work culture

Habits for High Productivity Days

The first thing you need to know about having a high productivity day tomorrow is that it starts with the last thing you do today.

Habit 1: End your day with a plan for the next day.

One of the biggest pits I see busy managers and leaders fall into is that they work to exhaustion and leave the office without setting a plan for what they need to get done the next day.

Starting the day with a plan for what you have to achieve is key to having a highly productive day. That plan can and should be crafted in advance so you can: Continue reading…

Breaks Work at Work

Odds are you could be far more effective at work if you didn’t spend quite so much time working.

One tenant of energy management and workplace effectiveness is to take breaks every 90 – 120 minutes. But convincing bright motivated people to take 5 or 6 breaks in a day is no easy task.
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Managers: Stop being so busy

Expectations weigh on all of us. But there are expectations, and expectations.

Managers are busy people, but if you’re non-stop busying yourself with meetings, emails and day to day operations you aren’t really doing what you were hired to do.

You weren’t hired to make the inevitable happen. Continue reading…

Managing in a Blender

Just as a complete breakfast sets you up for the day, starting your work day with a complete plan can set you and your team up to accomplish great things. Ideally, most days you start with a plan.

But when demands are at their peak, people often convince themselves to skip the plan and just dive in.

That got me thinking, what if there was a recipe – a fast and easy to remember checklist – of the leadership ingredients you fundamentally need to best serve your team; a Leadership Smoothie if you will.
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Don’t let the good ones get away

Last month, a colleague came to me with a sad, but all too common story.

A senior member of his team was under-performing and putting a wrench in the works for everyone. My friend was so focused on dealing with the fallout and figuring out how to handle the senior player that he dropped the ball on checking-in with the rest of his team.

Then whamo! During a real week from hell, one of his solid performers – a woman who did a GOOD job and operated quietly under the radar – up and quit, leaving a serious gap in his team. Not surprising. Continue reading…

BCB Commuinicator: Inspiring Action with Emotion

Chris Obst’ article Inspiring Action with Emotion, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how effective management comes from both the head and the heart.

BCB Communicator: Managing in Tough Times

Chris Obst’s article Managing in Tough Times, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how relationships, creative connections and dialogue stimulate opportunities.

BCB Communicator: Maximizing Sales Opportunities

Chris Obst’s article Maximizing Sales Opportunities, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how to improve sales potential by replenishing your energy.

Enterprise: The Dreaded Performance Review

Chris Obst is interviewed for the Enterprise magazine article The Dreaded Performance Review. It is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how both the employer and employee should approach performance reviews.

Plan meetings that promote action

When people plan big meetings and corporate events they usually (hopefully) have an objective.

They want to motivate people toward a strategic goal. They want to team-build. They want to educate and energize people. Generally speaking, the people planning meetings want attendees to leave the event ready to DO something.

Continue reading…

Are you an invisible leader?

I’ve said before that part of being a great leader is that you let people do their jobs.

But some managers of managers and CEOs become so hands off they become invisible. Manage your people well and let them manage their people. But don’t step so far back that their people (or their people’s people) don’t know who you are or what you look like. Continue reading…

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The title for this article is also the new tag line for my company. It came out of an “ah ha” moment that a lot of managers have.

In management, you are always moving, stretching, balancing and rebalancing – it is pretty rare that anyone feels totally comfortable because nothing stays still for very long.

3 reasons you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

  1. Change is constant. And change makes everyone of us more or less uncomfortable.I’m coaching a new VP who confided in me, “This is a really hard job! I feel like I never have things under control.” In her pre-management role, she was able to get things set up and let them operate on cruise control. That just doesn’t happen in management. Continue reading…

How excellent are you?

Leadership excellence is about being able to inspire and grow your highest leverage assets: trust, respect and loyalty.

In good times and bad, everything flows from those three levers.

When you think about great leaders you have known, or admired, my guess is that you would give them all high scores in what I call the 4 C’s. Continue reading…

V is for victory and vulnerability

How does an athlete like Maelle Ricker go from coming in 4rth in Turin in 2006, Ricker to grabbing the gold in women’s snowboard cross in 2010?

She didn’t achieve her ultimate career high by pretending she was perfect.

Any athlete, or leader, who wants to push themselves to the next level has to be willing to be honest about their weaknesses.

3 mind blowing facts about weakness in leaders: Continue reading…

Give your people what they want: one-on-one’s

Give your people what they want.

Following on from my last article about one-on-ones, there is a really easy way for you to give your people what they want this holiday, and throughout the year. Ask them.

Now is a great time to connect with your team and talk to them about their futures and where they see themselves headed.

People want to be empowered to good work, and they want to be seen and respected for who they are and the talents they offer. We aren’t that mysterious. Continue reading…

Get past mistakes

We’ve just about made it through 2009. So…? How did you do?

If you are like most people I know, you got tossed around a bit, lost some business, made some cuts and learned a few lessons.

We knew going into this year that we would need to buckle up and hold on.

Now, here we are at the end of it, the roller-coaster is slowing down (for a little while), and we have an opportunity to open our eyes see where we are and where we’ve been. Continue reading…

Brand yourself as a great leader

When I coach, I have a number tools that I use to assess clients. I use different tools for different reasons. But I’m excited about a new Personal Brand Assessment that I’m using to help people:

1) see what impression you leave with people

2) look at what you are doing in your career to consciously cultivate your brand or unconsciously sabotage it Continue reading…

The biggest mistake managers make

The biggest mistake I see managers make is that they repeatedly bail on one-on-ones with direct reports. They set up the meetings, then a big clients comes in from out of town, or someone from head office calls, or the project is behind schedule and… I’ve heard all the excuses. They don’t fly.

It’s a mistake to ditch one-on-ones because:

1. When you bail on one-on-ones you send a message.You inadvertently tell people that they are unimportant, unseen, and unappreciated. 

Don’t think it’s all that bad? Think about how you feel when your boss sets up a meeting with you to talk about your progress and then pushes it because something else came up. That feeling right there is the same feeling that your team members feel every time you bail on them. 

And if you repeat the mistakes of your managers, your employees will repeat them too. Now we are talking about more than one disappointed employee, we are talking about a corporate culture that disrespects employees and stifles potential. It’s serious. Continue reading…

No More Workarounds

Recently, a very good client asked me “does everyone know about workarounds?”

Workarounds are the extra steps you, or your staff, take because something, or more likely someone, is getting in the way of the ideal work flow in your department.

Here are some examples:

The report should go to Ned for review, but he holds everything up. Everybody knows the report will sit on his desk forever and when he Workaroundsfinally gets to it, he’ll miss things. You give it to your superstar to check over, even though it isn’t her job. WORKAROUND

Take a Vacation – for your energy

5 Reasons Why Taking Your Holidays Helps You!

  1. You need more than 2 days off. When you work the way you work (I know how it is) it is almost impossible to get full renewal in a weekend. Do you think Tiger Woods would be able to play the way he does if he had to swing the club 52 weeks of the year. Everybody needs an off-season to feed their game. Continue reading…