Subscribe via E-mail

Your email:

Follow EDSI

Posts by category


Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Habits of the Most Effective and Productive Leaders


Employee Development Systems, Inc.Your focus from minute-to-minute every day is what builds your day. The productivity of your every day makes up the productivity of your week. Adopt these simple habits to increase your personal effectiveness and professional presence. Watch your productivity skyrocket and the frenzy plunge.  Working harder and running faster doesn’t lead to higher productivity!  

1. Learn to say no and become a good quitter. In the words of Warren Buffet,  “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” You can’t do everything. Well, you can’t do everything and expect to make major strides in any one area of your skills development, career plans, or personal goals. Choose what you will concentrate on and be ready to give up other projects or activities if they are not right in line with your priorities.

2. Let go of perfectionism. It’s just fear in disguise. Author Liz Gilbert put it perfectly when she said, “Perfectionism is just fear in expensive shoes.” If you are a perfectionist, it’s time to take an honest look at why you have fostered this personality trait, and how you can let loose on the reigns. Your perfectionism is most likely based on fear. It makes you difficult to work with and creates unnecessary tension on your team. Do your best in all things, but recognize that not being perfect actually makes you a more secure person.  

3. Get everything out of your head and onto a list.  Business leader and author of Getting Things Done, David Allen, advocates a clear head as the default setting on your life. Anything that comes into your system–an email, phone call, new project, etc.–goes onto a list, and you prioritize the list. If you fill your brain with details and try to mentally juggle everything that needs to be addressed, worked on, developed, or managed, you will elbow out the new ideas, strategizing and problem solving that you should be doing.

4. Stop planning, start doing. Plans are fun to make, aren’t they? If we make a project plan or department plan, or personal goals plan, it already feels like you’ve accomplished something. The trouble is that you really haven’t. The solution is to make a plan and an immediate action you can take to get started. This will keep you from resting on your plan, and get you started right away on making progress. The ultimate goal is to get it off your list entirely, right? Get on with it and check it off of your list.

5. Focus on outcomes, not activities. When  you see your coworkers or even check in with family and friends, what do they reply to your initial “How are you?”  How do you typically reply to that same question? You say you’re busy, right? Busy is the new fine. We’re all really busy, and it makes us feel good. We feel productive if we’ve had an insanely busy day. The reality is that to really gain ground you should  find new and efficient ways to accomplish your goals, use that extra time to compose yourself and plan your next activity. The next time someone asks you, “How are you?” you can reply, “Outstanding!” and really mean it.

6. Embrace personal accountability. It will set you free. Really! People who feel personally accountable for their jobs (and lives) also are taking the power back from the many influences around them that vie for attention and energy. You decide what your priorities are, and you’ll find that it’s easier to commit and follow through on them. If you allow others to take charge or set your priorities, you may find that you’ve lost your way. We all need to do our jobs as outlined by our organization. But do it with your own initiative, not depending on what others tell you to do. Control your day in a way that keeps you in the driver’s seat.


At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

Simple Leadership Success Tip: Active Listening Skills!


In a recEmployee Development Systems, Inc.ent Harvard Business Review article titled Leadership is a Conversation (Groysberg and Slind), authors comment on the organizational advantages of successful communication and engaged dialogue. Older, traditional business models relied on a monologue, with management dictating and controlling the flow of information within a company. That paradigm has been eclipsed by new and more effective practices.

Our competitive, fast-paced world requires a more dynamic approach to communication within businesses. To be successful companies have discovered the advantages of encouraging communication throughout their organizations. In today’s successful businesses ideas not only flow down from management, but flow up from the shop floor, from receptionists, supervisors, and mid-level managers. Open communication can improve understanding and empathy, which results in reduced conflict and stress. It can also be the source of innovative ideas, problems solving, and early warning of problems or inefficiencies.

The key to communication is the understanding that to be effective it must be a dialogue, a conversation. Successful communicators not only express thoughts, ideas, and feelings, but also actively listen to the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of others. The listening aspect of true communication is a skill that goes well beyond “hearing” the words of another person. An active listener gives the speaker their undivided attention and seeks to understand the message beyond the mere words being spoken, including an awareness of tone of voice, body language, and level of emotion. An active listener keeps an open, non-judgmental mind when interpreting the message of the speaker.

Active listening is a valuable skill that can be learned, a skill that also results in improvement in one’s own communication through consciousness of facial expressions, eye contact, posture, and more.

