Guided Insights

You say you want to be more inclusive? Prove it.

Well-meaning people (yes, I am referring to myself here, too!) talk a lot about the need to be more “inclusive” when it comes to important conversations, but how many of us are really living up to our virtuous proclamations? If we were completely honest, I bet most of us would admit we could be doing much …

You say you want to be more inclusive? Prove it. Read More »

To Build Trust Within Virtual Teams, Psychological Safety Is Everything

The #1 question I’m asked by leaders and members of virtual teams alike: How can we create a trusting environment when we hardly ever (or never!) meet in person? Teams that span multiple time zones have an even harder go of it, as they have few opportunities for real conversations of any kind. Remote teams …

To Build Trust Within Virtual Teams, Psychological Safety Is Everything Read More »

Virtual Strategic Planning: The Silver Lining

When news of Covid hit about eight months ago (or was it eight years ago?) many of us thought we’d be back to “normal” within a few months. Workers would be returning to offices, groups could meet again in person, and conferences and events scheduled for 2021 could go on as planned. But of course, we were …

Virtual Strategic Planning: The Silver Lining Read More »

What Have You Learned About Your Culture During the Covid Crisis?

What have you learned about your organization’s culture over the last few months that may not have been obvious before? What policies or behaviors have shined a light on the values and beliefs of your leadership team? How do employees feel about working for your organization today, compared to the time before Covid? These are …

What Have You Learned About Your Culture During the Covid Crisis? Read More »

Virtual Meetings: Why Bother Showing Up If You’re Not Really Present?

You’re trying to pay attention to your third video meeting in a row, where your colleague is making an impassioned case for getting the team much-needed resources. Despite the fact that you’re desperate for this request to be approved, you’re struggling to focus. In part, it’s because you didn’t bother to review the documents she sent so …

Virtual Meetings: Why Bother Showing Up If You’re Not Really Present? Read More »

Why Can’t Everyone Just Agree? 8 Tips for Building Consensus

The meeting room stunk of burnt coffee, half-eaten sandwiches and too many bodies compressed into a small, windowless room for too many hours. People participating via video felt that for once, being physically removed from the action was actually a blessing. After two days of dithering, this group seemed no closer to making a decision …

Why Can’t Everyone Just Agree? 8 Tips for Building Consensus Read More »

The Virtues of Failing Fast, in a Forward Direction

A friend’s daughter just announced her family’s sudden decision to pack up and move several states away, with no jobs, no residence, three school-age kids, one dog and two cats. My friend is agonizing over whether to try to talk her daughter out of it (“How will you live?  Where will you live? What about health insurance? …

The Virtues of Failing Fast, in a Forward Direction Read More »

How Feedback Can Stunt Growth, Stifle Learning and Encourage Mediocrity

Feedback of any kind rarely helps people perform better, no matter how much you dress it up and call it something pretty. In fact, telling people what they need to do differently, however well-intended, actually can block learning and prevent growth. As a result of reading the article The Feedback Fallacy in the March-April 2019 Harvard Business Review, I …

How Feedback Can Stunt Growth, Stifle Learning and Encourage Mediocrity Read More »

Daring Leaders Build Trust by Peeling Away the Armor, Choosing Courage Over Comfort

How can I build trust, quickly, across my team? That’s the #1 question I get from my clients and students. Before I read Brené Brown’s  brilliant new book, Dare to Lead, I would have hedged, insisting that there are too many variables to give just one answer. But now I realize there is one answer that seems to …

Daring Leaders Build Trust by Peeling Away the Armor, Choosing Courage Over Comfort Read More »

Damage done: Leadership lessons from a fairytale team

Baseball may not be your thing. And if you’re from certain regions of the U.S., you may not want to hear one more thing about a winning Boston team. (I admit, it can get tiresome.) But please hear me out: The 2018 Boston Red Sox team was the best evah to take the field in Fenway Park, and …

Damage done: Leadership lessons from a fairytale team Read More »

