TAG Consulting

Conflict Can Be Win-Win (Video)

August 25, 2017

Over the years we have consulted with many hundreds of organizations and leaders showing them how they can thrive through, not just survive conflict.

Virtually every time, those leaders are surprised to hear us say that “Resistance is your ally, not your enemy”.

The simple truth is that conflict doesn’t have to destroy, doesn’t have to result in winners and losers.

When conflict is on the level of values and beliefs that are shared, we can both find common ground and grow in self-awareness and self-knowledge.

Organizations that have a culture where healthy conflict is not only allowed but encouraged are the ones who thrive and where team members are engaged and invested.

Co-author Jim Osterhaus offers an introduction to Red Zone/Blue Zone thinking in this short video. Give us just a few minutes and see how conflict can work for, not against, you.

Conflict Is Your Friend! Jim Osterhaus Introduces The Blue Zone from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

A Proven Process For Making Great Decisions

August 25, 2017

As we work with organizations of all kinds to help them craft great organizational cultures, one of the most useful tools we use is called The Leadership Triangle.

Most leaders face a wide variety of challenges in any given day and in the face of that our response is often to go with the kind of decision that has worked for us in the past, without stopping to consider whether or not the current problem matches our experience.

In reality, leadership challenges fall into one of three broad categories, each of which requires a different way of thinking and a different process for resolution.

Not every problem is a nail, so make sure that your leadership toolkit includes more than a hammer!


The Leadership Triangle from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

Executive Advising – For Success In Work and Life

August 25, 2017

We’ve advised hundreds of leaders in all sorts of industries: corporate leaders, heads of government agencies, pastors and other leaders in the not for profit sector. Time and again we’ve heard that while having an executive advisor leads to professional success there is another added benefit.

Rich conversations with TAG’s executive advisors has an positive impact in our clients’ personal lives as well.

Check out the video below and see how TAG’s Executive Advisors can help you succeed at work – and in life. And then click here to explore how an Executive Advisor could go to work with you and your team.

How TAG Leadership Coaching Helps You To Succeed from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

The Leader’s Tone – More Important Than Words

August 18, 2017


For most of the last thirty years, I have made a hobby out of studying the life and leadership of Winston S. Churchill, Great Britain’s greatest Prime Minister and one of the outstanding leaders of world history.

It’s the sort of hobby you can never exhaust. His life covered so many of the important events in his country’s recent history and his character is endlessly fascinating.

I am making my way slowly (one a day) through a collection of Churchill’s speeches spanning his whole public career – from 1897-1963. The collection is edited by Churchill’s late grandson, who told the story of speaking at the 50th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and being approached afterward by a Polish woman:

“Mr. Churchill, I was a girl of just twelve, living in the Ghetto at the time of the Uprising as the Nazi storm-troopers were attacking us to take us to concentration camps. Whenever your grandfather broadcast over the BBC we would all crowd around the radio. I could not understand English but I knew that if my family and I were to have any hope of coming through this war, it depended entirely on this strong, unseen voice that I could not understand”.

Imagine that. A group of people, in the midst of unimaginable stress and pressure and fear, being buoyed and given hope by a voice speaking a language they could not even understand.

A “strong, unseen voice” which made all the difference, beyond the words the voice was speaking.

Words matter, but words aren’t always the point. The tone of the leader matters a great deal too.

Tone can communicate anger, bitterness, impatience, disappointment, disapproval, mockery, disrespect.

Or tone can communicate hope, optimism, belief, courage, encouragement, respect, love.

Even the exact same words spoken with different tone can convey vastly variant meanings.

Imagine “We’ve really got to up our game!” spoken to a team by a leader whose tone radiates spite, disappointment, superiority, and impatience.

The tone behind the words communicates this: “How did I get stuck with such a group of losers?” “Why can’t you people see that your underperformance is hurting me in the eyes of my boss?”.

Now imagine “We’ve really got to up our game!” spoken to a team by a leader whose tone radiates warmth, passion, humor, intelligence, and confidence.

The tone behind the words communicates this: “We’ve got a great opportunity here and we are just the people to take advantage of it”. “I am so honored to lead this group of folks and I can tell you I am going to do my dead level best to give you the kind of leadership you deserve so that we can accomplish great things together”.

Beyond the words, the tone of a leader is an indispensable part of the organizational culture-crafting process. Tone can demean, cut down, dis-spirit and dis-incent. Or tone can inspire, build up, in-spirit, and incentivize.

The tone of the leader can make or break the culture of the team.

