Kevin Eikenberry

As leaders, we all have a lot of decisions to make, and since there are many, it can sometimes be difficult to stay on top of and feel confident about all of them. Would you like a framework, a process, a way to improve your decision-making effectiveness and your confidence in those decisions long after they are made?

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We see commitment and engagement all around us, yet, inside of our organizations we seem to ignore or forget the lessons. As a leader, our job is to encourage support and nurture the factors that lead to deeper commitment — helping people see the big picture, bringing the right people to the table, giving them a chance to make a real difference, letting them care.

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We need to talk about you and the success of your team. Part of that success comes from the level of commitment your team members have to the collective work. If you are reading these words, I know you understand that as a leader, you have a role to play in helping your team be more successful. This blog (and many others) exist, and trainers and consultants (like me) exist in part to provide you with tools, ideas and insights, but the reality is that the level of commitment that your team has to each other and the team itself starts with you.

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Ask most people what they think about when they consider creativity and innovation and most likely “structure” and “process” won’t be on the list. Would they be on yours? Most of us think about creativity as a free spirited, open-minded, capture-the-ideas-in-the-wind thing. We don’t associate it with words like discipline, structure, approach and process. If you value new ideas and innovation and you don’t include those words in your mental inventory, you are missing a (huge) opportunity.

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Last week, I did my best Jack Nicholson/Col. Jessup imitation to get you thinking about why you don’t have as much innovation in your team or organization as you wish. (You can read it here — but the short answer is that the challenge starts with you.) At the end of that article, I promised to give you some ways to support innovation in your organization this week.

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Ask my team and they will tell you I am full of (too many?) new ideas, and ask me and I will tell you that we don’t always innovate as much as I would like. Thinking about this paradox on a flight yesterday led me to look squarely at me. After all, if we aren’t innovating as much or as effectively as I’d like, the burden of changing that starts with me.

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The starting point for creating a great organizational attitude starts with what we are thinking about most of the time, because that literally starts the chain reaction. More directly, let’s talk about how we can manage what we think about—and that all starts with what we feed our minds.

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It happened again this week. I was leading a workshop with leaders across an organization and the question came up about attitude. Specifically, I was asked several questions that, paraphrased, were basically this: I have some attitude issues on my team — how can I improve the attitude of my team?

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Last week, I gave you a metaphor to consider—the idea that we romance clients or customers to get them (like a first few dates), but after they are clients we tend to focus less attention on them (like 10 years after the wedding). If you want to avoid this tendency—both personally and organizationally—here are five ideas to get you started.

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I’ve been married nearly 27 years, but I have a (vague) memory of the courtship process. You identify someone you would like to attract (we’ll call them a prospect) and begin selling. You work hard to be noticed, you let them know you are interested, you build a strategy for making a sale — and then if all goes well, you have a date.

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