Making the Most of Bittersweet Endings, Tough Break-ups and Brand New Starts

My twin daughters graduated from high school three days ago, which should really be a time of great celebration. To retain my sanity, I’ve been keeping busy with necessary distractions like planning their party, gearing up for our summer vacation (possibly, one of our last together!), and (thankfully) a barrage of client work. But every …

Making the Most of Bittersweet Endings, Tough Break-ups and Brand New Starts Read More »

How Mindful Leaders Keep Calm Under Pressure, Inspire Better Team Performance

Judging from your team’s expression of outrage when you made your latest impossible request, you realize you’ve just crossed a red line. While you feel badly, especially since you’ve given team members a barrage of pretty ridiculous demands lately, you really had no choice. Your manager has made it clear (again!) that failure is not …

How Mindful Leaders Keep Calm Under Pressure, Inspire Better Team Performance Read More »

How Mindfulness Keeps You Present, and Why It Matters

Imagine this: It’s after 5 PM, and your train is leaving in less than a half-hour. You’re in the middle of saving your final edits to the presentation for the executive team meeting first thing tomorrow, when you hear the unwelcome ping of an incoming IM from your boss: “Sorry for the last-minute change, but …

How Mindfulness Keeps You Present, and Why It Matters Read More »

How to Make Introverts and Extroverts Happy, and How to Drive Them Crazy

“We suspect that our team can be a lot more effective if we can do a better job of acknowledging, appreciating and accommodating the introverts among us. We also want to acknowledge what our extroverts need to operate at their peak potential.” That’s the challenge my client recently asked me to help solve for her …

How to Make Introverts and Extroverts Happy, and How to Drive Them Crazy Read More »

Prove You’re Trustworthy – Here’s How, and Why It’s Critical to Make the Effort

When I see a provocative headline, I check the veracity with at least two reputable news sources before I accept it as at least a close approximation of the truth. (And even then, many major news outlets often fail to report the really important news, which undermines their credibility, in my book.) I am not …

Prove You’re Trustworthy – Here’s How, and Why It’s Critical to Make the Effort Read More »

Great Gift Ideas Everyone on your Team Will Appreciate Now, and Later

For many of us, the month of December evokes the spirit of giving more than any other time of the year. Not to say we’re not generous of spirit all year round, but it’s typically during the holiday season that we are most likely to affirm appreciation for team members. Finding the right gifts for …

Great Gift Ideas Everyone on your Team Will Appreciate Now, and Later Read More »

How to Create a 12-Month Plan in Just Two Hours

There’s something about the blank slate of a brand new year that makes it a perfect time to get your group together and lay down plans for the next 12 months. Sounds like a good idea in theory, but it can be near impossible to persuade people to hunker down in a meeting room for …

How to Create a 12-Month Plan in Just Two Hours Read More »

Prevent Thoughtless Habits From Squandering Your Team’s Time

We are scrupulous about managing our budgets, jumping through hoops (and filling out countless forms) to get approval for every expenditure, whether it’s for a $300 printer or a part-time contractor. And yet, even though we may say that time is money, few of us show the same kind of scrutiny when it comes to …

Prevent Thoughtless Habits From Squandering Your Team’s Time Read More »

When it Comes to Giving, Little Things Mean a Lot

This is the time of year when we turn our thoughts to giving. But for many of us, that’s where we stop. Just because we have noble intentions, it doesn’t mean we automatically get more time in our busy days to be generous to others, when we’re barely keeping our heads above water ourselves. According …

When it Comes to Giving, Little Things Mean a Lot Read More »

Mentoring From Afar – Go the Distance To Grow Top Talent

Your organization is lucky to have retained some extraordinary talent despite the best efforts of your top competitors to lure them away. Among these key employees are a few dozen freshly minted MBAs and several mid-level managers who have been hand- picked to take on senior positions once the current crop of baby boomer executives …

Mentoring From Afar – Go the Distance To Grow Top Talent Read More »

