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leadership

Aneta Key shares a practical and strategic outline of an IDEAL decision-making process. This article synthesizes what an effective decision-making process looks like — because just having a “process” is not enough — you need an IDEAL process. IDEAL framework While there is no one “right” decision-making process, many processes can lead to the wrong outcome. The IDEAL framework distills decades of managerial experience and lists the characteristics of an effective strategic decision-making process. I developed the framework to use…
Peter Costa offers his perspective on leadership and management and why you need them both. What do you think of when you see the word “management”? Probably nothing good.  Management seems to have become a dirty word, the antithesis of what a real leader is supposed to be. I believe it’s time to rethink that view.  To be a truly effective leader, you need to develop a full suite of both leadership AND management skills. Leadership is the act of…
Gina Abudi has recently published a book on launching change initiatives and developing a continuous improvement culture of change. In today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace, organizations that do not regularly undertake change initiatives will find it difficult—if not impossible—to continue to be successful in the long term. Most organizations only launch change initiatives when forced to address some pain, such as decreased revenues or profits, where the sole focus is on the benefits to the organization. Often, the people side…
Robyn Bolton shares three mind-blowing things she learned in Nebraska. “In the Before Times, we attended conferences to learn, make connections, and promote ourselves and our businesses. Then COVID hit, and conferences became virtual.   Although that made them easier to attend, it also made them easier to skip. Because, if we’re honest, most conferences were more about connecting and promoting than learning. Last week, I went to one of those rare, almost mythical, conferences more focused on learning and…
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Diana Dosik. Diana spent 16 years at BCG. She was a Partner and core member of the People and Organization Practice, with a focus on organizational behavior, organizational design, and people/culture transformation. She is also a trained executive coach (through Newfield Network, an ICF accredited training program). She is interested in coaching senior executives and projects related to leadership, culture or organizational change….
Xavier Lederer shares a company post that explains how these five tips will increase your employees’ accountability. My company has lots of potential, but I just feel my employees are not engaged. If I don’t push, nothing seems to happen. I’m working night and day and we’re still missing 40% of our targets. I once dreamed of being a firefighter, I guess that dream has come true. All I do is put out fires, I have no time to focus…
Sherif El-Henaoui shares an article on decision-making, why we often make the wrong choice, and why we think it’s the right one.  Often managers mix up tough decision with right ones by thinking them taking a tough decision that this is the right thing to do. Let’s me explain what I mean with an example: If I can’t pay the expenses of my house, I may think that I could decide disconnecting the electricity from my house to save money….
In this article, Tineke Keesmaat shares advice from top-tier consultants for all managers who are leading a hybrid team. TILTCO held a series of roundtable discussions in January and February 2021. Attended by business leaders, consultants, academics and experts, the discussions gathered insights and practical ideas to help leaders reimagine their organizations as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has turbo charged the move to new ways of working. Hybrid work environments – that is, where there is…
Priyanka Ghosh shares an article that identifies eight essential qualities in an effective leader and how what shapes them makes them.  The stories you tell are the stories that define you.  As you travel through you career to create the well-paved road from individual contribution to team leader and finally to the leadership role that you covet, you learn to tell stories through your actions.  Actions those are synonymous with leading by example.  But largely, it is these stories that…
Anubhav Raina shares an article with concrete tips on team management to maximize efficiency and productivity.  The responsibility of thriving (not just surviving) under an ever-changing business landscape falls to a company’s leadership. Even knowing this, too many owners and senior managers are so busy running day-to-day operations that they don’t have time to future-proof their businesses (and legacies). If you are in a leadership role and find yourself facing one of the following situations, you should already know that…
Mark Ledden shares a company post that can help develop a strategy to drive culture change.  This is the final installment of a three-part series of articles describing Kenning’s 3D Culture process, which focuses on the Development phase of the process. In the previous two articles we described the Diagnose and Design phases (the first two “D’s” of the 3D process), and made the case that, while culture “happens” in any organization organically (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), culture…