EDSI offers training to enhance active listening skills. The Personal Listening Profile® helps people become active, purposeful listeners in a wide variety of situations for more productive communication.:

  • Discover their natural approach to listening
  • Capitalize on their listening strengths
  • Learn how different listening approaches impact listening effectiveness
  • Improve their ability to understand the purpose of different communications
  • Use listening approaches appropriate to the situation
  • Overcome listening barriers and reduce conflict
  • Enhance individual and tram performance

Listen First to Understand
focuses on the skill of listening. Participants learn to demonstrate listening in order to receive information accurately, defuse emotionally-charged situations, and respond non-defensively in the face of disagreement.

Specific objectives for course participants are:

  • Identify individual listening styles
  • Identify ineffective and effective listening responses
  • Understand the listening process
  • Use the following effective listening responses to defuse strong feelings, avoid misunderstanding, and solve problems:
  • Reflect feelings
  • Reflect content
  • Ask for clarification
  • Use non-defensive listening to handle disagreement and criticism

Expand your leadership conversation. Encourage and enhance communication on all levels in your organization through EDSI’s active listening training. Start today by contacting EDSI at (800) 282-3374.

Living on Purpose -The Core of Personal Effectiveness


Employee Development Systems, Inc. Living & Working on Purpose
What is your purpose? This is a big question, but not enough people give serious consideration to its answer. Those who do are the most professionally successful and personally effective people. Setting goals and having a purpose are related, but not synonymous with each other. Your purpose transcends your goals. It’s the Big Picture of your life. Being able to set and accomplish your goals will get you there.

Discover Your Purpose
Your life is a hero’s journey. You are on a quest to find out your purpose as soon as possible, so you can get started living and working in alignment with it. If you do, you’ll see your personal effectiveness soar and your professional presence at work will naturally improve. Issues of accountability and self-discipline will melt away, because you will be living your life in alignment with your core values. Instead of forcing yourself to start the next project, you’ll enthusiastically jump in! If you are living on purpose, your impact in the workplace (and at home) will increase exponentially.

Develop Your Own Mission Statement
Every year, millions of dollars are spent on developing complex corporate mission statements. They usually are made into multiple paragraphs and are put on a plaque in the lobby of the company. Unfortunately, the length and breadth of these statements make them ineffective. Most people can’t recall exactly what their organization’s mission is, even after reading it several times! Start your personal mission statement. Can you keep it to one sentence? A brief, pointed mission statement will give you the opportunity to serve your mission in many everyday situations.

Activate Your Purpose
Align your purpose with your natural ability. If you are unsure how to enlist your purpose and get it working in your life, consider your natural abilities. Are you good at fixing things? Creating? Connecting others? Leading teams? Logistics? We have all been given natural talents. Aligning those talents with your career and organization will set free a well of energy. Are your values aligned with your current organization, or do you feel at odds with it? Does the team you lead reflect your purpose and value system? If it doesn’t, you are probably unsatisfied in your career. Consider how you can enlist your natural talents and values at work. Integrate them into everything you do, and you’ll see productivity and synergy skyrocket!

Be determined. Most people say yes to every opportunity, they try everything that comes their way, and skim across the top of life. Imagine if they (or you) said no to some opportunities, solely on the merit of their alignment with your purpose. It doesn’t mean that it is not a good opportunity, it just may not align with your deepest purpose. If you take these kinds of opportunities, you’ll be on a detour. Life can easily drift into the path of least resistance. Imagine your effectiveness if everything you take on is related to or focused on your purpose. You will be unstoppable, and so will your team, as they feed off of your energy and determination.

Stay humble. Not everyone around you will have clarity of purpose. As a matter of fact, most people don’t take the time to honestly consider what their life’s purpose is. Do you view your life as a struggle? If so, then you haven’t embraced the importance of purpose.

“When you see what you’re here for, the world begins to mirror your purposein a magical way. Its almost as if you suddenly find yourself on a stage, in a play that was written expressly for you.” -Betty Sue Flowers

At Employee Development Systems, Inc., our programs been helping companies increase productivity and effectiveness for over 20 years. We invite you to take a look at our programs and what our clients have gained from working with us.

