Blog Archives

What Makes Someone a Great Manager?

(Originally posted at under What makes someone a great manager?) The truly great manager or supervisor — someone I call a “Best Boss” — will achieve two simultaneous goals: They will make you feel emotionally safe. They will push you to

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Constructing Better Customer Experiences via Story

The other day, a service business attempted to give me free money. Halfway through the process, I decided I didn’t trust them. They lost me as a customer, probably forever. Here is an analysis of what went wrong, and how

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Mandatory Corporate Fun

I was asked, “Some employees resent ‘forced fun’ outings. Is there a better way to help team members connect? What are some examples of innovative ideas for teams to connect?” If you really want your team members to connect, there

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On Lying to the Boss

I was recently asked, how much do people lie to their bosses, and what can be done about it? I covered some of this in “Why the Boss is Always Wrong.” I’m a coach to CEOs, and the CEO of

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Write a Perfect Thank-You Note, Again

One of my most popular articles is “Three Steps to Writing a Perfect Thank You Note“. If you already write thank-you notes regularly, it’s a great reminder of the basics. For the rest of us who don’t, it provides a

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Build Trust by Setting Expectations

If you’re normal, the biggest opportunity your team faces is trusting each other even more. Until they can say anything to each other, and everybody can listen open-mindedly and never ever take offense – until you build your team up

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Pernsteiner’s Folly

For two and a half years, the University of Oregon had an unusually high performing president. Under his leadership. the previously sleepy and mediocre school came alive. Donations began to flow in faster. Decisions got made quickly. Things started to

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Absolute Honesty – with Bob Phillips – Nov 21,2011

Absolute honesty is more than a good idea or even a great goal — its the only way to achieve the highest levels of organizational effectiveness. Former Intel HR honcho Bob Phillips shares his Six Steps for creating Absolute Honesty in the workplace.L…

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Build Trust with Job Descriptions

We need more trust in the workplace.

According to data collected by Stephen M R Covey, high trust teams and companies out-perform their low trust competitors by 4 to 1. High trust, in addition to being more profitable, is also less stressful and more fun. Here’s one thing you can do immediately to start raising trust levels in your own immediate circle at work — with the humble job description.

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Fear, Openness and the “I Can Fire You” Effect

Fear is the biggest drag on productivity in most companies.  Even a tiny amount can stifle communication and slow down work.  Most often it’s the boss’ fault.  And most bosses are in denial about it. In coaching a newer C-level

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Best Practices for Meetings – 5 Structural Elements

Most meetings suck. Yours can suck way less. Here are 5 structural elements that will make your meetings fast, fascinating, and effective — and how to implement each one.

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How CIOs can Earn Greater Trust from the Executive Team

[Update: this article also appears on the Oregon Business Magazine website.]Preparing for my recent speech to the Portland chapter of the Society for Information Management, I discovered that their burning question was this: how can CIOs (the bulk of …

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On Being Blunt and Loving

The most absurd reason we offer for not being candid, blunt, or “honest” is because we want to spare the other person’s feelings. No, we shy away from candor because we are afraid for ourselves. We say “If I tell him the truth in a candid way, he will…

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Virtual Teams with Claire Sookman and Tom Schulte

How can you create more effective virtual teams?  I asked Claire Sookman of Virtual Team Builders, who has been studying and teaching virtual teams for ten years, and Tom Schulte of Recalibrate Professional Development, and the creator o…

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Conflict Competence

How to be a leader who handles conflicts well, and how to build a team that embraces constructive conflict. I interviewed Tim Flanagan, Director of Custom Programs, and his co-author Craig Runde, both of the Leadership Development Institute at Eck…

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