I was a female Marine in the 70s

Back then we were called Women Marines, WMs or BAMs. We told ourselves that BAM stood for Beautiful American Marine, but we knew better. I was assigned a 0102 MOS [that’s military occupational specialty] as a Personnel Officer.

When I arrived at my first duty station in the Mohave Desert, I was introduced around the headquarters building, where I would be working. A crusty Lieutenant Colonel called me aside and handed me a business card. It said, “I’ve had a vasectomy.” I had just been through a few months of hell where us Second Lieutenants were put in fear of senior officers and taught to do as we were commanded. Thankfully, I had the strength to say “thank you,” and walk on.  Then I went back to my quarters and cried.

After a few weeks, I received a phone call at work from the President of the Officers’ Wives Association. She said that several people saw me eating lunch with one of the Marine Officers (who happened to be my boss) in the Officers’ Club. She suggested that I should refrain from doing that in the future. She didn’t say why. She didn’t have to. (more…)

Develop Leaders or Develop Leadership?

develop leaderI am often blown away by the sheer volume of entities who provide “leadership development.”  How would a conscientious buyer know where to start?

Here is a start: decide if you want to develop leaders, or develop leadership.

Do you want to develop the skills and competencies of individual leaders? Or do you want to develop the leadership of your team?  Both are important, but they are different.

The skill sets of individual leaders in most organizations run the gamut from novice to expert, and the knowledge and competence required at higher levels of leadership grow exponentially. What a young front line leader needs to know and do is very different than what a director over multiple and varied units needs to know and do. Leadership skills should build from the bottom up.  It doesn’t make sense to use leadership learning materials designed for C-Suite executives when preparing to be a manager. (more…)

A Case Study: HR Takes a Leadership Role in Strategy

misalignment_pics_smallIn 2014, we had the privilege of working with an amazing client to help them through the massive organizational changes that were in the works. Covenant Woods is a continuing care retirement community that, in 2014, experienced a physical expansion that almost doubled the size of their physical space and resident population. At the same time, a long time CEO was retiring and a new CEO came aboard.

All this change was, to their Director of HR, a terrific opportunity to build a cohesive leadership team, and asked us to help.

We had the opportunity to reflect on our work in a podcast, hosted by Prana Business. Prana is our partner in improving strategic alignment within organizations, and we use their Line-of-Sight tool to measure alignment and create plans to strengthen and grow.

Listen to the podcast

You can also download the transcript here.

We thought you might find this case study helpful if you are looking to ensure that the work being done throughout the organization is actually the right work to move the organization forward.

Many thanks to Emily Robinson-Endert, Director of HR at Covenant Woods, for allowing us to showcase this project. Thanks also to Joe Clark, CEO of Prana Business, for hosting the podcast and for developing this excellent instrument.