Archive for the ‘change’ Category

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Lead Star | News and Insights | On Our Minds | The Lies We Tell Ourselves.


Stop Making Excuses

The Official ASTD Blog – Next-Gen Learning

This article from the American Society for Training and Develop highlights a problem in the training function that I have seen taking place many, many times in my short career.  Particularly in companies running on a lean workforce, excuses are abundant for skipping training events, down-playing the importance of performance coaching and improvement, and the misguided thinking around “We’ve been doing this for years just fine without training, so we don’t need it now.”

While this article is focused on learning professionals, I think everyone needs a healthy dose of “Stop Making Excuses and Step Out of Your Comfort Zone” sometimes. This applies not only to workplace learning, but your day-to-day job, as well.


Categories: change, learning

Handling a promotion | IT Leadership |

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently promoted and ready to make some changes

I was recently promoted and now oversee the team that I’ve been a part of for 3 years. I’m glad to have the opportunity and want to make some changes of responsibility to increase our overall results. Additionally I know this isn’t going to sit well with a couple of individuals who will feel that they’ve lost some of their power (which is true). I want these changes to be as well received as possible and don’t want to create a bunch of negativity which might have the opposite effect. Suggestions?

– Cheryl in Sarasota, CA

This kind of problem is my favorite, because it’s all about human beings, and it can be resolved quickly, unlike a profit shortfall or major technical failure, both of which would usually require a lot of money, time, and committee meetings.

There are many books on the topic of leadership, but they go in and out of fashion with the frequency of teen girls’ clothing trends. I rarely come across one with real “nuts and bolts” tips to help someone move smoothly into a new job, but I think Kenneth Blanchard’s Leadership and the One Minute Manager holds up well even 10 years after it was written. It may provide you with some inspiration.

In most management situations, a lot of the hassles can be avoided if the boss would just take some time to treat team members with a little dignity and empathy. Unfortunately, most bosses are not that mentally honest. They avoid having the “tough discussions” hoping that people will get over it. But, that just makes things worse.

I suggest that you deal with this potential issue head-on: That means laying the groundwork and doing some pro-active damage control before making the general announcement. Schedule a time to talk one-on-one with those who are going to lose some of their scope. Let them understand that it’s non negotiable, but that you still value them and want their suggestions about how they could make the best contributions going forward. You might be surprised with their suggestions; some may even be really good.

Importantly, by talking to them beforehand, you show that you’ve got leadership skills and aren’t afraid to face challenging issues. Others will hear about what you did, and it will reinforce your new role. You’ll feel good about how you dealt with it, which will make you stronger. It’s a circle-of-success thing.

Congratulations on the promotion Cheryl. And now, as you’ve realized, it’s time to show why you deserve this new leadership role.


If you have a leadership question or need some advice on a leadership topic, email John at with “Leadership Coach” as your subject line.

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.

Evolution of the Web, and You.

HMTL gave us a way to structure forms and content. XML gives us a way to mash content from any two different sites together, in a way that disregards structure and gives us what we want, when we want.

You’d better know, it’s changing your life.

Most of us travel through the web through series of links, like lilly pads across a pond. We link, we watch video, we read, we learn, we investigate, we meet people, we stalk old acquaintances, we tweet, etc.

Were you doing this stuff 1 year ago? 2 years ago?  Did you do all this 5 years ago?

Our lives have rapidly changed with the speed of Web 2.0, and there’s much more to come. But think, for a minute, about the impact this has on workplace culture.

Specifically, think about your the Millennial generation co-workers. If you don’t have any yet, you will. Their worlds center around the rapid explosion of XML.  Go to any college campus and ask them how often they check email. You’ll be shocked when you hear their take on “such archaic communication.”

Millennials don’t email. They don’t place phone calls. They text. They Tweet. They Blog. They Microblog (ie Tweet). They Videoblog. They update status messages. They Digg it.

It won’t be long before you’re working side-by-side with some Millenials, if you aren’t already. How will you communicate with them? Will you expect them to use your familiar, comfortable forms like email, phone calls, meetings, memos, or one-off conversations? Do you think they’ll attempt any of these? Will they attepmt to speak your language?  Or will you attempt to speak their language?

If you aren’t already thinking along these lines, I suggest you do.  Success of you, your team, your department, your company, and your industry is heavily reliant upon the creativity, innovation and freshness that incoming Millenials will bring to the workplace over the next 10 years.

The world is changing faster than ever before, and if you think you’re “with it”…. think again. You’ve already missed the next development, just in the time you spent reading this post.


Do You Know the New Rules?

We live in a world of dramatic, tumultuous, and unpredictable change—change that is wiping out time-honored businesses and long-standing institutions and ushering in unprecedented opportunities for creative individuals and entrepreneurial organizations. So pervasive is change today that it has redefined our first task: The job is no longer figuring out how to win at the game of work and life; the job is figuring out the new rules of the game.

Rules of Thumb, Alan M. Webber (co-founder of Fast Company)

Rules of Thumb, featuring 52 “rules,”is a guide for individuals in every walk of life who want to make sense out of these confusing, challenging, and compelling times. The book is practical, philosophical, and fun. And, it is ever so wise. Here is a sampling of a few of the new rules we should all be getting familiar with:

#10 A good question beats a good answer.
#14 You don’t know if you don’t go.
#16 Facts are facts; Stories are how we learn.
#26 The soft stuff is the hard stuff.
#29 Words matter.
#45 Failure isn’t failing. Failure is failing to try.
#50 On the way up, pay attention to your strengths; They’ll be your weaknesses on the way down.
#52 Stay Alert! There are teachers everywhere.

Engaging Leadership

Truly engaged employees are committed employees. To get yourself to become committed to an organization involves truly believing in what the organization’s purpose, what it’s doing, and the people who are leading it.

Getting commitment takes more than the employee making the choice to be loyal and committed. It involves YOU leading them to the choice of being committed and engaged. To maximize your chances of getting long-term commitment from your people during trying economic times, be real and use Engaging Leadership. Here’s how:

  1. Tell people what you want to accomplish.
  2. Tell them what led you to believe it’s important to them and to you.
  3. Tell them your own struggles along the way.
  4. Tell them how long you’ve been thinking about “it”.
  5. Tell them you are committed to it.
  6. Tell them your plan for helping them be able to do “it.”

Then, give people a reasonable amount of time to think about it, question it, be uncomfortable with the newness of it, begin to accept it, and then be involved with how it will be implemented.

Sources: Center for Creative Leadership, All Things Workplace Blog

If It Can Happen to Pluto…

OK, I’m going to show a little of my nerdiness here, but do you remember 2 years ago when the International Astronomical Union striped Pluto of its “planet” status? Most of you probably heard about it, many of you probably didn’t really care… but I urge you to consider this:

If change can happen to something as certain as a PLANET, it can certainly happen to us. And it does. Everyday.

Pluto’s reclassification changed the rules of the game, and organizational change can be like that too. There you were confident and comfortable with your boss, and now you must readjust and reorient to a new one with a different style, focus, and rules. Like it. Don’t like it. Regardless, get on board!

“Change is good. Everybody is doing it… Get on board!” — Will Anderson, Channel Marketing Manager, Double-Take Software

There there 3 things to know when change is afoot. First, when the rules change, it’s uncomfortable… but then you get used to it. Second, your future depends on letting go of the unease and moving forward with the times. Third, this is your growth spurt!

It might not be the growth you’d choose nor the timing you’d prefer, but it’s the perfect opportunity for you to use your talent to reinvent yourself, expand the boundaries of your comfort zone and contribute in new ways.

It’s challenging, unnerving… but exciting!