Empowering Success: How CXOs Can Enhance Their Assistant’s Effectiveness

A CXO’s success is often as good as the team around them. At the heart of this team is the trusted assistant—a pivotal role that demands efficiency, foresight, and exceptional organizational skills. However, the productivity and effectiveness of an assistant are greatly influenced by the leader’s ability to empower and support them. Here are some actionable strategies CXOs can implement to ensure their assistants are set up for success.

Clear Communication

First and foremost, clarity in communication is crucial. CXOs should regularly share their goals, expectations, and preferences with their assistants. This open dialogue helps assistants anticipate needs and manage tasks more effectively. Regular check-ins can further streamline workflows and reinforce priorities, ensuring both are aligned on objectives and deadlines.

Provide Necessary Tools and Training

Investing in your assistant’s professional development is an investment in your own productivity. Provide access to training that enhances their skills and introduces them to the latest technologies that can aid their efficiency. Whether it’s project management software, advanced scheduling tools, or leadership training, equipping your assistant with the right tools not only boosts their competence but also their confidence.

Delegate with Trust

Delegation goes beyond merely assigning tasks; it involves entrusting your assistant with significant responsibilities and trusting their discretion. Empower them to make decisions within defined boundaries. This trust not only develops their skills but also frees up their time to focus on strategic decision-making.

Constructive Feedback and Recognition

Constructive feedback is key to professional growth. Regularly provide your assistant with honest, constructive feedback on their performance. Celebrate their successes openly and acknowledge their contributions to your success. Recognition not only motivates but also reinforces their value to the team.

Foster an Inclusive Environment

Encourage your assistant to voice their ideas and opinions. An inclusive environment where assistants feel valued and heard can lead to innovative solutions and enhanced job satisfaction. When assistants are actively involved in problem-solving and decision-making processes, they are more engaged and committed to their roles.

By implementing these strategies, CXOs not only enhance their assistant’s effectiveness but also foster a supportive and efficient working relationship (the assistant truly becomes an extension of the leader they support) that can significantly impact the overall success of their business. Remember, a successful assistant directly contributes to the success of the executive they support.


About the Author: Amanda Vargas is the Chief of Staff at Activate Group Inc., a trusted advisor specializing in helping businesses develop effective management systems and leadership strategies. Passionate about empowering teams to reach their full potential, Amanda combines her operations acumen and motivational style to deliver actionable insights that spark meaningful change.

Accountability vs. Responsibility: Understanding the Differences and Their Impact

In the landscape of business and leadership, two terms frequently emerge: accountability and responsibility. While they are often used interchangeably, understanding their distinctions can significantly enhance organizational performance and individual effectiveness. As management it is critical to clarify these concepts and illustrate their importance in driving action and achieving results.

Defining Accountability and Responsibility

Responsibility refers to the tasks or duties that an individual is expected to perform. It’s the assignment of specific roles within a team or organization. For example, a project manager is responsible for overseeing project timelines, delegating tasks, and ensuring the project stays within budget.

Accountability, on the other hand, is the obligation to answer for the results of these responsibilities. It’s about ownership and the commitment to follow through with the consequences of your actions, whether positive or negative. In our earlier example, the project manager is accountable for the project’s success or failure. If the project goes off track, it is the manager who must explain what happened and why.

Key Differences

(1) Nature of Obligation: Responsibility can be shared among team members, while accountability is typically individual. Multiple people can be responsible for different parts of a project, but one person is accountable for the overall outcome.

(2) Scope: Responsibility is task-specific, focusing on completing assigned duties. Accountability has a broader scope, encompassing the ownership of both the process and the result.

(3) Timing: Responsibility is ongoing, part of day-to-day operations. Accountability often comes into play after a task is completed, during evaluations or when assessing outcomes.

(4) Direction: Responsibility is usually assigned from the top down, while accountability is often peer-enforced and can also be self-imposed.

Why It’s Important

Understanding and differentiating between accountability and responsibility is crucial for several reasons:

Clear Expectations: When roles are clearly defined, team members know exactly what is expected of them. This clarity reduces confusion and increases efficiency.

Enhanced Performance: Accountability drives individuals to perform at their best, knowing they will need to answer for their results. This motivation can lead to higher productivity and better outcomes.

