how well do you juggle?

Does it seem that in your personal and vocational life that it is a juggling act? We all fill so many different roles that sometimes it is hard to remember “which way is up”!

This article on the Harvard Business Review site has some good recommendations to help you “juggle”.

One of my favorite quotes is also in this article:

“The trick to juggling is determining which balls are made of rubber and which ones are made of glass.”

The bottom line is, do you know what your real priorities are in life and are you living and working in accordance with those priorities?

the difference between inspired, engaged, and satisfied team members

Do you know the difference between inspired, engaged, and satisfied employees? Are you aware of the impact of the difference on their productivity? it is significant!

Read the article by Eric Garton and Michael C. Mankins on for some very interesting insights!




How to Design an Agenda for an Effective Meeting – HBR

Some good points for you from HBR in this article on how to run better meeting. Click here to read the entire article,

Seek input from team members.

Select topics that affect the entire team.

List agenda topics as questions the team needs to answer.

Note whether the purpose of the topic is to share information, seek input for a decision, or make a decision.

Estimate a realistic amount of time for each topic.

Propose a process for addressing each agenda item.

Identify who is responsible for leading each topic.

Make the first topic “review and modify agenda as needed.”

End the meeting with a plus/delta.

I especially like the fourth point! Then as a review of the meeting, ask these questions:


Was the agenda distributed in time for everyone to prepare?

How well did team members prepare for the meeting?

How well did we estimate the time needed for each agenda item?

How well did we allocate our time for decision making and discussion?

How well did everyone stay on-topic? How well did team members speak up when they thought someone was off-topic?

How effective was the process for each agenda item?

It;s a good article

the power of co-leading

Pinelake July 2015Co-leading seems to go against the culture of the individualist strain of celebrity CEO’s and the myths that surround them, however, in reality none of us do anything alone. We need the help of others, we need their partnership to accomplish so much more that we can alone.

I have had the privilege of co-leading with a colleague who has now become a good friend. Where we worked, it is called a dyad – two working as one. We are as different as we can be and that was a good thing! He is East Coast, I am Southern; I like strategizing and planning, he acts and gets things done quickly; sometimes details are not that important to me, he masters details; I am more introverted and intuitive and he is extroverted and likes dealing with facts. We balanced each other well, got more done together than we could have individually, and best of all forged a new friendship.

The article “How to Co-Lead a Team” on the Harvard Business Review site deals with this subject well. below is an excerpt, its worth your time to read the entire article if you are interested in becoming more effective as a leader.

“We don’t lead alone. We lead with others. The days of the ‘Great Man’ theory of Leadership – where one sole leader rules over the masses from their ivory tower, are long gone.

Some of us quite literally lead with another person – we co-lead a project, a team, or an organization with a peer. A study by Pearce and Sims (2002), published in Group Dynamics, found that shared leadership is a useful predictor of team effectiveness. Other research suggests shared leadership can also lead to greater team interaction, increased collaboration and coordination, as well as novel and more innovative solutions. But while co-leadership can be energizing and rewarding, if the relationship isn’t strong, the arrangement can easily become draining and frustrating.”

Check it out – it is worth your time in my opinion.


are you running productive meetings?

Meetings are a challenge to say the least. We need them (at least the right meetings) to do our work, but we do them so poorly that we mostly detest them! So often if feels like a no-win scenario. However, it doesn’t have to be this way at all.

Patrick Lencioni has a great book out on how to do effective meetings entitled “Death By Meeting” and has some great resources on his website.

I also came across this article, “What Everyone Needs to Know About Running Productive Meetings“, today on the Harvard Business Review website that has some good pointers for how to actually have interesting and productive meetings.

Meeting Tree by Elizabeth Grace Saunders


Some interesting points from the article:

1. First the question – “Are you addicted to meetings?” Great question!

2. Shorten the meeting times. Don’t default to an hour “just because” or because it’d the default setting on your Outlook

3. Create a focused agenda

4. Limit attendees to who absolutely needs to be there

5. Stay on track!

6. Manage the attendees – don’t allow one or two people to dominate

7. Set the right tone

8. Define next steps and responsibilities

Some good points here and several echo what Patrick Lencioni has written. Meetings are an important part of work. Doing meetings well is an important leader and manager skill and well worth you learning how to do them well!!



