Decision Making

From the Culture Desk: When Startups Get Political

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 | 0 comments

“It was great in the early days. Then things got political.” This is a common lament from my startup clients. When pressed to define “political,” the answers can get a bit fuzzy. Most find it hard to pinpoint, but, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said of obscenity, they “know it when [they] see it.” Asked to describe specific behaviors, one HR head talked about managers who push their own or their team’s agenda or compete for resources. A director client described others trying to make themselves look good to the CEO. Meanwhile, a CEO complained about employees who...

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Follow Tina Fey’s Advice: Say Yes, And…..

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 | 0 comments

There are a number of lessons I will take from Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossy Pants. Stay away from the paper cups in male writers’ offices at Saturday Night Live is one.** Another is that fame and fortune do not make women immune to the often agonizing trade-offs between career and parenting. But the lesson that is sticking with me the most is a lesson from the world of improvisational comedy:  Say “yes, and ….” Before joining Saturday Night Live, Fey, know best as the executive producer and star of the sitcom “30 Rock,”  and as the uncanny mimic of Sarah Palin on...

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Conflict Avoidance is a Warning Signal

Posted by on Dec 24, 2011 | 0 comments

The absence of conflict may be a sign that something is wrong with your team. This may sound counter-intuitive at first, but it’s true. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,  author Patrick Lencioni sets up a pyramid of indicators of team dysfunction, the second tier of which is lack of conflict (we’ll get to the first in a moment). While at first it might sound nice to be in a conflict-free environment, it is actually uncomfortable, because what it means is that people are stifling themselves. Here’s what it looks like: boring meetings where the participants are so...

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