Entries by Liz McBride


Creative Skills - The Top 10 Skills in 2021

Posted by Liz McBride on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

With the emphasis on core subjects in budget crunched public schools, art programs are being asked to pack their paint brushes and go. Isn’t it interesting how creativity has moved from #10 to #3 in the list of Top Skills for 2021, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report?

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

4 Types of BHAGs: Which BHAG Model is Right for You?

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Suppose you and your team have been in a Think Rhythm to determine what Jim Collin and Jerry Porras call your Hedgehog concept - the intersection of what you are passionate about, what you are best in the world at and what drives your financial engine.  Defining your hedgehog and BHAG (pronounced bee hag) gives you a powerful mechanism to help you strategically plan for growth.

Specifically, the hedgehog concept is the intersection of these three questions:

  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • What can you be the best at in the world?
  • What drives your economic engine?

Now comes the easy part, right? Simply take that information, determine where these three questions intersect and craft a long-term goal that drives on that intersection - your BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Are you having writer’s block?

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Lessons From a Millennial: Work-Life Balance Tips

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Jun 7, 2019 @ 02:20 PM

If you research “healthy work-life balance tips” (or frankly any hot topic), you’ll see a line item in there about the millennial's view point. On this subject, research shows that millennials highly value work-life balance, and some offer they need it the most yet struggle hardest to find it.

Do they really?

I am lucky to have a young millennial sister who is early in her bright career and whom I call upon to confirm or deny allegations concerning millennials and their unshakeable need to find work-life balance. I thought Natalie would say she doesn’t have it as she works full days in supply chain for a major trucking company while balancing a new marriage, new mortgage, and a fur baby can induce the need for stress management. That, and the experts say she’s struggling to find it.

I, on the other hand, have been lucky to work in various ways through different life cycles of my career balanced with raising three boys. I have had the long commutes, heavy travel and virtual work in several time zones - or a mixture of any and all, depending on the week. I can play the role of the wise older, GenX sister and explain how there’s no such thing as work-life balance - there’s just balance. When I am working, I need to be tunnel-vision and work. When I am home, I need to put the phone down and listen to my boys tell me their school project they’ve known about for three weeks is due tomorrow, and they need imported materials. Something like that.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Keep the Love Alive with Your Annual Plan and Avoid Sharknado

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, May 31, 2019 @ 11:03 AM

You’re a couple of months into your 2019 annual plans - the honeymoon phase. Your annual plan still looks good, you’re excited to see it as often as possible, can’t stop talking about it, probably taking annoying selfies with your plan. I get it - it’s pretty exciting. You are bound to learn throughout the year things you didn’t know about your plan when you first fell in love. Perhaps the way it's executed isn’t the way you would do it, or others aren’t excited about it and it’s bringing you down - making you second guess.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

8 Ways to Cast Light on the Shadows of Innovation

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 @ 11:02 AM

“If you can move people by inspiring and building their confidence to own and drive your new strategy, they will be committed to seeing change through and overcoming the organizational constraints you confront.”

― W. Chan Kim, Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

7 Key Plays from Our CEO Playbook

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Apr 5, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

One of the top 10 moments of my life was the Predictable Results book launch party at our Breakthrough Conference last October. To sweeten this moment, the MVP subject to one of my chapters was co-presenting a breakout session with me. I was incredibly proud to showcase Randy Carr, the CEO of World Emblem who is featured in chapter 11. Yes, that’s right - chapter 11. Such an unfortunate number for a chapter regarding a CEO. As Randy said, “Dude! Chapter 11? That’s bad juju! What are you doing to me?” Randy describes his chapter in his bi-weekly letters to his employees at World Emblem as: “The chapter after 10.”

All juju aside, Randy’s story was the perfect ending to the book because this playbook rings true to many CEOs in different points of their reign. CEOs may naturally revert to the skills and backgrounds that got them where they are today - and there may be more they need to do. Perhaps, like Randy, they inherited the company and don’t automatically feel the love and Core Purpose of the family business, perhaps the organization is hitting a growth plateau and what worked before just ain’t cutting it anymore, and, more commonly, CEOs feel they are being crystal clear on the expectations and are baffled when seeing the chaos and missed goals.

