Susan's 2017 Year-End Message

Susan
This morning I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you that would be the most helpful in this New Year. I probably wrote several thousand words until they condensed into: Please stay awake! You may recall a central idea of Fierce conversations… Our careers, our companies, our relationships, and indeed our very lives succeed or fail, grad...
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A Close Look at Our 2018 Business Predictions: What to Expect, and How Leaders Can Prepare

A Close Look at Our 2018 Business Predictions: What to Expect, and How Leaders Can Prepare
Whether in our private lives or business, if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that change is inevitable. Each year we explore past and present trends as well as the ever-changing needs of individuals and organizations to forecast what we can expect to see as these changes unfold. As the current year comes to a close, we're turning our gaze ...
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Build an Intentional Culture: 3 Tips to Align Behavior with Company Values

Build an Intentional Culture: 3 Tips to Align Behavior with Company Values
Intention is our aim, our objective. It is defined as a determination to act in a certain way.   Let’s take a look at the word “act” here. While many organizations have core values that create intention, oftentimes the values are not cohesive with  leader and employee actions. In other words, there is a need to define how your employees behave in everyday situations if they are to demonstrate the company’s most critical values. It sounds so simple, yet it is often overlooked. Take “respect” as a value example.  Many of our clients share this value. However, to one employee, respect might mean telling someone the absolute hard facts that come to mind for a particular strategy. For example, tell them how it is – be a straight  shooter  –  it  is to their benefit . On the other hand, to another employee, respect might mean allowing someone the space and...
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Millennials: A New Generation is Reshaping the Workplace

Millennials: A New Generation is Reshaping the Workplace
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by INC and examines how Millennials are reshaping today’s workforce. Over a third of today’s workforce in the United States is currently comprised of Millennial workers, and this number is constantly growing. In the last few years, Millennials have surpassed Generation X to become the dominant generation in the workplace and it is becoming increasingly important for companies to understand what Millennials want in order to attract and retain top talent. Per Sylvia Ann Hewlett, research from the Center for Talent Innovation identifies three areas of focus that are important to this generation that progressive companies are taking note of. 1. A Diverse and Inclusive Workplace – As the most diverse generation in the workforce to date, with 44.2 percent identifying as non-Hispanic white in the latest census, an inclusive and diverse workplace is incredibly important. Millennials desire a work environment that mirrors...
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Believe It or Not…Goofing Off Produces Business Return

Believe It or Not…Goofing Off Produces Business Return
In our busy, fast-paced society, we run the risk of blowing off play as mere "child's play." There's just so much to do , we say. When important priorities need tending in the workplace, pressing pause to play a game or joke around with a coworker may seem like the very last thing you should be doing. The reality is that it may be one of the very b...
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10 Unmistakable Signs of a Fear-Based Workplace

10 Unmistakable Signs of a Fear-Based Workplace
This week's Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists 10 ways you can tell if your workplace is operating from a place of fear. Motivation can stem from worry and fear, or it can stem from being in an environment where trust and strong relationships flourish. The source of motivation has a drastic impact on workplace culture—if motivation is comi...
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5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life

5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life
This week’s Friday resource comes from Inc . and offers 5 ways to welcome change when it arises in the workplace and in our personal lives. Avoiding the unavoidable is a fight we can’t win. Change is unavoidable—and continual. The antidote for the negative feelings we have when change arises is to embrace it. What we are able to see when we give up the fight is that most changes are positive in the long run, and they have a purpose that can serve our personal growth and the growth of organizations. Changes often occur as a means of improvement and as the result of something “not working.” Per Rhett Power, Head Coach and Inc. contributor, here are some ways to let go of resistance to change: 1. Change is Inevitable and Embracing Change Encourages Development “Because we repel change, we sometimes go through life without ever living up to...
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Do You Love or Loathe Change? How Workplace Change Can Strengthen Your Organization

Do You Love or Loathe Change? How Workplace Change Can Strengthen Your Organization
“You get the journey and you get the stress. At the end, you’re a different person. But both elements are part of the deal.” –Seth Godin Change can be surprising, scary, and uncertain. It is also a catalyst for new ideas and opportunities to be seized. It opens doorways to step into, even when what’s on the other side isn’t clear. It summons courage and builds strength, character, and lessons we can harness. In our personal lives, the workplace, and the world at large, change is constant. There’s not one form of media where this isn’t on display any moment of the day. No matter where you go or what you do, change will find you . If you’re a leader who wants to create a culture where change is viewed as a healthy element for growth, the first step is to embrace change yourself. Acknowledge it, hold an accountable...
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New Research: The State of Miscommunication - 6 Insights on Effective Workplace Communication

