership?

The ancients, particularly Socrates (through Plato) and Plato, believed “Virtue” to be an absolute that one came to understand through the application of reason. For Aristotle, Virtue was something you didn’t deduce in the abstract but rather something you lived, to the best of your ability. In particular, it was about living fully the life […]

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To Cheat or Not?…Choosing in Awareness

A presentation called “Why People Cheat” at a recent leadership breakfast by a colleague of mine, Thomas Hoffman, got me thinking. He provoked us with a statistic: people are lied to anywhere from 10 to 200 times per day. Leadership, Tom said, includes the ability to manage cheating. So I’m thinking how does a leader […]

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Does Churn Hurt or Help Team Performance?

In many organizations a lot of work is done through limited life teams. They assemble, complete a project or complex task, and then disband, with individual members going back to their regular job or on to another team’s project. But such teams typically change the composition of their members. While several individuals may end up […]

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Do Good and Poor Bosses Clone Themselves?

When I train or coach front line supervisors, I am struck how often they are unable to think of a good manager for whom they have worked. It is so much easier to learn and then apply good management skills when you have someone in mind who has actually demonstrated them with you. (“How would […]

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Feedback That Keeps Things Moving Forward

We are all familiar with the “sandwich” approach to giving an employee feedback: say something positive, slip in the negative (ahem, “constructive”) message and then wrap up with another positive. This way the recipient will leave the interaction feeling good and will take the negative piece away too. Nonsense! People see through this management trick. […]

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Social Pain = Physical Pain

Neuroscientists like Matt Lieberman of UCLA are revealing more and more about the impact of comments that shame or isolate another person, as in a boss saying to his/her employee… “What in heaven’s name prompted you not to call back that customer? How could you have been so thoughtless?” “Do you consider yourself a team […]

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An Organization Devoutly to be Desired

We all fantasize but the object of our fantasy is seldom an organization, an ideal one, the one we would create for us to work in if we were king. Of course, if we were king–or queen–we wouldn’t be worrying about working, but I digress. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones reported in the May 2013 […]

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Performance Requires More than Motivation and Ability

People often think that for employees to perform well all they need are the appropriate ability and skills and the motivation to achieve great results. But there is a missing ingredient: opportunity. So says John Boudreau in a recent issue of Talent Management Magazine (p. 10). He is spot on. You can be well trained […]

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Don’t Forget the “Why” in Your Mission Statement

A colleague of mine, Gwen Kinsey, led a crisp, interactive presentation at a recent leadership breakfast event. The topic was about how mission statements engage (or not) your employees. Gwen’s session drove home a point for me and I’d like to share it here. She put us in small groups and handed out two mission statements, […]

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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 […]

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They Feel Entitled. How about Engaged Too?

They’re either disengaged or under engaged in their work but they very much intend to stay with their current employer for a long time. This is what a new study by Modern Survey revealed. For government workers, 80% were less than engaged but 60% plan to stay. Not like the private sector, you say? Well, […]

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Teleworkers Perform But Do They Rise?

The typical teleworker in the US is a 49 years old, university educated, salaried individual in a management or professional role, says the Telework Research Network. Some of these just love the opportunity to indulge themselves through the satisfaction of doing knowledge or creative work that both engages them and challenges them. But many of […]

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Employee Engagement – You’re Only Part Way There

Research by TowersWatson has revealed that to generate a climate where your employees contribute a consistently high percentage of their capacity you need more that just “engagement.” You must add into the mix enablement (a better term for what used to be called empowerment), and employee well-being. Here, very briefly, is what constitutes each element of what they call […]

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NeuroEngagement: Using Insights from Brain Science to Heighten Employee Engagement

by Scott Campbell Employee engagement is all the rage these days. It’s commonly touted as the key to transforming an organization from good to great. When a new organizational effectiveness ‘truth’ comes along there are two common responses. The first response is an unreflective jump on to the bandwagon. Managers keen to improve their own […]

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Three Intriguing Thoughts from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

A recent HBR blog podcast interviewed the CEO of Amazon who, in a major study reported in the Harvard Business Review’s Jan/Feb issue, was ranked #2 of global CEO’s. The late Steve Jobs was #1. Jeff Bezos is an intriguing guy. He permits interviews sparingly and is somewhat of a contrarian around some commonly held […]

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The Army’s After Action Review

The US and Canadian armies (among others, I’m sure) are famous for its post-event after action review (AAR). Whether it’s a mission,  a tactical maneuver, or just a patrol, the individuals involved meet immediately afterward to debrief on how it went and what they can learn for the next time. This goal is to quickly […]

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Build Relationships with Your Staff, for the Brain’s Sake

