Collaborative Leadership Blog

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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Executive Transition Planning

The executive workforce is aging out, with tens of thousands of baby boomers retiring from corporations over the next 5-10 years. Many, if not most of those executives will not have a transition plan as they depart, and will face a range of reactions and impacts, from uncertainty and loss to health, family/marriage, and other challenges as they try to redefine themselves. …

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Bridging the Authenticity Gap

“I never give a 5”, said the senior executive when evaluating one of his people on a 5 point scale. “No one is perfect.” All our lives, in school, athletics, or socially, we are poked, prodded, and pushed to be perfect by evaluation systems that merely show us we are not 5’s, “not good enough”. We are less than perfect, …

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Dancing With Change

Robots and androids. Artificial intelligence. Self-driving cars. Technological transformations every 18 months. Futurist Ray Kurweil tells us that the 21st Century will not experience 100 years of progress, but rather 20,000 years. All this and more is our future, the impacts of which are constant, disruptive, and even chaotic change. We’re not talking about mere ups and downs in the …

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The Silo Effect…and a Choice

In this IT company, business is conducted in silos based on functions and hierarchy. There is a high degree of competence in each silo, but when working across them, there are big gaps. People tend to “throw things over the wall”, hoping someone on the other side will pick them up. Usually they do, but not always. People in silos …

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Is Trust in Decline?

Distrust is the new normal. There has been a dramatic decline over at least the past 15 years in almost every sector of our society—distrust of the police, government, financial institutions, ethnic groups, and even each other. “Distrust” is the headline every night on the news. In the business world, distrust is a daily affair as well, with fear being …

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