Friday, October 15, 2010

Revisiting some leadership advice from boot camp

This was written almost 8 years ago while completing Army Basic Combat Training at Ft. Sill, OK. I wrote this for About.com's military area specifically to address the issues faced by older recruits at BCT. As I re-read this the other day, I thought some of the lessons could apply to people facing challenges as leaders (or aspiring leaders) in organizations of all kinds today.

I am currently home on Exodus from Army BCT at Ft. Sill, OK. I thought some of you would be interested in some insights from the perspective of an older person (I turned 34 the week before I shipped) going through BCT.
First of all, I recall several discussions on this forum about the advantages/disadvantages of being older and going through BCT. Let me tell you that success at BCT really has nothing to do with age but rather, with your level of maturity. If you are able to follow orders, focus on the task at hand, work in a team, understand the mental game, and keep a positive attitude, you will have a good time at BCT. The people who bring an attitude with them or have a problem accepting authority will quickly draw negative attention from Drill Sergeants and will likely hate the BCT experience.
Having said all that, my experience has been that DS's tend assume the younger guys AREN'T mature and tend to give the older guys the benefit of the doubt. Specifically, they will assume you are mature and not focus too much attention on you...until you prove that you are NOT mature. THEN you become a glorious target. Case in point: There is a 33 yr old in my platoon who just doesn't do real well in dealing with others. He is the type of guy who takes things very personally and lets it get under his skin. He bunks right next to an 18 yr old who likes to pick on those type of people...especially when he can see it really bothers them. One day on the drill pad while practicing Manual at Arms, the younger Pvt was picking on the older Pvt. They were in the back of the formation. In the middle of the DS explaining Inspection Arms, the older Pvt raised his hand and said "Drill Sergeant, the Pvt to my left is harassing me!" It sounded like something you would hear on the school yard. The older Pvt didn't get the response he wanted from the DS. It was more like "so, you have a problem with your left private, Pvt? Sounds like a feminine problem! 'Course I always wondered about you anyway but I am not allowed to ask and you damn well better not tell me! Now the both of you...PUSH!" By the way, the older Pvt is one of my Squad Leaders.
One thing I found in my situation is that the Platoon looked at me early on as a mentor. I have a lot more life experience (I am married, have two kids, and a good civilian job -- I am NG) than alot of these guys so some of it was natural. However, I have not been an ass about things and have kind of enjoyed and respected the mentor role. Before a PG (Platoon Guide) was assigned, whenever there was a conflict, people came to me to try to resolve it. They thought "Gramps" (my nickname) could work it out and I often did. I tried to deal with my "Battle Buddies" in a respectful way even if they were complete idiots. One guy thought I was too soft and tried to insult me by describing my style as a "Dr. Phil" management style. I took that as a compliment. I figured that we have 3 DS's assigned to our Platoon who scream at us all the time. The Platoon didn't need a "Drill Private" doing the same thing. I am not writing this to pat myself on the back but rather, to give a heads up to anyone else who may be going to BCT in a similar situation. You really need to "act your age".
As far as those who give the advice to "lay low" and don't draw any attention to yourself...that's not realistic. Sooner or later you will be drawn out. The DS's look for ways to get people out of their comfort zones. For example, in week 3, the DS's started assigning psuedo PG's. In every instance, the person who was chosen was someone who either was "laying low" or was someone who was very timid or shy and needed to be brought out of their shell. Typically they were fired after a day. We went through 6 in one week and not one of them would have been considered (at that time) a strong soldier. So, it's best that you prepare yourself to get attention. In my opinion, that's the way to get the most out of the training.
In week 4 I was assigned as the "permanent" PG (permanent being the phrase the DS used but he did remind me I could be fired at any time!). It is a challenging position that requires a lot of extra time and stress. It is excellent leadership training but you do sacrifice some (ALL if you are not careful!) of your free time to accomplish what you need to. It is a job with a lot of responsibility but with no perks (except I get to call cadence!) and no "real" authority. To be effective, you really have to lead by example and always have a positive attitude. If you are given this opportunity, look at it as such...an opportunity. Give it your all. This is another way of getting the most out of the training. Just be prepared for the extra work and responsibility.
In terms of the physical aspect of the training, I have been a little disappointed. Although I have lost 15 pounds so far and am in the best shape I've been in for a long time, we are limited as to how much PT we can do. We have one organized PT session in the morning. This usually alternates from run days to MSE (muscular strength and endurance) days. However, we have only had 4 runs so far. The DS's are clearly frustrated about the fact we are not allowed to have any evening runs or PT sessions. When I get back (the day after tomorrow), there are only three scheduled runs before our final PFT for record. Also, on days where we are scheduled to do an obstacle course or a road march, there is no organized PT scheduled. Of course, this does not apply to "smokings"! These rules have come down all the way from TRADOC according to our DS's.
Overall, the experience has been a good one. The worst part is being away from my family and I have new found respect for those soldiers who are deployed for long periods of time. Especially during the holidays. To reiterate my advice to anyone going to BCT as an "older" person: Act your age, treat your Platoon with respect.
Above contributed by SPC Chris Harben



























































































Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wasted Ethics Policies

Since SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley), companies have scrambled to develop policies and training to keep them from becoming the next Enron. Some companies have even created a "Chief Ethics Officer" position. These efforts are welcomed although largely fruitless if not supported by actual leadership action.

Let's be honest. How likely is it that an unethical employee will suddenly become ethical after reading a new ethics policy or sitting through an ethics training? Not likely. After all, having an ethics policy in your company is like having a Bible in a hotel room. Just because it is there doesn't mean that everything that goes on is ethical. The best we can hope for is that the ethical employees will now be more aware of certain behaviors to look for and hopefully will be more willing to report unethical, or at least questionable acts. The worst that can happen is that we provide the unethical employee with the intelligence to know what we are looking for so that they can either avoid that altogether or become more clever in concealing that activity.

After all, having an ethics policy in your company is like having a Bible in a hotel room. Just because it is there doesn't mean that everything that goes on is ethical.

This is not to say that we should avoid writing strong ethics policies or provide training to our employees. Rather, it is to put those efforts into the proper perspective. Neither a written policy or any training will have the desired impact if it isn't supported by leaders willing to "walk the talk." Any indiscretion by leadership--no matter how minute it may be--can lead to the development of a "culture of corruption." It can actually happen very quickly. A sales manager fudging an expense report gives tacit approval to the sales force to do the same. A CEO using a company vehicle for personal reasons--against company policy--loses credibility and the ability to discipline a subordinate who does the same thing. As an old Russian saying goes, "A fish rots from the head down." So, any ethics problem in a company is actually a leadership problem.

What can leaders do? Besides the aforementioned training and policy efforts, leaders need to be willing to act quickly and decisively against ethics violations. Discipline must be fair, consistent, and quick. The moment an employee at one level is treated differently than an employee from a different level, for similar violations, the leadership has been neutered. Even if the employee in question is a "star," leadership must be willing to support the principles of the ethics policy lest they become worthless.

Leaders must lead with integrity.

More suggestions on actions leaders can take to impact the ethics of their organization will be upcoming.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The "Extreme Makeover" Fallacy: "Fixing" Leadership with Organizational Design

