Blog

6
Nov

The Value of Making Illogical Decisions

My parents hammered into me the value of being a good consumer. One of the principles I heard over and over was, “Be thrifty. Don’t pay for something you’re not really going to use.” So, when the following situation arose recently, I was a little befuddled. Last year, my wife and I “cut the cord.” In other words, we tried

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31
Oct

Do You Really Need a Rule for That?

One of the joys of my job is interviewing a wide diversity of people every year. They generally range from CEOs to front-liners. While you might think senior people would provide the best insights, there are times when someone who doesn’t know how to filter their comments says something that strikes at the heart of an issue. Such was the

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22
Oct

What are You Teaching Your People About Mastery?

Byron and Kelly showed up at my house this week to replace our 38-year-old furnace. As I watched with fascination, they removed the old beast from a very tight spot and installed the new unit. Then came the process of fabricating the sheet metal plenums that attach the new furnace to the air conditioner and the exhaust stack. Each time

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15
Oct

Three words – Discernment – Extrapolation – Inference

My wife and I have been managing people for more than thirty years – she in higher education and I in a small business. As a result, we are always chatting over dinner about the actions and decisions of those around us. Over time, the same three words have continued to come up in our conversations – discernment, extrapolation and

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2
Oct

Beliefs Inform Behavior

This past week, a colleague reminded me of the old saying “beliefs inform behavior.” Chances are, everyone reading this post has heard this adage, or a similar sentiment. While mostly invoked when considering your own thinking and outlook, it is important for those supervising others to consider it as they oversee daily activity. Having managed people in various settings over

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25
Sep

The Role of Intuition in the Top 15

A few weeks, I recommended employers identify the 15 weekly or monthly decisions made in front-line positions and teaching the process for resolving each to brand-new hires. In response to that post, someone asked how intuition would play a role in that practice. “That’s a great question,” I thought. So, allow me to answer it here. First, we have to

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18
Sep

Top Decision Makers Lead with Reason Rather Than Rules

Think about the last time, you heard someone say. “I’m sorry, the rules say we can’t do that.” What you were trying to accomplish was perfectly reasonable. Yet a policy had been put into place to prevent it. We sometimes laugh at the absurdity of these situations. But we also feel an underlying frustration at our lack of control. Over

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11
Sep

Asking the Uncomfortable Questions

We’ve all been there. You’re discussing something with a colleague, an employee, or a vendor. The two of you seem to be making a decision as you hash out the issue. Yet, your intuition tells you something is missing. Maybe it’s a critical insight that’s been left unsaid. Perhaps you can see that the other person is hesitating because they

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6
Sep

Want Them to Learn? Hang Up on Them!

Kevin is a service supervisor for a mid-sized mechanical contracting firm. He has six technicians visiting customers every day. As new technicians joined his team over the past couple of years, more and more of his communication with the field would go like this – The phone would ring. He would answer it. The technician on the other end would

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28
Aug

The Magic of Freedom Within a Framework

One of the questions I get from time to time is, “How do I provide the freedom to make decisions without losing control?” This question coincides with the employees’ question, “How far can we go in making a decision without crossing some imaginary line?” Ranjay Gulati, writing in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, observes, “Leaders cling to

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