Author: leadabove

Why Change Should Always Start At the Top…Except For When It Shouldn’t

Change is the new (though not really that new) constant, so they say. It’s one of the core pillars of innovation, agile development, and all the buzzy things. To remain relevant and competitive, organizations must keep strong the muscles of change capability. The management and implementation of change initiatives have been studied for years by experts, and generally, the wisdom presumes that to be successful, change must begin at the top. The famous model developed by John Kotter, for example, offers as Step One: Create a Sense of Urgency. This presumes, in my interpretation, that the urgency for change is...

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Beyond #MeToo. The REAL Call to Action From the Red Carpet

#MeToo and its inciting, insidious revelations are out of the box. Way out. And now, the Hollywood-born movement has fired up a national (global?) demand for equality, civility, humanity, and basic [bleeping] respect for all people at work and beyond. But while the movement’s momentum was sparked initially by an explicit cry of ‘enough is enough,’ its continued presence in our cultural dialog has begun to spark a softer, subtler, but no-less-intentional or important conversation we all need to be having. Anyone who tuned into the 2018 Academy Awards was likely bracing for a Red Carpet aesthetic dominated by shades of black, and jewelry designed to deliver a political charge. But the actuality was quite unlike the expectation. As articulated by this piece in the Washington Post, “On the Oscars red carpet, the fashion statements were personal, not political.” And that expression of personal – which showed itself in pants v. gowns, baggy v. basic bodycon, diversity of color v. compliance with the monochrome-of-the-season – spoke volumes. Women, in particular, were finally speaking through fashion with authenticity and self-expression v. an allegiance to the Hollywood standard. Enough is enough. We’re all (women AND men) ready to be seen and heard for who we are, for the ideas we have, the contributions we can make. We’re ready to scrape off the layer of polish, and just be. Just imagine what...

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The ONE Question to Ask in 2018

We’re almost at the finish line. 2018 is well within sight. How are you feeling? Full disclosure: I’m a little tired. A little road-weary; spent. I’m also a believer that sometimes we hear just the right words at just the right time. Recently I was listening to the pilot episode of Tim Ferriss’s new podcast, Tribe of Mentors. In telling the show’s origin story, he said he simply asked himself this question: What would this look like if it were easy? And the answer – building a tribe of mentors – just came to him. OMG. As a working mom, entrepreneur, and...

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What Amy Cuddy and Social Science Have REALLY Taught Us…

By now I will boldly assume we’ve all witnessed the rise and fall of @amyjcuddy and her research on power posing. According to the New York Times, “…a replication of her 2010 study [on power posing]…had failed to yield the same results.” In other words, while Cuddy’s research indicated that power posing produced hormonal changes affiliated with a greater sense of power, her findings were not replicated by other researchers. For many, Cuddy’s story represents a classic fall from grace. She’s been criticized and ridiculed by peers, and has quietly left her post at Harvard. The research is faulty. So she’s failed…right? Well, that depends. Have you ever tried power posing before an interview, a talk, a big presentation? Did said pose give you a greater sense of efficacy, control, or influence? If you’ve tried it and it’s yielded you nothing, then maybe don’t waste your time again. And if it did give you a sense of power, then who really cares about the replicability of a study? The real point here is that maybe there are no universal right and wrong answers — indisputable truths — when it comes to social sciences. We’re not talking FDA drug trials here – we’re talking human behavior and success. At my company, we let research be context with our clients, but we focus on designing and delivering solutions that are grounded in the client’s reality. The question shouldn’t be ‘what does the...

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The REAL Problem With Performance Management… and Why We Have it All Wrong

Performance Management as a practice has really been pummeled in recent years. Forced rankings, bell curves, and annual reviews… nearly all of its elements have been demonized, thrown to the curb by myriad premiere organizations. So… has getting rid of performance management solved the problem of managing performance? While this author respects any and all informed opinions, the answer in this case is no. So what have we gotten wrong? Well, possibly everything. And here’s why: Organizations manage performance for the purpose of driving results; anything else would be sadism. Therefore, the practice of performance management rests on an...

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