Stories of excellent organizations and the practices behind their success.

What is it about?

Accelerate Your Performance focuses on tactical actions to improve workplace culture. These tactics align to our Nine Principles® for Organizational Excellence.

EP53: Building Strong Leadership Teams

Executive leaders are the role-models of an organization, responsible for establishing the culture and leading teams to be successful. During this episode, Dr. Natalie Harder, Chancellor of South Louisiana Community College joins Dr. Janet Pilcher to share her story and her secret for building kick-ass leadership teams. Dr. Harder has led her team through a historic merger with multiple campuses, successfully blended cultures, systems, processes, programs, and students all while maintaining [...]

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EP52: Phases of Individual Change

As individuals strive for growth in their professional and personal lives, there is often a gap between where people are and where they want to be. While individuals are excited for growth and opportunities, this excitement can lead to anxiety and tension. These feelings can cause people to give up and ignore opportunities to grow, or instead for motivation to work through the personal discomfort to achieve their goals. In this episode, Janet discusses how to do this difficult improvement [...]

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EP51: Make Recognition a Habit

When we establish recognition systems in our organizations or on our teams, we focus on employees by understanding what makes them shine and what keeps them engaged. Focusing on expressing appreciation for the contributions people make to our organizations motivates individuals to continue their hard work. Sincere appreciation changes the culture of the organization. It takes little time and has a tremendous impact on others. A culture of recognition is powerful and contagious.

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EP50: Increase Employee Engagement with Recognition

Rewarding and recognizing the right behaviors and excellent performance isn’t just a nice thing to do. Lack of employee recognition is a top reason for employees leaving an organization. With recognition we are able to engage, retain, and motivate most employees to sustain high performance. Recognition is so important to an organization’s success, it’s our ninth principle and the glue that holds all of our principles together. Recognizing others takes little time and pays great dividends.

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EP49: Transforming TeacherReady

Several years ago, the decision was made to transform TeacherReady, a Studer Education℠ online self-paced teacher certification program, to meet students where they are today. Transforming TeacherReady wasn’t something the organization took lightly, Dr. Julie Kunselman was instrumental in helping to review significant data and research to revolutionize this program for the future. As with any organization, they had to work through barriers to change to realize this incredible opportunity to [...]

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EP48: Identify Barriers to Change

Organizations are facing more pressure than ever to transform their practices in order to improve their outcomes. Competition is fierce. The speed of information and higher demands from consumers forces leaders to shift the way change is approached. Commonly, there is much anxiety attached to change, people like to do things, “the way they’ve always done it,” but that’s not the attitude that will achieve success in today OR tomorrow’s world. Individuals, leaders, and organizations need to [...]

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EP47: Not Another Empty Promise

At some time in your professional or personal life, you have probably experienced the let down of an empty promise. It’s also likely you’ve promised a friend or a colleague something you’ve let slip through the cracks at least once or twice. These empty promises, no matter how small, erode trust and jeopardize relationships with others. In this episode, Dr. Pilcher digs deep into what causes us to make these empty promises and how we can choose our words and commitments carefully in the future.

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EP46: Creating Cultures of Continuous Improvement

How do you turn passionate employees and leaders into people who have the ability to make a difference not only in their work, but in their communities? Janet is joined by Dr. Pat Greco today to talk about continuous improvement. Pat is an award-winning retired superintendent who served 38 years in public education and has been a champion of Evidence-Based Leadership℠. She shares her advice and experience on executing the process of improvement within organizations.

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EP45: Presenting Problems as Opportunities

As a leader do you tell your teams, “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”? Or maybe as an employee you’ve worked for a leader who believes in this philosophy. While presenting solutions to problems is ideal, it’s not always possible. So, what can leaders do to create safe environments for teams to bring problems forward, while avoiding being bombarded by complaints? In this episode, Dr. Pilcher encourages team members use key words, take ownership, and bring complex problems to [...]

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EP44: From Problem to Solution

Changes in an organization can occur that team leaders may have little control over. What we can control is how we adapt and react to the change in our daily business. When we utilize team meetings with structured, thoughtful discussions, and analysis, someone will propose a winning solution or solutions for the team to agree on. Using a problem-solving agenda, conversations stay focused and teams can avoid falling into a pit of negativity and conflict.

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EP43: Connecting with Young Professionals

For the first time in history we are operating with five generations co-existing in the workforce, and there are more young professionals joining every day. Dr. Pilcher talks with Ruthie Christie, the Executive Director of Pensacola Young Professionals (PYP) about their mission and impact in our community. PYP provides young professionals with a community where they can make a difference, connect with like-minded individuals, and learn new skills. Ruthe also reveals the top three skills [...]

