Put Strategy First, Not People

Most organizations love to say that their people come first and then the business strategy. That phrase is designed to help people think you like them more than the business but that is not what people want to hear. What they want to hear is what the business is all about and how they can help the business succeed.

Looking Back/Looking Forward

My copies of Strategy Driven Leadership arrived at my door this week. Dr. Jonas Salk, the pioneer researcher who developed the polio vaccine while working here at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was once quoted as stating that “our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.” Forebearers of the Iroquois Nation understood the importance of how their actions today would impact their world going forward 7 generations from that moment. We’re usually so caught up in our own day-to-day life that it is difficult to sometimes look forward just a few days or weeks or certainly years. Looking back is equally challenging as I often ask people what they were worried about a year ago, which in our Read More

The Dangers of Generational Labels

How do you like being called a millennial or boomer? I can certainly agree that being called a Globalist would be cool as it would kind of mandate that you have to travel around the world to maintain that moniker. Yesterday, I had the pleasure to hear Anna Liotta, the current president of the National Speaker’s Association speak to the local Pittsburgh chapter about her work in what she calls the “Generational Codes”TM    She detailed the 5 different generational groups Traditionalists—1927-45; Loyal, hard working and humble Baby Boomers-1946-64; Optimistic, status motivated and driven Gen Xers-1965-77; Skeptical, independent and blunt Millenials (Gen Y) 1978-99- Tech savvy, collaborative and entrepreneurial Globals (Gen Z) 2000-2016-Inclusive, tech dependent and cause driven Anna’s presentation was Read More

Down With The Soft Skills

For several years, i have railed against the use of the term “soft skills” to describe the all-important skills that are used every day in our work settings. My primary concern is about the fact that many senior business leaders continue to think of “hard skills” as being those that drive business success while the other skills are nice to have and help people feel better in the workplace. Soft skills, as a result  have always taken a back seat to these other skills that were always seen as more important to job success, which we now know is not true. In Strategy Driven Leadership, my new book co-authored with Michael Couch (available for pre-ordering on Amazon) we suggest that these Read More

Build A Full Head of Esteem

I am not really surprised that so many leaders question their own value and contribution to their organization. Over 20 years ago, author Pauline Clance wrote about her interviews with highly successful business leaders in which they reported feeling like frauds in their work (imposter syndrome). Despite all evidence to the contrary, these leaders were sure that sooner or later, they would be discovered as fakes and their gig would be up. Self-esteem or the belief that we are competent, capable people is something that we can only give to ourselves. It cannot be bestowed by others (despite their best efforts). Everyone experiences bouts of low self esteem and for leaders it can even be a greater challenge as you 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

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

Concern, Aggravation, Grievance: Don’t Do This to Your Customers

I’m attending a high-end conference event at one of America’s finest resort hotels and if I shared the name of this property, most everyone would identify it as a place with a reputation for impeccable customer service. That is what I thought too, but a funny thing happened the other day. My room didn’t get cleaned the entire day. I was a bit surprised when I came back to my room for a little rest over lunch to find that the room hadn’t been made up. Understandable, but a bit concerning given the fact that the Hotel was not that crowded. I came back at 4 PM…still no service. Now, I was a bit aggravated and called the front desk. Read More

Go Ahead and Waste Your Time

There are only 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds in a day. That is it and so the idea that you can somehow manage time is pretty ridiculous. Its really the other way around which means that time is managing you. This idea that we can actually manage time is one of the reasons that we are so highly stressed and perhaps why we often feel overwhelmed. Taking a resilience approach means that we begin to see time for what it is…a commodity. Time is more like money in that we make choices about how we spend it and those choices makes a statement about our priorities and what is important to us. That is how we deal with the Read More