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Articles tagged with: Adaptive Leadership

Performance Reviews – It’s Your Job

Performance reviews – groaning ensues. I have met few people who like to give or receive performance reviews. Yet, we are continually told that feedback and holding people accountable are important to ensure engaged employees and successful organizations. Perhaps a little reminder may be in order – “Leader, it’s your job to give performance reviews”. Here are a few of the problems that most organizations struggle with:

  • Giving and receiving feedback has to be encouraged. Formal reviews are necessary and need to happen but equally important are ongoing conversations between you and your employees. Waiting for the “formal” review time to give and receive feedback is often too late for any real adjustments or meaningful celebrations.
  • Having a form that is just a checklist that you mark with a score or check is not feedback. I understand if there are standards and production requirements that need to be measured but it will never will never increase the engagement of your folks. A review must be a two-way conversation.
  • Often employees are unclear about expectations and goals therefore, they do not achieve the desired outcomes. Often organizations have changing priorities but those never filter down to the employees. Regular on-going review sessions would ensure that employees know what is expected.
  • Many organizations do not have an established performance review process or any accountability for doing them. It starts at the top. If leadership is not adhering to a performance review process among themselves, it will never become part of the culture. Performance reviews must be done at all levels.

Providing and seeking feedback doesn’t have to be hard and rigid. Some things to consider:

  • Employees want feedback and they really would like to give you some feedback as well. This is where the skill of coaching can really open the door to very meaningful conversations. Here are a few coaching questions to choose from:
    • What is going well? What’s one brag you want to share? What has been your biggest success?
    • What do you like most about your job, right now? What part of your job is the most satisfying?
    • What is not going well? What’s getting in your way of doing your job? What’s been your biggest challenge? What do you need to do differently?
    • What do you like least about your job? Which part is the least satisfying?
    • What am I (the leader) doing well? What could I do better?
    • What advice do you have for the organization?
  • Make the employee part of the process. Give them opportunity to contribute to their performance review. If there is a checklist, have them complete it and then compare with each other and discuss. Use the time to find ways to help them grow and problem solve.
  • Use the Performance Review as a reminder of the goals, vision and values of the organization. Engage the employee in a conversation of how the goals, vision and values are showing up in their daily routine of work.
  • Schedule at least three formal sessions during a performance year and strive to have on-going informal conversations. During the first formal sessions set the goals and encourage the employee to create goals. Discuss the expectations and how they will be measured. Set the dates for the next two formal sessions. One of the expectations should be that you and the employee will show-up for the sessions prepared to discuss successes, challenges and opportunities for growth.
  • Hold yourself accountable to have “mini” informal feedback sessions with all your employees. It can be as simple as asking one question – What would you like me to know, right now? The point is to have a conversation – you will definitely walk away with just a little bit more insight.
  • As a leader, if you are not receiving regular feedback from your leadership, seek it. You will become much better at giving feedback if you are receiving it. And a much better leader!

I can’t promise that establishing a culture of productive performance reviews is going to be easy. It’s going to take discipline and a real desire. I can promise that if you stick with it, the ROI will not just be in dollars – it will be a great place to work! 

Why Hire A Coach?


  1. The higher an executive advances up the organizational latter, they are less dependent on technical skill and require more effectiveness in interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
  2. Coaching is an effective tool for improving the bottom line performance in executives and organizations
  3. Coaching builds skills and capacities for more effective working relationships.
  4. Coaching paves the way for decision makers to create higher levels of organizational effectiveness through dialogue, inquiry and positive interactions.
  5. Coaching helps identify when teamwork is important; the how and when to apply the skills necessary to foster it.
  6. Coached executives have reported improvements in the following areas:
    1. 53% in Productivity
    2. 48% in Quality
    3. 48% in Organizational Strength
    4. 39% in Customer Service
    5. 34% in Reducing Customer Complaints
    6. 32% in Retaining Executives who Received Coaching
    7. 23% in Cost Reductions
    8. 22% in Bottom-line Profitability

*Research from the Center for Creative Leadership

Strategy to Succeed: a practical guide to being a strategic leader


A leader without a plan or a plan without a leader simply won’t succeed. Great leaders match their passion for a future vision with the confidence and credibility that comes from strategic planning, in order to achieve that vision. To be successful in the long-term, your organization must have quality leadership and actionable strategy. So how do you help your organization define and manage an effective strategy? In this whitepaper, Barbara Higgins will provide you with practical ways to assess your organization, enhance your approach, and energize your role.


