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Dissolving Problems: What Strategy Works Best?

Have you ever solved a problem only to see it return? We have all experienced this frustration. How can we reduce this frustration and make our best effort to prevent a problem from returning? What is the best strategy?

In March 2017 the United States Congress failed to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). The media reported numerous reasons for this failure and most of them involve blaming a person or group of persons. Looking for the “culprit” is a popular strategy for attempting to dissolve a problem and it never really works. Focusing on who caused a problem is very popular but also very unsophisticated. It’s popular because it is easy and it helps us avoid personal responsibility. It is unsophisticated because it is a focus on symptoms and not root causes. How can we avoid blame and focus on the root causes? The answer, focus instead on the first 15%.

I painted a bathroom this past weekend. Taking extra time to carefully tape the trim allowed me to do a high-quality job faster and with less waste in the cleanup stage. I spent time on the first 15% of the job, namely the taping, and it helped me save time and to do better job overall. I focused on the first 15%.

“The secret for reduction in time of development is to put more effort into the early stages, and to study the interactions between stages.” (Deming, 1994)

The Butterfly Effect

A mild-mannered meteorologist professor at MIT was simulating weather patterns by entering data into a computer program. He decided to enter data dropping the last three decimals (ten thousand, hundred thousand, and millions) from the data seeing it as unimportant for his research. After the calculation, he was astonished to see how dropping those very small effects made an enormous impact on the outcome of the simulation. This effect came to be known as the “butterfly effect.” (Dizikes, 2011)

The metaphor of the butterfly is astonishing. The claim is a butterfly flapping its wings in New York will change the direction of a typhoon in the Pacific. Very small changes in the very beginning of a process will make an enormous change in the outcome. Focus on the first 15% to improve the outcome.

Typical managers use a different strategy. They ask questions about people such as “Who did this?” or “Who did that?” They also ask questions about fixing the issue, “How shall we fix it?” “When shall we fix it?” and/or “Who shall fix it?” They are assuming if they fix the problem they make progress. It’s not true. All they do is go back to where they started. The typical manager uses the typical performance appraisal to attempt to solve problems. This action rarely gets to the root cause because it does not focus on the first 15%. It focuses instead on the employee behavior which is most often not the root cause but instead the symptom. I could focus on being very careful not to get any paint on the trim in my bathroom and if I did, my wife could tell me to be more careful. But, because I had focused on covering the trim first my ability to be careful was less critical.

We must remove the root cause and we can only do that by looking in the right place. We must look at the beginning of the process. We must focus on the “0th” stage. To truly make progress we must improve the first 15% of the process.

Peter Drucker explained, “Progress is obtained only by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. When you solve problems, all you do it guarantee a return to normalcy.”

It is likely Congress chose the incorrect strategy in the first 15% of their planning and that poor choice damaged their ability to achieve their goal. What can we learn from these ideas? At the beginning of every project spend extra time to align the team members on the vision, the mission, and the action plan. Don’t be too quick to roll out the plan until this first 15% is clear.

When improving a process, identify all the steps that need to be completed to achieve the intended outcome and then spend most of your time on the first 15% of the process steps. This strategy will allow you to achieve an excellent outcome.

Wally Hauck, PhD has a cure for the “deadly disease” known as the typical performance appraisal. Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. Wally has a passion for helping leaders let go of the old and embrace new thinking to improve leadership skills, employee engagement, and performance.


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CEO pov: 5 Insights for Leading Change

The not-too-distant past rewarded CEOs for stable predictability. But as most of us experience, “Market transparency, labor mobility, global capital flows, and instantaneous communications have blown the comfortable, predictable scenario to smithereens.” (10 Principles of Change Management, Harvard Business Review).
The only thing that’s predictable today is that more change is coming. Whether it’s in the form of a re-org, a change in product, strategy, leadership, or a merger/acquisition, the best leaders know how to effectively manage themselves in order to keep people motivated and engaged, re-build or reshape company culture and set a new course.

Similar to individuals, companies that struggle with these types of changes knock themselves out of the market. We see it all the time.

While many factors contribute to how well a company maneuvers change, success heavily depends on how executives prioritize its people and communication in the process. How open, transparent and frequent executives decide to communicate is a solid predictor of how successful the change will be.

During the last CEO Forum, I had the privilege of asking Steve Singh, CEO of Concur, Jean Thompson, CEO of Seattle’s Chocolates and Stan Pavlovsky, president of Allrecipes.com what was most important to them as they maneuvered change.

