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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Your Inner Circle: Building Your Leadership Team

    Google Image

    Google Image

    Imagine that you want to move a 4,000 pound hulking mass of metal, plastic, rubber and fiber from your home to your office. In other words, you want to drive your car to work. The primary device of movement you will need is a set of wheels. Since its invention more than 6,000 years ago this basic tool has facilitated the transportation of objects across the world. The original design of the wheel was a solid frame, until the discovery that spokes made it lighter and faster, thus easier to use. While its design and aesthetics have evolved, the simplicity of its use has remained the same. It provides mobility and progress. Continue reading

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    New Ideas, New Work

    New Ideas, New Work

    Recently, while perusing Forbes Magazine’s list of the top 30 Under 30 people in 15 different industries, I was struck by how many of them were listed as “founder” of a company. In industries such as Media, Technology, Energy and Industry, Food and Drink, Education, and Social Entrepreneurship, more than half the individuals held this title.  In Sports, Music, Hollywood Entertainment, Art and Style, independent individual contributors comprised the majority of the list.

    Many in this millennial group of 30 Under 30 have rejected the traditional notion of graduating from college and finding jobs. Instead they have used the campus environment to facilitate networking to create their own jobs.  They have avoided the conventional corporate environments in favor of unconventional workspaces and work relationships, like living and working in the same space to increase productivity and connectivity.  They have pushed back on the established methodologies of getting things done, and created new pathways to purchase art online and process financial transactions.

    Their advantage obviously is that they aren’t entrenched in a “this is how you do it” mindset.  Their educational process and developmental upbringing likely placed greater emphasis on creativity instead of conformity. Research shows that millennials as a group, are less interested in considering a career in business.  According to an article by Shama Kabani in the December 2013 issue of Forbes, millennials are projected to comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025, however data from Bentley University’s study on the preparedness of college students to move into the workplace shows that:

    • 6 in 10 students say they are NOT considering a career in business, and 48% said they have NOT been encouraged to do so.
      • 59% of business decision makers and 62% of higher education influentials give recent college graduates a C grade or lower for preparedness in their first jobs.
      • 68% of corporate recruiters say that it is difficult for their organizations to manage millennials.
      • 74% of non millennials agree that millennials offer different skills and work styles that add value to the workplace.
      • 74% agree that businesses must partner with colleges and universities to provide business curriculums that properly prepare students for the workforce.

    This data, and the accomplishments of the 30 Under 30 speak loudly about how current organizations must adapt to and embrace the future generation both as employees and as customers, to be able to leverage their ideas and intellect to solve problems, and effectively compete in the marketplace.  

    A New Model

    Many companies still operate based on the old model of experience taking priority over innovation at the individual employee level.  Employees with greater technical, policy or process knowledge, and therefore experience in a particular area, teach the younger people how the organization works. Such companies may externally broadcast their innovative products and methodologies, but internally they muffle creativity at the expense of familiarity. Instead they need to place innovation and creativity of the culture and work style on par with their innovative products and services. Those who fail to adapt and become more flexible will pay the price of failing to keep pace with the speed of technology and change.

    A glaring example of this is Eastman Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two years ago in January 2012, after more than a decade of falling sales and stock prices.  Kodak, a name long synonymous with photography, didn’t go bankrupt because people stopped taking pictures, but because they couldn’t adapt to the new way pictures were being taken.  People started using their smart phones to capture, send and store pictures electronically, instead of solely using traditional cameras and hard copy prints.  Twenty months later, Kodak has emerged from their restructuring transformed into a technology company focused on imaging for business, in a way that will hopefully produce better corporate results.

    Preparing for the future

    So what about these 30 Under 30? Instead of just talking about new ways of doing things, they take new ideas and develop them into marketable strategies, trends and entrepreneurial ventures.

    For example, Carter Cleveland (#1 in the Art and Style category) founded Artsy as a student at Princeton when he realized that there was no quick and easy way online to find art for his dorm room walls.  His website now provides more than 85,000 works of art from 1,800 museums, galleries and foundations. Most of it is for sale and he also recommends artists to users.  (This is an idea I’m sure I could have thought of, but would I have done anything about it?)

    So how are you leveraging innovation, creativity and technology in your team or organization to capture the next NEW idea or process? How are you finding new and different ways to meet customers’ needs? Are you developing intrapreneurs (in all demographic groups) who will keep your team fresh, or are you attracting entrepreneurs who will collaborate on new ways to accomplish organizational objectives?  Whatever your strategy, recognize the value of new ideas and build a culture that embraces the new world of work for millennials.


