Organizational Gardners

Being a team-building enthusiast and agile blabber-mouth allows me to participate from everything from executive meetings to dev. team ping pong tournaments and believe me when I say, I’ve had more fun in meetings than I have playing ping pong. I’ve been in meetings where everyone feeds off one another and we’re able to build, optimize, or plan something amazing. I’ve been in meetings I’ve looked forwards to and left feeling refreshed to go do more! Why won’t I forget those meetings? Because those teams were high-performing, self-organizing, powerhouses with leaders that gave them direction and guardrails. Some of the most engaging leaders and most amazing teams I’ve ever worked with were waterfall folks through and through. Continue reading

My Journey from I QUIT To I DO: The Path to Achieving my Full Potential

Walking into my boss’ office to tell him I was quitting was one of the hardest moments in my career. I was in tears. I loved my job. My boss was wonderful. My team was fun. The company was a great company to work for. But it was time to leave. At university I took the Myers Briggs test. I remember sitting in class, reading about the best careers for an ENTJ. There was one that stood out to me: CEO. That’s what I wanted. Over time I forgot though, distracted by different career options. In my MBA I took a project management course and discovered an entire career field just for me. I poured everything into project management. I began volunteering at the Project Management Institute, worked on finding a project management job, and in general lived and breathed project management. Life as a project manager was great, but there was still something missing. Continue reading

How much does a Change Manager and Salesperson have in Common?

“Change management” and “sales strategies” are phrases not often used in the same sentence. They belong to two different professional worlds and it is doubtful that many change management consultants see sales techniques as important to their work. Interestingly though, when looking deeper into the concepts behind successful sales strategies, there are several important lessons that directly relate to an effective change management strategy. The following are four sales concepts that should be added to any change management consultant’s tool kit to improve their effectiveness with their clients: Continue reading

3 Toxic People in the Workplace and How to Manage Them

Toxic people in the workplace are nightmares! They thrive on making your life miserable. Often their behavior is driven from pride and somehow it makes them feel good to treat you poorly. Likely you have seen all these people at some point in your career. Here are a few tips with how to deal with them:

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4 Ways Employees Should Be More Like Consultants

“I can’t tell my boss what I really think. I’d probably get fired.” I hear this lament too often from employees with legitimate concerns carrying potential impacts to the organization’s success. Personally, that thought hasn’t crossed my mind. If it needs to be said, I tend to say it (maybe a little too often). This situation made me realize there are ways that employees should act more like consultants and therefore experience the freedom that comes with it.

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Go Ahead, Have the Meeting, If…

“I can’t have you tying my team up in daily meetings.”

“Why do you need that meeting; we already have another meeting with the same people.”

I can’t tell you how frequently I get questioned on the number of meetings I hold. Inevitably, though, at the end of the project phase, most people agree with my meeting strategy. Meetings are a part of life. Get over it. Don’t be a meeting avoider, and even worse, if you are creating an environment where people are afraid to have meetings, have you thought about the unintended consequences?  Continue reading

It Is All About You, and Here’s Why

I’ve always been curious about people who go on journeys to find themselves. I imagine someone going to a far-off land, being isolated from everything that was once familiar, and connecting with a spiritual side, just like a page out of Eat, Pray, Love. I realized two things: “finding” yourself is important; and you don’t have to travel to do it (although your self-discoveries may be more intense if you do; since I haven’t done it, I wouldn’t know). Here is what “finding” yourself (or self-discovery) does: Continue reading

3 HR Practices That Kill High-Performance Teams

It’s all about the money. While the number one reason people leave companies is not money, a lot of dissatisfaction stems from money and the performance review process. It’s not about the dollar amount, though. It’s about not getting equitable rewards for equitable work. I’m not sure about your experiences, but my experience during annual review time was never pleasant. A general tension permeates the office as people wonder where they will fall in the performance rankings. Rumors about force-ranking employees and how the bonuses will be distributed prevail. And then once the reviews are delivered, commence walking on eggshells as people dance around the subject of whether they felt their ratings were fair. The impact of this is highest for top performers and high performing teams. Here are some human resource practices that contribute to disengagement of high performers: Continue reading