Business organizations love buzz words and acronyms. Drive through any industrial center and you are likely to see a large banner proclaiming “ISO 9001 Certified” hanging proudly from the side of a manufacturing facility. Walk inside that facility, and you are equally likely to find memos referencing the latest efforts to implement “Lean manufacturing,” “JIT,” “5s,” an “ERP” system, or some level of Six Sigma training. Businesses spend countless amounts of resources—both financial and human capital—on these kinds of implementations to squeeze the most productivity possible out of their organizations. Why shouldn’t they? After all, organizations are being asked to do more, better, faster, with less.
This same mentality has crept into the world of organizational development (OD). There is a growing notion that organizational ailments are the fault of improper design or structure of the organization itself. In other words, the wrong lines are connecting the wrong boxes on the organizational chart. Changing the organizational design with a tweak here or there may be the recipe. On the other hand, perhaps the symptoms are serious enough to warrant a complete overhaul of the design. The underlying premise and (I contend) flaw to organizational design theory is that the shape, structure, or design of the organization is a dominant factor in the behavior of the people in that organization. I call this the “Extreme Makeover Fallacy.”
The premise of ABC’s hit reality series “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is that a new home will give a deserving family a new start. “The renovated home always belongs to a deserving family” and “the lucky homeowners always have a heartening back story: Heroes, community leaders, and a plethora of inspirational families are truly the heart and soul of the show” (ABC: Shows). However, changing the structure that these “lucky homeowners” live in does not necessarily change their behavior or ensure success. A family from West Chester, Ohio with 3 children—2 with special needs that made life difficult in their original home—were recipients of a new home from the show in 2008 (WLWT Homepage: Family, 2008). Two years later, the parents filed for divorce. In 2009, a Penn Hills, Pennsylvania family was given a new home based on the community work done by the corrections officer father (WTAE Homepage: Entertainment, 2009). Within that same year, the couple ended up in divorce court with a protection order taken out against that father (WTAE Homepage: News, 2009). A Lake City, Georgia family, after getting their home from the show in 2005, used it as collateral for a $450,000 loan to start a construction business. Three years later, after the failure of that business venture, the home was in foreclosure (Associated Press, 2008). In these cases and more, the newly renovated home did not stave off failure. In some circumstances, the new home exacerbated the underlying—yet ignored—problems of the family. Applying the premise of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to an organization, can lead to the same disappointing results.
Organizational design is often written about as if the results are completely independent from the contributions of the members of the organization. “Organizational designs that facilitate variety, change, speed, and integration are sources of competitive advantage” (Galbraith, 2002, p. 6). Does this mean that such designs can overcome members of the organization that do not “facilitate variety, change, speed, and integration?” According to some, organizational architecture can ensure that employee’s choices (which are typically based on self-interest) are more aligned with the corporate vision (Brickley, Smith, Zimmerman, & Willet, 2009). Again, the implication is that the structure can produce this result regardless of the involvement of leadership. Essentially, if organizations can renovate or build a better “home,” the “family” (employees) will be more successful. This is the fallacy.
This is not to say that organizational design is not worthy of consideration within an organization. Design issues should be considered—but as a way to support and to enhance already effective leaders. Shifting design while maintaining poor managers, only shifts the burden and poor performance to another area of the organization. If an organization, following a typical growth pattern, moves from a functional organizational design to a product design (Galbraith, 2002), and has had effective managers from the start, that design change will likely improve the overall performance of the company. But, if there were ineffective managers in the beginning producing mediocre performance, and those same managers continued with the organization into the product organization stage, the performance of the company would likely continue to be mediocre.
So why all the talk about design? Brickley et al hinted at this answer when they wrote that “Some argue that leaders motivate people through personal charisma, style, and inspiration. But while business managers can learn a lot from studying the styles of inspirational leaders, charisma is a quality that for most people is difficult to acquire” (2009). In other words, leadership is tough. General Omar Bradley is quoted as saying that “leadership is intangible.” Businesses prefer tangibles. Programs such as lean manufacturing and others mentioned at the beginning of this article offer businesses a tangible way to attack a problem. Similarly, organizational design theory gives businesses a tangible way to address leadership…all the while avoiding the real issue: leadership skills.
The entire quote from Bradley actually is “leadership is intangible, and therefore, no weapon ever designed can replace it.” In the context of this discussion, this quote could be re-phrased to read “leadership is intangible, and therefore, no organization ever designed can replace it”—no matter how “extreme” it is.

ABC: Shows. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2010, from ABC.Go.com: http://abc.go.com/shows/extreme-makeover-home-edition/about-the-show

Associated Press. (2008, November 20). News: KOMO. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from KOMONews.com: http://www.komonews.com/news/entertainment/25999079.html

Brickley, J., Smith, C., Zimmerman, J., & Willet, J. (2009). Using Organizational Architecture to Lead Change. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance , 58-66.

Galbraith, J. R. (2002). Designing Organizations: An executive guide to strategy, stucture, and process. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Solitude and Leadership

This is a great article that deserves some consideration...
Solitude and Leadership

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Leadership You Can Hold a Candle To...