“World Emblem was doing fine, but revenue was stagnating. When leaders are overwhelmed with the fires of day-to-day work and the fear of making a misstep, focus on growth suffers. And so does the leader’s confidence. What most are missing is an operating system that offers a clear definition of the critical role they should play and a path to fulfilling it effectively.”

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Why Having a Personal BHAG Matters

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

Shortly after my son, Jack, was diagnosed with autism at age two, I set the big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) that he will graduate college. Mind you, at two, Jack spent most of his days in his own, wordless world. I didn’t know how he could even attend ½ day preschool program let alone complete college. Fast forwarding to his 4th grade year (as this is a blog, not a novel), I felt panic when I realized that by being in a self-contained classroom in South Carolina public schools, Jack would receive a certificate of completion rather than a diploma. My personal BHAG was at risk.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Tips to Shake up Your Planning

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Jan 4, 2019 @ 10:46 AM

I am incredibly lucky to work with clients quarter after quarter, year over year. We’re part of each other’s extended family. My home state of South Carolina was hit with two hurricanes in recent months and my clients were ping-ping-pinging me making sure I was safe - inquiring, perhaps, as to whether or not they needed a new consultant. Luckily, we were in a boring section of the storm and three McBride boys with no school benefited on all accounts. I might add my state also sold the winning Powerball billion dollar ticket, and these same folks texted me to again see if they still had a consultant. They do. I would still do what I do with a billion dollars. I would just look AMAZING doing it.

To remain in the fabric of my client’s lives, I feel the need to keep things fresh.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Don't Let Dumb Rules Blow Up Team Accountability

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Aug 23, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

During World War II, a Chief Petty Officer of the Royal Navy was called on by his Captain of the HMS Stork to explain why their ship sustained damage but, unlike other Royal Navy ships, did not blow up after a direct hit from an enemy submarine torpedo.

The Chief Petty Officer admitted he failed to follow the standing orders that the depth charges be armed with detonators. He continued to explain to his Captain that to avoid the risk of charges imploding during enemy fire, he and his crew were trained and ready to arm the charges with detonators within a matter of seconds. After all, large barrels full of high powered explosives are innocuous without installed detonators to set them off.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Leadership Lessons: 5 Ways My Teenagers Teach Me How to Face Adversity

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

The best advice I was given before my boys reached their teenage years with wild emotional swings was "don't ride the roller coaster with them.” I smiled and nodded and thought to myself, “my sweet boys are going to be the exception.” I was wrong. Hormonal imbalances are the real deal, but...enough about me.

I’m living in the parallel universe of handling teenagers and being a strong leader in the face of adversity. Both can feel like a ride you can’t wait to get off of, may make you feel unnerved, and once you've recovered, will leave you with an intense craving for funnel cakes or your carb of choice. I’m finding whether I face the difficult person in an office or a messy, disgusting bedroom, there are key strategies that work in both situations:

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

How the Best Companies Get Started with Rhythm [Customer Stories]

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

When rolling out a new process, it’s best to start with a core group of champions who will help integrate the system into existing processes and authentically evangelize it to the rest of the organization. At Rhythm Systems, we start with the CEO and the executive team and then help to cascade Rhythm through virtual or onsite training, help and tutorials, and certification. Our goal is to make cascading Rhythm down into the organization scalable yet seamless.

I’m not a fan of “no pain, no gain,” especially as it relates to introducing a new program. We should make the change pain-free with ample support systems. Hey, maybe it could even be fun! Whether it’s safe or fun, getting started with Rhythm can revisit and inspire the culture you want to create. It’s a good thing my like-minded clients feel the same way and have wowed us with some creative ways to get their teams started with Rhythm. Here’s How:

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

5 COO Insights to Manage the Human Factor after an Acquisition

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

In my last blog, I shared Steve Hoffa from Alpha Guardian’s tips in 5 COO Insights to Keep Your Acquisitions Alive, which described a transition from two companies - Cannon and Stack-On  - as they evolved into one company with multiple brands: Alpha Guardian. During the interview process, a common theme emerged that deserves its own spotlight as it is the least predictive yet greatest weapon to bringing M&A to its glory or to its knees: the human factor.

When Cannon Safe started on this journey, they would attend M&A conferences with their proud plan in their fists. “What we learned from others who went before us was that they were really harping on the HR side of things - the people,” Steve explains. The executive team didn’t think it would be their story, however, Steve concurred that during the M&A:

“We learned the human aspect was the biggest concern and yielded the greatest focus. We had our comp plans in place but, that didn’t factor in the drama and emotions. The people component is everything! Especially when you’re keeping them.”

