One leader behavior gets 88% more “above and beyond” performance.


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Crew Resource Management and United Flight 173

Don’t Mess With Mother Nature. Last week I continued my hike of the Ozark Highlands Trail. It was a beautiful day for a hike and my good friend Mike and I hit the trail planning on a nice 9-miler.

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Rediscover Priority: Why You and Your Team Should Do Less

How often do you find yourself doing work that’s just good enough? Steve Jobs reminds us why it’s important to prioritize and how less really can mean more.

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Can Approachability Make You Younger and More Healthy?

In 1984, two scientists discovered an enzyme that helps protect people from premature cellular aging. What’s it got to do with approachability?

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Gallup Q12 and How Approachable Leaders Drive Engagement

Have you ever heard of Gallup’s Q12 “engagement” factors? If you’ve been around HR for any length of time you are familiar with Gallup’s Q12 research

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The Magic Bank Account: A Billfold of Inspiration

The author of this story is unknown. It was found in the billfold of Coach Paul Bear Bryant, Alabama, after he died in 1982.

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Rare Video Shows How Steve Jobs Responds to (Blistering) Criticism

As leaders, criticism is inevitable.

Criticism is inevitable because mistakes are inevitable. We are going to overlook some things that we should have paid more attention to. We are going to make decisions that prove to be the wrong ones. We are going to say things that we shouldn’t have said. We will fall short at times. We’re human.

Accepting that reality is the first step to being able to respond to criticism with steady assurance, class, and understanding. The video above shows Steve Jobs doing just that.

Don’t Roll the Dice: Four Keys to a Winning Change Management Strategy

Failure to successfully implement change projects is killing companies.

Change projects are inevitable because change is inevitable. You must spend time innovating and implementing new processes if you want to stay ahead of your competition. The problem is, even those companies that are great at innovation tend to break down when it comes to implementation. In fact, only 56 percent of strategic initiatives meet their original goals and business intent.

How can we change that?

The answer most leader experts, managers, and academics have been giving in recent years is for teams to focus more on soft skills throughout their change efforts. In truth, it seems like soft skills—qualities like self-awareness, relationship building, effective communication, and the ability to create trust and motivate others—have become the catch-all for your leader problems. And while we are big proponents of soft skills in leadership (after all, our main message is leader approachability), the fact is nothing is a catch-all. You have got to learn to strike the right balance in applying your soft skills while not forgetting to consider and look to hard factors as well.

Guess What Behavior Led to 84% Fewer Workplace Accidents?

Learning to be vulnerable at work decreases workplace accidents. I'll admit it, this story had me scratching my head. I've spent a lot of time working with companies in tough safety environments. When I think of safety programs I think of systematic, uncompromising,...

7 Keys to Being a Leader Your Team Can Trust

Trust is the most vital aspect of any relationship.

If you don’t trust someone it is extremely hard to get past that feeling and get any quality work done. Mistrust causes stress and distraction. It leads to politics and disengagement. And sometimes we find ourselves wanting to trust a leader or a coworker – but not feeling as though we can.

For some professions (the military, police and fire departments, heavy equipment operators, and healthcare professionals to name just a few) trust can be a matter of life or death. These leaders and teams must have trust for physical safety.

In most professions the stakes aren’t that high. But trust is still really important. For my team trust is essential for peace of mind. Without it we cannot perform our best.

Changing the Way We Innovate

Businesses need to innovate.

When you’re not innovating, you’re not growing. And in a world where the next new thing is always just around the corner, to innovate even more important. It seems dramatic, but it’s the reality of today’s market – just look at what almost happened to Unilever had they not bought out Dollar Shave Club (click here to read our article on it).

How do we create employees and departments that innovate?

George E. L. Barbee recently came out with a book entitled 63 Innovation Nuggets. In Barbee’s 45 year business career, he was responsible for innovation with multiple Fortune 100 companies: Gillette, General Electric, PepsiCo, IBM and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He knows how to build teams that innovate and thrive.

This white paper lays out twelve of those nuggets. I’m not going to go into all of them here, but I do want to discuss the nuggets that stuck out most to me.

First off, Barbee starts by making the point that most of us are far more innovative than we think we are. This is because most of us associate innovation with invention. And while that is true, you don’t have to invent something to innovate. All you have to do is pay attention. Observe what’s around you. And then transfer what you observed to another category where it can be applied.

The Growth Paradox

Everyone wants growth.

