TAG Consulting

What Causes Anxiety On Your Team?

November 28, 2016


We may be living in the time of greatest anxiety in the history of the Western world – just witness the recent presidential campaign – and its aftermath!

And if you are involved in leading cultural change we can guarantee you have anxiety on your team!

Anxiety is our natural response when we feel threatened or insecure. This threat always shows up in our minds and hearts as a sense of loss. This connection – loss and anxiety – is important for leaders to understand.

“If I don’t do well at my job I will lose my job and have no money.”

“All these external forces, people rigging the system, are going to end up hurting me and I can’t do anything about it”.

“I am never going to get ahead in this organization because these proposed changes will take away my status and as a result all my years of effort”.

Leader – if you are leading change this will inevitably be experienced as loss by some people and when they experience this loss their anxiety will go through the roof.

We’re going to assume that you have a handle on managing your own anxiety (if not, watch this blog  – that is a big preoccupation of ours!). The important thing for you now to realize is that the people you are leading as you lead change are also experiencing anxiety and that you – as the leader – have the charge to create places where they can share this anxiety without being overwhelmed by it.

This means you must be fearless, non-anxious, non-defensive, and willing to take hits and be misunderstood. Tall order, isn’t it?

But if you can get there you will have the chance to lead the kind of change that will make a positive difference in the lives of your team, both on and off the job.

We’re aware that change leadership is a challenging endeavor, especially when you have to face down your own anxiety. You will most likely want to consider the services of a leadership coach – a trusted advisor who can help you manage your own anxiety and that of your team.

It’s hard to imagine a better investment for a change leader! To find out more, click here.

To Understand Your Organizational Culture, Tell Stories

November 28, 2016


The stories we tell are part of the code of our organizations and do a lot to reveal their cultures.

And, as we have argued many times here, a healthy culture is the single most important factor in organizational success.

But it can be hard to grasp the nuances of an organization’s culture simply by asking questions such as “So, what’s our culture?”

Stories are a much better way of getting at that answer, and provide more context and texture to the answer at which you arrive.

For new insight into the culture of your organization or team, try this exercise, which has the added benefit of being fun:

  1. Ask members of your team to meet with you and tell a three minute story. The topic is simple. “What has been our biggest success in the last three-six months as an organization?”
  2. Video-record (with permission) the conversations on your smartphone or other device.
  3. Gather the team together and watch all of the videos.
  4. Then, lead a discussion that gets at this question: “What do these stories tell us about our team culture?

Maybe you will see themes of teamwork, or a passion for customer service, or creativity, or determination. Maybe something else entirely.

But in any event, you will learn more about what makes your people who they are and what makes your team your team.

Embrace The Resistance!

November 28, 2016



Call it what you will – resistance, pushback, challenge, opposition – it’s basically an opposing force that stops or slows movement.

Anyone in any type of leadership should come to expect resistance. In fact it is an element of leadership that should be welcomed. Welcome it, then learn how to handle it correctly.

All of us, from time to time, resist. It is a way of protecting ourselves from real or perceived danger, most notably when change is unfolding. In and of itself, resistance is not a bad thing – it is merely energy. The key is to effectively redirect that energy in the direction of change.

The first signal resistance sends to our minds is “I don’t like this change. In fact, I don’t like any change!”.

The second signal is “OK, I can tolerate a little bit of change but this is too much, too fast!”.

When we get these signals, our next step should be to interpret what they mean, instead of merely reacting to them. This is crucial.

Thriving through conflict requires mindfulness and a high degree of self-awareness. Here’s why…

Resistance always signals that issues lurk under the surface of the conflict. Rarely is the conflict about what we think it is. In fact, the surface conflict tends to point to a competition between our most deeply held values as individuals which are played out in the context of our organization.

Here’s the thing – this is good.

One of the great  benefits of resistance is that it signals to  us that deeply held values are at stake. When we surface these competing values and deal with them honestly, we have a real shot at gaining traction and moving forward as an organization. This is the stuff of leadership that is often obscured by simple explanations for conflict such as “He’s just being difficult”; “This is a personality conflict”; and “It’s all corporate politics”.