Make Employee Engagement Work in 5 Steps

Employee Development Systems, Inc. Why do employees become disengaged?
Here are some shocking statistics from a recent survey.*
  • On average, enterprise workers use only 45% of their time on their primary job duties.
  • Almost 6 out of 10 (59%) enterprise workers say wasteful meetings get in the way of their productivity.
  • 63% of enterprise workers often feel like there are “too many cooks in the kitchen.”
  • 64% say there is often confusion at their company about who’s doing what.
  • 8 out of 10 (81%) experience conflict with other departments, groups or teams, and 4 out 10 (39%) cite lost productivity among the most common consequences of such conflicts.

The data offers a bleak look at how people are spending (or wasting) their time. As a leader, no matter what you do to increase your own productivity, if your employees are part of the statistics here, then you will have trouble getting the edge you are seeking. Here’s how to jog them out of their rut, and follow you in your quest to become your most personally effective and productive self that you can.

If you are able to be consistent, to communicate effectively, and to clarify decision-making and priorities, you’ll see your employees’ engagement–and as a result, their productivity–soar.
We all need to meaning in our jobs to engage and do more than just show up in the morning and “put in time” for 40 hours a week. Are you sure that your team members know why they are prioritizing particular tasks and projects? If not, vow to share the bigger picture with them today. This is different from a regular work update. This is a “bigger picture” conversation that will foster their enthusiasm for the work they do every day.

Being consistent is a critical component to a leader’s role. Consistent responses to every challenge or situation, without any outward hesitation or resistance will build followers. In this case “followers” are your employees. Think of how non-profit organizations build community around their cause. Your own department can be considered in the same way. You are building a community in your own space!

Consider what Gallup Chairman and CEO, Jim Clifton, says in his blog: “Gallup has discovered that what the whole world wants is a good job, and that organizations can’t create good jobs without highly engaged customers” or employees.

Give your organization the best chance of being a center of optimum productivity, employee engagement, and growth. Do your employees look forward to getting back to work on Mondays?  Do their jobs give them energy or sap it?  A recent article mentions the work of  researcher, Teresa Amabile. “Her work on the progress principle found that the single greatest source of engagement is progress, and that setbacks cause disengagement. The Harvard professors shows that increasing you focus and attention on building progress and managing setbacks is the key to igniting engagement within the very tasks of work.”
With a few practical habit changes in your work and leadership style, the engagement engine will start to take hold in your organization!



"Great Leadership" Depends on Perspective


Employee Development Systems, Inc. Leadership DevelopmentIf you google “great leadership” you will get 127,000,000 results in .41 seconds. We have countless publications, organizations, and communities to help us clarify great leadership. Even more confusing is the fact that depending on who you ask, the recipe is very different!
For example, if you ask a young person what makes a great leader, they may look toward celebrities, assuming that the more famous a person is, the better leader they are perceived to be. On the other hand, for older generations, people who have fought for a cause greater than themselves are considered revered leaders.

In a sporting context, a leader is on a winning team or coaches a winning team. Unfortunately, much like the “celebrity as leader” idea, it is temporal, and often only linked to one or two seasons. In a business context, good leadership is connected with company performance -but how do we get there? How does your daily management and work schedule impact the company, especially if you’re not directly responsible for sales?

Start with the mission. Successful companies are those that are mission-driven. People who find meaning in their work are naturally more productive. So the first and most impactful action you can take is to ensure that you and everyone on your radar has the same understanding of your mission. As Ken Blanchard mentioned in his award-winning novel, Leading at a Higher Level, good leadership is about focusing on something other than profit, something at a higher level. He defines it as the process of achieving worthwhile results while acting with respect, care and fairness for the well-being of all involved.

Next, work on the relationships. According to author and psychologist Jolyn Maddocks, “the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with clients and colleagues by accepting and managing attitudes, energy and behavior” is one of the defining characteristics of successful leadership. What problems keep coming up in your workplace? Does it seem like you’re plagued by the same conflicts within your team? The most likely solution lies in the way you interact with your employees. Take a serious (and maybe painful) look at what could be happening within the dynamics of your team that is producing an environment stuck in a conflict rut.

Get your ego in check. Recognize the difference between self-confidence and ego. Identifying too strongly with your own actions and personality preclude you from creating a healthy, productive team.  A leader who can consistently engage employees, lead them through difficult times with a calm and professional demeanor,  increases their own personal effectiveness through constant self-critique, is the leader that will foster the most productive team.

