Navigating Complexity

The recent announcement of Jeff Bezos stepping aside as Amazon.com CEO to become the firm’s executive chairman has captured much attention in the business press. Do you even remember that Amazon started off as “just” a bookseller?

I’ll leave it to others to describe the myriad accomplishments and innovations that Amazon has pioneered over the years. What this triggers, though, is how we can apply some concepts to our complex business environment.

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Does Your Company Culture Matter? Only If You Want to Thrive!

A Case Study of The Brooks Group

Organizational culture is a topic that baffles many executives because culture seems like a soft and squishy topic. After all, you don’t go out and buy a how-to manual on creating corporate culture! Although the topic may seem soft, hard, tangible results can ensue when your people are aligned with your culture.

An organizational culture is a set of shared values and beliefs that are disseminated and understood at every level of a company. It’s an easy concept to understand, but not necessarily easy to implement. Everyone should be able to answer the question, “What is important to your company?”

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When a Curveball Comes Your Way

Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you need to react quickly. Of course, these curveballs usually catch you off guard, so you need to be ready for action.

Curveballs can be anything from the loss of a major client to the news of a downsizing or restructuring. They can also be personal, such as coping with a serious illness or the loss of a loved one.

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The “Whys” of Delegating

“I’ll just do it myself.”

This is a common refrain among managers, whether directly stated or inferred. It’s more common with newer managers and micromanagers for essentially the same reason: by the time I explain exactly what I need, I could have done it myself.

The new manager is fearful that the project won’t be done correctly, while the micromanager thinks that no one can do it as well as she can.

Regardless of the reason, the outcome is the same. When you do it yourself instead of delegating to a team member, over the long term it will backfire on you.

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Think Before You Speak

Do you know people who blurt out whatever is on their mind without thinking first? Obviously, this is rhetorical – everyone knows people like this. Even when co-workers know – and expect – these people to act this way, it doesn’t diminish the hurt, anger, or frustration that can come from their unfiltered comments.

This is not a flattering or aspirational leadership trait. It’s characteristic of someone who either doesn’t care about their impact or is so insecure that unfiltered language is an easy way to bully others.

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Do Your Employees Think You’re Accessible?


We all have those days of burying ourselves in emails, shutting our office doors, or answering call after call. On those days you’d probably prefer to be left alone in order to be productive and efficient. As a leader, doing your job is important, however, part of your responsibility is to be there for your employees.Employees may hesitate to ask for help or “bother” their boss. They may feel fearful that they will be perceived as weak or ignorant, or simply feel their questions or concerns are not as important as your work. How can leaders open the door to welcome these questions?

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What Happens When a Good Decision Goes Bad?


Decision making is a core competency for leadership. Your ability to make decisions and implement them is a foundational principle.

But what happens when a good decision goes bad? How you handle these situations is as important – if not more important – than the original decision. These scenarios don’t necessarily mean that your original decision was a bad one. Circumstances change, and your ability to recognize such a shift is essential.

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Wisdom from Ben


Benjamin Franklin was born on this day in 1706. His legacy has lasted three centuries, a notable achievement for any leader. At the age of 20, he created a process for self-improvement, something that methodically helped him advance his character.

These were his 13 virtues, and he proactively worked on these daily. His system was simple: a card that listed the 13 virtues and the days of the week which he checked off when he adhered to the virtue.

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Are You in the Swing?

We’re ten days into the new year, and as people have revved back into the work groove, many resolutions have already bitten the dust. This happens for a few reasons, but the two most important ones are that (1) people set unrealistic goals and (2) they try to do too many things.

For you to get into the swing of the new year, focus on one discreet thing. And the smaller the item is, the more likely you will succeed if you want to build an effective, new habit.

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