Improved Trust: Organizations that emphasize accountability foster a culture of trust. Team members feel more confident in their colleagues’ commitments, leading to stronger collaboration.

Better Decision Making: Accountability ensures that decisions are made with the consideration of their impacts. This leads to more thoughtful and strategic choices.

Growth and Learning: Being accountable for actions encourages learning from mistakes. It creates a feedback loop where individuals and teams continuously improve.

Practical Steps to Implement

(1)  Define Roles Clearly: Ensure that every team member understands their responsibilities and who is accountable for what.

(2)  Foster a Culture of Accountability: Encourage open communication and regular check-ins to discuss progress and obstacles.

(3)  Use Tools and Systems: Implement project management tools that track responsibilities and outcomes. This transparency helps everyone stay on the same page.

(4)  Provide Feedback: Regularly review performance and provide constructive feedback. Recognize and reward those who demonstrate strong accountability.

(5)  Lead by Example: Leaders should model accountability in their actions and decisions. This sets the tone for the entire organization.

Impactful Outcomes

By distinguishing between accountability and responsibility, organizations can create a more structured and productive environment. Teams operate more cohesively, knowing who is responsible for tasks and who will be held accountable for the results. This clarity drives action, fosters a sense of ownership, and ultimately leads to higher performance and success.


About the Author: Albert Noa is a seasoned management coach with over 20 years of experience in process excellence, change management, and organizational strategy. He is passionate about helping teams and individuals unlock their potential through clear communication, inclusive collaboration, strategic planning, and effective accountability frameworks. Albert has worked with a wide range of industries, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, guiding them towards achieving their goals and driving development and sustainable growth.

Overlooked and Underrated: The Importance of a Daily Huddle

In the fast-paced world of business, one often overlooked meeting can often make a difference.

The daily huddle—a quick, no more than 15-minute meeting that brings teams together each morning—is one of the simplest yet most powerful tools for enhancing productivity, communication, and organizational alignment.

Let’s delve into how and why this daily ritual has such a significant impact on organizations.

Boosting Productivity

Time is money, and productivity is the currency. Daily huddles cut down on wasted time and refocus teams on immediate priorities. They offer:

  • Clear Priorities: Every team member leaves with a crystal-clear understanding of daily tasks and goals.
  • Actionable Next Steps: Each member commits to their daily must do / actions, ensuring execution.
  • Accountability: With each person’s progress highlighted daily, teams are more likely to follow through on commitments.

These focused, quick conversations help teams shift into productive mode right from the start, turning objectives into results.

Strengthening Communication

Breakdowns in communication can slow progress and cause confusion. Daily huddles:

  • Foster Transparency: They allow team members to share progress, roadblocks, and updates in real-time.
  • Encourage Collaboration: When challenges arise, quick solutions are often provided directly by peers, reducing the need for lengthy follow-up meetings.
  • Create Inclusion: Every member, regardless of role, gets a platform to be heard.

Effective communication creates a culture where information flows seamlessly and everyone is on the same page.

Identifying Challenges Early

Problems are best dealt with before they become full-blown crises. Daily huddles:

  • Expose Roadblocks: Issues surface early, allowing teams to devise immediate solutions.
  • Mitigate Risks: By quickly addressing challenges, the team minimizes potential negative impacts on project timelines and outcomes.
  • Promote Problem-Solving Culture: Teams learn to tackle challenges collaboratively and proactively.

Teams that confront issues early foster a culture of continuous improvement, preventing small snags from derailing entire projects.

Enhancing Alignment

In today’s dynamic work environments, ensuring alignment among diverse teams is crucial. Daily huddles:

  • Reinforce Mission & Values: Frequent reminders of the overarching mission and values align daily activities with broader organizational goals.
  • Gain Awareness: Each member receives a broader picture of what is happening in the organization and better understands how their daily tasks contribute to larger projects and goals.
  • Strengthen Cohesion: Teams develop a sense of unity and shared purpose by coming together daily.

Organizational alignment ensures everyone moves in the same direction, working toward the same goals with consistent motivation.

Implementing Your Daily Huddle

To maximize the benefits, follow these tips for an effective daily huddle:

(1)  Keep It Short: No more than15 minutes to maintain focus and energy.

