What Impacts The Ability To Trust?

When distrust is the default – we lack the ability to debate or collaborate.
Edelman Data & Intelligence (DxI)
As a leader (and as a person), what impacts your ability to trust someone? Do you start with an even playing field where you are open and accepting, or are you more inclined to reluctantly accept what is being shared and need to learn more?

Edelman Data & Intelligence (DxI) has been conducting annual trust surveys for over 20 years.  For the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, data was gathered from survey results obtained in November of 2021, with input from over 36,000 respondents from 28 countries.   

The findings:
  • nearly 60% of the respondents have the default tendency to distrust and require more evidence
  • Distrust is now society’s default emotion
  • 64% say it’s to a point where people are incapable of having constructive and civil debates
  • Gone is the ability to collaborate on differences
  • 60% will choose a place to work based on their beliefs and values

Having over half of your colleagues/team members lacking the ability to trust certainly impacts your work culture as trust is the essential ingredient for building strong teams, supporting common goals, and producing results.

As a leader you have the ability to impact trust levels. Some ideas include:

  • Be authentic and transparent
  • Share your expectations (and live them)
  • Mean what you say
  • Keep confidences
  • Follow through on your commitments
  • No hidden agendas are allowed
  • Don’t disregard morale issues
  • Build relationships and take the time to “know” your colleagues/direct reports
  • Listen
  • Don’t ignore unhealthy conflict
  • Provide healthy, constructive feedback (with specifics)
  • Solicit feedback
  • Utilize Emotional Intelligence

Invest in building trust. When trust levels are lacking, stress, turnover, morale, gossip, productivity, and satisfaction ratings are impacted. When trust levels are high, the ability to collaborate, achieve results, and be open and vulnerable are also high.

Could you do more to improve the ability to trust?


Mike and Jan

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
— Ernest Hemingway

Professional Networking

Building and maintaining professional networks enhances inspiration and career growth.

Are you part of a professional network? If yes, you likely have a wide circle of business and social contacts that share with you new ideas and growth opportunities, and are what we call your “board of directors”.

QwikCoach from E-Coach Associates shares that “network connections provide critical information, insights, and support that help you or those in your network to learn, grow, and achieve new levels of success and accomplishment”.

To get started QwikCoach suggests to “Take Stock” of your current situation by:
  • Listing all of the people in your current network
  • Classify the people on your list (ex. innovators, thought leaders, subject matter experts, coaches or mentors, etc)
  • Determine if there are any areas you need to add or strengthen

Next, Develop A Plan
  • What is your overall approach for building and sustaining your network?
  • Ideally you’ll be the recipient of great advice, but also be a “provider” for sharing knowledge and advice
  • What do you need to be both a recipient and provider? Utilize social media, attend or speak at conferences, attend industry events, become a mentor or acquire one, etc

Then, Execute Your Plan
  • What’s working well?
  • Have you successfully connected with those you want in your network?
  • What more can be done to achieve the results you’re working towards?
  • Keep track of progress and obstacles

Lastly, Maintain, Refine, and Build Your Network
Ask yourself:
  • Is your network helping you become and stay energized?
  • Are you learning more about yourself and the industry you work in?
  • How are you helping others achieve their goal?
  • Do you need to change your approach, goals, or develop a different mindset?

It’s also beneficial to maintain relationships with past co-workers/customers/bosses, and utilize your “board of directors” so you are positioned to obtain impactful feedback along with growth and career opportunities.

Happy networking!


Mike and Jan

Effective networking isn’t a result of luck – it requires hard work and persistence.
–Lewis Howes

Development and Career Planning

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
–Harvey S. Firestone

Do you consistently meet with each of your team members and discuss how they view their career, possible growth opportunities, and development needs?

As influential leaders we need to understand where each team member “is” and where they want “to be”.

Some may be comfortable with their current role, with few (or no) aspirations for a promotion or plans to grow their career. If this is the case, invest the time to truly understand why.

Others may be anxious about how quickly they can get promoted. These too require discussions about realistic readiness levels and development needs.

Having a development plan is a great tool for facilitating ongoing discussions and for addressing timelines, progress, and obstacles.

There are many forms and formats for development planning. If you have a QwikCoach license you can find a template in Tools Direct; another option is to use our COMPASS worksheet for ideas for skills and abilities which may need to be developed, and you can also search the web to find dozens of forms to choose from.

Share with team members that they may think they know their greatest development needs but that some may be blind to them. Suggest they review content that was provided from feedback or past performance evaluations and have them document those they choose to action.

You can also help with assigning priorities – which items will most help them achieve their career aspirations? Jointly set timeframes for addressing each development area; some may be short-term but others may require being developed over time, have dependencies, or require a financial investment.

