Life At Work

Actionable Tips and Inspiration on How to Restore
Joy, Purpose & Meaning In Our Work

How to Uncover the Root Cause of Poor Performance

The most common go-to solution for any performance gap is to throw training at it. The truth is, while training is often necessary, it is NEVER sufficient. To move the needle on performance, you have to isolate the root cause to what is getting in the way.

These questions are designed to help you get to the root of individual performance problems – which may or not not require training to solve (and help you extend the value of your leadership training contracts.)

STEP 1: UNDERSTAND PERFORMANCE GAPS 

Task/Responsibility performed poorly

  • What is the required performance?
  • Who is responsible for performing this task?
  • Where and when does the problem appear?
  • What impact does it have?
  • What is the difference between good and poor performance?
  • What has been done to solve the problem?
STEP 2: DO A ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS

Knowledge and Skill

  • Did they ever perform the task properly?
  • Is the task performed often enough to ensure retention?
  • Do they know the task is skill expected of...
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5 Essential Competencies for Executive Leadership

It’s a common career trajectory: An employee becomes a front-line supervisor, then a manager, then a leader of leaders and then eventually an executive over a department or an even broader entity.  From that perspective, leadership is leadership and executives merely have a larger scope and span of control.

Despite common perception - executives are not simply managers with a broader scope and span of control. It's a new job with a whole new set of behaviors which weren't drawn on previously. 

If you're a consultant to executives (or have aspirations towards this end) you need to fully appreciate the unique competencies (attitudes, attributes and behaviors essential for a role) they need to possess to be successful so that you can:

  • Connect with executives with an understanding of what they are responsible for
  • Assess executive performance
  • Develop effective executive development and coaching solutions

In this article I'll introduce you to five essential...

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20 Questions to Help You Uncover Your Client's TRUE Culture and Politics

To win business and deliver results - all consultants MUST cultivate their political savvy. While we may think that executives hire consultants for economic reasons - the reality is that more often that not, we're brought in for political reasons. 

Politics is not necessarily a bad thing. Politics gets its bad rap when leaders operate out of self-interest versus the best interest of others. Then ego issues such as who has more power, competition for resources and unhealthy conflicts raise their ugly heads. Good politics benefits the organization because it helps with providing checks and balances.

Here's 20 questions to help you uncover your client's true culture and politics (and I promise you - it's not what's posted on the organizational chart or the values hanging in the break room!)

DEFINING THE REAL CORPORATE CULTURE

  • What are the stated values? Are they what the company lives by?
  • Who are the organizations heroes? Why?
  • Who are the scapegoats? Why?
  • Who gets the...
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#5: What Everybody Ought to Know About The 3 Types of Organizational Change

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When it comes to consulting to change, your first task it to identify what kind of change your client is embarking on. There are actually three types of change, requiring different types of change leadership and consulting support. To ensure that your client's change doesn't become another dreaded "flavor of the month," you need to provide them the right tools that are relevant for the type of change they are considering.

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast

In this podcast from my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I will help you distinguish between the three types of change. Armed with this insight you will be able to:

  • Create more relevant and customized change solutions for your clients
  • Develop comprehensive plans to empower your clients to achieve both immediate and long-term results
  • Set a realistic and workable pace for change

Are you an executive or business owner looking...

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#6: What Everybody Ought to Know About the 4 Types of Change Agents

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Change isn't optional but growth is. This is where change agents fit in. They are the ones who ensure that when the marketplace fluctuates and the organization gets larger, the company matures and gets better along the way. 

Change agents are those who formally or informally lead change in an organization. The title is reserved for those who see a better world AND must be a part of leading others towards that better world. 

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast

In this podcast from my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I will introduce you to the four types of change agents. When you understand the different roles these change agents play in their common purpose of creating growth in the organization you will be better equipped to:

  • Better enroll key stakeholders in the work you know your client needs to embark on
  • Articulate the value-add contribution you offer a consultant
  • Create project...
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#7: How to Lead Change without Authority

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One of the biggest transitions consultants go through is figuring out how to help their clients with massive change projects without positional authority. They may see what needs to be done but they don't have the ability to simply direct others towards achieving those outcomes. 

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast

In this podcast from my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I am going to show you the secrets of leading change without authority which is clearly understanding and owning your role. You see, a consultant is not a leader. A consultant is one who helps a leader by framing the problems that the leader is accountable for solving. Consultants frame the challenges and help provide a roadmap for resolution of challenges. Leaders oversee the implementation of solutions and ensure sustainability.

Where You Might Get Stuck

The first key of being an effective consultant is learning how to...

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#8: 5 Reasons Why EVERY Consultant Needs Systems Thinking

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I have two children. When they were small, they used to go to daycare. What this meant in practicality to me was: two kids + daycare = many fevers and visits to the doctor’s office. As the parent, I was able detect and even treat the fever. However, in order to get rid of the fever, I had to rely on my doctor to discern whether the fever was caused by a bacteria or a virus and, if so, what part of the body the bacteria or virus was infecting. Then the doctor, using her knowledge of how the body functions, was able to prescribe the solution to dealing with the root cause of the fever.

Why You Need to This Week's Podcast

You may be thinking right now, “What does this have to do with consulting to change?” 

Let me give you two really important ways:

1. To create real results (vs. expensive band-aids) - your change project needs to be directed towards resolving challenges at the level of cause (not effect).

2. Any change in one...

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#9: 5 Reasons To Love Corporate Politics

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I'll never forget the moment when I first fell in love with corporate politics. I was asked to lead a massive initiative at Disney to help the operations executives redefine the guest/cast and cast/leader experience. This group of talented (and sometimes competitive) senior leaders had never before embarked on a project of this scope collectively and there was trepidation if creating alignment was going to be like herding cats.

As the consultant on the project, I took a lot of time and care to interview each executive. I deeply listened to each person's perspective on what they thought needed to be accomplished and why it mattered to them. And I wove those perspectives together into project goals and plan that represented the collective whole. Though integrating what might have appeared to be competing priorities into a singular vision and focus, I won buy-in faster than anyone expected (including me!)

What I discovered through this...

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#18: If You Can Follow a Recipe, You Can Deliver a Six-Figure Consulting Engagement

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Congratulations! Your marketing efforts have paid off and now you have a lead. And you may be wondering, "What the heck do I do with them?"

If that is the case, you will definitely want to listen to this week's podcast from the series "Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art & Science of the Business."

When you tune in, you'll discover the 5 Steps of the Consulting Engagement Cycle.

Many consultants hold back on their marketing out of that unspoken fear of not exactly knowing what to do with a lead once they get one. The consulting engagement cycle is the answer. When you know what you'll do with a lead, it transforms your results in every way possible.

You'll:

  • Land more work
  • Increase your per contract fees
  • Increase the number of contracts you land per client
  • Create more powerful client results
  • Get more referrals from your raving fans
  • AND more confidently market yourself and ask for what you're worth
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#19: Top Solutions Every Consultant Should Know

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 In this week's podcast from my series "Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art & Science of the Business," I am going to take you on a virtual "Solution Safari" to give you the big picture of all the ways you can offer and deliver dramatic value to your clients.

When you listen in, you'll be able to make sense of all of the consulting services you can offer and when to use them. You'll know what situations call for strategy, organization redesign, leadership development, training, coaching and so much more. 

Why struggle with cracking the code on how to make great money as a consultant? With clarity and insight into the variety of ways you can create results, you can effortless land additional work because you'll know how to offer greater client value that naturally warrants higher fees.


Are you an executive or business owner looking for a consultant or coach you can trust?
Let me introduce you to the perfect specialist...

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