Don’t Mistake Execution for Strategy

By Graham Kenny A business involved in conducting clinical trials for medical and pharmaceutical companies recently sent me a copy of their strategic plan for review in preparation for a forthcoming strategic planning workshop. I studied the nine pages carefully. But despite its promise to outline the company’s “Mission, Vision, Strategies, and Actions,” the […]

How to Spend Way Less Time on Email Every Day

Digital article from HBR: Link The average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and answering email, according to a McKinsey analysis. For the average full-time worker in America, that amounts to a staggering 2.6 hours spent and 120 messages received per day. Most professionals have resorted to one of two extreme coping mechanisms as […]

Make Sure Everyone on Your Team Sees Learning as Part of Their Job

From HBR Make Sure Everyone on Your Team Sees Learning as Part of Their Job   by Kristi Hedges As an executive coach, Kristi Hedges speaks regularly at corporate leadership development programs. During discussions, participants often confess the real reason they’re in the room, and it’s rarely “to grow and learn.” Time and again, the […]

Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking

 “Put your phone away” has become a commonplace phrase that is just as often dismissed. Despite wanting to be in the moment, we often do everything within our power to the contrary. We take out our phones to take pictures in the middle of festive family meals, and send text messages or update our social […]

Ask ‘why’ five times about every matter.

“Ask ‘why’ five times about every matter.” Taiichi Ohno, Former Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation We come across problems in all sorts of situations in life, but, according to Taiichi Ohno, pioneer of the Toyota Production System in the 1950s, “Having no problems is the biggest problem of all.” Ohno saw a problem […]

How to Get Your Team to Follow Through After a Meeting

Paul Axtell March 30, 2017 ny team leader knows that it’s what happens between project meetings that makes or breaks a project. And yet it’s often challenging to keep a team motivated and focused on getting agreed upon tasks done. Ideally you’ve checked that everyone is aligned and agreed on next steps but assigning tasks […]

Sales Reps, Stop Asking Leading Questions Most executives recognize a need for their sales team to act as consultants and sell “solutions.”  But many CEOs would be shocked at how poorly their sales teams execute on the strategy of consultative selling.  I recently had a conversation about this with the director of purchasing at one of my client companies who […]

Why Typography Matters

From Medium: Link to Original Why Typography Matters — Especially At The Oscars benjamin bannisterFeb 27 Life From A Different Perspective The difference between making an embarrassing mistake, and recognizing one. There was a major twist ending and a major snafu at the very end of the 2017 Academy Awards for the category of Best Picture. The […]

Calculating the ROI of Customer Engagement

From HBR: Rachel Happe We know that customer engagement matters. Yet much of our thinking about engagement remains simplistic. Most current definitions of engagement are bimodal – someone is either engaged or they’re not. But this is a limited view that hampers our ability to manage engagement in meaningful ways. A more sophisticated understanding of engagement allows community […]

How to Write Email with Military Precision

From HBR: Kabir Sehgal In the military, a poorly formatted email may be the difference between mission accomplished and mission failure. During my active duty service, I learned how to structure emails to maximize a mission’s chances for success. Since returning from duty, I have applied these lessons to emails that I write for […]

Performing a Project Premortem

Premortem by Gary Klein Projects fail at a spectacular rate. One reason is that too many people are reluctant to speak up about their reservations during the all-important planning phase. By making it safe for dissenters who are knowledgeable about the undertaking and worried about its weaknesses to speak up, you can improve a project’s […]

Giving Up Is the Enemy of Creativity

by Brian J. Lucas / What determines whether the ideas we generate are truly creative? Recent research of ours finds that one common factor often gets in the way: we tend to undervalue the benefits of persistence. In a series of experiments we observed that people consistently underestimated the number of ideas they could generate while […]

Your Company Culture Shouldn’t Just Be Great—It Should Be Distinctive

by Denise Lee Yohn, Just as brand differentiation helps attract customers, culture differentiation helps attract the right employees. But while it’s popular to focus on corporate culture, not many companies have a truly distinctive culture. This is the equivalent to a marketing department saying, “We need to have a strong brand”—without articulating what that strength will […]

How to Get the Most Out of a Conference

How to Get the Most Out of a Conference By Rebecca Knight, “The fact that technology has made it easier to interact with people across great distances and time zones actually makes face-to-face interaction even more valuable.” Conferences are an overwhelming rush of presentations, conversations, and potential meet-ups, and it can be tough to […]

Why Do We Experience Awe? (from NY Times)

HERE’S a curious fact about goose bumps. In many nonhuman mammals, goose bumps — that physiological reaction in which the muscles surrounding hair follicles contract — occur when individuals, along with other members of their species, face a threat. We humans, by contrast, can get goose bumps when we experience awe, that often-positive feeling of […]

A List of Goals Is Not a Strategy (HBR) by Graham Kenny

Let’s say you’re getting together with other managers and employees to develop your organization’s or unit’s strategy. No matter how much discussion and enthusiasm you bring to the task, you’re likely to emerge with a list that looks like this: Growth Superior operational outcomes through efficient work practices Becoming competitive in an existing market Increasing […]