In the summer of 2012, we were still limping out of the throes of an economic Armageddon. The mood around the country was dark and gloomy. I yearned to focus on leaders with vision, values, and integrity, as the global recession was prompted by the absence of these very characteristics in key leadership positions. I longed to reaffirm that all great institutions are built by leaders at all levels who demonstrate the bedrock values of integrity and trust. I felt there could be a great comparative story of the presence or absence of leadership and its effect on the success or failure of an organization.

Implementing a new strategy requires current and emerging leaders who can drive an organization, energize its operations and inspire its people. This kind of leadership challenge is for the select few who always step up, build a competitive edge and differentiate themselves in clear and compelling ways. (read more…)

Managing absenteeism has become a critical component of human resources strategy. With each passing business day, it’s becoming increasingly more complex to consistently and uniformly apply federal and state laws governing absenteeism, and to align those regulations with organization policies across multiple locations.

The impact of employee absences can be astonishing. According to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index the total annual costs related to lost productivity due to absenteeism in the U.S. totaled $84 billion. Although the annual costs associated with absenteeism vary by industry, the greatest loss occurred in professional occupations at $24.2 billion.

There are direct and indirect costs of absence that can cascade through payroll, benefits, and operations — in addition to productivity loss. And the reasons for an employee taking leave are many and varied, ranging from employee’s injury and illness, pregnancy-related issues, newborn care, adoption, foster care, or elder care, to name a few.

The recordkeeping for employee absences is particularly complex and challenging for part-time, variable-work-schedule, hourly, and non-exempt employees. (read more…)

It’s easy for all of us to develop bad habits, whether drinking too much coffee or always running late, but it can be much harder to break them! In the corporate world, there is one bad habit that we’d like to see everyone kick to the curb: poor use of PowerPoint. Even the most skilled presenters can do better! Replacing those bad PowerPoint habits with more effective strategies allows you to tell a more engaging story, connect with your listeners, and even change the conversation.

If you’ve fallen into some bad PowerPoint habits, you may feel stuck in a rut with your presentation slides. If you feel that way, imagine how your audience is feeling! Do you notice that people’s eyes tend to glaze over as they attempt to take in your PowerPoint presentation? Can you blame them? The questions becomes, what can you do to liven things up, bring a fresh, new perspective to your presentation visuals, and help your listeners to “get it”? (read more…)

As a coach and professional development provider, I often find myself having some variation of the following conversation with an organization’s chief executive, HR director or program coordinator.

“Please make sure,” they say, “to include lots of practical examples for everyone in the room when you speak.” They explain their request as follows. “Oftentimes when we bring someone in to present a workshop we get blowback, particularly from the old-timers. They’ve told us that other presenters’ content was too theoretical. They also say that the examples may have been useful to others in the room, but it did not address their specific needs.”

As a former teacher and principal, I know exactly what that person is talking about. So often, I would sit through a workshop and wonder about its applicability to me and my classroom. Many others around me would do similarly, and often find other more useful things to do, such as grade papers. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How “in touch” with the front lines are your leaders?

  • Very — they understand the front line very well: 13%
  • Kind of — they generally know what’s going on with the front line: 36%
  • Not very — they are mostly in the dark about the front line: 35%
  • Not at all — they have no idea what’s going on with the front line: 16%

Get Out of Your Office. How can you run a business if you don’t know how it’s running? Sitting in your office all the time and managing your organization without ever seeing how things are working on the front line is akin to driving your car by remote control from your laptop. Get out there. You might learn something. (read more…)