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Lessons from a San Francisco Start-up and Travis Kalanick

“I hate Human Resources,” the CEO began. “When I worked at Sun Microsoft, Human Resources was always getting in the way, with its bureaucracy and rules.” The sneer on his face suggested that he not only hated Human Resources policies and procedures, but also the people in HR. “Why am I here?” I asked. “You… Read More

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Coaching Girls Softball Taught Me Important Lessons About Leadership

One of the biggest influences in my young life was a baseball coach in junior high who spent extra time with me, not the best athlete by any measure. He helped me work on my batting technique, especially, bunting. It paid off, when we needed a bunt during a playoff game to score the winning… Read More

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What Performance Appraisals Are Really About…

When I met with my former Italian human resources director, which often was over dinner, he would frequently tell me, “In Italia, dinner is about the relationship.  Not the food.” I responded, “You have me fooled. This food and wine are great!” He was right, of course. When food and wine are extraordinary, as they… Read More

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The One Step All Leaders Should Take to Drive Results!

The one step that all leaders can take to drive results is supported by mom and empirical research.  It is simple and straight forward. Even a five-year-old can do it. Say “thank you.” When employees are recognized and thanked by their leaders, it significantly raises their sense of achievement, engages them, and reinforces the behavior… Read More

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Seven Mistakes New Leaders Make

I have worked with new leaders for over 25 years. Some make smooth transitions to leadership, but for many others, it is a rocky transition. Here are seven mistakes new leaders make and how to overcome them: Keep on doing exactly what got them there. Wrong. Most employees are first noticed as leaders by being… Read More

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Wells Fargo ignored early signals of cultural breakdown!

Wells Fargo’s CEO, John Stumpf, defiantly told congressional investigators that, despite a multi-year scandal and $185 million fine, the bank did not have a culture problem.[i] But, when 5,300 employees are fired for a five-year pattern of stealing private records, you have more than a culture problem. You have a problem with executive leadership. You… Read More

Incomplete science has shrunk learning organizations. Time for a comeback.

If you listen to some of the pundits or review the marketing materials of technology platforms that offer instant on-line learning, you could come to the conclusion that there is no need for organizational learning. I couldn’t disagree more. In today’s tight U.S. labor market, executives are increasingly concerned about how to retain employees, increase… Read More

Leaders today need agility—not dominance

Dominance has been the determining factor for selecting future leaders for decades[i], but that is changing. In fast-paced, digital, global businesses, dominance can create a good first impression, but it has a habit of wearing thin on people. When that happens, the dominant leader doesn’t inspire workers or even drive compliance. Dominant leaders usually speak… Read More