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Pulling the andon: How to have a 1 on 1 …… The 5 steps to success – whether you’re the boss or not

Pulling the andon: How to have a 1 on 1 …… The 5 steps to success – whether you’re the boss or not

How do I have a solid, productive 1×1 (one on one – typically a meeting between a leader and his/her employee)?

What does a good 1×1 looks like?

How do I have a good 1×1 with my boss even though it’s obvious they don’t know how to have a productive one?

In the last few weeks, I have been asked by different people – both managers and employees – enough times that I took a moment to step back. In the operations world, after recognizing an error in a system, an “andon”, or an alert to notify of a problem in the system, is pulled. It’s a way to go “all stop” when something that is important to the department’s function isn’t working. The system is stopped until the problem has been fixed.

It’s time to pull the andon. 1×1’s are vital to individual success à therefore … they are even more so to the department and organization.

Why have a 1×1?

  1. It’s communication, stupid – How do you know if you don’t ask and they don’t tell you?
  2. Get on the same page – It is guaranteed you aren’t – you’re not the same person; you have different perspectives. You must continuously ask/ tell to bridge those gaps.
  3. Never be surprised – What’s the status of the 3 goals that were assigned 3 months ago? Don’t be surprised – use the 1×1’s to talk about development and roadblocks.
  4. You have no idea how far you can go – In this case, the “you” is plural. You and he/she do not know how much can be done unless you talk through objectives, issues, problems. Your job is not static.
  5. Get to know them – Last, but certainly not least. Connections will get you everywhere. Find something that you and he/ she have in common. Learn about what they enjoy – family, hobbies, work.

Leaders: How do you effectively run a 1×1?

  1. Have a plan – This should be agreed on.. they should know what to expect. Create 3-5 bullet items that you will cover. Questions to ask: What do you struggle with? Can you elaborate further?
  2. Stick to it – Once you set the agenda, do as you say – don’t move around a lot – your employee expects that. You can be flexible once your topics have been discussed but don’t go down a rabbit hole unless you believe it will get back to one of the reasons you’re having the 1×1. This manages expectations – not to mention, your very limited time.
  3. Shut up and listen. Build Trust. – Unless you have a photographic memory, take notes. You’ll want something to revisit during the next 1×1. Did they work on what they said they would? Did you? Ask the question, “To make sure I understand, you are (working on/ struggling with) XYZ?”
  4. Don’t talk about work – The 1×1 is not a time to get a report out or an update from the employee. The 1×1 is ABOUT them. If they decide they want to bring up a specific project as it relates to your agreed upon plan, allow it to happen… be ok to be candid with them if they are going off topic – especially if you’re on a time limit (and you are!)
  5. Stick to the time limit – Respect their time – and yours. If it’s 30 mins – don’t go over. If you need more time, discuss WHY you need more time – is a 1×1 the best format for the additional need? Or would an email or a discussion with another individual on a specific topic more beneficial? Close with a solid “I look forward to seeing XYZ from you by tomorrow” or “I appreciate you telling me ABC, and will get back to you by Friday”

How do you lead the 1×1 – if you’re not the leader?

  1. Have a plan … but be flexible – your boss should have an agenda. If he/she doesn’t – be ok to listen to points beyond what you want to discuss. One of them could relate to a goal that you want to focus on later… you just have to be patient and wait a little.
  2. See it from the boss’ point of view – Do you know what other objectives or goals is in front of him/ her – what’s on their priority list? What’s important right now to his/ her boss?
  3. Talk…. And listen – What’s being said? What’s NOT being said? Look beyond what he/she is saying. How is it being said? What is the reaction to what you’re saying? Be able to recognize different in emotions & moods – you may not want to bring up a certain point if you can recognize your boss doesn’t have the mindset to listen because he/she is overwhelmed that day.
  4. Focus – This 1×1 has a timeline. Stick to the plan. Don’t feel you’re supposed to be proving yourself through the 1×1. It’s about your development, your career, your path to your goals. Stay on it.
  5. Follow up – Whatever is discussed – take notes. Keep up with them… send a f/u email to your manager – “this is what we talked about… this is what I will be working on… this is what you said you would do/ help with…” – and date. This is a record and tracker – to keep you both honest!

1×1’s are a powerful tool to bridge the gap between manager and employee. It’s an ongoing process, and both sides should continue working on it to get the best results.

Discussion: What has worked for you? What hasn’t?