I can’t stand it when a manager, hearing me broach the importance of building trusting relationships with their employees, blurts out the tired old term, touchy-feely. To dismiss the complex role of relationships in fostering sustained high performance is to just not get it as a leader in the 21st century. In a recent posting on […]

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You Can Receive Feedback as a Gift or a Scolding

Consider the following two versions of feedback given by a boss, in response to an employee leaving errors in an important report for the Board: “I’ve gone over your report and found you didn’t include the sidebar paragraph that explains Figure 6 on page 18. Please add it in right away and get the revised […]

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C-Suite is All About Handling Complexity

A study a couple of years ago the Center for Creative Leadership asked 158 executives enrolled in their leadership development programs what are the three most critical challenges you currently face? Their responses clustered into 14 categories but the four most frequently mentioned were: Leading across multiple groups (building maintaining and leveraging relationships across all […]

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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 […]

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It’s What They Don’t Do that Makes Them Bad

This post was triggered by a great post in the HBR Blog Network by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman. This essence of their article is that most of the behaviors of so called “bad bosses” are, in their words, sins of omission, not commission. In other words, it’s more what the boss fails to do […]

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Your Dance Between Manager and Coach

The trend these days is clearly for managers to take on more of a coaching role. But they still need to be the manager! These are two different roles. As a manager, you have stewardship for results in your area of operation. You ensure that your people are performing at an acceptable level and are […]

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Dial Up the Underdeveloped Ego

I don’t know about you but it pains me to see so many people in organizations not contributing near to what they are capable of. Many of course, for any multitude of reasons, just don’t want to, thank you very much. They are satisfied with average, with just enough. That’s a topic for another time. […]

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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 […]

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Let’s Tackle the Skills Gap at 3 Levels

We are hearing so often these days that there are tons of well-paying jobs for which companies simply can’t find qualified people. Of course, skilling up alone won’t solve the unemployment and underemployment problems we face. But we do need to skill up as an adult population. I think we all have a part to […]

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The Best Teams Communicate in 3 Critical Ways

Research reported by Alex Pentland in the April issue of Harvard Business Review has revealed some interesting new information on effective teams. He and his group deployed “sociometric badges” in teams in 21 organizations. These devices are able to monitor on individual team members’ tone of voice, body language, frequency of initiating and responding, plus […]

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Give Me Something (or Someone) to Connect to

There is enough research on Employee Engagement to show that engaged employees give more “discretionary effort” (going above and beyond job expectations…without being told/asked) to their employer. Yet levels of engagement have not changed over the last ten years or so, through a period first of  boom, then of bust. Consider this data from the […]

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Every Job Matters (to Someone)

Recently I heard a presentation by Jim Gibbons, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries. In it he said that “every job matters.” Every job has someone relying on the incumbent of the position to do their job well so that the other person can either: benefit or do their own job well. Your client/customer is […]

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Your Final Performance Review

I get some great ideas from my clients. In a recent coaching conversation my client and I were strategizing about how to fire up an employee in his 60′s with about two years left before retirement who was slacking off.. I suggested he challenge the individual to make the choice to make his last two […]

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At the Heart of Development, Awareness

A manager I was coaching recently explained (away) the behavior of one of his supervisors: “He isn’t an angry person. He means well. It’s just that he’s often sharp with people. And sometimes they take it the wrong way. He’s really a good worker. I’ve told him that people can be intimidated by him, so […]

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Reactive vs. Creative Mind-sets…and Results

At the core of The Leadership Circle (360 degree assessment) model are the Reactive tendencies and Creative competencies. If you look at the circle itself, you will see Reactive structure of mind represented by the lower half of the circle and Creative structure by the upper half. When leaders operate from the Reactive mind-set they are, […]

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Change Your Words, Change Their Minds

I continue to be amazed by that fundamental truth about living: how we choose to see a situation dictates the choices we–and others–make about it. Take a look at this 2-minute clip that demonstrates it better than any more words I can write. You will be glad you did. How you choose to deliver feedback […]

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Are You the Expert, the Doctor, or the Process Guy?

In his short, wonderful book, Helping, Edgar Schein presents us, whether we are a professional  coach or a manager playing a coaching role, with three ways to respond to a request for coaching/mentoring help (or, for that matter, advice with a problem on the job). We can be: an expert resource who provides information or […]

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Develop Your Leadership Competence Asynchronously

It being New Year’s time again, Bill George recently blogged about “Five Resolutions for Aspiring Leaders.” He talked about things you can do to develop yourself, beyond what you do in your direct job: such as finding a mentor, setting up a mastermind type group with other emerging and aspiring leaders,volunteering in the community in […]

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Talent Magnets

In my leadership workshops and keynote speeches I sometimes ask the group/audience to think of the best boss and worse boss they’ve ever had, what each did, and what effect it had on you. People come up with all kinds of descriptors and behaviors of both bosses. But one thing emerges about the best boss […]

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Praise their Process Over their Competence

The name and work of Carol Dweck keeps coming up in discussions among experts in cognitive development. I wrote a review of  her important book, MindSet. In it she talks about two fundamental mindsets in people (and, therefore, of course, in employees): Fixed and Growth. Someone with a Fixed mindset believes they can’t get any […]

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Every Manager a Coach

A recent study reinforces the value of coaching by managers throughout the organization. Here are a few key points it makes: Business results were 21% higher in enterprises where senior leaders very frequently make an effort to coach others. This increased when organizations had a culture that supports coaching and makes managers accountable for engaging […]

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Do We Stop Growing after Schooling?