If I were a betting woman (only when Powerball is $500 million - I have standards), I would have wagered the people side of the M&A would have been then Cannon Safe’s greatest triumph. I learned that even companies with the strongest culture feel the impact as Steve explains:

“The M&A bent our tree.”

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams, Mergers & Acquisitions

5 COO Insights to Keep Your Acquisition Alive

Posted by Liz McBride on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

It’s no wonder that  70-90% of mergers and acquisitions fail when you consider the complexities of the deal coupled with the sheer change management needed to quell the human factor. In a recent HBR article, How to Keep Your Team Focused and Productive During Uncertain Times, Amy Gallo shares “...employees who are concerned about their future are likely to be distracted and unproductive.”

There’s no room for distracted and unproductive employees if you’re trying to come out of the other end of an acquisition and hit a 30% growth goal. As you may have been able to gather from my previous blogs on Cannon Safe, I’ve never known them to back down from any challenge.

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Topics: Mergers & Acquisitions

How to Use a Think Rhythm: A Proven Process for Business Breakthroughs

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Creating a regular habit to think, or a Think Rhythm, can be a powerful way to:

The purpose of a Think Rhythm is to...wait for it….think. It’s not a time to ready, aim, fire at approaches; rather, it’s a time to slow down before you speed up on execution. It helps you to work smarter instead of harder on achieving breakthroughs for your business.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Take Your Core Values Outside

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Aug 13, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

First thing’s first. I should get personal travel and/or injury insurance the next time I visit the Cannon team.

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with this work hard, play hard team for the past few years and, it’s safe to say, we push each other to the edge, way out of our comfort zone, while living to tell the tale.

The Cannon Safe and Gun Vault teams allow me to join in on their team building while we’re tackling their strategy and annual or quarterly planning. They’ve taken me ziplining across canyons in 115-degree temperatures in Las Vegas. 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

How to Close out the Quarter for Future Success

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

As I’ve said before, I learn as much from my clients as they do from me. And then I unabashedly make it my own, share it with others, and blog about it.

Igor Sigmundovic, Product Owner and Rhythm Expert at Infobip, shared with me a concept they practice where they “close out” their priorities each quarter. They are asked to add a comment to their priorities at the end of the quarter to capture the final status color, red-yellow-green-SuperGreen, on how the priority landed, and then explain any further work to be done on this priority.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

People Are Confused - What Should I Do?

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, May 21, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

I’m a fly on the wall during a client’s departmental quarterly planning meeting when someone completely unsolicited said, “I love Rhythm. I finally know what my job is.”

It’s fair to say we’ve all had times when we weren’t crystal clear about what our job really was. Whether we were starting a new role, getting used to the latest reorganization, or, navigating our path with a vague job description as our map, we were moving forward with a ‘fake it till you make it’ mantra.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

Roll Down Your Sleeves: 5 Tips to Being a Productive Leader

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Leaders can plan their day meticulously, but then fires erupt or a team member reaches out and all focus is lost. When the true response to “Do you have a few minutes? Did I catch you at a good time?” is a resounding “No,” we push our agenda aside and answer, “Of course!”

At planning sessions with my clients, I hear notes of productivity killers with these familiar phrases:

“I just ended up taking it over and doing it myself.”

“It takes too much of my time to coach my team. It’s easier to just do it myself.”

“I need to make sure it’s done right so I need to own the project.”

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

7 Ways World Emblem Gets Their Employee Engagement Buzz On

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Mar 5, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

What do you hear at work? Talking? Laughter? What do you see? Is your team bouncing from desk to desk, chatting in the hallway, smiling at their peers? Do you see your team leaning into deep discussions around a conference table?

In some company cultures, hearing laughter and seeing employees huddled in a discussion could leave one feeling as though the team is slacking off. When World Emblem, a manufacturer of apparel decorations, transformed the Miami office to an open working area, it created a new vibe. Hearing talking and belly laughter was music to the CEO, Randy Carr’s ears. There were no walls to separate teams from one another and the buzz of employee engagement was brewing.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

7 Ways to Engage the Next Level of Leaders (with Cookies)

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Feb 19, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

It’s the end of day two of planning, you and your executive team are spent from all of the discussions, bloated from all of the carb-loaded goodies brought in, yet, hopeful about what lies ahead. The plan is incredibly clear in your minds, and you are all on the same page with Winning Moves to test, the theme, targets, and plan. So, how do you get your next level of leadership engaged? Especially, if you anticipate some pushback?

