7 Tips for a More Highly Engaged Team

A kegerator? Friday lunches paid for by the company? Open workspaces where even the CEO doesn’t have an office? It sounds like a page right out of Silicon Valley. You won’t find this company in California, though: they are right here in Denver, CO. I knew there was something special about this company when I met a handful of the employees at a networking event. They all seemed to have a passion for life. They didn’t seem like many others at a networking event: the ones compartmentalizing home and life (which doesn’t work); and the overly professional or agenda-pushing. Everyone from the company was high-energy and fun to be around.  Continue reading

The E-Mail That Brought down a Company

How much thought do you give to everyday actions? When you write an e-mail, how much consideration do you put into who is in the “To” and “CC” fields? When you include attachments, how often do you double-check the size before sending to ensure it won’t overload a user with a restricted mailbox size? And when you “Reply to all,” how much time do you spend perusing the included recipients before sending? Hopefully, after reading this, you will spend a little more time. Continue reading

Why You Can’t Leave Your Personal Life at Home

How successful are you at leaving work at work and your personal life at home? My guess is that even if you are good at this, you can’t separate the two 100%. It is a well-intentioned concept: give your employer 100% focus by not bringing your personal problems to work, and give your family 100% by not thinking about work 24/7. Being fully present where you are is important to success; however, it’s time to realize we are not compartmentalized beings. We cannot turn off the emotion app and turn on the driven-to-succeed app with the push of a button, nor should we want to. So what options do you have? Continue reading

Why Hating Your Job Is Killing You

Have you come to believe that your job is something you tolerate to fund the rest of your life? Have you resigned yourself to the hopeless perspective that work can never be fun? If so, you are internally dying every day. To live that many hours out of your week in a state of hopelessness slowly infects the rest of your life like a disease. Disney’s The Incredibles vividly shows this reality.  Continue reading

Bossiness Is Not Leadership

Bossiness is not synonymous with leadership, despite what the recent movement claims. The difference? It’s all about the approach. I was a bossy child. In fact, I was so bossy that at four I was in charge of my single-parent family. I told my mom what to do and held her hostage to my whims. I bossed my friends around to the point I didn’t really have any. If my friends didn’t do it my way, I had a bad attitude or didn’t participate at all. That’s not leadership.

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4 Reasons It’s Time to Hire a Consultant

“Bring in the consultants.” If you heard that at your company, how would it resonate with you? Have you had good experience with consultants, or were they poor experiences? Do you use consultants as workforce augmentation or to help you solve complex problems? There are some pretty smart people out there willing to handle your biggest challenges, and here are some thoughts about when to bring an expert consultant in:  Continue reading

Why You Should Stop Faking It until You Make It

Or at least you should stop thinking of it that way. Many people recoil at the premise of faking it until you make it. It seems, well, fake. Inauthentic. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. It’s semantics. Someone decided they liked the mnemonic device of rhyming and came up with “fake it until you make it.” What it really should say is, “practice until you make it.” That’s all it is, practice. We do this all the time in the arts, sports, etc., so why can’t it extend to the rest of our lives?  Continue reading

4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring

Technical skills can be taught, character cannot. Hire character. Technical skills are easy to define and measure. You can quantify someone’s expertise on software. You can give a test to measure knowledge. You either have a degree, or you don’t. When hiring we focus on these measurable aspects of a person’s resumé, but these aren’t important, at least not as much as character. You can teach someone software. You can send them to a class to close some gap in technical skills. It’s much more difficult to send someone to a class to teach them to inspire, collaborate, or be visionary. When you hire, focus on the character skills that are non-negotiable. Continue reading

You Think You Are in Control?

“Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” You may have heard this famous statement by Chuck Swindoll. The more life I get under my belt, the more I believe this is true. Crap happens every day, but how it impacts us is directly related to our perspective and our attitude.

What are you doing to make the most of bad circumstances? I had a tough week the other week. As I was driving to a meeting, my car broke down on the side of the road. It was the most inopportune time! I tried to start it and quickly realized I wasn’t going anywhere in my car. After letting the other person know I would no longer be making our meeting, and after arranging the tow truck, I had an hour to kill. I could have spent it sulking about how I couldn’t afford a broken car, how I was missing a critical meeting, or how life sucks, but instead my first thought was, “Well, now I have time to practice my presentation!” For the next hour, on the side of the road, that’s what I did. There isn’t anything you can do about the past. Once something happens to you, all you can do is choose how you are going to respond to it. Always try to make the most of what happens to you and you will find, in the end, it was probably a valuable experience. Continue reading

If You Escalate, You Fail

“If you have to escalate, you’ve already failed.” Those were the words a vice president of a Fortune 500 company told me during our interview. We were discussing the power of influence, especially when working with international teams. He was advising me that if you have to go over someone’s head to get what you need, then your leadership isn’t effective. Perhaps there are times when you have to resort to escalation, but 90% of the time it’s not necessary.

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