For context,
• SAP acquired Concur for $8.3 billion in 2014

• Jean Thompson became the majority owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolates in 2002

• Stan Pavlovsky became the new President of the world’s largest food brand, Allrecipes.com, a year after Meredith Corp. purchased it for $175 million in 2013

Here are my top 5 takeaways from the conversation:

1. Create Success. The role of the leader is to create opportunities for others to be successful.

2. Talk Less. Really listen, get feedback and have empathy. Change is hard for most people.

3. Pause. Take time to celebrate the success the team and company is having.

4. Decide. Don’t’ be afraid to make a decision. You can likely fix the bad ones, but being indecisive is the worst thing you can possibly do.

5. Be Bold. Go create the world you want, and empower those around you to do the same.
I’d love to hear your perspective: What’s your best advice on leading change?

Teri Citterman coaches first-time CEOs, seasoned CEOs and high performers. Her latest book “From the CEO’s Perspective” provides a peek into the thinking of some of today’s top CEOs from companies like Alaska Airlines, JP Morgan Chase and Gravity Payments. She is a regular contributor to Forbes, a sought-after speaker and thought cultivator/founder of “From the CEO’s Perspective” leadership forum.

Growth Management Personal Development

Detoxing Corporate America

Organizations are not just names on the side of the building or a stock symbol. Organizations are made up of people, living organisms, and as such Organizations are also living. We have seen the birth of new organizations, their growth, and sometimes their death.

Because Organizations are made up of people and are indeed alive it makes sense that like people, organizations can become toxic. So what does it look like when an organization becomes toxic, why does it matter, and what can be done?

The signs of toxicity for individuals can be pretty apparent; weight gain, digestive issues, cognitive challenges, emotional distress, use of drug, alcohol abuse, and other coping mechanisms.

What about the signs of toxicity for an organization? These are not always obvious. For example I spent several years as a consultant in my previous life for a very large company. Actually this organization was a leader in its industry in terms of size. They spent years on the Fortune top 100 best places to work list so from the outside looking in it seemed like a really great place. Their mission is great and extremely important. Most of the people I worked with were really outstanding individuals. However when you pulled back the covers and became immersed in the culture you started to see toxicity everywhere.

The events that lead to the toxic environments included: inconsistent messages from management regarding expectations or priorities, resource constraints – leaderships goals being out of touch with what the team could support, redundant work effort because teams operated in isolation, management decisions that were made in a vacuum without input from team members that better understood the impact, tasks or assignments that were given to favored individuals, lack of feedback – employees learning about dissatisfaction from side channels and not from their management team, managers and executives who were bullies – yelling behind closed doors, Leadership appointing or hiring individuals into key roles who do not have the qualifications demanded for the role and then not removing them when it becomes obvious, projects that were always behind schedule, and obvious conflicts between departments that felt like they were at war. These were just some signs of corporate toxicity. Others include the fear to speak up, dysfunctional teams, political infighting, falling profits, high turnover, gossip, and low engagement.

It’s quite difficult to get good deliverables complete when management keeps changing their mind and even harder when they don’t remember what they asked for in the first place. When you work in an environment of CYA all the time it’s not a productive or engaging place to work.

When I looked around, one of the biggest problems was that the C-Suite was blinded by the fact that they kept making list after list of great places to work. I don’t believe they could see that there was actually an underlying toxic culture at work and that they were responsible for it. They only saw what they wanted to see, they never got out and asked questions or talked to the workforce, and it seemed that many of the issues plaguing the rank and file employees were systemic in the C-Suite as well.

Why does this matter? I mean for a global organization with over 13,000 employees, the biggest in their industry, and financially sound, why does it matter that under the covers things are toxic? It sounds like things are good enough doesn’t it?

I don’t think “good enough” is good enough. This organization could not only be creating more profits enabling them to do more for their customers, employees, and community, but they could also create an environment that lifts people up rather than tearing them down.

When employees are engaged, empowered, and inspired they do more, they go the extra mile, they provide more ideas, work together, see opportunities, create safer environments, solve problems faster, bring products and services to market faster while also creating more joy and ultimately more success for everyone. This is very powerful and not only is good for each employee, but creates an organization of unparalleled excellence that has a natural competitive advantage.

So how does an organization begin to detox and start to thrive?

When you hear someone say, “I’m doing a detox” most people don’t think much about it. We have all heard of a detox and some associate it with a cleanse around the food that goes into the body, some around removing drugs and alcohol from the body, and for others a detox can be one of emotional and mental cleansing.

A detox for an organization is not all that different except that it addresses more than one person and usually involves a close look at the company culture and the habits that make up the culture. It could be the entire organization that needs a detox or it could be a team of people, a specific department or location.

