Teaching the Team to Fail

A while ago, I read a quote by American psychologist B.F. Skinner that really spoke to me. Both as an individual and as a leader. It said: “A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

As leaders, we will face failure at some point. It’s not a question of “if”. It’s truly a question of “when”. And when that time does arrive, what lessons will you be teaching your team by your behavior?

The Need to Learn Lessons from Our Failures

The first thing that we need to consider is recognizing the actual need to learn lessons from our failures.

How are you role modeling that?

To start to learn from our failures, we have to own them. We have to accept our part in that failure.

There are some leaders who immediately look for someone else to blame. Although there may be times when those leaders truly had no part at all in this failure, we need to be careful of...

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Making a Positive First Impression as a Leader

Wanting to make a positive first impression as the new leader of a team is a pretty common desire.

Whether it’s truly being new to leadership, the first time leading a team, or even taking over perhaps an underperforming, jaded team, making a positive first impression can help set the right tone. Or, at the very least, help start the relationship on the right foot.

So what are some things that leaders can do to help ensure a positive first impression?

Be Authentic

The most essential aspect is being authentic.

Hopefully, you're a people person. If you're in leadership, whether you decided to be a leader or fell into being a leader, hopefully it means that you care deeply about people.

Because, of course, as you've heard me say, there is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. The leader is the person who cares, who truly is there to elevate the team members, and the boss is just the one saying: “Do this”.

So be authentic when you're introducing...

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Increased Efficiency by Managing Energy

mindset productivity Sep 08, 2022

Being the CEO of growing companies, I spend a lot of time and energy in the realm of both strategy and implementation.

The only way that I'm capable of accomplishing this much while keeping burnout at bay – and staying in the world of fatigue that is reasonably easy to recover from – is by being extremely intentional about managing my energy.

So, as leaders, what can we do to better manage our energy?

For sure, managing our energy involves a lot of aspects. But there are three top areas that I pay the most attention to.

Being Aware of Planned Elevated Levels of Required Energy

What does it mean to “be aware of planned elevated levels of required energy”?

It's about all of the big growth pushes that we cycle through. Growing a business requires a lot of momentum. It requires us to be that force that will move things forward. To dig in and find that energy that will propel everything forward. That energy that will inspire and create change. That will move us...

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Can Jargon Sometimes Be Our Friend?

language team dynamics Aug 25, 2022

If you’ve been in a leadership position for a while, maybe even if you’ve just been in the workforce for a while, you’ve probably heard some version of “avoid jargon”, “eliminate jargon”. 

As a leader, though, should you be discouraging all jargon talk?

What do I mean by “jargon”? For me, it’s words or expressions typically used by a certain profession or organizational environment that may be difficult to understand for those outside of that environment.

Whether to discourage it or not depends on the situation. When I try to make that decision, I consider a few things:

Be Clear on Why You’re Using Jargon

There are some valid reasons as to why we use it. It can bring a team closer by having this shared language. Depending on the circumstances, it might also make them feel almost like they are part of a special club (and sometimes that is actually the case) where they all use this common terminology that few...

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The Struggle for Leaders to Be Adaptable Yet Focused

Without falling into the hustle glorification trap, I think it’s safe to say that most of us leaders struggle with juggling the demands on our time, getting those priorities addressed, while remaining adaptable.

So, how can we, as leaders, be both adaptable and focused on advancing initiatives?


As a CEO myself, that unfortunately is also a constant struggle and I have to remind myself of the need to push for focus otherwise my time would get swallowed up.

For sure, when running an organization, it’s essential for us to be able to adapt to whatever is being thrown our way.

Whether it’s a major complaint that needs investigating, an essential team member who leaves suddenly or even a client that demands a situation be solved “today”, these unexpected challenges can threaten to swallow up our days, weeks or even months.

I know for myself sometimes it feels like all I do is go from one crisis-of-the-day to the next. And...

