September 2011

Sep 29 2011

How to Deliver Feedback Effectively

Cindy and Laura give a brief how-to on Effectively Delivering Feedback.


Sep 28 2011

It's Not Easy Being a Manager


At the Penn Faulkner dinner the other night, there were some amazing writers sharing their essays, but one writer in particular really hit home when he spoke of how “everyone is a writer today”. And it’s true. Between ebooks, blogs and self-publishing, it seems everyone’s a writer. I count myself among them. 

But how many are dedicated to writing as a profession and are actually good at it.  What does it take to make the leap from everyday blogger to recognized author?

The same question could be asked of becoming a manager.  Many people call themselves managers, but how many do it well? It’s not easy. For many it’s like trying to push a boulder uphill and you hear them say things like, “thankless”, “unappreciated”, or “overwhelming”. So what’s it take to make the leap from being a manager to effectively managing people?

Sep 23 2011

Five Reasons to Hire People Smarter Than You

Admittedly, of the 25+ managers I’ve had over my career, less than five were confident enough to recruit people that were more knowledgeable than them. Despite having huge egos, many CEOs and executive leaders feel threatened when surrounded by smarter people. It’s a shame because there are so many reasons this makes no sense. To a person, the few managers that had the courage to admit they didn’t know it all were universally considered exception leaders.  Here’s why:



Sep 21 2011

How to Make Collaboration Work for Your Team

Depending on their past experiences with collaboration, your team may not willingly sign up for a group assignment. The role you play as the manager can make a huge difference in whether that collaboration yields results or torture for your team.  Here’s how to get the best results:

Sep 20 2011

Creating a Reward and Recognition Program That’s Fair

Watching the Emmys the other night, the awards were predictable and not always deserving, at least in this armchair reviewer’s opinion. It hit me that the workplace is not unlike the Emmys, where the same people get the reward and recognition and are not always the most deserving.  Much like the Academy, it’s a trap that many managers fall in. So how do you create a more balanced and fair approach to rewards & recognition?

Sep 16 2011

Five Ways to More Effective Meetings

In my former life at a Fortune 100 company, meetings were a way of life. The company ostensibly sold financial  services, but what they did best was bring meetings to an art form.  As a manager there, it was not uncommon to have 30 hours of meetings in a typical 50-hour workweek.  If you wanted to do actual work, you had to do it at home. Coming in early or late sometimes worked, but the “brown nosers” would mirror your workday to look good and you’d never be alone.

There is a great talk on the TED website by Jonathan Fried called “Why work doesn’t happen at work”.  If you have 15 minutes, it’s well worth the time.  He basically blames the inability to get work done at work on what he calls M & M-Managers and Meetings. I don’t disagree with him and I like some of his suggestions like “No talk Thursdays”, but there are ways to have meaningful, effective meetings.  Here’s how:

Sep 14 2011


I've been reading a lot about the concept of the feedback loop lately.  A feedback loop essentially gives someone real time feedback on his or her behavior with the goal of modifying that behavior.  The most basic example is the "your speed" signs on the highway that give passing cars a digital read out of their speed as they drive by.  Those signs have surprised law enforcement and highway administration officials with their effectiveness at getting people to slow down.  It made me think, how could the feedback loop improve performance in the workplace?