It starts with the acknowledgement from the top that something might need to change. While things appear okay, maybe a closer look is in order, especially if trends like failing projects, overrun budgets, high turnover, low engagement, or decreased worker safety have been seen. Sometimes the detox can be accomplished without external help, but often an expert is needed, at least for an initial consult.

A corporate detox will also take longer than an individual detox because more people are involved so this is not something that will be done in a week and it will take fortitude to complete. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Because when people love what they do, how they do it, who they do it with, and who they do it for, they will be the biggest advocates for the organization. They will do more, expect less in return, bring in more business, be more efficient, stick around longer, and be a catalyst for the organization. That means reduced turnover, better engagement, greater customer satisfaction, new customers, returning customers, more employee engagement, and higher profits.

While many companies say that employee satisfaction is their goal or even go as far as to say it is a non-negotiable component of their workplace, how many are really walking the talk?

How well are your employees engaged? Are you doing better than the 32% engagement that Gallup reports? How much is low employee engagement costing you? Are you retaining your top talent or losing them to organizations that offer the connection that your employees are missing?

I know I’ve posed a lot of questions and by giving them some real heartfelt thought you may just realize that your organization is due for a corporate detox.

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Your Company’s Secret Asset

Assets are critical to a company’s success with their purpose being to increase the value of the organization. So how else can you add value to your organization without dipping into the bottom line? The answer: Personal Branding.

Companies spend thousands of dollars on corporate branding elements such as logo, website, and marketing collateral, but many overlook the fact that every employee is a branding asset. When one thinks of gauging value back from what they put into something, they typically think in terms of ROI. Instead of a return on investment, think of it in terms of Return on Image®. An employee’s personal brand creates real value. Personal brands can elevate individuals to meet their goals and the goals of the company, while also growing influence for both. Influence is power, which, in turn, cultivates trust and builds your reputation as a leader in your space. It’s been said over and over that people do business with people, not companies.

Here are 5 ways your employees can influence a corporate brand to ensure:

1. Create Content.

This is vital (my definition of vital: without it you die) in establishing expertise. It’s the first place one should start. Allow employees to blog, be guest editors in publications, or even publish case studies that are relevant to your market. Let their personality come through in their writings. Then leverage that content every chance you get such as reposting portions of it as social media posts. Having them create content helps establish them, and you, as a leader or expert in their field. People want to hire authorities.

2. Speaking Events.

In today’s world we are so connected, that we are, at times, starving for human connection. This is a great way to humanize a brand. Employees can be guest speakers at associations, clubs, industry events, or be a guest on a podcast. If possible, get photos of them speaking or better yet, get it recorded on video, and, again, leverage that as much as you can.

3. Community Involvement.

A great place to be seen is in our own communities sharing our gifts and kindness to others. Consider paying for employees to join a service club or be on a non-profit board. They may even take on leadership roles within these organizations, which helps build both their personal brand and your corporate brand.

4. LinkedIn Profile.

We all know LinkedIn is a place to grow connections and attract new business clients. In many ways, LinkedIn has become the new CV. It’s one of the first places we all go to find out about each other. We look at a person’s accomplishments, what others say about working with them, and how they can add value. In fact, we tend to go there before we have any human interaction with each other. First of all, we want to know what a person looks like. A profile picture can have some personality, but remember this is a professional site, after all. After we look at the photo, we want to see what their title is. In fact, here is where you can be creative. It doesn’t have to be a title, but rather how you help someone. This appears by the photo every time a person posts, so it is a very important element. And be sure your company has a company page your employees can be part of.

5. Company Website.

The second most visited page on most websites is the About Us page. Here is where you can showcase your staff with a bio and links to their personal social media sites as well as listing any published content or videos they have created. The purpose is for visitors to have no doubt in their minds that you employ the best.

There is a lot of noise out there. We are all fighting to be seen. By incorporating the steps above, you will gain strategic visibility through personal branding.

I help executives create a powerful image and brand so they look and feel confident wherever they are. Contact me at sheila@imagepowerplay.com to schedule a 20-minute call to discuss how we can work together to grow your visibility through my return on image® services.

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Build Audience Belief the way Actors Do

To enhance your credibility when speaking for business, you can borrow a technique that actors use to build belief within the listening audience.

Why use an acting technique? The reason is simple: Persuasive and influential business speakers have a lot in common with actors. They all know that the key to successful speaking is to inspire belief in the hearts and minds of the audience.

The most important belief-building technique for actors is the use of what we call Acting Objectives. You can apply this technique to the rehearsal and delivery of your business talks (formal or informal), so that you will speak with the greatest power: power that comes from a complete commitment that is visible on your body and audible in your voice.

