An Inconceivable Truth About High Performers

I am reading Adam Grant’s book Give and Take this week.  Grant quotes research where leaders of soldiers, CPAs, students and engineers were given detailed personnel assessments on everyone on their team.  The data identified the few that had the highest potential.  A year later these high potential employees and students were outpacing and outperforming […]

How to Get Unstuck

‘Sometimes we mistake the edge of our rut for the horizon.’  Unknown I had lunch last week with the 2nd generation owner of a decades old business.  He was feeling stuck.  Early this week I had coffee with a woman in her 30’s, who leads a three-year-old start up with her husband.  Very different situation, […]

Bad Management is Killing your Potential

If you are not learning and growing, you are falling behind I am working through a book called Humans are Underrated, by Geoff Colvin.  A fascinating study on the power of people in groups and how to unlock the collective intelligence of your team.  Read this Book!! “Not even ancient, inherent strengths can survive bad […]

Unlocking Potential

The most rewarding part of our work at XM Performance is watching our clients perform at levels they didn’t know were possible. Better than increased profit, improved strategy or a well-executed business plan, is the permanent and transformational result of unlocking human potential. Yes, but how?  Of course we would love to have you in […]

Stress, Confusion, Fear, Anxiety

Stress, confusion, fear and anxiety reduce our team’s effectiveness in the middle of a crisis.  The Captain must make adjustments to his/her routine in order to help the team navigate towards safer waters.  Two things the best leaders I believe should do during a crisis. Move to the Front Lines.  This is a military analogy […]

Listen to Your People – Even the Difficult Ones

As a leader, one of your greatest challenges is listening to your people’s ideas and assimilating them into something that is useful for your organization.  This becomes even more complicated when you have people working with you who have “difficult” personalities.  Difficult personalities exist in each organization.  Just as with all employees, those with difficult […]

Power-Distance and Caring Leadership (Part II)

‘Top-Down’ (Authoritarian) Leader or ‘Face to Face’ (Horizontal) Leader Nowadays it is popular to talk about servant leadership. In management courses, we emphasise horizontal, ’on-the-floor’ leadership, where leaders and managers are in touch with those they lead. But if honor depends on position, titles and status, and if directors naturally give orders ‘from the top’, […]

Power-Distance and Caring Leadership (Part I)

In leadership workshops in Central Asia, we often compare the strengths and weaknesses of an authoritarian (power, position) leader with a people (relational) leader. Normally, a people leader receives a better rating. Everyone appreciates a leader who likes being with their staff, sits down with them for a cup of tea, and relates to them […]

When Trust Goes Up

Want to build fast and high?  Start with this foundation “When trust goes up, speed will also go up, and costs will go down.” “When trust goes down, speed will go down, and costs will go up.” Stephen M. R. Covey, The Speed of Trust True leadership influence is built on a foundation of trust […]

The philosophy of Leadership, Part I

Leadership Can Be Taught Leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Leadership is not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. Given the opportunity for feedback and practice, those with the desire and persistence to lead—to make a difference—can substantially improve their abilities to do so. Can leadership be taught? […]