Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Accenture's 100% Exit Strategy

The juxtaposition of news and advertising has always interested me. Case in Point from today's Chicago Tribune, where columnist Phil Rosenthal wrote:
"There was a lot of head nodding at Accenture's announcement that Woods was "no longer the right representative for its advertising," even as it promised to "continue to leverage its 'High Performance Business' strategy and 'High Performance Delivered' positioning in the marketplace." As if Accenture had no choice.

"Maybe Woods is no longer the model of perfection that Accenture was selling in its ads, and one has to wonder how a firm that touts its expertise in risk management, strategy consulting and talent management could be caught off guard by what seems to be an established pattern of behavior.

"In dropping Woods, the message one might take away is that Accenture is the consultant for when things are going smoothly. Slip up, and you're on your own. Or when Accenture makes a mistake, it cuts and moves on."
Clearly Accenture found itself in a tough situation and acted quickly and decisively to address it. Still, depending on how Accenture's clients and prospects think through the implications of what Rosenthal is suggesting, there may be more news about Accenture than just its next advertising campaign.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GGCI's Executive Coaching Flow

Recently created this diagram to help explain what I do when a company hires me as an executive coach for some leadership development work. Thought it'd make sense to post it for a wider GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. (GGCI) audience to see, as well, so here it is:

GottaGettaCoach! Executive Coaching Flow Feel free to call (847-291-9735) or email ( to discuss.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RockStarLeader Guest Post #3: Rock Music Rocks Stocks - and Rock Star Leaders

My newest guest post at the Rock Star Leader blog was published today.

Titled, "Rock Music Rocks Stocks," it's a riff on a USATODAY article about how America’s “mood swings” might not just determine music popularity at any particular point in time, but might also determine if the stock market is likely to be on the up- or down-swing!
“When people are in a collective good mood, for instance, they tend to listen to bubble-gum-pop music with a steady happy beat.” Think back to January 2000, when the market was waaaay up, boy bands, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, and the Carlos Santana/Rob Thomas smash hit, Smooth, were tops.

“Conversely, when they’re in a funk, people gravitate to music with dark, complex tones and themes.” No wonder that Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight peaked as stocks began to tumble in 2007, AC/DC hit #1 on the Billboards charts in 2008 — even the Sex Pistols got back together during the 2007 Dow slide!

"So what’s the message, here, for Rock Star Leaders?" ...
(...continued at

By the way, do YOU see a connection between music and leadership and are thinking that YOU'D like to blog about it?! If so, just send me an email and maybe you can be a guest-blogger for the Rock Star Leader blog, too.

Image Source:

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Friday, September 4, 2009

GGCI Welcomes GGCI

A hearty welcome to a new (and unaffiliated) "GGCI" -- Global Green Cars, Inc. ( -- and their innovative product line:

GGCI G-1G-1 -- "Pollution-free and affordable. 85% of drivers travel less than 35 miles each way for work. The 100-mile range package would suffice for all this driving with plenty of global green miles to spare. The MSRP is $18,000."

GGCI G-2G-2 -- "This fuel-less car for the in-town soccer mom and dad. It has a range of 100 miles in town and can reach speeds of 90 mph. The car weighs just 3,300 pounds and looks great. It is practical and affordable at $26,950 MSRP."

GGCI G-3G-3 Plug-In Hybrid Truck -- "Payload = 1,000 pounds; Range = 125 miles (depending on how you drive); Mileage = 100+ mpg; Top Speed= 80 mph. The G-3 is the most American-made small pickup in America."

GGCI -- GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. ( -- wishes you well!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

3qtr2009 Not Just Talk! Newsletter Now Available

Not Just Talk! - the quarterly newsletter of GottaGettaCoach!, Inc.The 3qtr2009 Not Just Talk! quarterly newsletter from Barry Zweibel and GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is now available and ready for viewing at Included are:


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Saturday, July 4, 2009

GottaGettaCoach! Celebrates 9-year Anniversary

July 4, 2009 -- Thanks for all the congratulatory fireworks, folks!

I very much appreciate your continued support. - bz


Monday, June 29, 2009

Making Lemonade out of (no) Sour Mash

Knob Creek Bourbon has figured something out about marketing! Is this great, or what?! knob creek letterDear Knob Creek® lover,

It seems you've helped cause a bit of a "situation" here at the distillery. See, because you, and many others like you, have been such loyal consumers, we've temporarily run out of Knob Creek Bourbon. And for that you deserve a huge thanks.

