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George Bradt
George Bradt
Offering a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his combined senior line management, journalistic, and consulting experience. Founder of executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, author of four books on onboarding and “The New Leader’s Playbook” weekly column on


Jun. 3, 2010 8:46 am
The first thing my new boss explained to me on my first day was that my top priority was managing the production of the new advertising campaign – and getting it on air for Thanksgiving.  When he showed me the shooting boards, my heart dropped.  The advertising was terrible. Fortunately, I resisted my natural instincts to prove to him how smart I was (and how dumb everyone else was) and went...  Read More
May 31, 2010 8:40 am
Onboarding is disruptive – by design.  Sure, we talk a lot about the need for new leaders to assimilate into the organization, to adapt, to build relationships and the like.  All those are true.  They are important as ways to smooth the underlying disruption inherent in the situation not avoid the disruption. The only reason for anyone to hire anyone anywhere, any time is because that new person...  Read More
May 19, 2010 3:26 pm
Four important ideas from Wharton professors last week: Be decisive - Michael Useem Save more earlier - Olivia Mitchell Buy stocks - Jeremy Siegel Advertise on TV - Peter Fader Applause please.  I just saved you four hours.  Actually, the conversations each of these professors put around these ideas were compelling and well worth participating in.  But I digress.  I'm waffling.  I'm not...  Read More
May 16, 2010 5:53 pm
“ …making progress in one’s work – even incremental progress – is more frequently associated with positive emotions and high motivation than any other workday event ”.  So says Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in “What Really Motivates Workers” in the Jan/Feb 2010 Harvard Business Review based on their research with 600+ managers. So what? Amabile and Kramer go on to explain that this means...  Read More
May 7, 2010 5:41 pm
I was struck by Simon Sinek's TED video on How Great Leaders Inspire Action.  (Those of you who are not familiar with the TED videos should stop reading right now and click through to and get familiar with them.  Many of them are truly astounding.) One of Simon's core concepts is that people don't buy what you do.  They buy why you do it .  He describes a golden circle with "why"...  Read More
May 5, 2010 11:45 am
The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan [i] lays out a methodology for leaders and their teams to get done in 100-days what normally takes six to twelve months.  In a crisis, this time frame is woefully inadequate as leaders and their teams need a way to get done in 100-hours what normally takes weeks or months.  That way follows. Start with the basic premise that leadership is about...  Read More
Apr. 28, 2010 9:06 am
How can managers create more time? They can’t.  All they can do is reallocate it.  While individuals are limited to reallocating their own time, managers have more leverage because they can take advantage of others’ time as well.  How they do that is one of the main differences between more effective and less effective managers. Everyone can sort across: 1) things they choose to do themselves,...  Read More
Feb. 20, 2010 9:29 am
Purposeful integration is essential This is why it’s so important to get stakeholders aligned around the organization’s purpose, a Total Onboarding Program and recruiting brief before starting to recruit.  Get a head start. Everything communicates This is why it’s so important to manage your messages during talent acquisition, pre-selling while buying and taking a strategic selling...  Read More
Feb. 6, 2010 9:50 am
Do not try to get line managers to focus on onboarding It is futile to try to get line managers to care about onboarding.  They do not think they have time for it.  They think it is HR's responsibility.  If pushed they oppose the effort either directly or with passive-aggressive behaviors.  They just don't care.  And that's OK.  So, stop trying to get line managers to focus on onboarding. ...  Read More
Feb. 2, 2010 9:12 am
In many ways, all onboarding is contextual.  It's about acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating a new team member into the context of the organization.  PrimeGenesis' three core onboarding ideas must be considered in context. Get a head start Aligning the organization before starting recruiting defines the context of the role for the new team member.  Get this wrong and the...  Read More
Jan. 20, 2010 1:48 pm
Few question the wisdom of Jim Collins’ prescription to “get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus.”  ( Good to Great , Harper Business, 2001). The debate is about timing and emphasis in moving on the people. Almost every experienced CEO that has addressed the CEO Connection’s CEO Boot Camps since 2005 has answered the question,...  Read More
Jan. 2, 2010 9:09 am
It’s not clear when onboarding stops and regular management begins.  Some would argue that it’s all about the first day, week, month, 90-days, 100-days, six months or longer.  Maybe. The issue The issue is that leaving new employees to their own devices before they’re ready to do everything is counter productive.  No one hires anyone because of their ability to get up to speed fast.  They...  Read More
Dec. 23, 2009 1:25 pm
Webster defines transform as to change, and lead as to guide.  Thus transformational leadership is about guiding change - as is onboarding. Two-way transformation Transformational leadership is two-way.  Leaders transform followers and followers transform leaders at the same time. This is the case in onboarding.  New team members transform teams at the same time that they are adapting to...  Read More
Dec. 20, 2009 7:42 pm
No one cares about you.  What they care about are the results that you and your team deliver.  This is why Better Results Faster is such an important pivot point. 100-day Action Plans People that prepare and implement 100-day action plans deliver Better Results Faster than those that do not.  It is easy to see why.  Preparation breeds confidence.  Clarity of message makes it easier for...  Read More
Jun. 11, 2009 9:40 pm
