Leadership Lessons from Unlikely Places


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The Paper Chase is a 1973 film that sets a great example of how not to build a team. The movie is based on the 1971 novel of the same name; it shows a group of students who are completely overwhelmed with the workload of their classes at Harvard. They are humiliated by their professor, Charles W. Kingsfield Jr., who … Read More

How to Take the Sting out of Feedback


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Recently, a friend stated that she is working to see feedback as a gift, and I think she is right to try and see it that way. However, she explained that it isn’t always an easy gift to graciously accept – feedback is often hard to welcome and isn’t on many wish lists this season. Feedback places people in a … Read More

8 Key Questions for a Better Performance Review


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As I’ve written about previously, I’m not a fan of the annual performance review. There are so many ways to get it wrong, and very few ways for it to be useful. So, I have been searching for an alternative. Through trial and error over the last number of years at ACHIEVE, we’ve come up with an alternative approach that … Read More

3 Leadership Choices for Creating a Culture of Safety


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At ACHIEVE, we believe that everyone should be able to like where they work. People can only enjoy their work when they feel welcomed, included, and safe in the presence of leadership. We know that leadership impacts every aspect of an employee’s experience. We hear over and over again that people don’t quit organizations, they quit their bosses. If we … Read More

Communicate Your Organization’s Purpose


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Developing an organizational mission statement will only help so much. Organizations must also communicate that purpose in meaningful ways to the people they wish to engage with, both internally and externally. In the last few years at ACHIEVE, we have become much more intentional about regularly communicating our purpose. When we’re having individual conversations at the start of meetings and … Read More

How to Make Your Mission Meaningful


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Your organization’s mission and values should provide clarity for workers, helping everyone “row in the same direction.” But sometimes they don’t. I once worked in a human resources office with a multi-national corporation of 3,500 employees. I’ll call the company “Big International.” While Big was built on a foundation of hard work and had some good products that were prominent … Read More

Performance Reviews – Really?


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I’m shocked by how often I hear friends and colleagues express frustration about annual performance reviews. Given the amount of complaints I’ve heard, it seems that organizations are still investing an inordinate amount of time in an often-unhelpful process. What follows are two ways that organizations get annual meetings wrong, along with some ideas on how to improve the process … Read More

How to Build Employee Engagement


In Aesop’s fable, “The North Wind and the Sun,” two forces of nature demonstrate their very different styles of influence. In the story, the wind and the sun make a bet as to which of them can make a lone traveler take off his jacket. To demonstrate its strength, the wind blows and blows, but the man only grows colder … Read More

Change Management as a Partnership


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One of the most important and overlooked aspects of change management is the people-side of change. This is the most challenging and critical component of organizational transformation. New structures and approaches can be planned, policies may be created and policed, but these things do not guarantee success. Employees are an organization’s greatest asset. By engaging with them from the very … Read More

Managing Difficult Responses to Feedback


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Have you ever felt like your feedback to a co-worker just wasn’t getting through? Recently I gave someone feedback that did absolutely nothing. In fact, the second and third time I gave the same feedback the behaviour didn’t change.  What was I doing wrong? I followed the five steps outlined in my last blog: I had an assertive mindset. I … Read More