Brainwriting vs. Brainstorming


This article originally appeared in Inc. For decades, leaders have relied on brainstorming to solve their toughest creative challenges. But simply throwing teams together with hopes they’ll produce a breakthrough idea is counterproductive.   Not only does brainstorming often lead to conformity, but decades of research show that people tend to produce fewer ideas than they would working alone. And while certain adjustments can help, it’s time we gave brainstorming a much-needed fix. Instead of everyone talking at the same time, try to get everyone writing at the same time–an idea generating process called “brainwriting.” Bump Up Ideas With brainwriting, individuals are given time… Read More

How To Spot Your Your Next Hire In 10 Seconds


This article originally appeared in Inc. Hiring the right person for your business or team is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make. The effects on resources and morale can be significant: According to a recent survey by Robert Half, the high costs of even one bad hire include time lost to training, increased team stress, and diminished faith in the leader. It may even cause illicit activity to spread. And while due diligence helps, interviews that rely on heavily scripted and surface-level questions often fail to predict how someone will actually behave on the job. Here’s… Read More

3 Ways Leaders Build Winning Teams

This article originally appeared in Inc. All managers want their teams to take ownership, work collaboratively and exhibit growth mindset. But what concrete steps can they take to supercharge others and bring out their best? In my work with leadership teams, I’ve noticed that managers of high-performing teams consistently broaden and build the talents of the people around them. These leaders recognize that making adjustments to their management style is the key to building winning teams.  They play to people’s strengths. In a survey I conducted among nearly 500 employees in the professional services industry, members of high-achieving… Read More

How One Post-It Note Reshaped A Culture

This article originally appeared at Inc. Culture is the stealth force of organizational behavior. Positive cultures can lift people to higher levels of performance, while negative cultures can deflate even high-performing people. There’s little doubt that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” as Peter Drucker famously put it. But what can leaders do to create a culture that doesn’t eat its own people? According to a 2013 study on motivation and culture by the American Psychological Association, it starts with just 19 words: “I am giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know you can reach them.”… Read More

4 Simple Ways Leaders Can Energize Their Teams

This article originally appeared at Inc. A new year means a fresh start, but for many well-intentioned leaders, familiar problems can give way to old habits. Hiring challenges, workplace conflicts, productivity drags — these time-sucking traps can distract leaders from becoming a source of energyand inspiration for the people they lead.  Without requiring significant time or resources, here are four ways leaders can supercharge their teams in the year ahead — and boost the way employees feel, grow, work and create all year long. Develop a gratitude habit. Research shows that the simple act of expressing gratitude can literally change the way we… Read More

Know it alls vs. Learn it alls


“Know it alls” don’t find the answers, but “learn it alls” do. Chances are you’ve seen a Nest thermostat before. You may even have one at home. Back in 2011, Nest broke new ground with the launch of the very first “smart” thermostat. It revolutionized the HVAC industry and smart home sector. That part is well documented. The back story, not quite as known, is that the thermostat almost didn’t make it to market – at least not the way we’ve come to know it.

Build a Culture of Respect: An Interview with Stan Richards

The legendary ad man talks teams, leadership and how great work starts with a culture of respect. Stan Richards is an advertising legend. He’s the founder and principal of the Richards Group, the largest privately-held ad agency in the country whose memorable campaigns have ranged from the folksy (Motel 6’s “We’ll leave the light on for you”) to the renegade (Chic-fil-A’s irreverent cows). But Richards’ proudest achievement is the company culture he’s fiercely built and protected over more than four decades – a no-barriers, no bull “peaceable kingdom” where information is shared… Read More

The Surprising Secrets of High-Performing Teams

Hint: It’s not how well they interact, but how often As companies continue to reinvent the ways employees experience and perform their work, teams play a crucial role in how that work is shaped, managed and executed. But what are the habits of high-performing teams? Cisco has spent the past several years researching, analyzing, prodding and experimenting the ways the tech company drives performance and empowers its 73,000 employees. In a recent interview, Cisco’s SVP of leadership and team intelligence, Ashley Goodall, highlighted three key characteristics of successful teams: They play to people’s strengths:… Read More

Don’t break your company’s silos – bend them

Silos can cause problems. How “bending” them can speed the flow of information and strengthen collaboration. Conventional wisdom tells us that the best way to deal with organizational silos is simply to break them. Whether it’s the inward focus of HR departments or the “tower vision” that blinds leaders to surrounding issues and events, silos must be torn down – or so they say. The problem with extreme thinking is that it’s rarely correct. On a functional basis, silos do a lot of good: They provide service specialization. They create defined work… Read More

5 Coaching Questions To Build Your Self-Awareness


Ask these questions to create self-awareness about your work, goals and growth. Great coaching starts with mirror holding – the things we say and do to help people see themselves in a whole new light. Instead of telling others how to improve, great coaches ask questions that help others chart their own improvement path. It’s also the key to generating more self-awareness about how you work and develop next-level strengths. Based on the inspiring leaders I wrote about in The Feedback Fix and my own experiences as a leadership coach, here are five must-have question… Read More