New Research: The State of Miscommunication - 6 Insights on Effective Workplace Communication
We’re excited to announce Quantum Workplace's launch of the Fierce + Quantum eBook on the state of miscommunication in the workplace. The free eBook dives deep into the issues of miscommunication and offers solutions for creating more engagement and clarity in one-on-ones, team meetings, and organization-wide. We wanted to conduct this research on miscommunication to fully understand the impact it’s having on organizations, including the costs (time, money, engagement, relationships, productivity, and more), and explore how effective conversations can help. Fierce + Quantum Quantum helps organizations retain top talent, motivate performance, understand turnover, and build magnetic cultures. Their studies reveal that communication is indeed at the heart of employee engagement. Fierce and Quantum have both researched employee engagement in the past, and have weighed in on the conversations needed to improve engagement and workplace culture. In preparation for this eBook, Quantum Workplace and Fierce Conversations designed a survey to capture...
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Fierce Summit 2017: Day 2 Highlights

Fierce Summit 2017: Day 2 Highlights
Day two of the fabulous Fierce Summit has come to an end, and today’s sessions came with powerful takeaways. Starting from earliest to latest… Regent Cornell: How to Build a Culture Ultimate Software’s tagline “People First” wasn’t drummed up by the marketing team to win awards or sell more widgets. It’s the way things are done at this fast-growing cloud computing company that landed it a top spot on Fortune’s 2016 List of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” With a personal story that was both humorous and insightful, Regent Cornell revealed the five distinguishing characteristics of ‘Best Companies’ and demonstrated the bottom-line impact of putting People First: 1. Gratitude, 2. Respect, 3. Engagement, 4. Authenticity, and 5. Trust. Learn more about how Ultimate Software made the list here . Susan Scott: Become a Great Conversationalist In this intimate session, Fierce founder and CEO Susan Scott made the connection...
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Fierce Summit 2017: Day 1 Highlights

Fierce Summit 2017: Day 1 Highlights
The Fierce Summit has finally arrived! This one-of-a-kind leadership and learning event has been anticipated throughout the year by both the Fierce community and those who are new to Fierce. The event is taking place in the wake of much time, commitment, and TLC on behalf of the Fierce team, our clients, attendees, and speakers. After our special facilitator day on Tuesday the 12th, this was our first day of the official two-day event hosted at the W Hotel in downtown Seattle. Our speakers were carefully chosen for their messages--messages that are both inspiring and on the cutting edge of leadership. These powerful messages resonated with their audience today in a way that I believe will leave a lasting impact. Here are some notable speaker highlights from day one: Juliet Funt: Activity is Not Productivity: Raising Execution Through Reclaiming WhiteSpace After Susan Scott’s warm and insightful introduction, Juliet Funt, founder...
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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.

Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.
Having a positive culture has real impact on business and your happiness at work. In fact, a  Columbia University study  shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent. That makes a huge difference…not just for the employer, but also for the fellow employees. Although people cerebrally understand culture's importance, people tend to talk about culture as something external.  For instance, a statement I often encounter when we are discussing fierce is: “My culture doesn't encourage transparent, direct communication, so I can't have those kinds of conversations with my executive team right now.” Sometimes that also sounds like, “If my company's culture was different, I would be different.” Or “If other people modeled those behaviors, I could do them too.” What I hear is   “Look at...
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How These Top Companies are Getting Inclusion Right

How These Top Companies are Getting Inclusion Right
This week’s Friday resource comes from Fast Company and highlights the ways top companies have achieved results through their inclusion strategies. Inclusion produces a domino effect with more than one benefit: it creates a culture where employees feel encouraged, appreciated, and engaged, which leads to more innovation and collaboration, which then leads to positive results for the bottom line. Creating an inclusive culture requires a proactive approach on behalf of HR and leadership. Unfortunately, many traditional diversity and inclusion programs are ineffective and fail to address factors that are key when attempting to create cultural shifts. Per Gwen Moran, Fast Company, here are some often overlooked strategies from top companies who have successfully transformed their organization’s culture into one of inclusion and diversity: 1. Emphasize from the start. "At Johnson & Johnson, communicating the importance of inclusion is critical. At every level of training, diversity and inclusion are emphasized. 'As...
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Why Your Traditional Diversity Training Program is Not Working

