Blog Posts

Sexual Harassment: The Workplace’s Dirty Little Secret

sexual harassment in the workplace

Recent headlines have been littered with numerous stories of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and rape. Harvey Weinstein. Google. Uber. Silicon Valley. SoFi. Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes of Fox News. Three hundred and ten accusations against filmmaker James Toback. Mark Halperin. Taylor Swift allegedly being groped by radio host David Mueller. And for real, our 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush? Sadly, sexual harassment is so pervasive that we sometimes don’t see it. Gender inequality in the workplace has gotten better over the years, but it’s still a far cry from giving men and women equal ...

The Business Case For Leadership Development & Learning

Leadership Development

“ONCE YOU STOP LEARNING, YOU START DYING.” - Albert Einstein It is not uncommon for Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) to struggle trying to secure funds and commitment for leadership development programs, despite the value that organizations see from such programs. I’ve been surprised and disappointed to read so many recent articles that assail the value of these programs versus the amount of money spent on them, including a Wall Street Journal article entitled “So much training, so little to show for it,” and a 2016 Harvard Business Review article calling leadership development programs “the great train robbery.” ...

The Best Bosses Say These 9 Things

best bosses

Employee engagement is always greatly heightened by excellent communication. That’s why the most tremendous bosses use these 9 statements on a regular, and in some cases, daily basis. Start using these phrases regularly and watch your success as a manager take flight: 1. “Thank you.” As discovered when we did the key driver statistical research for my New York Times Best Seller, recognition is the number one driver of employee engagement. Furthermore, Millennials crave feedback and recognition. Make sure your recognition efforts are both consistent and meaningful. Your team members will really appreciate it. 2. “Regarding your career development, ...

How To Deliver Bad News At Work

Bad News At Work

You may work at one of the most positive workplaces in the world, but invariably, there will be times when you must deliver bad news at work to a team or a colleague. We’ve all been there. Probably the most visceral example of this is when you have to lay someone off. Many of us have been the recipient. Just in November 2016 alone, more than 26,000 workers were terminated.1 Certainly, it is never easy to deliver bad news to a colleague. With that said, here are 3 useful tips for “softening the blow” to the colleague: 1. Put ...

7 Employee Engagement Takeaways From Our World Champion Chicago Cubs

The Cubs' Way

I have been a Cubs fan all of my life. Some of my fondest memories of Wrigley Field were shared with my step-grandfather Victor, who has long since passed away and never got a chance to see his Cubbies win a World Series. I brought him with me in spirit to Game 3 of the World Series this year. While at the game, I also teared up seeing the many father and son duos in attendance, in addition to the many octogenarians who had waited their entire lives for this moment in time. Is it a coincidence that there are ...

9 Lessons on Employee Engagement From Willy Wonka

Lessons on Employee Engagement From Willy Wonka

I was saddened to hear the news of Gene Wilder’s passing on August 29th, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, a terrible illness that my Father has as well. Born on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee as Jerome Silberman, Gene Wilder touched the hearts of millions as the character Willy Wonka, in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Although the film was not a commercial success, it later gained a cult following and an Oscar Nomination for Best Score. Wilder also earned a Golden Globe award nomination. In Wilder’s memory, I’d like to highlight nine best practice lessons on employee engagement ...

Mea Culpa: The Importance of Learning from Failure

learning from failure

Walt Disney was fired from his first job as a reporter in Kansas City. The reason they told him: “You lack imagination.” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a reporter in Philadelphia. The reason they gave her: “You tend to get too emotionally involved in your stories,” which of course is her signature. Steven Spielberg, one of the finest movie producers of all time, was rejected by the L.A. School of Cinematography, not once, but twice. All three of these people had the perseverance to overcome a situation when they failed, and they went on ...

Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win

perseverance over victimhood

This inspiring quote about perseverance comes from an inspiring man—Vince Lombardi, Head Coach of The Green Bay Packers. You and your team can take these words off the football field and into your conference room. While I was CEO of HR Solutions, I had the pleasure of consulting with hundreds of world-class organizations and seeing firsthand what contributed to their success. Those who scored in the top 10% on their employee engagement surveys were considered “Best-in-Class” and were always an inspiration to me. Interestingly, they shared one uncanny commonality: they chose perseverance over victimhood. Many of these organizations had faced ...

What is stuck in your workplace?

progress in the workplace

Ever notice how progress in the workplace sometimes moves at a glacial speed or seems totally stuck? If yours is like most workplaces in the world, you have not only noticed this, but found it frustrating. This blog promises to give you and your team a surefire way of getting things “unstuck” and back on track. It was one of the great managers at the last company I owned and sold (HR Solutions), Joe Collins, who prompted us to examine this by suggesting that we have regular “What’s stuck?” meetings. Brilliant. His suggestion got us right out of the ...