Nightmare Teams: Four ways to prevent your department from being the next Game of Thrones

Nightmare Teams: Four ways to prevent your department from being the next Game of Thrones

In a discussion with my leadership class this semester, a topic of “Nightmare Teams” emerged, and faster than a Targaryen dragon looking for his next meal, a list of terrible team members emerged:

How many of these have you seen on your team? By identifying these characters on your team, you can start to understand the best methods for bringing them back in the direction you’ve set:

  • Egotist – Arrogant – believes he/she is the smartest person in the group and is open with that opinion, closed to other perspectives – disrespectful
  • Polarizer – actions or behaviors create factions or divisions among team members – social destructor
  • Soloist – constantly jockeying for center stage, self-centered – takes full credit for team success but no responsibility for failure, displays a ‘better alone than together’ attitude
  • Pyromaniac – starts fires (problems) so that he/she can put them out (solve)
  • Saboteur – disingenuous, disloyal, untrustworthy – disrupter who works against the team’s success
  • Free-rider – team hitchhiker, not here to contribute, just along for the ride
  • Undertaker – gets results but leaves behind lots of collateral damage in the process
  • Ostrich – low tolerance to stress or ambiguity – buries head in the sand at the first sign of trouble (propensity to duck and run)
  • Distractor – personified speedbump – chronically disrupts progress with unfounded or pointless sidetracks – counterproductive obstacle (roadblock)
  • Catfish – morally or ethically compromised – actions reflect/discredits the integrity of the whole team

What happens if you experience multiples of these – at the same time. Here are 4 specific actions to attack your nightmare dragons now:

  1. Communication – this is the #1 reason, time and again, that people turn into a version of Cersei, or your own nightmare. How well do you know your own communication style? How well do you know others? Do they match?
  2. Delegation – is there a chance that your employees don’t have enough to do – or don’t feel they have the recognition they deserve? How well are you able to give them the things they need to feel empowered & part of the group?
  3. Conflict – will happen. Actually – conflict is good – it means that you’re challenging yourself, and the status quo. However, with your team members, and left unchecked, it can become worse than a night with the Night King, and a place you wish you had another place to run. What is your primary conflict style? How do you best manage the situation? Find out here.
  4. Motivation – The root of every person. It’s why we do what we do – and it can go well beyond Maslow’s pyramid. Do you know what motivates your team – or on the flipside – what doesn’t motivate them? How do you harness their motivation to move in the same direction – instead of the opposite?

Note: Special thanks to @Arnold Kaluza & @Rob Saunders who created the original discussion on this topics!! If you want to join us in future projects, please Like and send a PM.

Want more? Learn how to slay all these dragons with Leadership 9 Box skills within 1 month

Born or made: Three areas of leadership you don’t have

Born or made: Three areas of leadership you don’t have

Summary: Learn 3 areas of leadership that you are probably not aware of and should improve

Where are you challenged, personally, as a leader? Do you (accurately) know the areas that you can improve on as a leader?

Good leaders recognize there is always room for improvement, and learning skills is a key part. They know they are not infallible and should continue learning to improve their breadth of experiences. To admit you are still learning is not a fault – it’s a desirable trait that strong, confident leaders such as Bill Gates and many other CEO’s admit freely.

So… if we all agree that we should learn as leaders – how do you do it?

In school? Perhaps … but at best, you can only be taught leadership – you can’t learn or absorb it that way. You have to experience it. There’s no feedback loop – until you practice it.

In OJT – on the job training? Yes – this can be done – if you have the time, and the other individual training you have the experience to develop those skills you need.

In online training? If you don’t have time, this is the fastest and most flexible track to boost only the leadership skills you need to improve on the job. This is a short circuit way to download information quickly.

Or do you? Do you know what areas your leadership abilities are the strongest – or they areas that need work? How do you know you really know it?

Henry Mintzberg developed 3 areas of leadership that many people overlook:

  • Administrative – the ability to lead through management of tasks and duties
  • Interpersonal – the ability to lead through interacting with others
  • Conceptual – the ability to lead through vision and insight
Managerial Roles: Interpersonal, Decisional, Informational. Ashley Prisant
Managerial Roles: Interpersonal, Decisional, Informational. Ashley Prisant

In general, many leaders overlook their skills in these areas because they see their skills as a whole – or believe that leaders are made – and you’re built with the skills you have. Or.. they feel they have been “trained” without demonstrating their abilities. Perhaps it’s to themselves as leaders or others, and they falsely believe they have leadership skills they don’t. They end up falling grossly short – resulting in missed goals, missed opportunities, and failing employees.

Ok… so this is great in theory (literally) – but how do you practice? How do you – or your managers – know – you understand these concepts?

