When It’s Okay To Micromanage

Nobody likes to be micromanaged and we usually associate it with an overbearing boss who just likes to stick his nose into everyone’s business. Micro-management, however, does have its rightful place in many workplace situations. Recently I was meeting with a regulatory and compliance officer for a technology firm and she shared about the challenges she faces in influencing her colleagues about the importance of her role. Sure, she can be a pain in the butt, she admitted, but her primary job is to manage and mitigate risk. Cyber hacking, stolen passwords, implanted malware are all real and meaningful dangers for her company and any one of them can sink their on-line business and with it, revenues and reputation. Most Read More

The Balance Challenge

A few months ago, I found the room spinning when I went to get up out of bed. It only lasted 15 seconds or so but after 4 days of it, I thought it best to see my physician. He diagnosed me within a few minutes as having “‘benign paroxysmal positional vertigo,” (it’s always good to see benign in a medical diagnosis.) The treatment is pretty straightforward for this form of vertigo and involved seeing a vestibular physical therapist who manipulated my head to help rebalance the otoconia crystals that sometimes become dislodged and migrate into the inner ear tubes. After 3 treatments with Amy, my PT, I was about 90 % better. To get to the last 10%, Amy, Read More

Two National Days of Independence

We’re in Canada this week with our family traveling between Montreal and Quebec City. Canada and the US celebrate independence during this first week of July with our Northern neighbors commemorating the formation of the Dominion of Canada. In 1867, the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada (eventually Ontario and Quebec) came together as a “kingdom in its own right.” Full independence occurred some 60 years later. Given the British lost their US colonies 90 years earlier, it was probably not a particularly good time for the United Kingdom. Traveling about with our family, we can easily see the similarities between our two nations (even in this French favoring Province of Quebec.) People look at us in Read More

Your Job Is Important, But Is It Pivotal?

All jobs are important, but some are more important than others. Pivotal jobs are ones where that role contributes to a direct impact on revenue or market share and where the value created by the role makes a notable difference in business success At your favorite convenience store such as GetGo, Sheetz, or 7-Eleven, you may think the front counter person’s role is most critical as they interact with customer’s every day. While that job is important, it is not pivotal. A better description of a pivotal role in that business would be the woman who is buying and hedging gasoline. Convenience store’s greatest revenue comes from fuel sales and finding a commodity sale that is a quarter of a Read More

A Better Way to Feel Better

I ran into some youth baseball players having pizza with their parents. They had just finished their game and were down. One of the dad’s shared that they had won two games yesterday and they were all feeling good about their victory, but their personal and group self-esteem took a downward hit as their team was vanquished in today’s tournament. Self-esteem is our own subjective opinion of our own self-worth. Have a good day and we feel good. Have a bad day and we feel bad. Perhaps even worse, self-esteem is often connected to how we see ourselves in comparison to others. Our young ballplayers were probably feeling pretty confident after the first day’s victories, believing they could beat anyone. Read More

What Kind of Mistake is That?

In one organization I worked with, I was facilitating a meeting where the team was reviewing their weekly dashboard report that consisted of mostly green dots indicating that all was moving along well. The head of the group stated that everyone was verbally reporting to her that they were having trouble keeping up with the work demands yet there were no yellow or red dots on the report. Most everyone was silent until we probed the team a bit and finally one manager stated that he was afraid to put a yellow or red dot up, lest he get in trouble. His courage allowed for an open discussion of how this business group approached mistakes and even failures. Harvard professor, Read More

I Got This!

Professional golfer Gary Woodlands won the US Open this past Sunday at Pebble Beach. Gary caught my attention last March at the Phoenix Open when he played a practice hole with a young 20 year old college golfer named Amy Bocerkstette. Amy is a special needs athlete and it is obvious from the video that both she and Gary had a great time. Amy played a famous par three where she put her first shot in the sand trap, followed up with an excellent sand shot out and then drained a right to left 15 footer. Gary shared that he kind of channeled Amy this weekend including her now famous mantra of “I got this,” which she said to herself Read More

Going to Hell

We were in New York last week celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary when we headed off to the Broadway half-price ticket window and bought tickets to a new and mostly unheard of show called Hadestown. This musical recalls the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and their journey to dark reaches of the underworld. The play is presented as if it appears in a New Orleans jazz club with an onstage 7-piece band. The show picked up 8 Tony awards this past Sunday including Best Musical. I gave it my “Rich Standing “O” honor at the end of the performance. The musical has had a long journey to success. Author and songwriter Anais Mitchell began her work on Hadestown Read More

Learn Something New…3X10

Learning something new isn’t just about concentration but is more about practice. Dr. Douglas Fields, a neurologist at NIH, reported that spaced learning which provided three learning opportunities with 10 minute intervals between each session created a much higher percentage of the learning having “stuck” in the individual learner’s mind and then being able to apply it rapidly and effectively. In practical terms  that translates to repeating a particular learning experience one time and then taking  a 1o minute break before doing it again. A bit of rinse and repeat and repeat. In our new book, Retooling Leadership Development, Mike Couch as I assert that learning new leadership skills must happen in the day to day world of the aspiring or established leader and Read More