Author Archives: Pete M

The Guts to Really Be Fair, Firm, and Consistent

One of the workshop sessions I particularly enjoy teaching is a class for new supervisors/directors. Usually attendees are eager and even anxious to learn the “tips of the trade.” There are always some “veterans” attendees who are there to be reminded of why they do what they do. Then there is the occasional “wily” veteran who is really there to “catch” the presenter in a contradiction or error.

Early in a recent session we talked about choosing your battles. That is, an effective manager can’t do everything at once, or certainly can’t do it effectively. In fact, if the manager has his/her proverbial finger in every pie it can really hurt the operation.  It negatively impacts morale, staff development, and overall performance. Read the rest of this entry

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Peggy and Pete are taking a break for Thanksgiving. We’ll be back with our usual (semi-)witty and sometimes provocative takes on life in mid-December. Please enjoy your time with friends and family and know that we both are thankful for your support, attention, and (in many cases) friendship.

The Guts to Keep Pushing

We’ve all been there. We make a suggestion that we’re certain will make things better. Instead of being greeted with support or acceptance we’re met with waffling, or worse yet, resistance.  Whether it’s stated or not, the message is clear –  “Please move on to other issues.”  Frequently it sounds something like this, “Thank you for your suggestion. We’ll take it under consideration. “

I recently attended an IEP meeting where I was invited to review a student’s progress towards transportation independence. This junior high student with special needs was to be learning “stranger danger” so that she would be able to travel to the neighborhood bus stop safely. Eventually, the goal was that she would be capable of getting to school as her non-disabled peers do. This student was very “high-functioning” and just needed to learn some safety habits. It would not have been unreasonable to expect her to not require special education transportation at all by her sophomore year in high school. Read the rest of this entry

Asking For Help

This is the third post in our series “The Guts of Leadership.”

General John Barry was the executive director for the investigation of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. He recently presented for NAPT’s Leading Every Day initiative. Among the many insights he offered about NASA’s mindset prior to the disaster was one which was particularly salient:  “Asking for help is a measure of strength – not weakness. “ Read the rest of this entry

The Guts to Assess

This post kicks off what we call The Guts of Leadership series. You’ve probably noticed that over the past few months we’ve expressed our frustrations with weak leadership and the failure to change when change is clearly necessary. So over the next couple of months we’ll highlight some specific practices we see in far too many operations. We hope to provoke some critically needed improvements.

In a recent article titled 6 Sins of Leadership, the former head of GE Jack Welch asserts that poor leaders lack the guts to differentiate between the star performers and those who are performing at a lower level. He rails against managers who are “unwilling to deliver candid, rigorous performance reviews, …[and instead] give every employee the same kind of bland, mushy, ‘nice job’ sign-off”. Read the rest of this entry

Who Says Work Can’t Be Fun?

I recently had the pleasure of a lengthy flight delay at LaGuardia airport. Pleasure you say? How’s that possible? Nobody enjoys layovers. Well this particular extended stay at the food court was actually enjoyable. We staked out a spot near a recharging outlet and settled in for what threatened to be a long boring delay. Read the rest of this entry

Summer Travel and An Apology to Our Readers

The summer conference and training schedules have dashed our hopes and plans of posting more frequently. We’re truly sorry. We hope to get back to the regular schedule in the fall, filled with new ideas and inspirations from our summer experiences. Peggy is also temporarily on the disabled list recovering from surgery.

One of the benefits of writing this blog is that we get to share frustrations and ideas. We also get to pass on praise and complaints. In that spirit I offer the following.

It has been both a pleasure and an honor to be invited to so many venues. However, the travels have had their highs and lows. Here’s a light look from recent travels: Read the rest of this entry

Resistance to Change – An Unusual Slant

ChangeI have taught many workshop and conference sessions about facilitating change in organizations. In these classes we spend a great deal of time talking about why you need to be a change agent and how to go about succeeding in bringing about change. We review specific strategies for overcoming resistance to change. In fact, I was hired into my current job primarily because of my “expertise” in this particular area of management.

I’ve been working with several people on a project which promises to improve our transportation service for students with special needs. In addition to being right for kids, this new way to think about where students should be picked up and discharged is also right for budgets, and the communities in which these students live. I expected resistance because change is usually difficult and creating large scale change is even more challenging. Woodrow Wilson famously said “If you want to make an enemy, change something.”  I know this, so I expected – and prepared for – resistance.  Usually the opposition shows up as some variation of intentional misunderstanding, rumor generating, questioning the ability to achieve the promised results, fearing extra work, or plain denial. :  I anticipated – and I saw – instances of these and other tactics.  What I was not prepared for were the nay-sayers who objected simply because the suggested changes were progressive. Read the rest of this entry

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