Managing To Manage Lawyers

For six years, Kim Ebert led Ogletree Deakins, an Am Law 100 firm with over 750 attorneys in 49 cities in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Germany and England. In my interview of him, Ebert reflects on his leadership, extracting themes and principles regarding how to manage a law firm successfully. Although the lessons center on lawyers, they apply to other types …

Information Flow & Employee Engagement

What is the connection between good information flow and employee engagement? Amy Haran, Executive Director of Communications for USANA Health Sciences, explains the connection. Haran oversees communications for USANA’s worldwide 400,000 distributors and 1,500 employees. In my interview of her, she shares strategies and steps to create information-rich work environments, as well as the business impact of good information flow. Read …

When Workplace Relationships End

When workplace relationships end unhappily, what are the common causes? How do you know if the relationship is worth continuing or needs to be brought to a close? When you’re in a problematic workplace relationship, what steps can you take to set a course of action and navigate it effectively? This post examines three critical factors: Competence, Compatibility and Communication, …

Employee Engagement Case Study

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Senior Vice President Jeff Bushardt at Comporium Communications in South Carolina. We collaborated on an organizational learning & development project to increase employee engagement. Our focus was on management leadership skills and behavior, from the C-Suite to first-line supervision. In this interview, Bushardt describes the process — from needs assessment to …

Take the “But” Out of Your Apology

When was the last time you apologized to someone? When was the last time someone apologized to you? (Not including rote apologies from customer service representatives.) Was the apology effective? If so, I bet a word was missing — “but.” If you want your apologies to work, I recommend that you replace the “but” with what I call the “MIDAS Touch”. …

Executive Coaching–What Is It & Why Use It?

Executive coaching has become a hot commodity among companies. It used to be “fix the problem employee” but has increasingly become a way to develop and retain talent. In this interview, Brian Underhill, founder and CEO of the largest executive coaching organization in the world, explains what executive coaching is, what the trends are, and how to make the most of …

Verbal Attack — Fight? Flight? Or Aikido?

When was the last time someone said something that offended you? What was your reaction? Did you withdraw? Did you return fire? How many conflicts have you been party to that didn’t end well? Right or wrong, conflict is a part of human existence. The problem is not that it exists but that we don’t respond to it well. Like their …

Employee Engagement – What It is, Why It Matters and How to Achieve It

What’s your definition of “employee engagement”? Here’s mine: “Enthusiastically committed to, accountable for, and aligned with the employer’s goals.” Each word matters. Together, they mean having employees who feel fortunate to be employed where they are, know what is expected and needed, and come to work every day to make a positive difference. In this post (including the two posts …

Lawyers, Risk Aversion & Resistance to Change – What’s the Connection?

According to validated personality test studies, lawyers lead other professions in “standard deviations.” That is, compared to other professionals and the populace in general, we score unusually high and low in several personality traits. These include skepticism (high), autonomy (high), sociability (low) and resiliency (low). This cocktail of personality traits creates challenges for leaders of law firms and other law organizations …

Jerks at Work

Work jerks come in all shapes and sizes. There is the harasser, the bully, the passive aggressor, and the plain old low EQ ( Emotional Intelligence) jerk who says or does things that make stomach acid churn. Work jerkishness is always a problem, and sometimes it crosses the line of law. Some time ago, I wrote a magazine article discussing …