Are Best Practices Harmful?

“That’s the way we’ve always done it.” This statement, one you have likely heard more than once in your career, should be a warning. Best practices may not be the tried and true processes we’ve relied on but rather outdated ideas that should be re-examined. Continue reading

Do Pep Talks Really Motivate Employees?

We’ve all seen the films: before a crucial game for an underdog team, a battle where the army is outnumbered, the coach or general exhorts the players or soldiers to give their all to win. It’s not just a plea for victory: the speech places those individuals in the middle of the action, connecting them to the cause and helping them to understand why success is essential. In other words, it’s a pep talk. Continue reading

What Leaders Can Learn from Artists

The Jazz Musicians (1954), David Park

I recently came across an interesting article in The Harvard Business Review by Hal Gregerson, the executive director of the MIT Leadership Center. In it, he draws connections between a photographer’s creative process and how leaders can learn from that process. It started me thinking: what insight can we glean from artists? There is plenty of literature out there about what executives can learn from athletes, musicians, and the like. Gregerson’s article prompted me to probe the literature a bit more to see if I could find some new insights. Continue reading

Managing Conflict

freedigitalphotos.net by franky 242

freedigitalphotos.net by franky 242

Conflict is a fact of life, in business or otherwise. Yet, managed incorrectly, conflict can have devastating effects: strained relationships, lost productivity, and low morale. Even at C-suite levels, executives try to avoid unpleasant conversations, with deleterious results. Rather than creating more conflict, learning to deal with conflict in a constructive manner can lead to better business outcomes. Continue reading