    Photo from iStockphoto

    Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

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    The Power of “Co”



    Almost all organizations operate with a singular leader at the top, whether the Chairman, CEO or President.  A few have two individuals functioning as “co-leaders”.  But how many organizations are run by a troika?  Three people working equally together to lead the team. Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm with over 3,500 professionals working at 44 locations in 15 countries on 6,700 projects is led by the threesome of David Gensler, Diane Hoskins, and Andy Cohen. With diverse backgrounds, they’ve worked together for 20 years, and now share the leadership role of the firm that David’s father founded in 1965. Their most notable current project is the 2,073 foot tall Shanghai Tower that was topped off in August. It is now China’s tallest building, and second in the world to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

    What makes their working relationship even more unusual is that every two years they shift responsibilities for different aspects of the firm. Rather than align responsibilities solely around their areas of strength or interest, each of them continues to grow through taking on roles that are not in their normThree Hands Linkedal suite of skillsets. Their success is evident by their list of projects and clients, about half of which are Fortune 100 companies, and is profiled in the September 2, 2012 issue of Fortune.

    What is “Co”?

    Gensler’s leadership team has harnessed the power of “co”; sharing joint or mutual responsibility among two or more people. At the risk of riling dictionary enthusiasts, the opposite of “co” is “solo”, or one who leads or functions alone.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with operating solo, or as the singular lead on a project or initiative. The decision to do so is a result of individual style, skillset, convenience, or appointment.  But let’s take a minute to explore the power of “co”; sharing accountability and authority with two or more people to lead a team or accomplish a goal.

    Here are ten principles to help leaders to successfully leverage the power of “co”.

    1.      Collaboration – A form of co-laboring or working together collectively to lead the firm.  This is their key word and they model its effectiveness by integrating each other’s strengths, ideas and knowledge for the good of the team.

    2.      Mutual Respect – This involves recognizing each other’s value, esteeming and acknowledging one another.  In many cases, having mutual respect is the key to resolving disagreements, because it provides a basis for working toward positive relationships.

    3.      Communication – Sharing information, seeking input, and ensuring clarity and alignment of purpose and direction. Cohen says they can almost complete each other’s sentences.  They also have a video meeting every Friday that is “sacred”.

    4.      Likability – Shared values and interests form the basis for liking someone. It’s an intangible factor in building effective relationships. Gensler says that they’ve worked together for so long that they’ve even built a level of affection for one another.

    5.      Low Ego – Some corporate leadership styles are domineering and authoritarian, based on the premise that only one person can run the organization.  Operating as a “co-leader” requires valuing colleagues as much as, or more than oneself. Since David Gensler’s father founded the firm, one might expect that he’d have the lead role, but that’s not the case.

    6.      Cross-Pollination – Recognition that great ideas may come from a variety of people, and ensuring openness to receive, debate, evaluate and integrate those ideas.

    7.      Perspective – Leaders who have diverse points of view on situations, events and causation can create a rich environment of discussion and debate, but too much diversity can lead to divisiveness. An underlying shared perspective is important for cohesiveness and alignment.

    8.      Self-Confidence – When leaders are comfortable with who they are, their skills, abilities and particularly their limitations, they will be more open to others’ ideas and input. Insecure leaders are cancerous to the organization.

    9.      Trust – This is like the oil that makes the engine run.  Without trust the organization will quickly seize up and cease to function.

    10.   Cooperation – The team must work together towards a common purpose or benefit. Their actions must complement one another and be aligned toward a singular goal that is clearly understood by all.

    Leverage Your “Co”

    Leaders that model the power of “co” at the top, derive benefits from it at all levels of the organization. The effectiveness of their working relationship defines the culture for current and prospective employees to share information, ideas and intellectual capability, and models the behavior for others.

    Of course, all organizations aren’t conducive to a leadership troika, three people working equally together to lead the team. But all organizations do need the leadership team to operate with the power of “co”, using the principles outlined above to be more effective in reaching their goals. Even the singular Chairman or CEO needs a team supporting him or her that demonstrates these traits.

    So whatever your role or the size organization or team you may lead, think about how you can leverage the power of “co”.

    Read the Fortune Article here.

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    A Relationship of Trust


    How do you determine who to trust? How much trust can you place in those around you, and how much can you trust them with?

