Category: Articles

Articles for general consumption by the main audience of the blog, CEOs and business leaders

Books for Managing and Resolving Conflict at Work

A friend asks, “Hi Tom. What are your top favorite books or articles on conflict resolution at work?” As a leader, it’s your job to ensure conflict at work is constructive, not destructive. Conflict at work is good, when it’s conflict

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Lean Leadership – Leading Lean Change

Making a workplace Lean is really about educating and empowering the workers. It’s strange to me that everyone wants to show before-and-after pictures of the workplace. It can look dramatic, but it’s secondary. This isn’t the real work of Lean

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Whether, When, and How to Push a Team

Great bosses know how to build, and how to push a team. Demanding excellence will mean pushing people. How exactly do you push someone? How do you know the right time, and the right way? Here’s what you need to

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Leading and Managing

We lead change, and manage complexity. Leading and managing, then, are complementary activities. Change involves fear. Leaders help us deal with fear. LeadingManaging DirectionCreate a Vision; Craft a StrategyBudgeting; PlanningRiskChoose which risks to takeMitigate and manage risksClarityAligning PeopleOrganizing; StaffingDesireMotivating PeopleControlling

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How to Build an Evolved Organization

What does it mean to have an evolved organization? You have an evolved organization when you’re reaching a higher level of sophistication, structure, and purpose by building on the strengths of prior levels. Why do organizations struggle? Often, because we try

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Three Quick Steps to Inspire Your Team

How does a leader inspire a team? First, by sharing a vision that’s noble and worthy. It’s the promised land — anything from putting a man on the moon, to eradicating polio, to adopting a new product line for the

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How to Use Assumptive Goal Setting

Setting good goals is awesome — it can energize you and your team to achieve great things. One of the hardest parts of goal setting is overcoming your own, and your team’s, fears and internal limitations. One simple mental trick lets you

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What are the CEO’s Top Five Focus Areas?

I coach CEOs and business owners to consciously retain ownership of these five key areas: Shaping the Culture Recruiting, Leading and Managing the Senior Team Crafting and Owning the Strategy Overseeing the Budget Pursuing Self Improvement In addition, of course,

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What Should you Optimize? Define Good Work

One of the most common, and tragic, causes of poor work performance is that everybody assumes the definition of Good Work is obvious, so nobody ever seeks explicit agreement on what it is. When the boss doesn’t define Good Work, things

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When Business is Great, What Should I Be Doing?

A CEO asks, “I’ve got my business running smoothly. My managers handle all the work. I’m doing strategy and vision. What else should I be working on?” My answer: You’re looking for a new challenge, or a new level of

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How can I Be a Better Boss?

To be an exceptional boss, you have to create a target condition for your subordinates. Keep ’em Safe Make ’em Grow Keep ’em Safe When people feel emotionally safe while reporting to you as their boss, they will: Admit mistakes

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What Makes Someone a Great Manager?

(Originally posted at Quora.com 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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How to Get Testimonial Letters to Boost Your Sales

How to Comfortably Ask for and Get Testimonial Letters that will Boost Your Sales Client testimonials are an incredibly powerful sales tool, especially for selling professional services. The testimonial assures your prospective client that you’ve successfully delivered this service to

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7 Steps to Getting Management Metrics Right

As a manager, you must make your numbers — and manage to them. Pick the right metrics and you can really drive performance. What gets measured, gets done. Yet picking good metrics is hard — and risky. As Seth Godin points out, managing to

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How to Create Team Harmony with an Email Protocol

George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Tiny teams can work fine for years with purely informal communication — called “mutual adjustment.” This is shown when two friends wash dishes

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