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EP42: Focus on Service Excellence

Service excellence is more than just being polite or being ready to offer the unsatisfied customer a discount. Join Donna Kirby and Janet Pilcher this week as they conclude their conversation about the value of service excellence. Donna Kirby reveals her top 3 tactics for applying customer service excellence within your organization and how to treat your organization like a living room.

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EP39: Stressed from Stress?

Many successful, hardworking Americans experience burnout more than once during their careers, even people who are passionate about what they do. High performers can be obsessed with achieving excellence and exceeding results to the point of exhaustion. And when the candles are burning at both ends for too long, we do ourselves, our clients, and our team a disservice. Begin reducing stress by taking small steps to prevent overload burnout.

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EP38: Deliver Productive Feedback

The way we provide feedback makes a difference in how people receive and act on the feedback. If our goal is to provide feedback to change behavior for the right reasons, we need to message our feedback in the right way. Dr. Pilcher dissects real-life situations where feedback was given that wasn’t asked for, or that hurts the receiver, and offers solutions and tips to improve the interaction.

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EP37: Do People Really Want Feedback?

There’s a fine line between giving feedback for improvements and leaving an employee feeling criticized and deflated. Few of us respond well to someone telling us what to do or how to fix ourselves. Yet when feedback is provided in the right way, individuals are motivated to learn and improve. To create excellent organizations providing others with feedback is necessary. Reshape your feedback conversations to focus on achieving a positive outcome.

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EP36: Retain New Hires with 30- & 90-Day Conversations

Making intentional connections with employees is especially important when the employee is within the first 30 and 90 days. Research shows that up to 22% of turnover takes place within an employee’s first 45 days of employment. 30-day conversations reinforce that leaders are committed to retaining the new employee and provide leaders with a fresh perception of the organization. This week Dr. Pilcher dives into what a 30-day conversation is and then provides a real-life example with Studer [...]

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EP35: Pursue Performance Excellence

Why is a commitment to excellence important as a leader and as an organization? Dr. Janet Pilcher interviews Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award recipient, Dr. JoAnn Sternke, to get her perspective on what it takes to pursue performance excellence. As a superintendent of Pewaukee School District, JoAnn led the organization to receive a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In this episode, she reveals the key to seeing results and getting the entire group of leaders moving forward.

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EP32: Turn Ideas into Action

Are you really listening to your employees? Many employees don’t think so, in fact, more than half of employees say their company fails to act on good ideas, and a third of employees feel their ideas are ignored. Why? Because leaders demand action without input, receive feedback and avoid making changes, and lack a clear process for managing ideas. It’s crucial for leaders to let employees speak and pay ridiculous attention to what they are saying so teams are motivated to collaborate [...]

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EP31: What Questions Should I Be Asking My Employees?

One of a leader’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure teams are engaged and productive. People are motivated to increase productivity when leaders take time to get to know them personally, make them feel comfortable, and help remove barriers in the workplace. When we connect with employees in ways that are meaningful to them, they become more engaged, productivity and profits increase, meanwhile, turnover, absenteeism, and shrinkage decrease.

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EP29: Keep Those Emotions in Check

Receiving feedback is an emotional experience, it’s often difficult to take in. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, we humans are quick to respond emotionally, sometimes overreacting, even to the point of denying the data is accurate. Feedback is also a powerful gift, it helps organizations understand what they are doing well, and areas in which they’re falling short. In this episode, Dr. Pilcher coaches us to work through useful feedback to honor the information that is helpful, [...]

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EP26: Service Recovery That Knocks It Out of the Park

Despite best efforts, sometimes we fail at providing the outstanding service our customers deserve. During these times, a service recovery process can turn a negative customer experience into an opportunity to satisfy the individual and for the organization to improve. Using a real-life example, Dr. Pilcher identifies six actions to sincere service recovery your customers will thank you for.

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EP25: Addressing Poor Performance

Why do leaders need to address toxic behavior immediately? Because negative behavior drags the entire organization down. 66% of employees who deal with a toxic team member said their performance declined in a recent HBR Study. In this episode, we reveal an approach you can use to support low-solid performers, the 8 types of toxic employees, and 4 steps to dealing with toxic employees.

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EP24: The Best Chance for Success

It’s the leader’s responsibility to provide a structure within the organization to help people know when they’re not performing at their best. When the right system is in place, leaders can support their employees in owning their own performance. Sometimes that support may appear in the form of transitioning someone to a different role or out of the organization. In this episode, we address actions leaders can take to provide every opportunity for employees to be successful.

