What do your leaders celebrate in your workplace? Take a moment and write down the five to 10 things that leaders measure, praise, encourage, recognize, or reward on a regular basis.

Don’t look at service awards or other annual recognition that are given out. Note down the day-to-day messages that team members hear.

Next, categorize these messages, rewards, and praisings. Note which rewards are about results, performance and money, and which rewards are about cooperative interaction, citizenship and kindness.

I’ll wager you’ll have a majority of those messages categorized as performance-related. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had 80% or more of the rewards in your workplace focused on performance and results.

Don’t get me wrong — I love results! Performance, results, and profits are definitely important. They help your enterprise survive.

However, what makes your enterprise thrive is the quality of your work environment. A healthy workplace means that everyone in the organization — and even customers — are treated with trust, dignity, and respect in every interaction. (read more…)

If the company is the bus and its leader is the driver, as Jim Collins’ famous analogy states, then it stands to reason that when the bus is moving, the driver should mostly be looking out the windshield (toward the future) rather than consulting the rear-view mirror.

Yet I still see many CEOs who attempt rear-view leadership. They collect historical business intelligence, sometimes very sophisticated, from across the organization and try to glimpse the road ahead by examining what’s already happened.

Despite these data-interpretation efforts, rear-view leaders are frequently blindsided by new developments from inside their own companies. Sales, marketing, finance, IT and other departments produce more and more information, but the CEO struggles to separate the signal from the noise. He or she sees plenty of numbers, but what they mean about future performance remains cloudy.

Becoming a full-time Chief Executive Data Analyzer isn’t the solution. Looking to historical information for insight has its place, but those insights are best mined by the functional leaders with fitting expertise and perspective — not the CEO. (read more…)

Historically, consulting companies have gotten a bad rap for swooping in with presentations full of industry trends or spewing out jargon-laden recommendations. Or, even worse, they try to give the company’s identity a facelift and leave leaders fumbling to latch onto a vision that just doesn’t fit.

Fortunately, there’s a new crop of consulting companies that take a much different approach when lending their expertise. And the good ones meet their clients where they are and offer solutions that can add immediate value. The best consultants help executives refine their vision and solve problems faster and more effectively.

If you’ve been burned by a lackluster consultant relationship in the past, it’s no reason to write off all consultants. Before hiring your next consulting firm, use these tips to protect your company’s identity and extract the greatest value from the partnership.

  1. recite-fukdi4Start with a clear vision. The most successful companies don’t keep their vision a secret or pretend it’s too complicated for every employee to understand; they clearly articulate their vision and use it to find the best talent and win over customers.
  2. (read more…)

“[Y]ou must know what you want to achieve, be certain of your aims, and have these goals constantly in mind… You must educate your (people) … And since the world never stops for a moment… you must constantly reassess chosen policies towards the achievement of your aims.” ~ David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel

Much has been written about how 21st century leaders differ from their 20th century counterparts. Today’s leaders must guide complex organizations that are more virtual and multinational in nature than ever before. They must nimbly navigate through a fast-paced marketplace that is in continuous flux and determine the proper course forward from a myriad of options. They also need to recruit and retain a millennial workforce that has different interests, needs, and working habits than their elders.

In such a demanding business environment, leaders would be wise to develop a strong learning environment at the workplace. (read more…)

There is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of that moment when you’re first awarded an important leadership role.

Having “finally arrived” you imagine yourself as the rock star taking center stage at a roaring stadium of adoring fans. You can almost hear the ear shattering cheers of the crowd as they clamor to get closer, iPhones in hand, ready for the chance to take a cherished selfie and bask in your celebrity. The congratulatory comments and notes follow soon after, as do the handshakes, hugs and back slaps of colleagues, some of who may be actually be truly happy for your success.

But, after repeatedly playing this movie in your head, (in which your performance in the leading role is, of course, Oscar-worthy) at some point you come face to face with the enormity of your responsibility to others. Grand titles and big salary aside, the burning issue now is how you’ll show up as a leader and what legacy you’ll leave behind. (read more…)