- All Topics
- Continuous Improvement
- Data Collection
- Develop Leaders
- Effective Communication
- Goal Setting
- Interpreting Data
- K12 Learning Support
- Leading Change
- Performance Management
- Process Improvement
- Recruit and Retain Talent
- Relationship Building
- Reward and Recognition
- Service Excellence
- Share Results
- Using Data
Every Leader is Different
Sports and athletics have offered many of us an opportunity to develop critical leadership and life skills. This podcast episode features a special guest who faced a unique set of circumstances requiring him to remain agile and authentic throughout his childhood and young career.
Is Our Culture Off Track?
What are the signs of a workplace culture in need of shifting? Are you noticing a disconnect between what leaders are trying to accomplish and what employees are internalizing? We recommend 6 actions to stop doing and 6 actions to start doing to positively accelerate your culture.
5 Ways to Lead and Work Differently
A leader's most important challenge is to keep the organization from falling. To continuously improve and continuously adapt to change we need a fluid, dynamic, agile strategy and a workplace focused on continuous learning. Listen as Janet shares 5 ways to lead and work differently as learning organizations of the future.
Avoid Choosing the Status Quo
There is a lot of information out there about continuous improvement and lean thinking. Do we know what is really at the core of those methodologies? Dr. John Toussaint and Dr. Christina Dixon join Janet in this podcast series to dig deep into the core of improvement work.
Are We Over-Generalizing the Term Micromanagement?
When we think of micromanaging, it typically has a negative connotation. But the reality is, extra supervision and coaching are sometimes necessary before some individuals are ready to leave the nest. What can leaders do to help employees feel supported, rather than micromanaged?
Create rituals that energize
Routines provide structure and comfort within our teams. Rituals go beyond providing structure to instill a deeper meaning behind a sequence of actions. In this podcast episode, Dr. Janet Pilcher shares one of the most important rituals we can instill in our teams along with 6 suggestions to consider.
Ready to level up your leadership?
What skills do we need to cultivate now to lead our organizations into the future? In this podcast episode, Dr. Janet Pilcher challenges the solution of reorganizing the hierarchical structures within our organizations and recommends we focus on increasing agility to manage through consistent and continuous change. As leaders our most important job is to develop and coach employees to work across boundaries, transforming people into leaders.
Details matter if you want to make an impact
Have you ever felt a particular duty or aspect of your work was insignificant, small, or maybe even meaningless? In this podcast episode, our host Dr. Janet Pilcher shares a powerful story of the humble beginnings that led to Kyle Johnston becoming the head athletic trainer for the Miami Dolphins.
Maximize Rounding in Your Organization
There isn’t a wrong way to conduct rounding – unless you are avoiding it all together. When we round, our goal is to build relationships with our stakeholders. It doesn’t matter if we approach rounding in a formal or informal fashion. Its true value is in the connection itself.
Do We Always Ask the Same Rounding Questions?
When leaders round with employees on a routine basis, they harvest valuable information and form a trusting relationship. Although we like to start with 4 specific questions, it can be helpful to personalize your rounding conversations over the course of your relationship.
What Do All Leaders Have in Common?
We all have preconceived notions of what a CEO should look like, or act like. But the truth is, the best leaders have a variety of qualities and no two are the same. In this podcast episode, Quint Studer and our host Dr. Janet Pilcher discuss why leadership is an inside job and how we can develop greater self-awareness to remove the baggage preventing us from becoming great leaders.
We All Reach Crossroads
It seems sometimes there are no easy decisions. It can be uncomfortable for us to lead in a place of uncertainty. However, as this podcast guest explains, leadership isn't comfortable. In order to create better organizations and communities, we’ll need to embrace the discomfort of doing what’s right.
What can "Connect to Purpose" sound like?
In our work and personal lives we all want to feel that what we do matters. Giving, serving, leaning into our values, and thinking about others can all help fuel us with a sense of purpose, as our podcast guests share during their connect to purpose stories.
