Are You Really Open to New Ideas?

Organizational leadership Productivity Respect


Key Point: I’m amazed how being open or growth minded is unrelated to age and experience. Every organization and person is going through change. It’s just a law of nature (and maybe technology)? I’ve seen “stick in the mud” resistance from people of all ages, backgrounds, and vice versa. Being a continuous student is a mindset and characteristic of being respectful. It is the essence of respect: To look again. How about you? Are you open to new ideas? Really? How would you feel if these principles were implemented in your workplace?

A. People at all levels stop doing any activity that is a waste of their time, the customer’s time, or the company’s money.

B. Employees have the freedom to work any way they want. 

C. Every day feels like Saturday.

D. People have an unlimited amount of paid time off (PTO) as long as they get their work done. 

E. Work isn’t a place you go, it’s something you do.

F. Arriving at the workplace at 2:00 p.m. is not considered coming in late. Leaving the office at 2:00 p.m. is not considered leaving early.

G. Nobody talks about how many hours they work.

H. Every meeting is optional.

I. It’s OK to grocery shop on a Wednesday morning, or catch a movie on a Tuesday afternoon.

J. There are no work schedules.

K. Nobody feels guilty, overworked, or stressed out.

L. There aren’t any last-minute fire drills.

M. There is no judgment about how you spend your time.

These are the guideposts for a Results-Only Work Environment, developed by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, the authors of several books including their latest, Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It. Dan Pink, a leading researcher and author says that these guideposts represent the “biggest ideas in talent in the last decade.” Gary Hamel, one of the world’s top thinkers and writers on effective managing opines, “In the 21st century management needs to be reinvented… Cali and Jody will tell you how to get started.”

Character Moves:

  1. Take the time to really examine each of those 13 guideposts. What do your reactions tell you about yourself and your assumptions about work? Be a critical thinker. Neither accept nor reject any until you give them some real soak time.
  2. Read the work and thinking behind each guidepost as explained by Ressler and Thompson. (Click here to download the introduction for free. All 13 guideposts are briefly explained). Does this alter your thinking? Assumptions? Why? Why not? What, if anything, are your fearful about? Be open.
  3. As we get more experienced we actually know less every day and must open ourselves to new thinking that challenges our assumptions. Our view of the world is just one view. Humbling ourselves allows us to continue being a student and open to other perspectives on a daily basis.

Open to new guideposts in The Triangle,


P.S. Please pass on the link to my new book to anyone you think will enjoy it. 


Why Should Your Boss Be Watching YOU?

Accountability Management Productivity


Key Point: Work is what you do and the results you get, NOT just where you go to “punch in” time. Marissa Mayer, the prehistoric minded CEO of Yahoo! is unwittingly going to help bring greater clarity to this principle with her recent antiquated people “recall” policy. If you’re not aware of the continuously developing fuss Mayer caused, you can check out a quick synopsis here

Some jobs obviously and absolutely require people to be in specific places at certain times, and working remotely doesn’t make sense for those people. But what bugs me is that some people actually equate the effectiveness of productivity and collaboration to work location. If you want to “hide” and under-perform at work, you can do it at the office as well as remotely. There is also lots of data to support people being productive in both formal workspaces AND at home. And there are ample other examples of people being just as highly collaborative and social from remote locations as they are when in fixed workplaces. The idea of running into others for spontaneous interaction can be both a blessing and a curse regarding productivity. Sometimes on a deadline, the last thing one wants is spontaneous socializing. In too many cases, having people come to a location at a fixed time, requiring permission to take a “break,” is a by product of rusty command and CONTROL management. And it is often just a plain dumb, worn out notion that needs to be challenged.

I believe these are the key considerations regarding the concept of work location, performance and flexibility:

A. Self-accountable people will be productive in almost any reasonable work environment. They do NOT need to be watched to be productive. We can ALL benefit from coaching, but that is much different than being monitored. Do you need to be watched to be productive? If so please do not “work” for me. Go someplace else. In fact, I would pay you to go.