With that said, it's quite possible that you might not be able to find us in our usual places for a bit. Should this happen, take a deep breath and keep in mind that our next batch will be fully matured and ready to go this November (we'd bottle it now to boost supply, but then it wouldn't be aged a full 9 years and it wouldn't really be Knob Creek).

And once you've weathered the storm, be sure to proudly sport this t-shirt commemorating this historic event.

Now, hang in there and cherish every drop of Knob Creek like it's the last, because, well, it could be. Until November anyway.

Cheers, Your friends at Knob Creek

P.S. If you can't find a bottle of Knob Creek anywhere, visit and find out which locations (if any) in your area are lucky enough to have a few bottles left on their shelves.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

GGCI earns A+ Rating from BBB

On June 1, 2009, the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois introduced a new Ratings System (a letter grade from A+ to F) for all Accredited Businesses and non-accredited companies that are in the BBB database to replace the previous "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" rating. The new ratings will be used by all BBBs across the United States and Canada.

The letter grade for GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is "A+".

GottaGettaCoach!, Inc earns A+ rating


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Collaboration? Why Bother?!

“Collaboration? Why bother?! It only slows things down.”

So who hasn't said that to themselves – or aloud? Taking the time to properly ‘socialize’ an issue, to get input from key (and not-so key) players, to spend yet another round of meetings seemingly obfuscating the obvious, can feel like an incredible waste of time, effort, and resources, can’t it?

So why collaborate? What IS the upside that makes so many companies think that collaboration is the Holy Grail of effective decision-making?!

Building a Better House through Collaboration

Let’s say an architect is designing a house and specifies doubling the amount of insulation for the house. While that will increase the cost of the build, it makes sense because it will also decrease heating and cooling costs on an ongoing basis. No collaboration, per se, but not a bad plan, either.

Now consider what could happen should the architect reach out and collaborate with the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) guy.

Knowing that the walls will be better insulated (and will have fewer leaks), the HVAC supplier knows he can install a smaller (read: less expensive) system than he might otherwise. So not only will the ongoing heating and cooling costs be less, but the cost to build the house will be less, too!

Building Better Relationships though Collaboration

Let’s say you’re working on a project and pretty much have everything figured out. So you go ahead and begin implementation. No collaboration, per se, but not a bad plan, either.

Now consider what could happen should you reach out and collaborate with some of your peers on the project.

While, yes, it may slow things down at first, the rapport and willingness to collaborate you’re showing today, will likely pay dividends in the future on projects where you really do need others’ help.

What examples can YOU share about how collaborating helped you learn something you didn't already know or resulted in saving you, your company, or your customers, time, effort, and/or money?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GGCI Executive Coaching Survey Results

Results from the first-ever GGCI Executive Coaching Client Survey are in. Here are some highlights from GottaGettaCoach! client responses received:

GottaGettaCoach! Client SatisfactionTo the question: "Overall, how satisfied are you with the coaching received?"

  • 92% of respondents chose “very satisfied”
  • 8% chose “satisfied”
  • no other responses selected.

Regarding Leadership Competency Improvements, respondents cited:

  • A 55.9% improvement in "working with and through other people"
  • A 47.6% improvement in "the clarity of your leadership message or brand"
  • A 47.49% improvement in "accurately judging yourself and adapting your behaviors accordingly"
  • A 45.4% improvement in "your ability to delegate"
  • Additional leadership competency improvements reported

In answer to the question: "What do you estimate the Return on Investment (ROI) of the coaching you received to be?"

ROI of working with GottaGettaCoach!

  • 21% of all respondents chose "worth more than $5 for every dollar spent" as their answer
  • the average ROI from all other respondents equaled $2.64 for every dollar spent.

For more GGCI Executive Coaching Survey results:

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Should New Coaches Niche or Not?

Had the opportunity to be interviewed by Don Morris of the New Coach Connection for a podcast on the pros and cons of less experienced coaches choosing niches.

(direct download)

Click on the arrow to the listen to the podcast -- running time: About 50 minutes -- or use this link to download the interview to your local computer.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

BNET syndicates article by Barry Zweibel

BNET quotes Barry Zweibel, MBA, MCC, GottaGettaCoach!
Just learned that BNET has picked up and syndicated an article I wrote and had published a while back. Here's the link: Find Articles - A Strategic Coach, Training & Development, Apr 2005, by Zweibel, Barry.

I'm particularly pleased by this as I've wanted to be noticed by BNET, dubbed as "The go-to place for management", for quite some time now.