Why Your Traditional Diversity Training Program is Not Working
Each year, organizations invest a lot of time and millions of dollars into diversity programs. I hate to break it to you, but the return on both the investment and expectations of traditional diversity efforts is falling terribly short. As a baby boomer, my career followed the new path of diversity. It wasn’t about inclusion at all. It was about numbers. The intent was good. The thinking was that if you change the numbers you would change the culture. Fortunately, we have learned so much and still have so far to go. Traditional programs are still not touching on some of the most critical issues that need to be addressed. In 2016, in a speech to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar, diversity consultant Verna Myers said, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being invited to dance.” Traditional programs are just an invitation to the party. They become hollow...
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Want to Improve Workplace Performance? Don’t Overlook This Essential Element

Want to Improve Workplace Performance? Don’t Overlook This Essential Element
Improving performance requires leaders to consider employee engagement, satisfaction, and culture and ask how these areas can be strengthened. One how  element of performance that deserves an in-depth look is autonomy . What comes to mind when you think of autonomy? You might imagine engaging in solo work with your headphones on, focused, independent, and free of distractions. While there might be some truth to this idea of autonomy, there’s a lot more to it. For starters, it’s less about how often we interact with others and more about ownership, accountability, trust relative to our work, and having a sense of control over how we use our time. In a larger context, autonomy creates a sense of empowerment for the person who is autonomous. Let’s look at some data that supports just how much autonomy matters… Researchers from the University of Birmingham have reported that if you have flexible working...
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Benchmarking Human Capital Metrics

Benchmarking Human Capital Metrics
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by SHRM and explains how organizations can benchmark human capital metrics. There are dozens of reasons why organizations use benchmarking. With sales roles that deal exclusively with numbers, it can seem a lot easier to benchmark progress and use the data to support business strategy and goals. The Human Resources function at companies is no different and benefits from the same ability to align their human capital metrics to support overall business strategy. Benchmarking is quickly becoming a necessary tool that all HR professionals must equip their departments with to accurately measure processes, practices, and results within their industry. When used correctly, benchmarking can show how an organization’s HR strategies can influence and shape organizational performance and company culture. When a company decides to roll out a new human capital initiative, it is important to understand the expectations of what that program should...
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When Giving Critical Feedback, Focus on Your Nonverbal Cues

When Giving Critical Feedback, Focus on Your Nonverbal Cues
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and shares tips for focusing on nonverbal cues and body language when having feedback conversations. One of the most difficult things to do, from novice managers to tenured leaders, is give feedback. Especially when the feedback is critical and not easy to deliver. There is always a balancing act between delivering honest and open feedback and not discouraging the employee, causing them to retreat further inward. The ability to give this feedback successfully starts with the culture of the workplace. If employees are engaged and part of an inclusive environment where their voice is heard, chances are they are more likely to respond well to feedback. Per Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion, using a positive, open, and supportive style of feedback where employees feel safe can lead to incredible outcomes. “Leaders and managers in...
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American Workplace: Changing at a Dizzying Pace

American Workplace: Changing at a Dizzying Pace
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Gallup and shares data from workplace studies on the rapid pace of change in the workplace. Change has always been a constant and prevalent force within the business world. It is woven into the very nature of business. Yet, something feels different about the torrid pace in which change is occurring now. Technology and shifts in organizational structure have required businesses to reconsider how they manage their people and their work. With flexible work hours, the traditional 9-5 is no longer the norm as virtual teams interact via email or video conferencing. Ed O'Boyle and Annamarie Mann, Gallup, attribute much of this change to Millennials assuming the majority of today’s workforce. “They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day. They want their jobs to fit...
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6 Tips for Dealing with Unwanted Change in the Workplace

6 Tips for Dealing with Unwanted Change in the Workplace
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving—we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr Change in the workplace can create a ripple effect of distress throughout an entire organization. Unwanted transitions may include big budget cuts, sudden layoffs, company relocations, or the introduction of different programs or processes that come with undesirable drawbacks. These types of changes are necessary at times, but depending on the circumstances, they can weigh heavily on employee morale and even affect an organization’s reputation. As unsettling as it can be at first, change is often positive. But on occasion, an organization may begin heading in a direction that compromises its values or mission. While the hope is that leadership will make decisions that...
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Leadership Tips: Use the Power of Change

