- trust Tag Tue, 23 May 2017 05:13:27 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Make Candor a Priority to Succeed Mergers and acquisitions can seem too daunting when we view the merging entities as separate cultures, with separate norms, separate ways of doing things. Usually the small company is eaten by the larger and loses its persona. People leave the company in droves and, with that loss, goes much of the wisdom and human energy for creating the new entity.

What is left is often a demoralized culture, a group of individuals who are riddled with fear over how the new parents will treat them-friend or foe-and who feel abandoned by those who left for "greener pastures." The new entity needs to be shaped and crafted, and a leader with wisdom for creating 'power-with others' can make the difference between success and failure in a merger and acquisition.

Case in Point: Bayer

When Bayer, a $40 billion multinational pharmaceutical company, acquired a smaller $300 million diagnostic company, Rolf Classon, then Bayer President and CEO, chose to call it a "merger."

Power-with Others

He wanted to immediately establish a "power-with others" relationship with the new organization. I was part of a consulting team who facilitated a multi-day vision, values, and leadership session to help the leadership team create the new direction for the culture and the business.

"We are becoming one company," Rolf told the top hundred people from both companies at their kickoff meeting. He went on to convey that he wanted to set new ground rules for working collaboratively in a new environment in which "together we can create something that never existed before."

The executives discussed changes that needed to be made in the organization to maximize the new partnership. Then they broke into smaller teams to craft the new vision and values, with the intent of reporting their insights to the larger executive team.

When the executives reconvened, a spirit of trust and collaboration had clearly emerged. They had worked together to create a vision of shared success and in doing so released a new sense of hope for the future.

Rolf once again stood before the group and asked, "How many of you have been through a visioning session before?" Everyone raised his or her hand.

"How many of you have left those sessions and returned to the workplace, only to find that nothing had changed?" Mostly everyone raised his or hand. He then declared, "For us to be successful as an organization, we need to realize that we can't create the organization we want without making fundamental changes in ourselves."

Candor Revealed

As the event unfolded, something magical occurred. Rolf, by his example, taught the executives the true meaning of leadership. "Change begins inside each person. So I want to let you know that over the past few days I have been looking at what I've been doing to unknowingly prevent change from taking place."

"I've discovered at least sixteen things I want to change about myself! Here are my top three: my arrogance, my control, and my lack of trust."

"At lunch I want you each to think about what change means to you, and what you can do personally to inspire your own growth. After lunch I want to hear from my top executives - from the podium - expressing their personal insights."

The CEO allowed himself to be as transparent and vulnerable as he had ever been in his life when he acknowledged the personal work he needed to do to make this merger a success. As he left behind his flaws so did the other executives, which made room for cooperation and partnership to grow.

Rolf continued his talk about the future. He engaged others in conversations about the "big challenges" and the "big picture." The key was creating a shared context for change. By setting the stage in this way, he enabled others to find a common ground on which to build the future. The Bayer merger became the most successful in the company's history.

Success Factor

Through our research and client projects over the past decade, we have identified that the level of candor in an organization is the marker that best predicts high performing teams and the single most important success factor in transformation and change. Organizations that exhibit high levels of candor produce the highest and most successful performing teams.

By setting the context for candor and transparency, you level the playing field among co-workers. You set the tone for people to be candid with each other. Power and hierarchy become less important than the results colleagues can create together through trust, honesty and teamwork.

LeaderShift: From Exclusive Conversations to Inclusive Conversations

The norms for what good leadership looks like are rapidly changing, favoring those leaders who have mastery over their emotions and can uplift themselves and others through candor and caring instead of falling back into I-centric thinking and fear-based behaviors. Their goal is to create the space for difficult and challenging conversations to take place.

Recognize when you or your employees are moving into defensive behaviors.

Learn to recognize when you are coming from in an unhealthy way. For instance, are you withdrawing and excluding others? Are you defensive and reactive, setting the context for territorialism to emerge? Shift your mindset from I to WE, and set a new context for communication, connectivity, and collaboration, for joining with others for mutual gain.

PRACTICE: Rather than excluding people during times of change shift into more inclusive behavior.