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Conflict as a Tool for Healthy Team Growth

leadership team dynamics Jul 29, 2022

It’s 3 a.m. You’re wide awake. You’re having a “conversation” in your mind with a colleague, a boss, a client. Again. The same one. Seemingly on repeat for the past few days, weeks, or months even.

Barring some intractable factors, it appears it’s time to transition that hard conversation from inner monologue to outer dialogue.

The thought of it is potentially making your heart race, your palms sweaty, your mouth dry, and even causing you to be a little nauseated.

When asked, most will say that they don’t like conflict. And that’s fair. I, myself, do prefer my conflict in works of fiction.

But all that internal turmoil, the time spent spinning, the miscommunications due to avoidance is not only unhealthy, it also frequently builds up and makes the situation worse.

Yes, conflict can be intimidating. And with a mutually agreed-upon approach, it is possible to elevate it to a healthy and productive conversation. As the Corgibytes ...

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Making the Most of Assessments While Guarding against Their Pitfalls

Most of us love a good personality assessment. They’re usually fun, can help us understand ourselves better and, at times, may even have implementable tips for us.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the suspicious ones that pop up in social media feeds and may or may not be gathering security question information.

I’m talking about the DiSC assessment, MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), CliftonStrengths (formerly Clifton StrengthsFinder), and others in the same vein.

It seems every organization I’ve ever worked at had me take one of these as part of the onboarding. I took the test, enjoyed reading the results, and that was as far as it went. The organization didn’t seem to care much about it.


Although I have no first-hand knowledge of how these assessments were created, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume that Isabel Myers, Katharine Briggs, Donald Clifton, and others did not invest so much...

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Has Calm Given in to Chaos?

Your fingers are typing, your eyes are scanning, your mind is racing.

Despite your impressive speed, you’re barely making a dent in that ever-expanding task list.

You push on. More gets added. “No worries,” you think, “You got this.”

Except that you’re constantly short on time, forever exhausted and you promise yourself that as soon as you finish that next “thing”, you’ll get a handle on this out-of-control hamster wheel. You may even take time off!

Until the next week. Where it’s more of the same.

And the following.

And the one after that.

And the cycle continues.

Although there are times when it is necessary to go heads-down and push through to get unstuck, it shouldn’t be that way all the time. That feeling of “survival” is draining, and our bodies are not a fan. Soon enough, you’ll start experiencing physical and psychological symptoms of “keeping on keeping on.”

So what do you do...

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How Small Businesses Can Attract And Retain Top Talent In A Changing Remote Landscape

For the longest time, just using the words “fully remote position” was enough for some small businesses to be flooded with resumes from top talent. Now, with big names such as Twitter and Slack embracing remote work for the long-term, this will likely no longer be the case.

Such massive changes in the remote landscape might have some small-business owners wondering what they can do to prepare themselves. After all, larger organizations might be able to offer various career paths, higher salaries, fully paid medical and dental benefits, unlimited vacation, equipment, paid-for internet, covered accounting costs and so much more. If the recruiting space is now filled with such employers, how can a small organization compete?

The answer is simple: it can’t. At least, it can’t compete directly. And it could be financially disastrous to try.

Does that mean small businesses have to sit back, wait and be grateful for whatever leftovers come their...

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Continuous Improvements - Good for Code. Good for Business.

Nintendo started out producing handmade playing cards. Netflix was selling and renting DVDs by mail. Starbucks used to only sell high-quality coffee beans and equipment (no brewed coffee or delicious handcrafted espresso drinks!).

As different as their businesses were – and still are – they all managed to pivot/strengthen, expand and thrive. Even without firsthand knowledge on the details of how they went about these changes, it’s not hard to imagine that experimentation and a desire to constantly improve was somehow involved.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time visiting the Corgibytes website (where I am COO), reading the blog or listening to our podcast (Legacy Code Rocks!) knows that we’re constantly talking about reducing technical debt to make codebases stable, scaleable and secure.

What you likely don’t know is that we also apply those same concepts to our operations.

Just like we do code health checks, we do operational health checks....

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