Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Winners Are Born In Difficult Times

Creating winning conditions for leadership development

The following is a guest post by Therese S. Kinal.

At best, leadership development is a fun day out, at worst it is a gut wrenching, annoying exercise that leaves you cringing as someone teaches you to suck eggs. In neither case does it make you into a leader. Harsh? Perhaps, but that’s how most managers and executives I work with see it…. and in the majority of cases, I agree.

In today’s environment, employees have to deal with complexity and ambiguity at a much higher rate than before. Functions and clear roles and responsibilities have been replaced with multiple bosses, cross-functional teams, working with partners all over the world and a general sense of never quite standing still. In this brave new world, the only constant is change. And it is managers’ ability to innovate, collaborate and adapt to a constantly changing environment that are the leadership skills we most need to develop.

Despite the billions invested in leadership development every year, the vast majority of programs fail to deliver their intended results. In the US alone, US$ 156 billion is invested in learning and development every year, or US$ 1,182 per employee (1). And even though classroom training (live and virtual) is perceived to be the least effective(2), over 50% of organizations report using it(3).

In this tough economic climate and rapidly changing business environment, it’s not enough to Click here to continue reading »”Winners Are Born In Difficult Times”

Fostering A Sense Of Community To Promote Organizational Success

Sense of community fuels organizational success

With the impending arrival of Halloween, many of us are naturally preparing for our neighbourhoods to be overtaken by ghosts, goblins, superheroes and wizards. Although this yearly event tends to be associated with decorating pumpkins and handing out candy, Halloween also provides us with some unique insights on the importance and value of fostering a sense of community in our organization.

As our neighbours, family, and friends can attest, Halloween is a pretty big event in our household. Every year, we transform the front of our house into this magical place for Halloween – the picture above offers a glimpse of what the neighbourhood children have in store when they visit our home.

Being a parent, it comes as no surprise that one reason why I go through all this effort is because I love kids. But there’s another reason behind this drive to create a unique and memorable display for the children and families in our neighbourhood.

While most of us are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, researchers have found that we are also driven by three core psychological needs, one of them being relatedness. Studies has shown – and our collective human history repeatedly reminds us – that we are all driven to attain a sense of community; of feeling a connection and sense of belonging with those around us.

We’re compelled at an innate level to reach out and bond with those we relate to and who we share a common interest or experience with, a key driving force behind the popularity and growth of today’s social media networks.

This also explains why Click here to continue reading »”Fostering A Sense Of Community To Promote Organizational Success”

What Leaders Need To Do To Create A Thriving Organization

Leadership thriving organization

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the 28th Annual Material Handling and Logistics Conference (MHLC) alongside thought leaders Patrick Lencioni and Guy Kawasaki, as well as The Container Store’s VP of Logistics and Distribution, Amy Carovillano (not to mention live performances by Jay Leno and REO Speedwagon).

Although each of these speakers addressed a different aspect of leadership and organizational growth in their talks, it was interesting to note the commonalities in the experiences they shared and some of the points I discussed in my presentation on what organizations require from today’s leadership to help them navigate the current global business environment.

To help give you an idea of some of the insights shared at this conference, here are three of my favourite quotes from these thought leaders, and how they reflected some of the actionable steps I discussed in my talk on what leaders need to implement in order to ensure their organization can succeed and thrive in today’s increasingly competitive global market.

1. “Make a culture that makes you smarter about the decisions you make.” – Patrick Lencioni
One of the speakers I was looking forward to hearing from at this conference was Patrick Lencioni, given how I used a quote from him to reinforce one of the concepts I discussed in my talk.

In describing the ideas and insights he writes about in his latest book “The Advantage” (which Patrick generously gave me a copy of and signed for me after I asked him a question about his talk), Patrick pointed out how fostering trust and respect in our organization’s culture allows us to better manage conflict, as our focus shifts away from Click here to continue reading »”What Leaders Need To Do To Create A Thriving Organization”

What Does It Take To Be A Connected Leader?

Attributes of a connected leader

The following is a guest piece by Dan Pontefract.

The Italian town of Pisa is an interesting place full of contrasts. The tower, of course, has been leaning amongst a sea of straight buildings in the Piazza del Duomo that includes tall Tuscan evergreens as well as columns that have adorned the Duomo, Baptistery and Campo Santo for several hundred years.

Fine art in the various buildings is starkly opposed a gaggle of immigrants trying to make a buck by hocking souvenir trinkets of miniature ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ replicas, Holy rosaries, fake leather bags and sunglasses. It really is beauty and the beast.

Tourists themselves parade mightily with cameras in hand amongst the old Romanesque walls gazing at this architectural wonderment whereas local Italians look on rather ambivalently to the surroundings, barely noticing the beatific stone marvels nestled amongst them.

It’s this recognition of contrast in Pisa where we must take pause and articulate a set of leadership attributes that embody contrast. I suggest there are fifteen Connected Leader Attributes necessary to invoke ‘Flat Army’ across a team and organization; where there is rigidity there must be flexibility and where there is give there must be take. Where there is the need to drive business there is the need to understand and work with people.

The Connected Leader in the Flat Army model can be thought of as Click here to continue reading »”What Does It Take To Be A Connected Leader?”

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