Can You Keep a Secret?

Leaders often have confidential discussions among themselves and on occasion with their employees. It goes without saying that something told to you in confidence must be maintained as confidential.

But what about the many conversations that aren’t labeled “confidential” as such, but really are private communications?

I’ve noticed that when some leaders get caught up in a crisis or overwork or overwhelm, their guard goes down and they leak a little (or a lot) of information that really isn’t intended for a broader audience.

Should Your Employees be Embarrassed?

While I was sitting with a client, an employee delivered a piece of work that was late. My client quickly glanced at it, tossed it on to the table, then said, “He should be embarrassed to hand in this work to me.”

This employee totally ignored the importance of the assignment, handed in something sloppy and incomplete, and didn’t really care that what he delivered was unacceptable.

My client philosophized that one of the ways he defines a lack of accountability is when employees deliver work that should embarrass them.

The One Thing

As we enter this new year and stumble through resolutions ranging from overly ambitious to half-hearted, it’s a good time to simplify. Don’t overly complicate your life by overly complicating your commitments.

Try this creative brainstorming exercise. Write down everything you can think of that you’d like to do, be, or have this year. Don’t edit – just let your mind open up and allow your thoughts to pour out.

After you do this, circle the 5 words or phrases that strike you as the most important. Then ask “why” – and keep digging with “why” until you find the word or phrase that resonates the most.

Does this word evoke a positive emotion? Does it excite you? Does it make you want to dive in and do great work? Can you visualize a sensational outcome?

Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Happy New Year!

If you create New Year’s resolutions, you might be interested to know that the #1 New Year’s resolution for 2016 is “enjoying life to the fullest”, according to a survey of 5,000 people by GoBankingRates.

If this resolution appeals to you, you won’t be surprised to know that your interpretation of enjoying life to the fullest most likely differs from others. For you to be successful achieving this (or any) resolution, try to be as specific as possible: what does it look like…sound like…feel like…to you.


Resolutions are similar to goals in that the more specific and measurable they are, the more likely you can achieve them.

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Planning for the Unplannable

Another year has flown by and here we are at the end of 2015. I hope that the year met or exceeded your expectations and you can look back with satisfaction on your accomplishments.

But now is the season to think of the year ahead….your resolutions….your aspirations….your goals. If you’re a planner, you’ve probably already mapped out 2016 to guide your way. Even if planning isn’t your style, you’ve probably thought about what you want to accomplish.

I want to take a moment on the subject of how to plan for the unplannable. Many clients and friends finished 2015 punctuated by unexpected activities. If you’re not prepared, you can spend considerable time stumbling while you figure out how to manage these situations.

Holiday Gratitude

I hope by the end of today you will be settling into a three-day weekend where you can kick back and downshift a bit. My observation is that this was one of the busiest months of December in recent memory, so you deserve a breather.

Since we’re going into a holiday weekend, I thought I’d share some holiday-related musings about gratitude.

Remember to acknowledge gratitude for your staff and wish them a great holiday (and – oops! – if you forgot this, it’s not too late to do something as simple as send an email). Simply put, people appreciate being appreciated.

Random Acts of Kindness

CBS Sunday Morning featured a story on “Secret Santa”, an anonymous businessman who gives away $100,000 in $100 bills every Christmas. The story (which has aired in previous years as well) is especially touching because it demonstrates how he lifts the spirits of people he randomly touches.

Random acts of kindness are unplanned good deeds that are extended without the expectation of anything in return. When you offer a random act of kindness, you feel good and the recipient feels good….the classic “win-win” scenario.

Most of us don’t have the means to give away as much as the aforementioned Secret Santa, but we do have the ability to give small, ordinary things. When you offer a kindness to someone, it can even help to put your own challenges into better perspective.

Overcoming Holiday Tension

At we edge towards the end of 2015, the annual recurrence of holiday tension has arrived. December brings too many deadlines, more holiday parties than you want to imagine, and greater than usual personal commitments.

The result? More stress, more tension, and more anxiety which creep into the fabric of many organizations. What to do? Consider these tips to manage through the next few weeks.

Deadline madness. Of course, some year-end deadlines are real, but others are placeholders (“we need to complete this by the end of the year”….not really). Don’t contribute to the stress by adding false deadlines.

The Entitlement Quandary

One of the more interesting challenges in today’s workplace is dealing with the issue of entitlement. It has crept in around the edges of virtually all companies, and once it arrives, it’s hard to eradicate.

This issue exists across all generations, but it seems to bubble up more often among Millennials. Many have been told how wonderful they are for so long that they can’t understand why their employers don’t believe it.

It’s easy to deal with entitlement when the employee isn’t performing; you reassign them to other jobs or you fire them. That’s relatively easy, and your downside is limited.

A Day of Gratitude

The Thanksgiving holiday is special because it’s a day where friends and family come together to eat, to out-shout each other at the dinner table, and to watch football in a semi-inert state after the big meal.

Although it’s a truly American holiday, it has the special twist of ethnic twists in the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes menu (in fact, click here for a great multi-cultural “tasting”).

I also like to think of Thanksgiving as a day of gratitude. It’s a day to reflect and give thanks for the things that mean the most to you.