How to Stop Wasting Your Money on Training by Understanding “Cause” – Part 2

Do you think that most “people skills” training is a waste of money because nothing changes after the training? Do you ever wonder why so much behavior-focused “training” doesn’t stick? Or why someone agrees to change their behavior and really means it – but then they slip back to the “old” behavior that was a… Continue Reading

The 6 Major Reasons Why “People Skills” Training Doesn’t Work – and 6 Action Steps to Fix It

Has this ever happened to you? Your company decides you need to attend a workshop to get enhanced or improved “people skills” on topics like team building or conflict resolution. Or, it might be training about getting along better with others or something like that. And, you start to feel frustrated and, sometimes, even resentful. “Here we go… Continue Reading

Why Managers Feel Vulnerable When Dealing With Non-Performance And 3 Things They Can Do To Deal With It.

Has this ever happened to you as a manager? One of your direct reports doesn’t do what their job (function) requires them to do. Perhaps they didn’t get a report in on time or they showed up late for work because they slept in or they left out a crucial step in a project which… Continue Reading

The Value of Understanding What “Maturity” Really Means

“She’s just not mature enough to manage this team”. “He’s so immature, always getting emotional when people don’t agree with him.” “She’s really mature for her age. I think she can handle the promotion.” If you’ve heard comments like this or even said something like it yourself, you’ve stepped into the shape-shifting arena of a… Continue Reading

“No Respect”: 3 Factors Influencing Why IT Often Doesn’t Get Respect Within the Corporation – and What to Do About It

What’s up with the Information Technology (IT) department in most companies? Even though they provide a valuable service, they often face challenges in getting the appropriate recognition and respect for their efforts and contributions, in the past or in the present. To understand this better – and to do something about it – it helps… Continue Reading

The #1 Most Powerful Motivator At Work

As a manager, if someone asked you about the #1 most important “motivator” for your employees, what would you say? Money? A title? Opportunity for growth? A place where all the workers get along without conflict? Surprisingly, none of these is #1. There is a lot of research that has explored the most powerful and… Continue Reading

How to Better Manage Your Time & Prioritize More Effectively

At the restart of any business year, we often hear people say that there is so much to do that they don’t have enough time to appropriately handle all the priorities coming at them, all at once. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Especially as you start your New Year, when a number of… Continue Reading

Are You a Conditional or an Unconditional Team Member? – Respect for the Team Leader

If you’ve ever wondered why some members of a team seem to support the appointed team leader unconditionally while others seem as if they are trying to take over the team, this blog will help explain what’s going on. The reason that it’s important to know and understand these differences is to have a better understanding… Continue Reading

Five Tips on How To Reply To An Email Effectively In Business

There are lots of blogs (including ours) that focus on how to Write an effective email. However, it’s just as important to effectively Reply to an email. Here are some tips about how to reply, based on our experience and on Best Practices: Use “Reply All” appropriately Determine urgency Update the subject line Remember intent Be specific… Continue Reading

Nine Tips on How To Write An Effective Email In Business

Have you ever had an email “blow up” on you? Or, have you seen one “blow up” on someone else? Was it misunderstood, generating negative feedback, necessitating follow-up emails, and even lengthy phone calls trying to “fix” things? If the answer is “yes”, the tips below might prevent this from happening again or at least,… Continue Reading

How to Get Two More Productive Hours at Work Everyday With One Simple (Surprising) Strategy

In our previous blogs we focused on how unmanaged email can affect your work life negatively. And, we focused on how the telephone is more effective than email in communicating your message effectively. However, email is a fact of life in business, so if you must use it, it’s important to use and manage it… Continue Reading

The #1 Reason Why the Phone is More Effective than Email

Email hasn’t helped improve communication in the workplace. In many cases, it’s made things worse. And, many managers are wondering how to fix this. Here’s a suggestion…

How Email Might Be Hurting Your Business

Email is not communication. Instead, it is rapidly facilitating the erosion and breakdown of effective communication. Especially within larger companies. Here’s why. The technology is seductive. Because it is so easy to use and so immediate, it has seduced us into thinking that when we email someone, we’re actually communicating with them. Which is not… Continue Reading

Why Most People are Uncomfortable with Conflict

“Why are they always fighting?”, Brandon asks Danielle. “I used to think they were fighting”, Danielle replies, “but they’re not. They’re just disagreeing.” “Well, it looks like fighting to me.”, says Brandon. “What makes you so sure they’re not fighting?” It’s a good question and you may have experienced a similar situation. Why does one… Continue Reading