Your next level of leadership wasn’t privy to the data shared, the discussions weighed or the tray of chocolate chunk cookies. If your plan to gain alignment with your next level is limited to an hour long presentation, the only thing that will stick from your planning session is your puffier exterior from the above-mentioned cookies.

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

3 Patterns of the Most Productive People

Posted by Liz McBride on Mon, Feb 6, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

On my flights to see clients, I always pick up a business magazine to read. It’s something that can spur an insight when I face a particular challenge, and it sure as heck beats reviewing the already memorized airline menu selection when we must power down. Isn’t that productive of me? Perhaps Fast Company should have interviewed me in their "Secrets of the Most Productive People."

Instead, they interviewed the big guns - CEOs and founders in fashion, technology, non-profits, production companies, and TV shows. There’s even the Master Taster of Woodford Reserve! What a great title. I would love to be a master taster! Speaking of tasting, have you ever notice the cover of Fast Company magazine feels like a cat’s tongue? OK, back to being productive.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

5 Things to Ask Before Sending Your Leaders Off to Training

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Dec 11, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

I started my career in the training department: writing ‘by the book’ curriculum with clear objectives, assessments, evaluations and interactive content to reach all of the learning styles. I would pour my heart out in front of live audiences or proudly upload interactive elearning modules.

Training was the prescription for healing poor performance or gaining adoption of new tools or systems; however, I soon realized ‘by the book’ training was not always the cure for ailing programs or departments.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Lessons from the Football Field

Posted by Liz McBride on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Charlie is inconsolable. His uniform is missing from the locker and the school lost his sports physical so he has to sit out. As I pull into the front of the middle school, my puffy-eyed 7th grader is there alone waving meekly at me. I roll my window down as he tries to open the door.

“No, Charlie. You’re not getting in. Take me to your coach.” 

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

I Assume Stuff

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Sep 11, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

My 12-year old son, Charlie, was treating us to an egg masterpiece and tossing ingredients into the cast iron skillet with reckless abandon. Curious as to whether or not he had an actual plan to our morning surprise, I asked how he knew the amount of each ingredient to add.

“I assume stuff. The best chefs do.”

Luckily for Charlie, his assumptions were delicious; but, the outcome was incredibly messy.

How often do you assume stuff about how your team is really doing or what your customer values or needs? Do you ever really go to where the work is done?

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

7 Hacks to Get Organized

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Jul 3, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Thank goodness I married my organized husband. Our bills are paid before they’re due, every bin has a label on it (the label maker is his most prized possession), our boys always have packed lunches and matching clothes to wear, and my keys, chargers and shoes are lovingly placed back into their labeled places after tornado Liz whirrs through the house.

I strive to be more organized because, quite frankly, it’s hard being me sometimes (I’m sure it’s even harder being married to me).

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Conga Line to Company Culture

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

I’m a proponent for fun. I can’t tell you how many scavenger hunts, kickoff parties, talent shows and team
building events I’ve planned and participated in over the years - or the number of costumes that were involved. I’ve even conga line danced behind an Ivy League mascot on the way to a keynote.

Part of bringing a team together or helping organizations face change has always been best served up with a side dish of fun.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Creating a Culture of Superheroes

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, May 8, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

I believe in building a strong culture where the team feels connected and there is life, a buzz if you will, in the workplace. Why then did I initially question Clarence at World Emblem about his choice to name his HR Group in Rhythm “HR Superheroes?”

Here was Clarence’s response:

Our 2016 HR Theme is that we are “Superheroes of HR.” We all have super powers. For example, the names of each HR professional is related to a Superhero... Clarence is “Superman,” Idith is “Batman,” Christy is “SpiderMan,” Elena is “Storm” and Maria is “SuperGirl.” Can you imagine the fun we had in our strategic meeting… see attachment!!

I opened the attachment and saw this picture. Only Clarence.

