They’re Not The Soft Skills; They are The Essential Skills

Time and again, I hear leaders in organization refer to listening, ethics, patience, humor and understanding (among many others) as the “soft skills”. They are referencing them in comparison to data driven quantifiable skills such as creating a spread sheet, analyzing productions schedules, and tracking sales projections. While their intent may not be to demean human relations skills, the net result is usually that people see these people skills as less important than the quantitative  skills. Nothing could be further from the truth. The feedback from the CEO was that one of his team leaders was a great technical leader but that he approached everything in his work with “pointy elbows” and a desire to always get his way. When I Read More

How is Your Work-Rest Balance?

Ten PM at night is usually bedtime for me but there I was at the manufacturing plant of one of my clients doing a presentation and discussion to 35 workers about finding a balance between work and rest. Part of their global wellness initiative on stress resilience, the plant manager asked me to speak to employees about stress issues that accompany working multiple 12 hour shifts from 5 PM to 5 AM and how you can find a balance between work and rest. I had all the relevant research ready for the employees along with my “cheat sheet”* of information that delineates a slew of remedies that can use to improve sleep—everything from light shielding drapes to eating bananas before Read More

Agility 2014

Last Friday I wrote in this blog how I thought Agility would be the 2014 word of the year. No more than two days later, I received my first, kind of, affirmation of my statement when the Sunday Times ran an article entited Management Be Nimble. In it, the authors cite Larry Page, co-founder of Google who talks about the need for his company to become more…you guessed it…agile. The authors cite several ways to create more nimbleness (agility) that then go on to foster innovation ( a great outcome for agility) State your mission and values clearly and make sure everyone knows. I recently did some consulting for a company that had developed a new set of core values Read More

The 2014 Word of the Year

Agility will be the 2014 Word of The Year. You’ll see it in how sportscasters describe Olympic athletes performing in Sochi next month. You’ll read about it in the Wall Street Journal when they describe how large companies are working to navigate the rapidly changing waters of the marketplace. And you’ll hear yourself telling your kids, family members and co-workers about why it is essential to be agile. Agility is important today because the world has become more ambiguous. We no longer can rely on anything being exactly like it was, even from yesterday. And with changes happening so quickly, expediency has become a hallmark of how companies are using agile processes. I also think agility is a critical component Read More

Are You a Trustworthy Leader?

In conducting some workplace interviews recently several members of this organization told me that they did not trust their managers or theleadership of the organization. Their concerns focused on their bosses: Lack of transparency Shifting priorities that could never be nailed down. Lack of commitment to the overall mission of the organization. Not helping them develop as professionals The result for these staff members were that they did not feel very engaged or committed to the company and were planning their strategy of how to get out. A recent survey by Interaction Associates reported on trust in organizations and showed that High Performing Organizations (HPOs) which had high scores in trust and leadership outperformed Low Performing Organizations (LPOs) in everything Read More

The Small Steps of Leadership

Sixty of the finest community leaders in Pittsburgh met last week for the first time and began building friendships that will span the year and last a lifetime. The occasion was the annual Leadership Pittsburgh (LP) kick-off event at the Duquesne Club in downtown Pittsburgh. Leadership Pittsburgh is a leadership development program whose goal is to work with the finest professionals in our region to help them become tomorrow’s community leaders; those people who will help shape the future of this region. Participants come from large and small national and local corporations, state and local government, education, health care and a variety of non-profits. Together they will delve into various aspects of our community from commerce to education, healthcare to Read More

Building A Good Head of Esteem

I was talking with the CEO of a small company recently who had just taken the reigns of the organization and was having some good initial success at turning this once troubled company around. As we discussed his work and professional issues, he confided in me that a big issue for him is related to his self-esteem. He often questions himself about whether he is making the right decisions and whether his decisions will actually work effectively enough to help the company. He wasn’t sure if this was common for CEOs and others and I reassured him that self-esteem issues represents an important aspect of what I address with my corporate consulting work. And it doesn’t surprise me since studies Read More

Take the Bored Out of Your Board Meeting

A not-so-quiet change in happening in non-profit organizations across the country. Due to government funding cutbacks, increasing needs of clients in our communities and a need for organizations to adapt to new business models, these non-profits have to look at changes across all levels of their organizations. Among the most important change that can be enacted is how the Boards of Directors conduct business, engage in the success of the organization and support the administration in creating a successful workplace. In the past, Boards of Directors primary job was oversee their fiduciary responsibility, hire the Executive Director and perhaps help fundraise. They would attend an annual strategic planning sessions where they would conduct a SWOT analysis (identifying the strengths, weaknesses, Read More

Get Involved

Maybe it’s not surprising to you that only a third of employees are engaged in what they are doing. They love their jobs and for many of them, they will approach it with a missionary zeal. For another 25%, work sucks, their job sucks and your organization sucks…I guess they are not engaged. And then there is the great 50% in the middle, all of whom are more or less engaged in what they are doing. Engagement is important not only in the quality and efficiency of the work being produced but even more importantly in how your team approaches customers. And as you know as a customer of the products you buy, if the person you are not interacting Read More