Amanda Setili shares a podcast from her series Fearless Growth where she interviews Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley,  the authors of the new book, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust, on leadership. The world is in desperate need for a new model of leadership, say Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. We have seen the results of self-centered leadership, the kind that loves power and status. They make the case that it’s just…
Stephanie Soler provides key questions that guide the development of an effective coaching plan. One of the essential tasks of a leader is to coach those who work for you. When it comes to creating coaching plans, most leaders are incomplete. They focus on simply identifying 2-3 development areas and checking in on them. The most effective coaching plans tap into what really matters to the employee, and address the root causes of what’s getting in the way. Here are…
Robyn Bolton provides sage advice on how to shift your team’s culture.  “We want to build a culture of innovation.” It’s a noble goal.  After all, a culture that values and encourages innovation is an essential component of an innovative company – one that repeatedly and reliably uses innovation to grow revenue. But you don’t need to build a culture of innovation.  You already have one. You need to unleash the aspects of your existing culture that fuel innovation. It’s…
Dan Markovitz shares an always relevant warning in business management and the one easy way to squander time, money, and credibility. Just in case 2020 wasn’t challenging enough for you, here’s a brilliant example of how to waste time, money, and credibility in 2021. The HR department at a company approached me recently about teaching employees process mapping. This company recognizes the utility of process mapping in continuous improvement and decided that a class would be a good place to…
Supriya Sen shares an article that is both practical and visionary in its position on financial inclusion.  Whether for large or small financial institutions, one of the real pain points within the financial sector has been that there is a wall of capital chasing far too few bankable projects – which leads to vast unserved needs in developing Asia. Ascribed variously by incumbents to poor capacity, unstable business and regulatory environment or poor bankruptcy regulation, rarely do we blame the…
Tobias Baer explores a question many may have on their mind right now. This morning I found myself in disbelief and incredible sadness that once again, there is a war on European soil. What will it take to end it? In my psychology studies, I found a voice of authority that can give us a perspective in these dark hours. In her monumental, raging book “The Body in Pain,” Elaine Scarry, a distinguished writer frequently cited even by leading psychologists…
Karen Barth shares an article on the problem of cognitive bias and what to do when you don’t trust your brain.  Many business strategists rely heavily on intuitive thinking. But what if you can’t trust your intuition as much as you think you can? Human brains are amazing. We can send people to the moon and back, cure disease and make almost anything out of cauliflower. The brain makes (often) accurate, intuitive judgements in split seconds. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote…
Jared Simmons shares an evergreen post on team management and managing stress.  There are a lot of individual motivations on a team, and they don’t always align with what that team has been tasked to do. Because of these variants, you may find yourself caring when others don’t about the project tasks at hand. A big part of managing projects is not convincing people to get on board, but rather finding ways to make the team’s priorities serve their personal…
Amanda Setili shares insights on managing remote employees from her own experience of working remotely. Many companies are wrestling with how to best manage and motivate the many employees who want to work remotely on a permanent basis. It recently occurred to me that others might benefit from the lessons I’ve learned during the many years that I’ve spent working in a similar manner. While I’m not an employee of my clients, they do depend on me to handle complex…
Greg Acton shares a podcast that explains why you should challenge assumptions when solving problems. While leadership entails guiding people in the direction of success, it also requires the ability to look at problems and seek solutions. How you frame those problems can have much to do with the solution arrived at. Mark Twain once said, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” Remaining convinced that…
Barry Horwitz shares a post that explores the meaning of organizational structure, and why the right kind of strength is needed when developing strategies. One of the phrases I frequently hear — often attributed to management guru Peter Drucker — is that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Many times, what’s being suggested is that strategy is, therefore, irrelevant. Naturally, as a strategist, I disagree! That said, it’s no accident that this quote has survived for as long as it has….
