Don’t Let Groupthink Rule Your Workplace

Don’t Let Groupthink Rule Your Workplace

Groupthink is all too common when people work together in a brainstorming or planning session. Psychology Today says groupthink “occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader, and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus.”

This phenomenon can veer a team or company off course, or it can result in people stereotyping others, including their colleagues —

Visualize Your Strategy

Visualize Your Strategy

Are you the kind of person who thinks in pictures? If so, then storyboarding is for you. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t think in terms of pictures? If so, then storyboarding is for you, too — you may just not know it yet.

I sometimes struggle to keep clients in my workshops focused and inspired. When creating a plan for an 8-hour workshop, my biggest competition is the lure of a smartphone coupled with progressively shorter attention spans. Recently, while attending a

Trust the Pattern

Trust the Pattern

Lately, with the news worldwide being somewhat bleak, I thought I’d write about trust -— since it seems to be waning a bit. Trust is something we commonly talk about in business, in leadership, in politics. It’s something we aspire to build and yet still seems challenging to grasp. So here’s my attempt to define trust and how it manifests in our lives.

The obligatory dictionary definition of trust (from Merriam-Webster) defines it as a “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.” Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, says trust is foundational and that building it requires vulnerability, which means apologizing to our family and friends, and to business colleagues when we’ve messed up; or getting real about what we don’t understand or when we need help.

But in working with people for years, I have come to believe that reliability

Smarty Pants Don't Always Fit

Smarty Pants Don't Always Fit

Hiring is a confounding game. Some people have a great knack for it and an intuitive sense about people — but even they can get it wrong. The world-renowned Disney Institute hires “attitude versus aptitude,” and you would be wise to do the same.

Recently, I worked with a company who filled a position with great match for the technical skills needed for the role. But this new employee’s on-the-job performance created communication nightmares that led other long-term employees to quit. Within a year, the team was sinking...

From The Dinner Table to the Board Room

From The Dinner Table to the Board Room

Some families love being together, some enjoy short visits and others have a hard time just getting through Thanksgiving dinner. So how do families who have decided to go into business together make it work? Recently I had sat down with three families-turned-business-partners to find out.  

Go Slow to Go Fast by Christine Calvin

Go Slow to Go Fast by Christine Calvin

Have you ever walked into a semi-dried lake bed? You start out on firm sand, and little by little the ground gets softer and stickier and deeper until finally the mud pulls your boots straight off your feet. That’s the position of many companies battling today’s marketplace, particularly small-business owners set in their ways and family businesses unable to overcome Dad’s unwavering march into the ground.

As these companies have pressed forward into the 21st century using 20th-century approaches, the earth under them has become more viscous, slowing them down, pulling them under. Trudging forward against the headwinds of an ever-changing marketplace, more and more businesses are losing their footing.

As we all well know...

Directing versus Informing: The Dual-Language Quagmire

Directing versus Informing: The Dual-Language Quagmire

Scenario: You open the refrigerator to find a near-empty milk carton. What would you tell your partner or roommate? Whether you would say, “Get milk when you go out,” or something more like, “Hey, we’re out of milk,” can tell you a lot about your communication style.

As a business coach, one of the workshops I offer is called Interaction Styles. An interaction style is an innate communication pattern that helps us communicate in our lives and at work. There are four basic interactions styles, but because there are 7.5 billion people on the planet, you can imagine...

More Asking, Less Telling

More Asking, Less Telling

Quality communication goes far beyond organizational structures, clear directives and efficient systems. Time and again, I’ve watched highly effective teams crumble due to a lack of effective dialogue. And that’s because the most successful way to engage and improve your company is not by talking. It’s by listening.

One of the unconscious strategies I witness in business leaders and teams is a strong tendency to get to the quick answer, give directives or refuse to engage in dialogue that may reveal problems. It’s easier to just give someone the answer, make decisions for them, ignore problems or just step in and do it yourself. Yet such strategies have costs...