“Are you a tough boss?” asked an interviewer of John L. Weinberg, senior partner and de facto CEO of Goldman Sachs. A former Marine, Weinberg was a blunt-speaking, unabashed, and self-driven man who knew that most of Goldman’s employees sought to work as hard and as wisely as he himself did. During the period of his leadership, Goldman furthered and consolidated its rapid ascent as a global banking powerhouse.

Weinberg answered the question without hesitation. “Oh, tough is easy. Anyone can be tough.” What is really difficult, he explained, was getting a group of workers to perform to their absolute utmost and in coordination with one another. He was right, of course. The challenge facing Weinberg, and many managers, involves establishing an environment in which an already ambitious crew can deliver their best efforts and have those best efforts most advantageously applied. In my years at Goldman, that was our focus — seeking out the most able and appropriate resources within the firm to find solutions for clients and opportunities in the markets. (read more…)

Many years ago, when I was a corporate training consultant, my client hired a translator named Antonio to work with me to convert a two-day supervisory skills training program from English to Spanish.

The participants of this class all spoke English, but said they’d be more comfortable learning in their native language. Although I hold a degree in Spanish, my Spanish-speaking skills were rusty; a person more skilled in the language was necessary to bring the training to life.

Antonio and I worked together to omit English slang that didn’t translate well and modify activities to better fit the needs of the Spanish-speaking audience. When it came time to hold the training session, I facilitated the class in a combination of English and Spanish, and Antonio provided interpretation as needed. We were an excellent team and the classes went very well. I can’t help but wonder: What if I had tried to go it alone without an interpreter? (read more…)

I was recently listening to a spiritual talk when one of the speakers said something that struck me: We must always try to do the right thing, and when we do, not only does it help others, it also helps us to feel good about ourselves and what we do.

John Fontana, a management consultant and the director of the Arupe Center of Ethics in Business, believes that grace and spirituality in the workplace can be transformative to an organization’s culture and spirit. While not everyone may embrace the idea of spirituality, many people would appreciate a culture that is about a lot more than revenues.

What I mean by spirituality and grace, really, is the idea that the people of an organization, including the senior leadership, strive for a greater purpose, such as honoring people’s personal goals, their families, their traditions and their personal and professional growth. It’s about honoring the whole person in each team member in their company. (read more…)

Many organizations today are fighting a battle of the bulge. No, it has nothing to do with wellness programs, insurance premiums or weight-loss competitions. But it is a huge health hazard for business.

Over the past decade, many companies and institutions have suffered downsizing, right sizing, outsourcing, rationalizing and a whole lot of other “zings” that have changed the organizational landscape. Structures are meaner and leaner. Baby boomers are waiting longer to retire. The old corporate ladder has toppled.

Yet many organizations have continued to hire and set expectations with employees that, if they perform well, they’ll enjoy growth via perpetual promotions. Employees have done their part and now expect the organization to do its. As a result, there’s a bulge of talent in many companies — too many skillful, prepared employees for too few new roles. What’s an organization to do?

First, we must help everyone understand that it’s a whole new world at work. (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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Q. What is the best (inexpensive) way to reward employees who are consistently great or who go above and beyond what you expected?

yec_Matt Ames1. Recognition

Recognition can do more for an employee than any financial compensation. Figure out a way to recognize their contributions in a public way. Not only in front of employees, but their friends and family as well. Take out an ad in the local paper, include this person’s contributions in the newsletter to all customers, or acknowledge them on social media. – Matt Ames, MN Pro Paintball

yec_Dan Price2. (read more…)