Strategy to Succeed

What Happens When You Lose A Great Team Member?

Have you ever found the perfect new team member? A person who fits exactly what your organization needs from their skills, experience, talents, connections and even personality? Hopefully you have had this experience at least once in your leadership career. It is one of the most exhilarating feelings! Maybe this person was hired to be a successor for a senior leader or to take over a new division. Whatever the reason, it is rewarding to everyone when you bring in the right person at the right time.

Have you found yourself in this position only to later find out this person was not the perfect fit you were looking for; worse, maybe they were perfect but after awhile they decided it was time to move on to another opportunity? Either way there are some important lessons to learn and use moving forward when this happens.

Lesson one: What did you (the leader) learn from this experience? Here are a few questions to ask yourself (be sure to include what did you do well and what would you do differently):

  1. Did you indeed hire the right person at the right time…. If so, move on to the next questions, if not, what have you learned specifically that tells you this person was not the right hire and what will you do to avoid this pitfall next time?
  2. Was this person challenged enough in the role they were given?
  3. Were these person’s needs met both professionally and personally?
  4. How did this person connect with others in the organization?
  5. How did this person navigate the “political” climate of direct reports, peers, boss, clients and stakeholders?
  6. What did you do to ensure this person was set up for success?
  7. What support did you provide for this person?
  8. What on-going development did you provide for this person?
  9. Were there opportunities for growth in the areas of this person’s expertise?
  10. Were you surprised when this person decided to leave – if so, what warning signs did you miss?

Lesson two: What feedback can you get from person leaving and/or lessons they learned? Here are a few questions to ask the person leaving (ask for specifics, what did we do well and what could we have done better):

  1. What was your greatest take a-way from your time with us?
  2. Did you feel supported?
  3. Did you feel there were opportunities for growth – both professionally and personally?
  4. Was your role a right fit?
  5. What was your greatest challenge while with us?
  6. Did you understand the “political landscape”?
  7. What affected your decision to leave?
  8. Could anything have changed your mind?
  9. What are three things you would recommend to us in the future to ensure we continue to attract and retain talent such as yourself?
  10. Would you recommend a friend or colleague to work with us?

Lesson Three: It is important to make sure the message of this person’s departure is communicated properly and you capture the opportunity for feedback moving forward. Below are a few questions to help you navigate this process:

  1. How will I communicate the message to others that this person is leaving?
  2. How will I make sure other team members feel supported in the transition?
  3. Is there a successor or will we need to look outside the organization…. Or is this role still relevant?
  4. What will be done to create an opportunity to receive feedback from others?
  5. How will I reassure others we are fine and moving forward?

The answers to the questions in all three “lessons” will help you personally reflect, learn, grow and make even better hiring and retaining decisions in the future. As your organizations grows and changes it is inevitable that some of the “perfect” hires at one point may not be the best fit for the future. It is also important to realize there are times when a person needs to move on, even when everything has been done correctly. Rather than looking at this time as a loss, look at it from the standpoint of how fortunate you were to work with this person and them with the organization.

Moving on is often like a graduation… it is simply time to move on. I use to be a school teacher and I think the best metaphor here is recognizing we may love a student and be very proud of them; however, we would never keep them from passing to greater things just because we like them and they did a great job! One of my favorite sayings is, “your ceiling should be their floor”…. Learn what you can and then, let people “graduate” when they need to. Stay in contact with them. Be proud that you were a part of their leadership journey and career development.


What lessons have you learned from losing a great employee? I would love to hear your stories and/or questions you would add to the list/s above. If you are interested in working with a coach on how to attract and retain (or even let go in the right way) great talent please contact me today at

Is There Room for Mercy in Leadership?

“I am big on mercy”. This was the statement that caught my attention and sparked this blog. I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work a few mornings ago. The DJ made a statement about the poor performance and the mistakes being made by a certain athletic coach. The sports announcer responded with the surprising remark, “I don’t have a lot to say here… as you know…. I am big on mercy.”

