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Blue Health™ is the newest Leadership Development program created by Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a global consultancy based in the USA.

Here is a 2-minute video in ENGLISH.

Here is a 2-minute video in SPANISH.

Here is a 2-minute video in DANISH.

So, if you are interested in having critical thinkers as leaders (as opposed to mindless foot soldiers) and resilient leaders who can bounce back (regardless of whatever “shizzle” is coming down the pike at work – or at home), then your company needs this program.

We build healthy, functional leaders.

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How to Turn a Dysfunctional Leader into a Highly Functional Leader

BH Blog 1

Jane Doe (Not her real name!) is a VP at a large organization.  Her boss sits in the C-Suite and rewards her for reaching the objectives listed in her job description.  The problem is Jane has had more than two entire team turnovers in less than two years.  Her boss wrestles with the question: How can he let Jane go when she is doing exactly what he hired her to do?

Jane’s boss weighs the actual costs of personnel lost, recruiter time, learning curve and the intangible costs of distrust, watercooler chatter and lack of team cohesion against Jane meeting his annual objectives and goals.  It’s so much easier for him to keep the status quo, so he turns a deaf ear to the complaints streaming in through the uneasy Human Resource directors.  Jane’s workhorse style and “the whippings shall continue until you are all happy” are inconsequential to him, since results matter more than feelings.  In essence, he is teaching Jane to just “get ‘er dun” and she is more than ready to comply.

Let’s be clear here: The dysfunctional leader is not just Jane; it is, firstly, her boss.

Examples like this real-life “Jane” and her boss abound in Corporate America.  Yet, slumped productivity, wide-spread disengagement, and high levels of attrition are costing the U.S. economy an estimated $370 billion yearly, according to Gallup.*

  • How can a company retain specialized top talent AND keep team retention strong?
  • How can the organization avoid ex-employees posting on and damaging the organization’s brand and reputation of its ability to manage well?

Blue Health™ is a two-day Leadership Development program that is designed with a heuristic approach – which enables executives to discover how they can improve engagement, productivity, and overall well-being for themselves, their teams, and the organization as a whole.

The Blue Health™ model demonstrates the ancient Greek philosophical foci of Mind, Body, and Spirit (Energy Management); to which we have added the systemic dimension of the Organization.  This Positive Psychology program is a deep dive into optimizing performance and social dynamics. It engages participants in critical thinking and incorporates various methods of adult learning theory to keep comprehension and interaction levels high.

Our associates have conducted primary research from executives within the world’s five Blue Zones (locations known for holding the highest concentration of self-sufficient centenarians), and Blue Health™ is endorsed by multiple medical doctors from the only Blue Zone in the USA; Loma Linda, California.

If you are ready for healthy, functional leadership, please contact us at for further information.  Or, dial 615.431.9689.

Be Well.

Rossina Gil is the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC, a team of Leadership and Organization Development Practitioners and Interculturalists, based across the USA.  Rossina co-launched the Blue Zones initiative in Des Moines, Iowa (Sponsor: Wellmark); and Redondo Beach, California (Sponsor: Beach Cities Health District).  She is the author of The Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive Advantage (available on, which is required reading at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

© Rossina Gil, 2015



Talent Mapping: The Crux of Corporate America


Of the total workforce population, there are roughly 76 million Baby Boomers, only 50 million Gen X’ers, and a whopping 86 million (& counting) Gen Y/Millennials.  Not only is there a cultural Generation Gap, there is a Talent Gap – the disparity of prepared, workforce replacements – that requires “Talent Mapping” in order to keep the economic backbone of this country strong.  Talent mapping is the process of critically examining what talent exists within the organization and how to strategically plan to prepare for future needs and/or growth initiatives.

Some of the best practices can be extrapolated from a microcosm.  For example, Switzerland has a population of <8 million; yet, is has been hailed by the Economist magazine for several consecutive years as having the highest quality of living.  With very little natural resources from which to draw, how do they have such a strong and stable economy?  Their number one reason is: they invest in their people.