  1. Senior executives own the strategy
  2. Information kept close to the vest
  3. Using status to impress; keep the distance
  4. Exclusion, closed doors
  5. Lack of willingness to be candid


  1. Senior executives dialogue with employees on strategy
  2. Information about company's health, wealth and business strategy shared
  3. Employees included in change process; involved, engaged, empowered
  4. Inclusion, open door policy
  5. Candor abounds

Understanding how you can positively influence the direction that conversations take place through Leadershift transforms problems into opportunities for growth, enables everyone to learn in the moment, and nourishes WE-centric thinking.


Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books: Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership.

Read more]]> (Creating We) Career Mon, 02 Apr 2012 12:23:00 +0000
Co-creating Conversations & Connectivity

Many of us learn how to talk to each other without graduating to the next level of conversation that enables us to go after and achieve our greatest aspirations with each other.

effective communication skills and collaborationHow easy it is to fall into discussions that reinforce what we don't want in our present situation, or focus on what we think is broken? Coming from lack or scarcity and focusing on fixing our problems rather than feeding our passions and what we want to achieve has become such a human habit that we don't even know we're doing it. It's as though that is the way it has always been.

But turning up connectivity in your workspace creates a powerful energy shift that you can master and author in your relationships. The tool that creates this level of connectivity is co-creating conversations. 

Connectivity Within Teams and Organizations

Creating connectivity within a team enables a forward moving power that not only works in the moment to produce syncopated action, but also serves the team members as a fundamental way of being as they interact with each other. 

When teams sync together through co-creating, they are more able to raise the level of their performance. Too often companies "force" alignment in the name of vision and values, rather than inspire it. True connectivity achieved through co-creating conversations enables alignment to come from within. This creates a level of performance that, if directed toward positive and outrageous goals, consistently brings home medals for the performing team - it can't be forced from without by compliance and coercion.

connection and team buildingOnce teams and individuals discover true connectivity, they create a broader ripple effect of co-creating behavior with others. Team members begin to listen to connect, and distrust seems to give way to higher levels of bonding and mutual support.

Listening without judgment, sharing ideas without fear of criticism, and with support from associates is co-creating conversations in action. The "been there, done that" or "that idea won't work" type of comments will turn into "let's try that" and "good idea, let's expand on that." 

Co-creating conversations is a shift in mindset from protecting what you have to partnering with others to create something bigger than we could have imagined alone. We move from "being right" to seeking new insights for shared success. 

Research has shown that making the mindset shift also signals the brain to be open to share and discover with others rather than 'persuade' them of our ideas. This also triggers neurochemicals in the brain - which are called the 'feel good hormones' such as dopamine and oxytocin, which reinforces the open state of mind. In addition, when we start to innovate, our brain also releases serotonin and endorphins, which are part of the brain's reward systems reinforcing the sharing process. 

This brain symphony is what moves us from distrust, which releases cortisol - the fear hormone - to trust, which is what releases the beautiful suite of neurochemicals that produce engagement, collaboration and innovation.

how the brain worksCo-creativity, first built on trust, then multiplies into a higher and faster amount of innovation that show up in many surprising ways. It's as though you rise up to a new level in the role you and others play in weaving the tapestry and threads of the topics you are discussing. New insights and new levels of wisdom unfold - surprising insights show up that had been hitherto invisible to you, but now are just in you and your team's consciousness. Using the practices of co-creating conversations enables higher levels of connectivity.

Many people explain moments of connectivity as "a feeling that life is flowing through them. It's a feeling of being on a boat propelled by the force of a river - a current moving you to your next stop on your journey; a blending of control with a higher force propelled by curiosity and discovery." 

Unlock your connectivity with co-creating conversations - just listen with support, appreciate each other - unlock the power of connectivity. 


Judith Judith GlaserE. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books: Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose; and editor and contributor of 42 Rule for Creating WE, an Amazon bestseller.

Read more]]> (Creating We) Career Mon, 16 May 2011 16:17:00 +0000
George Washington, Worthy of Praise?

George Washington, Worthy of Praise?