I got to meet his Superheros and learn more about how they selected their superhero based on their own super powers:

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Real Examples of How to Use Planning Notes

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Thomas H., one of our subscribers, asked, "What are some best practices on the planning notes features in Rhythm software?"

You're busily entering your KPIs and Priorities for the quarter and notice a little tab on each that says Planning Notes. You may wonder, What's that for?

Or, maybe you’re in the Annual or Quarterly Planning screen in Rhythm and staring at two blank boxes used to capture Pre-Session Notes and Post-Session Notes, and you wonder: What would I put in there? Why are they divided into Pre- and Post-Session? Why not just have one box called NOTES and call it a day? 

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

ASD, ADHD and Dyslexia Go to Work

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

My personal BHAG is for my 12-year old son, Jack, who is on the autism spectrum, to go to college. If you attended my session at the Breakthrough Conference, then you already have the inside scoop that we feel we will achieve this goal and are already thinking beyond college. Could he live independently? What career options would he have?

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

5 Ways to Make Action Items Work for You (Video)

Posted by Liz McBride on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 @ 09:00 AM
Thomas H., one of our subscribers, asked, "What are some best
practices on the Action List features in Rhythm software?"

I’ve always been a dreamer - enjoying the view from 10,000 feet as I envision the future. Although they are sometimes a buzz kill, I need to be surrounded by realists who pull me down to 5,000 feet with detailed plans on how to actually get there. Action Items are my realists - they are the reality check to my dreamy plans.

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Topics: Strategy Execution

You May Fall Off the Mountain: Keep Climbing to Reach Your BHAG

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Dec 27, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Our inaugural Breakthrough Execution Conference is in the BHAG, I mean bag! I am still on a high from the excitement, teamwork and the “ah-ha” moments. The breakout session I lead was on How to Create a Useful BHAG to Improve Performance, and one of the new clients to our Rhythm family was there. She later said:

“I had an epiphany when you said the climb up the mountain to reach your BHAG can be a hard one. Winning moves are your 3-5 year base camps to reach the 10+ year summit and there are times when you may stumble or even fall off the mountain. In the past, I have fallen off the mountain.”

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

The Blame Game

Posted by Liz McBride on Sun, Dec 13, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Rabbi Stephen Baars is always one of my favorite presenters at business conferences. He doesn’t take the stage for long, but he always makes an impact.

Ooh, here we go, he’s going to lift us up!

He leads with the notion humans are born with no innate skills. Thank you? Hmmm...I guess he doesn’t know you and me very well, does he?

He goes on to say that what we all do well is mess up. Big time. OK, well, there’s that.

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Cooking with Rhythm and Project Plans

Posted by Liz McBride on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

I’m often asked where Project Plans fit with Rhythm. To answer this question, I’d like to invite you into my kitchen.

I love to cook. I get inspired from what looks good in the store or from recipes and then create my own spin. Maybe my pasta will be zucchini noodles and the sauce could be thickened with mascarpone cheese.  I know what the dish should look and taste like but there are several ways to get there.

I dislike baking. It is an exact science and requires following the recipe to a T. Why do I have to sift dry ingredients if it’s all going to be mixed anyway? Why did I just spend $12 on vanilla paste if the recipe only requires ⅛ teaspoon? As a matter of principle, I refuse to sift and triple the amount of expensive ingredients to create a cake that resembles and tastes like bumpy socks.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

Are you Stuck?

Posted by Liz McBride on Sat, Sep 5, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Last week, my team got together for Crucial Conversations training. I recently experienced conflict with my neighbor, and since then, haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been complaining that allergies must really be bothering me or going back to school prep is stressful because I feel tired. I was falling behind on blogging and blamed it on simple writer’s block. This training came at the perfect time to help me see what the true root cause was. I am stuck because I need to have a crucial conversation.


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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

6 Right Discussion Tips for Annual Planning

Posted by Liz McBride on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

My kids are back to school, pumpkin beer is stocked on shelves and the Halloween catalogues are arriving. That’s my signal that we’re gearing up for the 4th quarter frenzy of annual planning. Do you already have your two-day session scheduled? Do you already know the discussions you’ll plug into the agenda?


The recommended agenda for Annual Planning in the Meeting Rhythms Guide leads with Review, Discuss and Brainstorm and Connecting Strategy to Execution. How do we know what the right discussions are? Well, pop open a pumpkin beer and read 6 Right Discussion tips:

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Does Your Quarterly Plan Wish to Go to the Moon?

