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The Compass

Topics to keep you and your organization on course.

Encouraging Mistakes

I might be a mean parent. My daughter recently got scraped up doing something outside. Instead of diving for the first aid kit and offering sympathy, I commented on how cool the scrapes were.  Okay, maybe I'm not mean, but I know that minor scrapes and bruises show...

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Lessons from the U.S. Women’s Ski Team

The most recent Olympics provide an opportunity to celebrate a couple of amazing performances and see directly how they relate to individual performance inside a team environment.  The gold medal earned by Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall show that focus on effort, process and team culture can bring historic results.

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Addressing Board Committee Challenges

I once worked at a nonprofit organization that had 11 standing board committees.  The board also required nearly every significant decision staff made to be approved by the appropriate committee who then needed their decision approved by the board.  Wasn't that...

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One Approach to a More Effective Team

Working with a client recently, the group discussed the difficulty of creating truly effective teams.  They work in a fast-paced industry and say they have little time for team development inside the office.  They also experience relatively high turnover, a standard...

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Get Comfortable with Discomfort

A couple of weeks ago, I competed in the Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon.  I rode in the 80 mile bike race in northern Wisconsin.  The temperature hovered around zero Fahrenheit during the day, but as the sun went down, it dropped quickly to about -20.  I didn't have a...

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Exploring the “Why”

  In his incredibly popular TedX talk, "Start with Why" Simon Sinek says "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."  That's as true in leading people as it is in selling products or services.  People want to know our motivations, our "why's".  I see...

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Praise, With a Dash of Criticism

Kids are smart.  This was illustrated for me once again on a recent long drive with my family.  Somehow we got on the topic of people who offer too much praise, and others who don't offer enough.  According to my 10 and 14 year-old kids there's a "just right" mix of...

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Time to Focus on Your Team

There's an old saying, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now."  The same concept applies to focusing on your team's performance.  Work teams are always changing, people come, people go, responsibilities or staff structure...

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Trust Falls Won’t Help

“Trust is not the ability of team members to predict one another’s behaviors because they’ve known each other for a long time.” Patrick Lencioni

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Is it Time for a Check-Up?

It’s important that we check in regularly on how our teams, and the individuals who make them up, are doing. It’s also sometimes important to do things that may be unpopular, but are good for the long-term health of your team.

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Breaking it Down

When you tackle something major, how do you break it into manageable chunks? How do you measure progress while making sure you aren't getting pulled in the wrong direction? In last month's post, Keep Moving Forward, I wrote about pushing through obstacles to find...

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Achieving Buy-In

Patrick Lencioni, author of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, has said that people need to “weigh-in to be able to buy in.”

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Silence = Agreement

“I don’t have the time to fix this. They just need to speak up.” You can absolutely take that approach, but think of all the time being wasted in meetings where you aren’t getting the best from the people in the room.

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