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Latest Posts


Does everyone want to be an owner?

In theory, employee ownership through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an almost perfect idea, since it benefits employees and businesses equally and simultaneously.

Shares are allocated to, rather than purchased by, the employees, which puts ownership within the grasp of many who might never own a business otherwise. Employees have a strong incentive to work hard and effectively, since they will reap the reward.


The Wasted Right Hand of the Leader

For every knight, there is a squire. They are the stewards, the attendants, the equerries, the aides. They work behind the scenes, carrying shields, replacing swords, caring for horses. In short, they are the right hands of their bosses, making knighthood possible.

So what can Moby-Dick tell us about squires? In the great novel, the “squires” are the harpooners:

Each mate or headsman, like a Gothic Knight of old, is always accompanied by his boat-steerer or harpooneer, who in certain conjunctures provides him with a fresh lance, when the former one has been badly twisted, or elbowed in the assault; and moreover, as there generally subsists between the two, a close intimacy and friendliness.


Understanding How to Navigate Personality Differences on Teams

Do you love your job but struggle dealing with management? Do you look forward to getting together with your clients but avoid meeting with your co-workers? Are you partners with someone in business or in your personal life with whom you experience as difficult? Do you feel that you are ineffective in problem-solving with certain groups of co-workers or friends? Perhaps there is a personality conflict with you and your team. Often we write off personality conflicts because we can’t change someone else’s personality. However, there are strategies and approaches to help navigate situations where potential personality conflicts exist that I’ve outlined here.


48 canteens later… Why lunch break isn’t the best time for employee communications.

We’ve witnessed a vast array of culinary delights in our clients’ canteen areas, varying from the Michelin starred variety (Iceland Foods head office), to the … less well thought out canteens, which I shouldn’t like to name.

You may be asking why on earth we have been touring our clients’ canteens. The reason? To announce new employee benefits and explain the detail to our clients’ employees – human to human. It’s a refreshingly traditional means of employee communication in this heady world of likes, follows, hashtags and YouTube videos, because regardless of how social media has blown up over these last 6 years, human to human interaction wins hands down for most people.

And with “Be Human” as one of our core company values, we’re strong believers in spreading the message person to person.


This Startup Pays You to Learn How to Code


Jeff Vincent Wistia

Learning the new literacy of the 21st century doesn’t come cheap.

Hack Reactor, a code school in San Francisco, costs a breathtaking $17,780 in tuition for 12 weeks of instruction. A semester at Cornell Engineering costs $23,525.

But if you learn to code, the rewards are great. Hack Reactor boasts a 99% graduate hiring rate at an average annual salary of $105,000. An fresh, 22 year old recent graduate of the computer science from Cornell can expect a salary around $95,670. In short, learning to code is one of the most valuable skills you can develop.



You Know a Lot More Than You Can Tell

Or, it's not only who you know in the organization, but also what you know about how the organization works.

The ability to speak a language, use algebra, design and use complex processes or work with complex equipment requires all sorts of knowledge that is rarely known explicitly, even by expert practitioners. The same is true of the knowledge of "how" an organization works, it's real priorities and deeply held impressions. This "tacit knowledge" in the form of "rules" and "mental models," has far-reaching consequences and impacts upon our career futures.

I've always liked to pride myself in the fact that as a consultant I only lost three gigs over the past thirty years, often staying with clients for a couple decades. But in all three instances my failure was tied to the fact that I was simply unaware of the organizations' unique, tacit mental models--its "rules"--by which people worked.

In a previous post, I commented that knowing the organizations' gossip often held keys to figuring out the "rules" or "mental models." I learned that one way to get at these "rules" was to finish interviews with the question "how do you get in trouble in your organization?"

Some essential ...


20 Secrets of the World's Greatest Coaches

20 Secrets of the World's Greatest Coaches

Cleaning out some old files I came across a handout from a coaching workshop I attended some years ago. A single sheet of paper with the heading “The Coach’s Toolbox” and a list: Twenty Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches.[1]


What do Bosses and Workers have in Common?

These days, the executive position most fraught with the danger of Internet blood-letting, not to mention being fired, is that of CISO (chief information security officer) as this joke making the rounds confirms.

A new security officer who meets his predecessor, who hands him three numbered envelopes and tells him to open them in an emergency. After a breach, the new security officer opens the first envelope. The message reads, Blame your predecessor. After a second breach, he opens the second, which suggests, Blame your staff. After a third breach, the security officer opens the third envelope. The message reads, Prepare three envelopes


Are You Evolving With Your Employee Benefits?

Are you making the most of your non-traditional benefits?

Bad news. SHRM just released their annual survey evaluating the state of employee benefits in 2014, and if you compare those results to the same benefits a few years ago, the findings are a little depressing. Health costs have taken up more and more of the pie, as education, financial and retirement benefits decline. As US News and World Report recently wrote, many of the crown jewels from the 2010 benefit offering are disappearing today.

This report is part of a general hue and cry about vanishing employee benefits, as things like pension plans, education reimbursements, and even health care coverage itself begin to scale back or fade away.


If You Can’t Retrieve The Knowledge It Is Pretty Much Worthless

Companies of all sizes around the world spend tens of billions a year on corporate education, learning and development.

Many Chief Learning Officers and Learning and Development professionals have an intense focus on competency and skill retention.

Being able to retain a skill or competency is important in learning transfer, however more important, is the ability to retrieve that content or competency when you need it to make a difference with a customer or a colleague.

What I’m talking about is analogous to a filing system.