Susan Drumm shares an episode from her podcast series The Enlightened Executive. In this episode, she interviews Bill Adams on the Leadership Cycle model and how to use it to inspire more and control less. Maybe you recognize yourself or another leader you know in this common but ineffective leadership pattern: A leader wants to scale their organization, so they start working even harder, adding more hours to their workday and everyone else’s, pursuing results at the expense of people….
In this article published on Forbes.com, Diane Mulcahy shares an illuminating interview with Krystal Hicks where they discuss women in the gig economy and why companies don’t trust their employees. Krystal Hicks is the founder of JOBTALK, a company that grew out of her side gig providing talent, recruiting, and job-hunting advice to companies and individuals. Before going out on her own, she managed U.S. Talent Acquisition for the Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, and was the former Director of Career…
Amanda Setili explains why the structure of a video game can be applied to business to attract and leverage top talent.  There’s a reason that the video game industry is larger ($179.7 billion according to IDC data) than the movie and music industries combined: playing video games makes players feel good, and for reasons that are easy to document. Todd Harris, founder and CEO of Skillshot Media, was the one who first made me realize this. For years, he has…
Tineke Keesmaat shares a podcast that explains how leaders can gain better insight into their team. In this episode of LeaderLab, we are joined by Dave MacLeod, CEO and co-founder of ThoughtExchange, to explore the importance of conversations in organizations. Based on his research and insights shared in his new book, Scaling conversations: How leaders access the full potential of people, he offers strategies leaders can use to engage in more meaningful, inclusive and productive conversations across teams. Dave shares…
A six-minute read from Kaihan Krippendorff on how to be more influential at work.  Whether you’re trying to get your dream job, convince your boss to give you more responsibility, get your colleagues excited about your idea, get neighbors to vote for your proposal, or simply persuade family members to consider somewhere new for vacation, your influencing skills are key. We all know this. And yet, few of us do it well because we fail to exercise the full breadth…
Nora Ghaoui explains why there are benefits to being on the outside looking in.  When you’re trying to tackle a business challenge, what you can solve and how you can solve it depends on the position that you are in, not on the skills that you have. As I have switched roles between management and consulting, I have learned that when you’re on the inside (as a manager) you can’t use the tools from the outside (of a consultant) and…
Ben Dattner co-wrote this article that explains why being a great second in command requires emotional intelligence. In 1959, John French and Bertram Raven, social psychologists, published their “Five Bases of Power” model, which has been highly influential in social and organizational psychology ever since. The five kinds of power they delineated included the ability to reward or punish, power derived from one’s rank or role, expert power (which is a function of knowledge and expertise), and what they termed…
Aneta Key shares an article on the purpose and benefits of the Growthkey blended learning approach program. One way to increase the leadership capacity of your organization is to invest in the development of your people and build organizational capabilities. The GrowthKey Programs help you do just that. GrowthKey blended learning approach The GrowthKey professional development programs develop critical strategic, problem-solving, and interpersonal capabilities to elevate the confidence and performance of leaders, high performers groomed for cross-functional assignments, up-and-comers, partners,…
Susan Drumm shares a podcast from her series, The Enlightened Executive. In this episode, she interviews Chris Shembra on the many benefits of developing a gratitude process.  Wellness is so much more than physical and mental health.   For decades, physical health was the number one conversation happening in the wellness space. Food and exercise were the primary focus. Over time, the conversation started expanding to mental health. Meditation, going to therapy and prioritizing mindfulness became more common. Now, a shift…
