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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


Nov. 30, 2010 5:50 am
People process information differently. So, as you're onboarding into an organization and meeting new people, it's helpful to figure out if they are woks, teapots, or percolators. Woks quick cook things. They stir-fry information, processing it immediately. They think with their mouths. Be prepared to engage them in rapid-fire discussions and get to quick decisions. Teapots let things...  Read More
Nov. 29, 2010 6:22 am
The owners and staff at the Jones Family Farms in Shelton, CT get it. People go there to take advantage of the farms' 200-acres of harvest-your-own Christmas trees (or berries or pumpkins). They leave with priceless memories of a wonderful family experience. The farm is beautiful. The layout is terrific. The trees are great. But what really sets this place apart is the way they treat their...  Read More
Nov. 28, 2010 7:06 am
It's an indelible image - 2008 drummers performing as one to open the Beijing Olympics. Moments like that do not happen by chance. They are the result of a vision executed with excellence. And that execution is born of direction, training, and disciplined practice. Whomever was in charge of that opening ceremony knew what they wanted and what they were willing to give up to get it. Do you? ...  Read More
Nov. 27, 2010 6:59 am
The two words don't go together. "My" is first person possessive, referring to personal ownership by the speaker. "Team" is a group working together with a shared purpose. The moment someone says "my team", that person is setting themself above the team and apart from other teams. If they are above or apart from the team, they are not part of the team. If they are not part of the team, it's...  Read More
Nov. 26, 2010 5:57 am
Guy walks into a high-end auto repair shop with his very old car needing repairs. The mechanic takes a look at the car and says "We're not the right tool for you. You need someone who can patch this together to last another 20,000 miles. Sometime between now and then, you need to sell the car." That mechanic got ALL of that guy's auto repair work for the next 15 years. A man I just met told...  Read More
Nov. 25, 2010 7:27 am
During a conversation about the bleak state of the US economy at the last CEO Boot Camp, one of the non-US CEOs was clear that he was betting on the future of the U.S. In particular, he said he had always been impressed with Americans' ability to adapt to change and reinvent themselves. It's a deep-seated cultural strength. In the end, culture may be the only sustainable competitive...  Read More
Nov. 24, 2010 5:43 am
Wikipedia, that font of all current knowledge, describes "Minnesota Nice" as "courteous, reserved, and mild mannered". If everyone in the world disciplined themselves to be like that, the world would be a better place. If everyone in your new organization were that way, your onboarding would be that much easier. Be Do Say The trouble starts when people pretend to be nice, but they're not....  Read More
Nov. 23, 2010 6:46 am
Have you noticed that most feature films are about two hours long? If the world's best directors with the world's best scripts, best actors, and best special effects have decided they can keep peoples' attention for only two hours, what makes you think anyone will pay attention to you for longer? Accept that two hours is the outer limit for your most important discussions or presentations. Any...  Read More
Nov. 22, 2010 5:56 am
The Five O'Clock Club posted two videos of a 15 minute talk I gave to one of their breakfast meetings. Click here to view on YouTube The main points are that the critical "onboarding" relationship is the transformational partnership between a new employee and his or her boss, started by the boss doing three things: 1) Getting a head start 2) Leveraging a set of consistent messages 3)...  Read More
Nov. 21, 2010 3:04 pm
What do you want and what are you willing to give up to get it? The answer was clear for Marco Iannuzzi. He wanted to play football for Harvard and he was willing to give up a lot of time and deal with a lot of pain and risk to get there. Anyone watching his game-changing kickoff runback yesterday from the Harvard side of the field was thrilled he did. Marco's story is told far better than I...  Read More
Nov. 21, 2010 8:03 am
US Army Colonel Randy Chase spent 10 days on a navy ship for cross-training. On his second day, he ran out of toothpaste so went over to the ship's store to buy another tube. The stores on a navy ship aren't as big as your typical suburban supermarket (only two people can fit in the store at a time), so he had to wait in a short line to get in. While he was waiting, he struck up a conversation...  Read More
Nov. 20, 2010 7:25 am
This post playing off Vince Lombardi's quote has received three times as many visitors as any other post we've done. Reinforces the point that attitude counts. Why do you think so many people have clicked through on this one? Football coach Vince Lombardi put it well, "The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win." Most people have the will to win. Most people...  Read More
Nov. 18, 2010 6:24 am
Paint the grass to improve your new hires' onboarding experience. Disney is committed to guests enterring parks that look as good as they did on the day they were opened for the first time. As soon as the last guest leaves at the end of every day, crews start repairing anything that needs it, touching up the rest, and making things look practically perfect in every way. They refuse to leave...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2010 6:59 am
Like the duck sailing smoothly along the surface while paddling like mad underneath, what looks like a logical, sequential approach to onboarding is actually an ongoing series of constant iterations. In The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan , we tell people moving into new jobs or new roles to follow three steps: Prepare in advance Manage the message Help others deliver Many who read...  Read More
Nov. 16, 2010 5:56 am
The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan (Wiley, 2006 & 2009) continues to help leaders accelerate their onboarding and to sell well. In light of that, the publisher has asked us to write a 3rd edition. We have already identified some ways to modify the current version, and would be open to other thoughts on how to make it even better. Our current ideas include: The New Leader's 100-Hour...  Read More
Nov. 15, 2010 5:52 am
No one cares about you ...unless it's in their best interest to do so. de Tocqueville put it well: "an enlightened regard for themselves constantly prompts them to assist each other" - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America It's generally a waste of time to try to get people to support you or your cause on their own. But it may be extremely beneficial to help people understand how...  Read More
Nov. 14, 2010 6:54 am
As a new leader, the more they onboard you and the more room you give them to do it, the better. People generally don't like change; and they really don't like change forced on them. So, the more you can let them pull you in, the more comfortable they are going to be. The tricky part comes if they don't know how to do it. (Hard to believe, but there are still people out there who have not read...  Read More
Nov. 13, 2010 7:24 am
Why is a bad boss like a tow truck driver? Both think they can ignore the rules of the road if they just put their blinking lights on, and neither thinks they have to fix the wrecks they drag behind them. But not you. You know that the people that follow you will do what you do instead of what you say. And you know that inspiring and enabling others means giving them the freedom to make...  Read More
Nov. 12, 2010 8:16 am
Oren Trask was CEO of media conglomerate, Trask industries. He was particularly gifted in choosing great people. Behavioral interviews are a point. It's essential to separate out people who know how to interveiw from people who know how to deliver. There are a lot of people who can figure out how things happened in retrospect. There's a smaller subset of people that can make...  Read More
Nov. 11, 2010 6:29 am
Ken Chenault's approach to board management + Bryan Smith's approach to persuasion = the board two-step. Bryan Smith lays out five levels of persuasion Tell - The traffic policeman on the corner tells you to detour right. Not a lot of discussion. He or she is in charge, you are directed. Sell - I know I'm right and am going to persuade you to buy my idea. Test - I've got an...  Read More
Nov. 10, 2010 6:25 am
Harvard's Amy Cuddy makes a compelling case for making a first impression as being friendly and competent. Of these, friendly is far more important. Her thesis, explained clearly and coherently in the Nov-Dec 2010 Harvard Magazine, is that our first impressions of people are derived from our fight or flight instincts. In a nano-second, we determine if the person we're meeting is a friend or a...  Read More
Nov. 9, 2010 6:06 am
One of my heroes gave the talk at the opening dinner of this week's CEO Boot Camp . I've known Howard Fluhr since we started running CEO Boot Camps in 2005. He was nearing the end of his 12 year run as CEO of the Segal Company then, and continues on with them as Chairman. This is one of those people anyone would love to have as a CEO, boss, colleague, or friend. At dinner last night,...  Read More
Nov. 8, 2010 1:25 pm
Maximizing shareholder value is not working. It's driving so many short term decisions that we seem to be destroying our collective futures. It's the tragedy of the common all over again. The tragedy of the common occurs when a society shares a "common" resource. Common grazing areas for sheep are classic examples. Problems arise because each individual member of the society has no marginal...  Read More
Nov. 7, 2010 7:41 am
Alix Partners' Peter Fitzsimmons' suggests that turning around companies requires a focus on 4 CAMS: Cash, Achievable plans, Meaningful actions, and Stakeholders. Cash - Get your hands around the cash and manage its flow. (Too many organizations fail to understand their sources and uses of cash.) Achieveable plans - Develop an achievable business plan (ratcheting back...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2010 6:39 am
How much should you breathe in before you breathe out? When onboarding into a new job, as much as you can by day 30. You can no more lead before you listen than you can breathe out before you breathe in. Walking into a new role and giving directions on day one sends a powerful signal that you don't care what anyone else thinks, that you're not really open to listening to their point of view....  Read More
Nov. 5, 2010 4:26 pm
So painful. So preventable. So frustrating. It would have been one thing if Haiti had been hit by a hurricane the week after the earthquake. But this is ten months later! What's the matter with the people in charge of this recovery? Actions and choices have consequences. Sometimes you have to deal with unanticipated consequences. In this case, it was reasonable to assume that the island was...  Read More
Nov. 5, 2010 8:07 am
It was an unsatifying election for many. Certainly for those who lost, and for those who supported candidates who lost. But also for many of the people who voted against those candidates. Sure, it feels good initially to "throw the bums out". But then you have to deal with what's next. Many people are not satisfied with where we are. Unfortunately, it's not clear where we're going over the...  Read More
Nov. 4, 2010 6:25 am
What's most important? This is a critical question in onboarding. You need to know what's important to you. You need to know what's important to the people you're working with. And you need to find the common ground between the two to make sure you're all heading toward the same endpoint. Look for a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. "Meaningful" is about making a contribution to...  Read More
Nov. 3, 2010 6:06 am
We've all experienced them — those moments of connection. They happen when someone stops and really listens to what someone else is saying so they hear something that sparks something inside of them. They happen when someone stops and really watches what someone else is doing so they see something that sparks something inside of them. The connection goes well beyond what the other says or does,...  Read More
Nov. 2, 2010 6:26 am
You've heard it over and over again. Walk the talk 80% of success is showing up - Woody Allen If you can't make it in on Saturday, don't even bother coming in on Sunday - Jeffrey Katzenberg Everything does communicate. Who you are and what you do drowns out what you say. Show up when onboarding No. I'm not...  Read More
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