Leadership Tips: Use the Power of Change
Last year, I was in New York at the Conference Board’s Annual Change and Transformation Conference. Although it was almost a year ago, the core themes discussed have proved to be true in the workplace: Constant change is the new normal. We have many beliefs about change, and at the end of the day, we as humans don’t particularly like change. It’s uncomfortable. The issue is that we don’t truly understand change and how we react. Warren Parry, Managing Director at Accenture Strategy, shared research that was completed over the last 15 years about 250 change initiatives in more than 150 organizations. What struck me was two particular myths that he debunked about change. The first myth is that too much change, too fast, is destructive . According to their research, the highest-performing organizations really excel in change. Typically, high-performing companies have more frequent change taking place. The second myth is...
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How to Prepare for Workplace Changes Brought on by Millennials and Gen Z

How to Prepare for Workplace Changes Brought on by Millennials and Gen Z
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by The Business Journals and examines how companies can prepare for changes brought on by Millennials in the workplace. Much has been said about Millennials in the workplace for better or worse. One thing is certain—with a new wave of workers claiming most jobs in the United States, changes are sure to occur. As the older generations of managers begin to retire, Millennials are stepping into leadership roles and filling the void. The biggest question being asked by companies and leaders that are transferring their knowledge to the next generation is, are they prepared? “According to a recent Randstad global study, one of the top things that millennials feel their educations did not prepare them for is managing other people.” Although a lack of experience and training may be prevalent, the desire to become leaders and earn the respect of their peers within...
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Leadership Tips: Prepare for Change

Leadership Tips: Prepare for Change
A survey from Deloitte on change reports that 68% of participants agree that “change is continuous and embraces all areas of life and activities.” If you fall into the other 32% of people who either partially agree or don’t agree, we have news for you— you can’t escape change, and it’s an unavoidable part of life. You can’t change change. It's also a big part of what you may want for yourself, including growth and progress. In the workplace, much is changing, particularly around diversity and how we approach our careers. Millennials have replaced baby boomers as the most prevalent generation in the workforce, and women are earning higher salaries and holding positions in leadership now more than ever before. Technology will continue to evolve and play a larger role in our daily lives, and collaboration is becoming a bigger part of decision-making processes. Read some interesting predictions on the...
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Leadership Tips: Ask Your Team

Leadership Tips: Ask Your Team
"Unity is strength . . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." -Mattie Stepanek Think about a time that a leader in your organization has made a decision without consulting the people it affected. How was the decision received? Was there resistance? Most of the time, when there is an issue with a decision, it is because people’s opinions and concerns were not addressed in the first place. People ultimately want to know that their perspectives matter. The engagement piece is more important than the final outcome. At Fierce, we have a culture committee – composed of cross department members – that is focused on bringing our core values to life. They explore and recommend opportunities from recognition programs to mentorship to coordinating our company-wide fantasy draft team. Why do we have this group? Because it is critical for our team members to help steer how...
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Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017

Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by CNBC and explains why women entrepreneurs will be an economic force to be reckoned with in 2017 and moving forward. This past Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day across the globe and celebrated the ever-growing success of women in business. CNBC’s inaugural Upstart 25 List , featuring promising young start-ups, included 10 women-owned businesses. This only looks to increase as female-owned companies are growing at a rate of five times the national average and increased a whopping 45 percent over the last decade, eclipsing over $1.6 trillion in revenue. This trend is not exclusive to the United States either, as rates of women’s entrepreneurship have grown 10 percent over the last two years compared to only 5 percent for men across 51 different global economies. Per Elaine Pofeldt, CNBC, as the gender gap continues to decrease, women can look to other female...
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Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line

Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line
On this International Women's Day, I want to celebrate women all around the world. This day makes me reflect on the strong women leaders in my life who have propelled my career and have forever changed me—for the better. I am so grateful to you. You know who you are. Based on recent articles that struck me, I want to offer some considerations for propelling women into leadership roles. Let’s start with the current February 2017 stats. According to Catalyst, of the S&P 500 companies, 5.4% of CEOs are women, 9.5% of top earners are women, 19.9% of board seats are women, 25.1% of executive officers are women, and 36.4% of middle management are women. Given that the total employee base is 44.3% women, there is continual opportunity for women to rise to the higher managerial and leadership levels. These numbers have increased significantly in the last few years. This...
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Leadership Tips: Create Diversity of Thought