In fact, most of the businesses in Switzerland are privately owned.  If we were to draw from our own talent perceptions on working for private companies, we would find that there are many perceived advantages.  These advantages can be used as recruiting and retention levers to attract and maintain top talent.  Among the top three most compelling reasons to join a private company are the following: inclusion, having a voice, and a higher degree of interrelatedness (both internally and externally).


The Three Horsemen of HR

Recruitment.  Development.  Retention.   These three areas form the triumvirate and serve as the crux of your organization’s success.  If you are deficient (or lacking) in one of these areas, then it is akin to sitting on a 3-legged stool with one leg missing – your future will indubitably falter.  The first and most strategic recruit in an organization, according to Ana Dutra, CEO Korn/Ferry International, is “A really strong head of HR with a focus on Talent Management and Leadership Development.”  S/He plays an important role in establishing the company’s reputation, which is the most frequently cited element in attracting (& retaining) talent.  And, with the proliferation of websites that facilitate the “real” Employee Engagement and Organizational Health surveys on the internet – meaning a survey that renders no repercussions from supervisors who exhibit frustration over low roll-up scores – current, ex-colleagues, and potential candidates can anonymously share their impressions of what the organization’s culture, interviewing process, and treatment of its people are really like.  These impressions are, unfortunately, generally in stark contrast to whatever the company website and other forms of propaganda profess for it to be.  This is the corporate version of Zagat’s guide.  How have others found the ambience to be like?  What is the price you pay to be there?  Is the service friendly?  How many stars would you give it?


Leadership Development

Less than half of the organizations within Corporate America have formalized processes for identifying and developing high-potentials (hi-po’s).  One best practice to keep the three horsemen at bay is to implement a Career Model Framework.  This framework is a system accessible by any company employee through the company’s intranet; it lays out a set of objective competencies one needs to achieve in order to be considered for promotion.  Merrill Lynch has a first-in-class system which enables its financial advisors to track their individualized progress.  Meanwhile, stories are regaled from other organizations, such as Amazon, that so-called Organization Leadership Reviews are intended to be objective, yet promotions seem to be heavily reliant upon subjective, anecdotal data (versus contextualized and hard data) and the senior leader’s ability/influence to persuade, either negatively or positively.


Top Developmental Tools

Retain your organizational knowledge, the investment made in the Learning Curve, your company’s morale / team-spirit, and maximize the Return on Investment (ROI) to strengthen your leadership pipeline and competitive advantages by utilizing all of the following tools.

  • Leadership Development Workshops
  • Targeted Training
  • Career-Pathing / Coaching
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Stretch Assignments / International
  • Rotation
  • Objective Metrics (e.g. Career Model Framework)
  • Practice Diversity & Inclusion
  • Telecommuting Options
  • Mentorship
  • Treat Your Vendors Like Internals (this goes back to Inclusion)

Business is relationships.  The way you manage those relationships is the way you’ve managed your future.

Thank you.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  She wants Anne Taylor’s Kate Hudson Holiday Collection for Christmas. 



Forbes Insights, The Talent Imperative, April 2013, pg 20.

Feedback around the World


Interpretation of the sounds we utter from our mouths, and the behaviors that we either consciously &/or unconsciously make, have led to marriages, promotions, and wars — although hopefully not in that order!  Below is a succinct overview of some national cultures’ responses to the inquiry, “What do you think about my idea / performance?”