When actors are preparing a role, they make careful choices about what actions to take, to help the audience believe that the make believe situation is real. For actors, it’s all about actions; actions speak louder than words. So, actors examine each script and create acting objectives: actions that lie underneath the words – actions to take toward the listeners. This helps actors become motivated to speak the words that the playwright or screenwriter wrote and speak them truthfully, authentically, and conversationally.

In rehearsal and performance, actors pursue their acting objectives as if their lives depended on it. This helps the audience believe that the actor and the character are one and the same: that the actor IS the character.

This process is useful to business speakers for two important reasons:

• When you’re speaking in business, you want your listeners to believe something (believe that you have solution to their problems, for example). The more rigorously you pursue your actions (your acting objectives), the more completely your listeners will believe that you and your message are one and the same: believe that you are your message.

• As a business speaker or presenter, when you make your audience believe, they are likely to overlook minor shortcomings or mistakes you might make. Once you’ve made your listeners believe, you’ve won them over to your side. After that, your audience will forgive you almost anything!


In order to make choices about actions (to identify acting objectives), actors divide the script – and you should divide your notes for a business talk — into units. Actors call them BEATS. Each beat is a separate topic, smaller than the overall subject of the message. It is a topic of conversation: what the speaker is talking about: a simple noun or noun phrase.

Here is an example: an excerpt from the “Greed Is Good” speech, delivered by Michael Douglas’s character in the film Wall Street.

“Our company, Teldar Paper, has 33 different vice presidents each earning over $200,000 a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can’t figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I’ll bet that half of that was spent on all the paperwork going back and forth between all the these VP’s. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the UN-fittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right, or you get eliminated.”

In this excerpt, there are two beats. Beat one ends with the phrase “all these VP’s”; it is about waste within the company. The second beat begins with “The new…” and ends with the word “eliminated”; this beat is about the survival of dysfunctional companies in America.

Take a deep dive into the notes you have for a business talk, and divide it into beats, separating the beats with small dividing marks. Consider what each beat is about, and where it begins and ends. Then, in the left hand margin, identify what the beat is about. Express this as a simple noun or noun phrase.


When you know what each beat is about, you are ready to identify an acting objective for each beat (an action that lies underneath the words you speak). This should be a specific, active verb expressing what you wish to do to your listeners as you speak; what you want to make them feel or do.

Choose objectives that are personally appealing and attractive to pursue, so that you’ll be motivated and project energy. There are three ingredients for an effective acting objective, and these are the very same ingredients for an effective speaker objective. Each objective should have the following qualities. It should be

1. A specific, active verb, Directed toward the listener

2. Personal and appropriate to the spoken message and the listener’s situation

3. Truthful (for our purposes, truthful doesn’t mean actual; it means believable)

Pursuing an objective (the simple, active verb) gives you energy and focus as you speak. Studies show that listeners pay the most attention to the actions underneath the words we speak – the vocal tone and demeanor of the speaker. Consider how a person’s tone/demeanor (not words alone) reveal sincerity, evasiveness, or sarcasm, for example.


Let’s imagine that in one beat of your business talk, you wish to be powerful.
Verb: to be powerful

Problem: the verb “to be” is static. It doesn’t contain active energy.

Better choice: you wish to obtain power

Problem: the verb is too general.
Ask yourself: “What must I wish to DO in order to obtain power?”

Now you can plan specific actions to take towards the audience – in order to obtain power. Possible verbs/objectives:
• I wish to impress the audience

• I wish to instill confidence

• I wish to earn their affection

Is the purpose of your presentation to move the listeners to give you money or provide funding for a project? Here are some objectives that may apply during your presentation:

• I wish to persuade the audience to make a sacrifice

• I wish to direct them on a noble/moral path (for PR purposes!)

• I wish to illustrate the joy that comes from sacrifice to others

• I wish to save them from their misguided ways

If these power verbs seem overly-dramatic to you, know that these objectives are for the purpose of strengthening your delivery and should remain your secrets. Keep your acting objectives private. Have you ever noticed that your secrets hold great power for you — the longer you keep a secret, the more power it holds for you? Have you noticed that when you let a secret out, tell it to someone, it loses some of its power over you? We want our acting objectives to have great power to affect our delivery! So, keep your acting objectives private; this will strengthen your motivation to speak and galvanize the commitment and passion in your voice and your gestures.

Actors write their acting objectives in the margin of the script, right next to the dialogue. In your speaking notes, in the right hand margin next to each beat, write one simple acting objective.