Include People in the Process
There are times where there are no easy choices or decisions. Yet, when we collaborate with others, we can help ease the weight and also discover victories worth celebrating. Listen as Superintendent, Dr. Tim Dilg, shares how their district is accomplishing more by working together.
Leading During Uncertainty
Leaders in organizations are often facing multiple decisions and are balancing serving multiple audiences. As continuous change becomes a more constant reality we are commonly faced with uncertainty. In this podcast episode, a Superintendent shares how their district is proactively planning communication and preparing for the unknown.
Collecting feedback is just the first step
When we engage our customers in the process of gathering feedback, we are asking for their time and input. What we do next with the data can determine if they will continue to provide us with input and do business with our organizations.
Jump All-In to Improve
After implementing improvement science, many leaders find themselves wondering if they are, in fact, making any improvements and find it difficult to define and sustain progress. In this podcast episode, Superintendent Ryan Carpenter discusses why his team made a commitment to adopt a continuous improvement mindset and tips for implementing an Evidence-Based Leadership℠ framework across the school system.
What Makes a Successful Team?
With substantial pressure on workers and teams to learn new skills, generate innovative and creative products and services, and collaborate to solve complicated problems, we are realizing a need for team members to build deeper connections and take greater risks. To accomplish this, we embrace vulnerability.
Vulnerability is a Strength
For years, people have felt the need to “shut off” or conceal their emotions in the workplace. Now, we are realizing, effective leaders tune into the emotions of their employees to provide support, motivate teams, and create deeper connections between individuals.
Deliver your message with clarity and impact
Use the Clear Communication Template to help you get clear about the message you want to communicate to your organization. Record the necessary actions, and then answer each question so that you can create a clear and timely message for the right people at the right time.
Innovation Isn't Always What You Think It Is
Innovation is a topic we hear a lot about in the workplace, but it’s often misunderstood. Being innovative means more than just coming up with cool things to do. Innovation doesn’t have to be big and different, and it’s not something only geniuses do. In this episode, listen as Dr. JoAnn Sternke discusses with our host how true creativity and innovation can emerge as we focus on adding value.
Craft and deliver a message that leads to execution
A lack of clear communication or communication that is executed poorly can be highly detrimental. The Execution Triangle is a framework that can help us build clearer, better communication in our organizations, taking us closer to the outcomes we desire.
How do you respond when you don't know all the answers?
Times of change and uncertainty can be unsettling for employees. Have you ever been asked a question you don't have the answer to yet? The Manage Up With Empathy Tool is designed to help you respond in a way that builds confidence in the listener despite the unknowns.
Do you know how well you're doing?
In this video, Dr. Janet Pilcher describes the short cycle improvement process that supports achievement of annual goals. She explains what to do and ask when results are trending at and above goal, as well as how to dig deeper when progress is trending below goal.
Are We Where We Want to Be?
Before we implement initiatives or changes, it can be useful to engage in a process to clearly define the need for improvement or the problem to be solved. These questions and tips can be used by individuals or teams to question their past and future improvement efforts and problems to set themselves up for success.
How Do Organizations Succeed Through Difficult Times?
Resilient organizations are able to improve faster because they place emphasis on and build disciplined routines around people, service, and alignment. To cultivate a culture of resilience leaders align people to goals, take time to routinely reflect, and communicate transparently with all stakeholders.
Find the right candidate in a remote environment
You're ready to start talking to candidates for your open position, but it's got to happen virtually. What does it take to create a successful virtual interview process that leaves candidates and team members feeling positive about the experience?
Are you ready for intense change?
Major organizational change requires next level planning. Whether the change is intentional or is being forced by circumstances out of your control, visioning and planning for multiple scenarios ahead of that change will position you for success.
There will be anxiety
Whether onset by sudden and dramatic change, or sustained exposure to stressors, the effects of anxiety can be damaging to organizational progress. Keeping themselves and their teams connected and focused on what matters most can help leaders move forward and build the emotional stamina of the team.
