Of the many strategic decisions a leadership team makes, mergers and acquisitions are among the most difficult – and important. With millions – even billions – of dollars in play, as well as the diverse and often competing interests of employees, partners, and investors, how does a leadership team know if they are making the right move?
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What comes to mind when you hear the words “trust me…”? A slick used-car salesman? A shady politician? Chances are, your first thought was of someone trying to get the best of you in an underhanded way. And that’s normal. Because trust – like respect – can’t be commanded. It has to be earned. What does this mean for business leaders? A lot. Research shows that the character and actions of the senior leader are inextricably linked with trust in the company itself. In addition, disengaged employees cite their bosses as the number-one reason for not being happy at work.
As much as we like to talk about generational differences (the “command and control” Baby Boomer or the “lazy” Millennial), does age really determine how you’ll perform on the job?
Do you long for a contemporary color palette? An updated logo or a more compelling tagline? New typography? Better photography and graphics? A different tone to the storytelling?
“Me First!” You expect to hear this in kindergarten, but not in corporate America. After all, shouldn’t adults know how to play fair, share willingly, and cooperate? Unfortunately, with employee engagement at all-time lows, many leaders find themselves increasingly confronted with demoralized, unhappy, or even outright-hostile employees. Energy levels plummet. Productivity suffers. Teamwork deteriorates. People look out for themselves first and foremost. And, just like frustrated parents, leaders often respond by “getting tough” – demanding more collaboration, greater commitment, and increased effort.
We recently blogged about the importance of spending time with your direct reports. While research suggests that six hours a week spent interacting with your employees may be the “magic number” for increasing engagement, we believe the issue isn’t just about quantity – it’s also about quality. For example, when you’re talking with your employees or team members – in person or on the phone – what do you discuss beyond work priorities and deadlines? If the answer is “nothing,” you may be missing a valuable opportunity.
Have you talked with with your employees today? Not e-mailed, not texted – but actually had a real-time face-to-face conversation with any of your direct reports? If the answer is “no,” you’re not alone. Demanding travel schedules, telecommuting, and increased responsibilities – not to mention the global nature of many businesses – make it hard for leaders to personally connect with their team members on a frequent basis. But if you find yourself regularly out of communication for days – or even weeks – at a time, keeping your employees motivated and engaged can become a real challenge.