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The success of executive teams rests with each member knowing two things: what they need to achieve, and how they will achieve it. The first part is about purpose and identity  — what results the team needs to accomplish. The second describes the rules of engagement for the team — the expected behaviors while working together. Over the past few months, I’ve worked with two senior executive teams to increase their synergy and effectiveness. One team consisted of 26 people, and needed to replace bad habits, learned through the company’s old fear-based culture, with forward-thinking habits. The other had 12 executives, many

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Take my 20 best people, and virtually overnight, Microsoft becomes a mediocre company.” -Bill Gates, Microsoft The power of outstanding talent has huge benefits for a team and organization. The real question is not if talent matters, it is how to do an amazing job of focusing and furthering develop it. For many organizations, this is the season of talent reviews, endless meetings that can take a lot of time and effort talking about and identifying the current and future positioning of leaders. Often times, the end product of these meetings are a beautiful 9 box talent grid with lots

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Several years ago, I was facilitating a talent review meeting with a room full of executives. After hours of great dialogue, we all settled on where their people fit on the 9 box talent grid. The leaders were engaged in the process and were excited to be able to make more informed talent decisions to match the organization’s strategies. And then came the moment of truth: What do we say to those being reviewed? Do we tell them which talent box they were placed in? Do we tell them which position we pictured them filling, in 1-3 years? Do we leave it up

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Leadership at the lake

Posted by Mark Sorrels on January 01, 2000
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Category : Blog, Leadership

© 2015 Mark T. Sorrels Smallmouth bass, walleye, canoes and lakes; I just returned from a fishing trip to Minnesota’s northern border with Ontario. While there, I knew there must be a leadership lesson or two to be learned from the north woods. And “by golly” after returning home, one simple lesson became clear that I had not identified before or during the trip. In order to make the trip happen, someone had to have a vision of fishing the great lakes and rivers of the north. Someone had to inspire others to go. Someone had to plan the route

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It seems odd to consider Baby Boomers the elder statesmen of the current workforce. They were always the cool kids, the Pepsi Generation who brought the world Peace & Love, Woodstock, Motown, Yuppies, the minivan and the tech revolution. They are the generation that has fought getting older with the tenacity of a young child kicking and screaming not to leave a favorite haunt. Now the youngest “baby” in the boomer group is turning 51 and the other four generations in the workplace are steadfastly nipping at Boomers’ heels to move on. Boomers have been trendsetters at every period of their

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A tale of two executives. I remember hearing a story when I was younger about an aerospace executive who detested his job.  He had been doing the same job for years, and he hated it. This became very evident when you asked him about work.  He could be in the middle of talking about any other topic—sports, family, the weather—but once someone asked him about work, his entire countenance soured; he became distant and guarded, and the conversation suddenly became much less pleasant. While he probably did his job just fine, there was definitely no love for it any longer.

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The success of executive teams rests with each member knowing two things: what they need to achieve, and how they will achieve it. The first part is about purpose and identity  — what results the team needs to accomplish. The second describes the rules of engagement for the team — the expected behaviors while working together. Over the past few months, I’ve worked with two senior executive teams to increase their synergy and effectiveness. One team consisted of 26 people, and needed to replace bad habits, learned through the company’s old fear-based culture, with forward-thinking habits. The other had 12 executives, many

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Who do you picture when I mention “business intern”?  An intern has traditionally been a young person in a learning position, either paid or unpaid. Many businesses have initiated internship programs as a way of screening potential employees. In the changing multigenerational work environment, there are now blurred lines between employment and retirement affecting job titles like “intern.”   In the new Nancy Meyers film coming out next week entitled The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, we witness a flip-the-script relationship between the two stars. The story begins with a 70+ retired widower who answers an ad

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The new buzzword in Corporate America is “EI”—Emotional Intelligence. It relates directly to my mission in helping companies assist their employees who may have a mental illness or face substance abuse issues. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. What is the business payoff? According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ “…emotional intelligence accounts for 80 percent of career success.”  “EI” embraces three skills: 1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others; 2. The ability

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Earlier this year, McDonald’s announced one of the worst years in it’s recent history. During the results conference call the CEO, as reported by the Economist, said the company faced “meaningful headwinds” and was “acting with a sense of urgency.” In the last quarter of 2014 operating profit had fallen 20% compared with the same quarter in the previous year. And despite the market increasing by 50% since 2012, McDonald’s shares were actually worth less than they were in early 2012. Five days later the CEO resigned and they have been in a transformation mode ever since. As I consult and

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