The Key Ingredient To A Strong Corporate Culture

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Culture, Employee Engagement, Employment Branding and Culture, Engagement and Satisfaction, Organizational Development, Performance, Personal Brand

Most companies talk a big game about how strong their corporate culture is and how it shapes the employee experience. But culture is a buzzword that means different things to different people. What is culture anyway? One common definition describes culture as “the way people behave when no one is looking.” By that definition, “culture” influences how people behave. Therefore, …

You’re Not Direct; You’re Just Rude

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Communication, Culture, Employee Coaching, Employee Communications, Influence, Leadership

We all know them – those folks who pride themselves on “telling it like it is” and “not beating around the bush.” They are in our families, social circles, and at work. These folks value authenticity and transparency, and believe that sugar-coating responses winds up obfuscating the truth and leads to misunderstandings and unproductive dialogue. They say “I believe people …

What Is “Thinking Strategically” Anyway?

Ben Olds Coaching, Driving Productivity, Employee Coaching, Leadership, Learning and Development, Performance, T+D, Training and Development

Throughout my career, I’ve seen employees lauded or criticized for their ability to “think strategically.” It’s in numerous competency models and used in performance management systems across the country. We use this term like it’s universally understood, but ask people to describe it and you’ll probably hear inconsistency. So what is “Thinking Strategically” anyway? To understand what it is, let’s …

An Overlooked Practice For Motivating Employees

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Employee Coaching, Employee Engagement, Engagement and Satisfaction, Influence, Leadership, Learning and Development, Recognition

Much has been written about the need to motivate your workforce. Today’s workers are skilled, versatile, risk-seeking, and mobile. You have to motivate the A-players to want to stay, or they’ll leave for greener pastures. How? Quite a bit of research in recent years has shown that money should not be your primary tool. Instead, companies tout their culture, their …

Crowdsource Professional Development For Your Team

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Recognition, Talent Management Power Rankings, Training and Development

Much has been said about the wisdom of crowds. Yet many managers still consider Performance Management and Professional Development to be their own responsibility—and don’t enlist the help of their colleagues when evaluating and developing employees. As a result, they’re leaving valuable insights on the table. When evaluating and developing her people, a good manager should focus not only on …

If You Never Change Your Mind, You’re Doing It Wrong

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Communication, Employee Coaching, Employee Communications, Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, Influence, Leadership, Learning, Learning and Development, Organizational Development, T+D, Training and Development

Hopefully by now you’ve warmed up to the notion that productive conflict is important to encourage in your teams. To get the most out of their insights and input, you want to welcome opposition and creative pushback. The days of blindly following our leaders without objection or pressure-testing are behind us. In the knowledge economy, effective leaders encourage opposition to …

What Isn’t Leadership?

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Employee Coaching, Engagement and Satisfaction, Leadership

What is leadership, anyway? Ask 100 companies, and you’ll get 100 answers, all describing different leadership models. If you break down each of these models into its competencies, you’d get a nice, comprehensive set of leadership traits to strive for. Problem is: that list will be about 80 competencies long! What’s an executive team to do? We have to define …

What Kills a Cat but Makes a Leader?

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Employee Coaching, Influence, Innovation, Leadership, Learning, Learning and Development

“Curiosity killed the cat.” This friendly little ditty told to children across the country is intended to squelch the wandering mind of young kids so as not to annoy their parents. Oh, what a disservice we are doing to our future! As Liz Wizeman argues in her book Multipliers, today’s most effective leaders amplify the capability and intelligence of their …

How to Know if Your Team is High-Functioning

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Communication, Driving Productivity, Employee Coaching, Employee Communications, Innovation, Leadership, Learning, Learning and Development

Want an easy way to delineate between high- and low-functioning teams? Look for disagreements. Don’t see any? Then you’re probably watching a low-performing team. High-functioning teams have lots of productive disagreements. Show me a harmonious team who gets along in constant agreement, and I’ll show you a team that isn’t achieving as much as it could. Perhaps it’s playing it …

What I Learned From Deflategate

Ben Olds Ben Olds, Coaching, Communication, Culture, Employee Coaching, Employee Communications, Employee Engagement, HR & Sports, Leadership, Learning, Learning and Development

Watching this Deflategate saga unwind on every watercooler, barstool, and Facebook post has been enlightening. When the story first broke before the Super Bowl, I found it comical… I made the completely uninformed but no less impassioned argument that this was a stupid non-story manifested by sore losers intended to tarnish the legacy of the greatest sports hero of the …