Six of Your Jobs Robots Might Replace

When I got home from work the other day, Patti, my wife, was still smiling about a text she received that day. When she got out of a meeting and checked her phone for text messages and e-mails, this text jumped out at her, “Jeeves needs your immediate attention. His right front wheel is stuck.” I’m sure you are wondering who “Jeeves” is, right? If you are older you might remember that “Jeeves” was a butler or gentleman’s gentleman in author P. G. Wodehouse’s stories from the early 1900s. In our house we have no butler.  Jeeves is really what [...]

By | April 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Eight Character Questions from Theo Epstein

In our organization right now our focus is on building a culture that attracts and retains team members. We are especially focused on selecting the right people – unselfish people who want to be part of a team, who put the needs of others before themselves, and who, quite frankly, we want to be around every day. Pretty simple, right? No. In one of our divisions we have found we only hire three (3) out of 100 people we start with. It is really hard to find people who match-up with the criteria we are looking for. Even more, we [...]

By | April 13th, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition|

Add Originality to Your Leadership

I love baseball, so I am excited the season opens next week. Anytime I read a book that has a baseball reference, I am instantly intrigued. That happened recently when I read about how Jackie Robinson’s birth order contributed to him being the perfect person to break the color barrier in baseball - more about Robinson in a moment. The book is Originals by Adam Grant. In this book, which I found fascinating, Grant explores dozens of studies and concepts that contribute to where personal originality comes from. (Steve Tip - I first listened to the book, but then purchased [...]

By | March 30th, 2017|Just Plain Interesting|

Is Your Team a Mixed-Doubles Team?

We have been talking a great deal lately about teams, especially about constructing effective teams. Our recent focus has been centered on how to choose individuals who have the right attitude and will help create positivity. Sometimes we quote Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and say, “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” When you construct a team I think it is also useful to think about the type of team you have and remember this – not all teams are alike. A few years ago I wrote an article about how the late Peter Drucker described the three types of [...]

By | March 23rd, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

Leading the Bullies Among Us

A few weeks ago I was at a meeting with over 200 people in the room. The last item on the agenda was for the group to agree on a future meeting site and there were three locations to choose from. As the speaker began to briefly describe the second choice a familiar voice boomed his interruption from the back of the room, “Only vote for that one if you like to watch grass grow!” There were a few chuckles and then the speaker finished his presentation and a vote was had.  As no surprise to me the second location [...]

By | March 8th, 2017|Bullies & Misbehavior, Human Behavior|

Deal With Problems One-on-One, Not in Group

Last week I saw this recurring behavior, again. And, every time I see it, I recognize it as a symptom of a supervisor who is avoiding conflict. It is something all supervisors, including me, have done at some point in our careers. What was it? It was a “training” for a whole team of mostly experienced, competent people on a topic that only one person was deficient. As I looked around at the faces of the people in the group, I saw each person become more and more disengaged. It was a waste of valuable time. A few years ago [...]

By | March 2nd, 2017|Bullies & Misbehavior, Conflict Resolution, Uncategorized|

Wait a Minute, What Did You Say?

One of the most common leadership weaknesses is hearing without listening, to steal a phrase from Simon and Garfunkel’s powerful song Sounds of Silence. As I meet with teams and leaders every week it is interesting how many times I watch people display poor listening skills. I actually find it very helpful to observe others because it helps me improve my own listening skills. Two of the most important times leaders need to practice good listening skills are in team meetings and when meeting one-on-one with team members. So enhancing our listening skills is an area of continuous improvement. Symptoms [...]

By | February 23rd, 2017|Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Tom Brady – Two Tips for Success in the Clutch

Even some of Tom Brady's biggest critics are in awe of his performance in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Like most of us, they admire two things: His ability to execute at the highest level and stay calm and focused at the end of the game; and to do all this when he is 39 years old. Brady is a great example of a credible leader and I could write pages on why I think this is true, but I will spare you – you saw that yourself. We also know that he keeps himself in incredible physical condition, working-out often longer [...]

By | February 9th, 2017|Credibility & Inspiration|

I Think We Need More Mattress Stores, Don’t You?

Okay, maybe I am crazy, but the other day as I drove by the third Mattress Firm store within about 500 feet of each other I thought, “Why do we need so many mattress stores?” The next day I was visiting one of our client work sites in a Macy’s department store and learned that successful Macy’s mattress sales people can make $100,000 per year. I thought, “Excuse me, say that again, I think I misunderstood what you just said.” (But I heard correctly.) All this mattress business stimulated my sleepy business brain. I had to learn more about why [...]

By | January 31st, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Effective Leaders are Not Clowns

I was recently sitting in a very nice car dealership while my car was being serviced. While I was there I could not help but eavesdrop on a number of conversations among a sales manager, salesman, and a few customers. While I thought the sales people and sales manager sounded professional to me, apparently the husband of a female customer did not think so. When they were alone he said to his wife, “I like Barry (the salesman), but that sales manager is a clown. I don’t want to do business with him.” As I was listening I was reminded [...]

By | January 19th, 2017|Leadership Lessons|