Mark Ledden gets to grips with problematic behavior and how to deal with it, and he shares these insights in this post.  While Kenning coaches do sometimes help our clients learn how to invent and adopt entirely new behavior patterns, we often are asked to help our clients bring behaviors they already exhibit in one context to a different context.  As Ishan (name changed), an SVP I recently worked with, put it, “My boss, the CIO, tells me I need…
Jesse Jacoby explains how to define and communicate your concept of corporate culture.  Ask 100 managers how they define organizational culture, and you’ll probably get as many different definitions as possible. Even scholars cannot agree; and that means that your definition is as appropriate as anyone else’s. This makes the challenge, however, of creating the culture that you want particularly difficult, because it is almost impossible to hit a target that is ambiguous. How can you describe something abstract in…
Tirrel Payton tackles the all-too-common messy problems that plague many a team and team manager.  “Our project is to implement a new widget management system”, she stated confidently. “Ok”, I said, “but what is the problem we are trying to solve?” “We need a new system…”, she reiterated. “Yea, but to what end? Whats the business goal? And how will we know when we have reached it? How will we measure success?” “Look”, she said, steeling her glance and locking…
Darryl Stickel shares a few best practices for parents who want to improve the bond of trust with their children.  When it comes to trust, kids are a special case.  They tend to trust us more than they should when they are young and less than they should as they mature.  Unfortunately, our kids tend to trust us least when they could use our guidance the most.  As they mature they are making life changing decisions and at risk for…
David Hensley shares an article on management and leadership styles.  We’ve observed – as we’re sure you have – that different managers and leaders have very different management/leadership styles. And that those styles don’t always fit the expectations of their organisations. We’ve also noted that whilst the miscommunication and dysfunctionality that a mis-match causes in an organisation is a common topic for discussion, particularly around the water fountain or in the bar after work, there is typically little analytical discussion…
Bernie Heine offers advice on balancing analytical and emotional intelligence. Our Neural Networks Don’t Have to be Rivals. In times like these, we are all stressed, fearful, and worried for ourselves and others. Our people are concerned about their jobs and providing for their families. More globally, we are all concerned about the nation’s health and well-being. As a manager, you must persevere in managing budgets, sales targets, and the thousands of other decisions that keep your organization alive. All…
Ben Dattner shares an article published in Harvard Business Review that reveals the source of most conflicts in the workplace.  Conflict happens everywhere, including in the workplace. When it does, it’s tempting to blame it on personalities.  But more often than not, the real underlying cause of workplace strife is the situation itself, rather than the people involved. So, why do we automatically blame our coworkers? Chalk it up to psychology and organizational politics, which cause us to oversimplify and…
Amanda Setili shares a concise post on the perception of risk and how it affects the team.  Karen perceives that competitors are moving very quickly, so she feels the leadership team has no option but to be even more aggressive. Jim sees the competitors as foolhardy, so he wants to take a slow and steady path while the competition defeats themselves. Curt keeps waffling back and forth; he wants to pump up revenue growth, but consistently balks at the price…
In this article, Jared Simmons identifies the difference between intelligence and wisdom and how understanding the difference may improve talent management.  In large organizations, the nature of the work creates a natural tendency toward complexity. And as a leader, it can be very tempting to advance those who seem to have the intelligence to manage it. But complexity is not a symptom to be managed while you work–it is often the work itself. Its symptoms are a lack of a…
Barry Horwitz shares a few tips on how to improve communication between the front line and top executives when the organization is large, the problems are complex, and the stakeholders are diverse. In her book, “Seeing Around Corners,” Rita McGrath notes that insights at the “edges” of an organization — close to the customers but far from the executive suite — can take a long time to reach the top of the food chain, if they get there at all….
