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Professional Development

Are You at Risk of a Mid-Career Rut?

It might sound odd, but people need the most help not at the beginning of their careers, but in mid-career — especially when it comes to making decisions. That’s a key finding from a research study coordinated by one of us (Julia). The study asked 500 college-educated adults in professional careers (representative of 16% of U.S. adults) to indicate the degree of their agreement with statements about their behaviors...Read More

How to be a Leader of Leaders

I believe a quote by Ralph Nader in his book Crashing the Party sums up the role of a leader well: “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” If you’ve worked very long in the corporate field, you’ve likely been exposed to high-level executives who were strong, competent, insightful leaders. You’ve also likely been exposed to executives who weren’t. The difference...Read More

Don’t Let Limited Perspective Destroy Your Team

Recently, I’ve watched an organization of passionate and caring people disintegrate. The limited perspective of leaders and team members has frustrated communication and problem-solving. They’ve devolved into camps of us vs. them. It can happen to any team if you don’t pay attention to how you see the world. Read More

Technology Should Enhance Communication Skills

Did you check the weather app on your phone before getting dressed for work? Or turn on your favorite news station to catch up on current events over your morning coffee? Did you have your first exchange with a co-worker over Slack – before ever entering the office? The world is in the midst of a digital transformation that stands to impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Read More

8 Habits of Highly Empathetic Leaders

In a world where life is busy, complex, and filled with stress, empathy is the glue that holds great workplaces together. Empathy is the ability to detect other’s emotions and understand their perspective. When we feel accepted and validated, it builds trust and leads to better performance. Studies find that empathetic...Read More

Stepping In to Lead a New Group? Try This Process to Grow Trust and Gain Performance

People do make a difference. Or, more specifically, the right blend of the right people, coupled with the right leadership makes the difference. If you’re an executive or top manager staring at a new group you’ve been assigned to lead and concluding you’ve got a lineup that looks destined for last place, it’s time to take action. Of course, most of those actions involve the person staring back at you in the mirror. Read More

This is Why You’re Addicted to Being Busy

Why do we feel so compelled to always be busy? Why is it that the moment there’s not a mile-high stack of tasks or projects on our plate, we suddenly feel anxious and unsettled (when really the opposite should be the case). Busyness has become the new normal. And that’s a problem. There’s a paradox when it comes to busyness that goes...Read More

13 Guidelines for Navigating the New Decade Ahead

In 2009, after a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Summit (Russia’s Davos), I wandered into a panel discussion on the topic of trade wars, led by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. My thought was: “why this topic?” Trade wars were not on most people’s radar, certainly not mine. But the question is: should they have been? Read More

11 Time Management Mistakes You Are Probably Making

Do you feel like you’re working all the time but not producing the results you desire? You’re not alone. It’s a problem that a lot of talented entrepreneurs must overcome. Unfortunately, some people, as a last-ditch effort, embrace time management techniques that only add to the time mismanagement struggle. Avoid these 11 common time management traps that most entrepreneurs make. Learn ways...Read More

The 5 Levels of Leadership

“Leadership is simply influence, nothing more and nothing less,” said Neal Glatt, managing partner of GrowTheBench and certified coach with Gallup and John Maxwell organizations. “How do we gain influence? We add value to people.” With his combined expertise at GrowTheBench — an organization that enhances brands through education and development — and as a certified coach...Read More

4 Sales Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make

As we all know, sales are to a landscaping company what gas is to a truck — without them, and a steady supply for the months ahead, you aren’t going anywhere for long. But succeeding at sales takes real planning and focus. This month, take a good look at your current approach and ensure you’re steering clear of these crucial mistakes when it comes to closing deals and building a sustainable future for your company. Read More

Time Blocking Tips Top Experts and Scientists Use to Increase Productivity

From the moment you wake up to when your head hits the pillow, entrepreneurs spend their days jumping from task-to-task. We’re also rushing from meeting-to-meeting. Putting out fires. And, getting distracted by emails, phones, and answering a question from employees. Starting a business is exhausting. With so much going on, how is it possible for us to get anything done? Read More

