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Kelly Ferguson

Kelly has spent 25 years as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing leader, OD manager, senior OD consultant, program manager, leadership coach, process improvement facilitator, and strategic planner. In addition, she specializes in the development of visual management tools, systems and implementation. She has over 15 years in relationship-based sales (services and products) successfully closing and implementing large-scale projects at companies including Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks Coffee Co., Nordstrom, Standard Financial Group, Coinstar and REI. Kelly is known for her ability to combine solutions based on process, people, structure and systems. Her “OD approach” drives business results, employee engagement and ultimately a high-quality customer experience. As a leader, Kelly is recognized for her drive to grow companies from start-ups to large enterprises by focusing on top-line growth, the introduction of innovative products and services, sales and marketing, and successfully developing a diverse array of internal and external relationships. She constantly makes the customer experience and client management the highest priority.

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Why Leaders Need an ‘XO’

If you’ve served in the military, you know that an ‘XO’ is an executive officer.  The XO is the second-in-command and reports to the commanding officer (CO).  The XO is typically responsible for the management of day-to-day activities, freeing up the unit commander so they can concentrate on strategic planning and execution. The XO also takes charge in the absence of the CO.

But what makes their role unique?  An XO is the commanding officer’s extra ears and eyes.  The XO proactively works in the organization’s “white space” gathering data from the other officers and troops.  Then the XO provides important intelligence to the commander about stress-producing situations, poor morale, or impending problems that the commander needs to address.  For example, if an officer is abusing his troops but no one feels safe enough to report it, the XO can sniff it out and inform the commander, who then takes appropriate action with the detrimental officer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do You Manage With a 360-Degree Perspective?

What does “360 perspective” mean? People who primarily focus on the straight line between point A and point B operate in a narrow step-wise manner. They tend to be tactical and task-driven mechanics. They look straight ahead and are driven to achieve a superficial goal by getting from A to B as quickly as possible. The problem for these individuals (and we’ve all met them) is that they are oblivious to critical data. By operating in this manner, they cut themselves off from important information, miss golden opportunities and are doomed to sub-optimize their success. On the other hand, highly successful people and great leaders have an unusual physical and mental 360-degree radar that operates all the time. The adage about having “eyes in the back of your head” is very applicable to them. Read the rest of this entry »


Leadership: Perfection vs Momentum?

Regardless of what level they are at, many leaders doggedly seek perfection.  This obsession with perfection is driven by fear along with a distorted view of the leadership behaviors that matter most.

Perfection-seeking manifests itself in the form of decision avoidance, micro-managing direct reports, and focusing on the negative.  In addition, these leaders operate down in the weeds and want to oversee every detail of daily operations.  They rely on bureaucratic rules to control the environment and employees. Read the rest of this entry »


Visual Learning, Part Three: Paradox

In commenting on modern society, 20th century author, G.K. Chesterton, wrote, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution.  It is that they can’t see the problem.”  This paradox also inhibits organizational innovation and problem-solving.

However, visual business solutions enable leaders and employees to overcome this paradox by providing a quicker and greater understanding of complex business functions, processes and problems, better grasp of cross-organizational connections and dependencies, increased individual accountability and team collaboration.  The tools also provide stronger prioritization, more concise and relevant communication (which is now readily remembered), faster and more effective planning and execution efforts, more reliable decisions, and reduced waste.

Bottom line, visual business solutions convert complexity and ambiguity into clarity and action.


Giving Constructive Feedback

What is the most difficult part of giving constructive feedback?  Delivering it so that the recipient actually hears, understands and acts on the feedback.

There are three key techniques to enable someone to hear and act on your feedback: Read the rest of this entry »


Engaging Employees

Great people build great products and services.  Yet, great people can only do this if they are highly engaged.  Engaging employees is about connecting them emotionally and intellectually to the importance of their job, team and company.  This is one of the most important aspects of a manager’s job. Read the rest of this entry »


Leading From the Front

Organizations need leaders who can get great things done.  There is a secret on how to be a great leader–lead from the front.

Leading from the front is especially important in the face of significant change where the status quo is deadly to an organization’s ability to survive and grow.  Here’s what it looks like to lead from the front: Read the rest of this entry »