Campbell Soup Company was not in good shape when Doug Conant was named President and CEO in 2001. Sales were declining. The stock price was falling and it was underperforming the S&P 500. I’ve long held that it takes a commitment to pursuing both task excellence and relationship excellence in order to achieve sustainable superior performance. Pushing the task side alone won’t do it and will cause more harm. Brought in to effect a turnaround, Conant knew it would be essential for leaders across the organization to combine the two elements. He told leaders, “When you are both tough-minded [on issues] and tender-hearted [toward people], you can deliver ever-higher levels of performance.” People at Campbell’s would come to realize that he was serious about the relationship side of the equation.
The FBI reports that people who become active shooters often feel socially rejected: “Time and again, targeted violence offenders have claimed to be persecuted and alienated from their peers, family and world at large, viewing themselves as outsiders and not part of a larger social network.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the hosts of the Beltway Broadcast, a podcast produced by the Metro DC Chapter of ATD. Our conversation covered a range of topics, including what to look for when evaluating the workplace culture of a potential employer, how to increase the odds of a colleague cooperating with you, how to build connections across departments, and more.
Emotions are contagious. For that reason, you need to pay attention to your own emotions and those of the people around you.
At work, how would you characterize the emotional state of your team? If you were to think of it as a river, is the quality of the water life-giving and invigorating, or some level of toxic? Is the water current robust or more of a trickle?
Negative emotions in the workplace have been rising for years. Are they holding back your team’s performance?
That’s the topic I’ll be discussing at the ATD22 International Conference & EXPO. Join me to learn how to cultivate a work culture with attitudes, language, and behaviors that boost positive emotions and spur higher levels of performance.
Hubert Joly, a Frenchman and former partner at McKinsey & Co., blames the lack of connection in today’s organizations on the myopic views of economist Milton Friedman who advocated that the only thing that matters is maximizing shareholder value and on the popularity of a top-down, analytical and metrics-driven management philosophy that was exemplified by Robert McNamara in the 1970s. Joly believes in connecting with purpose and people, referring to it as “human magic” that results in “irrationally good performance.” He views it as being key to healing capitalism’s ills.
Today, IE Insights published my article, “Putin and the Dangers of Being a Lonely Leader.” In the article, I explain why social isolation from the pandemic and his autocratic leadership style may have contributed to three miscalculations Russian President Vladimir Putin has made and how he may be prone to making impulsive, irrational decisions in the future.
Do the people around you know that you are for them? Do they know whether you care about them, want them to be able to do their individual best, and will advocate for them? Having this assurance promotes a feeling of connection. It goes a long way in establishing trust and an environment of psychological safety. But if they don’t know with certainty that you are for them, they may feel you are indifferent to them (which is disconnecting) or assume, rightly or wrongly, that you are against them (which is very disconnecting).