Nancy Settle-Murphy

Tips for Conquering the Whiplash of Change

The dust had finally settled on the company’s latest Return to Office policy. Although it took a lot of cajoling, after a six-month grace period, most employees were back in the office the mandated three days a week. People seemed mostly happy being back together in the same place, making meaningful connections with those they’d […]

Can’t we all just get along (with Gen Z) in the workplace)?

Sarah slams down her tray and sighs as she settles herself across the table from Jerome, her fellow manager, to gulp down a 10-minute lunch, a rare luxury these days. “I am just so fed up with some of our newest team members, I could scream! If they ask me for feedback one more time…” […]

6 Good Reasons to Take Games Seriously at Work

This was my first cross-cultural training workshop for this process control firm that had recently been acquired by two new parent companies, one German and one French. The language classes offered by the company were helpful to a point, but cultural differences were causing insurmountable problems, leading to mutual distrust, project delays, and rapid attrition. […]

Creating, Restoring Lost Connections in a Hybrid World

The new employee roaming empty halls eager to find someone – anyone—to talk to The CEO who publicly boasts about inclusion before dismantling the DEI team The employee whose manager cancels their 1:1 meetings The team whose members constantly can’t agree on their primary communications channel The remote worker who’s always left out of important […]

Stop Letting Bad Behavior Derail Your Next Meeting

“Our meetings have gone off the rails. No one seems to know how to rein in the loudmouths or to get the quiet people talking. Pretty much everyone leaves our meetings feeling frustrated, mad and really deflated. We need help!” If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. I get emails and posts like this almost […]

Real-world Strategies for Winning the Hybrid Game in 2024

“Hybrid work is here to stay” “CEOs predict full return to the office within 12 months”  “Return to office mandates not going as planned” Clickbait headlines like these can be really confusing and in many cases, simply not true. Instead of trying to make sense of pundits’ conflicting predictions about hybrid work, here’s a chance […]

(Free) Gifts that Keep on Giving Year-Round, at Work or Home

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank Each year, members of my (very large, extended) family vow to cut back on holiday gifts. (“Let’s do a Secret Santa! Or “Hey, how about a Yankee Swap?”) […]

What? So What? Now What? – Today’s Workplace Trends and Why They Matter

Earlier this month, Margie’s company mandated that all employees be onsite at least four days a week, up from three. Some are following the new mandate begrudgingly, while others are ignoring it, for now. Kelly’s company, meanwhile, has announced a permanent “employee choice” policy, where employees and their teams decide where and when they work. […]

Confronting Conflict with Courage in Remote Teams

“Fine! Have it your way. Again. You always do.” “Hey, you had a chance to speak up, and you still haven’t told us why you oppose this proposal. We can’t read your mind.” “Has it occurred to you that I’m not the only one who thinks this is a bad idea? Maybe I’m the only one who’s willing to speak out.” […]

Overcome the Worst Facilitation Fears of Introverts (and Everyone Else)

Admit it. You’ve done your share of commiserating about some perfectly awful meetings you’ve had to endure. In fact, you’ve been such a vocal critic of poorly-run meetings that your manager anoints you as the perfect person to facilitate a do-or-die budget planning session with your team, group VP, CFO and a few other high-level decision-makers. If […]

Why Coaches Make the Best Leaders in a Hybrid World

The cafeteria on the 9th floor is mostly empty as James and Ceci plunk down their trays at a table near the window, out of earshot. They began on the same day six months ago, both newly-minted grads starting their careers in the company’s corporate marketing department, working for different managers. As new employees, they’ve been […]

What Today’s Managers Really Need to Succeed in a Hybrid World

Every day brings new fires Amy has to put out. Yesterday it was yet another corporate policy calling for mandatory office time, prompting employees to ping her throughout the day. Earlier today, two of her top employees let her know they’re thinking about leaving. And she positively dreads her all-hands meeting tomorrow, when she’ll have […]

How Great Facilitation Leads to Better Decisions, More Revenue and Less Waste

No doubt, making go/no-go decisions for billion-dollar projects requires careful consideration, but this was getting ridiculous. Marc’s 20-person Engineering team, scattered across multiple time zones, was on the hot seat for recommending large-scale exploration projects for this European-based global oil and gas leader. For many of these projects, time was of the essence. This was […]

