Why Employees Don’t Speak Their Minds

My friend Lisa called me the other day with a problem. A large corporation hired her as a consultant to shepherd a project. She anticipated a straightforward engagement until…

…employees started to confide in her. They shared their gripes, suggestions, and observations about company leaders.

Every time they shared a tidbit, Lisa asked, “Have you shared this with the leaders?”

They always responded, “No way. We could never do that.”

Lisa called me because I help companies work through communication breakdowns or — in this case — communication voids.

I see it often: Employees have plenty to say. They just don’t say it in a collaborative setting.

Lisa asked me, “Why does this happen, and what can we do to fix it?”

The answer: It starts at the top.

Keep reading for tips to create a workplace that encourages effective communication…

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When the Conversation Gets Complex, End the Emails and Converse Directly

It started as a simple miscommunication…

…and then it became a train wreck with hurt feelings and big problems to solve.

That’s what happened in my friend’s company when one of his employees raised an issue in an email.

The issue wasn’t a big deal. But email has a way of turning small things into big things.

Recipients misunderstood the sender’s point. They reacted to the tone, not the facts. They cc’d others. Assumptions piled on top of assumptions. People read between the lines. Emotion trumped logic.

My friend, the business owner, was cc’d after the emotional fire was burning out of control.

Now he was spending precious time fighting a fire that could have been avoided in the first place.

How can you help your team to ditch the drama and improve communication?

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How to Overcome the Midyear Doldrums

I have a client who had a great first quarter.

Now spring has sprung. The weather is better. We seem to be turning the corner on the pandemic…

…and my client has lost momentum.

He thinks he’s on target to hit his annual goals. So now he’s thinking, “I can take my foot off the gas.”

Call it the midyear doldrums. Call it the May Mistake.

I see it happen every year as the flowers bloom. Business people take their foot off the gas.

Some, like my client, ease up after smelling the roses.

Others set goals in January, don’t accomplish as much in Q1 as they hoped, and get stuck in the mud.

Many simply let the good weather, vacations, and other rites of spring distract their attention.

How do you avoid this fate? How do you ensure you don’t squander opportunities to push forward and prosper?

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Person completing checklist

How to Complete the Critical Things You Hate to Do

I know a business owner who hates everything associated with billing, collections, and finance.

When it’s time to cut an invoice, he stalls. When payments are past due, he stalls. When he has to reconcile financial statements, he stalls.

Those things don’t get done, and they become an emotional anchor. He knows undone things are piling up. That weighs on him. He feels guilty for putting this off. That weighs on him. Cash-flow suffers. That weighs on him.

But, still, he doesn’t get it done efficiently.

Meanwhile, all that emotional weight distracts him from other tasks. So he struggles to get done even those things he likes to do.

Sound familiar?

Everyone faces important business tasks they don’t like to do.

Some stall and let it weigh on them — which creates undue stress for the business and its leaders. Others find a way to get the job done. Their businesses thrive, and the leaders suffer less stress. Everyone wants their business to thrive, not suffer.

So how do you make it happen? Here are four keys to get done the things you hate to do.

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How an Accountability Partner Can Transform Leaders and Their Companies

I’ve always tried to stay physically fit — eat well, work out, stay healthy.

But it wasn’t until I worked with a personal trainer that I discovered how far I could go. My trainer pushed me to strive — more reps, more commitment, more discipline.

He encouraged me and held me accountable. I was good without him. But I felt GREAT with him — physically and mentally.

The same thing happens in business when you have an accountability partner.

Some business leaders say they don’t want an accountability partner. They think they’re fine without one. They fear they’ll look incompetent if they need one. They worry they’ll look like a slacker.

The truth is: Those who work with accountability partners reach a higher level and…

Go beyond “getting the job done”.

Are you reaching your full potential, or are you just getting the job done…

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How to Get More Done and Achieve Your Goals by Protecting Your Time

Bill was struggling to meet his sales goals. He wasn’t making enough calls. He wasn’t following up. He wasn’t closing sales. He was distracted and discouraged…

…Until I helped him to set aside “Protected Time” on his calendar.

Now he’s exceeding his goals, and he’s enjoying his work more.

You’ve probably heard of “time blocking.” It makes sense to set aside blocks on your calendar for important tasks.