“What Military Service Could Teach MBAs” – Harvard Business Review

“What Military Service Could Teach MBAs” – Harvard Business Review

Using Forbes 800 and Execucomp surveys that identify company CEOs, and aided by additional research into military service, age, and education, Benmelech and Frydman were able to compare firms run by veterans and those run by executives without any military experience. Then they asked a question: “Has the disappearance of executives who served in the military from the C-suite had a real impact on corporate America?”

The answer, in short, is: Yes.

compassionate leadership – a new idea?

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  – 1 Peter 2:3

“. . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37 – 39

The Harvard Business Review blog has an entry entitled “The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally)“.  Following are some lines from the article:

“Don’t look now, but all of a sudden the topic of compassionate management is becoming trendy. . .To manage compassionately, Weiner noted, doesn’t come naturally to most managers. It requires spending the time to walk in someone else’s shoes — to understand what kind of baggage that person is bringing to work; what kinds of stresses she’s under; what her strengths and weaknesses are. In high-pressure environments, such a time investment is anathema to most of us. But such an investment is analogous to the work of a carpenter who carefully measures a piece of wood three times before cutting once: spending such “compassion time” with an employee, Weiner insists, pays off in that person’s much greater efficiency, productivity and effectiveness (and obviates later regrets). It’s not just altruism: as it turns out, companies that practice conscious capitalism perform ten times better than companies that don’t.”

Compassionate management is now trendy? It’s not natural for most managers? How incredibly sad that it is just now a trend – how incredibly sad that it is “just” being realized that people actually work better when they are cared for – how incredibly sad that truly compassionate leadership is somewhat rare in business, ministry, and the non-profit worlds.

Obviously God’s word calls us to love others, to be compassionate, to shepherd those we lead. Yet we fail to do so – so very often.

If you are a leader, take time to read the great little book The Way of the Shepherd. I use it often in the management courses I teach at Bethel College. Consistently, I am told that little book is life changing.

Also, check out this earlier blog post on the difference it makes when you take a genuine interest in the lives of those you lead.

Are you leading with compassion? Are you genuinely interested in the lives of those you lead?

If not, try it and you will be blessed.


“Closing the Chasm Between Strategy and Execution”

“Closing the Chasm Between Strategy and Execution”

“How to Give a Killer Presentation”

If you make presentations, check out this article in the Harvard Business Review.

Improving Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Good morning. We are blessed today to have some old friends from Mississippi visiting with us last night and this morning. Friends grass - Laauren 2013are a blessing from the Lord!

Most of us desire to improve our emotional intelligence (EQ) as we know that it is important. At my work, it is considered a critical skill. In fact, one of our mantras is “Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance“. So, if it is so important, then why does it seem so hard?

According to the Harvard Business Review article “Can You Really Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?” there are five key points to consider:

1. Your level of EQ is firm, but not rigid. We are greatly influenced and formed by our genetics and early childhood experiences. However, you can change, but it requires a great deal of dedication and guidance and unfortunately few people are willing to try.

2. Good coaching programs do work. The author states that a well-designed coaching program can easily achieve improvements of 25% with benefits not only in the workplace but at home as well.

3. But you can only improve if you get accurate feedback. Most of us are unaware of how others see us, especially leaders. So, we need accurate feedback in order to understand how we are truly impacting others.

4. Some techniques (coaches) are more competent than others. There are methods that are better than others, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and enhancing psychological flexibility and so on. So do some research on the best methods as well as the best coaches.

5. Some people are more coachable than others. You have to want to change and if you are trying to help someone else, they have to want the coaching / change for it to be effective.

Improving our EQ is important to us in almost all the areas of our lives. What are you doing to improve your EQ?

Hope you have a great weekend!