Current Topics

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 8, Issue 3

Fast Teams
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Today, new challenges and opportunities emerge so quickly that organizations must respond immediately with high-quality impact or risk falling behind. Avoiding this risk requires leaders to focus on using the talent at their disposal in the most efficient and effective way possible.Continue reading.

Voices of Governance: Why Oversight Is Important to All of Us
By Karen Kane

Karen is a leader in strategic communications for business who writes and blogs about good governance and responsible leadership. She is a former board secretary and the highest ranking woman at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, where she led the development of the crisis communication plan for the Federal Reserve System after the 9/11 attacks.

CHICAGO - In "Voices of Governance: Why Oversight Is Important to All of Us" (ISBN 1470193256), Karen Kane shows how the global economic crisis revealed a breakdown in the governance system of corporate boards. In insightful conversations with corporate governance leaders, she highlights what needs to be fixed in order to restore faith and confidence in market capitalism.

In "Voices of Governance," Kane chronicles the work of board directors and lets these global leaders speak for themselves. These executives hone in on the governance issues and board processes that need to be addressed and improved for the better. As the economic meltdown revealed, the free-market financial system is a complex and fragile network of trust. Continue reading.

Working with Recruiters
By Sima Dahl

Personal Branding and Social Networking Expert at MarketMyCareer.com

"For this Article I interviewed Susan Rosenstein, President of Susan Rosenstein Executive Search Limited."

Q: Susan, I'm often asked by recent grads for advice on how best to launch their career, and I'm sure you hear the same. What do you tell them? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 8, Issue 2

The Balance Baker’s Dozen:
Tips for Becoming and Staying Balanced

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

When things settle down, I will _____________.” How many times have you said this? But things never settle down. The pace of learning required just to stay even with trends is faster than ever. The pace required to get ahead is often daunting. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 8, Issue 1

Whole Brain Leadership –
Improving Productivity and Innovation

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Doing more with less has been a successful strategy in the past – at least in the short term. It is not an effective strategy for today’s market. Most organizations have reached the point at which no additional “more” can be squeezed out of “less.” Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 7, Issue 4

New Principles for High-Performing Teams
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Customers are demanding more from your products and services. Investors are more rigorously assessing your ability to deliver short-term results and create long-term value through innovation.Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 7, Issue 3

Pathways and Pitfalls on the Road to Relevance – Part 2
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

How relevant are you? The answer to this question may determine whether your career soars or stalls. Enhancing relevance can elevate your career because organizations are actively pursuing leading practitioners who can generate innovative solutions that improve the organization's success and marketplace relevance. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 7, Issue 2

Pathways and Pitfalls on the Road to Relevance – Part 1
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Today’s tumultuous global marketplace creates an incessantly accelerating pace of change and unusually complex opportunities and challenges. Controlling these forces is impossible. Navigating them successfully is not. Continue reading.


The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 7, Issue 1

Building the New Leadership Team
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Over the last decade, we have worked with a model for aligning an organization’s leadership styles, culture and strategic intent – be it Business-as-Usual, Fix-it, Evolutionary or Revolutionary. (See “Change the Rules” Parts 1 and 2, The Straight Talk Coach, Volume 2, Issues 3 and 4.) Continue reading.


The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 6, Issue 4

Are You Ready for Today’s Leadership Challenges?
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

A relentless pace of change? Check. A continual redefinition of relevance? Check. Instability anywhere creating uncertainty everywhere? Check. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 6, Issue 3

A3 for Effective Teams
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Leaders trying to build and manage teams in the past had numerous advantages on their side, including a robust economy, more resources and greater room for trial and error. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 6, Issue 2

Becoming Relevant Today: What Really Matters
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Crisis has become the defining characteristic of today’s market. Many organizations are lying low, waiting for the climate to improve. Others are overreacting to each incident, risking imminent burnout. There is a better path through the turmoil to a strong future: Become relevant by focusing on what really matters. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 5, Issue 2

Building the Future With New Generation Leaders
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Developing the next generation of leaders has never been more urgent. Nor has it ever offered high-potential individuals and organizations more opportunities and challenges.Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 5, Issue 1

Don't Break Down, Break Out
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

For years, debate has centered on how organizations can break down silos to operate more effectively. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 9

The Power of Shared Learning
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Today: Most organizations view learning from one of two perspectives. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 8

Team Building for Tomorrow:
A Model for Effective Collaboration

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

The global marketplace keeps throwing new and faster curve balls, driving the need for greater diversity and agility. Continue reading. View the Developmental Stages of Team Effectiveness chart.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 7

Making the Leap
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Change ± even desired and positive ± is stressful.Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 6

The Change Agent Challenge:
Engineering a Sustainable Future

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Congratulations! You have been hired to "fix" a troubled organization.Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 5

Thought Catalysts:
Prima Donnas or Prime Movers?