  • Emphasize what is good (sweet like their maple syrup).
  • Splash of sweetened criticisms.
  • Re-emphasize what is good.
  • Here’s what’s good…
  • Here’s what we can change or add to make it better…
Canada Québec 
  • First positive, then critical, & positive again (try to motivate).
  • Friendly and smiling giving feedback.
  • Harsher behind the person’s back.
  • Prickly on the surface.
  • Inside meant to be tasted and digested.
  • Intended to bear sweet fruit.
  • All colleagues involved consult with each other.
  • Leader gives feedback for all as “we.”
  • Eye contact reflects status and context.
  • Fully and meticulously thought out in advance.
  • Painstakingly presented as “might” or “maybe” to soften impact.
  • Don’t have a word for “no.”  Although, sucking in sound is a negative.
  • Understatement and ironic humor.
  • Can be indirect ; must read between the lines.
  • Make suggestions.
  • Expect positive outcome.
  • Twists and turns hold + & – information.
  • Areas of improvement added on top.
  • Given only when needed.
  • Friendly and constructive.
  • Private & clear – go straight for the “meat.”
South Korea 
  • Starts with eye messages.
  • Harmonious and positive in public.
  • Direct, outspoken, and negative in private.
  • Take it apart.
  • Analyze it.
  • Poke holes with focus on –.
  • Evaluate + or -.
  • What was successful and why.
  • Weak points, ask “What’s going on?”
  • Search for the behaviors to solve it.
  • Summarize receiver’s competencies, underline where performance has to improve.
  • What’s wrong.
  • Why it’s wrong.
  • As a responsible professional, you should know how to fix it.
  • Direct, factual, unemotional, unvarnished.
  • Focus on what needs to be changed.
  • Expect discussion, consensus on practical steps.
  • In small bits with much talk.
  • Preserving honor.
  • Gossiping and nagging.
  • Wrapped in a relationship.
New Zealand 
  • Direct & straightforward.
  • Brief feedback with key points.
  • Very respectful, formal, & principled.


  • What’s good. (Strengths)
  • What could be better. (Opportunities, Weaknesses, Threats)
  • Encouragement to do it.  “Just do it.”

Most ineffective feedback behaviors come either from lack of skills or from the sender not seeing the process as an interaction in which both parties have needs that must be taken into account.  The feedback process is the outcome of two diverse individuals as partners.  It needs to be monitored and sometimes explored and improved.  If a manager does not value the concept of “process” or does not want to take the time to discuss anything other than content, then the results include disappointment, frustration, wasted time/energy, and lots of ineffective feedback.  His/Her lack of interest in anything other than your total acceptance of the content will distort the manager’s perception of your response as being defensive, when it is most likely an indication of his/her inability to lead effectively.  Effective leaders carry the key to motivation and inspiration; not negative feedback dumps.  People join organizations and leave managers.

To be more illustrative as to what typically works in the USA, below is a chart of comparison on effective and ineffective feedback.



Describes the behavior.  E.g. “I hear you finishing my sentences for me.” Uses evaluative/judgmental statements. E.g. “You’re being rude.” “You’re trying to control the conversation.”
Separates the behavior from the person.  E.g. “When you use the industry terminology, I get lost.” Speculations on the receiver’s intentions or motivations.  E.g. “You’re trying to drive me nuts,” “You’re trying to appear intelligent.”
Comes as soon as appropriate after the behavior – immediately if possible; later if events make that necessary (e.g. you need time to “cool down”) Is delayed, saved up, and “dumped.”  The receiver may experience guilt &/or anger because after time has passed there’s usually not much s/he can do about it.  E.g. They explode or approach you several days/weeks/months later, as in a Performance Review or 360.
Direct, from sender to receiver.  E.g. “Jim would you please not crack your knuckles?” Indirect, uses triangulation to involve others in an effort to appear as the Rescuer. E.g. “Tom, how do you feel when Joe cracks his knuckles?”
Is “owned” by the sender, who uses “I messages” and takes responsibility for his/her thoughts, feelings, or reactions.  E.g. “I find it condescending when you leave without waiting for a response to your comment.” “Ownership” is transferred to people, upper management, we, everybody, etc.  E.g. “Other people have found you to be condescending.”
Includes the sender’s real feelings about the behavior.  E.g. “I get frustrated when I’m trying to make a point and you seemingly laugh at my suggestions.” Feelings are concealed, denied, misrepresented, distorted.  Smuggled feelings include sarcasm, sulking, competing to see who’s “right,” or passive aggression. E.g. “I guess I won’t share my suggestions.” (Hangs head).
Asks relevant questions which seek information, with the receiver knowing why the information is sought and having a clear sense that the sender does not know the answer.  E.g. “How can we/I offer you more support?” Asks questions which are really statements. E.g. “Do you think I’m going to let you get away with that?” Or, which sound like traps, e.g. “How many times have you been late this week?”  “How do you think that makes me feel?” “Has your boss given you all the information you need?”
Solicited/requested or at least to some extent desired by the receiver.  E.g. “Would you please offer me some constructive feedback on how I can perform better?  I would appreciate hearing how you think I can improve.” Imposed/dumped on the receiver often for his/her “own good.”  E.g. “I was asked to give you this feedback, and I’ll set up a coaching session with you right now.  Do you really want to turn me down?”
Affirms the receiver’s existence and worth by acknowledging his/her “right” to have the reactions s/he has, whatever they may be, and by being willing to work through issues in a game-free way.  E.g. “I can see how you would find his lack of preparation and suggestions from thin air as funny.” Denies or discounts the receiver by refusing to accept his/her feelings.  E.g. “Oh, you’re just being paranoid.”  “Laughter is not a stimulus response.”

