Debunking “normal”

Normal, according to Merriam-Webster, means “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern: characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine.” Predictable. Stable. A sense of certainty, of knowing what’s likely to happen. None of that ever truly existed, of course, but at least we could pretend, act “as if.” We could set strategy, make five-year plans, look to …

Setting goals amid uncertainty

How can we set goals when everything seems to be changing from one week – one day! – to the next? One minute we’re all ready to head back to the office (at least some of the time), and the next minute we have a new covid variant and a whole new set of questions to answer. Reality can be …

Priority list – or to-do list?

Did you know that the word priority was never plural until the 1940s-ish? Think about it. It makes sense. Priority means The Most Important Thing. How can there be more than one? Yet as leaders and within organizations, we have endless lists of priorities. Too many. Research tells us that, to be effective, we should focus on at most three projects at …

Are you (inadvertently) enabling mediocrity?

People want to do a good job. They want to contribute. It’s part of what makes going to work every day worthwhile – in some ways, a more important part than the paycheck (always assuming said paycheck is in line with roles and responsibilities). So what happens? Why do we have people under-performing or completely missing the mark? There are – …

Is that meeting an email in disguise?

You don’t need me to tell you that we’re all Zoomed out. So I’ll make this short. Are you defaulting to yet another meeting – yet another Zoom video call – without stopping to think if that’s what you really need? Before sending out that invitation with the log-in link, I challenge you to ask: Could this be an email? Or …

Leadership, chiggers, and COVID (oh my!)

Yes, that headline is a tad weird. Stay with me here. First, “leadership” should be a verb, not a noun, no matter what the dictionaries say. Leadership is an action. It’s something we can choose to do, moment to moment. It’s how we show up in those moments. It’s not complicated, but it can take courage because it often feels vulnerable. And …

Meet your inner leader (yes, you have one)

Oh, the things people say about leadership! Leaders are born, not made. (This is so old and outdated that I can’t find a source – but we’ve all heard it, all too often.) Only one in ten people have the natural skills to be a manager / leader. (That’s from research giant Gallup!) Introverts can’t be leaders. (Susan Cain, author …

Look back before rushing forward (here’s why)

I’m not a fan of the, “Oh, this was a gift! it wasn’t all bad!” noise I’m hearing from so many people right now. The pandemic was not a gift. Yes, it gave some of us a chance to reflect, regroup, reconsider how we want our lives to look and feel. Those were the privileged ones who kept their jobs and …

Where to now?

What have you learned about managing and leading during the pandemic? What will you do differently? How will you support your mid-level managers going forward? I could stop right there, because those three questions are hugely important as we move into what could be a whole new approach to work – a more humane, rational, and rewarding approach. Even before the pandemic, …

Leadership in the “next normal”

There’s a lot going around these days about how we need all these new leadership skills for the post-pandemic workplace. You know, the hybrid remote / in-office scenarios, not to mention how employees are requesting (demanding, even) that their employers take a stand on sustainability, diversity, climate change, and social justice. All this requires leaders to learn new skills to …