Mind your manners. Successful leaders  are those with good manners, including a positive professional presence, superior active listening skills, ability to use I-statements for feedback and tendency to stay in touch with their employees’ personal goals.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

Your Decision-Making Skills Are the Core of Professional Development

Decision making, Employee Development Systems, Inc.

Decision making should be second nature by now, right?  You’ve had years of practice, and yet, there are some ‘Yield’ signs that we all miss sometimes along the way. –Some of the glaring decision crossroads to look out for.

In many cases, our prevailing instinct is to be galvanized by the options and data set before us.  Do you have enough information to make a decision?  Have you conferred with the right people or teams? Have you massaged the data and reached perfect certainty? Well, the fact is that we often get afflicted with what Susan Heathfield, human resources expert, refers to as analysis paralysis.  

How do you get past analysis paralysis? The Marine Core battles this syndrome with the “70 percent solution.”  If you have 70 percent of the information, have done 70 percent of the analysis, and feel 70 percent confident, then move.

The logic is simple: a less than ideal action, swiftly executed, stands a chance of success, whereas no action stands no chance. The worst decision is no decision at all.
Teach yourself to place importance on “fast enough” – decision making based on sufficient information, not perfect data.  Moreover, in reaching a decision, rarely are all the data available to be sure of its outcome. So gather all of the information that you have available, then make a move.  You will be glad that you have moved the team to the next step in your process or project.  

Seek Out Authority
Responsibility is not typically bestowed; it is actively sought.  If you readily embrace more responsibility, you will find that eventually you are given the leeway to make decisions.  Yes, it is more risk for you, but you will also have more power to effect change in your environment.  Always work toward greater responsibility.  This increases your decision-making ability through practice (being faced with repeated decisions) and placement (being put in a position that requires more decision making on a daily basis).

Post-Decision Triage
Finally, let’s talk about post-decision triage. Let’s face it, some decisions take us in the wrong direction, and it is worth taking time to learn from them. Routinely looking back on decision processes keeps you (and your team or department) learning, and therefore, being jettisoned forward in content and process knowledge.  In your post-decision review meeting, ask questions such as, what did we think would happen?  How did the situation actually play out? If there was a divergence, ask yourselves possible points where those deviations occurred.  
We all get “decidophobia” at times. Thwart that tendency by paying attention to the decision crossroads that you are in front of you.

Action Steps
Write down two or three current situations that require your decision right now.
Where are you in the fact-gathering process? Have you gotten to 70%? If you have not, write down the remaining steps you need to take for each situation to get you to the 70% stage.
Now take the leap. What are your options? Write them down here to help you choose one.
Once you have made your decision on each of these situations, what is your first call to action?

“As a leader, I am there to make the best decisions possible with the evidence at hand and to be able to justify that decision. If it goes wrong, we add to the evidence for making the next decision, but there is no reason for regretting failure, as failure is just the production of evidence.”
MIchael A. Wood, Jr.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

What Are the Best Leadership Development Goals?

Increased professional presence, employee developmentAs leaders, we continuously assess and reassess our goals. If we don’t, the goals that made sense last year, last quarter, or last week, could no longer be relevant in the same way, or at the very minimum, should be taken down a few steps in the line of priorities that you have in front of you and replaced with other development goals that speak to the present or future of your company and career. Imagine the twinge of regret felt by Montgomery Ward and Sears when they overlooked small, rural markets. Now all of those markets are home to at least one Walmart store.

According to one contributor in a recent Forbes article, “Airlines that were once great, such as Eastern, TWA and Pan Am, no longer exist. Conversely, while those airlines declined, Southwest Airlines chose to serve markets that had not been served by the traditional carriers, standardizing their aircraft, keeping fares low and creating a highly committed workforce.  This allowed it to be consistently profitable and acquire its largest competitor on its path to becoming a major industry player.”

We tend to work on our weaknesses, right? Think back to school, when you had to give extra study time to subjects that you had no natural proclivity toward. The same is generally still true now, with respect to becoming a well-rounded, competent, productive leader who is helping his or her employees become more accountable and productive, too. Identifying and working on weaknesses does help improve personal effectiveness and professional presence, and overall competence. But the dirty little secret is that concentrating on strengths can bear two- to three-times the results!  