  • Developing your skills is an ongoing process. You can do it on your own time – but the importance is getting it done. Leadership 9 Box helps develop your skills AND give you the feedback in the most important leadership skills – such as conflict management, motivation, innovation, communication and delegation. You get immediate feedback and are guaranteed to improve your skills because you build on the experiences you have, with the knowledge you build.
  • Get a mentor – or 2. Reach out and get feedback on the skills you need to develop – and listen. Feedback is the best form of flattery. Good leaders value feedback as a way to learn and improve – both themselves and their team.
  • This week – aim to get feedback from 3 different sources about a specific leadership skill (such as communication, delegation or conflict) and reflect on their differences or similarities. How can you build on what you’ve learned?

Get exclusive pre-release access to our upcoming Leadership 9 Box online leadership and training – create your FREE account in the next week and get 3 free leadership assessments and access to 3 courses, activities & discussions with Leadership SME’s (subject matter experts)

Published on LinkedIn

Leadership 9 Box

Leadership 9 Box

What is Leadership 9 Box?

Leadership 9 Box (L9B) takes a hybrid approach to building your leadership skills both online and through a customized approach with real, live subject matter experts chosen for your specific development. You will find Leadership 9 Box will focus on strengthening your core of conceptual, interpersonal, and administrative skills as based on Henry Mintzberg’s management theory.

A leader must have some level of competence in all 3 areas to remain successful, and yet, many leaders continue to fall behind because they have not received, learned, or understood the basics on the skills of leadership.

You determine the pace of your journey, and Leadership 9 Box is here to provide you with the tools and expertise you need to take both your career and your personal development to its highest.

You have the flexibility to alter your subscription plan at any time, whether that is asking for more insight or to scale back. We want you to be successful and can help advise which tier works best for your needs. We can’t wait to join you.


Leadership 9 Box


G. Tactical Operations

H. Business Acumen

Innovation Leadership



D. Communication

E. Strength & Motivation

F. Leader & Conflict



A. Time Management

B. People Management

C. Delegation & Organization


Level of Primary Influence ——>




Why Leadership 9 Box?

Whereas many other leadership programs deliver great content, few have a built-in feedback loop* designed to guarantee** that the material learned is not only learned¸ but the leader also has the ability to immediately apply the skills.

  • Feedback loop – Ever been to a class where you passed just by sitting there? How much did you actually learn? With the L9B course – you will get a real-time evaluation from experts in their field – so you will know how well you can use specific leadership skills.
  • Guaranteed skills – Every leader that has used the techniques in this course has improved their leadership skills. Some say they are better equipped to handle difficult situations or can communicate better. Others say they have up to an hour back in their day (nearly 15% improvements).  L9B is not for everyone, and the leader must be willing to learn new ways beyond their normal areas they typically operate.

What level of Leadership 9 Box is for me?

Three subscription levels of L9B empower you to choose what works best for you:

  1.          Leadership Impact (LI) Bronze Level – You will be able to take part in all sections, modules. You will be able to do all of the activities and join the discussion

  2.   Leadership Influence (LIN) Silver Level – In addition to Leadership Impact (Bronze), you will also be able to take part in all of the activities. Once you complete the activities, you will have a highly experienced leadership SME (subject matter expert) focusing on your answers and evaluating them for leadership effectiveness, understanding the content, and the ability to apply it in a real-time leadership situation.             

    • Upon completion of all activities and discussion in a module, you will receive a Certificate of Completion that you will be able to share with your own leadership team, post on your LinkedIn profile and in your office to confirm your higher level skills as a leader in those areas.

    • Certificates will be given for each module, each course area (Conceptual, Interpersonal, Administrative) and overall “Certified 9 Box Leader.” You have the ability to post this certification on your LinkedIn profile to show others your leadership abilities. 

  3.           Leadership Elevate© (LE) Gold Level– The highest level of opportunity for a leader in Leadership 9Box. You will receive everything in the previous two levels as well as up to two hours of one-on-one training with a highly experienced leadership SME.

    • These sessions can be focused on specific subject areas, or developed and tailored around your specific leadership career needs.


How does Leadership 9 Box work?

There are four sections in each module, with a total of 9 Modules (9 boxes, 9 modules!), provides:

  •           A short 10-question survey to understand your current skills as a leader. You can choose to give this to your manager/ peers for a 360 review.
  •           Goals/ objectives of the section to clearly state the purpose. If it is not a section you need, you can move on to the next one.

The section will take between 15 minutes to an hour to complete. Some will find it will take them longer to master the content and will choose to go back to section. Once you purchase, at any level, you will be able to visit all sections as many times as you wish.

Once you are in the section, you will find three main parts:

  • Part 1- Instruction – 15-30 minute information on section topic
  • Part 2 – Discussion – on various topics on the section topic
  •  Part 3 – Activities – to confirm knowledge of the section topic

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