Posts

The Power of Consulting

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In the picture to the left, you are seeing the matzo ball soup team from 2016. Pictured with me are my sister-in-law Susan and her daughter Victoria. We were making soup with love for a gathering after Holy Thursday services at my church. We have been hosting this gathering for many years now. We call it "Holy Fest" and it's our way of celebrating the ending of the season of Lent and the starting of the Triduum, the three days that culminate in Easter. Because many of those who attend Holy Fest are members of our church choir, we sing through the score to "Jesus Christ Superstar" during the party. It's a true highlight of the year, as several of us who love to sing can "let loose" and enact the drama of the passion of Jesus. You might say that Holy Fest is sort of our Seder tradition. Now back to the soup. In the past several years, a problem developed with the soup: the balls did not hold together, disintegrating into loose mush. What was causin…

EX - The New Movement in HR?

In the past few years, there has been a growing movement in HR called "Employee Experience" or EX for short.
Taking a page from the Customer Service field, where a great deal of thought and energy has gone into CX, for Customer Experience, these smart HR leaders have started to recognize that employees, like customers, have experiences whereby they form impressions --good or bad-- of their employer.
Stop and think about some of the ways that employees experience their employers... The candidate who is flown from New Jersey to California for an interview and enjoys the treatment he receives including having all expenses paid by the company.The new hire who goes through an onboarding process that is informative and enjoyable, and includes one-on-ones with key people in the organization.The employee who sits with her manager on an annual basis for a development planning discussion that also touches on career development.The soon-to-retire employee who is recognized for their se…

Is Consulting in Your Future?

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Quite a few of my clients wonder if they should change their career path and go into consulting.Yesterday, I was being interviewed by someone who is thinking of making just such a career change. He had asked if he could "pick my brains" about what I do and how I do it.At one point in the call, he interjected that "It sounds like you are a counselor or a coach quite often." I responded that I prefer to use the term consultant.In my view, we are consultants because we are there to help the client achieve his or her goals. As a consultant, we bring a deep capability, but we don't apply it like a cookie cutter. Rather, we listen, assess, and recommend, using what Edgar Schein would call "humble inquiry."My interviewer pressed me to describe my process so I attempted to describe it (see below)...but added that actual engagements are seldom so neat and linear. Consulting ProcessPhase 1: Assess - Start with where my client "is at" right now. Explo…

Top Posts of 2016

Surveying this year's blog posts, several seemed to have caught a larger share of views than others. Posts about culture, and about change, were more popular.  

For Creative Innovation, Get Some Kids

Three Roles for Leaders of Change

Winning Attitude

Culture:  By Default or By Design?

Crazy Good

The Way to Build A Better Company

What's Stopping You?

It's Not About You

Your Culture is the Key to Your Success

Looking forward to more in 2017....

A Year of Change

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What a year of change!

Much of it positive, though not all.

After thirty years in New Brunswick, we moved! We had been talking about it for several years. We had agreed that, when our elderly neighbor was gone, that we would go too.

Her death was a major turning point for us because, not only had we lost a friend and neighbor, but her house would soon become a rental for Rutgers students.

Even with an agreement that we would sell our home, it was still incredibly hard, especially for my wife Joan who suffered emotionally throughout the process. There were days when I thought I might lose her.

Not long after, we also sold our "vacation home," a rental we had purchased for our sons, and their friends, to live in while in college.

In so doing, we cut our ties with New Brunswick, my home town where I had lived for over 61 years.

At this same time, our favorite restaurant, Tumulty's Pub, was sold, and our go-to auto service station, University Shell, was sold too.

And we sol…

Zombie Performance Reviews

You know why zombies are so popular in contemporary culture? You can't stop 'em. There's something weirdly fascinating about the idea of the dead suddenly and inexplicably re-animating...and coming after you for its next meal. But we can turn off the TV and leave the theater after a zombie show and comfort ourselves with the thought that there is no such thing as a zombie in real life. Right? Wrong. We apparently have a bona fide zombie apocalypse happening in parts of corporate America: the once dead-as-a-doornail performance review process has sprung back to life. Just the other day I came across some updates on LinkedIn about a new resurgence around performance reviews. Apparently, if HR and business leaders reframe their thinking, and alter their culture, then performance reviews can deliver on their promise. As an OD Guy, I try to look at performance evaluation processes as objectively as I can, while recognizing that I do have a personal bias about them. To adopt a …

Two Ways to Measure Employee Engagement

Recently, in several client sessions on the topic of employee engagement, I was asked, How should you measure engagement?
Without saying so directly, I facilitated them toward the answer to another question: Why would you measure it?
Here's how we did it.
After setting the stage with information (drawn in part from the work done by the Gallup organization) about What employee engagement is and Why it's so important, I asked this polling question:
What can a Manager do to promote employee engagement?
As each person answered, we kept a running tally of the answers on a flipchart or white board. The answers included such ideas as...
Keep an open mindSolicit inputCommunicate oftenListenBe availableProvide coachingGive feedbackRecognize each person for the contribution they make to the teamBe flexibleEmpower the team

And more. You can imagine what other answers were given.
What comes next, though, is the important part.
These answers can be turned into two types of measurement tools for empl…