If there is one simple ability that makes the most difference in effective leaders who are able to enroll other people in their projects, it is the ability to initiate and reach resolution in areas that arouse anxiety in either party. That same skill enables people who are not formal leaders to move from feeing frustrated and powerless to empower themselves to address something that is a important to them—something that others may not wish to address. Using this skill, both leader and followers are able to get results in territory where...
Three organizations I work with are undergoing restructuring. In one case, the company is being acquired. The other two organizations are spinning off divisions to create new publicly traded companies. I have firsthand experience of working for a company that's being spun off. I was a human resources director when PepsiCo divested itself of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC creating a restaurant company now known as Yum! Brands. There are rumors that PepsiCo may be at it again; financial blogs are buzzing about the possible spin off Frito Lay...
Leading successfully in today’s fast-paced, dynamic, and competitive work environment can be a daunting challenge. With expanding workloads, increased complexity, and growing demands from stakeholders, leaders need to develop not just “human capital,” or the ability to acquire needed technical skills, but “social capital,” or networked relationships among individuals that will enhance cooperation and resource exchange. Without this combination, leading can be a very isolating existence and the pressure of “...
The notion of perfection has been on my mind a lot lately. While working with a group that is feeling the pressure and uncertainty of the challenges it is confronting, I notice the discussions seem to swirl around a notion, unspoken but heard by all: “Whatever we do, it better be the right answer—we can’t afford to fail!” The climate in the room is marked by stretches of tension balanced by gusts of laughter that both recharge our energy and distract us from noticing what’s at the core. In some ways, it is easier...
I’ve been facilitating group experiences for almost 25 years. One of the first things I learned was the importance of creating a sense of safety so that people can fully participate in the work they have gathered to do together. The best way to begin that process is to give participants a chance to check in and introduce themselves. Early on, I found that the standard introductory, “Tell us your name, what you do, and why you are here,” was never very satisfying. People usually responded by giving their “elevator...
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