One of the most important and sought-after skills in the modern workplace is the ability to coach others.

It’s one thing to identify coaching as an important capacity — it’s another thing altogether to develop that capacity. The reality is that many HR departments are not practiced in developing the coaching capacity in managers. What’s more, most managers do not think of themselves as coaches to begin with. They see coaching as a different job, usually done by someone outside the company.

To expand one’s coaching capacity, it makes sense to begin with a basic question: What exactly does it…

In a Company Transition, It Can Really Save Your Butt

I was recently on a development call with a high-tech company experiencing a period of intense growth and expansion.

The leader I spoke with painted a picture of the overwhelm that had crept into the organization. Employees had too much to do and too little time to do it, fueling a constant and deflating sense of “not keeping up.” They felt siloed, fractured, and pulled in too many directions. They felt inadequate and ill-prepared to meet the challenges ahead.

On the heels of this less-than-ideal description, I asked about their…

The “Great Resignation” is upon us.

According to one study conducted by Microsoft, 41% of the global workforce will consider leaving their current employer within the year. The Wall Street Journal reports that more U.S. workers are quitting their jobs now than at any time in the last 20 years.

Why the impending exodus? Some economists point to the historic level of savings (north of $2 trillion) Americans have amassed while home-ridden during the pandemic creating the breathing room needed to consider a career change. Others point to more psychological factors: after the harrowing experience of a global pandemic, fewer…

Navigating Stakeholder Trade-offs

I talk a lot about the importance of “managing stakeholder cares.” It’s important to remember that this isn’t just some abstract, conceptual idea. Managing stakeholder cares means making tough, real-life, decisions, nearly every day that affect real people.

The pandemic has made this even more pronounced.

This came to my mind when reading a recent article in the Economist about “how companies should handle vaccines.” It was a great and relevant example of what it really means to balance stakeholder cares, when apparent trade-offs seem to be everywhere.

You’ve got to register for the Economist to view the full article…

Each week, every kid in my daughter’s first grade class takes on a different “job.” The jobs include things like wiping down the tables, sweeping the floors, or ensuring the books are lined up to the edge of the shelves.

But there is one job that my daughter considers the holy grail of all the tasks: being the “checker.”

The checker does not have one assignment in particular. The checker’s role is to check off that everyone else has done their job properly so that the class can go to recess.

A few weeks ago, it…

Don’t Tell Me You Care — Show Me.

The other day, a headline in my inbox threw me for a loop: “McKinsey to pay $573 million for role in opioid crisis.”

It wasn’t the headline itself that surprised me. The idea that the most prestigious management consulting firm in the world helped its client “turbocharge” sales of an addictive painkiller that claimed over 450,000 lives — that is not unbelievable, by any stretch.

What stood out to me was that on the same day, I had another McKinsey article in my inbox. Not an article about McKinsey, but rather, by McKinsey. And in this article, a group of…

I don’t know about you, but I have never felt more ready for a fresh, new year! I am connecting with my family, colleagues, and community to savor this time of reflection and possibilities — to do the satisfying work of imagining who we are going to be this year.

And, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that the challenging reality 2020 brought to our doorsteps will not magically be washed away as we ring in 2021.

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos and legendary Silicon Valley figure, died tragically on November 26 at just 46 years old.

Several news outlets in the last few days have reported on Tony’s reclusive descent into drugs, alcohol, and other dangerous behaviors since leaving Zappos. His death serves as an important reminder that even the most outwardly successful among us may be suffering in private.

In this post, though, I’d like to focus on Tony’s incredible work at the helm of Zappo’s. Because, in many ways, Tony Hsieh exemplified stakeholder leadership — though he probably never used the term.

Gratitude at work begins with a recognition

The numerous physical and emotional benefits of gratitude are well-documented. In particular, researchers like Robert Emmons and Martin Seligman have demonstrated the link between gratitude and happiness.

That link makes intuitive sense. As the saying goes, “you are what you pay attention to.” If you’re focused on and grateful for the blessings in your life, you tend to see the world through a more optimistic lens. If you’re focused on the ways in which life isn’t good enough, you’ll easily convince yourself that it isn’t.

Over Thanksgiving, we’ll likely (and rightly) be focused on our gratitude for friends and family…

The Allure and The Danger of “More”

As a business owner, one of the most important contracts that ever came my way was the one I didn’t end up signing.

On paper, it was a no-brainer. The prospective client was a powerhouse in the beauty care space. It was a lucrative contract with ample room to expand into an even larger engagement. This would be a gem in my client roster and a boon to my bottom line. More work. More revenue. More reach. It would be silly not to move forward with haste.

But I didn’t. I took a beat and gave myself a few days…

Kari Granger

Kari is CEO of an executive leadership firm, supporting leaders to align and elevate performance. See more at

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