But people stumble with time-blocking.

Why? Because they “block” the time on their calendar, but they don’t PROTECT it.

With these small changes you can Protect your time and achieve more and meet your goals…

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Unplanned Drop-Ins Disrupt Information Flow

I asked a business owner recently how he gathers information from his employees.

His reply: “I stop by each person’s office.”

You’ve seen it. The check-in. The boss swings by, unannounced, pops their head in the office and says:

“How’s it going? What are you working on? Everything on track? OK. Good…”

Sometimes the boss may spring some unexpected assignment on you. Other times, they just encourage you to “carry on.”

Most managers — and their employees — can relate to this. The manager gathers information in snippets. A quick check-in here. A water-cooler conversation there

But let’s take a look at what really happens (and what doesn’t) when we take the “pop-in” approach…

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Tucker the Dog with Disc in Mouth

The Tucker Files: What a Boisterous Beagle Can Teach Humans About Management

Hi, My name is a Tucker, and, in case you didn’t notice, I’m a dog.

Here’s a story of how my boss, Cheryl, motivated me to run, and leap and stretch to catch plastic discs she tossed in the air.

Cheryl thinks business people can learn a lot from this story about how to inspire and motivate employees.

That may be so… But I want you to read on so you can see the cool videos of me doing my thing (I’m a show-off).

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Connection Starters Lead to Better Meetings and Stronger Companies

This is a story about human connections and how they can strengthen your business…

Humans have a deep desire to connect with other people, to find something in common with them.

When we connect with others, we listen to them differently. When people share ideas or make suggestions, we understand where they are coming from. We understand their point of view.

Connections lower barriers, build rapport, and establish trust.

Trust breeds teamwork. Teamwork leads to business success.

Here’s an example…

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People collaborating and in alignment

How to Inspire Employees to Give Meaningful Feedback and Collaborate

I was talking with a company owner last week who craves useful feedback from his employees, but never receives it.

This is a guy who exudes confidence. But even those who seem totally in command have doubts.

We all benefit from positive reinforcement or constructive conflict that comes from an engaged and empowered team.

But how can we make that happen?

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How a Stressed Owner Let Go and Got Away

I know a business owner who rarely enjoyed time away from his business. If he got away, he always stressed about how it would turn out. It often didn’t turn out well.  Sound familiar? That all changed a few months ago. Before the pandemic, he made it out of town, and everything went well. Here’s why…

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Person Attending a Webinar and Taking Notes

How to Break the Webinar Habit

This is an intervention……for all of you webinar addicts. Your business success depends on this. Since the pandemic began, I’ve seen too many business people lose focus as they click-and-watch every time they get an email offer for an interesting, informative webinar. Last week, a business owner told me about the Search Engine Optimization webinar he watched. He learned a lot, he told me. “Wow! Are you handling SEO for your company now?” I asked. He responded with silence. He got the point.

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Focus on one thing to get more done in the business

Get More Done in the Business: Focus on One Thing

Here’s the story of an owner who vowed to use his shelter-in-place time to get more done in the business. But he spent so much time chasing so many squirrels that he spun in circles. If you focus on too many things, you’ll spin your wheels. If you focus on ONE THING, you’ll get more done.

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Improve Your ROI With A Good Business Coach

I received an email the other day from an expert who noted that “a lot of people burn out this time of year, waning from their new year resolutions.” I stand accused. We set goals and make resolutions around the New Year. Then, as the first quarter ends, we’re burnt out, and our commitment to our resolutions fades away. Same thing in business…

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girl with head on desk piled with papers from poor delegating

Are You Delegating Or Dumping?

ARE YOU DELEGATING OR DUMPING? Delegating properly is one of the most important leadership skills. Delegation is typically not a natural skill that we learn growing up; however, it is critical to company growth and it’s a game-changer on many levels. When delegation is done poorly, it is better known as dumping, and it’s not…

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yellow rollercoaster ride with lots of curves and change directions

Change Curve Management

CHANGE CURVE MANAGEMENT Wow, our ERP implementation is complete! Now we have all functional processes integrated in one system. Yes, it took longer than expected and we went over budget, but the lessons learned are priceless! I’m proud to say I did my best work moving everyone through the change curve during this project and…

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