There are so many things that can stand in the way of people working together.  You can likely describe life-examples of these five common barriers.  You would be wise to consciously avoid, destroy or learn to navigate over them in your career and your organization.


We think of generational challenges driven by language barriers, but there are many more obstacles caused by language.  Too often we seek first to blame before we seek to understand or verify that we are understood.  Our online lives create a culture of catch-phrases and niche concepts that tend to isolate instead of to unify us with the people we touch.  Seek clarity!

Poisoned Wells

We still call this gossip, and it is a universal poison to say something negative about a person and hinder a possible relationship between them and someone else.  It becomes “poisoning the well” when the poisoned person could have been a ‘well of knowledge’ or resource or support for the person who now sees a barrier between them and the help they need.  Poisoning how people perceive others is divisive and weakens teams and careers; there are wiser ways to offer advice or caution.


Ego can be a double-edged sword.  Honestly, ego can provide the energy to risk and lead when logic and planning are unavailable luxuries.  But living on ego can also be the death of careers and relationships.  A smart question to ask yourself: does your extreme confidence serve yourself or your team?  Servant leadership holds some key concepts for creating a safety net for those who are attracted to creating ego barriers.


Silos evolve when leader-focus is prioritized within one’s own team instead of being balanced on how contributions effectively support the organization.  This imbalance can be sparked by many factors, but silos are commonly found between groups where hand-offs of clients or information occur, around teams that require unique skill-sets, and where limited exposure creates a blindness to customer perspectives.  Put away your tug-of-war mentality & sharpen your trapeze skills to balance your consideration of all aspects and needs: stay focused on the common direction, fight spatial blindness by building bridges & making neighbors, and never allow engagement in petty divisiveness.


How long are the new people in your group called “new?”  Until they feel and are treated like contributing members, others will go around them as if they are a literal barrier.  Obviously on-boarding and resource best-practices are critical for lowering this barrier.  Culture-adoption comes more quickly when vision is translated into clear direction & values into behavioral expectations.  Temporal blindness exacerbates the barriers when no one shares critical team history that will help new-comers create effective credibility and camaraderie.

We are currently helping clients conquer these obstacles.  Let’s talk – you don’t have to battle these barriers alone.

Find more of what you need by opening our BOX of BLOGS from 2017

Who Wrote These Vile Goals, Anyway?


Everyone wants to ask this question at least a few times during the year… the first time is usually toward the end of the first quarter.  Why?  Because it isn’t so easy to get them right!  Short story is you must start with an understanding of where your whole organization wants to go and how it plans get there.  Long story is there are so very many ways that goal completion can get off-track and become ineffective busy-work or another lost file-folder.

Here are a few, simple – but often neglected – ways to avoid getting lost on the way to effectively creating and completing company goals:

  • Insure your goals are documented as measured results and not as lists of actions; completing actions rarely guarantees producing targeted results.
  • Don’t overload your list; in the whirlwind of doing business, most groups can only manage 4-6 significant objectives throughout the year.
  • Prioritize regular celebrations of goal progress and evaluation – just do it; pulling over to find where you are on the map will never be as exciting as fighting the day-to-day traffic of to-do lists.
  • Create expectations and approval processes for adjusting objectives as your business realities and priorities change; every year people waste time and expect bonuses for completing obsolete goals.
  • Collaborate to identify all aspects of the organization that drive strategic goals and clarify individual team impacts; silos bury businesses!
  • Break goals into actions with assigned due-dates and owners; this is the translation into employee-performance language.
  • Require employees to share their methods for tracking completed actions and any additional efforts that impact goals; without credible tracking, you forget the details by year’s-end and, much worse, you can’t document or reward the extraordinary employee-efforts that drove your success.

If you need fresh eyes on your goal-setting practices, we have those eyes – and lots of experience finding the gaps in how performance management links to your strategic planning.  We can help you close those gaps and meet those critical objectives!

Find more of what you need by opening our BOX of BLOGS from 2017