I don’t remember who was talking or what was being talked about; however, this statement grabbed me, so I wrote it down. I asked myself throughout the day, “Michelle, how big are you on mercy?” I must say, mercy is not one of my strong suits. But I certainly appreciate it when I am given mercy. Mercy by definition (according to means: Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm: "the boy was begging for mercy". An event to be grateful for, esp. because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering. Mercy is also identified as a noun and an adjective. However, I would argue that mercy is a verb… it is only meaningful when it is put into action. As leaders, we have the opportunity everyday to show mercy and give compassion to someone who may not “deserve” it. I do believe that the same measuring stick which we use to measure other people’s deeds will be the same measuring stick which other people will “judge” ours. I also believe in the law of “sewing and reaping” or “good karma”, whatever you choose to call it. I hope there have been times when you have received mercy when you did not deserve it, because when any of us receive mercy, we are given the opportunity to right ourselves when we have gone down the wrong path. We could all use a break sometimes.

Below are five questions to ask yourself:

  1. As a leader, how can you choose to lead and still show mercy?
  2. When and to whom do you choose to give mercy?
  3. When would it not be wise as a leader to give mercy?
  4. Are you afraid you will appear “weak” or get taken advantage of if you give mercy?
  5. Where would you value some mercy in your own life?

This blog stirred inside me before I wrote it and continues to stir inside me as I finish it. I am striving to be more merciful…. What about you? Do you have a story of how you gifted someone with mercy when they did not deserve it, or a story where someone gifted you with mercy? If so, I hope you will share it with us! If you are a leader and interested in developing new behaviors, be it in mercy or another area, I invite you to contact us today. We specialize in working with leaders like you (and me)!

A great employee is a like a great pair of shoes... Invest in Quality!

Have you ever bought a pair of cheap shoes in a pinch?  Maybe you needed a quick replacement, or felt the budget didn’t bear anything more expensive?  More often than not, when you compromise on quality, the shoes don’t fit quite right, they to show wear quickly or maybe even fell apart well before you'd like.  In the end… you have to buy another pair.  Making this mistake often will add up quickly.  Consider how many $20 pairs of shoes you have replaced.  They probably add up to what it would have cost for a quality pair of shoes that you would love, feel confident and comfortable in and are made to last. We can draw a parallel from this metaphor to hiring and retaining employees… We should all learn from lessons in buying good shoes:

  1.  No matter what the price, find the right fit.  A bad hire will just end up giving you “blisters”… not to mention the time, money and effort of having to rehire and train the next person. Avoid quick replacements and be sure they fit your culture and the position qualifications!
  2. Be willing to invest.  This might come in the form of someone with more experience, or even better, someone with the potential to learn and grow with training, development and time.  Like your shoes, a larger upfront cost pays off in spades when your employee sticks with you and lives into the potential you saw.
  3. Repair – Don’t Replace.  If an employee that fits well and has all the potential to do great things just isn’t as shiny anymore, or worse, the sole has worn and they are not performing as well anymore, don’t just toss them out!  Now is the time to invest in them through coaching or more formal development. Your initial investment in quality must be maintained! Polish up those shoes and resole them again and again!  The cost of ongoing investment is far less than buying new!
  4. Don’t take your dress shoes hiking.  You wouldn’t try to make your shoes perform in an environment or for a task not suited to their purpose.  Why do we do this to our employees?  Get to know them and their strengths to ensure that they can perform at their best.
  5. Try them with a new outfit.  Sometime the effect of putting the same shoe with a completely different outfit can help you get even more wear out of them!Think about the last time you put those dress shoes with jeans-it can makes for a fun change and you got more wear out of those shoes! The same goes for your high potential employees.  Giving them new opportunities, experiences outside of their area of expertise, or promotions when they are ready for more leadership and responsibility can help them to find longevity and happiness in your organization!

The lesson that you eventually learn is that the return on investment when it comes to quality is almost always worth it… in shoes and in people! MSBCoach is in the business of investing in quality people.  Let us help you polish up or resole your teams through coaching or our training programs.  We also have many effective assessments that can help uncover their strengths and preferences so you can help them succeed!

4 Tips to Unlock the Potential in Millennials and Unify Your Workforce

We are embarking on a time when we will have five generations in the workforce including: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials (Gen Y), and the newest generation about to enter the workforce, Generation 2020. Many say they have had difficulty leading such generational diversity, especially with Millennials. This is illustrated by the countless negative articles, discussions, and blogs on the dilemma of hiring and working with Millennials, also known as the “Entitled Group”. Concerns are so widespread and misguided that Strategy + Business magazine published an article titled, “Five Millennial Myths: Forget what you think you know about your Gen Y employee”. The article provides insight into the many disparaging myths that shroud this generation.

Each generation grows and adjusts with the dynamic world in their time, facing different events and challenges as they make their way into adulthood and the workforce. One’s world experience is a major part of the fabric that makes everyone authentic. This combination of generations, experiences and uniqueness make it an incredibly exciting and challenging time to lead!

Here are 4 tips for leaders to help unlock the potential in Millennials and unify your workforce:

  1. Unlock their passion. Assign a mentor who will show them the ropes, help set goals, and help them understand boundaries and expectations. Spend quality time with them and learn what motivates and excites each individual. This can be done by administering behavior/personality assessments and conducting regular coaching sessions geared toward helping them find their place in your organization – (for more information on human behavior assessments, contact me at ). By allowing Millenials to feel comfortable and welcome, you give them the freedom to express themselves and find passion in their work.
  2. Promote contributions. Renowned psychologist B.F Skinner said, “You can build a society entirely on the basis of positive reinforcement”. Encourage and promote their insight and ideas by acknowledging and celebrating great input, solutions, and accomplishments. Use positive reinforcement instead of negativity when they don’t quite hit the mark, taking care not to squash creativity.
  3. Ignite creativity and innovation. The Millennial generation is more technically savvy than any before them. They were practically born on the computer and use social media to connect with people and information all over the world. We need to align our businesses and relationships to accommodate their level of connectivity. Maximize the authenticity of the Millennial generation to ensure we do not get left behind or become status quo. Allow them the opportunity to do for you what they do best.
  4. Encourage teamwork. “…there is nothing more important than teamwork. It gives people a sense of connection and belonging, which ultimately makes them better…”—Patrick Lencioni One of greatest contributions of this generation is their ability to function as a team. This is a result of receiving constant (and as the parent of two teenagers, I’m told, annoying) parental guidance and support as well as the trend of recognizing teams’ accomplishments by promoting the “everybody wins” approach to competition. Millennials know that they are never alone in their endeavors and associate being a part of a team with winning. They ask for help when they need it and do not take issue with being a follower. Leaders building highly effective teams would do well to learn from Millenials.

Working with Millennials and untapping the many talents they bring to your organization should not be difficult for good leaders. Their talents are a gift to us. The ultimate gift that you can give to your organization is to identify all the strengths and invest in those you lead. The returns are boundless! It is our time as leaders to mold and prepare younger generations to be tomorrow’s leaders.

How are you making a positive difference unifying your Millennials with all the generations in your workplace? Share your comments!

Also check out, Do Gen-Y’s make good Leaders? by Michelle Braden and Five Millennial Myths: Forget what you think you know about your Gen Y employee”,   written by Jennifer J. Deal.

Preventing a Leadership Crash From Over-Correcting

Often when I read a book I find myself thinking, “Some of that was strong food for thought and some of it was a little too much for me.” When that happens, I try focusing on what is relevant so there is still a meaningful take-away rather than disregarding the entire book. Authors write to their personal extreme passion, and it’s good to remember that you do not have to agree with everything that is being said to learn something.

Leaders are very similar. We lead out of our own personal passions and values. Whether or not we are always conscious of them, they are present in our leadership. These passions and values are very close cousins to our “hot buttons".

When our hot buttons are pushed, we can have a tendency to overreact or over-correct the situation just as an author may over-write to make their point. I find that overreacting or over-correcting frequently generates results opposite of what is really expected or desired.

Allow me to illustrate… A few weeks ago, I was driving home from a meeting. I am embarrassed to admit I leaned over to pick something up (not paying attention as I should) and, when I did, I slightly went off the road. Normally this would not be a big deal… I would simply correct and get back on; however, when you combine the fact that I was in deep thought, my cruise was on about 72 mph and the startle of hitting the rumble strip, a recipe for disaster was about to unfold.