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

We are officially in the swing of Q3! Did you have a nice vacation? Are you picking up slack for your tan-worshiping co-workers as we speak? Sometimes it takes us a few weeks to feel settled into a quarter. 

My client, Igor, inspired me today. While others may have been spending July loading up cars with beach chairs and umbrellas, Igor facilitated 23 weekly adjustment meetings for various regions and departments. If that wasn’t inspiring enough, he shared with me his passion for making sure every region’s quarterly plans were actual plans. If you are feeling as though your quarter is not as tightened up as it should be, take a page from what Igor tells the teams:

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

Schooled in Leadership

Posted by Liz McBride on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

I’ve missed my calling as a Fish Trainer. Animal behavior is fascinating - especially if it confirms the DNA of what makes an effective leader.

University of Bristol conducted a study on fish and effective leadership. Why didn’t I think of that? Scientists trained fish on where the food source was.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Don’t Let This Become a Habit

Posted by Liz McBride on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

The bagpiper was filling the church with Scotland the Brave as my Dad and I prepared to follow him down the aisle. My Dad turned to me with his faint Scottish accent and said, “Well, good luck. Don’t let this become a habit.” 

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

My Team Needs Training... and, ACTION!

Posted by Liz McBride on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

If you have ever downloaded any tools or other resources on our site, you know that we usually ask you about your Biggest Business Challenge in our forms. In response to your feedback, we are featuring a blog series on your biggest business challenges! This post is a response to the challenge “training and developing people."

I chose to complete my Masters degree in Human Resources Development (adult learning/instructional design) because I thought training was “acting with a steady paycheck.” All I had to do was sharpen my facilitation skills, print out some snazzy colored transparencies (OOOOH) or add stock clipart to Powerpoint (AHHHH) and I was on my way to getting anyone in any organization properly trained. Hey, these were high tech tools in the 90’s!

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Change Management is the Coolest!

Posted by Liz McBride on Mon, May 25, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

If you have ever downloaded any tools or other resources on our site, you know that we usually ask you about your Biggest Business Challenge in our forms. In response to your feedback, we are featuring a blog series on your biggest business challenges! This post is a response to the challenge “managing change."

This holiday weekend, I’m throwing my "glamping" style aside and doing “for real” camping. Tent, grill, tarp, fishing poles, cooler, gallons of water...done. A friend of mine sent me a link to a startup concept for a cooler called “Coolest.” As I watched the video, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to best practices I’ve used in helping growing businesses embrace change. Five minutes ago, I was perfectly content with my rolling cooler, but I’m now realizing my camping trip will be an epic fail without a frosty, blended drink, a way to carry our gear, both dry and wet storage options, and, most of all, absence of a spontaneous dance party. The electronics charging is a non-issue as there’s apparently no wi-fi in “for real” camping.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Attitude Adjustment

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, May 21, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Call it fate, karma, the universe, God, a higher power...whatever feels good to you; but, I believe that sometimes you are meant to be at a certain place at a certain time. I was attending the FORTUNE Leadership Summit and had to duck out before the final keynote in order to catch my shuttle to the airport. I was saying goodbye to my clients on break when Lucie and Caroline offered to take me to the airport. Win-win! I could talk more with our clients and not miss the final keynote.

I settled back into my seat when a speaker took to the stage who was not on the agenda. His name was Rabbi Stephen Barrs.

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

How Patton Helped Us Achieve Our Stretch Revenue Goal - Fore!

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 09:00 AM
If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you'll be amazed at the results.
- George S. Patton

I’m pretty sure George Patton would have enjoyed being part of the golf tournament my volunteer organization put on this week. Only, it’s a women’s only group. Well, and he’s dead. Regardless, his sage advice would have guided us through our planning process.

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Topics: Strategy Execution

The Cure for Leaky Accountability

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, May 7, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

(The doctor is in... for the third time).

I’m struggling through a healthy mound of salad when Nicole appears: “The CEO of Underda Buss Healthcare Systems needs to speak with you. She says her dashboard is broken.” I follow her into the control room and the CEO is on the screen. 

“Hi there! Your dashboard is broken?”

