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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.


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 ...


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.


Twofer Tuesday: On Inner Circles and Habits

Are you in or are you out?

Here’s a provocative article from my friend Les McKeown at Predictable Success. He’s put down the gauntlet to say that the “inner circle” is a dangerous thing.

And yet … we all know that loneliness at work is rampant.

What do you think? In? Or out?


The Science of Happiness. 5 Ways to Boost Your Happiness

It turns out that some individuals are genetically wired to be happier. But if you’re not among them, what can you do to improve your happiness? Studies show about 40% of our happiness depends on what we think, believe, and do.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, provides five scientifically validated keys to increasing happiness in The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Penguin Books, 2007):


Want More Money (or Less Stress)? Be More Grateful!

I’m generally a pretty happy, positive, glass-is-all-the-way-full kind of person. In my younger days, I was a cheerleader. I own that proudly because I’m still a cheerleader today. I love little more than cheering on those around me. I think my positive outlook also contributes to my generally grateful nature. I know just how lucky I am to be surrounded by wonderful family, friends and co-workers. (And yes, that last one does belong in the group.)


How to Stay Career Focused

Dollarphotoclub_40278647-2It's an important question made especially difficult by today's organizational demands. Tim Butler, from Harvard Business School, brings some smarts to the party as director of its career development program.  In this job climate it's easy to lose sight of your goals, but you can stay focused.

There are a number of issues that professionals should give some serious thought to today: 

How far out should I be looking? 


Michael’s Sign Language

Go to the next level today.


Build and Engage Your Employees through Employee Engagement Strategies


Employee engagement is the backbone of your overall organizational performance. While many organizations choose to ignore its importance, you must realize that only when your employees are fully engaged will they work whole-heartedly for you and groom themselves as thorough professionals. In order to achieve this, they must be given the right opportunities and balance in work. All this forms the essence of setting up and running any business.

Forming a Comprehensive and In-depth Approach to Establishing Your Business through Employee Engagement