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

5 Reasons to Quit a Job You Love

I felt like I was on the top of my game: I had a great boss, loved my team, was getting high profile projects and visibility with senior leadership. So I did what any sensible person would do: I quit. That’s what you would do, right? After I put in my notice, I started doubting myself and asking myself if I was crazy. Who leaves a job they love, especially in a society of people who don’t like their jobs? I do. And perhaps you should to. So when do you leave a job you love? Here are a few thoughts: Continue reading

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Share Your BHAGs

Since my junior year in college, I wanted to be a CEO. I was ecstatic when my Myers-Briggs test said that it was a job that would suit my profile (I was an ENTJ). “See?” I thought. “It’s destiny!” I didn’t want the job for the title. I wanted everything the job promised: having big ideas and making them happen; responsibility; being able to influence the course of an organization; building a strategy; and most importantly, being in charge. I wanted all the things a 19-year-old knows about being a CEO. While I have matured, I actually still want to lead a large company.  Continue reading

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

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 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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Is Achieving Your Goals like a Game of Tug-of-War?

As a business owner or a department head, do you have a strategy for your team? How successful are you at achieving your strategy year over year? What if I said you would be more successful if you did less?

One of the greatest pitfalls I see companies fall into when executing their strategic plan is trying to do too much at once. After going through a strategic brainstorming session, there are so many great ideas on the table. A five-year vision is developed, then the two-year strategic objectives, and finally the tactical initiatives they wish to accomplish that year. Once nicely laid out on a board or in a three-ring binder with page protectors and full-color pages, leaders begin assigning team members to champion each of the tactical initiatives. After receiving their assignments, everyone goes their own separate ways until next year. Continue reading