Rehearse By Pursuing Your Acting Objectives:

Actors rehea
rse aloud, rehearse often, and rehearse at performance level energy. Rehearse improvisationally from your notes; do not memorize or speak from rote memory. Internalize your ideas. As you speak the words of the beat,

• Focus on the underlying acting objective

• Keep it at the forefront of your mind

• Pursue the objective as if your life depended on it

Over time, as you rehearse, you should begin to notice that you are communicating your joy in sharing ideas. Always be sure you are communicating: “My message is important for you, so I love being here with you.”

Benefits of Using Objectives:

Pursuing acting objectives holds three powerful benefits for you as a speaker:

Benefit #1: It gives you laser-beam focus and simplifies your process, because it gives you just ONE thing to think about as you speak each beat.

Benefit #2: It galvanizes your energy toward what you are doing with your words. It’s the quickest and most powerful way to project energy, commitment, passion, and poise.

Benefit #3: It’s a completely organic way to make your voice and physical demeanor support your content. It turns your voice, body language, and content into one seamless, unified message.

When you are pitching to clients, making presentations, speaking with senior management, or even delivering an elevator speech, the pursuit of acting objectives will give you maximum power and deliver to your audience maximum impact.

Growth Human Resources Management Personal Development Women In Business

Knowing What Great Leaders Do and Doing What Great Leaders Do Are Two Different Things

The other day I heard a leader speak to his team of fifty. He was sharing that he wants his managers to walk the floor and identify ways to improve processes and procedures and to identify a person who should be acknowledged for giving their all to the job.

After his talk a group went to lunch and he invited me along. He shared with us about his desire to grow his managers and encourage them to lead. He shared about his speech. One of his friends laughed and asked, “when was the last time you walked the floor and told someone ‘good job”? I know it wasn’t lately” The whole table laughed.

Sometimes leaders talk a good talk but don’t walk the walk. When you don’t walk the walk your reputation is diminished, people don’t trust you and even your friends know when you are just giving lip service.

To be a great leader who has influence, impact and the ability to inspire others cultivate the following:

Have Integrity – Do what you say you will do. If you can’t do it say so. If you don’t know something, say that. Integrity is about follow through and commitment. This is especially true for those who follow you. They are watching you and they know the person you are by how you follow through.

Model The Behavior You Want Others To Have – if you want an enthusiastic, energized workforce set an example. If you want helpful, customer focused culture you have to emulate that in everything you do. That also means that you find teaching moments to share how you would do it and people can model you. Think about how you greet people in the morning, are you inquisitive, are you sincere? It is okay if that isn’t your style, just don’t demand that from others. You are the one who sets the standards of behavior. If you can’t behave in a certain way then shift your vision of what you want or move on.

Standards – This is so important and so often missed. Missed because you, as the leader, take it for granted. You have standards for yourself, have you ever written those standards down? Have you shared your standards of behavior to your new hires, your executive team, even to your family? Too often leaders assume that others know, that others have the same standards. They don’t. Every single person comes from a unique, distinct and diverse background compared to you, including your children. They have different perspectives of the same event, location, or person than you. It is normal. That is why it is critical that you write down your standards, your values and be clear about them.

I have a friend who is a local politician with a great career ahead of her. When we worked together we worked through these three key components. It became such a strong foundation for her new career in politics that she had two works of art commissioned that reflected her standards and values. They hang in her office. Her core team has her value statements and standards on a card on their desks. Her meetings with her executive team start with reading her standards and values so that everyone is on board, with clarity and focus.

Everyone can be a leader. It takes focused action to be a great leader.

Growth Human Resources Leadership Personal Development

Level Five or Machiavellian: Which Leadership Approach Wins in Employee Engagement?

A widely-accepted assumption is employee engagement is influenced by how the leaders of the organization behave. Another way to say this is, the work environment is influenced by leaders and that work environment influences employee engagement. Both Level 5 Leadership and Machiavellian Leadership can create outstanding results but how does Level 5 Leadership behavior stack up against Machiavellian behavior regarding engagement?

The purpose here is to make the case for higher employee engagement. There are two big distinctions between Level 5 Leadership and Machiavellian Leadership that provide key insights for action.

First, we need agree on clear definitions. I prefer using the Conference Board’s definition of Employee engagement. I paraphrase, “Employee Engagement is a strong emotional connection an employee feels with their organization and team such that they are willing to give extra effort without being asked bribed or threatened.” (Gibbons, 2007)

Level 5 Leadership is the term describing leaders who were uncovered by Jim Collins, and his researchers, while writing Good to Great. (Collins, 2001) Level 5 Leaders are both modest and willful. They are humble in behaviors and fearless in their pursuit of results. They avoid letting their ego interfere with their ambition to achieve a great result for their organizations.