Before Attempting Big Change, First, Root Out the Dysfunction

Roger, a newly-hired Chief Development Officer for one of New York’s biggest hospitals, was eager to meet his team. He called an All-Hands meeting for his 65 employees for Monday at 9AM on his first day, with coffee, bagels and fruit set up in the in the executive conference room. His excitement slowly gave way […]

Why advancement, growth and visibility shouldn’t depend on work location

“If you don’t work at the Mothership, you’ll never get ahead. That’s how I see it.” The “Mothership” in this case was the gleaming new HQ building outside of Boston where hundreds of corporate staff members for this growing software company came to work each day. The HQ campus had everything an employee could ever […]

How shared principles finally got a leadership team unstuck

Senior leaders from a family-run Boston-area insurance company were frustrated that their 90+ corporate employees were refusing to return to the office full time. “We want to get back to being a family, just like we were before COVID,” they said. Employees and department managers saw it differently. “We’ve proven that we can be even […]

How a Growing Pharma Blends Asynch, Real-time Communications to Boost Productivity

This is one of a series of Field Spotlights where I share experiences, tips and observations from company leaders who are fully immersed in the transformation to hybrid. “In the last few years, we’ve acquired three other companies whose products complement ours. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had to integrate certain operations without being able to […]

Rethinking “culture” in a hybrid remote workplace

How many times have we heard employers claim that their organization’s “culture” may be irretrievably lost if people continue to work remotely? We don’t buy it, and we’ll explain why here. But first, let’s explore what’s really behind this questionable claim. Joining me in writing this edition of Communique is Pari Namazie, Managing Partner at the boutique […]

Flexible, Productive and Collaborative: A Model Hybrid Workplace

This is part of our ongoing series of Field Spotlight Communiques with senior leaders who share successes, challenges, tips and observations for making a successful transition to a hybrid remote workplace. “Prior to COVID, our employees worked mostly face to face, five days a week. On March 13, 2020, everyone suddenly started working remotely. Today, […]

If you really want to be inclusive, here’s how to walk the talk

“Employees tell us that we’re not doing a great job when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace. Is this something you can help us with?” (Chief Human Resources Officer) “What does inclusive mean in this context, and why is it important to people?” (Us) “I suppose they mean they want us to treat everyone […]

Expanding and diversifying the talent pool, cultivating connections in a hybrid world

This is one of a series of Field Spotlight Communiques where company leaders who are fully immersed in the transformation to hybrid share tips and observations. For this issue, we interviewed two senior leaders. I’ve highlighted some comments that I felt are especially noteworthy. “My manager wants coming into the office to be a ‘pull,’ something people […]

If you want employees to be more productive, let them choose where to work

This article is part of a series of Field Spotlight Communiques where I share tips and observations from company leaders who are fully immersed in the transformation to hybrid, including a wide range of companies and industries, including pharmaceuticals, software companies, nonprofits and engineering firms. “Our company’s motto is: Our purpose is people, workforce and […]

Tips for Cultivating a Culture of Trust Across Hybrid Remote Teams

“Why do we have to commute to the office three days a week when we’re doing the same work we were doing from home? I get the feeling our manager doesn’t trust us.” “My employees seem much more productive in the office. I can drop in any time and see how they’re doing and give […]

Practical Steps for Creating a Team Communications Map that Everyone Embraces

“Why did we have to wait until our weekly team meeting to discover that three people couldn’t deliver on time? If we’d known earlier, maybe we could have done something about it. Now we’re looking at a two-week delay, minimum. We have to find a better way to communicate important stuff outside of our team […]

Create a Sense of Community with Questions That Connect

“Let’s go around the room and have everyone share a fun fact.” You cringe as you wait your turn, wondering which fact you can use that: You have not already used the dozens of times someone has asked this same question Is intriguing but not intimate Is interesting but not shocking You’re just glad you […]

Why Culture Must Transcend Work Location for Healthy, High-Performing Teams

Dear Senior Leaders, To be blunt, I’m weary of hearing you say that your organizational culture will somehow be lost or diluted if you move to a permanent virtual/hybrid model. I’d really like to know what you really mean by “culture” and how you see it reflected across your organization. Maybe you’re envisioning: The updated […]

Leadership Tips for Retaining Top Talent During a Time of Turbulence

For this edition of Communique, I invited my long-time colleague, the senior talent management professional of an international healthcare company, to reflect on why 2022 has been so messy and to advise leaders about how they can best stabilize, motivate energize and retain their top talent as we all prepare for yet another year of turbulence. Many […]


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