Edith Wharton once said:

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

That quote is about much more than being a candle or a mirror.  A candle has the ability to create light where there is none currently.  It need only be exposed momentarily to a source of heat in order to create a flame that lasts for a prolonged period of time.  When faced with challenges such as wind or water, a candle may blow out…but it is not defeated forever.  It simply needs to be touched again with the heat from a match or another candle so that it can resume its duty as light-creator for the room in which it resides.
A mirror, on the other hand, depends upon another source of light.  It can take the light produced from a candle and direct it to a larger area than the candle could on its own.  Perhaps, based on the position of the mirror, light may reach a part of the room that rarely gets light when the candle is alone.  So the mirror is a “force multiplier” for the candle—helping the candle extend its influence beyond the standard capabilities of that candle.  But the mirror cannot create light on its own.  If the candle were to go dark, so would the mirror.  The mirror would be left to wait until such time that the candle would be re-ignited before the mirror would reflect light again.

A metaphor for organizational leadership

The candle and the mirror can be a metaphor for leadership styles.  Or, more accurately, they are a metaphor for how leadership style flows through an organization.  The light produced by the candle (the leader) is passed through the organization via the other levels of leaders in that organization (the mirrors).  The more “in line” or engaged the mirrors are, the more likely that light will pass as far as possible and remain bright throughout the organization.  But not every candle burns the same.

A variety of candles

In 1922, the Ajello Candle Company created a candle to honor a friend.  The candle stood 18 feet tall, was 5 feet in circumference at the base, and was expected to last 1800 years if burned only one day a year on the anniversary of their friend’s birth.  The candle was extremely ornate and awe-inspiring.  Such a candle might represent a person with charismatic leadership style.  In describing a charismatic leader, German Sociologist Max Weber described charisma as “a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.”  Like the Ajello candle, these leaders often inspire awe in their followers and enjoy a high level of unquestioned cooperation from those followers.  Earlier this year, Barbara Kellerman of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, observed after the inauguration of Barack Obama that “none (of the Presidents) in our lifetimes have been authentically charismatic. None in our lifetimes have forged with their followers a bond so tight it transcends the ordinary.”  Other leaders who are generally recognized as charismatic in their style would include Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and even Adolf Hitler.

It is not always necessary to have such a flamboyant and stimulating candle because sometimes it becomes more about the candle than the light it actually produces (or doesn’t produce).  When all you really need is the light, a simple utilitarian candle may be the right choice.  This candle serves a role much as a servant leader would for his followers.  For a servant leader, the focus is always on providing for the needs of their followers.  Robert Greenleaf, the author who coined the term “servant leader” in his 1970 essay “The Servant as Leader”, says that “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.”  In other words, it’s not about the candle for the servant leader.

A conscious choice of candles

Not every candle is appropriate for every occasion or setting.  Certainly, if the power went off in your home, an 18 foot tall ornate candle from Ajello would not likely serve you as well as the 6 inch long utility candle found in your kitchen drawer.  Conversely, that utility candle would not likely inspire the appropriate celebratory atmosphere if it were stuck in a cake instead of a birthday candle!

Leaders make a conscious choice of style to implement.  Even if a leader is predisposed to a particular style, it is still a choice to follow that style.  The choice is ultimately based on what matters to the leader or what that leader’s motivation is.   Martin Luther King was interested in changing the status quo and this status quo was not localized to his parish in Alabama.  Rather, it was an issue that penetrated through the heart of the entire nation.  He spoke with passion from his pulpit and inspired people.  His message drew more and more followers to him and he motivated them by eloquently sharing his simple vision.  Soon, his very presence had an impact.  His charismatic style changed a nation.  Yes, he was blessed with the talent, but it was still his conscious choice to use it in the way he did. 

It’s a good thing King didn’t choose the utility candle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gen. McChrystal "Stoned"

Just in case you've been under a rock (and there are a few out there...my waitress the other day asked me what my iPad was!), the top military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine that has caused a bit of a stir. In it, McChrystal and his staff are critical of the Obama administration...pretty bluntly.

I am not so concerned about what Gen. McChrystal said and about whom he said it. That is for others to debate. What I am concerned about is the effect on the organization around and below Gen. McChrystal as they consider the behavior he modeled.

Certainly, in a military organization (and others), these kinds of comments are made. But they aren't generally made for public consumption in a forum such as Rolling Stone. I am sure Jack Welch had some opinions about different people in the public eye yet I doubt I'd ever see him making those comments to a reporter.

It is not out of the realm of imagination that those led by Gen. McChrystal might say, "If he says that about Obama, Biden, or Holbooke, what does he say about me?" That's probably the least of the issues. More likely, these public comments will have a negative affect on the leadership culture in the units deployed in Afghanistan. A "Runaway General" does not set the stage for great leadership of soldiers. I wonder how a "Runaway Captain" in Kanadahar province, who might disagree with the General's policies, would be looked upon by that same General?