For Your Convenience. Easy-to-Scroll List of Every Breakthrough Management Blog

We’ve added a new feature for you at the Breakthrough Management blog. An easy to scan, complete list of every blog we’ve written – by title. It’s alphabetical and easily scrollable. If you’d like, simply click here to see the complete list… It will be automatically updated with each new post. There is also an… Continue Reading

“Why Am I Here?” (and 4 More Questions You Might Ask About Your Job)

If you’re struggling a bit with your job these days and perhaps asking yourself questions, they are most likely to include at least one of the 5 powerful questions that help frame you and your job. Whether you are an employee or a manager, they are critical. Research shows that in high performing business cultures,… Continue Reading

The Classic Interviewing Trap and How to Avoid It

Every day in businesses across the country, a hidden trap sabotages the selection of the right candidate for the job during the interviewing process. It’s hiding in plain sight. This trap is created by a general misunderstanding of what interviewers are specifically interviewing for. Even though they are hoping to determine if the candidate is… Continue Reading

Two Kinds of Quitting

Here’s something we’ve learned over the past 30 years of helping managers become better at what they do.  We’ve noticed that people can quit in one of 2 ways. They quit and leave. Or, they quit and stay. If they quit and leave, they have gone. Even though it may be challenging to replace them, it’s… Continue Reading

How To Increase Your Chances of Success by Understanding How We Learn

(Click on graphic to view full size. Use the back button on your browser to return to the blog below which explains how understanding this model can help you.) Our world is changing at an ever increasing rate, which is why many of us are finding that to survive and prosper, we have to continue… Continue Reading

Two Critical Issues that Impact High-Performing Business Cultures

We are often asked, “how do you create a business culture where self-management and motivation take care of themselves?” The answer might surprise you. It starts with some basic clarity as to what most companies want: They want more profit. A healthier “bottom-line” More than ever, managers are focusing directly on how self-management and motivation generate more… Continue Reading

When Something Simple is Not So Simple

Has this ever happened to you? You ask someone to do something that seems easy to you and they can’t do it. And, you’re confused because it seems so simple and straightforward to you. After all, you understand it and can accomplish it the way you want. Why can’t they? But somehow, they can’t see… Continue Reading

Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them to Do – Part 4. Organizational Issues

In Parts 1 to 3 of this blog series, we focused on 3 of the 4 causes of why people don’t do what you want them to do at work. In this blog, we focus on a fourth cause – Organizational issues. That’s because there are only 4 potential causes why someone doesn’t do what you… Continue Reading

Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them to Do – Part 3. Goals and/or Communication

In Part 1 and 2 of this blog series, we focused on two of the 4 causes why people don’t do what you want them to do at work. In this blog, we focus on a third cause – Goals and/or Communications. That’s because there are only 4 potential causes of why someone doesn’t do… Continue Reading

Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them to Do – Part 2. Skills and/or Knowledge

In Part 1 of this blog series, we focused on Motivation as one of the 4 causes of why people don’t do what you want them to do at work. In this blog, we focus on a possible second cause. Skills and/or Knowledge. That’s because there are only 4 potential causes why someone doesn’t do… Continue Reading

Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them to Do – Part 1. Motivation.

Has this ever happened to you? You ask someone to do something at work, they say they are going to do it, and then they don’t do what you want, the way you want. If this has happened, did it trigger an upset in you such as frustration, disappointment, anger, or any of 200+ emotions… Continue Reading

The 7 Things That Belong in Your Personnel File

HR professionals often ask us what we expect to see in a Personnel file and our answer is always the same regardless of the business. It’s all about making sure the file includes the necessary documents that support the function (job) and help grow the person in that function. Specifically, documents that comprehensively and properly… Continue Reading

How to Write A Good Job Description

Most Job Descriptions these days are nothing more than thinly disguised Recruiting Documents. The lines have become blurred between them. It’s important to notice this distinction because a Recruiting Document is all about trying to hire the right person for the job and a Job Description is all about giving the person clarity about their… Continue Reading

How to Increase the Likelihood of Having Your Expectations Met – The Non-Negotiation Trap 

If you aren’t having your expectations met, it might be because you haven’t negotiated them. It’s easy to fall into this “non-negotiation trap.” That’s because we usually have expectations of others based on our assumptions – which are rooted in the way they behaved in the past. And, that’s why we expect them to do the same… Continue Reading