Have at it.

Thank you.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. 


My investment at Pepperdine University.

©Rossina Gil, 2013

10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #1 OPTIMISM


À la Ventrella (i.e. Scott Ventrella), who built his work, The Power of Positive Thinking in Business, upon the foundation of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s work, he states that “Positive thinkers are tough-minded reality-based people who blast through problems with energy and zeal.”  Cynics and skeptics do not change the world.

Ventrella lists the 10 traits of a positive thinker as the following: 1. Optimism, 2. Enthusiasm, 3. Belief, 4. Integrity, 5. Courage, 6. Confidence, 7. Determination, 8. Patience, 9. Calmness, 10. Focus.

This blog addresses Optimism in Leadership.  The next 9 traits will be addressed in my weekly postings.  If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be a leader who exhibits optimism…

  • Do I meet challenges with a sense of control?
  • Do I act with a sense of hope about what lies ahead?
  • Do I work to minimize the impact of my doubts and fears?
  • Do I keep my spirits up even when things aren’t going well?
  • Do I gear myself to be positively hopeful in my attitudes and expectations?

The “Law of Positive Expectancy” (or the Power of Projection) can be defined by the story the “Little Engine That Could.”  Through hard work and optimism the Little Engine achieved what it expected to achieve, which is what we can do for ourselves as humans.  We also achieve what others expect us to achieve – such as parents, role models, teachers, coaches, etc. – and, conversely, we may not establish “stretch goals” for ourselves nor attempt to achieve what we project to be possible, or thwart any intentions to achieve something, if others deem our ideas as impossible.

In the workplace, optimistic leaders gain a competitive edge on others because they have…

  1. Self-Enhancement – Decision-Makers can control their anxiety better with optimism, which allows wiser judgment.
  2. Self-Presentation – Leaders who present themselves in an optimistic manner and more positive light are generally more accepted than those who are negative.
  3. Perceived Control – Leaders in control (or perceived control) tend to rely heavily on direct action and responsibility of situations.


Most of us are sporadic pessimists.  This means that we occasionally get triggered by situations that tend to contribute towards making us FEEL, THINK, or ACT less optimistically.  Below are four itemized categories of areas that may dim your optimism in the workplace.

Being Managed

  1. Receiving (or not receiving) performance reviews/feedback.
  2. Being left out of decisions or plans.
  3. Not being recognized or rewarded for performance.
  4. Difference in personal and/or managerial styles.
  5. Lack of communication with my manager on work progress, issues, opportunities.

Managing Others

  1. Giving performance reviews or feedback to others.
  2. Having to deal with conflicts among others.
  3. Dealing with style differences among employees.
  4. Being kept “out of the loop” on important issues, problems or decisions. (See blog Workplace Xenophobia)
  5. Having to deal with personal problems.

Organization & Culture

  1. Company politics and game playing.
  2. Policies, processes, or systems that hinder progress, new ideas, or exceptions to the norm.
  3. Reorganization, reengineering, downsizing, and so on.
  4. Bureaucratic structures, reporting relationships, layers.
  5. Insufficient communication and dialogue about what is happening and why.