When we face resistance as leaders our job is to look for the competing values and the underlying themes in the struggle. This opens us up to new possibilities – for us as individuals, for our teams, for our organizations.

Where are you facing resistance today?

What might the issues and competing values underlying the resistance be?

What are some new possibilities that this resistance might open up if you embrace it rather than fight it?

The One Thing You Can Always Change

November 22, 2016



When we’re transforming a culture, it’s easy to get frustrated when the pace of change seems too slow.

We encounter opposition, resistance and fear and find ourselves becoming both anxious and angry at those who we believe are standing in the way.

It is at those moments that we need to be reminded of this truth about change – the leader herself must change first!

This is hard for us to understand. We think others are the problem – they are obstacles, or opponents, or deadwood, even if they are well-intentioned. But a key component of self management is understanding that in any conflict I bring my “stuff” the the table too. And my stuff is not all helpful!

We love to say “The problem is you…so know yourself”.

Here is why that works.

I cannot change you – at least in the long run. But I can change me. And if I can change me, I can change the dynamic that has us in opposition. At the very least, if I change me I open up more options for both of us.

That’s a crucial component of leadership – opening up options when choices seem binary and paths seem closed up. Leadership is in part the creativity of helping people see possibilities they have not had in view.

When I focus on changing me – always a new possibility – the problem we are facing together has this strange tendency to recede – all by itself! – and to be put into clearer, more manageable perspective.

Have We Met Before? Stop Having Conflict With The Wrong Person

November 22, 2016


When we were growing up certain people, beginning with our primary caregivers, create a lasting impression on our brains and in our personal stories.

These can be positive or negative – a nurturing grandparent or a distant and demanding father.

Those traits become woven into the fabric of our lives, part of our emotional furniture.

We think we’ve dealt with them but they keep popping up in the oddest ways.

When we meet someone later in life who reminds me of that primary early influence I place the first person’s characteristics on my new acquaintance.

My new acquaintance has a pleasant smile, just like my nurturing grandparent. I assume they are themselves nurturing and am kindly disposed to them.

My new acquaintance has the same political views and recreational interests of my overbearing parent. And they set my teeth on edge.

Our minds play tricks on us. Once we have ‘projected’ these characteristics of the primary person we then see the new person only through that lens, accepting data and experiences that confirm that bias and discounting factors that tell a different story.

So we don’t see the person as they really are.

Can you see why this might lead to unhealthy conflict in our lives?

Often we are in conflict with someone who isn’t really there!

We describe it like this: We keep meeting the same person over and over.

It’s that dominant primary person – whether they were a healthy or an unhealthy influence.

And it colors all of our experiences of relationship and especially conflict.

A key step in solving my conflict problems, then, is to recognize the people who have shaped me and to identify where I keep seeing them show up.

And, armed with this knowledge, determine to see each new person who crosses my path for who they really are.

Your Intentional Difference

November 22, 2016

85% of what you do, most people can do.

10% of what you do, select others can be trained to do.

(Nothing too exciting so far, right?)

Ah, but there is 5% left.

5% of what you do only you can do the way you do it. It is what you do that is uniquely you, fueled by your life experiences and deeply ingrained talents, strengths, and skills.

When you are in your 5% you are living in your Intentional Difference – you are in the Flow Zone.

Identifying, leveraging, and maximizing your Intentional Difference – that magic 5% – is the key to success in life and in work.

Watch this short video to begin to find YOUR Intentional Difference.


Your Intentional Difference from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

What Makes TAG Analytics Different?

November 13, 2016

In an earlier post we showed how TAG uses analytical data to help you grow your organization in terms of health and productivity. But we know lots of organizations claim to leverage data to help businesses. What makes TAG different? It’s that we get beyond the ‘what?’ to the ‘whys?’ that really matter and reveal deep insight about your organization, its opportunities, and challenges. In this short video, our Trevor Bron explains.

What Makes TAG Analytics Different? from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.