Category Archives: Need to Know

Leadership Caffeine—In Challenging Times, Keep Fear and Failure Outside Looking In

Every organization and every team runs into challenging spots. Life and business don’t always work as planned. “Man plans and God laughs,” as my former CEO would recite. It’s the rough patches that teach you and require you to cultivate your leadership character, and part of this is keeping fear at bay and the specter of failure out of mind and out of the vocabulary of your team. Here are 6 ideas to help you fight off organizational fear and keep your team on track when the going gets rough:


Art of Managing—The Pursuit of Excellence is a Choice

Too few managers and management teams talk about what it means to promote a culture of business performance excellence in and across their organizations. Even fewer work on it.


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1,000 Blog Posts and the Lessons Learned without the Cheering Crowds or Champagne

Imagine my surprise a few months ago when I noticed the blog counter here at Management Excellence ticking closer to the number 1,000. Here are at least 8 lessons I’ve learned while writing 1,000 blog posts on management and leadership:


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Art of Managing—Don’t Set Artificial Limits on Employee Involvement

A firm’s senior leaders and managers are supposed to feel the weight of responsibility for the health of their organization. It comes with the job. However, no one suggested they bear the weight of the worries or the burden of finding the solutions in silence and without ample support from the broader employee population. Here are 6 ideas to help you jump-start improved employee involvement in strengthening your business:


Leadership Caffeine—The Struggles Really Do Make Us Stronger

The world of leadership development lost a giant at the end of July this past summer, when Warren Bennis passed away. In tribute, I’m including his classic article, “Crucibles of Leadership” (HBR, fee required) with Robert Thomas in one of my leadership courses this year. Revisiting this article is always inspirational both for myself and for the students who share their own crucible experiences including: personal loss, business and career struggles, and being on the receiving end of discrimination, sexism and racism. A few years ago in a hiring role, I encountered two very compelling candidates. The one who had navigated her own very significant challenges got the job, in spite of her underdog position on paper. Here’s why:


Art of Managing—It’s Your Job to Bring Your Firm’s Values to Life

I’ve long been a student of the values that organizations espouse. They are after all an attempt to encapsulate the accepted and aspirational behaviors of the firm’s employees and officers. And while words on the wall or in the placard are typically interesting, noble and even somewhat predictable, what’s truly fascinating is to compare and contrast the behaviors of people in an organization to the values statements hanging on the wall. Sadly, in too many organizations, the values statements are corporate furniture. Here are some thoughts on how you can help bring your firm’s values to life and strengthen performance in the process:


It’s Your Career—When the Words, “Enjoy the Journey” Suddenly Make Sense

Almost all of us have heard some variation of Remember to Enjoy the Journey at some point in our lives. Whether it was our parents or grandparents offering hard won advice to our younger selves or, an experienced manager sharing perspective on a tumultuous period at work, these words likely bounced around and then exited our brains at the time, with little thought to their truth and significance. Here are 5 ideas to help you keep the days and challenges of your career in perspective: