How to Build Trust in Your Team? Start with You, the Leader

How to Build Trust in Your Team? Start with You, the Leader

It’s not an easy thing to spot - or accept - lack of trust from your team members. Erosion of trust could originate from any number of things: poor workplace policies, unsettling (true or untrue) rumors circulating around, lack of communication from management, disgruntled employee or partner disputes, or an organizational culture that doesn’t value its people.

Whatever the cause, the longer it persists the more difficult it is to rebuild that loss of trust. And the more dangerous it is to an organization’s ability to function successfully. Trust starts with leadership.

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Team Retreats Worth Attending? Yes!

Team Retreats Worth Attending? Yes!

Let’s just cut to the real question: Why should leadership invest in a retreat?

The quick answer is, they shouldn’t - unless it is going to be a meaningful experience for everyone with well-defined outcomes.

The deeper answer is this: We live in an incredibly busy culture and work environment. This busyness means that lots of things get done. It also means that lots of things get left undone. Important conversations get put on the back burner. Things expressed in yesterday’s conflict get overtaken by today’s crisis or new deadline. Expectations become ignored or dismissed. We lose track of why we’re doing this work.

And, as the old Irish saying goes, “Expectation is just resentment waiting to happen!” The workplace begins to feel stressful, uninspiring, and even pocked with negative conflict. It’s exhausting.

Enter the definition of “retreat:” a quiet or secluded place in which a group of people can reset and think clearly…

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How to Create Meetings Worth Attending

How to Create Meetings Worth Attending

Have you ever heard someone say they just love to go to meetings? Nope, I haven’t either. Here is why: You can find pages of advice on running an effective meeting - managing the agenda, the time, side-conversations, papers and reports, pre-defined objectives, concise action steps. Efficient logistically to be sure, but … where is the “human” piece?

The essential purpose of a meeting is to bring a team together to interact, bounce around ideas, discuss, and glean valuable results toward achieving a common goal. If that group is not encouraged to engage and participate, then ideas and interactions don’t surface, and the meeting becomes simply reporting and rehashing.


This is when I ask the question: “Why did you hire this creative, expert talent if you’re not using it?”

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Team agreements: A key to high-performing, happy teams

Team agreements: A key to high-performing, happy teams

Whether it's an operating agreement between startup founders, a safe communications agreement within a team, or ground rules for a project committee -- every team has agreements around how they will work together.

For most teams these agreements are unspoken, unwritten and un-negotiated, nonetheless they become the rules of behavior and are binding on team members. They are "the way things are done around here." They may not be in the policies and procedures manual, but it doesn't take long for new team members to figure out what is rewarded and what is punished.

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The Most Effective Innovation Generator You've Probably Never Heard of

The Most Effective Innovation Generator You've Probably Never Heard of

Many businesses rely on innovation for success. There is a lot of literature on how to encourage the creative thinking that inspires innovation, but you won’t often hear this tip: Welcome conflict into your teams! Yet this is exactly what I’m enthusiastically promoting. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Most leaders are busy looking for ways to avoid fights and disputes, not invite them.

Conflict is a natural part of human behavior and...

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Google Re-Breaks the Code on Team Dynamics

Google Re-Breaks the Code on Team Dynamics

A recent article by Charles Duhigg in the NY Times, revealed and confirmed some of the most interesting findings I have ever seen around team dynamics and high performance. If you read nothing else about team dynamics this year, I highly recommend finishing my short synopsis in this post, and, popping over to the full article What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team.  It will be worth every minute, I promise.

Over the past five years Google engaged in a special project (Project Aristotle) that was tasked with breaking the code on how to build a perfect team. They have a huge workforce, a great number of teams, and methodologies to measure and analyze results that are second to none. They originally set out to see if they could predict what types of personality types and experience could be matched together to build a high performing team. The results of all that work…

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The Special Sauce For A Productive Workplace

The Special Sauce For A Productive Workplace

A quick search online will show how much workplace productivity is being talked about these days, with myriad solutions being offered, many of them basically short-term tips. At the end of the day what we’re really talking about is building a workplace culture that keeps employees not just at their desks doing work, but actively engaged, inspired and committed to organizational goals.

In this highly complex and swiftly-changing environment, it may not be surprising that only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy in place, even though 90% feel that such a strategy has a positive impact on business success...

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Harness the Power of Conflict to Spur Innovation & Productivity

Harness the Power of Conflict to Spur Innovation & Productivity

Constructive Conflict is an extremely valuable tool that can help business teams enhance performance when it is actively and thoughtfully engaged in. The unplanned for and haphazard use of conflict within teams can sometimes enhance performance, yet carries with it the greater risk of negative outcomes when compared to anticipated and structured intellectual conflict interactions. Without some constructive conflict planning, teams tend towards conflict avoidance and accomodating behavior that can lead to stagnation and destructive conflicts.

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Tight Rope Walking 101: High Potential Startups Balance between Creative Tension and Destructive Conflict Every Day

Tight Rope Walking 101: High Potential Startups Balance between Creative Tension and Destructive Conflict Every Day

I have put together and delivered a workshop at several business incubators recently.  I have fun with it because I really enjoy watching the faces of the participants when a piece of information answers a question they have been struggling with for years. What is that question?

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