Maanger of First Impressions

The First 4 Essential Steps to Achieve Team Engagement

As we went around the table, each staff member introduced themselves with their name and a brief job description. When it was the custodian’s turn, instead of telling us she was the custodian, she proudly announced that she was the “Manager of First Impressions.” It was obvious that the rest of the team hadn’t heard that before. Certainly the team leader had not. No one had given her that job…

F-111 Aardvark. Air Force inventory in 1967

The Power of Risk: A Team Challenge Story

Many years ago, as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, I was selected for a small, four-person team challenged to reassemble two F-111 aircraft which had not flown for some time; one for over two and a half years. It was a daunting challenge, made even more so by a deadline of only five months. Many senior eyes were on the project, adding to the stress factor. Those aircraft…

Katy

Leadership, Motivation, and a Dog

I have a new lady in my life, and my wife approves! My new “lady” is an 8-year old golden retriever we’ve named Katy. She came to us as Savana, but we thought Katy was a better fit. Not that it mattered that we changed this old dog’s name; Savana hadn’t been her name long, she likely didn’t have a name before that. Katy had been a puppy mill breeder…

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Four Steps to Leader Awareness – Hard lessons learned from flight operations

We were on final for a practice bombing run 300 feet above the Arizona desert going about 540 knots (620 mph). The plane was an F-16D which is a two-seat trainer version of the F-16C Falcon.  My back-seater was a flight surgeon logging mandatory air time and who was blissfully unaware how close he would come to dying that day.  What followed was a lesson-learned that has stuck with me…

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Dealing with Toxic Team Members

In workshop discussions concerning conflict management, inevitably the subject of dealing with “toxic” individuals comes up. I maintain that if you have toxic individuals on your team, you normally don’t have a conflict problem, you have a values problem. We’ve talked about workplace culture before but, in my experience, few things destroy attempts to build a positive culture more than allowing toxic behavior to go unchecked. That old adage my…