This is not just a failure of one leader. It is a failure of the leadership team that surrounded this leader. A plant manager doesn't run a plant by themself...at least not successful ones. Likewise, a successful General has a successful team around them...to have his back or to advise him of a bad decision. Make no mistake (to borrow a phrase often used by Pres. Obama), if his team was bad, it was the General who is responsible. He picked them. He cultivated the culture surrounding them. He reaps the fruits.

Ultimately, this decision to do the interview falls squarely in the lap of the General. When he is fired (or as early reports are indicating--resigns), he can blame no one but himself.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ego and consulting...

I am not speaking of the consultants ego here...although that could be a great subject for a post in the future. This addresses the reality of personality types with regard to success for a consultant.

As people develop, so do their personalities. There is general agreement that this personality development (or “ego development”) occurs in stages through a person’s life (Loevinger, 1980). There is minor disagreement in terms of how many stages there are. The critical issue is recognizing what the stages are and, in the context of Loevigner’s essay, developing the appropriate counseling modality to suit the particular stage the client is in (Loevinger, 1980).

This is extremely relevant to a consultant seeking to enhance strategic thinking in a client organization. In fact, a study by Merron, Fisher, and Torbert used the stages of ego development as a basis of studying management action. Stages of the subjects were determined using Loevinger’s Sentence Completion Test. The study revealed that managers make meaning of the different challenges they face based on their stage of development (Merron, Fisher, & Torbert, 1987). Those at earlier stages of development may be more authoritarian or coercive whereas those at later stages of development are likely to be more consultative in their approach (Merron, Fisher, & Torbert, 1987).

This kind of information is critical to the consultant in determining the appropriate course of action with that client. The relationship between consultant and client is really a partnership (Block, 2000) and if the client partner is in the earlier stages of development, that can likely create resistance to consultant recommendations.

Block, P. (2000). Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

Loevinger, J. (1980). Some Thoughts on Ego Development and Counseling. The Personnel and Guidance Journal , 389-390.

Merron, K., Fisher, D., & Torbert, W. R. (1987). Meaning Making and Management Action. Group & Organizational Studies , 274-286.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Findlay Dale Carnegie Class Graduates TONIGHT!

Come celebrate the graduation of the latest group of people to complete the world-famous Dale Carnegie Course in Findlay, OH!

This group was made up of wonderfully diverse and dynamic people from all over the Findlay Area. They included people from the construction, manufacturing, technology, financial services, and golf industries as well as college students.

Over the past 13 weeks, they worked hard to develop and improve their skills in the following areas:

Leadership Skills--getting cooperation!
People Skills--building/maintaining key relationships!
Communication Skills--being clear, concise, and LISTENING!
Handling Stress--put things into proper perspective to maintain productivity!
Self-Confidence--step outside comfort zones to successfully take on greater challenges!

If you are interested in these things for yourself or your people, feel free to join us tonight. The graduation session is open to the public and begins at 6pm. The location is Red Hawk Run Golf Club in Findlay, Ohio.

For more details, contact me at chris@harbenleadership.com or by phone at 419-618-7488!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More on consulting...

Often times, consultants can “over-consult” and recommend processes or major overhauls that aren’t necessarily needed.

At one point this past week, I was awake for 40 ½ hours straight largely because of a commitment I made to a consulting client. The result of my effort was a meeting on Friday where I was able to provide some simple adjustments that could increase the effectiveness of the communication of strategy and vision within the plant. What I offered was not earth-shattering or ground-breaking processes. Rather, I offered insight and clarity to a company that needed it. My investment of time could have motivated me to “over-consult” but I pride myself of doing only what is needed. Further, the more complicated the recommendation of the consultant, the less likely the client will actually implement it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On consulting...

Certainly, a consultant must “practice what we preach” if we are to maintain credibility with the client. The significant financial investment a client makes in our services should cause the client to scrutinize our behaviors as they seek to verify our credibility. That credibility is critical because in order for us, as consultants, to benefit the client, the client has to have the confidence to take and act on our recommendations.

