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

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

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

The Operating Agreement

Most teams run by working through an agenda and then sending everyone out to do their thing. They rarely work together and even worse, just assume that everyone understands how to be a good team member, as if it is genetically programmed. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most people don’t know how to be on a team and even if you played on your HS Soccer team or were in Drama Club, operating as a team in your business is a completely different ball game. The consequences of not having and knowing the rules will probably explain why your projects are not as successful as they can be at best and may help create a toxic Read More

How to Start Your Mornings

Getting the right jump on your morning can set the tone for your entire day. You already have your ritual in play and it may include reaching for your phone to see if your boss sent you an email over night or checking out the morning’s news shows where you’ll get caught up in the next global tragedy. Research now shows that how you start your day off sets the tone for whether you view your day as successful. In a 2015 study, researchers Michelle Gielan and Shawn Achor studied 110 participants who were placed into two groups. One group watched 3 minutes of negative news before 10 AM and the other group watched 3 minutes of solution focused news. Read More

“Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal” – Pablo Picasso

I attended a meeting last week with my mastermind group and our coach, Alan Weiss in Washington, DC. I was discussing Retooling Leadership Development (my new book with Michael Couch due out in early 2020) and the best ways to promote a book after it is released. The group came with a variety of best practices that had worked for them and given that this group had written over 70 books in total (with Alan writing about 60 of them) there were a lot of impressive ideas that I could follow as well as a few specific ideas I plan to steal. Some of the most successful people in the world have begged, borrowed or stolen their great ideas from Read More

The 5 Glitches

I was listening to an interview that Krista Tippit (from the podcast and radio show On Being) did with Sylvia Boorstein, who is a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist living in Detroit. She talked about Buddhism’s five “genetic fallback glitches,” which are biological explanations for how we behave when we are challenged. These are: Fretting or worrying (anxiety) Anger Discouragement Self-blame Seek out comfort (“where’s the chocolate?”) Her point, which we’ve seen validated in our work with leaders and in organizations, is that under stress we usually default to a particular set of behaviors that seem to be hardwired into us. She points out that these are not moral flaws, worthy of additional flagellation, but instead to be thought of as Read More