Asking other leaders, peers, business partners (and direct reports if applicable) for their input can also be valuable. Two simple questions can get a response:  1) What am I doing well?  2) What would you like to see me improve upon?

The development plan is great for one-on-one discussions; review the plans monthly and adjust priorities and timelines as needed.

Wishes for success!


Mike and Jan

Continuous personal and professional development is your key to the future.
–Brian Tracy

What Makes A Good Workplace?

I believe that working with good people matters because then the work environment is good.
If there is a sense of respect and belief among the people you work with,
that is when good work is done.
—Ranbir Kapoor

We all know the workplace has changed over the past few years and that job openings continue to be close to all-time highs.

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs and there are 1.8 job openings for every unemployed person. Pretty staggering!

How is your business doing, and what are you doing as a leader to retain or acquire top talent? Employees that are staying at their current place of employment have shared the following reasons for not looking elsewhere:

  1. Integrity is a part of leadership
  2. Leaders are passionate about the company, its direction, and the people
  3. Employees are recognized for the value they provide
  4. Opportunities for growth exists
  5. The pay is competitive
  6. Transparency exists in the workplace
  7. There is a culture where individuals feel valued for the work they do
  8. The job is interesting and challenging
  9. Senior leadership invests time and money into the hiring process (hire hard or manage hard!)
  10. Successes are celebrated
  11. Leaders train, develop, and promote employees from within whenever possible
  12. Overall employees are treated well
  13. They would highly recommend their workplace to others
  14. The work conditions are extremely flexible and favorable
  15. The environment is diverse and equitable
  16. Efforts are made to recognize and prevent burn-out
  17. There are clearly defined roles and expectations


  • Does your leadership style support sustaining a desirable workplace?
  • What about for retaining top talent?
  • Do you take the time to understand the “wants” of your team members and ask for their ideas for making the workplace even more desirable?
  • How are you ensuring your team members are feeling valued and not looking to move on? 

Let us know!


Mike and Jan

I really like doing good work and working with good people –
that’s the thing that drives me.
–Giles Deacon

Why Address Conflict?

Successful leaders manage conflict; they don’t shy away from it or suppress it . . .
Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky
Addressing conflict in the workplace is a must. Statistics compiled by Pollack Peacebuilding (a provider of workplace conflict management services) indicate that:

  • U.S. employees are engaged in conflict roughly 2.8 hours each week and equated this to $359 billion in loss productivity.

  • In the U.K. it was reported that 38% of employees experience interpersonal conflict in an average work year

Sadly, it was reported that only 40% of employees obtained any training to learn how to address conflict, and for those that did, 95% claim to have benefitted from it and were able to apply what they learned

The top 5 sources of conflict were reported as:

  1. Clashes between personalities or egos
  2. Workplace stress
  3. Too much work without enough support
  4. Poor leadership
  5. Dishonesty or not enough openness
  6. Problems with line managers

Some issues may be resolved between the parties having differences, and other times you as a leader may need to intervene. When that’s required, obtain details, evaluate if the issue is ongoing, and remain neutral. 

Focus on listening, assess what the root cause is, and look for common ground. Once you have obtained information from both parties, bring the two together and discuss how they view the conflict, seek solutions for better collaboration, and agree on next steps.  Based on the magnitude of the conflict, we also suggest having a couple (maybe more) follow-up sessions to ensure progress is being made.

Why address conflict? To improve productivity, build relationships, and increase creativity!  


Mike and Jan

Dialogue is the most effective way of resolving conflict
— Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Workplace Negativity

Negativity breeds negativity.
Have you noticed signs in an array of businesses reminding people to be kind to the staff and that they would be asked to leave if they were at all abusive? We’ve noticed this in doctors’ offices, restaurants, car repair shops, boutiques, and even grocery stores.

What about in your workplace? Have you observed team members, peers, strategic partners, or clients getting “snarky” with one another? Some feel this negative behavior is on the rise, and individuals and organizations alike are being impacted. Examples include:

  • Reduced productivity due to worrying about the incident
  • A decline in commitment and quality of work performed
  • Lack of participation in meetings
  • Frustrations spilling over to customer interactions
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Loss of creativity and collaboration
  • Desire to work alone
  • Quitting their job!

Gary S. Topchik, author of Managing Workplace Negativity, shares that a loss of confidence, control, or community is common when negativity prevails.  He also says it’s a killer of workplace efficiency and provides warning signs to look for:

  • increased customer complaints
  • increased error rates
  • declining work quality
  • increased employee turnover

As leaders we need to model the behaviors we want others to display and immediately address any negativity. The second part isn’t always easy as many interactions occur that we are not part of.  We do need to listen to what’s happening around us; this is increasingly challenging with working remotely so in meetings or during one on one calls pay attention to voices. How’s the energy level sound? If on video calls, how’s the posture? Who’s engaged and who isn’t? Have you observed any changes in work ethics?