I ran across a recent posting from the Gallup Management Journal that made a point have I never thought about before: “Raised through a childhood in which each new year brought novel opportunities, playing at ever more difficult levels of sports, growing physically, educated in a system of cleanly delineated grades — freshman, sophomore, junior, […]

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Keep in Touch with Your Best Former Employees

It’s been a smart idea for years. When good employees leave your organization for greener pastures and the departure is amicable, why not keep in contact? You never know, some may find that that grass isn’t, in fact, greener and that your firm was a pretty good place to work after all. A recent WSJ […]

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Job Squeeze Is Real. Talk about it

My alma mater, the Industrial and Labor Relations School of Cornell University recently hosted a conference on “The Quality of Jobs.” They looked at how trends in what they call the “intensification” of work, the restructuring of jobs, and classic downsizing have impacted the quality of jobs and the levels of satisfaction employees (who are […]

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What Women Bring to Leadership

The BBC’s Katty Kay and ABC’s Claire Shipman co-authored a book a couple of years back called Womenomics. In it they cite, among other things, a number of companies where the presence of women in among top leadership had a positive effect on the firm’s financial success. For example: Accounting firm Ernst & Young’s research […]

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Allow Team Members to Find Their Place

Edgar Schein, a titan of the field of organizational development, says in his recent book, Helping, that there are four questions on the minds of new members of any team. While these concerns operate at a subconscious level, nevertheless, any team member must become comfortable with the answers before he or she can relax and […]

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All the World’s a Stage…and Sometimes for Leaders too

The most frequently cited quality of exceptional leaders is authenticity/integrity. With the best leaders, what you see is what you get, they walk their talk, and so forth. But situations arise that call upon the leader to fake it. They have to become an actor. They have to temporarily take on a persona different from […]

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One Employee at a Time

Back in the 90′s the Royal Bank of Canada had a series of TV commercials touting the theme, “Building a Better Bank, One Customer at a Time.” The message, as I recall, was that RBC treats each customer as a unique individual and strives to win them over, one-at-a-time. I frequently refer to this ad […]

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Want to Collaborate? Choose Your Level

We hear so much about collaboration these days. Our work is more complex. The best solutions require input from diverse perspectives. We at Fulcrum Associates have just started working with a fascinating simulation learning event, Friday Night at the ER. In it participants experience the challenge of working in a system where the unit managers […]

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Accelerate Your Growth with a Mastermind Group

Bill George, an author whom I have reviewed and whom I respect, has just come out with a new book, True North Groups. This is a more structured version of the classic “mastermind group” which many of my speaker colleagues have formed or joined. This new publication just reminds me to urge you to form […]

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Up Your Self-Awareness to the Next Level

I am a fan of the theory and research linking one’s level of adult development to one’s effectiveness as a leader. One of the hallmarks of more highly developed human beings (and bosses too, of course, they being humans and all) is their degree of in-the-moment self-awareness. Let’s look at just three levels of awareness: […]

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What’s Your Ask/Tell Ratio?

Do you ask your employees as often as you tell them what to do and what you think? In my experience, most managers don’t, not even close. Elsewhere in this blog I have offered four reasons why this is so. But if you have no answer to the above question, I invite you to spend […]

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Clear the Roadblocks (Guest Post)

This week’s post is from the pen of my colleague, Liz Weber, CMC. Liz specializes working with leadership teams on strategic and succession planning. She shares her wisdom and expertise as a consultant, trainer, and keynote speaker. Her website is well worth a visit. Good managers run efficient organizations. Great managers develop solid teams of […]

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Can Trainers Guarantee Results?

This has been a hotly debated issue among those of us who work in the so-called “soft skills” area. Our clients, understandably so, want a high degree of certainty that their investment in training will generate certain outcomes. In particular, that their trainees will learn and successfully apply the skills taught. And they would prefer […]

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Don’t Clone Yourself

A boss of mine early on in my career had a tough, almost bulldog, style. He was a pragmatic, no nonsense guy. He didn’t have a wide vocabulary and didn’t spend a lot of time talking about concepts. He was super loyal to the company and even more so to the branch of which he […]

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