meeting woman on computer

How to find inner strength during COVID or any crisis

Everyone is getting very tired of trying to dredge up inner strength. There are the big things — the constant fears of terrible disease and imminent economic collapse. And there are the relatively little things — boredom, loneliness, feeling constrained, Zoom fatigue, wearing masks and gloves, and  constant handwashing.

It’s exhausting.

Meanwhile the regular stresses of life haven’t gone away. Family relationships, work, lack of work, non-COVID health issues, political strife — they all continue to be demanding and draining.

man and woman arguing

Managing disruptive personalities that impede important work

The best thing about a crisis is that it often brings out the best in people. So many individuals step up with courage, creativity, and generosity. They help each other out, they find new solutions, and they stand firm in the face of adversity. In the business world, these people are your most important assets. But at the same time, there are others who make things worse. For a variety of reasons, they engage in behavior that is undermining, distracting, or disruptive. 

paintings in a museum

Curating your life in the time of Covid-19

My book, Curating Your Life, was published on April 8. News flash – the middle of a pandemic is not the best time to launch a book! But there’s also some good news. Although I wrote the book long before anyone had heard of COVID-19, it turns out that learning how to manage your energy for peak productivity is a highly relevant topic in this challenging time. As a result, I’m getting plenty of opportunities to write and speak about the book, including a recent “Coffee and Connect” session for the Executives’ Club of Chicago. 

We talked about how the demands on our energy have changed. Some of the tasks that used to exhaust us – commuting, hosting big meetings, going to networking events – are no longer such a big part of our lives. At the same time, other demands have ramped up – learning new technologies, connecting through Zoom and other media, doing our own housework, cooking all the meals and spending much more time with family members. The specifics vary from person to person, but the challenge is the same – how do we manage our energy for peak productivity and joy during this strange time?

person washing hands

How I am choosing to fight COVID-19

As I write this on March 10, I’m feeling helpless. I hate that! So far, my daily life is pretty normal. I’m in my downtown Chicago office, and I just got back from a large lunch meeting listening to some very interesting panelists. My day, and the rest of my week, is heavily scheduled with both in-person and phone meetings. 

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the tidal wave to hit: the day when everything gets cancelled, when my clients suffer severe financial losses, when my travel is curtailed, when people I care about start getting sick, when I get sick. It’s really scary, and it feels as if there’s nothing I can do. As I said, I hate that!

woman in corporate dress standing

Executive coaching benefits rely on these predictive factors

More and more companies have been investing in coaching for their senior leaders in the past 20 years as they recognize the benefits of executive coaching. As a result, coaches now come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and use many different approaches. How can a company, or an individual leader, predict whether a coaching engagement will be helpful or not?

woman in front of computer with head in hands

Much Ado about Nothing or How to Embrace Boredom

When I’m talking with new coaching clients, I’m often stunned by how busy they are. It’s not unusual to hear that someone has just received a big promotion, is managing a team of 20+ people, has several young children, is looking after an older relative, and is heavily involved with his or her church or other community activities. Please note, this is not just a woman’s problem, although many women think it is. Most of the men I work with are also juggling multiple commitments and responsibilities, and like the women, they often feel they are coming up short. When I hear people describe their lives, I usually respond with the quip, “So what are you doing with all your free time?” And we both laugh ruefully.

3 tips for attracting and retaining talent

Each week GGC Principal Gail Golden lets us take a look at her open tabs to see what’s going on in the world of workplace psychology. Here are her insights on the week’s news….

You run a business in an industry where competition for top talent is gruesome. Not only that, but your industry is being disrupted from several directions. How do you attract and retain the best people so you can innovate quickly? According to Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky, the key is to listen – to your employees and to your clients. It sounds simple, but his article shows how demanding it really is. It means getting out of your office to engage with employees at all levels of the company. It means road trips to spend time with key clients. And it means keeping an open mind to others’ priorities and perspectives. GGC is proud to have partnered with Weber Shandwick through the past decade of turbulence, and we applaud Polansky’s vision and his emphasis on creating the right culture to make magic happen.

5 tips for winning a negotiation

Each week GGC Principal Gail Golden lets us take a look at her open tabs to see what’s going on in the world of workplace psychology. Here are her insights on the week’s news….

This week I thought I’d let my colleagues answer two pressing management questions. The first comes from Molex CEO Martin Slark, who spoke to the Executives’ Club of Chicago last week. The key responsibility of a business leader is to create value for the company and the customers he or she serves. And how do you create that value? According to Slark, there are four essential elements:

  • a foundation of integrity
  • clear vision
  • a focus on satisfying customers’ desires
  • creative destruction

Slark pointed to three companies as examples of creative destruction. The world’s largest transportation company owns no vehicles (Uber). The world’s largest hospitality company owns no properties (Airbnb). And the world’s largest retail company owns no stores (Amazon). By providing value to their customers, these businesses have built a new world!

Gail Golden

This week in the workplace: Management pitfalls

Each week GGC Principal Gail Golden lets us take a look at her open tabs to see what’s going on in the world of workplace psychology. Here are her insights on the week’s news….

I spent Tuesday at the Emerson Exchange in Denver, where I spoke on the subject of women and innovation. It was stimulating and challenging to engage with an audience of 250 high-powered technical professionals, most of them women engineers. My presentation focused on how encouraging innovation requires three different skill sets:

  • Creating an environment where people are empowered to imagine and communicate innovative ideas often
  • Using a rigorous process to edit out most of the ideas and concentrate on the ones which will add the most value
  • Gaining alignment with key decision-makers, so the company will pursue winning innovations

This week in the workplace: Oct. 9

Each week GGC Principal Gail Golden lets us take a look at her open tabs to see what’s going on in the world of workplace psychology. Here are her insights on the week’s news….

The big news this week is the Cubs’ postseason run, but it’s not just changes on the field that brought them there. Behind the scenes, the Human Resources staff has been transforming the organization. The department polled employees to develop “The Cubs Way,” a set of values that determines whether someone will be a good fit. Then they used it for hiring: replacing generalists with specialists, finding “strategic doers” who can get the job done, and seeking out young talent to groom and promote — just like the team itself. Throughout the process, the VP of HR, Bryan Robinson, has kept his eye on the prize: “To win a World Series, preserve Wrigley Field and be a good neighbor.” Go Cubs!

This week in the workplace: Oct. 2

Each week GGC Principal Gail Golden lets us take a look at her open tabs to see what’s going on in the world of workplace psychology. Here are her insights on the week’s news….

The big number this week: $12 trillion. If women were equal in the workplace it would add 19 percent to the U.S. GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey, and $12 trillion to $28 trillion across the world. Check out these fascinating tables.

Why Boomers and Millennials should join forces at work

The clash of generations in the workplace is so clichéd at this point it’s even getting its own movie — The Intern premiered last weekend, with Anne Hathaway as a young CEO and Robert de Niro as her new intern. The premise is highly improbable, but due to a thoughtful script and some fine acting, the movie succeeds in provoking us to think about the challenges and successes of a 70-year-old man and his young colleagues learning to work together.  

Journalists and consultants are making a ton of money talking about vast generational differences. Boomers are supposed to be hard-working, loyal, old-fashioned and resistant to change. Millennials are typecast as self-centered, entitled and incapable of meaningful face-to-face relationships. Most of these alleged differences are supported by little or no research. But that doesn’t seem to stop us from repeating them – and allowing these prejudices to distort our perceptions of each other.