In this post, Peter Costa offers one man’s perspective on gender and leadership. There are mountains of research on the importance of diversity in building high-performing organizations. There is at least as much insight on the nature of leadership, including that there is no one “right” leadership style. The most effective leaders are true to themselves, their strengths, and their values. At the same time, different situations call for different leadership styles. Are these conflicting ideas? Perhaps, but if the…
Dan Markovitz shares a short but insightful post and an introduction to a workshop on the importance of word choice when problem framing to ensure a positive outcome.  In 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” In 2017, President Trump declared a “public health emergency” to battle the opioid crisis. These two declarations were essentially about the same thing: dealing with the financial, emotional, and social scourge of drug abuse that was destroying individuals and communities. But the framing…
  Jeffery Perry explores what the new normal may look like as the return to the office begins. People want to get back to normal as the world emerges post-pandemic, but this has different implications across aspects of life. Back to normal may apply in social situations like visiting family and friends, dining at restaurants, going to bars, attending sporting events, and enjoying live concerts. However, for people who traditionally work in office settings and who worked remotely for over…
Zaheera Soomar provides a comprehensive article that explores how the principles of Shūrā (consultation) in Islam may provide a solution to the impact of automated processes in mining on economic participation and equitable community participation. Mining is a human activity that has negatively disturbed the environment and is linked to significant social impacts, inequalities (Carvalho, 2017), economic power and greed (Zorrilla, 2009). The key question that has been posed for decades is “how can the various stakeholders use their diverse…
  Peter Costa shares a concise article that identifies the benefits of what are generally considered to be feminine traits. There are mountains of research on the importance of diversity in building high-performing organizations. There is at least as much insight on the nature of leadership, including that there is no one “right” leadership style. The most effective leaders are true to themselves, their strengths, and their values. At the same time, different situations call for different leadership styles. Are…
  In this post, Amanda Setili explains why taking risks may be the safest strategy. The world is always changing, but lately the changes have felt faster and more extreme. In times like these, your ability to manage risk and uncertainty can give you a huge competitive advantage. To put this another way, in volatile times, taking on too little risk is dangerous. You may be left in the dust as competitors invest in new arenas that you considered too…
  Mark Ledden shares an article from his company blog on leadership and action in diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization. This past year has caused tectonic cultural shifts. The same is certainly true within organizations. With the pandemic, many organizations have jumped feet first into remote working, flexible work schedules, and new ways of engaging their teams. At the same time, virtually every organization we’re aware of is seeking to respond to the calls for justice and equity…
  Giving feedback is a delicate process. It is a conversation that involves feelings, egos, judgment, bias, and misunderstandings. Xavier Lederer co-authored this article that provides the key steps on how to give feedback to ensure constructive outcomes.  When I was a young manager, I was panicked by the idea of giving feedback – until I was given a clear 3-step methodology to have ego-less, collaborative, and actionable feedback conversations. Having a feedback conversation is about preparing yourself mentally in…
  Robyn Bolton offers a post that illustrates a common issue in today’s workplaces. Some conversations stick with you for a long time. Some conversations take your breath away the moment they happen. A few weeks ago, I had one that did both. “Everyone is focused on ‘humanizing’ work,” my client said. “I wish people would de-humanize work. I would love nothing more than to be treated like a line of code or a piece of equipment. We treat our…
Jesse Jacoby provides a post that explains why it is so difficult to communicate your vision of the corporate culture you would like to have, and what you can do to articulate the abstract. Ask 100 managers how they define organizational culture, and you’ll probably get as many different definitions as possible. Even scholars cannot agree; and that means that your definition is as appropriate as anyone else’s. This makes the challenge, however, of creating the culture that you want…
  Jeffery Perry shares an article that explains how to leave a leadership position in the best possible way and shape. Leavership? No, this is not a typo where the “v” is meant to be a “d.” Much has been written about business leadership—the art of guiding and motivating others to achieve a set of goals and objectives. Most business leaders are judged based on performance during their leadership roles. However, leavership is the art of personally transitioning leadership roles…
  Amanda Setili explains how innovation is key to the evolution of an organisation, and how leaders can take action to speed the process. As much as leaders like to talk about innovation, a more accurate term for the process they wish to employ is evolution. Success in business comes from a lot of small actions and insights that accumulate and work to evolve the organization to a completely different state. In nature, an individual organism mutates and if it…
