TAG Consulting

When Your Co-Authors Went To Prison (Part Two)

January 30, 2017

As we interacted with the men David was influencing, we saw that these people had internalized the principles of our book like no one else we had ever met.

These were former gang members – violent criminals in many cases – people who had been excluded from society. And they were wise beyond belief. They bought tattered and underlined copies of our book to the meetings we attended, quoting passages and then teasing out the principles and applying them to their own lives and experiences.

They talked about their hope for rejoining society – hopes and fears. They were determined that this time they would know how to head off the conflicts that, in many cases, had landed them in Solano. They got it, and as the day transpired, they became our teachers.

The One Thing Every Winning Organization Must Have

January 30, 2017

Our online employee survey, The Engagement Dashboard (TED) has collected data from hundreds of companies and thousands of employees to reveal what it takes to unlock a healthy organizational culture, with productivity, engaged employees, and the hidden talents and capabilities of its people.

TED reveals a host of dimensions that go into making a great organization, but one stands out as the only dimension in the entire survey that requires only one sentence to sum it up – Dependability.


Here’s the sentence:

Management can be counted upon to come through when needed.

It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of this metric.

People will put up with almost any “what” if they get the “why”  – the knowledge that we are engaged in something great and life-altering and useful and good and we can count on our leaders.

The single question – ‘Can I count on my leaders?’ – was the only other question to correlate to every other question in TED. Dependability is nearly everything.

Dependability is all about the leader. The leader must provide the support needed and then get out of the way. The leader matter less than the cause.

Can you as a leader be counted upon to come through for people no matter what? Will you get your hands dirty, will you walk out the talk of your shared values, will you incarnate the organizational code, will you risk losing yourself to disrupt the status quo?

Can YOU be depended upon to come through when needed? And, if you are just beginning your career of leadership, are you putting into place the conditions and habits which will develop the kind of character where you will be depended upon at the end of the day?

Are you dependable? And is your organization?

To find out more about TED, click here.

Helping Your Team Grow Through Coaching

January 24, 2017

Many leaders think of executive/leadership coaching as an individual ‘sport’. In fact, forging a relationship with a trusted leadership coach, having a trusted advisor, has direct and measurable positive impact on your whole team. Watch to see what we mean.

How TAG’s Leadership Coaching Can Help Your Team Win from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

When Your Co-Authors Went To Prison (Part One)

January 23, 2017

Two of your intrepid co-authors, Jim and Todd, were once in prison together.

But only for a day.

Several years ago we spent the day in Solano, California State Prison in Vacaville, visiting a friend, David, who had been influenced by a book we had written about how to thrive in – not just survive in – conflict.

David, now reintegrated into society outside prison walls and doing beyond great, was an inmate and at that time was leading classes for other inmates on the topic of conflict resolution, largely based on our book.

He had invited us there to meet some of the hundreds of students he had led in exploring the principles of peace-making.

On the appointed day, we went to the prison, passed through a gauntlet of metal detectors, and received our plastic whistles.

“Plastic whistles?”, we asked.

“Yes”, said the corrections officer, with a smile. “In the event that you get into a hostage situation or some such predicament, California can’t guarantee your safety or negotiate for your release. Just blow your whistle as loud as you can and hopefully we can get to you before things escalate”.

We looked at each other.

It was too late to turn back. We had walked into the heart of Solano Prison, and our worlds were about to change forever…

Your Weaknesses Don’t Matter

January 21, 2017


Great leadership is not rooted in fixing your weaknesses. Goodness knows we all have enough of those. But greatness doesn’t come through addressing them.

Any competent golf professional will help his student build upon his strengths rather than try to fix his weaknesses. A student who is 5’5″ and 120 lbs. is not likely to crush the ball 300 yards off the tee! She is more likely to be adept at the short game, with touch around the green and on the putting surface. The pro will start there with his student.

An introvert is not likely to be a smooth pitchman. But he may well have a unique ability to read body language and unspoken cues.

Go with what you have. If you are logical and given to process, major in that. If you love people and love motivating others, make this your focus. Know yourself.

We make a case for this in our book Your Intentional Difference: One Word Changes Everything, which you can find here.

Here is our basic premise:

Eighty-five percent of what we do, select others can be trained and developed to do.

Ten percent of what we do , select others can be trained and developed to do.