That is why the most critical part of the process comes before we make any presentations or recommendations. In reviewing research on instructional design methodologies in which the goal was to ascertain what models provided the most efficient results, one of the models revealed was an efficiency methodology that followed the acronym ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate). That methodology is not unlike the process a consultant would use to develop needed skills (i.e. increased strategic thinking) within a client. An important theme found in that research was that the bulk of the work was in the analysis prior to the implementation of any design.

As consultants, ADDIE can be an efficient way for us to work, as well.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The New Harben Leadership & Management Consulting website!

Hello everyone!

For the last month or so, I've been putting the finishing touches on my website devoted to my consulting practice. I invite you to visit www.HarbenLeadership.com and look around! There are listings of upcoming events and you can access my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages from there! This blog also feeds to the front page of that site.

Be sure to sign the guestbook and refer a friend!

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

To See or Not to See...(continued)

To review, I met with a company that thought they had a training problem...

If you guessed that the performance issues began almost simultaneously with the announcement, you'd be pretty close. From my conversations with some of the managers who were the focus of the issue, I learned that they actually took the news pretty well. They assumed that the acquisition was going to be good for the company even though they had had no conversations with the company President about it. They just had a general good feeling toward the company and the prospects.

However, the people these managers supervised wanted specifics almost immediately. They wanted reassurance that their jobs were safe. They had made concessions over the past couple of years in order to help the company survive some lean times and they felt that they were "owed." When the managers could not provide reassurance (other than from themselves), the "natives got restless" as one of the managers put it to me.

The HR manager who did the original presentation was approached several times about when there would be another meeting with more details. The answer was always "soon." Meanwhile, the President was out of the office more than usual. This, coupled with the lack of more information, fueled the rumor mill.

I think you can see where I am heading with this.

The problem was not one of training. It was a problem with communication. The leaders of the company--the ones responsible for creating the vision for the company--failed in that task. There were good and legitimate reasons for the acquisition and it meant good things for the future of the company. However, that was never conveyed to managers and by extension, the rest of the company. When there is a void in information, people tend to fill that void...and not always with the "best case scenario."

There is damage control to be done now because this situation lasted too long. Meetings are being held with small teams of employees with the President himself. I've coached him to allow a little more "venting" than usual and that was tough for him to accept at first. But, he is willing to engage a little humility in order to engage the employees. It's still a work in progress but there is progress where there once wasn't.

The lesson here is how critical it is for the followers to see what the leader sees. Without that alignment of vision, instead of pulling together, a team will pull apart.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

To See or Not to See...

I met with an organization the other day that was concerned about the performance of its supervisors and second level managers. According to the company, these supervisors and managers where missing deadlines, not participating in meetings, avoiding "people problems" in their direct reports, and generally showing no innovation. The morale throughout the company was poor. The opinion at the top of the organization was that the performance was the result of poor training. That's why they came to me.

The company wanted to hear my ideas for training. But before I started, I asked for a tour of the facility. During the tour, I asked them questions about their product, their processes, and anything else that struck me as we walked around...with the exception of training. What I learned was that the company had just recently announced the acquisition of another company in a different state. They told me, rather proudly, that they only had one meeting for the employees and that was about 5 months ago. I asked about what they covered at the meeting and they said that they tried to keep it simple and only gave out "what the employees needed to know." Specifically, the company told the employees that the acquisition should be complete within the year and that it "shouldn't" affect the jobs at this location. I learned that the meeting was not attended by the President of the company. Rather, the VP of Human Resources lead the meeting. I would later learn that there was not generally a good relationship between this HR person and the rank and file.

Do you wish to guess when the performance issues started to show up?

More tomorrow...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Change!

You may have noticed a subtle change to the header of The Strategic Leader blog. Over the last couple years, I have been helping businesses and individuals develop their people into effective leaders and coaches through Dale Carnegie. While I am not abandoning Carnegie, I am starting a new phase of my career today.

Harben Leadership and Management Consulting (HLMC) is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to developing strategic leadership in organizations. Services include analysis, customized training development and delivery, and executive coaching. Keynote talks are available on a variety of subjects including leadership development, creating alignment, mentoring/coaching, team building, strategic planning and customer service. Seminars are available for a 1 hour session at a meeting all the way up to full day sessions.

To inquire about my services, please send me an email and I will respond right away!

I look forward to becoming a part of your success!