We believe that every person has the innate desire to belong, to contribute, and to make a difference. And we believe that if you craft a culture where these desires are realized then your organization will thrive.

One of the key elemental building blocks of thriving culture is Connection – where people honor and respect one another and their individual contributions, all in the service of a common mission.

The leader’s tone can go a long way towards establishing a climate where Connection can thrive…or where people are led to cannibalize, jockey for position and power, one-up, and sabotage.

As a leader, what is your typical tone – beyond the words?

If we were to ask your direct reports and guarantee them confidentiality, how would they respond to that question?

What actions can you take this week to more closely monitor your tone and craft it to where you want it to be? What do you need to change and who can your key allies be in that effort?


Todd Hahn is a Culture Architect and Executive Advisor with TAG.

Culture Change Starts With…..Me

August 15, 2017

Leaders who are committed to crafting thriving organizational culture deal in change. It’s just part of the gig. And it’s one of the more challenging parts of leadership.

This makes it all the more important to get it right from the beginning. And the beginning is ME!

In the video below, which focuses on leadership coaching, TAG’s Shane Roberson, an experienced executive coach and Culture Architect, makes the point that “If you’re not looking for change in yourself, you’re not going to see it in others”.

All change begins with the leader being willing to change. So, that’s where the work of culture-crafting begins as well.

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

Where Power Really Lies In Your Organization

August 14, 2017

If there is one thing we have learned over years of working with all types of organizations, it is this: systems have power.

And all human systems fight to preserve the status quo, even if that results in death!

Like fish in water we live in systems often unaware of how they shape us. But everything is connected. Human beings live and move in systems; life is a dynamic interplay between people and events. And the systems we live in produce predictable results.

Here are five basic truths about how we are shaped by systems and the results they produce (we credit the thought of Peter Senge here):

  1. Today’s problem’s come from yesterday’s “solutions”. What worked in the past does not work anymore because external realities have changed.
  2. The harder you push the harder the system pushes back. The system is an unforgiving thing. It cannot be defeated, only understood, and over time transformed.
  3. Faster often results in slower. It’s vital to reflect critically and build ownership in stakeholders in the early changes of a change initiative.
  4. Small changes often produce big results – but the areas of greatest leverage are often the least obvious.
  5. There is no one to blame. We tend to want to make people scapegoats and culprits. But in fact people generally behave exactly how the system rewards them for behaving.

Each of these five truths have this in common – they are counterintuitive! When you have some time to reflect, to “get on the balcony”, consider each in turn and how they may challenge some of the predictable ways you tend to think and behave.

Remember This About Resistance

August 14, 2017

One of our go to coaching phrases is “Resistance is your ally”.

We love it because it’s true – and because it’s counterintuitive.

No one intuitively thinks that resistance to their opinion, leadership, point of view, way of being, is friendly. Our default response is to treat resistance as an enemy force and seek to outwit or vanquish it.

But in doing so we miss a real opportunity. An opportunity to grow in our understanding of self and others. And an opportunity to explore new ways of leading that may end up working a lot better. We find it really helpful to remember these four things about resistance:

  • Resistance is an inevitable part of change.
  • Progress without resistance is impossible – or the progress isn’t worth the effort.
  • People resist what they perceive to be costly or harmful.
  • Resistance offers us a really good opportunity to look underneath the surface at what is really going on at the moment in the relationship, organization, or team. And – perhaps most importantly – in ourselves!

Cultivating A Culture of Focus

August 6, 2017

There is a simple tool we use in leadership coaching to help leaders define their personal focus. It is a series of these three questions:

1. What do you believe to be the world’s greatest need?

2. What do others say is the “one thing” for you?

3. If you had unlimited time or money, what would you do?

Wrestling with these questions often has a profound effect on the way a person views themself and their place in not only the workplace but the world as a whole.

More recently, we have found it beneficial to expand these questions to teams. We ask small groups of leaders who are on a team together to wrestle with these questions as a whole:

1. What do we believe to be the world’s greatest need?

2. What would others say is the “one thing” we are about as a team (or organization)?

3. If resources were no object, what would we accomplish together?

The answers themselves are important and can provide real direction for teams looking to focus and prioritize. But their ultimate value may lie in the fact that they speak to a certain kind of culture you are trying to craft – a culture which is committed to congruence around values, priorities, and shared passion. Thriving organizational cultures have this kind of congruence, but it doesn’t come automatically.

Sometimes asking the right questions is the way to start crafting that kind of powerful, focused culture.