How to Increase the Likelihood of Having Your Expectations Met – The Time Trap 

If you have an expectation of someone or something, it probably means you think or hope that “what you expect” will happen sometime in the future. That’s because expectations are future focused – whether it be a minute from now or 3 years from now. In other words, they haven’t happened yet but you think… Continue Reading

Why Job Descriptions Are Really Important

If you don’t have a current job description – that you’ve looked at and reviewed in the last 90 days with your manager – then the truth is that you don’t know what your job is and your manager doesn’t know what to manage. That might sound like a nervy statement. But it’s so important,… Continue Reading

One Thing That Successful People Usually Have in Common

Successful and super-successful people nearly always have one thing in common. They all behave out of a natural sense of urgency. Here’s what this means… They just do more of the little things they don’t like doing, more often than the people who don’t. That’s it. Do you think this would make a difference for your… Continue Reading

Boomerang Delegating

“Boomerang Delegating” happens when you think you’ve delegated something to someone who reports to you and it ends up back on your “to do” list. Why does this happen? What makes it boomerang back? In our experience it’s usually because you assumed 4 things about the person you delegated to. You probably assumed that this person is just… Continue Reading

Motivate Me. Please.

If you think you can motivate anybody, there’s a simple test to see if it’s true. Just choose a stranger and motivate them at will. Although it sounds silly, the test is powerful because it raises an important truth to consciousness. It is … You can never motivate anyone. All you can do is make… Continue Reading

One Major Reason Things Go Wrong At Work – And How to Fix It

How often have you heard this (or even said this)… “How did this happen? I can’t believe this job didn’t get done the way I wanted! What’s the problem with (him/her/you)?” In our experience, this type of finger-pointing, confusion, and judgement accomplishes nothing. Instead, it often triggers resentment, frustration, annoyance, and a host of non-productive… Continue Reading

4 Guidelines on How to Survive The Mergers & Acquisitions’ Train Wreck

There are more mergers and acquisitions (M&As) taking place now than ever before. For employees, this is often not good news. That’s because a lot of things can go wrong during an M&A. But there is a way to avoid this and create a healthier experience for those involved – by following some important guidelines…. Continue Reading

The Power of Proactive Thinking

How many times do we hear the words, “Think before you act”? Why does it even matter? What’s the value in thinking before acting? The answer is simple and powerful… If you think things through before you do something, you are much more likely to get the results or outcomes that you want more often. If… Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why You Agree When You Don’t Want to Agree – In Your Personal Life.

Why do we agree with someone when we really don’t want to agree? What makes us say “yes” when we really want to say “no”? What are the causes of these behaviors? The answer starts by understanding how we operate out of the 3 main circles of influence in our lives – Business (at work), Social… Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why You Agree When You Don’t Want to Agree – In Society

Why do we agree with someone when we really don’t want to agree? What makes us say “yes” when we really want to say “no”? What are the causes of these behaviors? It all starts by understanding how we operate out of the 3 main circles of influence in our lives. They are Business (work),… Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why You Agree When You Don’t Want to Agree – At Work

Why do we agree with someone when we really don’t want to agree? What makes us say “yes” when we really want to say “no”? What are the causes of these behaviors? It all starts by understanding how we operate out of the 3 main circles of influence in our lives. They are Business, Social,… Continue Reading

Corporate Culture and Why It Can Derail Strategy

Management guru Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Here’s what he meant and here’s why it’s important. To grow, businesses need strategy. They need to figure out what to do about market share, competition, change, and customer and client needs. To do this, they spend a lot of time and money. Then, when it… Continue Reading

The Powerful Manager – Dangers and Opportunities

“The more powerful the manager, the less likely he or she was to take advice.” That’s what the researchers say in “Kidding Ourselves”, the latest book from Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph Hallinan. They also say that “power tends to diminish perception and perspective…”. In other words, it narrows the scope and the focus of… Continue Reading

How to Tell The Difference Between Managing and Bossing

If you are a Manager or Leader and have sometimes wondered why you don’t always get the performance and commitment that you want from the people who work for you, here is a checklist that might help. If you recognize any of your behaviors under the BOSSING column, then these behaviors may be adding to… Continue Reading

The Golden Rule of Business

“If you are not directly serving or supporting the customer or client, you’d better be supporting or serving someone who is.”

