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Of Moose and Managers

  My blog, Moose on the Loose: Boeing Panic Over Quality and Safety, explained how I started using the moose-on-the-table metaphor. It also linked to a few excerpts from my only work of fiction, Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communication at Work. The following few excerpts are from Chapter Four: Of Moose […]

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Moose on the Loose: Boeing Panic Over Quality and Safety

Yet another article on the leadership and culture mess at Boeing was recently published in The Guardian. The article reports, “Boeing’s largest factory is in ‘panic mode’…with managers accused of hounding staff to keep quiet over quality concerns. …one mechanic at the complex, who has worked for Boeing for more than three decades, has claimed […]

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How Leaders Make or Break Team Effectiveness

  Authoritarian leadership seems to be resurging. The Oxford Review Encyclopedia of Terms gives this definition; “Authoritarian leadership refers to any situation where a leader keeps hold of as much power and authority as possible. Also known as coercive or dictatorial leadership, authoritarian leaders, tend to keep all the decision-making authority to themselves and make […]

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Making Teams Work: What’s Your Type and Decision Vision?

In Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reports on a study by the Center for Creative Leadership of top American and European leaders whose careers derailed, “the inability to build and lead a team was one of the most common reasons for failure.” He goes on to quote a highly successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist, […]

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Avoid Being Swamped by the Quitting Tsunami

The Hays Canada 2024 Salary & Hiring Trends report warns, “Quiet quitting was the dominant theme in 2023, defined as ‘putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than necessary.’ This trend is evident in labor productivity, which has declined nationally in six consecutive quarters. But this quiet quitting trend could be about to turn […]

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Training and Development: Top Ten Lessons Learned

I was recently invited to be a guest on a podcast concerning training techniques. That got me reflecting on decades of my journey in this field. Waayyy back in the early days of my career, I was a young door-to-door sales rep and then sales manager with Culligan Water Conditioning. I took Dale Carnegie sales, […]

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Only Learning Leaders Can Transform the Extreme Rate of Transformation Failures

As Yogi Berra would say, “It was Deja vu all over again.” Five years earlier, we’d conducted introductory service/quality improvement workshops for senior management and head office staff of a large company. Culture and feedback surveys gathered input before and during these follow-up workshops. The company clearly had problems with low engagement, faltering customer service, […]

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Untangling the Accountability, Systems, and Process Management Knot

Accountability is a mess in many organizations. Often good performers are put into bad processes within systems that subvert rather than support them. “The 85/15 Rule” emerged from decades of root cause analysis of service/quality breakdowns. This showed that roughly 85% of the time the failure is caused by the system, processes, structure, or practices […]

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Lip Sync: Does Your Video Match Your Audio?

Doesn’t it drive you nuts to watch a video where the lips don’t quite match the audio track? According to Vocabulary.com, “The verb sync, an abbreviation for “synchronize,” appeared in 1929 to describe the matching of sound and picture in the new ‘talkies.'” Some managers are badly out of sync. For example, a manager once […]

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Why Most Change Programs and Improvement Initiatives Fail

  I’ve just completed a two-day retreat with a fast-growing leadership team. They scored themselves at the lowest levels we’ve seen on our Team Dynamics Survey. Rarely do we see a leadership team as dysfunctional as this one. Their unique products and growing revenues were papering over many huge cracks and barely holding them together. […]

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Why Teams Often Don’t Work and How to Build Them

  A scout leader was trying to lift a fallen tree from the path. His pack gathered around to watch him struggle. “Are you using all your strength?” one of the scouts asked. “Yes!” was the exhausted and exasperated response. “No. You are not using all your strength,” the scout replied. “You haven’t asked us […]

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Win/Win: Workplace Well-Being Boosts Company-Well Being

  How would you score yourself on these questions: I am happy at work most of the time. My work has a clear sense of purpose. Overall, I am completely satisfied with my job. I feel stressed at work most of the time. How would people on your team or organization answer these questions? These […]

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Return to Office Mandates: Destroy Trust, Engagement, and Performance

  Decades of psychology experiments show strong links between our sense of control, well-being, and satisfaction. In a classic study by David Glass and Jerome Singer, people were subjected to loud bursts of random noise while they were given difficult puzzles to solve. One group was told they could press a button to shut off […]

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Realigning Systems to Serve and Support High Performance

  One of the root causes of our accountability mess is looking for who, not what went wrong. This leads to a search for the guilty as the cause of breakdowns in customer service, quality, communication, teamwork, and the like. It becomes a hunt to fix the blame more than fixing the problem. But those […]

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Are These Systems Serving or Subverting Organization Results?

As I wrote about the accountability mess, a good person in a bad system or process sets that them up for failure — and blame. “The 85/15 Rule” emerged from decades of root cause analysis of service/quality breakdowns. About 85% of the time the fault is caused by the system, processes, structure, or practices of […]

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What Accounts for the Accountability Mess?

  Accountability is highly subjective. Its meaning depends on whether we’re at the giving or receiving end. Many of us have been lashed with the accountability whip wielded by a blundering manager playing “gotcha games.” Often, accountability is a search for who to punish. The Blame Game and finger-pointing turns problem-solving and performance issues into […]

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Leading Question: Are You a Barrier Buster?

  I was interviewing a leadership team member to prepare for an offsite planning retreat. I asked about the biggest challenges facing their team. She wearily said it was their unfocused frantic pace of activity.  “We have lots of projects, goals, and priorities. We’re constantly making lists and setting action plans. But we seldom see […]

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Don’t Be an Ass in a Lyin’ Skin

  An Ass found a Lion’s skin left in the forest by a hunter. He dressed himself in it, and amused himself by hiding in a thicket and rushing out suddenly at the animals who passed that way. All took to their heels the moment they saw him.  The Ass was so pleased to see […]

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Love Radiates From the Depths of Our Spirit and Meaning

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on the power of love and purpose. As mentioned in my top ten life lessons, I’ve written book chapters and about 200 blogs and articles about love. One of those, posted exactly 12 years ago on Valentine’s Day, was Love is at the Heart of Strong Leadership. Highly […]

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Working in our Dash: What’s the Meaning of It?

  “The Dash” is a poem written by Linda Ellis. In 1996, an announcer read her poem aloud on a syndicated radio show. This sparked a tsunami of response to Linda on how the poem touched their lives. The continuous outpouring of gratitude and stories inspired by the poem led Linda to eventually publish her […]

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