Worth a Thousand Words: Connecting Virtual Teams Through Imagery and Metaphor

Using images and metaphors can work wonders to break the ice, create a shared sense of purpose and cultivate an environment of real collaboration. But when a team is confined to connecting only through virtual means, the use of visuals as a springboard for meaningful discussion is typically limited. Not because it has to be …

Worth a Thousand Words: Connecting Virtual Teams Through Imagery and Metaphor Read More »

Six Management Practices That Don’t Cut It in a Virtual World

Do you think that just because you’re a successful manager of traditional teams that you’ll automatically be a hotshot manager in the virtual world? Maybe not. In fact, it’s often those managers who assume their leadership skills are eminently transportable to a virtual team are those who struggle the most. Why? They haven’t taken the …

Six Management Practices That Don’t Cut It in a Virtual World Read More »

Coalescing a New Team – Creating Ties That Bind

Maybe you’ve inherited new team members from another group within your company as a result of recent reorganization. Or perhaps your company has merged with another, giving you a whole new group to manage. Whatever the reason, you need to pull a new team together, including people who have been working together all along and …

Coalescing a New Team – Creating Ties That Bind Read More »

Proven in Practice – Top Tips Essential to Virtual Project Team Performance

I’m always gratified when readers write to say that the latest Communiqué really hit the mark. One reader, a colleague and former client of mine, has sent me so many such mails over the last 10 years that I arranged to meet with him – virtually – to learn which tips he found the most …

Proven in Practice – Top Tips Essential to Virtual Project Team Performance Read More »

Magic Numbers for Successful Teamwork

People often ask me: What’s the ideal number of people to have on any given team to produce the best results? My answer: It depends. Several factors go into coming up with that magic number, such as: Clarity of goals and objectives, time available to get it right, ability of participants to work face-to-face versus …

Magic Numbers for Successful Teamwork Read More »

Leading vs. Managing Remote Teams

As more organizations work virtually, managers of traditional work teams are tapped to lead geographically dispersed teams. When thrust into this unfamiliar territory, many managers flounder, especially those who rely on command-and-control tactics to get work done across locations, functions, cultures and time zones. Joining me in writing this month’s Communiqué is my friend and …

Leading vs. Managing Remote Teams Read More »

Building Trust Within Virtual Teams – Small Steps Add Up

When we ask clients to name the toughest challenge associated with leading virtual teams, there is one answer that always pops to the top of the list: Building trust. Or in some cases, it’s re-building trust. Building trust is hard for any team, but it is especially hard for virtual teams, whose members have few …

Building Trust Within Virtual Teams – Small Steps Add Up Read More »

Virtual Meetings: Design for Worst-Case Scenarios for Best Outcomes

Normally, I ascribe to the 80/20 rule when it comes to planning meetings or designing training. That is, I know I can’t possibly predict every single situation that might arise, so I do my best to anticipate what I think will happen 80% of the time for 80% of the participants. As far as the …

Virtual Meetings: Design for Worst-Case Scenarios for Best Outcomes Read More »

10 Easy Ways to Disengage Your Virtual Team

I’m in the midst of rolling out a new virtual leadership series for a client. We start every series by exploring the three building blocks of successful virtual team leadership (literally, the ABC’s): Accelerating Trust, Building Social Capital and Creating a Level Playing Field. One major challenge comes up in every conversation: How to keep …

10 Easy Ways to Disengage Your Virtual Team Read More »

How Virtual Leaders Can Help Others Thrive in a World of Complexity

Consider this: Today’s companies set themselves up to six times more performance metrics than they did 50 years ago. Top leaders committed to just four to seven performance imperatives; today, CEOs commit to somewhere between 25 and 40. According to Yves Morieux of the Boston Consulting Group, author of a recent Harvard Business Review article, …

How Virtual Leaders Can Help Others Thrive in a World of Complexity Read More »

SUBSCRIBE TO COMMUNIQUÉ – FREE EZINE

Sign Up Today to Get Free Tips for Creating a Level Playing Field Across Your Virtual, Hybrid Team