Don’t hesitate to follow up and ask individuals how things are going, how things could be improved upon, and if there’s anything you should be made aware of. Don’t be surprised at what you may hear!


Mike and Jan

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether its positive or negative.
–W. Clement Stone

9 Development Lessons

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement,
achievement, and success have no meaning.
–Benjamin Franklin
It may be getting old to hear that we encourage a commitment for continual learning; that what got us to where we are today will not sustain us for “tomorrow”, and that some lessons are timeless?

Success Magazines Commemorative Issue entitled “All Time Best Advise – 1897 to 2022” is a great read. (Matter of fact we encourage reading their publications regularly!). One of the articles called “9 Timeless Personal Development Lessons That Have Persisted For Decades” is worth highlighting. (To obtain the details you’ll need to buy the magazine!).

The 9 points are:
  1. Failure Is A Key Component of Growth
  2. Positive Thinking Is Powerful
  3. Who You Surround Yourself With Matters
  4. Gratitude Is A Game Changer
  5. An Action Plan Is Necessary For Change
  6. Money Matters
  7. Bad Habits Can Break Us
  8. Mental and Physical Health Are Part Of the Big Picture
  9. Connecting To Your Purpose Is Crucial

Are there any that you feel are not important?  Do you agree that:
  • We learn from failure?
  • That our mindset plays a huge role in our ability to succeed?
  • That those we with interact with may impact us both positively and negatively?
  • That acknowledging and being appreciative of our successes matters?
  • That change must include goals, measures, and the “what by when”?
  • That being passionate about what we do is essential, but we must realistically earn a living?
  • That bad habits must be replaced with positive ones for growth to occur?
  • That without good health we will face more challenges and obstacles than normal?
  • That we need a purpose, and that our behaviors and actions must be connected to that purpose?

Certain lessons are indeed timeless!


Mike and Jan

The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.
–Antonio Brown

Team Needs

Teamwork is the engine for a high performance work culture.
-Rick Conlow
Can you think of a team that you worked with, where it didn’t really seem like work, where you enjoyed the workday, and where teammates listened to and inspired one another to obtain results?

We’re happy to share that we did experience this; team members shared common goals, the good of the team was viewed higher than that of individuals, and differing opinions were encouraged and debated in a healthy manner resulting in a high-performance work culture.

Sadly, not everyone has had this opportunity.

We’ve shared Patrick Lencioni’s requirements for having a successful team and satisfying team needs, but they are worth sharing again (extracted from his book The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team). 

TRUST – A team needs to be comfortable with being vulnerable with each other about their weaknesses, mistakes, fears, and behaviors.

CONFLICT – A team needs to share their passions and disagree, and challenge and question one another.

COMMITMENT –   A team buys into important decisions (even if they initially disagree) once all ideas and opinions have been considered.

ACCOUNTABILITY –  A team does not rely on their leader to be the primary source of accountability but rather deals with their peers directly.

RESULTS –   Teams that trust one another, engage in conflict, commit to decisions, and hold one another accountable are more likely to put aside their individual needs and focus on what is best for the team as a whole.

We’ve also been told there is a need for inclusion, cohesiveness, and feeling valued.

Do you think your team would agree that their needs were being met? Ask them to be sure!


Mike and Jan

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
–Henry Ford

Perfection or Progress?

Striving For Perfection Is Anything But Perfect.
–Jairek Robbins

Do you consider yourself a perfectionist or have you ever been called a perfectionist? Once upon a time we viewed that as a compliment but have since learned we erred in our thinking.

Striving for perfection is stressful, and since we’re human, it really isn’t possible. Being known as a high performer with a commitment to excellence is to be valued, trying to attain perfection can weigh you down and actually impede progress.

Author Cindy Yantis shared the following thoughts about perfection and progress:· Progress is fluid and open. Perfection is rigid and inflexible.

· Perfection is exhausting. Progress is invigorating.

· Perfection wears a mask. Progress is transparent.

· Perfection is endless because you never get there. Progress is endless because you’re always there.

· Perfection focuses on what’s not working, the flaws, the not-enoughs, the old paradigms.

· Progress looks at what is working, the improvements, the discoveries, the aha moments that come from the realization of looking at things in a new way.

· Perfection is obsessed with time. Progress doesn’t measure time because it’s right now. It’s a continuation to the next right-now.

· Progress represents the in-betweens, the moments between milestones and goals reached.

Never stop striving for improvement but do resist getting bogged down with the goal of being perfect!

Mike and Jan

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.
–Brene Brown

FLY – Then Lead Others

First Lead Yourself, Then Lead Others
FLY – First Lead Yourself. We believe that to be an effective leader we must understand our style and preferences and commit to self-development before we will be able to successfully lead others.