Great Managers Make a Hard Job Look Easy - Here's How

Let’s face it when someone loves their job it shows in their demeanor and actions. If that someone happens to be a manager, the positive perspective comes through in everyone’s demeanor and actions. Given the nature of my coaching work, I end up engaged with a disproportionate number of confident, motivated managers, and I love it. They are individuals who find joy in creating something...Read More

Communication Practices of High-Performance Management Teams

I’ve spent a good portion of my working life participating in or working with senior management teams. The experiences range from fascinating and exhilarating to the stuff of waking nightmares. Some senior management teams have it all going on. They tackle the tough topics, debate options constructively, celebrate wins, agonize together over misfires and then find a way forward. For other groups, well...Read More

5 Steps to Handling a Crisis Like a Boss

It’s wonderful when everything in your business runs smoothly. You know those days -- sales targets get smashed, you win new business and an IT upgrade actually finishes on time. But, we often learn more about ourselves and our businesses in times of trouble. I sincerely hope your crisis never happens. But if it does, here are my tips for handling a crisis like a boss. Read More

How to Get Through an Extremely Busy Time at Work

You’re an accountant deep in tax season, a junior doctor in residency, or an entrepreneur juggling a startup and an actual baby. Many of us go through seasons of life when we have very little personal time. Others may be committed to jobs that regularly involve intense and long hours, creating a long-term lack of rest. While this kind of overwork is not ideal, there are undoubtedly situations...Read More

When Managers Break Down Under Pressure, So Do Their Teams

As a leader, much of what you do is relatively forgettable. We don’t mean to insult, but your routine actions on routine days are experienced by your direct reports as, well, routine. But for non-routine days — the days when you are under the gun, feeling the heat, or pushed to your limits — how you respond under the pressure makes an indelible impression on the people around you. Our latest research...Read More

How to Lead a Team on Different Schedules

How do you build a high-performing, cohesive team when people are working on different schedules? Clarity is even more important as you get everyone working toward the same goals and it takes extra effort to build relationships with little face-time...Read More

How Listening Can Narrow the Gaps Dividing Our Teams

Leading in today’s environment is tough. One of the factors which makes leadership today challenging is the generational diversity around our offices and across Slack channels. Every organization and business today has to fight the same battle – four or five generations are at the table, looking to be heard and valued. Builders, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z all see the world very differently, and the values...Read More

Why Empathy Is The Most Effective Leadership Skill

If I’ve learned anything from starting my own company, it’s that entrepreneurship starts with an individual’s desire to solve a problem or problems. But as the company grows, one also has to grow into much more than just an entrepreneur.  In order to succeed as a company, I have learned that it is less about your individual need or desire, but more about surrounding yourselves with talented people...Read More

Do These Things if Your Employer Puts You on a Performance Improvement Plan

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a tool used by managers and HR to help employees identify and create an action plan when there are deficiencies present in your performance. While receiving a PIP can feel scary, they should not always be perceived negatively. If you receive a PIP, then it seems your organization is truly interested in helping you improve. To help you turn the situation around...Read More

To Improve Your Team, First Work on Yourself

A colleague and I were recently meeting with a CEO and his leadership team, observing them as they discussed how to improve their annual planning process. As the team of ten explored their current process, the conversation got heated. The team had been talking for 45 minutes, but it wasn’t clear who was leading the discussion or what their objectives were. Many comments were off-topic, and they were not getting...Read More

The Next Sign Of Great Leadership: Emotional Intelligence

Over the last few years, the business landscape has morphed, forcing companies and leaders to transform in many ways. Honesty, intelligence and empathy are required. And those who hold those as ideals consistently rise above the rest. We buy products and services from people who we admire and respect. How companies show up in the world and how they communicate within it directly impacts...Read More