Nice way to end the year, dont' you think?!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Common Sense Office Politics

"Political skills in the workplace can determine one’s ability to perform at a high level, foster camaraderie and ultimately, be the difference-maker between a successful company and failing one." So writes Dr. William Moskal, in the December 2008 issue of Baseline magazine.

What follows are his his top 10 "common-sense management principles that can harness political energy to foster successful teams" [along with my comments in green]:

  1. If you've seen one relationship, you've seen one relationship. To achieve success, you must know what motivates people and apply that intelligence to guide them toward achieving a common objective. [And remember, just because something works particularly well for one person or group of persons does NOT mean it will automatically work well with others. Each person, regardless of the role s/he happens to be playing at any particular point in time, is a unique individual.]
  2. Without structure, there is no freedom. Without structure, anarchy reigns. People need rules about how to interact within a team in order to create responsibility and accountability. [Think jazz improvisation - total freedom "within a pre-determined, formalized structure." See my "Management as Jazz" post for more on this.]
  3. People panic in herds and recover one by one. Recall the last meeting at which employees were notified of organizational change. Likely, there were nervous glances, discreet whispers. After the meeting, employees gathered for conversations where rumors spread. [Don't assume that just one speech, meeting, presentation, or conversation will be enough. Socialize your issues - early and often. Hang out by the copy machine or where your floor's mail is delivered; chat-it-up while waiting for the elevator; purposefully take a few extra trips to Starbucks to talk with informal opinion-leaders; plug into the grapevine; etc. A well-timed conversation - even one of the shortest duration - can have amazing restorative powers.]
  4. There are no obstacles; there are only possibilities. Lead by example and maintain a positive, encouraging attitude. [Sure, it may sound a bit trite and hackneyed, but it's still smart.]
  5. The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they would like to be treated. [A tip-of-the-hat to Tony Alessandra who coined the term.]
  6. When you jerk the socks on the clothesline, the underwear jumps. Consider consequences, assume accountability and be very clear when communicating an action’s potential impact. [Okay, so I might have used another analogy, but not anticipating Unintended Consequences has ruined many an initiative - and short-stopped many an executive's career.]
  7. Reward and recognize good behavior. Reward and distinguish the teams first and the stars second. [And reward stars for their ability to raise everyone else's level of performance, even more than any individual contribution they happened to make themselves.]
  8. If you own it, you take care of it. [I'm not such a fan of saying that a leader 'owns' his/her team, but the 'take care of it' part is rock-solid advice.]
  9. Trust requires predictability and provision of benefit. Employees need to know how they will benefit if goals are achieved and to understand the consequences if results fall short. [But don't get trapped by "The Dangerous Allure of Trust".]
  10. It’s about people, not politics. [Office politics are neither good, nor bad - they just are. If you have trouble with this concept, consider the word 'politics' to simply mean the process by which communications flow within organization. Thus, playing politics is just another way of saying that you're trying to communicate with your coworkers as effectively as possible. That some are more 'unsavory' about this than most is by and large irrelevant.]

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Monday, December 8, 2008

C.L.E.A.N. up after an Outage

Anyone who works in business knows that systems outages happen. But if you're responsible for correcting such outages, here's a handy little acronym to help C.L.E.A.N. up afterwards:

  • C as in “Cop to it” - Admit you made a mistake (even if it was only a mistake in judgment). Take full responsibility for the impact of your actions (or those of your staff or vendor personnel).
  • L as in “Listen for the deeper issue” - Sure, an outage is annoying, but is it just that? Maybe your customer was particularly annoyed because s/he wasn't notified as to the potential of an outage? How do you communicate with your stakeholders when there isn't an outage (yet) might be a good place to look.
  • E as in "Echo your Apology or Regret" - Don't fall into the trap of thinking that apologizing just once makes everything okay. Remember, you probably really messed up someones Monday morning, or Friday afternoon. When Henry Kissinger said, "Next week there can't be any crisis. My schedule is already full," he wasn't just speaking for himself.
  • A as in “Accept Accountability” - Taking responsibility is only part of it; accepting accountability is the rest. So welcome to the doghouse. You did the crime, now do the time! But, if you work hard, keep your nose clean, and do some of your best work in the weeks that follow, your canine-like residency will likely be short-lived and soon forgotten.
  • N as in “Never let it happen again!” - Puleeze, don’t make the same mistake twice. Find out what happened (think: Root Cause Analysis) and put whatever processes you need in place to insure that this hole is sufficiently patched, once and for all.