“Must be. All dashboards have been green all quarter but our priorities weren’t met. Clearly, they’re not set up correctly. Doctor, can you correct these before the next quarter?”

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

The Cure for Execution Indigestion

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

It’s 11:00 am on Friday. I’m debriefing my colleagues on the great work Gautneau Alignment’s CEO has done to cure his team of KPI-tice when the CEO of Crazy NRG, a cloud software company, appears on Nicole’s screen. 

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

5 Cures for KPI-tice

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

I’m at Rhythm Headquarters about to take my first sip of coffee when the alarm goes off. I rush to the control room to be debriefed. Nicole is standing in front of the monitor displaying an aerial view of Gautneau Alignment, an automotive parts manufacturer. Nicole reports: “Doctor, Gautneau Alignment employees are running around like chickens without heads, measuring everything that moves, pulling data from multiple sources, and disrupting the very behaviors and values that made them once a true contender in the marketplace. Take a look at the live feed.”

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Get Your Virtual Swagger On

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

I’m writing this blog while wearing my fuzzy socks and sitting at my kitchen table. I am lucky to live within driving distance to our office, which allows me to enjoy some virtual days to get some heads down work done (in conjunction with a fuzzy sock) and also enjoy face-to-face interactions (with makeup) with my team.

While on site with a client recently, I was asked, “How can I drive, influence and coach my team for results when they don’t talk to me until I come into the office. I want them to talk to me virtually as though they met me in the hallway.” A common pain we hear from new clients is “I feel like my team can do much better, and I don’t know how to help them get better.” When you start asking more questions, you find out there’s typically a virtual component here as well.

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Walking the Talk on Execution

Posted by Liz McBride on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

This year, my husband, Mike, gave me a Fitbit for Valentine’s Day. I’d heard a story of people gaining weight after using this device. As a coach who helps CEOs determine accuracy in prediction and successful execution, I was determined to change the ending to my story.

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Topics: Strategy Execution

The Power of Silence for Effective Communication

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

"Jack has such a sensitive, warm heart. Today, I came to school with some bad news. It may be a long time before I see two of my grandchildren. Jack just took my hand and held it and squeezed it. I am so honored to be working with such a loving boy!"

This was the email I received from my oldest son’s 5th grade teacher. Jack teaches me often that verbal communication is not always the most powerful form we have. I doubt I would have received this email if he had simply told her, “I’m sorry.”

Each weekday, I walk my two younger boys to school with, Maddie, our 7 month old black lab puppy. I start the walk with intentional silence and wait. As expected, my boys start filling the space with conversation and questions. Charlie updates me on what he learned about World War II, who got in trouble in class, and what position in flag football he hopes to play. Nicholas quizzes me on my knowledge of the Titanic, tells me how happy he is that we have a dog and how he worries kids will make fun of his glasses or freckles.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Focus on How They Learn vs. How You Teach

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Mar 5, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

If you’ve read an earlier blog of mine on why BHAGs matter, you already know what last night’s tour of my son, Jack’s, Middle School meant to me. In short, Jack is autistic and will be moving into Middle School in an inclusive environment with lockers, electives, changing classes and boatloads of hormones. The Principal spoke passionately about why this school is different. He said, “We focus on how the children learn rather than how the teachers teach.” He went on to explain how they are incorporating different methods to reach all learning styles, motivators and developmental paths and to tailor the curriculum as much as possible. 

We all know the value of a great teacher. Who were your favorite teachers and why? Mine were Mrs. Pratt in Kindergarten for seeing the inner drama queen in me and giving me the starring role in our class play; Ms. Wexler in 3rd grade for entrusting me with the class guinea pig, Cuddles; and Mr. McCandless in 4th grade for telling me he thought I’d make a great teacher when I grew up. You can tell I wasn’t a huge fan of middle/high school. All of my favorite teachers found unique ways to reward me and to recognize my talents.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

When Personalities Walk into a Meeting

Posted by Liz McBride on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

I think it was hour three into my Topgrading interview for my coaching position at Rhythm Systems when my McQuaig personality results were pulled out for analysis. Even though I’ve facilitated umpteen leadership workshops and authoritatively explained how our personality remains constant barring outlying traumatic factors, I was worried my neuroticism score may have hit an all-time high and would take me out of the running to be a level-headed, calming influence on my clients.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

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