Peer & Customer Relationships

  1. Company gossip or the “grapevine.”
  2. Opinions or feedback on my performance that goes to others, not me.
  3. Feeling or knowing that I am being lied to, blamed, or patronized.
  4. Not being able to negotiate over projects, deadlines, requests.
  5. Being left out of decisions or problem solving that affects me and/or my employees. (See blog The Corporate Bully)

Bobby McFerrin wasn’t the first to sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but if we sing it ourselves, our positive well-being and self-esteem are healthy for us and can influence others favorably.

Optimism helps.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.


Scott Ventrella, The Power of Positive Thinking in Business (New York, NY: Fireside), 2001. (pp. 15, 69-71, 112-113).


©Rossina Gil, 2013

The Evolution of International Business


Successful domestic organizations follow four distinct and progressively complex stages of evolutionary growth before reaching, if ever, the final stage of the Transnational Corporation. This blog is set to define the five types of evolutionary corporate growth – Domestic, Export/International, Multinational, Global, and Transnational – its characteristics, and to understand the opportunities that exist to link them to the next stage.

1. Domestic Primarily defined according to where it sells its products. – Operates only within its own country

– Uses domestic suppliers

– Only follows domestic market trends, resources, environment

Competitive strategies, plans/tactics remain inside a domestic marketplace

Will find itself losing market share to foreign competitors. Need to scan the global environment for trends.

With the advent of the internet, the world marketplace has erased or blurred the distinction between domestic and international.

2. Export/


Export corporations have a product/service/technology that they send overseas and is managed by distributors, and they have zero to few personnel expatriated as staff.

International corporations have an int’l division which travels frequently overseas to work. This includes manufacturers (or maquiladoras, for example)

– Its product is sold in other countries, but operates from it sense of domestic competition

– Studies data of off-shore market trends

– Re-organizes its resources, technologies, systems, networks, etc. in response to emerging opportunities

– Understands the importance of cross-cultural needs

Needs to be flexible in order to adapt to destabilizing changes, such as entering or withdrawing from foreign markets.

For example, one organization  suffered its property seized and proclaimed by the foreign government, and had to cease operations. Hence, higher monetary reward may require higher fiscal risk.

3. Multinational A centralized HQ, as well as localized national or regional operations that handle the following decisions: marketing, sales, manufacturing, customer service, and competitive tactics.  Localized structure reduces need for cross-cultural awareness.

Since this structure is hierarchical, information is power, there is a chain of command, and people resources act as boss/subordinate.

-Each hub acts independently and communicates back to HQ only

– Collects/Uses info on multi-domestic trends, environmental conditions and strategic resources

– Adapts market model to cultural contexts; systems/processes to int’l competitive conditions

-Develops multi-national alliances/ventures

– Adapts to destabilizing change by flexibly reallocating resources across national markets

National or regional boundaries can serve as barriers.

Needs to shift away from such a hierarchical model to a flexible, entrepreneurial, matrix structure.

4. Global A balance of structure and flexibility, global and local needs, and on-time product delivery with low costs.  The differentiation is strategy integration with operations.  Flexible, entrepreneurial, matrix structure.

Since this structure is more networked and organic, the people resources are more interactive.

-While the centralized global strategic plan remains, there is a localized customer focus and competitiveness that reacts to local conditions.

-Decisions are made to deliver products in the best markets, at the lowest cost, with the appropriate management resources, regardless of where they (e.g. funds, people, raw materials, tech) reside.

-Creates global strategic partnerships; inter- and intra-organizational linkages.

– Managers must transcend cross-cultural situations effectively

A strong global corporate culture is only possible if the mission, values and vision is exercised visibly by the most senior levels of management and is understood, felt, and incorporated right down to the janitor.

Managing this level of complexity is successful if the cultural norms are aligned with the stated mission and values.

Walking the talk is imperative.  Humility must be repeatedly displayed.  There is no room for egos when diversity is present.