    A recent story chronicling the “re-education” of Mark Zuckerberg in the April 29th edition of Fortune provides a good example. With the fast paced growth of social media, apps and smart phones, Facebook needed an effective wireless strategy. This was the next big shift in technology, and if they missed it, the young company’s phenomenal successes could be short lived. Zuck, as he is commonly called by those in the business, turned to Mike Schroepfer his Chief Technology Officer, and Cory Ondrejka who was in charge of mobile engineering. Cory had co-founded Linden Lab which created the virtual world Second Life, and later started a tech company that Facebook recently purchased.  It was Cory who proposed not only restarting their current mobile efforts again from scratch, which would take precious time, but doing so in the midst of the much publicized IPO when investor scrutiny on their technology problems would be especially intense.

    After much discussion Zuck approved that approach, even though as he said, it was against his instincts. According to the article, his decision paid off as Facebook launched a new iPhone app in August 2012that has received top ratings in the App Store. While it may be too early to determine the long term success of that decision, there’s great learning in the “process” of making it.

    Man helping a woman up on a rockSo why would Zuck decide to trust the recommendation of these two men, even when it ran contrary to his normal approach and instincts?  Because he trusted them.  At that moment he made a conscious decision to place greater faith in their experience, analysis and resulting recommendation, than in his own. If they were wrong, he had more to lose than anyone else. The potential impact to his reputation and respect, his company, and his wealth could suffer a significant and possibly irretrievable blow.  But he knew that the current strategy wasn’t working, and he had to try something different, so he bought into it and exercised trust.


    Active Trust

    This type of trust in others is earned. Its an active verb, and it’s a choice. It comes as a result of several foundational elements.

    Confidence – belief in their abilities and their motives, that they’re reliable and dependable.

    Capability – they have expertise, past proven successes, and experience in a specific critical area.

    Consistency – exhibiting the same behavior and communicating the same values repeatedly such that it’s easy to predict their responses.

    Collaboration – willingness to work with others, exchange ideas and leverage the strengths of others in coming up with solutions to problems.

    Confidentiality – using good judgment in communications with others, and ensuring that information is shared only as necessary with appropriate persons.

    Now think of situations where you’ve placed a great deal of trust in someone else.

    ·        You trust your physician with your health.

    ·        You trust your business partner with your work.

    ·        You trust your financial planner with your investments.

    ·        You trust your spouse with your heart.

    ·        You trust your friends with your happiness.

    ·        You trust your work team with your ideas and strategies.

    ·        You trust your boss with your career.

    And yet you retain a measure of control over these “trusting” relationships, balancing the right amount of confidence, capability, consistency, collaboration and confidentiality that you place in them, with what they provide in return. It’s a reciprocal relationship, reinforced or weakened by every action or counter-action. You can “remove” the trust at any time, almost immediately, whether for cause or for instinct.

    Rock Climbing Trust

    So how do you grow to trust someone? And how much are you willing to trust them? For any productivity to occur we must trust others, because we’re incapable of finding fulfillment, achieving our goals, or attaining significance in life without having trusting relationships. And at the same time, we must display these same characteristics so that others will place their trust in us. But your ability to trust others is based in part on your ability to trust yourself. It is based on your ability to demonstrate the 5Cs in the same manner that you want others to demonstrate it. So because Zuck is able to experience and exhibit confidence, capability, consistency, collaboration and confidentiality, he recognizes it and shares it with others.

    I recognize that I’ll never be able to trust someone else in a certain area, unless I overcome my personal fears in that area.  For instance, I have no desire togo skydiving.  As someone eloquently said, why would I jump out of a perfectly good airplane? My fear of having only a parachute on me at ten thousand feet above ground has nothing to do with my trust in the instructor or the pilot. It has everything to do with ME.  And unless I deal with that fear, I’ll never learn to trust them.  Similarly, while I might step on a narrow boulder a few feet off the ground, I cannot imagine ever (did I say ever) rock climbing and stepping up on a boulder thousands of feet off the ground (see the picture).  I’m afraid of that height and don’t trust my ability to master such a feat. Before I perform either act, I’d first have to learn to trust myself and gain more confidence, capability and collaboration before I could trust others to help me do it.  The same is true in marriage relationships and business relationships.

    So instead of examining others to determine if they’re worthy of our trust, we must first decide if we’re worthy of theirs. Do we display confidence, capability, consistency, collaboration and confidentiality? Do we behave in a manner that would make others want to trust us? Do we use those trusting behaviors to support others in their goals in a manner that creates a reciprocal relationship? I encourage you to practice these characteristics to build your relationships of trust.


    Read the Fortune article by Jesse Hemphill here.

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