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EP23: Hitting the Wall

How do the varying human performance levels affect the overall organizational results? What happens when leaders avoid managing employee performance levels? We achieve higher performance with less variation when we tighten the performance curve. In this episode, Dr. Pilcher addresses how leaders have an important role in managing performance to keep results moving in a positive direction.

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EP22: Connecting with Solid Performers

60 – 70% of individuals in our organizations are solid performers, making them the backbone of every organization. When we give them our best, they will give their best to us and our organizations. This week, Dr. Pilcher discusses how to connect with your solid performers. When you give solid performers feedback the right way, a relationship is built that will retain, motivate, and inspire your direct reports.

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EP14: Small Things, Big Difference

Through kindness we have a greater opportunity to achieve higher results. Individuals who combine their skills with kindness and drive can’t be stopped. Studies even show leaders who project warmth are more effective than leaders that lead with toughness. This week, Dr. Pilcher provides you with 8 quick actions you can do immediately to accelerate kindness. Practicing kindness is one small thing, that has really big results.

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EP13: That’s the Way It Is

Can you recall a time when you’ve been frustrated with another department in your organization, and you were told nothing can be done to solve the problem? Are leaders fighting about who is supposed to be responsible for something and blaming others when things don’t get done? The best solutions come from the people doing the work day in and day out. This episode focuses on breaking down barriers to improve workplaces. Learn how can you utilize your people to improve processes and systems [...]

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EP12: Execute Well for Better Results

This week, Dr. Pilcher discusses the common job we all come to work to do each day: Execute Well. Do we take quick decisive, meaningful actions every day? Or do we find ourselves waiting for our next assignment, redoing our work, or missing deadlines? Executing well plays a critical role in moving organizations forward and exceeding results. Dr. Pilcher recommends four actions for executing well in this week’s show.

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EP11: Leaders Don’t Whine

How can you avoid the trap of negative thinking? Overcoming obstacles is never easy, but when we don’t let shortcomings get (and keep) us down, we become more resilient. This week, Dr. Pilcher exposes how to eliminate this behavior from the workplace.

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EP9: Stop the Subconscious Behavior Infecting Your Organization

‘It’s not me, it’s them!’ – We’ve all heard it before, the blame game. But seriously, if they could just get their work done, I wouldn’t have to bring it up right? This default communication has lasting negative effects on team performance and results. Dr. Pilcher advises how to eliminate we/they behavior in the organization, and your life, for good. The results can be dramatic, imagine a positive culture where people take ownership.

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EP8: What if Your Boss is the Problem?

56% of American workers claim their boss is mildly or highly toxic. We all deserve to work for high performing leaders, but what can you do if this isn’t your experience at work? Do you grin and bear it? Quit? Confront the boss? To continue the discussion from episode 7 on poor work behavior, this week Dr. Pilcher addresses low performing leaders, from the employee’s perspective.

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EP7: Handling Executive Leader Sabotage

How do you handle leaders who say they’re on board, but act like they’re not? Leadership team alignment is vital for high performing organizations to be successful. This week, Dr. Pilcher discusses how to address leaders who choose to deviate from strategy. Leaders who exhibit negative behaviors are noticeable by all employees and as a result are actively eroding the company culture.

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EP6: Can You Fix My Culture?

You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” but how is it that organizations cultivate a positive, inspired culture? And possibly more difficult, how can leaders turn a negative culture around? Dr. Pilcher explains the steps necessary to begin shifting the culture in the right direction. Our people determine our culture, it lives and evolves inside of us every day.

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EP5: Reignite Your Passion

All of us are energized by something. It’s up to us to dig deeper within ourselves to stay connected to our passions as we live through new experiences. Dr. Pilcher returns to her tennis days from episode 4 Losing Our Way to show how she worked through her temporary loss of passion. She addresses the role leaders play to support team member’s passions.

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EP4: Losing Our Way

Anyone can fall victim of losing their passion at some point or another. Results from Gallup’s State of the American Workforce reveal disengagement at work happens to over 50% of employees. Yet organizations with higher employee engagement perform at higher levels, so what can leaders do to keep teams engaged. Dr. Pilcher refers to her days as a tennis enthusiast to demonstrate the struggle to maintain passion and how to help each other from losing our way.

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EP3: What are the Nine Principles? Part 3

This episode is the final part of a three-part series. It introduces and gives a brief overview of Principles 7-9 of the Nine Principles®. These Principles are: 7) Align Behaviors with Goals and Values, 8) Communicate at All Levels, 9) Recognize and Reward Success.

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