After reading the article "George Washington's Tear Jerker" in The New York Times, one might ask, was Washington really the great leader he has been made out to be?  I asked myself that question during the summer of 2002 and began a journey to unpack truth from myth.  I went as far as contacting and speaking with Edward Lengel, the foremost historian on Washington's generalship.  After doing my own research I wrote the following which became one of the chapters on 20 leaders in Fired Up or Burned Out.

First in Their Hearts

Richard Neustadt, Presidential Scholar at Harvard University, observed the following about George Washington: "It wasn't his generalship that made him stand out . . . It was the way he attended to and stuck by his men. His soldiers knew that he respected and cared for them, and that he would share their severe hardships." 

From the time he was a young man, George Washington kept a personal rule book to remind him of the leadership behavior that he aspired to live out each day. Many of the rules embody human value and capture the respect and deference Washington showed for others throughout his life. Some entries read: "Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those who are present"; "Speak not when you should hold your peace"; "Use no reproachful language against anyone"; "Submit your judgment to others with modesty"; "When another speaks, be attentive"; "Think before you speak"; and "Be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion."

Like many other great leaders who inspire their followers, George Washington increased human value in the culture he was responsible for leading. The historian Edward G. Lengel described Washington's leadership during the extraordinarily cold winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge as "sacrificial" and noted that "he took great care in seeing that his soldiers were well housed."

Historian Henry Steele Commager noted Washington's sacrifice for America was supported by the facts that he served as commander of the Continental Army without pay and was nearly bankrupt by the time he returned home to Mount Vernon after serving as the country's first president.  On one occasion when approached by soldiers who wanted to overthrow the wartime government and set up Washington to lead the country, he met with them and made it clear that the thought of overthrowing the colonial American government was repulsive to him and under no circumstances would he consider it.

When King George III of England heard the news that Washington resigned his military commission without seizing power following the Revolution's conclusion, he was said to have commented, "If it is true, George Washington is the greatest man in the world."

The selfless behavior of Washington connected people with him as their leader because it promoted trust trust. When a leader demonstrates that he or she is leading for the sake of the mission and the people, rather than for self-serving purposes, people naturally become more trusting.

George Washington increased knowledge flow. He had a reputation for being quick to listen and slow to speak. During the Revolutionary War, Washington listened to the advice of his war council, a group of soldiers who reported directly to him, and their advice helped him avoid what would have been costly mistakes. During the Constitutional Convention over which he presided, Washington rarely said a word other than to intervene and make decisions to break a logjam in the deliberations.

Washington increased inspiring identity. He was committed to the cause of independence and frequently referred to it as "our glorious cause." His love of America and personal sacrifice for it inspired others. With all the brilliant individuals surrounding him: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and others, Washington was the one to whom they indisputably looked as the greatest leader among them.

Under Washington's leadership and the culture he helped create, connection among the colonists united them to defeat the preeminent military power of their age and set the stage for a new nation to emerge.


Although it is not mentioned in the above piece I wrote, while researching Washington, I came across a story about Barbara Tuchman, the two-time, Pulitzer Prize winning historian.  Mrs. Tuchman, as she liked to be called, had a sharp mind and passion for truth.  Fellow historians such as David McCullough hold her and her work in high esteem for the quality of her writing, her unrelenting pursuit of truth in history and what wisdom we can discern from the lessons of our past.  While writing her final book, which was about the American Revolution and entitled The First Salute, Mrs. Tuchman struggled and was frustrated with failing eyesight. With the help and encouragement of her daughter, Mrs. Tuchman persevered.  During the times when she struggled, Mrs. Tuchman and her daughter adopted a motto to boost their spirits.  The motto was "Think of George."

Michael Lee Stallard is a keynote speaker, workshop teacher, president of the leadership training firm E Pluribus Partners, author of's Connection Culture Manifesto: A New Source of Competitive Advantage and primary author of Fired Up or Burned Out.  To get a free download of Michael's book, Fired Up or Burned Out click here:

Original author: Michael Lee Stallard

Read more]]> (Michael Lee Stallard) Career Mon, 21 Feb 2011 08:49:00 +0000