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Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

Misreading Opportunities

The size of a business opportunity is really a matter of perception. Founders (and employees) who work for startups often hang on long after the real opportunity has passed them by. See what causes the size of the opportunity to diminish over time.

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Fascination with Devices Hamstrings Team Performance

Do you ever think that perhaps we’re a little too fascinated with our devices? It seems as if we view being always available for people to call, email, or text us as a professional courtesy. And it is... to those people are trying to reach us while we're in meetings. But, every time you interact with your device you tell the other people in the room they're not important. The simple act of banning devices in meetings can change cultural dynamics in a very powerful way.

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What Social Media Gag Orders Say About Leadership

The fear factor drives 42% of companies prohibit employees from using social media. But here's the rub. While you can mandate behavior at work, that doesn't translate to compliance at home. Only 45% of people using social networks post under their real names. So... what are you afraid your employees will say? Address that rather than issue a gag order and you'll get much better performance across the board.

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The Battle between Autonomy and Control

Control is an illusion that gets in the way of a manager's ability to lead. When you tell people what (and how) to do their jobs, employees shut down. Micromanagement makes employees feel that nothing they do is 'good enough' and strips their sense pride and responsibility. What employees really want is autonomy, mastery, and a sense of purpose. A manager's extreme desire to control hampers a company's ability to compete in the marketplace.

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The Masquerade Ball

When workplace politics enters the picture, the amount and quality of work completed slows to a trickle. People put on personas to deal with the challenges associated with a bad boss and backstabbing or overbearing co-workers. An authoritarian, or Because I Said So leadership style often lies at the root of this kind of organizational dysfunction.

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How To Execute A Compelling Vision

How do you differentiate a commodity business? You create an outstanding brand based on a business philosophy that enables people to tap into and grow their talents in an honest, open, and supportive environment. See how Zingerman's built a family of businesses that employ more than 600 people within a single Michigan county.

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Women Owned Startups Get 70% Less Investment

Women entrepreneurs receive less funding than their male counterparts. And yet, research shows that women bootstrap more effectively, have a higher success rate when it comes to starting sustainable businesses, and generate greater long-term profits. Many of the funding discrepancies may stem from the way we learn to communicate as children.

Startups need both men and women to achieve optimal performance.

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Command Performance

Attendance problems in the workplace often signal much deeper organizational issues. One CEO thought he'd get people to show up on time by bringing down the hammer, but instead got some very bizarre behavior from senior management. Employees frequently call out sick or show up late to work because they're disengaged, not because they're bad employees.

Tales around the campfire.

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Why 70% of Employees Dream of Leaving

More than 70% of American employees want to leave their jobs due to poor leadership and just plain bad management. Unhappiness breeds more unhappiness. More than half of senior managers say they'd like to quit. Much of this dissatisfaction stems from an authoritarian leadership style. Turning a dysfunctional workplace around takes hard work combined with the right attitude...

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Dilbert Has Left the Building

The desire to help people tap into their potential to achieve personal and organizational greatness stems from a deep curiosity about the effect leadership has on organizational behavior. And an aversion to mediocrity. Life’s too short to spend 40 hours or more a week doing something that drains your energy. Working for a paycheck simply makes you (and those around you) miserable. We can turn status quo management around by letting go of the desire to control the people around us. Oh… and let’s have some fun along the way, please.

The Dilbert Principle

Thanks to Scott Adams, we have Dilbert to show us how ridiculous our work environments can be. It’s time to evolve. Let’s retire the pointy headed managerial style and enable people to play to their strengths regardless of where they sit on the org chart.

The First Rule of Leadership

I learned the most important lesson in management in the mid-80s. I worked for a pizza delivery company and had just been promoted out of the rank of drivers to manager trainee. My boss taught me how to:

  • Take inventory, order food, and minimize waste so that the company operated profitably
  • Perform a weekly P&L so I could keep an eye on margins so that the company operated profitably
  • Fill out employee evaluation forms

Unfortunately, he did not teach me how to recruit, interview, select, and effectively manage or lead people. At least not directly. As a result, I was able to run a profitable store by the numbers and customers were satisfied with the consistent quality of their pizzas. But morale hit rock bottom. The staff went from liking me as a co-worker to despising me as a manager—quickly.

One night we were so busy I put all of my staff on the road and single-handedly ran the inside operations. I answered phones, made and cut pizzas, got drinks ready, routed orders, and got change for the drivers. The company’s owner stopped by and watched me sweat bullets as I juggled all of the inside tasks, barked terse orders at the staff, and kept things running as smoothly as possible.

The evening was a total disaster. I wondered why the owner didn’t pitch in but was too proud to ask for help. I got help anyway. And it came from a completely unexpected direction.

When the phones stopped ringing he pulled me aside and said, “Nobody likes to work for an asshole.”

In that single moment the owner handed me the gift of a lifetime. I’d been emulating his management style and he didn’t even realize it! Upon reflection I recognized just how much we all disliked working for him. No wonder I was having leadership issues.

Since that time I’ve learned to transform organizations and teams by deliberately creating progressive work environments by focusing on style, chemistry, diversity, attitude, aptitude and the infrastructure needed to support extraordinary achievement. When you get these elements right your culture thrives. The Dilberts of the world choose to move on to other opportunities as your teams and company achieve astonishing results.

Oh, and I’ve also learned to ask for help. We all need smart, motivated people around us to raise the bar on our own performance. Please contact us if you’re seeking a cultural shift that puts chemistry to work in your favor.

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