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Steve Alltop

That cold shoulder just might be feedback…Are you listening?

Your teenage daughter walks in to the house after school looking sullen and without her characteristic after school greeting. You ask, “How was school?”  “Fine” is the answer. But a few seconds later the slam of a bedroom door indicates to you that everything, indeed, is not fine.  The silent treatment continues into dinner despite your efforts to find out what the problem is. Thank goodness at work you get to deal with mature adults where nothing like this ever happens, right? Right.

You’ve noticed that Bill, one of your team members, isn’t his usual self. In fact, it seems like he is being downright rude. He’s doing the work, mostly, but he’s not being as punctual and you are finding more than the usual number of errors in his stuff. He also has been kind of sarcastic in meetings. Not to the point of open insubordination, but still, it’s getting annoying. You finally ask, “Bill, everything OK?” “It’s fine.” Sound familiar?Read More »That cold shoulder just might be feedback…Are you listening?

The Unintentional Leader

Early in my military career I was taught that a unit will take on the characteristics of its leader. A sloppy unit will likely have an unkempt leader at its helm. A unit known for “bending the rules” will most likely be led by a person of questionable ethics. Why… Read More »The Unintentional Leader

Leaders, Check Your Ego at the Door, Please

steve-cockpit180x“Lead, do you have the target in sight?” Those words coming over the radio from my deputy flight lead, the third aircraft in our four aircraft formation of F-16’s, caused immediate consternation in the lead aircraft, of which I happened to be the sole occupant. It took just a few seconds to realize I had made a navigation error; I had inadvertently selected a navigation point beyond our target. Correcting the problem revealed that I was indeed overflying our assigned target. Now, what to do about it?Read More »Leaders, Check Your Ego at the Door, Please

You’re the New Boss, Now What?

I was recently reminded of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the military change of command ceremony. The ceremonies I’ve attended almost always relate a version of the following:

Change_of_Command.jpgThe change of command ceremony is rooted in military history dating back to the 18th century during the reign of Frederick the Great of Prussia. At that time, organizational flags were developed with color arrangements and symbols unique to each particular unit. To this flag and its commander, the soldiers of the unit would dedicate their loyalty and trust.

When a change of command took place, the flag was passed to the individual assuming the command. This gesture was accomplished in front of the unit so that all could see and witness their new leader assuming his dutiful position. He who held the flag also held the soldier’s allegiance. This tradition has survived throughout military history.

The ceremony, and the festivities surrounding it, provides an opportunity for outgoing commanders to say farewell to their troops, but more importantly, it allows incoming commanders to begin to set the stage for their tour of command. Taking charge of a unit is no trivial task; after all, not only are you assuming responsibility for accomplishing the mission and goals of the unit, but as a leader you are also assuming responsibility for the people who accomplish them.

While civilian organizations typically don’t have formal “change of command” ceremonies, the task of “assuming command” is no less important. Read More »You’re the New Boss, Now What?

Take the Time to Save the Time

Ah, summer. Relaxing warm evenings, vacation with kids, low stress activities that recharge the batteries. Yeah right! Most everyone I talk to is so busy they barely have time to think. Many companies are in the mid-year push. Those that work in government or government related companies are realizing that… Read More »Take the Time to Save the Time

The Wright Way to Collaborate

In 1901, most people believed that man would never fly. Wilbur Wright, who had already begun investigations into heavier-than-air flight with his brother Orville, thought that the achievement could be as much as fifty years in the future. Yet, on December 17, 1903, just two years later, he and Orville… Read More »The Wright Way to Collaborate