How Do You Decide Where to Spend Your Time?

It’s one of the most common challenges we work with leaders on. What should I be spending my time on? What are the most important activities for me? And, your default impulse on these questions may very well be wrong. If you don’t intentionally choose what to focus on, you will continually be reactive and likely not addressing the most important demands of your role. Leaders often choose their focus based on the following criteria:   What I have always focused on We know from decades of research on management “derailment” that, as a manager moves up in the organization, strengths can become weaknesses. People who are really good at […]

Lean Into Your Mistakes

Every human being (including every leader) is a work in progress, on a developmental journey, moving away from the person they have been, and moving towards the person they are becoming. Whether you’re engaged in a formal coaching process or not, you are likely to have development goals as part of your annual objectives, intended to advance you on this journey. Even if you don’t have formal development goals, you’re probably aware of ways in which you can be more effective as a leader.   For example, you may want to… do a better job of including others and building consensus on decisions be more thoughtful and rigorous about plans […]

Does your job/company/boss suck?

Lately, I’ve been talking with a lot of people who are in unhappy job situations. Their company is going through a reorganization. Heads are being cut. Different groups are jockeying for power. My people are uncertain what their next job will be. Or, if there is a next job in sight, it doesn’t look good. Lower level. Less interesting. Don’t like the boss. Low-performing supervisees. Or no supervisees at all.   They’re tempted to jump ship and get away from the negative environment, but it’s not exactly as if there are tons of better opportunities beckoning. A bad job is better than no job. And would another organization be any […]

Why leadership training doesn’t work (and what you can do about it)

How many times have you gone to a leadership development workshop, had a wonderful experience, left feeling great, and then went home and kept doing the same old thing?  Or, perhaps you kept up your new resolutions for a couple of months or weeks, and then went back to doing the same old thing.   Why does this happen so consistently? And why do we, knowing this, keep on sending people to training?   Learning these skills will not lead to doing these skills. That’s because, I’ll suggest, most of the leadership skills and insights being imparted through these events are, in the words of Ronald Heifetz, “adaptive” challenges rather […]

How to Find and Grow HIPOs

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) recently identified key skills they see as essential for success in the future workplace.  These skills include… identify meaning beyond what is expressed, assess information for importance, translate data into abstract concepts and use data-based reasoning, understand concepts across multiple disciplines, identify actions beyond rote or rules, and participate as a member of a virtual team. The Teleos Development Model© identifies five different “perspectives” or development levels.  The “systems” or strategic perspective is critical, because that perspective enables the development of these (and other) powerful skills that improve performance and enhance leadership.  The challenge comes with trying to make the shift into this perspective […]

The Distorted Lenses Through Which We See

Humans are meaning-making creatures. The processing units in our minds instantaneously take the information that comes in through our senses, and attach meaning to it. Over time, the meanings we have attributed to our experiences get clustered together into beliefs. We think, when observing the world, that we are seeing what is, but we are really seeing our interpretations of what is.   Because meaning is created from experience, the more seasoned you are, the more powerful are your mental models – and the more invisible is that meaning-making step. As a leader, you rely on your mental models to identify patterns, see implications, decide what to focus on – […]

Have You Created An In-Group On Your Team?

If you are managing people, it’s likely that you are observing your reports in action, noticing what they do well and what they don’t, and forming judgments about their capabilities.  These are important activities, when done in the service of assigning activities that fit individuals’ strengths, providing relevant feedback and coaching in areas of weakness, and creating development plans.   However, it’s not uncommon that a manager will use this information to conclude which of her reports are competent and which are not, and, on that basis, to value and reward those different reports’ contributions accordingly.  Have you, perhaps, done this with your own reports?   Why Your Judgments About […]

The Launch Of Anyone Can Lead.

Anyone Can Lead. If you read that statement and think “no way,” then please read on. Are you a person who has always thought that someone else is the leader? Do you believe that you cannot or should not lead? Have you ever stopped yourself from influencing events because you were concerned about others’ reactions? If yes, then organizations everywhere need people like you to step up and lead. Your organization needs you to ask difficult questions about proposals, to clarify ambiguous goals, to surface and resolve conflicts that block progress, and to help others learn and apply new skills – especially leadership skills. We understand why you may choose […]