Like us, you may think you know a thing or two about developing leaders. At Schaffer Consulting we have been coaching leaders for fifty-plus years, in every industry, government, and not-for-profit situation. We know a couple of things for sure. First, people care more about being a good leader when they see right away how it increases their ability to impact a real problem or issue they face. Second, the greatest development happens when people are challenged and stretched at the edges of their comfort and capability. To get leaders’ attention you need to set them to work on real ...
I was recently perplexed when I received a request to speak to a group of senior managers about reducing complexity – mostly because I had worked with their company fifteen years earlier on the same subject; and they had since developed a reputation for being good at simplification. Why did they want to revisit what was already a core competence?
Once I met with the senior management team,the answer became very clear: Whatever institutional knowledge about simplification that had once resided in the company was now lost. Over the years, despite a number of well-meaning efforts, the focus of senior ...
While Thanksgiving in the U.S. is celebrated with sports events, family dinners, and time off from work, its real purpose is to reflect on everything that we have to be thankful for – such as health, family, material possessions, and general success. It’s also a good reminder that “thankfulness” and “appreciation” are important managerial behaviors in effective organizations – behaviors that need to be fostered throughout the year, not just when there’s a holiday.
There are actually two kinds of appreciative behaviors that managers need to develop, interpersonal and organizational. Interpersonal appreciation is the day-to-day ability to genuinely and ...
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a class of second year MBA’s, and one of the most outstanding questions students raised was whether they should take jobs with companies that they considered to be socially irresponsible. I wasn’t struck so much by the question, but by the intense debate that followed:
Some students of course argued strongly that working for these kinds of companies was a moral “sell out,” and that they shouldn’t lend their support to companies that mistreat the environment or produce destructive products. Conversely, other students took the position that the best ...
One problem that constantly recurs in
changing organizations is what we might call the last mile dilemma. The term
comes from the telecommunications industry, which struggled for many years with
how to efficiently extend their networks the “last mile,” or into individual
homes. In large organizations the analogous challenge is how to make sure that
important changes actually reach the most remote stakeholders, whether they be
front-line workers or customers.
I first became aware of this issue many
years ago as a consultant for GE, where at a particular facility I saw posters,
signs, and other branding elements for RCA ...
This post was co-authored by Daniel Dworkin.
As everyone now knows, Healthcare.gov – the $394 million website that was supposed to enable millions of Americans to shop for health insurance – is experiencing some initial technical failures. Critiquing the troubled rollout is easy, but not helpful considering that the current framework is the law of the land. So, what should the administration do now to right the ship?
To answer this question, we have to think about the Affordable Care Act not as a piece of legislation that needs to be implemented, but as a complex organizational transformation effort – similar to ...
Great leaders tell it like it is. In other words, they focus on reality, no matter how painful or unpleasant it might be, and then figure out what to do about it. In contrast, less effective leaders sometimes avoid hard truths, argue with the data, and delay tough decisions.
While it’s easy to be critical of leaders who can’t face the facts, the truth is that most of us engage in denial at one time or another, usually without even knowing it. As human beings, it’s one of the most common defense mechanisms that we use to ...
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are healthcare systems that the government incentivizes to improve the health outcomes and costs for treating Medicare patients. The approach is being widely adopted, and is being copied and adapted by private insurers, too. But moving the needle on system-wide cost and quality for a patient demographic is proving very difficult to do. In fact, 9 of the 32 earliest ACOs dropped out or downgraded their arrangement to a lower risk/lower reward contract. One of the most challenging difficulties is the fact that identifying and coordinating care for the sickest patients depends on IT capabilities ...
Have you ever been in a situation where
everyone seemingly agrees on a particular strategy,
but somehow it never happens?
See if you identify with this example:
A technology firm – with a number of different product areas, geographic units,
and service functions – was figuring out how to integrate services for their
largest global customers. After extensive planning, the senior management team
decided to assign experienced executives to a dozen of these customers, and
give them the authority to manage the accounts end-to-end. What they failed to
address was that many of the best sales executives couldn’t be released to ...
This piece was co-authored by Lisa Bodell.
Most people want to be liked: It’s one of the fundamental tenets of human behavior. Because of that motivation, many of us have an unconscious desire to avoid conflict. We prefer to “get along,” “not make waves,” and “act as a team player.” We all want to be known as a great person to work with.
The only problem with this mindset is that creative ideas and better ways of getting things done often stem from constructive conflict. Organizations need it to advance. And even in the day-to-day, workplace conflict is still ...