Campbell’s Turnaround Recipe: Measure Work Culture and Hold Leaders Accountable

Photo of Doug Conant and Campbell's logo

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.

Former Best Buy CEO Discovers the “Magic” of Connection

Photo of former Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly with Best Buy logo

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.

What Putin Illustrates About the Dangers of Being a Lonely Leader

Photo of Russian President Putin

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. 

Why We Long for Leaders Who Actually Care

Employee connection with leader

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). 

Hope Is What People Need from Leaders Today

Hope represented by green sprout among dead leaves

Wouldn’t it be nice if a new year truly ushered in a fresh start? The optimism we may have ordinarily had in past years as we turned the calendar to January and considered all of the new possibilities that lay ahead of us is a little harder to muster up this time. The Covid-19 pandemic, now in year three, and other stressors have taken a toll. Many people are exhausted and struggling. We’re seeing it in higher levels of frustration and uncivil behavior being directed at others as the Omicron variant sweeps across the globe and further disrupts plans. And while people may be able to put on a happy face at work, underneath the surface their emotional health is probably not great, according to recent research.

IE Insights Video: Back to the Office

Photo of NASA/SpaceX Crew courtesy of NASA

Are you and your team preparing to return to the office after more than a year of remote work?

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the talented team at IE Insights, IE University’s thought leadership publication for sharing knowledge on a variety of topics. I shared some insights on what managers can expect from employees based on the similar experiences NASA astronauts encounter when re-entering society after time in space.

Check out the approximately 5 minute video for a quick summary of what to watch for and how building a connection culture can ease the transition.

Photo courtesy of NASA

LinkedIn Live Interview With Lee Newman, Dean of IE Business School in Spain

Lee Newman interviews Michael Lee Stallard at IE University

This week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Lee Newman, the Dean of IE Business School, in Madrid, Spain. We talked about Connection Culture, the current longing for connection coming out of the pandemic, and how leaders can be proactive to help reconnect their teams.

The conversation was broadcasted on LinkedIn Live and is available to watch on demand.