The 7 Deadly Sins of Managers: What They Do to Make Good Employees Quit

Bad managers damage employee engagement

We have all witnessed it. Some really well-liked, productive employee suddenly tenders his or her resignation, or maybe just doesn’t show up for work one day. The workplace quickly becomes abuzz with rumors of why the person quit. If the rumors are accurate then the reason most often lies with the newly resigned employee’s manager. After all, there is a whole heck of a lot of truth to the old adage that “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” And here are the 7 Deadly Sins that managers commit to cause these resignations. Sadly, all of these can be ...

The Manager’s Employee Engagement Checklist

Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace Study highlighted the single greatest thing you can do to increase employee engagement: hire the right managers. In fact, the study said that if you hire a manager who is disengaged, the workgroup they manage is three times more likely to be disengaged. So even if you hire the right, highly engaged managers, they still need to know, and do, the most effective things to bring their work group to higher, and hopefully best-in-class, levels of engagement. And even if they know these engagement management “to dos,” they often forget to implement them, ...

The Easiest Way to Influence Employee Engagement

This is the first video of a series of tips for managers and employees on how to reach best-in-class levels of employee engagement. It reveals the single most important way to positively influence employee engagement as well as some of the best practices on that key driver of engagement. If you are as passionate about employee engagement as I am, then you will definitely will want to share these with your team....

Have a manager who is opposed to virtual work?

work from home

Do you have “old school” Senior Leaders who refuse to allow people to work from home (WFH) or acknowledge that it’s a viable option for running a business? (Like Yahoo’s CEO a little while ago?) If so, is there a way to coach them to “see the light?” Maybe, or maybe not. But here’s your best shot for winning them over. As mentioned frequently in the press, the clear evidence about the benefits of telecommuting is very compelling. Step 1 may be as simple as showing managers the statistical ROI-based proof that working from home makes sense for ...

Behaviors and Traits of Best Bosses

Best Bosses

One of my most popular blogs this year was 19 Ways to be a Bad Boss. So I thought it would be equally as valuable to outline behaviors and traits of a Best Boss as well. As fortune would have it, I discovered a fascinating leadership study conducted by Lead Well LLC in partnership with Chicago-based Vantage Leadership Consulting. The 2013 study identified five common traits of a Best Boss: Leads From a Higher Purpose – The Best Boss demonstrates a purpose beyond self-interest and self-profit and/or a purpose beyond the organization that is put into action on behalf of ...

Becoming Someone’s Best Boss

Best Boss

Nearly every expert on employee engagement agrees there is a single, most impactful, means of increasing employee engagement and performance: the Manager. Taken from the Leadership Development workshops I conduct, here are the five simple ways to elevate the effect your managers have on your corporate culture and employee engagement. 1. Ask all of your managers to think of who their best boss was throughout their entire career. Have them write that person’s name down on a piece of paper. 2. Have them write down the three key qualities that made that person their best boss. 3. Encourage them to ...

Zappos’ Experiment with Holacracy

I have long admired Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos for his out-of-the-box thinking and workplace innovation. Hsieh pioneered the practice of paying people to quit, which is one very effective way of transitioning unengaged employees to other pastures. He and his team also adjusted Zappos’ interview process to increase the focus on a candidate’s attitude, rather than just aptitude. Assessing these two metrics became tasks for two separate interview teams; a spot-on best practice. Then he introduced Holacracy to Zappos, and I started questioning whether his success streak will come to an end. The idea behind Holacracy is that there ...

Part Two – High Altitude Engagement: How Great Leaders Guide Teams to the Summit

Whether it’s summiting a mountain or climbing the corporate ladder, success can often be attributed to great leadership. Through my experience mountaineering and consulting with top organizations, I noticed that the best leaders focus on the same things. Resources Sometimes companies have to tighten their belt, but doing more with less isn’t usually the best option. Not providing the right resources with which to work is easily as detrimental as not having the right resources on a high altitude climb. I have seen climbers relying on the wrong crampons or ice axe, which made a difficult climb even more ...

High Altitude Engagement: How Great Leaders Guide Teams to the Summit

About 18 years ago, I began an athletic journey called “The Seven Summits,” a quest to climb and summit the highest mountain on every continent. Early on in the ascent of my first, Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,740 feet), I realized the uncanny similarities between high altitude mountaineering and an organization’s or leader’s journey to reach the summit of Employee Engagement, which is typically defined as reaching Best-in-Class or Award-winning status (the top 10% of all employers). One of the most striking similarities is in leadership qualities. Pick your expedition leader or manager carefully—it is the single most important factor in determining ...