  In a series of three articles, Belden Menkus explores the impact of Covid on strategy. This first post explores how to lead your organization forward during times of uncertainty.   “The future is coming at us faster than ever, and its hallmarks are constant disruption and change. Covid has underscored that. Fighting this uncertainty is futile. So how do you lead your organization forward when it’s increasingly hard to know where ‘forward’ actually is?  This is the first of…
  In this article, Tineke A. Keesmaat shares the results from a series of roundtable discussions on reimagining organizations post COVID-19.    “TILTCO held a series of roundtable discussions in January and February 2021. Attended by business leaders, consultants, academics and experts, the discussions gathered insights and practical ideas to help leaders reimagine their organizations as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.  The pandemic has turbo charged the move to new ways of working. Hybrid work environments – that is,…
  Jeffery Perry identifies the importance of authenticity in leadership and how to achieve it.  Do you? In the age of “keeping it real,” people in leadership roles are encouraged to project their authentic selves as a prerequisite for top performance and to inspire others. It is almost impossible for leaders to be effective without being true to themselves. This requires looking in a mirror, unapologetically embracing who they are and projecting to the world. However, not all authenticity is…
  Darryl Stickel shares a candid post on executive coaching, and how working with one mid-level manager revealed the problem and the solution to becoming a more effective executive leader. One of the primary differentiating factors between good and great leaders is the ability to understand and build trust. The more senior a leadership role we take on, the less direct control we have over outcomes. We become more and more reliant on those who report to us for our…
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Jakob Skovgaard. Jakob is an international senior executive with 20 years of P&L, strategy and leadership experience from McKinsey & Co, Arla Foods (dairy) and Danish Crown (meat). Most recently Managing Director Denmark in Danish Crown with 450 mio EUR full P&L responsibility and Global Cheese SVP in Arla with 2+ bn EUR category P&L responsibility. Since last year (2020) Jakob has worked as an independent advisor, consultant and board member. Jakob has particular expertise…
Andy Sheppard explores the connection between business and spirituality and how one can feed the other.  In my work, I often help leaders to dismantle silos in their organisations. It’s so rewarding to see people thrive and gain new insights as they come together. Somewhat similarly, I have also found that new insights can be unlocked through making connections across different compartments in life. Lateral thinking across parts of life that are typically separate – like our professional life and…
  Caroline Taich provides a concise post from her website that is the first in a series of two articles that explores how to improve social sector partnerships. One component of the question lies in the role of employers.  Intuitively I think we can agree that employers have much to gain from healthy, vibrant communities. But how much should employers invest? And what form should the investment take? The 2020 SustainAbility Leaders Survey by GlobeScan of 701 sustainability experts across…
  Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her latest article with expert insights on the subscription-based business model. This week, she discusses the disruption to the manufacturing industry and three mindset shifts leaders will need to make during the coming year.  Whether you’re a B2B manufacturer or a supplier to the industry, it’s time to rethink your entire relationship with your customers. Companies like Dollar Shave Club and Birch Box let consumers enjoy cost savings, convenience and the fun discovery. And Peloton…
  In this inspiring podcast, Susan Hamilton Meier and Ross Swan talk about how leadership sets the tone and direction of a brand.  Branding requires leadership. One can start or have a company with great products or services and doing well in the market. But a brand can be nebulous or inconsistent and it really requires a top-down perspective to define what is it that ties all the products, the people behind it together and what the brand stands for….
  Priyanka Ghosh shares a case study for services provided to a family-owned European industrial manufacturer that was struggling with leadership issues.  In the course of driving a growth program for a family-owned European industrial manufacturer, it quickly became clear that the dysfunctional leadership team was a bottleneck to progress. Although the team was composed of capable individuals with impressive track records, the ten team members were unable to agree on a coherent strategy and continued to revisit the same…
  Karen Barth explains why the majority of consumer products and corporate transformations fail due to cognitive biases.  Why do 80% of the 30,000 consumer products launched each year and 70% of corporate transformations fail? Often business leaders are blinded by cognitive biases, which seriously affect their decision-making – and, as a result, the revenues and welfare of their companies. It can be hard to see these biases from the inside. Take, for instance, one of Britain’s largest food companies….