When I hit the rumble strip, instead of a gentle warning the noise of the strips is intended to give, it shook me from my deep thought and seriously startled me. I overreacted! I swerved (or should I say jerked) the steering wheel to the right. In just a split second my car swerved to the other lane, and I over corrected again to the left. It was in just a second I realized, “I think I might flip this baby.” Fortunately for me (and thanks to my guardian angels) I was able to get the car back under control. Before you know it, everything was back to normal. I settled down, regained confidence and was back to cruising at 72 mph (I was paying much closer to attention though).

Later that evening I was telling my husband and a friend about what happened over dinner. As I explained it, I realized the parallel between what happened to me and what happens when a leader “over-corrects.”

As leaders we can get lost in the moment, in our personal passions, thus losing focus on the big picture and responding without thinking or over-responding to drive our point home. I realize as leaders, being able to respond in crisis is a highly desired trait, but I also realize that there are times we cause the crisis ourselves (such as I did) from over-correcting. Either way, whether the crisis is self-induced or caused by someone else, over-correcting is rarely the answer and usually results in disaster – or near disaster, just as it did when I was driving.

Have you ever over-corrected (over responded or overreacted) as a leader? A perfect example would be, the team is working under the pressure of a deadline (now 8 days past due), a tight budget, everyone is exhausted, you just got an email that the engineering team has not been able to correct the “bug” yet, stakeholders are calling and your lead engineer just called in sick. How do you respond?

Some of you from just reading this can feel your chest tightening. I am sure your story is a little different but the stress is the same. Below are some steps to help you process through over-correcting in difficult situations. I encourage you to take just a minute to go through the questions below – they will help you to be more proactive next time and hopefully reduce the crisis response of over-correcting:

  1. Identify at least one situation where you overreacted/corrected
  2. What was happening?
  3. What hot-buttons were pushed (identify how those are related to your own personal passions and values) 
  4. What was the outcome?
  5. How would you like the outcomes to have been different?
  6. How could you have responded differently to have created a different outcome?
  7. What will you do to create different outcomes in the future?

Developing Emerging Leaders


To explore why it is important to invest time, energy and funding into ELs, we have to understand their challenges.

Let's first identify the EL.The EL is typically a star performer. This is why we choose them for leadership. They show the ability to excel in a given area, be it sales, technology, customer service, etc. Star performers are used to being on top. Often this personal success has won them affirmation, bonuses and autonomy. Managing oneself to accomplishment is quite different than bringing an entire team to success. Herein lies the first mistake seasoned leaders (SLs) make. SLs assume because an individual is a star performer they will make an excellent team leader. They then proceed to promote them, give them the keys to their new office, print business cards and think they are good to go... thus, unintentionally setting the EL up for failure.

There are ways to make this transition more successful for everyone. A good starting point is exploring with the candidate if leading people is what they want to do.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you realize your time and energy will now go from your technical skills, you have excelled in, to interpersonal skills?
  • Your time and energy will be divided (this will depend upon all this position they will oversee‐‐such as: long‐term planning, strategy, budgets, motivating the team, keeping numbers up, hiring, meetings, etc)
  • How do you see your days being different?
  • How do you plan to transition from peer to manager?
  • Do you have leaders, mentors or family members you trust and whose advice you value, to be a sounding board for you during this transition?

I am sure you can come up with many other questions. The principle here is to go through this process before promoting someone into leadership. There is nothing more demoralizing than to go from a star performer to poor leader. It is our responsibility as senior leadership to ensure this doesn't happen.

Once you feel comfortable promoting the EL, it is important to help them begin their leadership journey. They will make mistakes and need to know this is part of the process. The goal is to learn from mistakes and then move forward. If the EL is not comfortable coming to the SL for advice, it is important to make sure they have someone to talk with. Often, although the EL says they will come to the SL, be aware they most likely will not. Do you remember your first leadership position and the challenges that came with it? An EL fears if they show uncertainty it will be perceived as weakness and their ability will be questioned, creating doubt. A coach or outside mentor is often the better choice. The goal is to create a safe environment where the EL can get sound advice and a sounding board to work through their challenges and opportunities.

It is important to help EL first develop self-leadership.

In order for a person to lead others, they must have:

  • self-awareness
  • know their personal values
  • motivations
  • work life balance
  • a network to support and be honest with them
  • be grounded as an individual.

Once this foundation is built, an EL can move on to team leadership to empower others. A SL needs to teach self leadership before team leadership.