Leadership Tips: Create Diversity of Thought
All you have to do is turn on the news to see that there is a lack of diversity of thought around us, from our grid-locked Congress to our arguments about anything under the sun.  There is never one simple solution to the challenges we face, and we need, more than ever, diversity of thought. In order to get there, we need to focus on two things: getting curious and expanding our thinking. To dig a little deeper, I want to share a relevant excerpt from our white paper:  A Perspective on Diversity, Building a Culture of Curiosity : The metaphorical phrase “you can’t judge a book by its cover” has endured as long as it has for a reason.  In a similar vein, an employee should not be judged by the generation they represent, the religion they practice, or the socioeconomic status they were raised in. Because the combination of experiences and...
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How to Leverage Millennial Strengths

How to Leverage Millennial Strengths
Statistics show that millennials now make up more than half of the current workforce . And in case you haven’t noticed, millennials have received a wave of criticism recently in the news, via social media and in the workplace. This recent uptick in criticism is no doubt connected to the rise in working millennials who are mixing and mingling with individuals from previous generations. Workplace friction has resulted. Older generations may be stumped as to how to accommodate and deal with the supposed millennial mentality, while millennials may be feeling frustrated, marginalized and unappreciated by their employers. A recent blog from Born Again Minimalist goes so far as to say that millennials are experiencing a type of cultural gaslighting: “Generations before us completely drove the bus into a lake and it’s somehow our fault everybody’s drowning...the millennial generation has been tasked with fixing the broken system we inherited and chastised...
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Fierce 2017 Workplace Predictions

Fierce 2017 Workplace Predictions
It’s that time again. Each year, top leaders within organizations are forced to address issues that take place both internally with the world as a whole. 2016 was no exception. From political climate shifts to new industry disruptors, change is continuing to be the new “normal” in the workplace. When we look into 2017, we see: Diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs will be expanded:  Whatever your political views entail, there is no denying the great divide that has taken over much of our country due to this year's presidential election. This confluence of beliefs can create issues in the workplace if individual workers feel marginalized, unsupported, or even fearful.  Taking control of this conversation is key for organizations to not only maintain the well-being of their employees, but to ensure that their workplace is one of acceptance across the board. Fierce anticipates that in the coming year there will...
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Change is the New Normal

Change is the New Normal
Change is the new “normal” for organizations and leaders alike, from structural change to leadership change to industry disruption. And yet, data shows that 70% of organizational change initiatives fail. Why? Because we order people to change rather than engage them through conversation. We engage their heads and not their hearts. So how can leaders today not simply “manage” change, but rather excel through it – and lead their teams to do the same? Join Beth Wagner, Master Facilitator, as she unlocks 3 Fierce strategies that will help you, your team, and your organization thrive in times of change. Register here.

4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back

4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Entrepreneur and showcases four ways that a company can benefit from giving back to the community. Although charitable acts are supposed to be made for selfless reasons, without the anticipation of a return on investment, there are rewards for businesses that give back. Per John Boitnott, Entrepreneur Contributor, some of the ways companies can gain from giving back include: 1. Building respect and a good reputation in the community. The relationships formed through giving back to local organizations can add great value to businesses. When other people and businesses see the positive impact of charitable efforts, they want to support the company. Goodwill can go a very long way, and solidify a business as a steward to the community. 2. Improving the community. It goes without saying that giving back to the local community makes it a better place to work and...
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Going Deeper with Accountability

Going Deeper with Accountability
Accountability is a huge challenge in business today . The Workplace Accountability Study recently revealed that 82% of respondents have no ability to hold others accountable, but 91% of people rank accountability as one of the top development needs they’d like to see at their organization.  So simply put, we all want accountability, but we feel we don’t have the ability to get it. At Fierce, we’ve worked with thousands of leaders and organizations over the years to help them create the business culture they want and more importantly, need, to get results. We’ve heard leaders describe accountability as culpability, responsibility, wrong doing, and “blame.” In other words, I need to know who to blame if this all goes wrong. And it is true – the majority of people attach some level of fault and blame to the word accountability . Accountability is something that you must choose every day....
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Has the Focus on the Customer Left the Service Industry?

