Success Depends on You Asking the Right Questions

As a team leader, it may be uncomfortable for you to ask the right questions. After all, the people you lead expect you to have answers. While it may give you pause to develop a list of questions for success, a Harvard Business School study indicates it is a really good idea. Consider the following: Are you asking yourself and your team the right questions? Will those questions propel you to…

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McDonald’s Black Friday Marketing: Epic Fail or Nifty Strategy?

Last Friday, McDonalds tweeted from its @McDonaldsCorp account: Black Friday **** Need copy and link**** — McDonald's Corporation (@McDonaldsCorp) November 24, 2017 Interestingly, it seemingly failed to include any promo content in the tweet, leaving readers to wonder was this an epic fail in the marketing department or a deliberate action intended to drum up interest and buzz for the brand.  I…

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HR, Who’s Your Customer?

Over the last 30 years I have worked for many organizations in HR positions with increasing responsibility. Regardless, I had discussions within each of those organizations about the concept of customer satisfaction. In my view, the only customer is those whom we sell our products or services to! They are the same who pay our salaries. Human resource staff, were routinely told, that they should…

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Time for a Brand Overhaul at Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson announced its third quarter results last month and the news wasn't great.  Harley's worldwide sales was down nearly 7%, while American retail sales slumped by over 8%.  This all translated into about a 40% drop in profits as compared to the year-ago quarter.  Prompting its CEO to comment in its earnings press release:  "The continued weakness in the U.S. motorcycle industry only…

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What Was Unilever Thinking?

The PR Disaster that resulted when Unilever decided a run a Dove Soap ad on its U.S. Facebook page last Friday, that showed a black woman turning white, could have been avoided with better leadership. It's that simple! No more discussion or debate needed. It was a lack of leadership that led to this kind of tone deaf flub on the part of the company. Here are some thoughts on the matter: The…

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Free Advice For Uber’s New CEO

In June, under immense pressure from incensed investors who didn't take kindly to Uber's unrestrained "Bro" culture, Travis Kalanick stepped down as its CEO. Able to retain his seat on the firm's 11-member board, Kalanick was able to maintain extra voting power granted him in the Company's original by-laws. This extra voting power could have been used to help him to control the company's future…

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The Leadership Wisdom of Kung Fu

You may not remember the hit TV series from the 70s that traced the adventures of a Shaolin Monk, Kwai Chang Caine (played by the late David Carradine) as he wanders the American West armed only with his spiritual training and skill in Kung Fu. But, if you were a young boy back then, as I was, there was really nothing better on TV! The Kung Fu television show aired on ABC from 1972 through 1975.…

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Speeding Change by Slowing Down

I have always believed that the fastest path to the future is found through increasing velocity of change. I don’t believe I’ll get much push-back on that statement, but I’m rather certain I’ll encounter some resistance with my next one: Increasing velocity of change is best accomplished by slowing down. Most CEOs feel as if they’re in a race to change the future, and they would be correct. By…

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Thought Leadership – Piercing The Bubble

News Flash: If you value your own opinion more than others do, you might be suffering from a common form of self-delusion. Referring to yourself as a thought leader makes you a tone-deaf narcissist; not necessarily a great thinker. For my part, I’m in the process of trying to eliminate the term “thought leadership” from my vocabulary. This week, after months of reflection, I’ll be instructing…

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The “Be Attitudes” of Building Trust in the Workplace

Not to be confused with the biblical reference to the beatitudes shared in the Sermon on the Mount, these "be attitudes" are suggestions that you may consider adopting to help you and your colleagues to establish better trust within your workplace. I hope that you find them worthy to put into practice: 1. Be Real, for it Inspires Confidence: Authenticity goes a long way in establishing trust in…

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This Word Unleashes Change & Innovation

Have you ever worked for a boss who always said no? If you have, my first guess is it was a frustrating experience. My second guess is you don't hold said boss in high regard as a leader. I've always been amazed at the number of well known axioms espousing the benefits of learning to use the word "no" with greater frequency. In fact, there are some very bright people who believe you simply cannot…

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So, You Want to Be a Disruptor?

Mesmerized by industry innovators like Google, Apple, and Uber, business leaders of all sorts want to become "disruptors" within their respective industries. Easier said than done! Interestingly, the key to unlocking the kind of breakthrough thinking needed to support an aggressive agenda of innovation lies with the leadership and culture of the organization. These are the only elements that can…

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Be Great: Learn How to Seek and Receive Feedback

As we enter the New Year, I thought it fitting to delve into a sensitive subject - how to seek and receive professional feedback. So many of us don't know how to do this effectively. There is a tendency to immediately get defensive or attempt to rationalize a bad review. Look at this infographic from apparent experts on the subject, for example, and see how many of them suggest that you ignore…

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The Teslatisation of the Boardroom

I am taking a break at Grand Cafe Loos in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. My mind is spinning around as I try to defragment and reorganize the many experiences, images, and memories that have made this such a fascinating year. It's easy to pick out the large, juicy chunks, which have captivated most of us around the globe: political upheaval, geopolitical instability, corporate scandals to name but a…

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Leadership Matters: CEO Interview with Sam Walsh

This edition of the CEO interview features Sam Walsh, the recently retired CEO, of Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto, founded in 1873, is a British-Australian multinational and one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations. The company has grown through a long series of mergers and acquisitions to place itself among the world leaders in the production of many commodities, including aluminum, iron…

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How to Get Ahead: Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learners, or autodidacts, possess the capability to chart their futures in ways that can give them an advantage over their less ambitious contemporaries.  I should know, I am one! Back in the day, I didn't have the Internet to support me.  Yes, I did it the old fashioned way -- I bought books and read them.  It's laughable by today's standards, but, back in 1988, I spent countless…

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