Leadership and employee development programs that provide a balance of learning where challenges need to faced and honing current competencies will result in a much higher return in the workplace. Essentially, “Focusing on weaknesses will help leaders to be “less bad” in the same way clinical psychology has helped people to be less mentally ill. But no matter how hard you work on curing a weakness it will seldom make the level of impact you could achieve by honing a strength.Making weaknesses “less bad” makes for mediocre leaders. But our research shows that focusing on even a small number of signature strengths can produce extraordinary success. These are the goals that make the most dramatic and positive impact on the people around you.”*

At EDSI, our hallmark programs, Professional Presence in a Casual World (PPCW), Communicating to Manage Performance (CMP), and Increasing Personal Effectiveness (IPC) have their foundation in increasing self-awareness of current skillsets and areas that may be challenges. Each program is a balance of both improvement on current strengths and identifying new areas that need to be improved. We also help people gain an understanding of how to take others’ skillsets and communication styles into account, resulting in improved problem solving, increased effectiveness, higher productivity–and ultimately–improved profits and growth for the organization.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

Improve Your Personal Effectiveness with these Steps to Acountability


AccountabilityAccountability is one of the most powerful tools in personal effectiveness, productivity, and professional presence. Here is a sample of our most popular articles on how to improve personal accountability in your life, career, and your organization.

The Only "Real" Accountability

Regardless of how important we say accountability is, organizations tend to only bring up the term when there is a complete break down, and an obvious lack of accountability in a team, department or organization. That’s when we tend to unpack the overused business speak, and the Human Resources Department starts a new round of metrics, analytics and evaluations to increase accountability.

Those efforts are ultimately in vain if they are not working hand-in-hand with self-accountability.  Once change is initiated in your employees, you will see it spread throughout the workplace. READ MORE!

7 Ways to Keep High Performers Increasing Personal Effectiveness

It’s the good swimmers who are most likely to jump ship, and this holds true in the workplace. How do you keep the best swimmers from doing the backstroke into the sunset?

Make your workplace great.

Some basic, but often overlooked qualities have the potential to make lousy or even good workplaces into great ones. For example, how do you typically set the stage for new ideas and innovation in your organization? Do employees trust their managers and leaders? If not, how can you shift their perception? Research proves that organizations which are considered “great places to work” are also more profitable than other companies, so learning to make your workplace great should be a priority for you and the other leaders in your organization. READ MORE!

This Is How New Leaders Maintain Effectiveness

Dear Suzanne,
I have been the human resources director of a mid-sized law firm for three years. It’s a position I’ve been working toward for many years, and it I like the firm I work for. I’ve had three years of a high-stress environment, where I’ve worked with our CEO to tackle major changes in the firm.  I’ve met many of my personal and professional stretch goals in this position and don’t want to give it up.

In the last year, I’ve become much less effective, and haven’t been able to get traction on any of the projects and goals that moved ahead so quickly in the first two years. FIND OUT SUZANNE'S ADVICE!

Convert Your Power into Performance

Being appreciated is a fundamental human need. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that one of the top five needs expressed by employees is to feel fully appreciated for their work. Essentially, we do more for those who appreciate it.  So why is employee appreciation often a blind spot for leaders? We may think that a remark or two regarding recent project successes is enough, but appreciating employees comes down to taking action. Create defining moments that mark milestones of achievement. Integrate milestones into all of your projects and processes.

According to Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day Each “moment” lasts a few seconds. If you consider your strongest memories, positive or negative, you’ll notice the imagery in your mind is actually defined by your recollection of a precise moment in time. FIND OUT MORE!

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

10 Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in Management Training


Management Training, Executive CoachingManage today, lead tomorrow. Unless your company is just hiring leaders from outside versus developing their own. Most companies have a strategy that combines the two options of fostering leadership from within and hiring specific skills from the outside. Either way, it is simply sound management to make sure the leaders that are brought up through the ranks are agile, competent, and can handle any challenges that are coming their way.

Employees quit managers, not companies. The most common reason for employee exodus is a bad manager. It makes practical financial sense to ensure that your managers are highly competent, are able to communicate to manage performance and are personally effective.
Assumed competence is dangerous. Just because Joe was a great team member, we may assume that he’ll seamlessly fit into a new leadership role. That assumption will result in failed promotions and the loss of star players. Decreasing or canceling management training programs entirely is simply a risk most companies would not take, if they thought through the chance they’re taking by throwing people into new positions without the tools they need to be successful.

