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Good Leaders Know You Can’t Fight Reality

The ability to accept reality is one of the most useful, and most misunderstood, skills for a leader. It’s a concept that has been around for centuries in philosophy and more recently in psychology, and properly applied can help drive change. As Carl Jung wrote, “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does

4 Ways to Spark Creativity When You’re Feeling Stressed

The Covid-19 pandemic has wrought massive disruption throughout society, leading to loss of life, health, jobs, childcare, industries, stability, and peace of mind as we knew it. It marks the first time in a century that everyone on the planet has simultaneously gone through the same unplanned, stressful transition. Despite experiencing such large-scale uncertainty, we

Create KPIs That Reflect Your Strategic Priorities

“What do you think of our scorecard?” asked Phil (not his real name), the CEO of the main roads department of a large Australian state. Phil had emailed me his organization’s scorecard of 29 key performance indicators (KPIs) to review ahead of a workshop I was to run for them. Unfortunately, I could see that,

How to Retain and Engage Your B Players

We’ve heard for decades that we should only hire A players, and should even try to cut non-A players from our teams. But not only do the criteria for being an A player vary significantly by company, it’s unrealistic to think you can work only with A players. Further, as demonstrated by Google’s Aristotle project,

Some Questions Benefit from Group Discussion. Others Don’t.

When you’ve got a difficult question to answer, do you consult multiple experts to get a sense of their individual views, or ask a group to deliberate together? Studies on the concept of collective intelligence suggests that when managed properly, asking a group can lead to more accurate estimates than simply averaging the recommendations of

Learning Is a Learned Behavior. Here’s How to Get Better at It.

Many people mistakenly believe that the ability to learn is a matter of intelligence. For them, learning is an immutable trait like eye color, simply luck of the genetic draw. People are born learners, or they’re not, the thinking goes. So why bother getting better at it? And that’s why many people tend to approach

4 Things to Do Before a Tough Conversation

I was in denial for about a year and a half before I admitted that I needed to fire Randy. His work performance had made the conclusion inescapable for years, but he was so darned nice and likeable that I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Not only did I like him, I also

Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate

Culture is like the wind. It is invisible, yet its effect can be seen and felt. When it is blowing in your direction, it makes for smooth sailing. When it is blowing against you, everything is more difficult. For organizations seeking to become more adaptive and innovative, culture change is often the most challenging part

How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

We know from research (and common sense) that people who understand and manage their own and others’ emotions make better leaders. They are able to deal with stress, overcome obstacles, and inspire others to work toward collective goals. They manage conflict with less fallout and build stronger teams. And they are generally happier at work,

The Hazards of a “Nice” Company Culture

Have you ever attended a meeting that wasn’t the meeting? Everyone was pleasant and agreeable in the room, but then filed off to engage in back-channel conversations and hold kangaroo courts. This kind of charade is one of the many symptoms of a “nice” culture. But what’s touted as niceness is often nothing more than