Can’t See the Leaves for the Trees

I’m lucky enough to call Vermont my home base for summer and fall each year. The Vermont fall foliage is indescribable and must be experienced to fully appreciate its beauty. So much so that every year, over 1.5 million people travel to Vermont just to view the foliage. This – for a state with only […]

How to Lose $7.4 Billion

5% of a company’s employees recently caused an institution to lose an estimated $7.4 billion in value, not to mention the tremendous lost value of goodwill caused by a scandal.  The CEO resigned. This loss occurred in the pursuit of $2.6 million in new revenue. Wells Fargo. These employees behaved badly, but also behaved in […]

Decrease to Increase

“Really? They think I’m good at that?” In a more perfect world, 360* assessments would be unnecessary.  We’d stay “current” with each other, always delivering praise or asking for the new behaviors needed in real time. But that’s extremely rare. Colleagues withhold behavior feedback for many reasons, including fear of conflict, an overdone sense of […]

3 Questions

The often-asked question “how can I do less” can be translated into “how can I do more,” but more important!  Here are three questions to ask yourself as you plan your day: Does this have to be done? Does it have to be done now? Who else could do it? At the end of the […]

Clarity Creates Confidence

Sometimes I wake up at 3:30 a.m. Not every night, not even often. But when I do, it’s usually because I need to make a list. There’s something in my head that is unsettled. I need to create clarity for myself about what must be done, what the options are, or even just what the […]


I just saw a website with one of the company’s core values listed on the landing page. Good idea. You could take it further and turn it into a testimonial from a client about how someone has embodied the value. Good for the client, good for the employee, good for the company.

Are You Better Off?

When assessing a new client system, one common complaint I hear (sadly) is that the current management meetings and retreats aren’t always a  good use of time. Yet the opportunity, and opportunity costs, of leadership meetings is enormous! View these meetings from a process standpoint, not just content, and answer this question: How are you […]


This time of year our Vermont farmers’ markets are coming into harvest season. I have to be mindful each Saturday morning not to buy more than we can reasonably consume in a week. It’s hard! I both want to buy a variety of beautiful vegetables (all good for me) and I want to buy from […]

The Empty Bench

I’ve just finished a round of mid-year meeting with clients – progress vs. plans, updates to goals, etc.  All useful. But time and time again, as I looked around the room, I saw single points of failure in the organizations. An empty bench for backup. In growing organizations, you obviously won’t have fully functional backups […]

Bottom of the Class

After a Saturday morning  spinning class, I noticed a new gym next door – Athletx. I poked my head in and and saw a clean, ordered space, full of natural light, timbers, and old brick walls. And instead of the weight machines I expected to see, I saw neat rows of punching bags, a wall of TRX […]

What’s the Best?

One of my projects this summer is sorting. Sorting through my stuff – books, papers, clothes – but also sorting through my activities. I’m constantly searching for the best use of my space and the best use of my time.  Such as the best: Exercise in the shortest period of time Clothing that travels well […]

Team Building?

Occasionally, I get a call from someone asking for specific “team building,” usually they’ve heard of results I’ve had else where, and looking for an event to fill in an afternoon at a retreat. The call makes sense, of course, team is part of the name of my business. But my work begins with the […]

The 5 Question Debrief

It’s the end of June!  Hopefully you’ve already scheduled a mid-year debrief with your team. If not, now is the time. Here are my 5 favorite debrief questions: Start with review, checking for confirmation and alignment:      1. What are our major goals?      2. Why are these the most important? Then a […]

Smarter Vacations

Photo by Tijana87/iStock / Getty Images You know how returning from vacation can be a little overwhelming? Mountains of unread emails, stacks of snail mail; just catching up can wipe out even the memory of the vacation. One of my smart clients shared his vacation plan with me: He has a week of vacation, followed […]

Yes, but…

  I’ve been on the road with a lot of good on-site work in the past few weeks, and a pattern emerged in multiple organizations. A major issue for companies, a growth restraint, are employees I’ll label as “yes, but …”  I’ve heard a lot of “yes, but …” recently. Yes, but to get someone […]

Something to think about

Productivity is for robots.                                    –  Kevin Kelly

Doing Things Differently

I hear a lot of frustration caused by  two people doing the same task differently.  Something like: I start with the big picture, he starts with the details. I start later, she starts sooner. And so on…  It is often coming from a vantage point of  “I do it right, they do it wrong” because […]

The 3 Day Weekend

This weekend, a three-day holiday in the U.S., is also the unofficial kickoff of summer. We’re looking forward to longer daylight hours and vacations.  And everyone I’ve spoken with recently has talked about how busy they are, how they really needed this holiday weekend to catch their breath. I’m certainly in a similar mindset. A […]


“These people have careers, not jobs.” After yet another act of extraordinary service,  a traveling companion commented on the extremely high level of customer service provided by our hotel. Not just what was done, but also how.  The staff was genuinely pleased to be of service. Their work was viewed in a bigger picture context, […]

In the Weeds

Try as I might, I often find myself “in the weeds” in the weeks preceding my vacations. This month was no exception. I’ve packed 6 weeks worth of activities into 4 in order to allow for 2 weeks of relatively unscheduled time. Everything important + urgent gets done (at least so far) but it’s an […]

The Carton of Milk

A great story from a recent workshop … In describing the interaction between teams, a team director likened it to getting a call from his wife while checking out at the grocery store. She asked him to pick up an extra item, a carton of milk,  something that she left off of the shopping list. […]

Law of Increasing Returns

When I hired my terrific new website designer, I told (warned) her that I would go onto the site and edit too.  And I did. I changed some language, I moved a few things around. Most of these were improvement plus It took a lot less time to do it myself than to explain it to […]

10 Types of People

Found this in a letter to the editor (The Economist) and couldn’t pass it up. MIT T-shirt On the front:” There are 10 types of people in the world.” On the back: “Those who understand binary and those who don’t!”

You get the behaviors …

Another reminder that you get the behaviors that you reward …   

Three-Quarters of Our Time

I read an interesting statistic this week: three-quarters of our time is spent communicating. It’s not surprising when I think about it, just eye-opening. Three-quarters! There are hundreds of models for effective communication and yet we still have difficulty.  So I’ve been thinking about what lies under effective communications. Every communication has two active roles […]