We want growth in our personal lives, as parents, and in our friendships. We want to grow in our professional lives, as business leaders, entrepreneurs, and front-line employees.

The desire for growth lies deep down in each of us. It just makes sense that it is a key goal for most businesses. But growth, in and of itself, is not without its challenges. Chris Zook, partner at Bain & Co. and co-author of The Founder’s Mentality put it this way:

“Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth.”

Employee Engagement and Leader Approachability: New Gallup Research

New Gallup research proves the relationship between leader approachability and employee engagement.

If you want to improve engagement there is really only one place to look – your supervisors. Gallup’s most recent report, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, found that:

“Managers account for up to 70% of variance in engagement.”

And there’s the rub.

How Dollar Shave Club Taught a $1 Billion Lesson in Disruption

Earlier this week, Unilever purchased Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion.

Here’s a quick background on the two companies.

Unilever is the owner of big name home care, food, refreshment, and personal care brands like Dove, TRESemme, Vaseline, Lipton, Ben & Jerry’s, the list goes on. Employing over 172,000 people, it is the third-largest consumer goods company in the world. The beginnings of the company date back to the early 1870s when two family businesses were just getting up and running. One in the exporting butter business. The other in the homemade soap and grocery store business. In 1929, the two businesses merged to create what we now know as Unilever.

Dollar Shave Club began operations in 2011, but they didn’t really start gaining steam until they released this video in 2012.

Why You Should Celebrate More with Your Team

Yes. Celebrate.

High fives. Atta girls. Good job milkshakes. 4 o’clock happy hours.

It can be anything. What matters is that you celebrate. Celebrate the great work your folks do every day. Tell them often. It’s so simple but we don’t do it. Instead we take our terrific employees for granted. Not always, of course. When we do take time to think about it, we find ourselves being grateful for the incredible work everyone does. The problem is we’re busy. It’s hard to find that moment to sit back and just be grateful. And even when we do, we forget to mention it to the employees we’re feeling grateful for. Then we’re singing a Joni Mitchell ballad…

“….You Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)…”

But forget about turnover. Just think about production.

Here are four reasons you should be celebrating more with your team.

Brexit Hits Home | Approachability Minute

On June 23rd, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. As I’ve watched Brexit play out, I couldn’t help but notice that there’s a leadership lesson in all of this.

The Science Behind Building Trust at Work

Creating a culture of trust decreases chronic stress and improves productivity, creative problem solving, and job satisfaction. This, according to Paul J. Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University and chief science officer at Ofactor. Zak began his research in...

Leadership Lesson Out of the Orlando Shooting

It’s been almost three weeks since the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

In the days and weeks following events such as these, we often find ourselves looking to our leadership – our political representatives, our church leaders, the heads of houses. In essence, we all want someone we can look to for comfort. Someone who can help us find clarity or sort through our own emotions. These are the things that matter in moments of extreme grief, anger, and misunderstanding.

The problem is many of our leaders fail to do this.

Emotional Intelligence: 7 Reasons to Start Hiring for It

Emotional Intelligence. What is it? And why do we need it? According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is "the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others." It is generally said to include three skills: Emotional awareness,...

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What Others Say About Approachable Leadership

Here is what others have to say about recent Approachable Leadership Keynotes and Workshops.

Great Interactive Session, New Techniques

"I recently attended the Approachable Leadership Session with Phil Wilson at the CUE Conference in Denver. It was a great session. I loved the interactive sessions, they really help you learn some new techniques. Phil does a great job involving the participants and keeping everything moving at a great pace. I am so enthralled with this training that I brought Phil to our location to put my troops thru the paces for approachable leadership!"
Laurie Galmeyer, Director of Human Resources, ETFN

Masterful Approach Captured Audience

“Phil is masterful in his approach and paints a compelling vision. He has the ability to capture an audience’s attention and take them on a journey through images and anecdotes. Whether you have 1 or 100 supervisors in your organization, I would recommend Phil Wilson’s “Approachable Leadership” session. And learning how to live longer and make more money wasn’t so bad either.” 
W. Alex Koch, Manager of Positive Associate Relations, TJX

Demystifies Leadership, Use Lessons Every Day

“Your workshop  demystified what connecting with another human being – whether an employee, client, or spouse – can be like.  I’ve used his 3-question strategy every day, both in my personal and professional relationships, to become a better coach, sister, and friend.”

Lori Broyles, Business and Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator, Francis Tuttle Technology Center

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