As a new team leader, an EL will need to learn things such as:

  • how my self-leadership affects my team leadership
  • communication
  • conflict resolution
  • meetings with purpose
  • motivating your team
  • no favorites
  • hiring smart
  • networking

A SL should not take for granted the EL already knows this information when they usually do not. Leaders are not born, they are taught.

Is There Such a Thing as “Leadership Commonsense”?

I was recently coaching with a leader who was frustrated with one of their first line supervisors. The complaint was stated like this: "He just doesn't have commonsense when it comes to leading people".

What do we mean by commonsense leadership? Commonsense is defined as sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence. Webster describes commonsense as "the unreflective opinions of ordinary people". Therefore, would we define commonsense leadership as the leading of people from our individual "native intelligence". I thought about this for a few minutes. So, we could have leaders that run the gamut of Michael Scott from "The Office" to maybe a Warren Buffet! That could be like rolling dice with your leaders. Is that a risk that you're willing to take?

The problem with commonsense is that in the best of times, it is our "red flag" detector, the little spot in our brain that says "That doesn’t seem right." In the worst of times, though, it’s that little spot in the brain that says "That seems right" when it isn’t. And if commonsense comes from experiences and experience is the great teacher. Why are we still in a mess?

Duncan Watts, who authored Everything is Obvious - Once You Know the Answer, states that "commonsense is a hodge-podge of accumulated advice, experiences, aphorisms, norms, received wisdom, inherited beliefs, and introspection that is neither coherent nor even internally self-consistent". As evidenced by these famous commonsense quotes: " Two minds are better than one vs. too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth" or Try, try again vs. stop flogging a dead horse". And if "experience is the best teacher", when should one also "maintain a beginner's mind"?

Back to my leader's complaint about the supervisor lack of commonsense. In reality what the leader was saying was, "Why isn't this supervisor doing what I do?" But when you ask some to use their commonsense, you are asking them to do what is common and makes sense to them. If you want people doing what you would do then you must train, mentor, coach to that. A word of caution - trying to pass along your commonsense is going to be very difficult and (I know that this will be hard to hear) your commonsense approach may not be the best in every situation.

Here are four things to consider when leading others to find their own “leadership commonsense”:

1. Commonsense is individual - drawn from personal experience. And often that personal experience is not common nor consistent. What we gain is impacted by our interpretation of that experience at that moment in time coupled with our past experiences. Research states that we pick and choose what we remember about experiences and that our memory tends to forget details that are less favorable. And those different interpretations will give inconsistent and sometimes uncommon sense. An organization and/or teams need a common, consistent approach to problem solving. Creating an environment of collaboration and shared experiences that connects to a shared vision will produce better results.

2. Commonsense accepts obvious answers - because commonsense always has an answer. You immediately dig back into your past experiences looking for commonality or at least similarity to the question/concern at hand. The answer seems obvious because you have been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. Leaders should never overlook the obvious but we too often want a quick answer. We don"t allow time for the not so obvious. Instead of always having the answer - we may need to ask a question. Leaders need to ask the "Why". Why is this an issue? Why is this happening again? Why is the team struggling? Why are our results inconsistent? To find the answer you need to understand the why and the why may not be obvious.

3. Commonsense can be vague - because you're following your "gut". When you are following your "gut", it may be hard to give concrete direction or advice. We say things like "Just trust me on this." or "We don't have time to discuss the details, just do it". Often it is precise actions and directions that are needed. It is a must for any successful organization to have a strategic plan with specific goals that is communicated widely and often.

4. Commonsense produces inconsistent results - each "commonsense" leader sees his role and responsibility differently. We find ourselves deep in the "If onlys"..if only we had the right people leading, if only we could find the right incentives, if only they were more competent. All this actually proves that common sense is not that common. To get the desired results an organization must know what will take to produce the desired performance every time. The only way to know this is to have specific processes, personal accountability, and measurable outcomes that align with the strategy and goals. This requires hard work and time but so worth the investment.

I agree that commonsense is good at making the world seem sensible - by allowing us to reject explanations that don't coincide with our experiences and ignoring counterfactuals. In reality, commonsense may be less about a way to understand our world but more of a way just to survive without having to understand. This is possibly one of the reasons that we don't learn and grow from our and other's experiences. May I suggest that perhaps its time to view our organizational struggles like how medical science views finding cures. No one in the science community is throwing up their hands just because finding a cure is complex and hard. Let's apply that same admirable resolve to our organizations - do the hard work! The reward will be a healthy, productive organization.

