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One Overlooked Element that Can Stop or Supercharge Any Project, DPPE

Leaders know that good data is essential to good decisions. But what data?       Data is the first of four elements from a simple acronym DPPE. It stands for Data, Purpose, Plan, Evaluate.   DPPE, as I learned from mentors, is a good way to categorize project phases as well as many small to complex leadership tasks. These may include: Updating […]


6 Steps Beyond Industrial Age Performance Appraisals

It takes courage, tenacity and teamwork to let go of performance appraisal practices and industrial age thinking.  In our  post 9-11, post financial meltdown, “New Normal,”  business will never be again as it was.  It’s tough, though, to leave our rootedness in twentieth century business practices.  For example, note this recent entry in Wikipedia:      “As of 2013 electric power […]


Think like an Entrepreneur: Be AntiFragile No Matter Where You Work

How do you  FRAME an approach to entrepreneurial change that helps you adapt to a business climate that continues to evolve? I asked those attending the session, how many of you are still in your same profession, for more than ten years or so?  Two raised their hands.  Their professions were cosmetology and nursing.  Though there […]


3 Success Factors for High Performance Teams, and What Gets In the Way: Interview with a Millennial

Leadership today has evolved greatly and includes high performance within teams.  Teamwork can also be the “secret sauce” that defines successful organizations.  Our systems for supporting high performance and leadership in teams and in entire organizations have not kept up with the times. Some of our most persistent management practices date from the industrial age, including […]


Beyond Resilience: Givers, Takers, Matchers and Anti-Fragile Systems

“Our focus on removing or minimizing randomness has actually had the perverse effect of increasing fragility.”   How can we work through this  paradox in organizations?  Assistant Professor Adam Grant’s recent works provides insights. As a follow-on exploring the concept of anti-fragile systems that I blogged about earlier, consider the power of Dr. Grant’s recent work on Givers, […]


Union / Management collaboration: What Creates Healthy, Fit Organizations Today?

What makes for a healthy, “anti-fragile” (adaptable, responsive) organization today?   These slides from my recent presentation to the Michigan Management Labor Association’s (MMLA) presentation on Wellness –A Healthy Engagement: Organizational and Personal Fitness provide insights on tools to help.  Wellness –A Healthy Engagement: Organizational and Personal Fitness from Deb Nystrom “The best way to predict […]


Beyond Resilience: Black Swans, Anti-Fragility and Change

Random, extreme events:  What to do in a world we don’t understand.  Is it possible to develop characteristics to emulate strengths in nature in becoming anti-fragile as described by former wall street trader, now academic, Nassim Nicholas Taleb?  Since I wrote this post, I also followed it up with a SlideShare and presentation on Anti-Fragile […]


3 Things That Cause Ethical Breakdowns in Workplace Culture: Timing a Reminder is Everything

Tensions among senior staff in universities seem to be making the news on a regular basis. Examples include leader strife at Rutgers (blame), Penn State (cascade failure to deal with a crime) and University of Virginia (abrupt leadership goings and comings.) Last year Forbes described the University of Virginia‘s Board of Visitors vote to unanimously reinstate […]


Seven (7) Ways to Respond to Bullying and a Queen Bee

Are you experiencing prolonged harassment?  It may be that you may have just encountered a bully, and for women, it can be similar to experiencing an adult “mean girl.” As the number of women in the workforce and in leadership has increased, stress in leadership roles has naturally affected women, as it does men,  in […]


Business Entrepreneur Storytelling at Entre-Slam with Deb

Entre-Slam is an entrepreneurial story telling competition held in Ann Arbor. Storytelling is powerful – and is a key leadership tool.  Telling my story was also a great way to illustrate storytelling as important to change and communicating complex ideas, including my history in organization development (OD).   Explaining OD to the uninitiated is like describing […]