Communication Breakdown – “What’s Your Intent?”

Why does communication break down? What’s the cause? When communication breaks down, probably over 95% of the cause is the “misinterpretation of intent”. And this misinterpretation usually happens because one person has trouble understanding (and/or contexting) someone else’s behavior. Here’s what this sounds like… “Why did Kelly do that?”. “What was the purpose of Justin doing that.” “I… Continue Reading

3 More Things Men Can Learn From Women in Business

Men need to start paying even more attention to women. Here’s why… Nearly 50% of all medical students are women. Nearly 60% of biology degrees are awarded to women, including graduate degrees. And, nearly 50% of all people in law school are women. In other words, male dominated industries have changed forever. What’s going on… Continue Reading

3 Action Steps to Keep Your Customers

Research continues to show that more than 2 out of 3 customers leave because of “indifference” on the part of the sales person or the company that’s providing the service or product. This is a huge number! And, there’s a simple solution to prevent this from happening to you or your company. All you have… Continue Reading

The Hidden Half of Empowerment

We hear the word ‘empowerment’ a lot these days – in the news, in business blogs, and in the workplace. Although it’s an important topic, it seems that most of the commentaries deal with only half of what ‘empowerment’ is actually about. That’s because they only focus on one need – the ‘task’ – or… Continue Reading

“But I Didn’t Say Anything!” (you cannot not behave)

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve been minding your own business and a co-worker, “Susan”, comes to you and starts talking about another co-worker, “Bob” (who isn’t in the room). She is complaining about his behavior. Since you don’t like what you hear, you don’t say anything and eventually Susan walks away. A bit… Continue Reading

The 3 Most Common Triggers of Stress

If you’ve ever been stressed and wondered how you ended up there, it can be helpful to understand the role of stress triggers. Three of the most common triggers of stress are… Uncertainty Lack of information The feeling of lack of control Although these aren’t causes of stress, they are triggers that can activate stress. Here’s… Continue Reading

3 Elements of Effective Communication

Here is a simple and powerful way to communicate effectively. All you have to do is focus on the 3 major elements of effective communications. They are… 1. Set a communication goal. 2. Set “points of agreement” and “discussion boundaries”. 3. Agree that you reached the goal. Here are the details… 1. A ‘Communication’ Goal…. Continue Reading

Decision Making Simplified

Most of us make decisions hundreds of times a day. Although some are easy and some are difficult, the truth is that the decision making process that goes on in our heads follows the same principles for all of us. Let’s break this down. There are only three kinds of decisions that we ever make…. Continue Reading

How To Appropriately “Manage Up”

In our blog “why people behave the way they do” , we suggested that if you are not getting what you want from someone – or are having an issue with their behavior – you can make progress if you simply forgive yourself for being uncomfortable and let them know what you want anyway. This sparked… Continue Reading

Do You Feel Valued, Supported, Safe and…

At Breakthrough Management, our experience consistently tells us that people consider their managers to be effective when they walk away from any interaction with their manager, holding this lasting impression… “I have been listened to, I have been heard, I feel valued, supported, safe, and cared for. I am growing and being grown.”

If You Are a Manager, When is Your Job Done?

If you are a manager, you know your job is done when all of the people who directly report to you are impeccable self-managers and are all over-qualified to do their jobs. This means you will have essentially worked yourself out of a job because the people now manage themselves effectively and can all do… Continue Reading

The 3 Most Powerful Rewards and Punishers

Research into human behavior clearly shows that people would prefer to do something that is rewarding to them rather than something that is punishing. A REWARD can be something that is easy for you to do, you like doing it, you’re good at it, it’s exciting, it’s not boring, or you get noticed when you… Continue Reading

The 5 Steps to Effectively Deal with Non-Performance

If, as a manager or supervisor,  you’ve ever had to deal with someone’s non-performance you know how uncomfortable it can be for you. And, no one wants to feel uncomfortable. That’s why, far too often, the non-performance is allowed to continue as if it will take care of itself or just go away. Just so… Continue Reading

3 Critical Things That Men Can Learn from Women in Business

There’s so much men can learn from women that would make them more effective in business. Here are just 3 important things that women have demonstrated they are better at than men… 1. They are willing to share power. This makes delegation much easier which implies and demonstrates trust. 2. They are willing to ask… Continue Reading

