Is change hard? Or …?

There’s a common belief that change is hard. I disagree. I think mostly change is uncomfortable. The human brain loves routine, habit, consistency, familiarity. Shifting away from that – creating change – means the brain has to work harder… and fundamentally, the brain prefers to be lazy. It’s a neurobiological energy-conservation thing, as I wrote about here. Leaders of change in …

What does “communication” actually mean?

Everyone agrees that leaders need to communicate. But what does that actually mean? Most people learn to talk and express what they want and what they’re thinking as young children. They learn in school to answer questions, and to write essays and papers. And then we get into the workplace and we believe communication will “just happen.” But does it, really? …

An under-appreciated leadership skill

Learn to write. I’m not suggesting you need to be the next Pulitzer Prize winner or that you should write a Great American Novel. I am stating that the better you are at writing, whether it’s an email, a PowerPoint deck, a Slack message, or even a text, the more successful you’ll be. Don’t agree? Just think of the endless …

Unpacking performance problems

Unpacking performance problems can be a challenge for managers. And it’s important to do, because many – most? – all? – performance issues are combinations of multiple employee behaviors and multiple manager frustrations. I had a conversation with a client this morning about a problem he wanted to address. In deconstructing what initially appeared straightforward (an accumulation of handwritten “to-do” …

Hey! Watch your language!

Words. Language. Meaning. Communication. Many years ago, I did a video (no longer available) in which I stated that “words are all we have.” Whoa, did I ever get pushback on that. And reasonably so; we certainly do communicate in many other ways than just words. Nonetheless, especially in this era of text messages, Slack messages, emails, social media posts, …

My time as an interpreter

No, I was never an interpreter of other countries’ languages. But I’ve done a lot of interpretation and translation of what might appear to be native English – but often isn’t easily understood. In my software-development days, it was technology-to-business-speak and back again. Interpreting what the business community said and translating it into something the business analysts and software engineers could understand …

Do you compliment?

People whose efforts are rewarded are more engaged and do better work. Unsurprisingly, they’re happier, too, at work and at home. So here’s the question for leaders and managers: do you compliment? Do you acknowledge? Do you recognize? Compliments are, as Christopher Littlefield points out, “conflict prevention.” Littlefield knows whereof he speaks: he’s a conflict resolution expert, author, and founder …

The missing skill for leadership and life

Let’s talk about listening. (See what I did there?) I’ve said over and over again that we need to teach communication skills in grade school, high school, college, and postgrad – all the way through and all the way up. There are classes in writing, public speaking, presentations, negotiation, and so on, but all those classes focus on specific types …

Want better meetings?

Of course you do. We all want better meetings. We want people to be present, focused, attentive, and collaborative. I’m not going to give you all the usual advice about only scheduling meetings when absolutely necessary, only inviting the relevant people, and making sure you have an agenda – and then sticking to it. (Yes, I know you see what …

Two thirds say they have no idea…

This morning, reading through my various email newsletters, I came across some … I won’t say shocking, because I’m neither surprised nor shocked; I’ll say concerning data in FAST COMPANY magazine’s “Compass” newsletter. They cited a McKinsey survey that indicates that This is a problem. Maybe you haven’t set your strategy yet. Okay, you’re running a tad (!) late on …