How to Make Sure a New Hire Feels Included from Day One

Beth was promoted to senior vice president at a Fortune 500 company. In addition to her existing responsibilities, she was given two new groups to manage. Overnight, her team doubled in size. Beth needed to hire senior executives to help manage her burgeoning division. Within five months, she had her senior management team in place: four external hires and six internal executives who had worked...Read More

Fear the Conversations You're Not Having

Challenging management and performance conversations regularly run off the rails. They are often muddled, mixed-up, and monumentally massacred. Nonetheless, at least people are attempting to talk about the tough topics—even if things occasionally go cattywampus (look it up!) with them. The conversations I genuinely worry about are the ones that aren’t taking place. As a leader, just thinking...Read More

3 Myths About Success That You Need to Stop Believing This Year

In your pursuit of long-term business success, you’ve likely adopted some false beliefs about what you and your business need to do to succeed. There’s no doubt that success is in the eye of the beholder. Numerous interviews with rich and famous entrepreneurs and corporate leaders prove that. To Sir Richard Branson, true success boils down to living each day fulfilled. For Mark Cuban, it’s waking...Read More

13 Dos and Don'ts of Business Email Etiquette

Few things can tarnish your professional brand quite like a poorly written, misguided email. One click of the "send" button can be the difference between a successful business exchange and a potential HR issue or co-worker conflict. And while Americans send hundreds of thousands of emails a day, it should not be taken for granted. Whether you’re a senior...Read More

Leadership Qualities that Promote Customer-Centric Success

There are a thousand different ways to lead a company. Some leaders thrive in chaos, while others prefer to micromanage. There are leaders that seek out the spotlight and some try to keep a low profile. Whatever leadership style is adopted, all leaders must focus on customers needs, wants and desires. There is an art to developing a business that’s both customer-centric and profitable. Read More

Are You Selling to a Professional or an Amateur?

A professional is going to buy from someone like you. They’re going to have a process to review the process, a method, an experienced approach to obtaining what they need. A professional isn’t going to think she can do it herself and isn’t going to make it an emergency. An amateur, on the other hand, may or may...Read More

Don't Get Left Behind: Five Ways to Be Better at Change

Remember the old days, when a "reorg" was something distinctive and rare?  Consultants would come in to your company and poke around for awhile, and then the change would get announced.  People would be let go; maybe some functions would get merged or scrapped; reporting relationships would shift; perhaps the brand would get a reboot.  Everybody who survived would breathe...Read More

I Didn't Do the Reading

This is a brave and generous thing to say. If you’re not able (or committed enough) to do the reading before you give your opinion, please have the guts to point that out. “I didn’t read the proposal, but my bias is…” We’re winging it. All of us. The world goes faster and faster, and so people are finding themselves unable to read the bill before they vote on it, listen to the entire album...Read More

Do We Value Attention Properly?

Every day, at the end of his shift, one of your employees takes three laptops out of the supply closet, takes them home and sells them on eBay, pocketing the money. If you discovered this, would you take action? At the very same time, another employee is busy spamming your house email list, relentlessly pitching...Read More

What's Your Gut Telling You

Have you ever experienced discomfort about a person, opportunity or decision? Did you listen to your gut? Or, like many who rely on quantifiable facts and what you can see, touch, taste, feel or hear, did you override your uneasiness with logic? How did it work out? I recently talked with an individual whose organization hired a Hacker (someone actively trying to cause problems in the workplace, described...Read More

The Self-Talk Struggle Is Real: How To Win At Work With Sports Psychology

In the 1998 NBA Finals, down by one point and with only 18 seconds left in the game, Michael Jordan tore the ball away from the opponent and made the winning shot of his last game with the Chicago Bulls. That pivotal moment would go down as one of the greatest in sports history, but the remarkable thing, besides the observable aspect...Read More

How To Be Your Most Productive Self: Let Go Of Being Perfect

We live in an era of overachievement, and in this era flaunting those achievements (we’re looking at you, social media) is totally the norm. Because pretty much everyone’s achievements are on full display at all times, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that “perfect is the new black,” and if you want to be successful in today’s hyper-competitive culture, you need to be perfect, too. Read More

