Monday, September 29, 2008

Crain's Chicago Business quotes Barry Zweibel

Barry Zweibel was quoted in Crain's Chicago BusinessSeptember 29, 2008 - Barry Zweibel was quoted in "Laid-back Layoffs", an article by Crystal Yednak, in today's issue of Chicago Business.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Newsvine quotes Barry Zweibel

Barry Zweibel was recently interviewed for a series about coaching at Newsvine. Thanks, RebelGirl!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Successful Change ... or Not!

Change is easy. Successful? Less so. Why? Here are two models that discuss this very thing:

(1) Successful Transformation Model. (Source: Daniel Ferdinand, Principle, Momentum HR Services.)Successful Transformation Model(2) Understanding What Derails Change in the Workplace. (Source: unknown, but a big fave here at GGCI.)Understanding What Derails Change in the WorkplacePay particular attention the the far-right column on each chart - if you recognize the sentiment, move left to identify what's likely missing from (and undermining) your change initiative.

Correct as necessary.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cubs Clinch 2008 NL Central Title

Go Cubs Go!

The Chicago Cubs, 2008 NL Central Champions

Go Cubs Go!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

No One's Immune from Outages

Dateline: Yesterday. There I am, doing my thing, talking on the phone. I glance out the window and see a landscaper over there with a big ole pickax in his hands, eying a big dead hedge. Not what's usually out there, I thought.

courtesy of A-one, a-two, a-three...thwack!

And with that, all my phone lines went dead. Even my cell phone! (Likely that was due to a tapped-out battery , but it sure seemed like a well-timed sympathetic reaction on its part!)

Later that day, the AT&T repair tech said, "That was one clean shot - big ole pickaxes cut through phone cables like a hot knife through butter!"


It took a while, but service was restored in time for my afternoon calls. Apologies to those who got 'clipped' in the morning, though.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Makes Great Leaders Great?

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote in Parade magazine yesterday (9/14/2008) about what makes great Presidents great. Let's see how her leadership lessons apply to business leaders and executives:

1.The courage to stay strong - "A President [business leader?] needs the ability to withstand adversity and motivate himself [and/or herself] in the face of frustration."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: I actually think that it's more important for business leaders and executives to be adept at helping his/her staff withstand adversity and motivate themselves in the face of frustration.

2. Self-confidence - "Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: I agree with this, but also believe that you have to be ready, willing, and able to decide what happens next based on the input received and your own understanding of the situation and the downstream implications of any alternative.

3. An ability to learn from errors - "To lead successfully, you must be willing to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: I believe that you must also be able to learn from the mistakes of others even more.

4. A willingness to change - "Conditions change, and Presidents [business leaders?] must respond."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: The concept of 'responding' is one thing, but I believe that the practice of responding meaningfully and appropriately is of far more import.

5. Emotional intelligence - "A President [business leader?] must encourage his [and/or her?] closest advisers to give their best and remain loyal."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: I'm actually not sure about this one at all. Sure, it's important for a business leader to encourage his (and/or her) closest advisers to give their best, but why stop with the inner circle? Encourage everyone, everywhere, to give their best, I say. And, as far as remaining loyal, if an executive cannot provide a cogent business justification for whatever actions are desired, then I believe those actions should be questioned and not just blindly followed.

6. Self-control - "Great leaders manage their emotions and remain calm in the midst of trouble."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: Abso-posi-lutely. The extent of a crisis is often defined as much by how the boss reacts than to the actual situation. Make no mistake, as the boss you are being watched, and what you say and do - in both formal and informal settings - is being noticed.

7. A popular touch - "The best Presidents [business leaders?] have an intuitive awareness of public sentiment, a sense of when to wait and when to lead."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: Yes, ...and when to follow other people's leads, as well.

8. A moral compass - "Only strong leaders have the courage and integrity to follow their convictions when the risk of losing popular support is great."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: Agreed, however - and this is a very BIG however - leaders, whether in business or the White House, certainly have no 'lock' on the ability to follow their convictions when under pressure. To assume anything different is profoundly disrespectful, in my opinion.

9. A capacity to relax.

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: Yes, yes, YES. The ability to quickly recover and fully recharge one's batteries - at the end of , and during, the day - is an essential competency for business leaders and executives in both the public and private sectors.