One of the paradoxes of leadership I've encountered in new leaders is whether the executive should talk about "I" or "we" when discussing performance. Some new leaders use the term "I" when talking to their managers or their customers. They do this to convey ownership, to communicate their value, or to bolster their own egos. Others use "we" when discussing their work. "We" conveys teamwork and...  Read More
May 7, 2009 2:56 pm
Thesis: The team member's view Over the past few years, I've done over hundreds of development plans for senior leaders - individuals who manage strategic businesss units, business functions, and divisions. And in about 40%, I've been told by their peers and subordinates that they are very good at understanding the broad strategic issues, but would benefit from a better understanding of the...  Read More
Apr. 13, 2009 12:08 pm
New leaders often think about how they present to others, and many are using coaches to improve their leadership style. So what is the style that people are looking for? What is most effective for new leaders as they step into larger roles? Self awareness? Not so much. The concepts of self-awareness and interpersonal sensitivity in successful leaders has come up several times in recent...  Read More
Mar. 27, 2009 2:29 pm
We’re in the midst of the final copy-edits on our new book, Onboarding – How To Get Your New Employees Up To Speed In Half The Time (Wiley, 2009) and want to make sure we get the definition as right as we can.  Here is what we are currently planning to print: Onboarding is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members, whether they come from...  Read More
Mar. 24, 2009 10:04 pm
Coaching v. Upgrading Talent One of the essential paradoxes of leadership is that a leader is expected to both be able to coach and develop their people, and at the same time to make tough decisions about talent, and upgrade when needed. How do you know when to support and develop, and when to cut your losses and find someone else? The answer is easy if the person doesn?t have core skills:...  Read More
Mar. 22, 2009 3:21 pm
The Wall Street Journal's David Greenberg recently wrote about "The Folly of the "Hundred Days".  He argues that the "hundred days" term has been an unreliable indicator for presidential success, placing too much emphasis on easily quantifiable early achievements. David's article is at Unreliable for heads...  Read More
Mar. 14, 2009 12:04 pm
Let’s talk about Meetings. Why not? To paraphrase the great Samuel Clemens , “Everyone talks about meetings, but no one does anything about them.” Meetings are the stuff of life for managers and executives, and more often than not, they are seen as of medium to low value (see Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lencioni ). We all have said, and have heard others say the equivalent of “that’s...  Read More
Mar. 8, 2009 10:32 am
John Paul Newport’s recent article on Tiger’s Search for Golf Stamina (Wall Street Journal March 7, 2009) has some ideas directly applicable to business leaders onboarding into new positions – particularly after a layoff. Key points: PAST RESULTS NO GUARANTEE : Know that past results are no guarantee of future performance PREPARE TO PLAY IN ADVANCE : Get yourself 100%...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2009 11:10 am
We just launched . It is an online self managed work stream that guides hiring managers to lead cross functional, integrated efforts to align, acquire, accommodate, assimilate and accelerate new employees for Better Results Faster by cutting out the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of uncoordinated recruiting, orienting and management efforts. The program is...  Read More
Feb. 10, 2009 6:46 am
Until key players agree on what is getting done by when by whom, you do not have a plan.  Timelines and milestones are the critical link between theoretical plans and meaningful actions.  This is applicable on both sides of onboarding. For the hiring manager, timelines and milestones are tools to get key players aligned and help keep them on track through the various stages of onboarding -...  Read More
Feb. 2, 2009 5:39 am
No one who ever worked in marketing at Procter and Gamble would ever consider letting anyone develop any sort of advertising without a clear creative brief.  We should hold ourselves to the same standard when it comes to recruiting briefs.  No on should ever consider letting anyone start recruiting for any new employee without a clear recruiting brief leading into an onboarding plan. ...  Read More
Jan. 25, 2009 5:51 pm
Three leadership truths: 1) It's not about you 2) Everything communicates 3) Help should be helpful Look at the way Obama is starting up.  Look at the way he talks about us and we and not me and I.  Look at the way he strives to keep all his actions on message.  Look at the way he enrolls others by helping them be successful. Contrast that the memo Carol Bartz...  Read More
Jan. 21, 2009 10:44 am
OK, this is only the 24,000th blog written about Barack Obama's speech yesterday. And I'm sure there are politicos and historians who will wax much more eloquent than me (for example, see the New York Times Editorial ). But since this blog is about leadership, I can't pass up the opportunity to analyze his speech from the standpoint of leadership. Many people I've talked with have said,...  Read More
Jan. 19, 2009 6:45 am
On the one hand, there’s nothing magical about the first 100 days.  The phrase seems to have originated with Franklin Roosevelt’s first 100 days of legislative activity with congress and the 15 bills that launched the New Deal.   What was magical was the way Roosevelt used that time to galvanize people around the need for change, the direction of the change, and the actions to be taken. As...  Read More
Jan. 11, 2009 3:25 pm
One of the comments I received after my last post was that I was waxing too philosophical.Guilty as charged, and I was unabashedly so. But I don't want this blog to drift into spongy platitudes, so I'm going to shift gears and address a problem virtually every manager has dealt with at one time or another. If you have a toxic team member, you should do everything in your power to get rid of them...  Read More
Jan. 5, 2009 7:42 am
The new year is a great excuse to think about new beginnings.  We all know the importance of thinking far in advance as we prepare for new opportunities.  Why then don't more people take a more comprehensive approach to onboarding?  Probably because it is not something they do every day; and because it is hard to get good at it. Onboarding encompasses efforts to acquire, accommodate,...  Read More
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