Rethink Your Relationships: Serve, Don't Sell

Last week, a client of mine went to three very different events in Texas, Florida and New York. One was with people in the trucking industry, another with top minds in the legal industry and a third was with hard-charging entrepreneurs. He told me, "Everyone was talking about the same thing. People." Even at the "technology" event, he said, the focus was on people. This is a critical insight. Read More

5 Types of People You're Likely to Work With and How to Manage Each

In a recent Gallup Poll of more than 80,000 American employees, 32 percent self-reported being actively engaged and committed to their work and work place, while 51 percent indicated being passively disengaged, and a terrifying 17 percent admitted to being actively disengaged and trying to cause problems. In order to maximize performance, productivity and profitability...Read More

Bring Your Mission Statement to Life

A few weeks ago, I conducted a team alignment meeting for a client. That’s where I get a group of supervisors and managers together with the company’s owner or president, and we create a structured discussion about areas that need attention and action. One of the topics that came up was the organization’s mission statement. Now my client happens to have an excellent mission statement. But the problem...Read More

What to Do When the Phone Won’t Stop Ringing

Accepting every new client who comes your way might seem like a quick way to make more money, but in the long run, it often leads to stretching crews thin on time and resources. That’s why Nick Cooper said he turns down roughly 95 percent of new business leads each day. The Greathouse Company business development manager told a LANDSCAPES 2018 audience that it’s essential...Read More

Great Ideas: Improve Your Time Management

“Until We Can Manage Time, We Can Manage Nothing Else.” These words of wisdom come from the late, great management guru Peter Drucker, and for me they really hit home. Because while there are many strategies for improving your business, you won’t succeed at any of them if you don’t first figure out how to manage your time, and your team’s time, well. Read More

Keep Your Millennials

As Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers all learn how to work together, it’s key to understand how company culture is changing. At a panel discussion at LANDSCAPES in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, three members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals Young Professionals group discussed what they look for in a workplace. Read More

Hard-Learned Lessons

It’s true in sports and it’s true in business: individuals win games, but teams win championships. Ross Bernstein, best-selling sports author and Fortune 500 award-winning speaker, shared his insights from years of talking with top athletes at the National Association of Landscape Professionals CEO Forum at LANDSCAPES Wednesday morning. It’s the little things you do every day...Read More

Keeping Good Workers Happy

Steven Cesare doesn’t mince words when it comes to employee retention. The Harvest Group’s human resources director said bad employees should go – they’re just sucking the blood from your company, or they’re deadwood. Meanwhile, he said employers shouldn’t pretend their best workers aren’t looking for better jobs elsewhere. Keeping those star employees comes down...Read More

Empowering your Employees Through Language

After 25 years in business, we realized we had an important challenge that needed to be addressed here at Designscapes Colorado. With more than 250 year-round and seasonal team members, we needed to address our communication problem. This was not a typical communication problem, such as a lack of clear direction from management, that typically impacts companies...Read More 

It's Time to Get Off the Roller Coaster

This past week I spoke to almost 40 clients—there is a general theme of personnel and recruiting craziness in the air. It is the economy and the macro trends in the work place. If you are feeling it...You are not alone! But how you choose to deal with these ups and downs is totally in your control.
Marcus Kerske from Nashville takes the approach of a very positive outlook and a can-do...Read More

Fear of Confrontation

Over the years I hear from owners that they are afraid to confront their employees (for poor behavior) because they fear they will offend and push out that employee, and they fear they won't be able to replace that employee. This fear is illogical and self sabotaging. Can you imagine any relationship worth having, where you decide to avoid discussing problems in order to save the relationship?!? Not only...Read More

Brand Positioning

The thing that beats price, quality, or service every time. Look around at the ads you see on TV, in the newspaper, or on social media. Most companies-whether they target businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)-position themselves based on one of three main factors: Quality, price, or service. 1. Quality: “We have the best products or services around. No one can beat the things we sell!” Read More