What are your thoughts on “leadership commonsense”? We would love to hear your feedback and/or answer your questions. If you are interested in learning more about working with a coach for yourself and/or someone you work with please contact us today at 804-502-4319 or . You can also contact JoAnn directly at .

People are Motivated by Passion not Money

It is an interesting and a false understanding that people leave their jobs for money. In fact, people are motivated by their passions and not money. People will spend all kinds of money on their passions. If you don't believe me, look at people's hobbies and recreational spending. One thing is for sure, money follows passion, and passion does not follow money. If you can tap into your people's passions, you will find them making money for you and themselves.

Here are a few questions you can use to help you tap into people's passion:

  1. Are your employees in the right job position?
  2. Do they need extra training, feedback and/or coaching?
  3. Is there an opportunity for advancement or continued learning?
  4. Do they feel unappreciated, devalued, or are their opinions respected?
  5. Do they have poor work/life balance, and do they trust their leadership?
  6. Is stress a factor (stress can sometimes stunt creativity and passion) involved?

I encourage you to meet with your team and find out what they think needs to be done. Get them involved with the recovery plan. People buy into what they create, so let them help to create the solution.

Tips For Better Company Reviews

  1. Steer clear from annual reviews, they don't work. Historically they bring too much anxiety and take up too much valuable time. There is also too much time between reviews to measure progress or work on developing anything.
  2. Do monthly or quarterly reviews depending on the size of your staff.
  3. Have each team member set quarterly goals that are smaller and easily evaluated and are attainable.
  4. Have team members complete their own review and bring it to the meeting. The leader will then assess the review, giving their thoughts and feedback to how to reach their goals and steer the team member towards helping the company reach it's goals.
  5. Use behavioral tools (assessments) such as EQ and DISC or Emergenetics to help you connect with your team member. Strength Finder is good too.
  6. Ask team members what motivates them. Help each team member to discover their own flow and internal motivations so their work is inspiring and not drudgery.

Do Gen-Y's Make Good Leaders?

In my experience as a coach to emerging leaders from this generation and as a parent of a Millennial, there are challenges and strengths just like any other group. We see in this generation a creative ability to multi-task and use technology to get things done more efficiently. They tend to see everyone as being on the same playing field. Organizations should be flat and everyone has the right to speak and to be taken seriously and judged on their merits, not on status or position. The challenge is that the greatest strength can become the greatest weakness. We know that multi-tasking can actually create an inability to focus and more mistakes in the long-run. We know everything cannot be solved via text or email, that human interaction, soft skills, the ability to read and express proper body language is imperative to business success. We also know that even in a flat organization a leader will rise even without a title. So I think as with any generation, this generation brings amazing skills to the table. They will also have the challenge of the school of hard knocks, which all of us will agree is a powerful teacher.

I will share a story with you. I have always believed in everyone pulling their weight whether in a business or a family. When my son was 16, I was having a difficult time getting him to keep the yard up. I was a full time, single working mom (not to mention he needed to do this anyway to be responsible) and needed his help. I was so frustrated with “nagging”. I then began to think a little more, How can I motivate this kid, what inspires him? Well, he likes to be in control, he wants to make his own decisions, he likes positive feedback and he likes to spend money. I made him the yard director for the summer, gave him a budget, and told him to spend it however he chose but the outcome was to be a great looking yard. This fed all his needs. I could not believe the pride he took in our yard. What this means is that if you are leading a Millennial, you are going to have to think deeper than “just do this because I said so”. “That dog don’t hunt!” I don’t know if this is any different than it was with any other generational cohort. The difference is this cohort is not afraid to ask why. They want to attach meaning to their work – purpose. Truth is, there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone does not get the trophy at work but you can build a relationship (which is very important to Millennials) and mentor them to greatness. This may be the next great generation. Our ceiling should be their floor! I think they can make amazing entrepreneurs. They have funding money, technology, relationship support but they need to develop their interpersonal, leadership development and long term thinking skills and they can create success. I believe all funding organizations should require a year of leadership/business coaching to be included in their funding to help ensure their success rather than handing over money from a good business plan to make better widgets.