Sustain Results at Scale
The work of improvement creates the backbone for real change where it matters. Focus on continuous improvement yields valuable results and radically changes outcomes in a number of fields. In this podcast, Dr. Pat Greco joins us to continue the conversation around improving school systems and organizations so leaders can accelerate results and sustain success over time.
How Can Leaders Develop their Teams?
In this podcast episode, listen as Studer Education Leader Coach, Dr. Melissa Matarazzo shares some game-changing practices that have helped her best support the coaches she leads as well as valuable tips leaders can put into action right now to help grow and develop their teams.
How Resilient Are You?
A resilient organization does more than respond to change, crisis, or threats. To establish a culture of resilience, leaders model resilient behaviors, use the language of resiliency, and inspire teams to keep moving forward. Review the four critical characteristics of resilient leaders.
What is the Outcome?
In times of crisis or disruption, it's rare for anyone to have all of the answers. The best leaders are most impactful by focusing on what needs to be communicated first and how to be intentional with that message. In this episode, JoAnn explains why your communication should always start with why.
Bring Teams Together
In this podcast, a school district leader describes how his team came together to solve problems amid disruption. Corey credits his team's success to their culture and guiding principles established across the system to make decisions and collaborate for the benefit of their students.
What Does it Mean to be Authentic?
As a leader, authenticity increases the likelihood that those we lead will believe us and follow our requests. Becoming an authentic leader is not necessarily easy, but the concept is simple. During this episode, Janet connects to the foundation of authenticity: self-awareness. She offers 6 actions to practice if you want to become an authentic leader.
Always Be Forward Thinking
When leaders face periods of disruption, teams count on the leaders to guide them towards success. In this episode, Dr. Natalie Harder discusses how her team successfully navigated through intense change and the effects of a strong culture and values while leading during times of uncertainty.
Communicate Decisions by Connecting the Mind and the Heart
Nothing stays the same. In fact, if we keep doing things the same way we’ve always done them, it’s likely our performance will decline. Change is the only constant in our organizations and in life, and for most, change is uncomfortable. Here are 3 leadership characteristics necessary for managing continuously changing organizations.
What Does Success During a Crisis Look Like?
How engaged is your workforce in times of crisis? Have you helped them define what success looks like? When people are feeling anxious and overwhelmed by change, this podcast encourages leaders to be empathetic, trust your team, and make the best decisions you can.
Are you where you thought you'd be right now?
As the decades keep passing by, what can we do to ensure we achieve the goals that will matter to us most in life? How do we know we are living a life we will one day look back on and be proud? Today, Janet Pilcher focuses on what to consider as we set goals for a meaningful life.
Increase Customer Transparency
Utilizing social media platforms is a natural way to enhance transparency. On a personal level, people use social media to connect with others and stimulate conversations. In this podcast, a social media expert discusses how organizations can humanize their brand and connect with their communities.
Develop a Personalized Onboarding Agenda for New Hires
As new employees join our organization, it’s helpful to develop a personalized onboarding schedule for their first few weeks on the job. A comprehensive onboarding experience prepares the new employee thoroughly for their new role.
Expectations + Accountability = Shared Vision
Leading an executive team is no easy task. Leading an executive team that's comprised of new executives can be even more challenging. How can leaders of executive teams bring individuals together to execute on a shared vision while also maintaining a focus on developing each individual?
Trust: The Foundation for Successful Teams
As the pace of change continues to increase, the demand on individuals and teams to become more agile is higher than ever. Whether you have a mixture of new and old team members, or a completely new set of people working together, it’s critical to build trust as a team before goals can be accomplished together.
World Class Service Requires a Plan
To be a successful organization and ensure customers have the best experience, it can be useful to view your organization from a customer’s point of view. The quality of service received while interacting with an organization is what brings customers back to organizations.
How can you inspire customer loyalty?
More and more organizations have been making it a priority to increase connection and invite customers to take an inside look. Why? Because increasing transparency between an organization and its customers build trust and credibility increasing customer loyalty.