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Marcia Spitalney Nuffer with BlueShor.  Marcia Nuffer spent 21 years at McKinsey. For roughly the first half, Marcia was a strategy consultant focused on helping organizations realize their business goals through organizational change and leadership development. In 2003, Marcia became McKinsey’s Chief Learning Officer. In this role, Marcia was responsible for building one of the most lauded global leadership development programs in the world and leading strategic people initiatives for the firm. Today, Marcia has…
  Dan Markovitz shares why COVID-19 provides the opportunity to institute change.  “You’ve heard it countless times before:  ‘People don’t like change.’ ‘Change is hard.’ ‘Change activates people’s lizard brain. They’ll fight you or run away.’ ‘People don’t mind changing. They don’t like being changed.’ You hear these complaints so often that you’d think they’re inscribed in the 10 Commandments by now. (They’re not, by the way.) Sure, there’s plenty of truth in those sayings, but the good news is…
  Jennifer Hartz shares encouraging words on how the current COVID-19 situation provides the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve.  Obviously, #COVID19 creates a number of significant problems in the world, our country, businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools. This temporary situation, current trend, or permanent transformation is challenging. So, let’s look at the opportunities for people working or learning remotely or not employed full time to improve their lives as well as others’. REMOTE WORK IS EXPANDING Twitter announced that…
  David Burnie’s company has published a timely blog on the 21 common mistakes many companies make when rolling out their business continuity plan.  A business continuity plan is essential for preventing and recovering from emergencies and incidents that can disrupt a business. We recently shared our top 13 priorities for a strong BCP. While not having a BCP is a sure-fire pitfall to successful business continuity, there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some of the…
  Jason George shares an origin story of management consulting and lessons from the barnyard to highlight the benefits of putting people and practice before personal profit.  Marvin Bower faced a critical choice. He had led McKinsey & Company from its earliest years, in the process helping to define the fledgling field of management consulting. Now nearing retirement age, it was time to hand the reins to the next generation of leaders. As the principal shareholder in the partnership, Bower’s…
  Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis.  I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks. Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever….
  During times of crises leaders must make the tough decisions, but choosing the right way to go is not always clear cut. Zaheera Soomar identifies three practical approaches to serve as guidelines for ethical decision-making. During a recent conversation with a senior executive, she expressed a sentiment that many of us share: “When the pandemic has passed, I want to be able to say that, at the hardest of times, I did my best to do the right thing”….
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Swan Sit.  wan Sit is an independent consultant specializing in digital, marketing and strategy. Having spent the past decade of her career accelerating digital into legacy companies, she held two key roles as a Vice President at Nike — overseeing Global Digital Marketing during the Emmy-winning “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, and running Digital Operations, Product, Supply Chain and Service for a $2B ecommerce business during the Air Jordan 11 Concord launch, the largest…
  Amanda Setili shares a post that identifies a few ways we can take positive action during the current crisis. Billions of us worldwide are altering our behaviors during the covid 19 crisis, so that as many people as possible remain safe. When faced with a tough situation—even something big, like the coronavirus situation—I always ask: how can we mitigate the downside, and create some good? We are living in strange times, and things are changing every day. Schools are…
  Vik Muktavaram recently published an article that evaluates the current crisis through four approaches of risk management. “As the federal government finally took the first decisive step in stemming the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the images of serpentine lines of arriving international passengers at airports waiting for immigration and screening for COVID-19 coronavirus ubiquitous online and in print. Presumably, the rationale for the screening was that these arriving passengers represented a high-risk cohort. Yet, the long, crowded…
