Warning: Second Hand Conflict can be dangerous to your organizational health!

Today's business leaders are searching for ways to reduce interpersonal conflict and to create the type of organizational health that delivers sustainable business results.  There has been plenty written in the past decade regarding the importance of organizational health and it’s correlation to results.  Just pick up Pat Lencioni’s most recent book, The Advantage. In the title Pat’s states that organizational health trumps everything else. Although I agree with Pat, one basic concept that doesn’t seem to be getting much attention is the cost of second hand conflict on organizational health and sustainable successful results. What I find interesting is [...]

Three Things Productive Leaders Always Have on Their Calendar

Before we know it the holidays will be over and we'll find ourselves thinking about 2016.  If you are a leader that wants to make a bigger impact in your organization, resolve to add these three habits. 1. Get to Know Your Customers Better- Sounds obvious, right?  Yet many of my clients only talk to customers when there is a problem.  Or they listen to what their marketing department tells them about their " ideal target".  No that either is bad, it's that these types of interactions often lead to a limited perspective or wrong conclusion. What I'm suggesting is regularly [...]

Feeling Indecisive? Tips for Making Better Decisions.

Our days are full of decisions - neuroscientists estimate that adults make 35,000 choices, simple to complex, large and small, each day. One would think that with all the practice it would be easy, yet “being a better decision maker” sits high as a self-improvement goal for many of my clients. Dig a little deeper and typically what surfaces are two types of decision-making challenges. Each is at categorically different ends of the behavior scale but both lead to lost productivity and mountains of frustration. The good news is that if you can identify your challenge and examine how it [...]

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

“Our motivation basically boils down to completing the best loans for our clients as seamlessly as possible. Sometimes we lose track of the personal part of the equation. I’m not talking about our relationship with homebuyers—we’re always solid there. I mean what happens in the office, over the phone, and via email between our team members.”   This client quote echoes a common theme we hear.  We’ve been working with this large national lender, in particular, since 2011. They first contacted us to help reach a number of strategic goals, including improving the way their employees communicate and collaborate with [...]

Seeing Beyond Our Blinders

Most professionals, regardless of industry, are driven by similar motivations. We want to help our clients. We want to make a nice living in a field we find rewarding. And we want to improve our employer’s bottom line. While things vary, let’s focus on these three prime motivations for a moment. As sound, solid and universal as they are, even they can create blinders that lead to not-so-positive outcomes—for our clients, for us, and for our businesses—when one of them begins to dominate our actions. Scott’s story Scott, a producing sales manager and loan officer for a large national lender, [...]

Film Room #4: Going Beyond

I hope you enjoy another installment of our Film Room series. Though we are 3 weeks into the 2014 season, this edition chronicles their 2013 championship year. Our continued thanks go out to Coach for sharing his story. Go Cougars! “Our first year in the NCAA was like being a toddler learning to walk consistently. We kept falling down, yet were eager to try again. Getting up was frustrating, but we wanted to move forward. It was harder than we imagined, in part because we didn’t yet know what we didn’t know.” (Victor Santa Cruz, head football coach, Azusa Pacific [...]

Film Room #3: The Turnaround

“Within each player or coach is the root or seed of his motivation. As a leader, even when you’re motivated to learn and improve, you may still be creating an environment that frustrates those around you, and zaps their motivation. Leaders have to work from the places that motivate those around them."   Victor Santa Cruz, head football coach, Azusa Pacific University The intensity of coaching a college football program is well documented. Just consider how many hours of media are dedicated to breaking down coaching decisions and analyzing critical in-game moments. Coach Victor Santa Cruz of the Azusa Pacific [...]

Film Room #2: The Slide Under Pressure

" When you slide back into old patterns, your overdone strengths become your weaknesses. As I discovered during the first half of the 2012 season, it’s easy to slide back. "  Victor Santa Cruz, head coach Azusa Pacific University When Azusa Pacific University (APU) took the leap from NAIA to NCAA Division II, coach Santa Cruz, his staff and his team felt prepared for continued success. After all, they’d spent the last few seasons building a winning program. Why shouldn’t success continue? (Read the previous installment for our Film Room series for a background on APU’s move from NAIA to [...]

Calming the Ripples and Waves of Conflict

Most business leaders I know are great at focusing on what I’ll call “primary” conflicts, the challenges that arise from interpersonal issues, or have to do with making unpopular, bottom-line-driven decisions. What’s interesting is that many of these same leaders act as if primary conflicts occur in vacuums. They don’t recognize the secondary ripples these conflicts create and send out across departments and companies. When left unchecked, these secondary conflicts can and will undermine an organization’s health. A closer look at the ripples I use ripples here because it makes for an apt visual. That’s how secondary conflicts often start—a [...]

Entering the Film Room

It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since I published my first article on Victor Santa Cruz, the head football coach of Azusa Pacific University (APU). My working relationship with him stretches back to 2009, and continues to this day. I watched him turn APU into an NAIA success, including back-to-back playoff runs in 2010 and 2011. More recently, I’ve been on hand as he’s guided his team through the more competitive waters of NCAA Division II. Any fan of football knows that the sport has evolved in the last few decades. With the onslaught of round-the-clock media [...]