annual performance reviews

Annual performance reviews still have value — if you know what to do

The annual performance review is dead — or so some writers would have us believe. Many companies are looking for better ways to provide employee feedback, evaluate performance, and calculate raises and bonuses. I first wrote about the drawbacks of performance reviews five years ago. Recently, Grant Levitan of RHR International wrote a good summary of the shortcomings of the annual review process.

isolated systems

What the Second Law of Thermodynamics teaches us about isolated systems in business

In isolated systems, things gradually fall apart. So says physics since Sadi Carnot first articulated the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1824. Over time, a system that is not taking in energy gradually becomes less organized and less effective.

How many organizations are closed systems, inwardly focused, rigid, and monotonous? No wonder they gradually deteriorate, not because of any bad intentions or external catastrophes, but because of the entropy, the disorder, that is bound to happen. And what’s so sad it that often human systems are closed because the members are trying to preserve order.

performance coach

How a performance coach can turn you into a powerhouse at work

If “performance coach” conjures an image of a tobacco-chewing man standing on the sidelines with a baseball cap and a whistle, that’s deliberate. Performance coaching applies the coaching skills of professional sports to the business world. We executive performance coaches may not use a whistle — or chew tobacco — but we are just as focused on whipping clients into peak competitive shape as any sports coach.

Watts Towers

L.A.’s Watts Towers have a lot to teach us about ourselves

The first time you see them you cannot believe your eyes. You’re driving through one of the bleakest urban ghettos in America, the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, and there against the horizon is a collection of fantastic metal structures. They seem completely out of place and other-worldly. And then, as you draw near, you discover that they are totally covered with the wildest mosaics.

Employee burnout

Employee burnout — an equation to define it and 3 steps to prevent it

Employee burnout is a serious problem, both for individuals and for employers. The physical symptoms of burnout are miserable: exhaustion, headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, hypertension, and sleep problems, among others. And the emotional symptoms are equally debilitating: anger, depression, diminished sense of personal accomplishment, unreasonable self-expectations, hopelessness, irritability, a reduced sense of joy, and low self-esteem.


You’ve been sacked — now what?

The good news is I’ve never been fired. That bad news is I’ve been downsized twice. Those were two of the worst days of my life. And it happens to nearly everyone at some time in his or her career.

As with most calamities, what matters most is how you respond. Psychologists talk a lot about resilience, the ability to bounce back after a defeat. In the days and weeks following your termination, you can take steps that will deepen and prolong your misery or you can move forward in a way that will rebuild your self-esteem and accelerate your progress to the next phase of your career.

Organizational Intelligence Reading List

The Organizational Intelligence reading list: 23 tools to navigate office politics

Anyone who’s ever struggled to navigate office politics knows the importance of OI, even if they didn’t know what to call it. OI, or Organizational Intelligence, is the ability to think and act strategically to get things done in an organization. Alongside Cognitive Intelligence, or IQ, and Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, OI allows great leaders to see their ideas through to fruition.

female leaders hair color

Want to be a female leader? Turns out hair color is one more thing to worry about

“Hear the one about the blonde who was so dumb she …. ” The stereotype of the dumb blonde has been around for a while, and like many stereotypes it can be harmful to the aspirations and reputations of women with light-colored hair. But new research suggests there’s an upside to being towheaded. My brilliant blonde daughter-in-law sent me an article showing that blondes are over-represented at the top of large corporations. Blondes constitute about 2 percent of the world’s female population and 5 percent of white women, but they make up almost half of the female S&P 500 CEOs.

Wearables in the workplace

Wearables in the workplace: Why trust must come before data

Jack and Jill are sales representatives at ABC Company. As part of ABC’s health and fitness initiative, all the employees are outfitted with wearables that measure various aspects of their well-being, including sleep hours and quality. Their boss has access to this data, and he notices that Jill slept well last night but Jack didn’t. He decides to use Jill for an important client pitch that afternoon, because he has more confidence in her ability to perform at her best.

This scenario, outlined in a recent WSJ article, is not science fiction. It’s happening today.

Breaking Through Bias

How to fight gender bias: Breaking through Bias co-author Andie Kramer shares her tips

Women in business contend with subtle — and not so subtle — gender bias every day. As we work together to confront and change those attitudes, we also recognize that’s a long-term journey. In fact, those of us who have been around for a few decades are often astounded by the battles still being fought in 2016. In the meantime, real women have to navigate real challenges on a daily basis.

To get some advice for women trying to fight their way forward in the workplace, we talked to Andie Kramer, prominent Chicago lawyer and co-author of Breaking through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work, which she wrote with her husband and former law partner, Al Harris.