Be honest about whether or not you possess (and utilize) critical leadership behaviors. Do you understand your strengths and work to minimize your gaps? Do you know what others need from you?

Begin with a self-assessment for the following 5 elements:

  1. Clarity
  2. Communication
  3. Coaching
  4. Courage
  5. Commitment

What’s your level of Clarity?
Do you have an absence of ambiguity in formulating where it is you’re going and your plan for getting there?

How well do you Communicate?
Is your message clear and consistently understood? Do you share your vision, mission, goals, and measures, and ensure tasks, assignments, projects, etc are linked to them?
What about your listening skills?
Do you Coach others?
How are your coaching skills? Do you build relationships and understand individual career goals and objectives? Can you provide meaningful and well-intended feedback? When things don’t go as planned do you think in terms of what COULD be done differently going forward?
(This applies to you and others).

Would you say you’re a Courageous leader?
Do you stick to your vision regardless of external influences? Do you face your fears? Listen to your inner voice? Link your behaviors to what it is you’re trying to accomplish?

Are you Committed?
Are you a continual learner? Do you hold yourself and others accountable? Do you do something each day that takes you closer to reaching your goals? No matter how hard it gets or who criticizes you, do you stay on track for what’s important to you? Are you passionate about achieving your goals?

Once you have the desire and skills to lead yourself, you’ll be better positioned to effectively lead others. FLY high!

Mike and Jan

In order to be knowledgeable in these changing times, we must pursue a constant program of self-improvement, a never-ending journey into new fields of knowledge and learning.
— Og Mandino

Visionary Leadership

Visionary leadership is inspiring a shared vision across an entire organization.
—Luke Carlson, CEO and founder of Discover Strength
Have you ever been told you need to be more of a visionary leader? If yes, what did that mean to you?

Per Luke Carlson, We have mistakenly thought a visionary leader is someone who knows where they want to go and has great ideas, but that’s not what visionary leadership is. Instead, it’s about sharing and inspiring your vision through-out your organization.

If you can ask the following questions, and obtain similar answers from those within your organization, Carlson feels you have demonstrated visionary leadership.

  1. What are our core values?
  2. What is our core purpose?
  3. What is our strategic niche?
  4. What is our big, hairy, audacious goal? (BHAG – coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras)
  5. What is our 3 year goal?
  6. What is our 1 year goal?
  7. What is our strategy?

Do you think your colleagues and direct reports would have similar answers? What more could you do to increase alignment?

We’ve previously shared the below, but understanding the “what” and “why” of your organization, and ensuring your strategies are linked with your vision, mission and goals aids with visionary leadership.

Assess and share if your organization is:

Customer focused – Your focus is on CUSTOMER needs and relationships and is usually higher cost, less volume  Ex. Tesla                                                                                   

Operations focused – Your focus is on PROCESSES and is generally volume driven with lower costs and high volumes.  Ex. fast food restaurants


Product focused – Your focus is on the PRODUCT where expenses are geared towards research and development ex. Microsoft      
Having a clear and shared vision, and an understanding of the type of business you are (or want to be) will provide guidance for growth and obtaining desired results.

Mike and Jan

Creating organizations that value a growth mindset can create contexts in which more people grow into the knowledgeable, visionary, and responsible leaders we need.
–Carol S. Dweck

The Eisenhower Matrix

I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important.
The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

Last week we talked about how work can make us lose sleep, shared some thoughts about improving sleep habits, and discussed differentiating important versus urgent tasks. Today we’ll build on that a bit.

Have you heard about the Eisenhower Matrix? It’s considered a productivity, prioritization, and time-management tool that can be used to help better manage your time by reviewing all of your activities and projects and categorizing them. And, as the name implies, former President Eisenhower created it.

There are four parts to the Eisenhower Matrix:
Quadrant 1: Important and urgent / Do

Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent / Schedule

Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important / Delegate

Quadrant 4: Not important, not urgent / Delete
1. Quadrant 1:
Urgent and important tasks require your immediate attention are often date driven and generally help with goal attainment. These tasks come to the top of your to-do list and are to be done first.

2. Quadrant 2:
Not urgent but important tasks are generally not date driven and will help you achieve your goals. These are on your to-do list beneath “urgent and important”.

3. Quadrant 3:
Urgent and not important tasks rarely help you achieve your goals. Rather, they may be disruptive to you achieving your goals, while helping others meet theirs. Whenever possible, delegate these tasks.

4. Quadrant 4:
Not urgent and not important tasks aren’t pressing, nor do they support achieving your goals so delete them (or put them at the bottom of your to-do list).

The idea is to improve where you use your time and energy by placing each to-do in one quadrant on a daily basis.

Let us know if it works for you!

Mike and Jan.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
—Stephen Covey