Drive Strategy & Build Relationships
Sabrina Hebeler joins Janet Pilcher to discuss one of the key tenets of Sabrina’s role; to help everyone understand and follow the strategic direction of their organization. Discover the core actions and specific tactics Sabrina used to support the break down of silos on the executive team to help her organization do the most important things to achieve success.
Treat all employees fairly and consistently
To show we have taken all the right steps to support an employee’s success, it’s necessary to document performance problems and conversations. This documentation may not only protect the organization in the case of a lawsuit, it ensures all employees are treated fairly and consistently.
Invest in an Onboarding Experience
You’ve examined the resumes, conducted the interviews, and selected the most talented individuals to add to your team. When their first day arrives, how can you ensure an onboarding process that will be supportive, engaging, and reflective of your organization’s culture and values is in place?
How do you know it's time to let go?
As leaders we care about the individuals who make up our teams. However our reluctance to address low performers can actually be doing more harm than good for our teams. For an organization to become great, leaders need to dig deep, find the problems, who the problem people are, and address poor performance and/or behavior.
Give People a Reason to Return
Excellent service doesn’t happen by accident. Service excellence is deeply rooted in the culture and values of organizations that outperform their competitors. When organization’s prioritize service excellence as a core value, they ensure it’s infused in everything they do.
Define What Excellent Service Means
When we ask our teams to deliver excellent service, it’s important to explain what “excellent service” means for your organization. To build on the explanation and increase the understanding and delivery of service that goes above and beyond, employees benefit from ongoing communication about standards of service.
Let Service Standards Lead the Way
In this video, Dan explains how his human resources and leadership teams use their standards of service in their hiring and evaluations. When we use the standards of service excellence to evaluate potential candidates, we are more likely to hire a person aligned with our culture and committed to our values.
How does recognition encourage high performance?
With recognition we are able to engage, retain, and motivate most employees to sustain high performance. Recognition is so important to an organization’s success that it’s our ninth principle and the glue that holds all of our principles together. Recognizing others takes little time and pays great dividends.
What are 3 Organizational Barriers to Change?
The speed of information and higher demands from consumers forces leaders to shift the way change is approached. Commonly, there is much anxiety attached to change, people like to do things, “the way they’ve always done it,” but that’s not the attitude that will achieve success in today OR tomorrow’s world. How do we shift the way we think about change?
What Makes Employees Shine?
When we establish recognition systems in our organizations or on our teams, we focus on employees by understanding what makes them shine and what keeps them engaged. A culture of recognition is powerful and contagious. What can you do to incorporate recognition as a habit for your team?
Ever hear about "initiative overload"?
When we fail to monitor the many initiatives and actions, we risk spending time and energy on things that no longer matter and are no longer aligned to our organization’s goals. It is important for every organization and team to set aside time to determine Where’s the Noise?
Bring Problems Forward
What can leaders do to create safe environments for teams to bring problems forward, while avoiding being bombarded by complaints? In this podcast episode, Dr. Pilcher encourages team members use key words, take ownership, and bring complex problems to their leaders for guidance.
Are coworkers driving you crazy?
Many of us are in frequent contact daily with a number of colleagues, some of which are easier to work with than others. Working with a difficult colleague undermines productivity and happiness in the workplace. Learning to deal with difficult people is vital to our success, both individually and as teams.
Refocus the Conversation
As leaders conduct monthly meetings and regular check-ins with the employees that report to them, it may become apparent that some individuals are more difficult than others. If you find yourself dealing with an employee who frequently guides meetings to an unproductive place, anticipate this behavior and develop a plan to refocus the conversation.
Consider multiple perspectives
During the strategic planning process, organizations are encouraged to gather input on perceptions and priorities from all stakeholder groups. Focus groups, surveys, and environmental scans are the most widely used methods of gathering this feedback.