Machiavellian Leaders are also willful. They believe people are self-interested creatures and will put their self-interest ahead of other considerations. This is a key characteristic they share. In part because of this belief, they also believe it is better to be feared than to be loved. Machiavellian leaders hold efficacy and foresight as important characteristics. Humility is not needed to achieve results. Humility is not needed to achieve power and achieving power is a high priority for these leaders.

There are two key insights which can help us decide which leadership approach is best to build engagement. The first is trust vs. fear. The second is autonomy vs. dependency.

Trust trumps fear

Trust is much more effective than fear for achieving engagement. If we choose to accept the engagement definition above the presence of fear proves there is little or no engagement. Engagement is an emotional connection where employees are willing to put in extra effort without threats. Threats create fear.

If employees are willing to put in extra effort they must feel safe to do so. Safety suggests a lack of fear. Innovation and risk taking requires reduced fear, not more. If Machiavelli prefers fear to love from followers, it suggests engagement would be reduced with a Machiavellian leader.

Autonomy trumps Dependency

There are two laws attributed to Machiavelli which might cause concern for those who value engagement. The first one is:

“Learn to keep people dependent upon you: To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.” (Greene, 2000)

To be fully engaged, people need autonomy. They need freedom to make decisions to innovate and to feel fulfilled. If the Machiavellian leader purposely creates dependency, it follows that engagement will naturally be reduced.

The second is:

“Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability: Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable.” (Greene, 2000)

Unpredictability creates uncertainty and fear. It can lead to a lack of trust. It can prevent people from taking risk and/or acting at all.

Al Dunlap of Scott Paper fame exemplifies the Machiavellian Leader and is profiled by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Dunlap cut expenses at Scott Paper, mostly by cutting jobs and lay-offs, sold the company, and pocketed millions for himself, all in less than two years. He then wrote a book about himself drawing a parallel to Rambo. He demonstrated unpredictability and a dependence on him for success. His changes could not have been sustainable and it is probably why the company was sold (besides the desired outcome for Dunlap to hoard millions for himself).

In contrast is Arnold Palmer. One of his quotes on his website is, “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” This could easily be attributed to a Level 5 Leader, a fearless pursuit of results while demonstrating warmth and humility. He had thousands, if not millions, following him in Arnie’s Army. He touched thousands of lives, made his sport much more popular, and positively changed the world in numerous ways.

In summary, Machiavellian Leadership is great for beating down competitors. Beating competitors can certainly lead to success. Level 5 Leadership is great for employee engagement and generating positive results with minimum unintended consequences and enormous leverage. There is value in both but the place to use each is very different. I personally would recommend you stay away from Machiavellian techniques if you find engagement an important outcome.


Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great . New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Gibbons, J. (2007). https://www.conference-board.org/publications/publicationdetail.cfm?publicationid=1324&centerId=1. Retrieved from https://www.conference-board.org: https://www.conference-board.org/publications/publicationdetail.cfm?publicationid=1324&centerId=1
Greene, R. (2000). The 48 Laws of Power. New York NY: Penquin Books.

Level 5 and Machiavellian Leadership Video

Wally Hauck, PhD, CSP helps leaders boost profit by unleashing the genius of every employee. By showing leaders how to get the best from their teams, with proven methods and by avoiding morale-busting mistakes, leaders can achieve their strategic goals more quickly and with less waste.

For more than 20 years Wally has worked with nearly 200 organizations, hundreds of leaders, and thousands of employees to optimize engagement and customer experience. Many have achieved significant transformational improvements.

Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Pr
ofessional or CSP. As a professor of Organizational Change and Development at the University of New Haven in Connecticut Wally received the highest ratings of all professors in 2012.

Wally is married to his lovely wife Lori for over 26 years. They have two daughters, one son, three grandchildren, two rescue dogs a very dysfunctional cat. Wally has passion for golf, family, politics, and good movies not necessarily in that order.

Dr. Wally Hauck, CSP helps leaders boost profit by unleashing the genius of every employee. By showing leaders how to get the best from their teams, with proven methods and by avoiding morale-busting mistakes, leaders can achieve their strategic goals more quickly and with less waste.

For more than 20 years Wally has worked with nearly 200 organizations, hundreds of leaders, and thousands of employees to optimize engagement and customer experience. Many have achieved significant transformational improvements.

Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. As a professor of Organizational Change and Development at the University of New Haven in Connecticut Wally received the highest ratings of all professors in 2012.