From my experience in managing the mission critical telecommunications systems at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (what I did before becoming a coach) every minute of down-time needs about an hour of post-outage clean-up.

If you're doing it in less , you're likely missing some essential C.L.E.A.N. steps along the way.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Three Leadership Styles

Three Leadership Styles

Let me suggest that while there are three main leadership styles: Control, Optimization, and Possibility, only the latter, Possibility, enables the true upside of effective leadership.

Leadership by Control Leadership by Control is the classic top-down model. The idea -- as represented by a boss' Circle of Impact with arrows pointing inward -- is that only a small part of what a boss is responsible for can really be controlled. But, results in that smaller area tends to be excellent. Rarely game-changing in nature, though.

Leadership by OptimizationLeadership by Optimization is the process of working to the edges -- to insure that as much is "done right" as possible -- but no farther. Eliminating waste, streamlining processes, etc. most certainly have their value, but Leadership by Optimization is more of a managerial style than a leadership approach.

Leadership by Possibility Leadership by Possibility is about expanding one's Circle of Impact beyond its current limits. It's about empowering your staff, engaging your peers, and challenging stakeholders to think bigger, act more decisively, and achieve more. While sometimes messy, it's the leadership style with the greatest upside.

So, as a percentage of time, how much of the time would you say you spend in Control mode? Optimization mode? Possibility mode? What would help you spend even more time as a leader of Possibility?

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Platitudes & Attitudes

T. Boone Pickens
Some observations from Texas billionaire, T. Boone Pickens ...


"Sometimes the window of opportunity is open only briefly... be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader. Don't fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire."


"Information is everything. You can never have enough, and as you get older you find that keeping current keeps you in the game."


"It's all right to get your fingers crushed in the door, but don't let the same door crush them twice."


"Far too many executives have become more concerned with the four P's -- Pay, Perks, Power, and Prestige -- rather than making profits for shareholders."


"What I am always looking for is people who can do a job better than I can."


"Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure they are not the same eight hours."


"Give young people a chance."


"A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan."
Source: Success Magazine (November 2008)

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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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Friday, July 4, 2008

8-Year Anniversary for GottaGettaCoach!

fireworks courtesy of www.selmanc.infoJuly 4, 2008 - GottaGettaCoach! is celebrating its 8th anniversary today - thank you to all for your continued support!

And a special thank you to everyone who's ever worked with me, or referred me as an Executive Coach, Management Coach, Leadership Coach, Personal Life Coach, Career Coach, Small Business Coach, or New Coach Mentor, to someone else.

Word-of-mouth recommendations is a truly powerful way for a small business to flourish. (As is doing a blog!)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Creatively Sparking Creativity

Just finished reading a truly fascinating interview with Mario Almondo, director of human resources and organization at Ferrari in the April 2006 issue of the Harvard Business Review. (Yeah, 2006; I'm a little behind on my reading, okay?!)

In it he spoke about their Formula Uomo program. (Uomo=Human Being).
"You can't methodically teach creativity," says Almondo, "But you can provide an environment that nurtures it."
Two programs of particular note:
  1. English@breakfast - Italian-speaking employees can start their workday by practicing their English. They can also practice at lunch (English@lunch) or in the afternoon (English@tea) or in German (Deutsche Party), if they prefer. "Employees really enjoy these sessions, and, obviously, having multilingual employees is good for Ferrari."
  2. The Creativity Club - In this program, employees can actually meet, talk with, and ask questions of, different types of artists. "We've had painters, sculptors, a jazz musician, a writer, a radio DJ, a photographer, a chef, an actor, an orchestra conductor, and others," Almondo reports. "The goal is for our employees to learn about how artists generate ideas and solutions."

Interestingly, these programs are open to all employees, not just some, and not just to those at certain organizational levels. So there's all sorts of opportunities for senior executives and front-line personnel to interrelate ... as people ... rather than as a function of role, title, project, or assignment.

Too, "by holding the club at the firm, rather than, say, encouraging employees to take art courses elsewhere, we're hoping people will make links between the inspiration they get and their professional activities here."

Imagine how this builds comfort, connectedness, information- and idea-sharing, collegiality, engagement - and creativity - throughout the rest of the year ... in hallways, elevators, meetings, break rooms, coffee shops, and such ... up, down, and across, the entire organization.

