Good Leaders Draw Near

Good Leaders Draw Near

A while back, I asked a senior executive to meet with a group of relatively young, but eager rising leaders. He showed up in jeans, which did not match the company’s cultural norms, hoping to come across as approachable, despite his high ranking. He adjusted his style to draw near…and, in return, they felt comfortable to ask candid questions and share their ideas.

Good leaders draw near. But it's often hard, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, so we fight it. Are you missing out on the power of proximity?

What Millennials Want from Work - 4 Essentials

What Millennials Want from Work - 4 Essentials

Yesterday, I spent the day interviewing top talent for Boeing’s highly-competitive, early career business leadership rotation program (the Business Career Foundation Program). Candidates’ resumes were beyond impressive, packed with relevant internships, student leadership, community involvement, and academic excellence. More importantly, behind each resume, I saw solid work ethic, humility, inclusivity, and a hunger to make a difference.  This early career talent is equipped and eager to enter the workforce, ready to powerfully impact the way we do business. My concern is, are we equipped and ready for them?

Companies are scrambling, trying to figure out how to best attract and retain Millennials. I have managed recruitment strategies and development programs for new college hires off and on for many years, trying to figure out this strategy myself. Here’s what I’ve learned…

Dive In: Answers Are Below the Waterline

Dive In: Answers Are Below the Waterline

Things aren't always as they seem. We know this saying well; and yet, we continue to take things at face value. We trust our intuition and don't want to spend time digging deeper. So, instead, we assume that things are actually exactly as they seem and respond accordingly.

This happens in teams all the time. I recently partnered with a team who was facing some challenges. The group was comprised of talented, driven individuals who were all passionate about their work and appeared to genuinely care about each other. Seemed like a dream team; so why were they having trouble communicating and executing? 

The Key to Effective Partnerships

The Key to Effective Partnerships

So which is it - opposites attract or birds of a feather flock together? I think it depends.

My husband and I fall in the first camp and receive completely opposite results when taking any personality assessment. Our differences drive each other crazy, but also create this perfect blend and balance (for which so I'm grateful).

It seems that, in romantic relationships, we are often strategic enough to choose partners with different personalities and strengths, but in the workplace, we tend to gravitate toward working styles similar to our own. Go getters want to work with other fast-paced drivers. Analytical minds enjoy partnering with others who take time to assess the data before acting. Relationship builders prefer officemates who, like them, want to share more than just tasks and desk space. 

We are comfortable partnering with people like us. It's easier and even feels more productive. But is it?

Have Your Cake & Eat It Too

Have Your Cake & Eat It Too

Many companies today offer impressive (and creative) employee perks...free ski lift passes, beer on tap in the office, extra cash for vacations. I'm guessing each has quite a happy crew, but does happy = effective? Pretty sure you can be happy doing nothing. These perks create a fun and attractive culture, which is very important, but that doesn't guarantee performance.

On the flip-side, many other companies create cultures that demand performance. The pay is high, but in return, employees give their lives to their work. They spend more time at the office than at home and the local take-out joints know them by name. These companies get a lot out of their employees, but only for a short period of time as the work environment leads to high turnover (and less-than-glowing reputations, by the way).

So, do you have to pick between the two - have either happy or high-performing employees? Like 'they' always say, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Or can you?

Living by the Platinum Rule

Living by the Platinum Rule

Most of us are familiar with the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Great intent and often positive results, but what happens if the other person doesn't like to be treated the way you like to be treated? Well, then it loses a bit of it's golden glamour.

Instead, let's consider the Platinum Rule*: "Treat others the way they want to be treated". Everything shifts. Instead of assuming others want the same things we want (which is our natural inclination), let's first seek to understand what they want and then respond accordingly.

Go fast or go far?

Go fast or go far?

Recently, I was leading a workshop and divided the group into two teams for an interactive problem solving activity. Though just a fun exercise with no real impact on the business, it's amazing to see how quickly cohesive teammates turn into fierce opponents when placed into friendly competition. If I'm honest, I'm as guilty as they come.

Each team had a short period of time to master a task, which they would need to complete blindfolded in a final time trial. Team 1 worked efficiently and let out a loud cheer after clocking a final time of 43 seconds. It was impressive...until Team 2 clocked a record one second final time trial soon thereafter. No cheering needed (picture silent mic drop with a subtle nod toward the scoreboard).

Two capable teams faced the exact same challenge with equal constraints - so why such different results?