B. We all need clarity to determine the way we bring value and get results in the work we do. The individual value our role provides must be clear and measurable. Often managers and workers find this hard to do, so we cop out and use “time” as the currency for effectiveness. That type of thinking and behavior leads to many outcomes, but true value and meaningful results are often missing. Work martyrdom (which usually involves little real value) is typically saluted in a workplace governed by time. Time does NOT guarantee results.

C. We need to embrace the right autonomy and flexibility to support high value outcomes, along with self-accountability. Coaching people to deliver extraordinary value needs to become THE focus versus “managing people.”

Character Moves:

  1. Demonstrate self-accountability and work for someone who promotes the earned independence that goes with that trait. If someone is watching you for control, get out fast!
  2. Be absolutely clear about what drives value and defines results in your role. You, your boss, and other stakeholders should have a common view. This should include not only what you accomplish but also the good will behavior attached to your performance. If it’s not clearly written down be prepared for a problem down the road. You will be unpleasantly surprised.
  3. STOP talking about WHERE people work! Reinforce the principle that people need to be where and when they need to be… To get the results they’re paid to achieve!

NO dumb WATCHING in The Triangle,


Does Fear Mean GO or STOP to You?

Accountability Authenticity Courage


Key Point: I’ve referred to my favorite definition of FEAR in the past: “False Expectations Appearing Real.” The best growth opportunities emerge when the “palms of our hands are sweaty.” I’m not talking about the absolute fear that is very real when our personal well-being is at risk. I’m talking about the fear associated with our insecurities and self-doubt. So here is a challenge: When you feel that latter type of fear… Step on the gas and go. What do you really have to lose?

When I was in my early 30’s I facilitated an executive planning session with the entire Dean’s Council of a major university. The best and brightest had this “kid” in front of them, walking them through a strategic session. When I was 18, I remember my first University of Alberta Golden Bears football practice and the gnarly, nasty seniors of the 1967 National Championship team wanting to stick my head deeply back into in my shoulders. In my 60’s, I had that same sweaty feeling doing my first radio interview after my book was published. Speaking in front on hundreds of people evokes the same response. So here’s the deal…I literally have hundreds of these “sweaty palm” examples, regardless of age and setting… And not all have gone perfectly, but you know what? They’ve all gone.

I’m so much better for “jumping in” and putting myself out there. To me, FEAR does mean GO… Not in an unprepared, stupid sense. I promise that nothing was guaranteed in every “risky” situation. But in every case it involved a level of self-authenticity and honesty connected to non-fatal risk. Fear is a great teacher. We really need its lessons to improve, become stronger, and build our self-confidence. This includes “getting back in the saddle” when we get thrown… And we will.

Character Move:

As I was thinking of this blog, I coincidently read Lara Galinsky‘s HBR blog, To Change the World, Fear Means Go, on the exact same topic. Her message really resonated. Especially her recommendations in the first three moves captured below:

  1. Acknowledge you’re afraid. Instead of swallowing or hiding your fear, and pretending you don’t have it, look at it. For instance, if you are continuously avoiding a particular activity or person, have the courage to ask yourself “why?” 
  2. Determine what kind of fear it is. Ask yourself: Is this a healthy fear that I need to pay attention to (is there a hungry bear on the path ahead of me)? Or is this a fear rooted in my own insecurities and self-doubts? It can be difficult to tell the difference at times, but if you really want to know the answer, pay close attention to what your gut says.
  3. Acknowledge it as a gift. If it is an insecurity-based fear, it could be one of the most powerful gifts you’ll ever receive. These fears are like a compass. They tell that you need to go towards what scares you.

 The next two are mine:

  1. Be really well prepared when you confront that insecurity-based fear. When facing a challenge that really stretches us and hits the fear button, we usually have time to get prepared. For example, if we have a speech in front of a big crowd, we need to test and practice it over and over until we’re ready. The palms are still sweaty but we’re ready to step on stage.
  2. Assume the position. I remember the first time I walked into a meeting with the Chairman of a Fortune 50 Company. I wasn’t arrogant, but I guarantee you that I didn’t walk in there “hat in hand.” I was ready and believed in my value. How could he have confidence in me if he saw FEAR in my eyes? That would have signaled STOP instead of GO!

FEAR means GO in The Triangle,


P.S. don’t fear downloading The Character Triangle Companion