Check Your Burnout Level
Many successful, hardworking Americans experience burnout more than once during their careers, even people who are passionate about what they do. High performers can be obsessed with achieving excellence and exceeding results to the point of exhaustion. Begin reducing stress by taking small steps to prevent overload burnout.
Motivate Colleagues to Grow & Improve
Moments to provide feedback aren't limited to leader-employee interactions, oftentimes it's necessary to deliver feedback to colleagues while working together. In this video, Mandy and Tatiana meet to discuss a project and engage in a collaborative feedback conversation with a positive outcome.
Positively Improve Performance
Think about the last time you received constructive criticism. Did it actually prompt you to change your behavior? Maybe not. Yet we know learning new skills and improving performance is something our peers and direct reports desire. The key is to reshape your feedback conversations to focus on achieving a positive outcome together.
"Here's what you should do..."
On the surface giving feedback seems simple; just tell someone what they did wrong and how to fix it. The problem is this type of constructive criticism rarely inspires improvement. The way we provide feedback makes a difference in how people receive and act on the feedback.
Problematic coworkers initiate conflict
While working with other people it’s not uncommon to encounter a difficult colleague. The better prepared we are to handle situations with difficult coworkers, the happier and more productive we will be at work. Use this video clip to practice responding to a difficult coworker.
Are We Surveying Too Much?
Superintendent Greg Gibson has a great question for Dr. Janet Pilcher during this video, "Do we run the risk of survey burnout with doing so many surveys?" Watch as they explore what causes survey burnout, and what you can do as the leader to prevent it.
Commit to Cycles for Continuous Improvement
To continuously improve, organizations and teams need to implement cycles of examining data and planning for future actions. In this video, Jerim Desjarlais, Elementary School Principal discusses how his school has created a transparent system using data to ensure students are getting the support they need.
Address Employee Needs & Ideas
When an employee reveals a needed resource, barrier to a process, or an idea for improvement, leaders have the responsibility to act on that information. Following-up and following-through after conversations or receiving feedback from employees builds trust and increases engagement and productivity. For this leadership challenge, determine follow-up actions to take as the leader after each leader connection scenario.
Connections Require Follow-Up
Scheduling and conducting monthly connection conversations with employees is a giant step towards increasing engagement on your team. Just as important as the conversations you’re having, is what you do with the information you collect. How can we ensure employees know they’re supported?
Are Your Employees Excited to Get to Work?
Disengaged employees cost the American economy billions per year in lost productivity. Employees can become disengaged when they're made to feel like they're not listened too, valued, or appreciated. To keep people engaged, leaders must remind them of the meaningful outcomes they help to create.
Is Your Team Engaged?
Sustaining high levels of employee engagement can be achieved by building relationships, affirming the individual’s value, removing barriers, and providing development and growth opportunities to employees. Use the following questions to analyze the employee experience for your team.
Improve Meetings with Data
Use a meeting evaluation to inform improvement and ensure effective use of time. Whether a formal evaluation form or a quick discussion at the end of your time together, collecting participant feedback communicates commitment to excellence and efficiency.
3 Things to Consider About Giving and Receiving Feedback
Receiving feedback is an emotional experience. It’s often difficult to take in. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, we humans are quick to respond emotionally, sometimes overreacting, even to the point of denying the accuracy of our data. How can we strengthen the use of feedback to help us improve?
Engage Teams While Improving Processes
One of a leader’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure teams are engaged and productive. People are motivated to increase productivity when leaders take time to get to know them personally, make them feel comfortable, and help remove barriers in the workplace.
Does everyone know the goal?
Most of us have a hard time remembering the important goals and strategies we’re responsible for achieving because they aren’t communicated in ways that stick. One of the most effective ways to help our teams really know what we’re asking them to achieve is to draw clear connections for them.
Are Your Priorities Clear?
After a strategic plan is in place, it’s important for the executive leadership team to meet and discuss what the priorities are and what they are not. These agreed upon priorities shape the daily actions of our teams, who work consistently to achieve results.