Has the Focus on the Customer Left the Service Industry?
A couple of weeks ago I went into two different coffee shops – one an independent and one a chain. As I was waiting for my coffee I observed two interactions that left me scratching my head. The first was with a man who ordered a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. When his order came up he received only half of what he’d asked for and when he stated this wasn’t his correct order, the woman looked at him and said "oops". Then silence. No apology. No "Let me make you another one.", no "The next one is on us." The guy looked bewildered and left the coffee shop with his incomplete order in hand. That same week another gentleman ordered his coffee, admittedly with several ingredients and twists, and when his order came up the server had put in the wrong key flavor although the cup was clearly marked...
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6 Rules for Building and Scaling Company Culture

6 Rules for Building and Scaling Company Culture
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review  and provides six rules for building and scaling company culture. A rich company culture is one of the most sought after qualities in today’s workforce. It attracts and retains the top talent across all industries and is the driving force behind the work of a company. “Great performance can never come without great people and culture, and the opposite is also true – great people and culture are affiliated most with high-performing organizations.” Although organizations understand the value of company culture, not all of them are getting it right. It needs to start with mission of the company. Do your employees identify with it? Are their personal goals in close alignment with the company’s? Once the purpose or “inspiration” is defined, a few tips for building and scaling the culture according to Anthony Tjan, CEO and Founder of the...
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Leaders, You Must Scan Your Own Integrity

Leaders, You Must Scan Your Own Integrity
Many organizations and leaders have integrity as a core value. It is important in order to build trust.  In many ways, having integrity feels really touchy, feely. From an organizational standpoint, having a culture with high levels of integrity means that employees feel leadership is trustworthy and ethical.  The Trust Index Employee Survey (TIES) conducted annually by the Great Place to Work Institute measures a company’s level of integrity by asking questions about management. With this data, the TIES found that the higher measure of integrity, the better performance of the company. Leaders, that does mean that the performance of the indication lies on your shoulders – and ethics. So I ask: Do you feel your behaviors are in alignment with your personal values and your organization’s? Even if your overarching answer is yes , there most likely are areas that could be improved upon.  We recommend leaders to go...
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3 Easy Steps as a Leader to Challenge the Status Quo

3 Easy Steps as a Leader to Challenge the Status Quo
When you hear the word, status quo , what do you think? In this environment, many leaders know that status quo will not get their organizations where they need to go. Innovation needs to happen, and it needs to happen fast. To determine the biggest roadblocks for innovation, consulting firm Imaginatik conducted a study of 200 professionals in its "State of Global Innovation" report. They stated that given the low proportion of companies reporting aggressive investments in any major spending category, it appears that innovation is being systematically under-funded in most of today's companies. Our clients often have questions like: How will we compete for the best talent? How do we prepare for a disruption to our industry we can’t predict? What if our customers change overnight? What if we become irrelevant in the marketplace? Those are big questions. We often say at Fierce that the progress of the organization...
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3 Hacks for Your Summer Work Routine

3 Hacks for Your Summer Work Routine
Yesterday was the first official day of summer. And let’s be honest, sometimes the summer work routine can really drag you down.  You are at the office grinding, while you longingly stalk your colleagues on social media - sailing in the Mediterranean or camping in the Grand Canyon. Summer vacation jealousy can rear its ugly head quickly. So…how do you deal?   Use the summer as a reason and time to explore different ways you can work. It is a great time to take advantage of more daylight, and other people’s vacation time to get ahead. Here are three routine shifts to try: Change your hours.  Experiment with when you work. Perhaps the sunshine in the morning makes it easier for you to wake up. Go to the office early, so you can leave and enjoy more of the afternoon sunshine. If you can’t change your hours, run errands or pay bills early in the...
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Smart Leadership: Delegate, Prioritize and Simplify

Smart Leadership: Delegate, Prioritize and Simplify
This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Business News Daily and discusses why it pays to work smarter, not harder, by prioritizing and delegating tasks successfully.  In the article, Fallon deflates the myth that a leader’s success is measured by how late they stay in the office or how many emails they answer over the weekend. While it is important to work hard and lead by example, it is not healthy to create a culture of workaholics that feel late nights and early mornings in the office are the only way they will be recognized. “The job of a leader is exactly that: to lead. As a leader, your primary responsibility is to guide and supervise your employees as they get their work done, not to do everything yourself.” The truly effective leaders know how to work smarter, not harder. A huge part of this is having trust in...
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The Best Way for New Leaders to Build Trust

The Best Way for New Leaders to Build Trust
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and explores the best ways for a new leader within an organization to build trust with their newly appointed team. Building the complete trust of a team is never an easy feat for any leader within an organization. It becomes even more difficult when you are new to an organization and have to earn the trust of an established team. This has to be the number one priority for any new leader, and they need to address it on day one. In his article, Dougherty explains that meeting with as many individual contributors to the team as soon as possible and gathering as much information is a crucial starting point. This differs from the approach many new leaders have, which is to come in and produce answers to ongoing problems immediately –without gathering the necessary information first. During these...
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6 Steps for Building a Company Culture of Accountability

