The PMA Blog

Become an Influential Leader: Essential Tips for the Workplace

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 2/16/23 10:00 AM

I recently moved into a new house and found myself evaluating a room that's needs painting.  "Is the color close enough to avoid a primer?  It would save time to jump right to a coat of the new stuff.  But would it really if I had to add a second coat because the old color showed through?  Ok, time for a base coat of primer!"

That same day I found myself teaching our Influencing class to a group of front line managers and it occurred to me that the same conversation applied.  You cannot skip the base coat!  All the fancy influencing approaches fall flat if you haven't checked the boxes on these top five fundamentals of influencing:

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

Your Resolutions are Not the Problem

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 1/4/23 8:55 AM

I've seen a multitude of blogs and articles citing the stat that the average duration of a new year’s resolution is 19 days.  The gist of most of them is to take the stat as a sign that resolutions are a waste of your time.  I disagree.  I think if you make a list of the most successful people you know and compared them to everyone else, you would find one critical difference.  Follow-through.

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, HR Executives

The Cost of Ineffective Teamwork

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 11/22/22 5:18 PM

Ever Experience the Meeting After the Meeting?

It’s the meeting after the meeting. You know the one: the team meeting just ended, and everyone hops on their phones to text and chat about what went down during the team meeting. It’s where you complain about your team leader, that one guy who is always interrupting, and the people who are not pulling their weight. It’s where you talk about what you would do differently if you were in charge, offer suggestions for how things might work better, and share your real feelings and thoughts.  The meeting after the meeting is the real meeting --- where all the truth is. But why?  

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, HR Executives

Avoid Losing Talent in the "Great Resignation" from Change Overwhelm

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 6/21/22 12:01 PM

During Times of Change, Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
The flight was just about to take off, when abruptly it turned around and headed back to the gate.  The pilot told us it was a mechanical problem and that they'd get back to us.  And then they didn't.  For the next 15 minutes I watched people begin to spiral into a panic.  Should we call customer service?  Should we get off the flight?  What kind mechanical?  Any time estimates?
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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, Change Happens

Speeding up to Slow down

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 4/29/22 1:29 PM



"She must have that backwards!  For years she's been teaching us to slow down to speed up and now she says it’s the other way around?"

Every day I ask people to invest in themselves and their process improvement.  This requires slowing down, learning, tweaking, changing process, and changing behavior so that they might accelerate their growth and results. 

Today it occurred to me that people are not always truly leveraging their results to move the biggest rocks.  Learning to triage and process email twice as fast has very little impact if you use the time saved to do low priority items.  Only by taking that extra time and using it to slow down will you truly achieve quantum leaps. 

How do you slow down?

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All

Ramping up Quickly with Microsoft Teams

Posted by Stephanie Sibille and Deb Cullerton on 3/16/22 7:25 AM


So, you just got Microsoft what? It’s just another Skype, right? Not really.

 We've all heard it by now. The low-pitched "ding" that comes through your speakers, usually accompanied by a concurrent purple pop-up window. It can mean lots of things - a response to a question that you have been needing to get answered, more work that you need to complete - or random chatter from a distribution list that you have never signed up for. But dig a little deeper, and things can start to get messy. There's a flurry of IMs coming through, and you can't keep up. Or you've been added to channels than you don’t even recognize, and you don’t know why. Or you get notified any time a file or tab gets added to a team, and you have no idea if you should ignore it or if you are suddenly missing something important that you need to be diligently checking.

 So, the big question becomes: Is Microsoft Teams a productivity goldmine or a reactivity trap?

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

7 Ways to Improve Your Virtual Team Meetings

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 3/13/20 4:50 PM

With many of us moving to home offices for a while, the number of virtual meetings has skyrocketed leaving many people feeling ill-prepared to run high quality meetings.  Use these 7 tips to improve the results immediately:
1. Do the basics that we all should do whether the meeting is live, virtual or hybrid.  Send the purpose and objectives for the meeting with the meeting invitation, then consider ways to engage your meeting attendees.  Be sure to end with actions committed and decisions made.  Then, you're in great shape to make the transition to hybrid or virtual meeting format.  To double check your meeting fundamentals, download our meeting facilitation job aid for a helpful checklist.

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

Coaching for Transformation not Transfer

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 11/26/19 1:00 PM

It happens all the time.  Two people are using a word and believe they are aligned on its definition, but their different interpretations lead to big misses in execution.  When this happens with a common word like coaching, the results fall short and leave people scratching their head.  I was recently in New York teaching a Coaching for Peak Performance class with a group of front-line managers.

"How many of you actively coach your team members?"  (80% of the hands went up)

"How many of you coach both proactively for development and reactively for "just-in-time" learning?" (60% of the hands went up)

It didn't make sense to me.  I was missing something.  How could they be coaching and still not getting the results? 

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, HR Executives, Change Happens

6 Ways to Scale Up Your Team Capacity

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 9/10/19 7:58 AM

Automate your repetitive processes.

Identifying all repetitive tasks in a process is a great way to quickly surface opportunities for automation.

Consider templates, checklists and rules in Outlook, Gmail, OneNote, Keep and other applications as a non-programmers option for automating. With increases in communications, an automated process for client contacts can save a team a bunch of time. Scheduling applications like Fullslate, AppointmentPlus, Acuity, TimeTap and Bookings (free in MS 365) can save everyone on the team countless hours playing phone tag and emailing people with new appointment options when you work with external clients or vendors whose schedules you can't see.

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

Where Do They Stand?  A Simple Technique for Understanding Buy-in

Posted by Stephanie Sibille & Steve Ockerbloom on 4/16/18 12:13 PM


Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: you’re 55 minutes into your one-hour team meeting to introduce a new change, you wanted your team to weigh in, and now you’re heading down a rabbit hole that you don’t think you can get out of.  You know that one of two scenarios are inevitable: you risk running over and making people late for their next appointments, or someone is bound to leave feeling thoroughly unsatisfied. As managers, how do we get in front of this phenomenon while still giving people a voice?

One of our favorite ways to gauge buy-in is with an incredibly simple but effective tool: Fist to Five. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s based on a 0-5 scale, with the idea that you can take the temperature of the room simply by having people hold up one hand to display where they stand. Here is the scale that we recommend using: 

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Topics: Insider, Organizational &Talent Development, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

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