Take the High Road in Office Politics

Take the High Road in Office Politics

If you haven’t worked in the military or alongside the military as part of a larger operation, you may think that the danger of being in a warzone or the importance of the overall mission may supersede the political games people often play in organizations.

I wish that were true. 

I was part of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) from December 2012 to December 2013. I quickly learned upon my arrival was that NTM-A comprised myriad types of people

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What Everyone in HR Needs to Know About Change: Part 2

What Everyone in HR Needs to Know About Change: Part 2

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to engage with hundreds of people from around the world as part of a webcast titled, "What Everyone in HR Needs to Know About Change." The Human Capital Institute (HCI) hosted the webcast, and afterward, HCI gave me the recorded version so that I could share it with people who weren't able to join the live presentation. 

Here it is--enjoy. 

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Leadership is a Game of Inches

Leadership is a Game of Inches

The 1999 movie Any Given Sunday tells the story of a fictional American football team, with much of the focus on the team’s head coach. To be honest, I don’t remember much about the plot aside from one scene.

In that scene, the coach, played by the actor Al Pacino, delivers a speech to his team. He says:

“You know, when you get old in life things get taken from you. I mean that's, that’s—that’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because

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The Rise of HR … Agility

The Rise of HR … Agility

It’s easy to fall into patterns and comfortable routines. 

Some of those are great. Take, for example, dental hygiene. Or strength training. 

But if our routines too often keep us around the same people, we run the risk of stagnating. It’s even worse if we’re isolated—or insulated, depending on how you look at it—from other ideas. 

That’s one reason why I enjoy professional conferences. Even if you’re around people in a similar area of expertise or interest, you’ll learn a great deal from their different perspectives and experiences. 

Last week, I spent a few days at the annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in Anaheim, Calif. And in between all of the

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For Those About to Lead

For Those About to Lead

For those about to lead, I salute you. 

The vast majority of people go with the flow. Many people—even those whom we often dub “leaders”—fulfill their roles by finding out what others expect of them and meeting those expectations. This includes many heads of state—current, former and aspiring—military generals and admirals, university presidents and chief executives. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with going with the flow, depending on

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What HR People Need to Know About Change

What HR People Need to Know About Change

In a recent post and in some of my research, I’ve been exploring the role that human resources (HR) plays in organizational change. This includes both HR as a function and HR professionals themselves as they get involved (either proactively or reactively) in change efforts.

And there’s one key aspect of organizational change that I think is helpful for HR people to consider. 

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Leading Change and the Distribution of Loss

Leading Change and the Distribution of Loss

When I talk or facilitate a workshop with business leaders, making them all really sad isn’t part of the agenda.

But sometimes it’s exactly what they need. At least for a few minutes.

In particular, there’s an aspect of leadership that always requires emotional awareness. And when we attempt to lead change, there’s always an element of loss. When we lead change, people often have to alter their routines, give up responsibilities and work with new people—all factors that are different from what used to be life as usual.

That can make people sad. Confused. Maybe even angry.

To drive that point home, I sometimes

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A Lesson about Change from a Poet Who Died in 1827

A Lesson about Change from a Poet Who Died in 1827

For the British poet William Blake, many aspects of life in the late 1700s and early 1800s were bleak. In one of his favorite poems of mine, simply titled “London,” he wrote of such bleakness. It’s a short poem, only 16 lines, but it’s rather deep. Here it is:

London

I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet,

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Leadership to Change the World

Leadership to Change the World

Recently, I did something that changed the world. It might have been an encouraging word, a provocative question, a smile.

But honestly, I have no idea what it was.

Recently, you did something that changed the world. It might have been an offer to help, an attentive ear, a cup of coffee.

But you, like me, probably don’t know exactly what you did either.

You see, everything we do can either

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Feed Them Radishes! And 3 More Ways to Stifle Change

Feed Them Radishes! And 3 More Ways to Stifle Change

We are creatures of habit. We continually seek—or create—routines. The structures of our days and our weeks give us predictability, and that makes us comfortable. 

None of this is inherently bad. In fact, routines and habits let us free our minds to work on other, more complex problems. If we had to think actively about everything in our day, deliberately evaluating every decision from the time we roll out of bed until we return to the pillow, we’d be overwhelmed. 

What does this have to do with agility, human resources, leadership and change? 

Everything. 

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