Height & Light Blog

Play by a different set of rules

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Handling Irritants

A while back, I was talking with an extraordinarily successful leader about his company.  As often happens with astute leaders, the conversation eventually swung to the quality of his leadership team.  He has been working hard to improve the prospects of his business...

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Goal Season – What do good goals look like?

A few weeks ago, with a new year upon us, a client asked me an intriguing question: You spend your life helping people identify goals. What are the classic mistakes people make in goal-setting? Spoiler alert: I'm not going to simply review the virtues of SMART goals...

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Goal Season – Are strategic plans dead?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal argues that our current economic environment may have rendered strategic planning obsolete (subscribers can click here to read the whole article). As an Accenture partner is quoted saying, Strategy as we knew it is dead....

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When silence is NOT golden

Sometimes silence is golden - movie theaters, wilderness sunsets, and that moment when you stop in the middle of a ski run to enjoy the view. Other times, not so much... 2009 was such a difficult year for so many organizations. We were all pushed to focus, prune, and...

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Feedback Season

It's that time of year again! In many organizations, January ushers in the time of year to provide formal feedback on the past year's contribution.  Most leaders (and most of their people) anticipate this exercise with all of the joy of a trip to the dentist. (Yes,...

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More Planning Games People Play

Of the time-wasting, energy-sucking games people play in planning, here is one that I find particularly aggravating. I call it "teeing up the boss." It tees me off - and if you care about efficient planning , it should tee you off too.  Here's how it often plays...

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(Planning) Games People Play

It's planning season.  And that signals the continuation of several age-old games that leaders and their teams play together.  Unfortunately, these are the kinds of games where no one wins and very few have any fun (except for those twisted few - and you know who you...

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The Ownership Principle

More than ever, leaders are quietly sharing a dilemma.  It's different for each of them, but often sounds something like this: We're stuck. We're in a malaise. We're in a funk. Yes, the recession is supposed to over.  But the unraveling of the past 12-18 months has...

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Pronoun Problems

One of the the biggest complaints I hear from leaders about their teams goes like this: They're all good individuals, but they just refuse to think at the organizational level.  They sit in their silos and own little responsibility for the success of the whole...

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What is new normal?

As I work with senior leaders and their teams these days, a question often emerges in the room: What is new normal?  Leaders have seen customers hit the "re-set" button and they wonder when - and if - things will get back to the "good old days." Some of this wondering...

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Overcoming skepticism

A while back, a retired operations executive asked me an interesting question: "What's most challenging about getting a leadership team aligned and moving on a direction?" I stopped for a minute to think.  I had recently been working with an IT leadership team from a...

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