6 Steps for Building a Company Culture of Accountability
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Inc 500 and details six steps that can lead to a company culture of accountability. In his article, Gleeson defines six steps, some of which may seem obvious but are often overlooked at organizations. Things like getting feedback, creating ownership, and consistency. Leaders within organizations continually identify empowering their employees as a critical piece to organizational success, and employees constantly seek to be empowered within their roles. So why is the issue of workplace accountability so pervasive? In short: Accountability can be a difficult thing to track. As companies grow and teams are spread out over state lines or even countries, this task becomes even more problematic. Accountability is often defined by a job description and whether an employee is meeting or exceeding the standards set forth in it.  This is all wrong. Accountability needs to come from the top down and resonate...
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How to Build a Culture of Originality

How to Build a Culture of Originality
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on the Harvard Business Review , and explores how empowering the lone wolves in your organization can actually fuel your team’s success. Leaders are tasked to find ways to constantly innovate, otherwise they risk falling behind the competition into obscurity. Yet in the search for the next great idea, they still cling to workplace cultures that promote conformity and alienate the troublemakers. History has shown that the world’s most prolific visionaries are often labeled rabble-rousers, disrupters, heretics, and radicals. Even Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of the 21 st century, was labeled a troublemaker by a teacher. In order to promote original thinkers and innovators in your organization, you first need to build a culture of inclusion. It starts with empowering your employees to speak up. Learn how one junior officer in the U.S. Navy transformed the ultimate bastion of bureaucracy...
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3 Mindset Shifts for Millennial Leaders in 2016

3 Mindset Shifts for Millennial Leaders in 2016
Millennials have recently become the largest generation in the workforce . Because of it, we are seeing a shift that signals more workplace adjustments are on the horizon. The mindsets, expectations, and values of the workforce are changing. And when our external worlds change, we must too. Here are three shifts in mindset that all leaders today should take into consideration. And if you are a new millennial leader, use these to set a fierce foundation for the years to come. Shift #1 “Your job is to be right” to “ Your job is to get it right” As a leader, this is a huge mindset shift with how you show up…every single day and in every conversation. If you go into conversations (whether one-on-ones or meetings) to justify and build the case for your “brilliant” ideas, then it won’t take long for others to pick up on the fact...
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Leadership Tips: Create Positive Change

Leadership Tips: Create Positive Change
One of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. is, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” In our modern world, this isn’t just about allocating hours to volunteering. This means focusing on the overall, big picture – finding something specific outside of your individual interest. So I ask: What are you doing for others? For your team? For your overall company? For your family? For strangers? I recently hosted a vision board party, and many people shared that their goal for 2016 was to focus on giving their time and skills for the benefit of others. One couple mentioned wanting to focus on the homelessness issue in Seattle. And I know they will. Mainly because they not only identified it as a goal, but they are creating a plan to do it. Oftentimes, developing more of the plan is what is missing...
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The Important Question Every Employee Should Be Able to Answer

The Important Question Every Employee Should Be Able to Answer
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Fortune and delves into the relationship between profit and purpose. For the past few years, organizations has been focusing on how millennials aren’t motivated by money, but rather by purpose. This has sent shockwaves through corporate America. How can organizations attract the top millennial talent, while working to improve their bottom line? But as the article The Important Question Every Employee Should Be Able to Answer points out, profit and purpose don’t have to be mutually exclusive focuses. In fact, many organizations have discovered that profit exists so we can fulfill our purpose. It starts with holding your employees able to achieve sustainable results and empowering them to work towards their purpose. Where does purpose lie in your organization’s value list? “One way we have resolved this in the companies in which I am involved is through a document called Prosperity Principles...
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5 Changes Millennials Will Make in the Corporate World in 2016

5 Changes Millennials Will Make in the Corporate World in 2016
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Business 2 Community and explores the influence of millennials on workplace culture. 2015 marked the official passing of the torch, as millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. So I ask: How will the millennial dominated workplace affect company culture? According to 5 Changes Millennials Will Make in the Corporate World in 2016 , we should expect to see them fully exert their generational influence by continuing to shift company values around purpose and work-life integration. Leaders will be pressured to adopt real workplace flexibility programs, because unlike previous generations, millennials don’t feel guilty embracing work-life balance. Where else will this generation lead us? “Thanks to the increased mobility and option to work remotely that Millennials have demanded, employees will have less personal space in the workplace during 2016. In fact, because some offices may turn to using only...
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Leadership Tips: Life is Curly – Go with It