Uneven management is the death knell of productivity and morale. Your organization’s leadership team is a cadre of different personalities and skill sets. Ask yourself, do they all fall within a defined band of competence, or are they all over the map in their performance management, communication effectiveness and professional presence? You can’t make every manager the same -and wouldn’t want to- but you do want to ensure that they all fall within an acceptable and even excellent level of business acumen and management skills. A  practical management training program is how you’ll get there.

Well-developed managers and leaders build productivity and profits. Leaders with a developed understanding of behavior styles, flexing styles to achieve effective communication, organizational effectiveness, and active listening, are the backbone of your organization’s success. How can we let that critical piece of the success puzzle be left up to chance?
Various studies show that if you invest in human assets you can increase productivity by 5.2%. Overall company productivity would increase by 21% (

Decreasing hiring and firing will directly boost the profits. The cost of a good hire can be as much as 1.5 times the salary of the person you are trying to replace. It is much easier and cost-effective to train the employees you already have than to start from scratch.

Your business, like most businesses, wants to thrive. To cushion against market unkowns, economic fluctuations, and instill a competitive edge in today's environment, you will need to ensure that your leaders are competent and can innovate their way to your organization's growth and success.

ROI of investing into leadership and management-Leadership and management are the major driving forces of any company. They determine the overall company performance and profits. According to, you can boost your company-wide profit margins by 47% and can experience 86% better company value. Companies that invested in leadership development programs are amongst the top most admired companies list in Fortune 500 Companies. Make sure your organization is adopting the best practices of these most admired Fortune 500 companies!

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

Practical Do's & Don'ts of Corporate Cultural Change Management


Corporate Culture Change ManagementIn the last post we covered Critical DO's for Cultural Change. Here's the flip side of the same conversation. Like the first one, it offers practical takeaways to successfully lead your organization through cultural change.

Critical DON'Ts of Cultural Change

Don’t Disrespect tradition. Your entire organizational culture may require shifting because of a merger, a management change, a market shift, or simply because it’s become obvious that the current culture isn’t serving the organization or its customer base, ensure that you don’t malign the previous culture, mission, or corporate atmosphere. Imagine being in a job interview and you consciously show disrespect for your previous employer. No matter what, it will create an integrity issue. Instead, concentrate on moving forward.

Don’t waste the urgency for change. Many new executives come on board in the middle of a crisis. This has happened with Chrysler, Ford, Pepsi, and countless other companies. Leverage the current crisis to gain energy for the cultural change you are fostering.
Don’t disregard current employees. Changes may have to be made in the process of major organizational cultural changes. Still, tread carefully with the current employee base. Morale will plummet if you disregard all current voices in lieu of new, unknown leaders.

Don’t be afraid to take the lead. Shaping and changing your culture has to come from the top. Yes, it will require adoption from every employee, but that can only come from a united leadership team leading those changes.

Don’t get distracted by early gains. Initial changes are usually painless and fairly easy to make. Don’t make the mistake of celebrating these too early or too much. You’re probably on the right path. It’s better to acknowledge early gains and keep moving forward.

In the words of Steve Pemberton, chief diversity officer of Walgreen Co., “Make certain you don’t confuse that initial aesthetic pull of the culture change with the actual work of instilling and driving culture,” he said. “Because invariably [that] is what you’re going to be measured on.”

Don’t neglect to explain the changes. Leaders adopting and advocating for change isn’t enough. As we all know, people need to hang their hat on the meaning behind and reasons for change. Help them reframe the changes -especially the extreme shifts that might be coming up- by backing up your efforts with market reasons, giving the changes a direct relationship to the business success, or fulfilling the organization’s mission. 

Don’t dump culture change on HR! CEOs tend to give marching orders and then dump cultural and organizational change on the HR or communications groups. 

Instead, take tangible actions right from the start and keep the momentum going. Instead, set out core values, define any aspirational elements and then develop a plan to move forward. What behaviors does the company expect from its leaders? Why are these behaviors important? What actions or events have to happen for those behaviors to be altered long-term? It’s not enough to put posters on the wall with core values and a mission statement.

Don’t forget to vary methods of recognition. Financial recognition can only take you so far.  Focus on creating an organization that integrates a variety of recognition methods, both small and publicly impactful. Everything from personal emails to public awards are fair game and have proven to be effective.  

Words of Wisdom

"Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed – the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day." – Frances Hesselbein

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." – Niccolo Machiavelli

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

All Posts