Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Will This Be The Year Leaders Put Employees First?


As we approach the end of the first month of this new year, many of us are now well under way in implementing our plans and strategies to achieve the goals we’ve mapped out for the next 11 months. In terms of what leaders view as their top goals to achieve this year, a new study reveals some interesting opportunities, and with it, some key obstacles leaders will need to address if they are to help their organization move forward.

In the CEO Challenge 2014 study carried out by The Conference Board, CEOs and presidents from over 1 000 organizations around the world were asked to identify what they saw as the top challenges for their organization. While it wasn’t surprising to see innovation and customer relationships being included in the top 5 challenges, the study’s most revealing finding is how the top challenge for leaders worldwide was Human Capital – namely, how to engage, retain, manage and develop their employees.

In other words, leaders in every region of the world recognize that their employees are the defining factor both for their organization’s ability to achieve their goals this year, and as well as for their overall long-term success. As Rebecca Ray, Senior Vice President, Human Capital at The Conference Board, and co-author of this study points out:

“This emphasis on people-related issues makes perfect sense in a still-uncertain economy. Building a culture that supports engagement, employee training, leadership development, and high performance is something companies can control, and can mean the difference between growing market share and simply surviving in 2014. Moreover, if the focus of individual companies is sustained, Human Capital may well be the engine that revives economic growth.”

This is certainly encouraging news, as it reflects a growing shift from the survivalist/just treading water mindset to one that seeks opportunities for development and growth. However, we do have to be mindful of Click here to continue reading »”Will This Be The Year Leaders Put Employees First?”

One Important Leadership Lesson To Take Into Next Year

important leadership lesson moving forward

Earlier this month, I gave my last talk for this year – one which examined the role charisma plays in effective leadership. After sharing research findings from the fields of neuroscience and psychology, as well as examining the common characteristics charismatic leaders share, attendees were able to appreciate that being charismatic is not about charm and how others perceive us.

Rather, it’s about how we make those around us feel – about themselves, about their capabilities and the value of what they can contribute to our shared purpose.

Recently, we all got to reflect and appreciate this reality as we looked back on the life of Nelson Mandela and how he chose to lead his life in a way that transformed his country from one that divided people based on the colour of their skin, to a nation that celebrated together his life and the vision he put forth for them to make as their own.

Although we might remember him through his various quotes and speeches, the real leadership lesson to be gleaned from his life is how he empowered those around him to not only envision a better future for all South Africans, but how he encouraged their willingness to embrace the great expectations he placed on each of them to not only do better, but to be better versions of themselves.

And Mandela was able to encourage the best in those around him because he exemplified in his actions and words his confidence that – while a daunting and at times difficult goal – it was one that his followers could nonetheless achieve if they rallied together around a shared purpose; of embracing their commonality and sense of belonging, and using that as the lens through which they understood and appreciated their collective efforts.

I wanted to highlight his message and my talk here in one of my last pieces for this year because Click here to continue reading »”One Important Leadership Lesson To Take Into Next Year”

Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #11 – Liz Wiseman On How Leaders Grow Intelligence

Leadership Biz Cafe - Liz Wiseman

Why is it that some leaders are able to stretch and build the intelligence, creativity and motivation of their employees, while other leaders seem only to disengage and drain the collective talent found within their teams? That’s the basis of my conversation with leadership researcher and best-selling author Liz Wiseman.

Liz is the president of The Wiseman Group, a research and development firm that conducts research in the field of leadership and collective intelligence. Some of her clients include Nike, Apple, PayPal, Genentech, Dubai Bank, Salesforce.com, and Twitter. Prior to founding her research firm, Liz worked for 17 years at Oracle as the Vice President of Oracle University and the global leaders for Human Resource Development.

In addition to writing for the Harvard Business Review, Liz co-wrote the Wall Street Journal bestseller, “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter”, which features some of the research she’s done looking at leadership and collective intelligence.

Over the course of our conversation, Liz shares a number of stories and research findings that help to illustrate:

  • What’s the “dirty little secret of the corporate world” that we don’t talk about and how it’s impacting employee engagement.
  • How “multiplier” leaders stretch and grow talent to increase team productivity, instead of relying on attaining more resources to achieve goals.
  • Why leaders need to go “public” with their mistakes to engender team success and building community.
  • How encouraging debate can improve both decision-making and employee engagement.
  • What “multiplier” leaders do that motivates their employees to do their best work.
  • What the research findings into “multiplier” leaders reveals about opportunities to improve our education system in order to create leaders and employees that organizations will need in the years ahead.

Click here to continue reading »”Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #11 – Liz Wiseman On How Leaders Grow Intelligence”

What Have You Learned Going Forward?

Leadership end of year reflection advice

With only a few days left to this year, it’s natural that many of us are now breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve seen through the completion of another year at work. And if you’re one of the fortunate ones in today’s tough business climate, you’re probably also feeling that sense of relief that comes from achieving the goals we set out for ourselves, our team and our organization 11 months ago.

While many of us use the last week of December to rest and recuperate, it’s important that we not overlook the opportunity this time presents for reflection and review.

Indeed, whether this year was full of successes or losses, there is much that we can gain from the exercise of assessing not just what went right/wrong and why, but whether our efforts, culture, and beliefs remain aligned with our organization’s shared purpose.

To help with this process, I’d like to provide you with a series of questions to help you assess what lessons and insights you’ve learned over the past 12 months as you guided your organization towards your shared goals.  For those who’d like to examine some of the questions in further detail, I’m also providing a link to a piece I wrote this year that reveals something about each question and what you can do to help your employees to achieve their shared goals. Click here to continue reading »”What Have You Learned Going Forward?”

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