Stop Dreading & Start Loving Performance Assessments

Writing in the Wall Street Journal back in 2008, Samuel A. Culvert called for an end to the performance review. By late 2015, HBR published “Why More and More Companies Are Ditching Performance Ratings.” Last summer I looked at some arguments against the reviews as they are currently administered. Recently one of my clients told me […] See More

January 11, 2017

Do You Want to Survive This Year–Or Thrive?

As many of my readers know, I really like to beat the “niche drum.” For the last six months or so, I’ve really thumped on about this because finding the right niche is one of the most important things a business can do. So it’s probably no surprise that I get excited whenever I see anything […] See More

January 4, 2017

Let’s Admit the Millennials are a Gift

A lot has been written about the differences between generations. As someone on the younger end of the Baby Boomers, much was written about my generation and how different we were from the generation that came before us. Now you can’t turn around without running into another article about the Millennials. I’ve written a few […] See More

December 28, 2016

Amy Zier and Her Bicontinental Business

A version of this post originally appeared in Omaha Magazine’s Fall, 2016, Women in Business issue. As my regular readers know, I successfully completed a work-from-abroad experiment this last summer. It was by far the most satisfying “put your money where your mouth is” adventure I’ve had in a long time. Recently  I interviewed my friend […] See More

December 21, 2016

How to Communicate Like a Boss

As a leader, the lion’s share of responsibility for your company’s climate and communication style rests on your shoulders. Lack of transparency has troubled many companies, but a failure to address issues in the workplace can have a debilitating effect on company morale and productivity. A recent example occurred at Amazon, where an unhappy employee […] See More

December 14, 2016

1-on-1’s are Great, Unless They’re Bad

More and more businesses–and their employees–are recognizing the value of regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings, whether we call them coaching or mentoring. This is exactly the opposite of those dreaded, unproductive, obligatory, wheel-spinning meetings that gobble up potentially productive time and leave so many people frustrated and resentful. Done right, one-on-one meetings are beneficial on both […] See More

December 1, 2016

Are You Agile Enough to Survive Uncertainty?

The basic fault lines today are not between people with different beliefs but between people who hold these beliefs with an element of uncertainty and people who hold these beliefs with a pretense of certitude. Peter L. Berger It would be disingenuous to say that the dust has settled since the election, and I don’t […] See More

November 25, 2016

5 Proven Keys to Effective Leadership Development

By far the most respected authority on corporate leadership development (and my personal hero) is Marshall Goldsmith. His exhaustive research on executive performance has generated essential information for companies interested in fostering genuine leadership. Among other important takeaways is evidence of the power of peer assessment vs. self-assessment. The truest measurement of a leader’s growth comes […] See More

November 16, 2016

Succeeding at Succession with the New “Hybrid” CEO

Steve Blank published a great article last week about succession planning (“Why Visionary CEOs Never Have Visionary Successors”, Harvard Business Review) that made me review my own experience in this area. Blank describes the traditional entrepreneurial succession model that cycles from the eccentric inventor/founder, to the buttoned-down manager who’s charged with optimizing company systems and […] See More

October 26, 2016

Seeking the Big Prize: True Focus

An old friend used to say, “You get on base, then you get off base, then you get on base, then you get off base.” This can apply to so many things besides baseball: Professional growth, personal relationships, physical or mental health—pretty much anywhere you might be seeking equilibrium. Nobody is perfect, and progress often […] See More

October 19, 2016