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Are you a creative thinker who advocates unique solutions to every problem? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 4

Collaborative Leadership:
Shaping the Future

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Today's global marketplace is a kaleidoscope of change. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 3

Career-Building Part Two:
Developing Talent for Competitive Advantage

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Succeeding in today's complex global marketplace is extremely challenging. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 2

Career-Building Part One:
Creating Careers that Count

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

In a world that presents both a greater variety of work and more global competitors to do it, aligning the right skills with the right job is essential to long-term success. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 4, Issue 1

Evaluating Leadership
Taming the M & A Wild Card

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Mergers and acquisitions are laden with unknowns: Will the new ownership structure create greater value? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 9

Leading Change:
Are You Building Talent or Burning It Out?

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Success in the globally dynamic marketplace demands constant change in pursuit of improved results. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 8

Congratulations - You're Hired
Part Two: Integration Planning

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Imagine that a NFL team signs an expensive new quarterback. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 7

Congratulations - You're Hired!
Part One: Due Diligence

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Have you ever started what seemed to be a wonderful new job, only to have it fall apart a few months later? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 6

Building the Future: The New Office of the Chairman
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

The central challenge in CEO succession planning has traditionally been how to ensure continuity by replacing an organization's top leader with another qualified individual. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 4

Empower, Align and Inspire: Using Power Tools Effectively
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

What influence tools are in your leadership toolbox? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 3

Clear Leadership: Accountability in Action
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Have you ever heard or been tempted to say any of the following? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 2

Leading and Teaching vs. Managing and Doing
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

How much time did you spend last month leading? Managing? Teaching? Doing?Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 3, Issue 1

Coaching to Build Competitive Advantage
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Most leaders recognize the critical importance of selecting, retaining and deploying talent. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 9

Fostering Integrity:
Seven Steps to a StraightTalk Culture

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

It is easy to blame an organization’s ethical lapses on rogue individuals, the CEO or the Board. But in our experience, many failures of integrity reflect a more fundamental flaw: organizations’ difficulty in surfacing and appropriately addressing important issues. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 8

Developing Difference-Makers
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

People become successful leaders by applying their strengths, not their weaknesses. Yet the constant emphasis that parents, teachers and managers place on overcoming our flaws can easily sidetrack us from leveraging our strengths. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 7

Developing Leaders: A Process, Not an Event
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Are leaders born? Are they made? This is a longstanding debate. Some people become leaders without planning and others intentionally acquire skills, but few become truly outstanding leaders without a focused development effort. strategic intent and the fundamental attributes of effective leaders. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 6

The Case for Thoughtful Leadership
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Our largest customer is unhappy. Do something! "A French organization is interested in a joint venture. What should we do?" Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 5

Rethinking Conflict
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

"I don't like conflict." This is the most common opening to our coaching sessions. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 4

Change the Rules! Part Two
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

How can you improve your organization's performance? By changing its culture. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 3

Change the Rules! Part One
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Good business leaders understand that successfully executing a significant new strategy requires extensive planning, market research, product development, financial analysis and much more. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 2

Managing the Matrix
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

When was the last time you looked at your organizational chart? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 2, Issue 1

Teams That Work: Thought Catalysts,
Change Agents and Facilitators

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Teams are increasingly called upon to address complex challenges to create and sustain organizational growth. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 9

Harnessing Chaos and Complexity
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Chaos and complexity - two words that pack a wallop. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 8

A New Twist on Time Management
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

It is 6 P.M. You have been working for eleven hours! Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 7

Leading Questions
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

We have observed the following: Thriving organizations outperform their competitors... Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 6

Building a Value Creation Culture
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

The difference between success and failure can be razor thin. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 5

Value Creation Culture
Building a Proud Legacy

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

The difference between success and failure in business is often a razor thin edge. Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 4

Preventive Maintenance for Your Career:
Create a Strategic Plan

by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Are you making the same mistake in managing your career that you are managing your business? Continue reading.

The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 3

Snap Out of It!
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Quick, what's the most exciting thing you are working on these days? Did you draw a blank? Continue reading.


The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 2

Leading Ethically - Acting Courageously
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Whether you a responsible for a functional unit or an entire organization, you are a leader. Continue reading.


The Straight Talk Coach
Insights for Leading From Strength
Volume 1, Issue 1

Navigating Uncertainty
by Cathy A. Higgins and David J. Kreischer

Leading today is like driving through fogged-in mountains without a map. Continue reading.


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