Collaborative Leadership Blog

Optimism in a Time of Disruptive Change

It’s one thing to blithely say that “the only constant is change”. It’s quite another thing to be on the receiving end of it. Most of us have been. Whether an executive or a manager, organizational changes now regularly redefine our jobs, work relationships; we may even be laid off. It’s really tough to deal with in terms of finances, …

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Millennials & the Work Engagement Gap

According to Gallup, in 2014, 68.5% of all US workers are either not engaged or totally disengaged from their work. Only 31.5% are engaged. How can we compete in a global economy with numbers like these? Gallup defines “engaged employees as those who are involved in, (are) enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” (Gallup, “Majority of U.S. …

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Ethical Leadership in Uncertain Times

We live in uncertain times. There is fear, anxiety, division, chaos, and constant change. The people who work with us bring this fear and uncertainty into the workplace, hoping upon hope that there is some stability, and that they can find meaning in what they do. What port is there for our ship in this storm? I believe that in …

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7 Ways Leaders Can Inspire Their Workforce

In times of great change, even chaos, people look for hope and inspiration from leadership. This is hope and inspiration that reaches to their core, their sense of purpose, their reason for working. On September 11th, 2001, when New York, the country, and much of the world was thrown into deep uncertainty and fear, CEO Ken Chenault of American Express, …

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7 Principles of Ethical Leadership

We are living in an era of great distrust and even despair. Only 18% of the public trusts big business, which is second from the bottom of Gallup’s “Confidence in Institutions” survey in June, 2016. Only Congress has a worse rating at 6%. The military has the highest rating at 73%. What will it take to restore a high level …

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Needed: Leaders Who Inspire

We live in perilous times, where there is a critical need for inspired leadership. In the chaos of the markets, the global competitive challenges that most companies face, and the 24/7 work life that all employees face, we need a steady hand at the helm of their business, and at the first and second levels of leadership. This is more …

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The Blue Angels’ Principle of Accountability

“It’s the other guy’s fault.” How often do we hear people shift responsibility for something they have done to someone else? This is called transference. We have seen transference in spades in the BP oil spill, with each of the companies involved blaming the other for this ecological and human disaster. Transference seems to be an epidemic these days. People …

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Avoiding Cultural Meltdowns

The senior leadership of a major department of a very well-known company found itself in a quandary: half of the group, who had been at the company for at least 15 years, felt the culture was just fine. The newbies of 3 years or less, including the new leader, felt that the culture needed to change given negative feedback. Customers …

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People Want to Matter

Everyone on the workplace knows that the bottom line matters, and that without a healthy bottom line, jobs are at risk. Everyone also knows that customer satisfaction matters, since without it there is no healthy bottom line. And everyone knows that quality of products/services matters, because without it the customers won’t be satisfied. And more often than not, this is …

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Business-Smart, But People-Challenged

There is an up and coming leader in a global IT firm, named Ray, who is known as the smartest guy in the room. He has been a top performer for years, is well known for his executive briefings of customers, and his solid strategic sense. In fact, he’s so smart that whenever he goes into a meeting with colleagues, …

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Is It Possible to Rebuild Trust?

The situation had spiraled out of control. The trust had been broken between Jerry and Andrea. Everyone knew it, but it was only discussed behind closed doors. These two were seriously impacting the work of the senior leadership team. Their positions had hardened over time. The politics were ugly. People had taken sides. What would it take for them to …

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Celebrating Our Shared Humanity for Inspired Leadership

Alice Parker, choral director for the famed Robert Shaw Chorale is 91–and going strong. Alice recently shared some wisdom for us all, for our personal as well as professional lives. To paraphrase: “In our rational selves, we argue over differences and fears; in our intuitive selves, we focus on our shared humanity, on our shared experience”. I am sure I …

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Is the “Soft Stuff” Really Soft?

“We don’t have time for the soft stuff” was recently heard in a senior leadership meeting. “Let’s get back to the real work—our budget and strategy for next year.” This team had just been through a training workshop that focused on leadership styles, their impact on the workforce, and the need to shift their behaviors toward more openness and collaboration. …

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Breaking the Cultural Ceiling

Deloitte released a survey in 2014 (Generation Y in the Workplace, January 22) that had two key findings for senior leadership: 70% of Generation Y reject what traditional business and government have to offer—they are turning to the digital economy rather than climb the corporate ladder 78% are influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want …

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How to Be a Collaborative Leader for Innovation & Growth

The leadership that got businesses to where they are today will no longer suffice to sustain innovation and growth in the future. In a very volatile and uncertain market, where innovation and growth are essential to survival, leadership must become significantly more agile, flexible, adaptive, transparent, and engage the workforce to build ownership of the company’s vision, strategy, and every …

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Creating the “We” Organization

Years ago, NASA ran a series of experiments on the best way to make decisions. They used a series of survival scenarios, and asked individuals in a large group to solve the challenge and rate themselves. Then they asked small groups to solve the problems and rate their performance. About 98% of the time, the groups got better scores than …

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The Meaning of Trust

Lao Tzu once said of trust: “Those who are trustworthy he trusts; And those who are not trustworthy he also trusts. [In this way] he gets their trust.” We live in a time of great distrust, not only of civil, political and economic institutions, but also of each other, and even of our prospects for the future. We yearn for relationships and organizations …

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Creating a Shared Vision

I once recall a global executive team at a Fortune 100 company coming to headquarters for a 3 day retreat on their vision for the future. Unbeknownest to the 100 leaders who showed up, for the previous three months, a team of four people, handpicked by the CEO, had been holed up in a room creating the draft vision. It …

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The TAO of Collaborative Leadership

At one company, the turnover rate is 53%. This is an extraordinary cost for any business, with the actual cost being at least 4 times the salary of each individual leaving, with a multiplier effect when the number of people leaving is above 20%. We live in a different work world—the workforce is younger, the medium is digital, expectations are …

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Leading With Humility

One of the critical traits of a leader is humility—the ability to make oneself vulnerable to others, to not have an inflated sense of one’s own importance, and able to share of themselves from a place of understanding and empathy. They are not interested in bombast, public relations, or the trappings of the C-suite. They don’t have their own parking …

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