5. Transnational Resources/Responsibilities are allocated freely across boundaries while maintaining a strong connection to a solid HQ identity.

Information is a resource; not a power.

-All levels require cross-cultural management skills for maximum flexibility

– So well integrated that all resources flow freely between its interdependent units.  Every part of the org must collaborate, share info, solve problems, and collectively implement strategy.

– Allocation of worldwide product responsibilities to different national subsidiaries according to their strengths.

– People are rotated around the world.

Conflicting, parochial interests and overlapping responsibilities may pose as problems.

Must retain its ability to facilitate organizational learning by fostering an inclusive environment of ideas, best practices, and knowledge around the organization.

Aristotle was noted as the first to claim the world is round. Thomas Friedman was noted as the first to claim the world is (metaphorically) flat.

Thank you.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.


Training Management Corporation, Doing Business Internationally, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Training Press), 1995.

©Rossina Gil, 2013

Give Us Strategy! (Or Give Us Corporate Death!)


A lot of companies demand a strategy, and this action is metaphorically like placing the cart before the horse.  Culture is the strategy.  Therefore, it is more advisable to focus on the organizational culture prior to focusing on the customer and/or the product.  The organization is the product.  The organization is a collected group of people.  This is why there must be unequivocal emphasis placed on the culture before the strategy can be formulated.

It is for this reason that my Claremont Graduate University professor, the late Peter Drucker, said so long ago, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!”  Many professionals don’t understand this, including a Chief Marketing Officer who wrote about this topic in one of his blogs.  Those confused argue against Drucker’s statement and how “culture trumps strategy” and further pontificate that strategy must be aligned with culture.  Idealistically, yes.  Realistically, not so much…What happens is that networking leads to positions (most especially at the C-Suite level), and it is typically top-leaders who create the “reward band” (i.e. determining who gets promoted), and that is usually how the tone is set of unwritten rules of behavior.  Those behavioral expectations set into motion a shift into what becomes the organizational culture.

Successful organizations have a visceral, palpable culture which permeates all managerial levels (i.e. Inclusion); otherwise, there can be a no definable, sure-fire strategy.  They will probably have a number of full-time recruiters working in-house to attract top talent, but they will certainly not be able to retain their talent– either by resignation or fiscal failure.  The key is having the leaders set the example and that begins by addressing the drivers (see my blog on “How Fear Interferes in the Workplace”).

Allow me to provide some concrete examples that differentiate culture from strategy.  First, what is culture?  Culture is a set of beliefs, behaviors, and values performed by a collected group of individuals.  This parallels my blogs on Thoughts, Actions, and Emotions (not to mention Jim Rohn’s Philosophy, Action, and Attitude).  Second, what is strategy?  Strategy is a plan of action designed to reach a particular goal. 

MILITARY EXAMPLE.  The strategy for the military would be their military plan, which entails which resources to procure, which techniques/commands for soldiers to employ, etc.  The military culture is tough and committed to team loyalty.  If the military attracts soldiers per their culture, then their strategy would work.  If they recruit those who start but don’t finish, who crumble easily, and who are highly individualistic without regard for a soldier left behind, then the strategy would not work.

BEST PRACTICE CORPORATE EXAMPLESouthwest Airlines was founded by flamboyant Herb Kelleher.  Their strategy is a business plan which entails how to keep their planes in the air, filled with passengers, and easy for mechanics to maintain.  Their culture is casual/informal (e.g. shorts, funny songs, jokes, and bags of peanuts thrown down the aisles), egalitarian (e.g. male and Baby Boomer flight attendants, pilots are not superior to cabin staff), and cost-focused (e.g. only one style of plane, no meals).  Their recruitment begins with observing the prospective employee or candidate-for-hire as they board the plane heading for the interview.  If the candidate fits the culture, then s/he, unknowingly, makes it through the first round.  If Southwest Airlines were to recruit those who are stoic, formal, and hierarchical, then the strategy would not work.  Why?  Because it’s too far of a cultural stretch for the new employees to unlearn their natural and conditioned behavior.

