Soul of wit, etc.: A brief-but-mighty workplace lesson, learned at home

It is not in my nature to be brief. Fortunately, I have a dear friend and colleague who does a much better job.  After hearing me describe in detail a big, hairy change challenge my partner and I are taking on together, she grew silent. “This isn’t a coaching conversation,” she said, “but two questions come […]

Change leadership: Are you ready to disrupt?

“Leadership: Disrupting your own people at a rate they can stand, for a purpose.” – Alexander Grashow When was the last time you got to watch someone else do your job? To take a break from your role and learn from watching someone else – ferociously talented – do it? This week, I did.

Workplace communication: The hidden power of praise

A few years ago we worked around the world with multiple teams in the same business division, and one team in Asia was different than the rest. We noticed it immediately. There was ease, and a level of authenticity and trust that stood head and shoulders above the rest. This team’s problem-solving was swift and […]

Need help leading change? Don’t read this. Share it with your team.

OK, do read this. But then share it with your team. “Help me” conversations A few years ago, my buddies and I at On Your Feet sent a New Year’s gift out to everyone we felt – in one way or other, directly or indirectly – had helped us over the 365 days prior. The […]

How do I make sure they’re committed? Launching organizational change

Q: Why did so many dance with Matt? I learned about gaining commitment the hard way. (The same way I learn just about everything.) Some years ago, I had an inspiring vision for the work some of my colleagues and I were doing. Well, I was inspired. To communicate this vision, I rented an empty […]

How do I get them to be accountable?

This is such an important question. What gets my attention is everything I hear simmering inside it: Hope, and commitment: This future I’ve outlined, I really, really want it to happen. Interdependence: Getting to success is bigger than just me – it’s going to take you, too.  Concern, even fear: If you don’t do your […]

Organizations that think (and what they do that others can’t)

After what seems like a seriously long time – more than a decade – helping leaders lead change, I feel like I’m just breaking the surface of the water. And in my 3-month-old job as doctoral student (which already seems seriously long to those around me; last night, I overheard my partner say, “yeah, Julie’s […]

Find your everyday superheroes

Revenue was low. There had been layoffs, several rounds.  The industry everywhere was struggling. And morale? Really, really, really low. The executive team was working toward a vision they believed in, but engagement was slipping badly. They sat in a meeting, trying to figure out how to use next week’s all-staff retreat to boost morale […]

Another game that makes a difference: SuperBetter

Sometimes mystery shows up right in your hotel room. I was sitting in the Redwood City, CA Sofitel, going over the notes for a workshop on transformational conflict I’m co-facilitating tomorrow with my spirited colleague Nick Rothenberg.  I was thinking about the game we created this spring to entice a group of leaders to tackle huge […]

Secret of the universe #456: Wholeheartedness. (Check Brené Brown’s TEDX talk.)

I’ve noticed something. There is a certain shared quality I’ve seen across several of the groups I’ve worked with lately: people learning to drop down into a difficult conversation in an open, clear, productive way; groups willing to take risks together as they take on a challenging task; and several simply excellent leaders of people. […]