But there is a unique five percent that you and only you can do the way you do it. This  is your uniqueness, lived large.

You were made different to make a difference and this difference is an expression of your Intentional Difference, your 5%!

It is vital that you know your strengths, whether or not you use the Intentional Difference process as described in the book. You will want to know who you are, what you are made to do and then organize your life around these endeavors.

If you lead a team, you have the great opportunity to help your team members identify, flourish in, and leverage their strengths as well.

Knowing and living into your Intentional Difference is a secret weapon for your career and for your team’s success. It’s a vital ingredient in your Secret Sauce.

And for a fun introduction to the concept of Intentional Difference, watch this:

Your Intentional Difference from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

Face The Resistance!

January 16, 2017

Face it, none of us like it when our leadership is resisted.

But facing this reality that we hate to face is crucial to our success.

One of the most important components of Blue Zone living is learning to view resistance as your ally. Resistance shows you that your current strategy of leadership is not working – at least as well as it might – and gives you permission to find alternative strategies, using all of your creativity.

Here are four things about resistance that will help you view it as an ally, not an enemy.

  • Resistance is an expected part of change.
  • Progress without resistance is impossible.
  • We resist change not because we hate change, but because we perceive the change will be harmful to us in some way. For instance, when we begin to lose weight our body responds by slowing our metabolism, because it fears change.
  • Resistance alerts us to dynamics underneath the surface that are actually happening in the moment.

The 10 Commandments For A Great Organizational Culture

January 16, 2017

Much of our work at TAG involves working with leaders who are committed to building healthy organizational cultures. Both our research and our decades of experience is clear – winning organizations have healthy cultures where people are able to experience the fulfillment of three basic human desires – to belong, to contribute, and to make a difference.

We tend to avoid reducing our counsel to simplistic ‘lists’ – neither people nor organizations are built from orderly blueprints. But we have been able to discover ten ironclad practices that organizations with healthy cultures share. We call them the 10 Commandments For Great Organizational Cultures.

1. Create safe places for people to express opinions and pushback.
2. Direct intentional conversations where people can speak their minds and hearts.
3. Manage anxiety levels, acknowledging and providing outlets for the inevitable sense of loss which accompanies change.
4. Use the water cooler to encourage fruitful, informal conversations which are unscripted and so authentic.
5. Reward risk taking, so people can know they can fail and still have a place on the team if that failure was for a good cause.
6. Resist consensus building remembering that leaders get input to make more informed decisions, not to go with the prevailing wind.
7. Let ideas percolate, remembering that time is on your side and people will only accept change at a rate they can tolerate.
8. Raise the temperature by allowing worthy and healthy conflict to come to the surface not be squelched.
9. Give grief room as people mourn the losses – often very personal – that often come with change.
10. Create the quest – if people believe they are needed in a journey which will result in a great new future, a journey that will require the best of them, you can call out their better selves and insure maximum discretional effort. Remember that the Secret Sauce is found in the process itself!

How many of these ‘commandments’ are being practiced in your organization? If you are looking to lead an important change initiative, having these in place is particularly important.

Give us a couple of minutes to check out this video on TAG’s organizational change process to get some inspiration, ideas, and to see how we can help you build an organization that wins and engages both its employees and customers!


TAG’s Change Process for Organizations from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

Are The Right People On Your Team?

January 9, 2017

In our years of research and experience we have discovered that organizations with a healthy culture fulfill three basic human desires: the desire to belong, to contribute, and to make a difference.

People who work in organizations like this are engaged. When they reflect on their jobs they think things like this: “I matter around here. My strengths are being recognized and used around here. I am making a difference in and through my work”. These are the people you want on your team.

In our employee survey, The Engagement Dashboard (TED), those organizations with a healthy culture consistently saw that their employees answered ‘yes’ to questions such as “I get to use my talents and strengths every day at work”.

Some organizations do this as a matter of course, putting employees through widely available strengths-identifying instruments. We recommend such tools and use a few ourselves.

However, the very best organizations end up identifying and developing managers and leaders who themselves are talent scouts, whether or not they use the formal tools.

These leaders use two questions as indispensable tools to identify talent:

What does it take to win in our business?

How will we know a winner when we see him or her?

Learn to spot these people, to recruit them, develop, and deploy them, and you are going a long way towards building your organizational dream team.

To find out more about TED and how it can help you spot the best talent for your team, click here.