The Important Difference Between Versatility and Manipulation

We’ve been getting this question a lot. And, it’s a slippery slope. Here it is… “Why do some people see me as being manipulative in certain situations when I TRULY BELIEVE I’m being versatile?” The answer starts by knowing what versatility looks like. Here are some examples of versatility… You smile when you don’t feel… Continue Reading

Why Common Sense Isn’t Common

“Common sense isn’t so common.” Have you said this? Or heard someone else say it? Most of the time, you might just have a good laugh about the lack of ‘common sense’ but sometimes it can manifest as real misunderstanding or even as negatively judging someone else’s behavior, which can lead to serious problems.  What’s… Continue Reading

The Truth About Motivation

Human motivation is a very complicated subject and we’ll cover it from many angles in upcoming blogs – some long and some short. You can start with this… All human behavior is driven by motivation. This means that even when you’re not motivated about something – you’re actually still motivated. It’s just that you are… Continue Reading

Versatility – How to Better Get Along With Others

Next time you hear, “He (or she) just can’t get along with that person”, you might want to think about this. You can get along with anyone, if you want to. Here’s why… We are all versatile. It’s the essential skill we need to get on with each other. We are not born versatile. Rather,… Continue Reading

How To Actually Make Simple Simple

Getting something simple takes enormous energy. However, keeping something simple doesn’t take a lot of energy. And, there’s the rub. Because, when something is ‘simple’ for you, you’ve usually forgotten how much time, energy, and effort you spent getting it simple in the first place – starting when you first tried to know, understand and… Continue Reading

How To Sell Without Selling – The Complete Story

Here’s your biggest opportunity if you are in sales. It begins if you understand what’s behind the almost universal truth that, as consumers,  “WE LOVE TO BUY BUT HATE TO BE SOLD”. Which means that “sales” is essentially about a buying process and not a selling process. If this is true (and it mostly is)… Continue Reading

How to Immediately Improve Your Sales

Here’s how to get more sales fast.  Just ask for qualified referrals.  It’s that simple.  A qualified referral is the lowest hanging fruit for most salespeople in most situations. But, if it’s so easy, why don’t more salespeople do it?  It’s because most sales people are uncomfortable asking for referrals just as most people are… Continue Reading

Our Definition of Management

Our definition of Management is: “More than anything else, managers must have the ability to grow good people who can grow good people.” In the final analysis, it’s all about growing people.  This inevitably to leads to more competence, greater loyalty, and enhanced collaboration and retention.

How To Support Your People Better As A Manager

If you are a manager and you believe that people are your most valuable resource, there is nothing more important that you can do in any given day than support your people. This means that if a direct report comes to see you about anything, their request and/or issue moves right to the top of… Continue Reading

5 Simple Steps to Run a More Effective Meeting

Someone said that 85% of meetings are a waste of time. Here’s 5 steps to make sure that your meetings are among the most effective. Have an agenda. A meeting without an agenda means the meeting has no direction to start with. Someone must run the meeting. The person who chairs the meeting must manage… Continue Reading

3 Steps To Help You Better Manage Your Time

If your time management is getting out of control, here are 3 steps that might help. 1. Take control. If you don’t manage your time, everybody else will. 2. Make a list. Think of all the things you have to do and put them into 3 columns… Seriousness, Urgency, and Growth. 3. Prioritize. Use the… Continue Reading

Why People Behave The Way
They Do

What % do you personally own when it comes to cause of the ‘breakdown’?

  1. 1. Either you intentionally didn’t communicate…
  2. 2. Why communication breaks down between human beings is misinterpretation of intent.

I need to improve how I communicate with people immediately. Ask ‘is it working’?

Audio: If you question why they did it, what was the purpose, I don’t understand it – they are questioning intent. Not sure where they are coming from. Not sure why they are behaving the way they are behaving. As soon as they do that, you aren’t going to get what you want which means you haven’t effectively influenced them.

How To Get What You Want

If you really want something, there’s a very simple way to increase the likelihood you will get it. All you have to do is make it important. That’s it. Make what you want important. This will get it on your radar where you are more likely to spend energy to make it happen. Here’s why…… Continue Reading

The Biggest Cause Of Business Failure

What is the biggest ongoing cause of business failure in North America, today? If someone asked you, what would you say? Based on our experience, most people would answer that it was the result of one or more of these 3 factors – not enough opportunity, not enough resources or not enough talent. However, it… Continue Reading