Entries by Elizabeth Doty

Turning “Accidental Adversaries” into Allies

Strategic leaders know that when teams share information and work together, the company as a whole is able to win more customers, fend off competitors, reduce costs, and increase agility.  Yet in practice, teams naturally lean toward going it alone. As organizations become more global, virtual, and complex, it takes more work for teams to […]

Using Improv to Transform How You Lead

Leaders who listen and engage in open dialogue with their employees gain enormous advantages. Yet, in practice, leaders sometimes hesitate to invite such dialogue, because they fear their employees’ opinions will be off-base. Rather than face a confrontation, these managers sidestep important conversations altogether. Avoiding difficult conversations may seem easier in the short term. But […]

How to Say No When It Really Counts

In September, 2016, I spoke with three experts on how to say no in the most difficult situations.   Mariano Mosquera, director of the “Transparency Observatory” at Catholic University of Córdoba, Argentina, who teaches classes for business professionals trying to resist corruption.  Joshua Weiss, senior fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project.  Richard Bistrong, chief executive officer […]

Personal Ethics in the Corporate World

In today’s high-speed organizations, it is easy to find ourselves in situations that subtly (or not so subtly) conflict with our values — even in companies we admire. Are we really treating our employees with respect? Are we telling the whole truth to our customers? Have we “massaged” the numbers in ways that are misleading […]

Why Your Employees Are Always Putting Out Fires

Company leaders, consider the following questions: How many surprises have you dealt with this week? How many customer relationships have had to be rescued or late orders escalated? How many apologies delivered, numbers explained, or presentations redone? Every leader I know wrestles with these and other crises as a matter of routine. Yet leaders also […]

Five Moments When Saying No Is Your Best Strategy

Most successful leaders have little difficulty saying no to a losing deal, to a project that’s wasting money, or to a request that doesn’t align with their priorities. But these same leaders can find it very uncomfortable to speak up when their concerns are less cut-and-dried or when their organization is hell-bent on pursuing a […]

Finding the “Herbie” in Your Change Initiative

For many companies, the biggest threat today is not complacency, but overreaching. When too much change is happening at once, competing initiatives undermine one another and disconnected priorities put the core business at risk. But how should change champions reconcile these competing, urgent initiatives? Eli Goldratt’s 1984 classic, The Goal, offers a counter-intuitive but powerful […]

Want to Change Corporate Culture? Focus on Actions.

To shape a positive culture, many leaders focus on articulating their organization’s mission and values — the why and the how they hope will inspire their teams to deliver. Unfortunately, almost every company has a values statement, and posted values show no significant correlation with business outcomes. However, research shows that companies that live their […]

Does Your Company Keep Its Promises?

Businesses today make a lot of promises, to customers, employees, investors and the larger world. These promises help build trust, but they also add risk. The fact is, we live in an era of transparency driven by social media, in which businesses that don’t keep their word have nowhere to hide. It is troubling then, […]

Us versus Them: Reframing Resistance to Change

Anyone attempting to lead change in an organization knows to expect some resistance; but this is no less frustrating for being predictable. Over time, you may find yourself gravitating toward those who support the change, and distancing yourself from those who openly or quietly oppose it. Unfortunately, approaching change with this sort of “us versus […]