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February 18, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Evil Genius Syndrome: Rewarding the WHATs…while the HOWs are killing us.

The Evil Genius Syndrome:  Rewarding the WHATs…while the HOWs are killing us. -by President, Rikki Schwartz When I sat down to write this blog, I decided to ask myself a question that would lead to a confession: “What is the biggest leadership mistake I’ve ever made?”.  And the answer jumped right off the blank page:  “I had kept everyone on my team who’d contributed to financial success”. No.  That wasn’t a typo.  Rather, much like my decision to do so, it was a sadly intentional mistake. In my 25+ year career (prior to coming to the Center for Agile Leadership), I led multiple teams of Project Managers. And my (sadly chronic) mistake was keeping folks around who met/exceeded our company’s productivity metrics, but who left a trail of collegial destruction behind in the…

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January 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

Who is Claude Silver and what is a Chief Heart Officer?

Maya Angelou said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Claude Silver lives by that salvo, and adds that “people will selflessly give you their hearts when you acknowledge, nurture, and inspire theirs in return”. So who is Claude Silver?  Claude Silver is the “Chief Heart Officer” of VaynerMedia (a $100 MM digital marketing agency). And what is a Chief Heart Officer?  Well to explain that, you have to cognize Claude’s mentor and the man who hired her, Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and founder of VaynerMedia.  And to understand Gary Vaynerchuk, you don’t need look much further than one of his more characteristic quotes:“Three or four years ago, Steve Jobs’ narrative influenced many leaders in our…

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January 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

Learning from a legend

Just as the calendar turned over this year, we lost a truly great leader…but not his legacy. Herb Kelleher, co-founder (later CEO and then chairman emeritus) of Southwest Airlines, died at the age of 87 on January 3, 2019, but the unconventional billionaire left behind a wealth of wisdom…and wild stories (or “Herb stories” as they are affectionately called).  The chain-smoking devotee of Wild Turkey with a booming laugh once shimmied in an Elvis Presley jumpsuit for the cover of Texas Monthly magazine.  Or there was the time he wore a bag over his head in a TV advert (after a rival airline suggested travelers should be embarrassed to fly no-frills Southwest), and promised to give the bag to any customer who was too embarrassed to be seen flying on his discount…

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December 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

New Year’s Resolutions From A True Agile Leader

fireworks

What do the New Year’s Resolutions of a True Agile Leader look like? Hey there, Rikki Schwartz here with some thoughts for the end of the year. 2019 is only a couple of weeks away! What do the New Year’s Resolutions of a True Agile Leader look like? Take the time in early 2019 to learn something new about every team member. Express praise and gratitude to your team for their accomplishments in 2018. Closely inspect your organization’s mission and core values – adapt as necessary. Ask your team what the three biggest lessons they learned in 2018 were, and how they plan to apply those lessons in 2019. Find out if toxic emotions got in the way of team productivity in 2018 Explore whether your team has unmet needs…

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December 1, 2018 // 10 Comments

Prepare For Change With Transparency and Trust

hand holding a glass ball with scenic background

Are you perpetually and transparently discussing and preparing for inevitable work changes? Hey there, Rikki Schwartz here… I was born and raised in and around Detroit, Michigan, where the auto industry (for better or for worse) has always been the area’s heart and soul.  Having lived in Flint, MI for nearly a decade in the 80s, I watched automotive plant closings tear at the fabric of the city, its neighborhoods and families.  To give you an idea of the dramatic shift that unfolded while I lived there — 50% of the (190,000) residents of Flint were employed by GM in the 1970s, whereas only 5,000 of Flint’s (110,000) residents currently work for the auto giant.  Likewise, as of 2015, 61 automotive plants had closed in Metro Detroit…and that was long before the recent…

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August 24, 2018 // 0 Comments

Change Your Scenery

Is your team stuck in a rut? Maybe your normal processes have become a little stale. At The Center For Agile Leadership, we recently had a quarterly strategy session where our leadership team spent a weekend together on a boat in Key West, FL. The change of scenery really helped us unlock some new ideas and fresh perspectives.

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May 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

Spring Clean Your Life

Spring has finally sprung after a crazy winter. It even snowed in May in Salt Lake City, UT this year! Now is the time to renew and re-invigorate your living environment. Why? A clean environment feels wholesome and healthy Removing clutter creates space and less stress in your life The physical act of cleaning is exercise, resulting in better mental cognition During the spring I go room-by-room in my home and complete a deep cleaning. Yes, it’s time-consuming and hard work, however I always feel amazing after its done. Here are some specific tactics that I employ: Remove most items from the room– this allows you to find hidden pockets of dust and dirt Question everything– if you are removing something that hasn’t been used all year then sell or…

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April 26, 2018 // 1 Comments

Warning: Labels Matter!

Every time I turn around I find another project management guru saying one of the following: Do you have enough resources to staff your project? Make sure you lobby to get the best talent on your team. Your people are your best assets. While the overall sentiment of these phrases might be accurate… we all want the best team members and adequate resources to complete our project; these phrases completely depersonalize your team and the people who are on it. Essentially, by referring to people as “talent” or “resources” your minimizing that individual to only what they can do for you. That’s the polar opposite of what we as Agile Leaders should be doing. As Agile Leaders, we should be focused on treating people with equal respect and we should…

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April 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

The Power of Intention

Lessons From the Lift: The Power of Intention Today Brian is talking about the power of intention. How can visualization and positive thinking affect your leadership outcomes?

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March 21, 2018 // 1 Comments

Leadership Techniques That Didn’t Make The Cut

6 Traditional Leadership Techniques That Didn’t Make the Cut At The Center For Agile Leadership® we are always striving to build the best culture that we can for our team. A happy team, leads to happy customers, leads to a great place to work. As students of leadership, we are constantly testing various techniques and tools. Sometimes the techniques work well and we adopt them and sometimes they don’t and we leave them by the way-side. Here are six techniques that did not make the cut in our company: Annual Performance Reviews Traditional management conducts annual performance reviews for each employee. There are really only two outcomes from this method of evaluating employees – you give them a good review at which point they expect a raise because its been…

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