  Jesse Jacoby shares a timeless post that explains how leaders can overcome overt and covert resistance to change.    In your role as a leader, you will likely encounter resistance to change at some point from one or more of your own team members. Resistance may come from a variety of sources: An individual with a difficult personality Someone anxious about impending change A person who disagrees with your vision Resistance is usually demonstrated in one of four ways,…
  David A. Fields identifies benefits consulting firms should focus on during this time of crisis. There are so many voices fixated on the disaster unfolding around us, that you could easily be swept into a torrent of anxiety, fear and panic. In truth, there is real reason for concern and you absolutely should heed the direction of medical leaders. At the same time, you and your consulting firm will benefit from a healthy dose of positive perspective. If you…
  Luiz Zorzella shares key points that can help leaders evaluate and address their approach to change to ensure better outcomes.  Strategy & Value For the past 10 years, financial services firms have publicly acknowledged that they needed to change.  Chances are, your organization was one of those. Commoditization meant a systematic erosion of margins for banks; reduction in interest rates has been challenging both interest and non-interest income sources of banks and investment firms as well as the economics…
  Surbhee Grover takes a moment to think about the future and how the Coronavirus will change the way we work and live.   Our lives, as we’ve known them, have come to a grinding halt. What will the world look like when the music starts again? In the time we are not obsessing with COVID-19 updates, or trying to revive the business; ensure availability of dog food (and wine), and survive homeschooling, some of us are starting to wonder…
  Dan Markovitz explains why some methods of measuring performance and quality seriously lack the data to make an impact.   Pity the employees at a Starbucks in midtown NYC. In a misguided attempt to improve quality, the management posts monthly scores on a variety of metrics. . . without understanding anything about effective use of metrics. Measurement is a good idea, but only if it’s done well. These measurements? Not so much.  If you read Mark Graban’s blog or book,…
  Geoff Wilson gets straight to the point with some tough love in this article by asking if you to make sure your strategy inspires.  The possibilities are endless.  Some might say that the sole purpose is to ‘enhance shareholder value.’  I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard. Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer.  Regardless of the ‘concept,’ a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people. Strategy, inasmuch…
  Miklos Tomka illuminates the importance of doing what you can to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus is spreading fast and has spread inside of hospitals in China, exposing hospital staff. Various places are a source for spreading infections, light switches that everyone touches, is clearly one of these. Ubiquilux has developed a product to reduce the risk of infections spreading in hospitals: a gesture controlled light switch. A light switch which does not react to random…
  It takes more than talent to become a valued employee in today’s workplace. Sherif El Henaoui identifies the benefits of finding the right fit.  Top people are desired. Every company wants them: the intelligent, creative, endurable, high-performance worker. Since this desired workforce is rare, there is a “war” as suggested by the HR literature. I once heard a quote of a McKinsey partner commenting on the Internet bubble crisis saying, “We won the war for talent, but we ended…
Amanda Setili shines a light on an initiative that sparked employee engagement, inspired innovation, and motivated collaboration.    What does a 110-year-old company do to increase the rate of innovation from less than one new business per year to 50?  The answer, says David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures at UPS, is to launch a program that taps into the brilliant growth ideas lurking in the heads of many of its 480,000 employees.  The program is called…
Dan Markovitz reveals a common problem that lean programs often face.    Boeing’s Starliner failed an important test flight two weeks ago. It was supposed to rendezvous with the International Space Station, but was unable to reach the correct orbit.   The problem with this engineering marvel? Not the complex aerodynamics, not the critical separation from the Atlas V rocket, not the all-important re-entry heat shield.  No, the problem was with the internal clock. The spacecraft’s internal clock became unsynced with…
Susan Drumm identifies how conflict can achieve greater results when it grows from cognitive diversity and provides a few factors that can help you build a cognitively diverse team.   When you imagine an incredibly effective, successful team meeting, what does it look like? For some people, it looks like this: One person talking while everyone nods. Someone is taking notes while muttering, ‘Yes, I think so too!’ The leader wraps the meeting by asking, ‘So we’re all in agreement?’ And everyone…