That's assolutamente fantastico, ?!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Office conditions leave room for improvement

This in from the L.A. Times: Filthy bathroom facilities and extreme office temperatures are most common gripes of unhappy workers:
"Forget salaries, expense accounts or keys to the executive washroom. Employee loyalty is won or lost over the cleanliness of the bathrooms and the amount of sticky goo on the carpet."
Citing a recently-conducted survey of 500 workers by Blumberg Capital Partners, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Molly Selvin reports that "More than three quarters of those polled said the overall condition of their offices affected how they viewed their employer and whether they were likely to stay in their jobs."

In a January 23, 2006 blog posting titled, How DO You Motivate Employees? I talked about Frederick Herzberg's notion of hygiene factors* - things related to the job context, or environment, that don't necessarily motivate people by their presence, but almost always demotivate by their absence. Some of the hygiene factors cited included:
  • company policy and administration
  • quality of supervision
  • relationship with supervisor
  • work conditions
  • salary
  • relationship with peers
  • relationship with subordinates
  • status
  • security

Like chlorine in a swimming pool, the presence of hygiene factors don't necessarily make anyone feel more healthy (or even more motivated), but their absence will likely make people feel less healthy, and, as this article concludes, surely less motivated.

And now we can add the bathroom cleanliness to the list of literal - and figurative - workplace hygiene factors.


*In contrast to hygiene factors, Herzberg identified what he called, true motivators - things that really do motivate employees - that are typically related to one's job content, like achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, opportunity for advancement, and growth.)

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

FAQ Sheets - Frequently Asked Questions

New Year, new plans. New organizational changes? Likely so. But while org changes may make intuitive sense to those directly involved with the redesigning process, those usually most affected by the changes - lower level managers and front-line operatives - are left to figure things out on their own. (And please, let's not kid ourselves; those one-shot, let-me-explain-what-you-need-to-know meetings only scratch the surface of what really needs to be said ... and heard.)

But time is tight. And those meetings - especially when they devolve into extended Q&A sessions comprised of dozens of off-topic, if not completely irrelevant, queries from people who don't seem to know enough to sit down and give someone else a turn - can be downright back-braking from a morale standpoint.

Have you ever tried releasing an FAQ Sheet in support of the changes?
  1. What is an FAQ Sheet?
    An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Sheet is a compilation of the not-so-obvious, but certainly reasonable, questions people are likely to have about the changes ... and their answers.
  2. What's helpful about an FAQ Sheet?
    It gives real answers to real questions, all right there for everyone to see.
  3. How does one create an FAQ Sheet?
    You, or those closest to the change initiative, do.
  4. What if the questions I/we come up with are difficult to answer?
    As you brainstorm on questions for the FAQ Sheet, expect some to be quite difficult and challenging to answer. (If they aren't, then you're likely not thinking deeply enough.) Please don't ignore these 'tough' ones - they're actually the most important in the bunch. They're the ones that matter most with respect to acceptance of the changes. And they're the ones best-suited for an FAQ Sheet in that you can answer them thoughtfully instead of just trying to wing it right there on the spot during your big meeting.
  5. How else is an FAQ Sheet helpful?
    An FAQ Sheet can also help frame how you want people to think - and talk - about the changes...especially when you're not there to tell them yourselves. By providing everyone with the same explanation as to the key reasons for the changes, and the same explanation as to the overriding rationale that makes these particular changes the best of all possible solutions, the FAQ Sheet is a valuable level-setting, and misinformation-fighting, tool.
  6. What if no one reads the FAQ Sheet?
    Simply point people back to if their real-time questions are answered by it. (Note: Numbering FAQ Sheet questions makes it much easier to point them back to a particular questions.)
  7. How do I tell if our FAQ Sheet was done well?
    You'll be able to tell simply by listening to the 'sounds' that people make when reading it - hmmm's and oh's and people saying things like 'that actually makes sense,' and 'yes, that's what I want to know' - are all excellent indications that you've done a good job with it.
  8. Does the FAQ Sheet have any lasting value?
    Absolutely. By having a written record of the rationale for change, it becomes an excellent source document to make sure everyone stays focused and true to purpose. If written properly, it can also serve as an arbiter to differences of opinion and which 'fork in the road' to take, as the changes unfold.
So the next time you have an important change to tell people about, get in front of the issue by creating an FAQ Sheet for it. Worst case, it'll give you some great answers for your big meeting. More likely, though, the questions won't need to be asked so you can use your time together much more productively.

Any questions?!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Business in General - category archives

Follow this link to the GottaGettaBlog! archives for more postings from Barry Zweibel on the topic of: Business in General.