10. A gift for inspiring others - "One of the key qualities of a great President [a great business leader?] is his [and/or her] ability to communicate national [business?] goals to the people and to educate and shape public opinion."

Relevance to business leaders and executives, per BZ: Never underestimate the power of inspiration, an opportunity to inspire, or the value of being inspirational.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Zambrano No-Hitter!

Big Z

Go Cubs Go!

Congrats to Big Z, Carlos Zambrano, on his no-hitter against the Astros. Ironically, the game was played at a 'neutral site' (Miller Park in Milwaukee - CC Sabathia's house, that is - because of Hurricane Ike shutting down Houston). Ironic, as well, was that Zambrano's no-hitter included him hitting a batter with a pitch! But that's perfectly fine by me.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Upping the Ante on Sideline Leadership

It's easy to stand on the sidelines and lob grenades onto the field where others are playing. Even if you have the best of intentions, Sideline Leadership is definitely less than getting in there and mixing things up yourself.
  • What problems or issues can you step up and help solve?
  • What are you doing to actively make things better?
  • How are you helping others to do the same?
Don't just talk about what's wrong - do something to actually fix it.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Laughing Reduces Stress

According to a bit in the June/July 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine, "Anticipating a good laugh whisks away stress."

Research scientists at a California University conducted the following experiment: They asked one group of men to watch a funny video and another to page through a bunch of periodicals. Lo and behold, the group that saw the comedy had "much lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol" as compared to the magazine group.
Of particular note was this: The movie watchers' stress levels went down before the film even began!
In other words, the mere anticipation of laughing provided some of the exact same stress-reducing benefits as actually laughing.

Now that's funny, don't you think?! (To reduce stress, I recommend that you laugh whether you think so or not!)

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Team Excellence, Revisited

Back in August 24, 2006, I uploaded a post titled, "What Makes an Excellent Team?" in which delineated his six benchmarks that enable team excellence, according to Jesse Stoner, Ed.D. in his work called Benchmarks of Team Excellence:

  1. Alignment - whereby team members share a common vision or purpose for the team's existence.
  2. Processes - whereby the policies and procedures enable team members to coordinate their efforts smoothly and effectively (Stoner calls this Team Effectiveness, but I like using the term 'Processes' better as it's more about the infrastructure that required than the outcome resulting from it).
  3. Empowerment - whereby team members feel authorized to do what's necessary to get the job done, and supported in their efforts in doing so.
  4. Passion - whereby each member brings a high level of enthusiasm, energy, excitement, excellence, and confidence to the group.
  5. Commitment - whereby each member feels a deep commitment to purpose of the team ... and to each other.
  6. Standards - whereby the group purposefully raises the level of performance above and beyond what is necessary. (Stoner calls this Results.)

The day prior, I also referenced Stoner's work with respect to his five levels of team performance:

  1. Excellence - Teams at this level produce consistently outstanding results. Meetings tend to be more about the future than on today's crises. Conflict is handled openly and directly.
  2. Effective - Teams at this level produce consistently good results. Team member passion and energy is noticeably lower, though, and they sometimes fail to communicate with each other as proactively as they might.
  3. Typical - Teams at this level produce good, sometimes even outstanding, results, but tend to do so inconsistently. Team members often do not understand the team's mission, how their goals align with that mission, or how their goals relate to other team member goals. As such, they're typically more focused on performing their own roles and responsibilities than they are on team performance.
  4. Unfocused - Teams at this level tend not to function well at all. While the work often gets done, it is not through any coordinated effort, unless the group leader directly manages that coordination. Individual team members have very little commitment to the team.
  5. Unconnected - Teams at this level are not really teams at all; they are just collections of individuals doing their work with little interest in, concern for, each other.

In the intervening two years, I've come to realize that it's not so much about where a team is, developmentally-speaking, at any point in time, as much as it's about where the team is currently headed.

Some times it takes time. But once everyone (most everyone) starts pulling in the same direction rapid improvements are possible in both the benchmarks realized and the level of team performance achieved.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome, September!

So, after a brief break from blogging, it's nice to be back uploading posts, again!

D'ja miss me?!