FAILED CORPORATE EXAMPLE.  Most companies choose to state as a “strategy” that they are to be the “best” at their product/service.  Without stating specifically and concretely WHAT that looks like, HOW it is measured, WHICH action steps are to be taken, “to be the best” is simply empty rhetoric.  Their “culture” is false propaganda aimed as a lame attempt to market the organization as an industry leader and/or to attract top talent.  For example, the culture could proclaim to be “family, health, and innovative.”  Reality may be that the “family” includes scores of “Cinderellas” and ugly stepchildren, “health” is recognized for the favorites (i.e. emotional health and preferential treatment), and “innovative” is without measure (i.e. subjective).  This type of company lacks culture, and suffers from severe fragmentation and high attrition.


1. Employee Engagement Surveys serve no value if the objective is to aim for a higher score year after year.  Leaders who tout that they must achieve a higher score than the previous year will influence their subordinates to rate a high score and not answer according to perspective.  It becomes a ritualistic exercise in futility.

2. Hire a Leadership Development (LD) professional who has studied Organization Development.  One per every 300-400 employees is advisable.  S/He can conduct a cultural analysis, retain confidentiality for employees (i.e. no documentation of conversations), and develop teams.  Anthropologist Margaret Mead said all change is possible in small groups.

3.  C-Suite executives must have mandatory coaching.  This is to avoid corporate bullies who take on defensive/offensive controller behavior(s) of their respective division(s).  Either the coaching is performed by an external, in order to avoid repercussions (i.e. termination); or, an internal LD professional who has a contract, and thereby has the assurance to do his/her work without “cloak & dagger” consequences.

4. Provide quality Performance Management Reviews (PMRs).  This is a weakness pervasive across America.  Most especially at one recent client where the supervisor would proselytize to others to not “Make Stuff Up” but when it came to himself, his defense was that he was fairly intuitive and others had even told him so!  For these reasons, he believed he was entitled to make assumptions without inquiry.  It would behoove organizations to promote employees with zero direct report experience into supervisory roles, only after they have been thoroughly trained as to how to provide a quality PMR; otherwise, their feedback can be destructive/ineffective behavior that may tear at the fabric of the culture and increase attrition.  Using a Behavioral Science tool (e.g. Ntrinsx) should help those supervisors lacking supervisory experience &/or education.

Here are some tips for quality PMRs:

  1. Feedback has to always be first-hand observation; otherwise, the feedback is gossip and that is not a professional PMRs.  Leaders are not susceptible to hear-say.
  2. It must be non-accusatory and free from condemnation.  Separate the action from judging the person.  One supervisor took his direct report into a room to say how “embarrassed” he was of her.  While the emotion demonstrated is best kept honest, this incident was a reflection of his managerial inadequacies.  Supervisory feedback is intended to develop the direct report; it is not an allowance to use the direct report as a target or therapeutic outlet for one’s deficiencies.
  3. Effective feedback serves as an aid and includes specific actions which are effective, and also provides, as a contrast, specific behaviors that were observed to be ineffective.
  4. Look in the mirror.  This touches upon compassion.  Is the criticism provided also information that you can apply to yourself?  Or, are you applying a double-standard?  If so, you may merit some push back.
  5. Keep it confidential.  This “should” be a no-brainer; however, one supervisor with three direct reports, shared information supplied by one direct report about a second one to the third.  This is called “Triangulation,” in Psychology.
  6. Lastly, nothing should be in writing until Round 2 – this means that feedback must not be a “Surprise!  Gotcha!” event.  The direct report deserves the professional opportunity to rectify behavior prior to seeing it in black-&-white, ready to be filed away.  So, have the courage to have the conversation prior to PMRs to solidify your leadership relationship and abilities.

Be true to who you are, and the rest will follow.  Identity is destiny, or suffer the true corporate death.

Thank you.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.


Jody Hoffer Gittell, The Southwest Airlines Way, (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2005).

Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, (Lake Dallas, TX: Jim Rohn Int’l, 1991).