Leadership Tips: Life is Curly – Go with It
“Life is curly. Don’t try to straighten it out.” – Susan Scott This year will not go as you have it planned right now on January 4, 2016. In 2016, you will have triumphs you didn’t expect, setbacks you didn’t anticipate, and new people enter your life. You may have the same challenges, and you may not. You may have the same job responsibilities, and you may not. When things are out of your control this year, you will choose how you feel about what happens. And, more importantly, you will choose what you do after. For stability seekers, the notion of the unexpected and changing can be disconcerting. For the thrill seekers, it can be exciting. Regardless of what side of the spectrum you live on, you are responsible for the outcomes. This week’s tip is to accept that your plans will change and go with it. “Going with...
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How Technology and Work Culture Drive Each Other

How Technology and Work Culture Drive Each Other
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Huffington Post and explores the link between employee engagement and the future of workplace technology. The need to keep up with ever changing technology can sometimes leave your head spinning. But if used in the proper way it can also lead to higher productivity and happier, more engaged employees. The trick is not to bring in a new solution expecting it to be one-size-fits-all. According to How Technology and Work Culture Drive Each Other , gamification, intra-company social networks, and external applications all pay a role when it comes to maintaining the health and well-being of employees. Each solution also brings its own set of problems, which if left unchecked can make it less effective. Is technology making life for your team easier or harder? “While cash prizes are nice, they are not as rewarding as simple recognition. People want to be...
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To Text or Not to Text: That Is the Question

To Text or Not to Text: That Is the Question
The first text message was sent on December 3, 1992 by a Canadian test engineer. It said Merry Christmas . On the eve of text messaging’s 13 th year anniversary, it is only appropriate to talk about how text messaging has affected our communication. We often get asked so many questions around technology use in companies and how texting should and should not be used. First and foremost, the simple answer is that you must obey your instincts about when and how to use texts. Your "gut" does act as an internal compass that can serve as a powerful guide. The best part is that it happens automatically – you simply have to tune in and listen. Then check your results. If you notoriously do not get the results you want when texting, then you need to reassess. Here are a few pointers on dos and don’ts. And for those...
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Leadership Tips: Make Your Screen Time Meaningful

Leadership Tips: Make Your Screen Time Meaningful
“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard According to a recent mobileinsurance.com survey, the average person spends up to 23 days a year staring at their phone screens. Almost a month per year! That's a big deal. So I ask: Does the time on your screen each day add more value to your life? Or does it detract from it? This week’s tip is simple – make your screen time worthwhile. Use technology to enhance your relationships and your work. If you feel yourself wasting time on it, practice shutting down. Oftentimes we get caught up in our emails and social media. We let time slip away, although we know time it is a valuable asset. We are not alone. If you are desperate, use technology to help your technology issue - yes, it sounds counterintuitive. Yet, there are many apps that track...
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How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming 'Emotional'

How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Harvard Business Review and explores why women are often labeled “too emotional” in the workplace. Even with gender equality initiatives, women are still underrepresented in most senior leadership positions across corporate America. Women account for less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, less than 15% of executive officers at those companies, and only 6% of partners in venture capital firms. Why does gender imbalance still exist? It’s partially due to the way women are misinterpreted at work. According to How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming “Emotional” , certain gender biases lead to women being labeled “too emotional” in the workplace. Studies have shown that when women passionately argue against the consensus, their male colleagues view them as “emotional” rather than credible. How do we make sure communication isn’t lost in translation? “Combining passion with logic, specificity, creativity, and experience...
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Advice to Young Girls

Advice to Young Girls
While thinking about this blog, I turned to the best source for advice to young girls – other young girls who are happy and thriving - so I asked my granddaughters and the daughters of one of our leaders here at Fierce what advice they would give a freshman girl in high school. Clara, 15 : “Do not judge someone until you know them well enough, talk to as many people as possible, wear things that make you love your body and make you feel beautiful, attend as many sports games as you can, join clubs or sports, go to homecoming because there are only 4 in your life! Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions if you are confused, be nice to everyone.” Maizy, 17: “Be nice. To everyone. People aren’t as scary as you imagine and making someone’s day is so worth it. I would agree with...
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