Wally is a proud member of the C-Suite Advisors Network


Marketing Personal Development Women In Business

NETWORKING with Friends and Acquaintances

When was the last time you became a tourist in your own town or city? Unless you have had visitors it probably was a while ago. We don’t see our town in the same light as a tourist would. We downplay it and often forget it is special. Have your ever noticed that we see the sights of our hometown only when someone comes to visit? It is only when someone from out of town comes to stay that we break out the walking shoes and show with pride the sites and sounds that make our area special and unique. We point out the areas of interest, and often times we ask ourselves – why don’t we do this more often? Why do we wait until someone new comes to visit to show the strengths of our town?

Sharing ourselves

Sharing who we are and our accomplishments is a similar experience. We don’t share them with our everyday acquaintances or friends, because they know us. Just as we take our town for granted we also take our friends, colleagues and ourselves for granted. We are so used to each other that we forget to share our accomplishments, dreams and goals. We also forget to ask about their accomplishments, dreams, and goals.

At a professional function recently, a group of professionals were sitting together and relaxing. They knew each other for several years and several of them were quite good friends, speaking often on the phone and through e-mail. I sat down listened to their joking and laughter. It was evident that they enjoyed each other’s company.

I asked them about their networking practices and how they networked. Many shared that it wasn’t their strong suit. They didn’t like introducing themselves to new people, they felt more comfortable among themselves. They didn’t feel comfortable, “selling themselves or bragging”. It was then that I knew that the art of networking was being lost among this most talented, friendly group. I offered to share techniques that would reap immediate benefits right then and there — and now with you — here and now.

Networking Defined

The term networking comes from fishing. A fisherwoman casts her net into the ocean. It spreads over a wide area. After time she reels the net in. As she reels the net in she catches many fish, often many different types of fish. She may be after tuna, but her net has caught shrimp, cod and other varieties. Some she will throw back in the water, (dolphin for instance) because ethically she knows it’s the right thing to do. Some she will keep for herself. The rest she will give to the others, usually her friends and relationships she respects, who specialize in the various other fish. Networking is the same thing. You throw out your net, sharing what you do and what you are looking for into your ocean of relationships. After a time, you reel your net in, by following up and keeping in contact. Your net will bring in various bits of information. You will toss some, keep some and share some. Who will you share them with? Friends and business relationships, you respect, who specialize in the various other fields.

4 steps to creating an effective network

As I began to share this definition with this group of professional friends, I asked if it was all right if I do a process with them about networking. They agreed. I went around the table and asked them to share their name, what they do, how they do it and what they hope to have in five years. As we went around the table it was intriguing to find out the various specializations that these professionals had. What was more exciting, funny and revealing was the response from the listeners. Each time a member presented we would hear from someone – “I didn’t know that, my company is looking for….” Or “Can I recommend you for this consulting project? We’ve been looking for someone for the last year and you’re perfect”. Here was a group of women who communicate regularly, but didn’t know exactly what each did on a daily basis. They didn’t know the passion that each person had about a particular project.

Two important revelations occurred. One was a sense of relief among the group because they are often called on to recommend someone, but they felt that they didn’t know anyone. Yet in a matter of minutes they had seven experts that they could easily recommend. It was a revelation that they had access to the high caliber people in their own circle of friends. The second was that several of the woman had their own consulting companies and without even a sales pitch, were being recommended for a project that was their forte. It was revealing to everyone that business is built on trust, recommendations and referrals – and that they had easy access to all three.

How can you do this right now? You can start by following the following four steps. Creating, Casting, Reeling and Sharing. It is a process, and in the beginning it requires determination, persistence and practice. Remember that you are among friends and acquaintances, people who support you and want you to succeed. Don’t be afraid – your among friends – go fishing!

Creating the Net

In order to create your net you should have three things. 1) A clear short description for what you do. Your elevator speech. Can you describe what you do in the time of a typical elevator ride? If not develop a short, concise “elevator speech”. 2) A goal you want to achieve in your professional career. Have you defined where you want to be in the next five years? What position would you like to hold? Do you know what you need to get there? (We will be discussing all of these net creation techniques in future articles). 3) A willingness to help others get what they want. You need to be open to listening to what others are saying. What are they looking for? Do you have anyone in your group of friends, family and associates who can help?

Casting the Net

When you are at your next professional meeting, or at a family gathering with cousins or your next “girlfriend” get together, cast your net. Share this article with them. Practice your elevator speech. Tell them what you are looking for and ask them to think if they know any leads. Ask about their “elevator speech.” What are they looking for and search your own mind for connections?

Reeling It in

Two weeks later, or a few days later look through your database. You will find that you may have a couple of people who could help one of your professional colleagues. As you are surfing the Net you will come across an article that would be helpful to another Colleague, who was part of your “casting Group”. Before you know it, you may receive a phone call from one of the members of your “casting group”, she has a lead for you. You share your excitement about the information you’ve found that will help the others. Of course, that information was always there, you just didn’t know who could use it.

