Author Archives: Karen Snyder


How Does Your Organization Say It?

I can tell a lot, a whole lot, about an organization from its signs. Before I meet with a single person, I have a revealing glimpse into the company culture through its signs.

What do you think of this sign?

I saw this one in Dallas, Texas, when I was meeting with my colleague Jennifer Ledet, Leadership Consultant, to discuss useful activities for an upcoming retreat she would be conducting. It’s great to have colleagues to consult with!

In my work, I have the privilege of visiting and observing all kinds of organizations.

How your workplace signage communicates “welcome” to visitors or “clean out the fridge,” even reminders about bathroom hygiene and refilling the copier paper, all reveal your company culture.

What do the signs at your workplace reveal?

Please share with me your most revealing signs.

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Conflict Resolution - Leadership

Twice in One Week?

Is twice in one week too much? Too little?

And what is the national average? How often do executive teams, board members, and senior leaders do their jobs and address the hard “people” issues facing their organizations? And how often do they remain silent even though their silence limits their organization’s ability to work most effectively? How often does the fear of what could happen actually cripple the organization from reaching its potential?

Twice this week, I found myself in consulting and coaching situations saying, “Less nice, more courage.”

On Monday, I was speaking to the director of a nonprofit, Alicia. Alicia wanted to remove a volunteer, Paulette, from a committee. Paulette derailed meetings, insulted members, and rarely fulfilled her commitments. She made the work harder and more stressful for everyone. Alicia had met with Paulette several times to give her feedback. Paulette responded to Alicia’s feedback with defensive comments and attacks on other board members. So, why didn’t Alicia just tell Paulette she was no longer needed?

Paulette’s father founded the organization. The family included huge donors and well-known community members. Alicia was concerned that the community would be outraged and that the organization would lose donors.

The very next day I was at another company talking with the CEO. Everyone who works there knows that he is a control freak. Everyone knows that he shuts down new ideas and makes new programming challenging. The company’s retention rate is troubling and there is little collaboration between departments. There are rumors that when the CEO addresses the board, the data may have been “tweaked.”

So, why is he still there? Employees have contacted board members, but board members appear unwilling to make the hard decisions to truly fulfill their mission. The board members don’t want to make waves. They are afraid if they discuss termination, no one will want to be on the board and even more employees will leave.

In both instances, what is the opportunity price of allowing these situations to continue?

Fear is in the way in both instances.

How does your fear prevent you from doing what is in the best interest of your organization?

How often do you need “Less nice, more courage?”

Feel free to forward this message on to someone who could use a dose of courage.

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Mindset - Performance Management

The Secret of Workplace Serenity Lies in a Toddler’s Wisdom

Every workplace has them: whirlers and swirlers. You know the type. They are unable to keep their noses out of other people’s business and they repeatedly turn things topsy-turvy. So how do you deal with a whirler and swirler?

Let me introduce you to Rose.

Remember that saying Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten? Well, for Rose — a viral sensation thanks to a YouTube video — everything she needs to know, she learned when she was two years old. Just listen to this exchange she had with her dad:

So, what Rose knows at two, we would all do well to remember in the workplace when a whirler and swirler wreaks havoc: I have my job, you have your job. If we all keep focused on our own tasks, others will get the message. This doesn’t mean being self-centered or unsympathetic, but it does mean understanding your role and avoiding getting swept up in other people’s drama.

So, can you channel your inner Rose and worry about yourself?

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