Sharing With Friends and Associates

Later you’re on the phone with Sonia, your professional colleague and dear friend, and share what you have found. Remind her to look through her database for any connections. The more you begin to look, listen and share the more opportunities come your way. People want to he
lp people they like. They want to help you.

From Sharing Your Town to Sharing Yourself

The awareness and sense of pride we get when we see our community from a tourist’s perspective is what we feel when we share our accomplishments, goals and skills with others. Just as a visitor feels enthusiasm for your community, a colleague feels the same way about your accomplishments, skills and goals. They know how hard it is to get where you are. They understand the challenges. They know what you stand for since they have been friends with you for awhile and they like how you are, (they wouldn’t stay in contact if they didn’t). Those are all pluses for both of you. She will refer you and you will refer her. That’s what networking is all about!

Growth Management Personal Development

C-Suite Essentials on Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has become a term that’s been so over used, some leaders have become desensitized to its concepts or beneficial outcomes. If you’re a leader who wants to be successful, read on. If you’re enjoying your status quo…you may still want to take a few tips into practice. Don’t be numbed by the overabundance of articles, apps and services that can increase the engagement in your workplace and subsequently your bottom line.

Here are a few ideas about what employee engagement is and what it’s not!

1. Employee engagement is people getting up in the morning and having the desire to come to work

There are many reasons why people start their day not wanting to come to work. You may think you don’t have any influence over someone’s attitude before they walk in the door. That’s not true. Once known as soft skills, communication, collaboration and change management, are truly essential skills. The organizations who take the opportunity to increase these skills will create an environment that exudes success.

2. Studies show that people who feel positive about their work culture can increase their productivity by 20%

Just how much would that save you in dollars? Some studies show that with just 50 employees, you could increase your bottom line by over $ 500K! First of all, positivity helps them show up for work. They work harder and smarter. More often than not, when they come upon an obstacle, they can assist in creating a solution. This affects the quality of their work as well. The good news? Positivity can be taught.

3. Engaged personnel are better problem solvers, sales people and customer service representatives

Having the skills to communicate, collaborate and navigate change, alleviates a lot of stress in people’s lives. Less stress leads to more tolerance and patience. Can you see where sales might increase? And, a grouch doesn’t make for good customer service either. Unless you don’t have any competition, increased sales and superior customer service is going to make a big difference in your bottom line in more ways than you might think
4. The best employee engagement techniques are related to the relationships they produce.

It might be, “Hawaiian Shirt Friday.” Maybe, it’s, “Catch a workmate doing something right,” day. In events like these benefits abound. First of all, it’s fun. There is plenty of research out there that shows when people have fun, they learn more and retain information for longer periods of time. Activities like these build greater bonds between team members. In a business where people work together this connection is priceless in terms of quality and creativity. Community projects done as a team have an additional element of raising your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), score. This has become an important aspect of who people want to work for.

5. Employee engagement is not just giving a bonus and calling it a day

Money is no longer the most important criteria for why people work where they work. As you experience the future shortage of employees, this concept will become ever more important. Money will not be the deciding factor as to where someone works or who they stay loyal to.

6. Annual reviews do not create communication for crucial employee/leader growth

Most human beings have a need to be acknowledged and feel valuable. It used to be that continuous improvement programs were for those that needed to exceed or be gone. How about making a continuous improvement plan as a way of life for each individual and the company? People respond better and increase their usefulness at work when they know how they fit within the company’s culture

Employee engagement = higher productivity = greater creativity = Happier-Healthier place to be

Your workforce is your most important asset. Don’t wait. Don’t have a motivational talk and go back to business as usual. Lack of employee engagement will become a critical problem as our workforce becomes more sophisticated and discerning. We’re looking at a shortage of employees coming up very shortly. The latest figures project that there will be a shortage of 5 million workers in 2020. This is true for machinists, medical staff, lawyers, accountants, lawyers, nurses and IT personnel, to name a few. Don’t delay, because you can’t create a great place to work overnight. The most successful organization will realize it’s a journey, a constant and continuous journey. They will build ideas into the very fabric of their organization. You can create ideas that will become how you do business, both inside and out.

Want to share this with a friend, but they are an auditory learner? Use this link to listen to this podcast. http://www.julieannsullivan.com/engagement-in-workplace/

Julie Ann Sullivan is a professional speaker and trainer to influence, motivate and inspire.
For more information on Julie Ann Sullivan, visit Julie Ann’s website. Follow on Twitter: @JASatLNE
Julie Ann Sullivan is the host of Mere Mortals Unite and Business that Care, now streaming on C-Suite Radio.

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