(2)  Stand Up: Encourage standing to promote brevity and attentiveness if in person. Enable participation and consistency through virtual attendance.

(3) Follow a Structure:

  • Yesterday’s Wins: Share accomplishments from the previous day (Good News – professional or personal).
  • Today’s Goals: Outline the day’s key task or objective (what is the one thing that you must do today to have the most impact).
  • Potential Roadblocks: Highlight challenges that may arise and seek support if needed (blockers preventing forward movement).
  • Collaboration / Shared Ownership: Rotate meeting leader (leads / facilitates huddle) across team members daily.

Encourage open communication and transparency, and always finish on a positive note to inspire action.


About the Author: Amanda Vargas is the Chief of Staff at Activate Group Inc., a trusted advisor specializing in helping businesses develop effective management systems and leadership strategies. Passionate about empowering teams to reach their full potential, Amanda combines her operations acumen and motivational style to deliver actionable insights that spark meaningful change.

The Bigger the Goal, the Sharper the Focus

Have you ever noticed how aiming for something extraordinary crystallizes your focus in ways that more modest ambitions can’t? It’s as though the bigger the goal, the clearer your vision and path to reach it becomes. This concept aligns perfectly with Dan Sullivan’s and Ben Hardy’s insights, “10x is easier than 2x,” and Dan and Ben’s philosophy, “Who Not How.”

The Power of “10x is Easier Than 2x”

“10x is easier than 2x” is a paradigm-shifting concept popularized by Dan Sullivan. The premise is simple but profound: making a 10x improvement requires a complete overhaul in thinking and execution, while a 2x improvement often leads to just tweaking existing strategies.

Why 10x Goals Sharpen Your Focus:

(1) Forces Innovation: When aiming for 10x growth, old solutions and strategies won’t cut it. You must think differently, innovate, and reinvent yourself.

(2) Eliminates Distractions: Big goals make it easier to ignore non-essential tasks and focus on high-impact activities.

(3) Inspires Relentless Execution: With a bold vision in place, you’re compelled to pursue relentless execution, aligning all efforts toward that singular objective.

Applying “10x” Thinking to Your Business:

Set an ambitious revenue target (e.g., $100 million instead of $10 million).

Align your marketing and sales strategies to this goal.

Prioritize key performance metrics that support 10x growth.

The “Who Not How” Mindset

Who Not How” complements the 10x concept by emphasizing the importance of finding the right people to achieve your goals instead of focusing solely on how you’ll accomplish them.

How “Who Not How” Enhances Focus:

Leverages Expertise: By finding the right experts, you eliminate the learning curve, freeing you up to focus on strategic tasks.

Enables Delegation: Identify “Whos” for operational tasks, giving you more time to strategize.

Builds a Team Culture: A clear understanding of roles and responsibilities enhances collaboration and goal alignment, while fostering accountability within the company’s culture.

Integrating “Who Not How” into Your Strategy:

Build a network of “Whos” to handle specialized tasks like marketing, operations, or finance.

Delegate execution to capable team members and trusted external service providers while you focus on strategy.

Invest in building a culture of ownership and accountability within your team.

Execution Tips: Focus and Action Steps

(1) Define Your 10x Goal: Clearly articulate a grand vision that inspires and challenges your team.

(2) Create an Actionable Plan: Break down your 10x goal into smaller milestones. And establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress.

(3) Identify Your “Whos”: Recognize the roles and skills needed to achieve your goal. Delegate or recruit team members who can take on critical tasks or hire third parties outside of the company. Shed everything else.

(4) Prioritize High-Impact Activities: Regularly evaluate tasks to ensure they align with your vision and eliminate or outsource low-value activities.

(5) Cultivate a Relentless Execution Culture: Celebrate wins to build momentum and foster accountability by tracking and reviewing progress regularly.

Final Thoughts on Bigger Goals and Sharper Focus

When the goal is big enough, the focus sharpens naturally. Adopting the “10x is easier than 2x” mindset compels you to think beyond limitations, while “Who Not How” helps you build the right team to bring the vision to life. Commit to the journey and remember execution is everything.


About the Author: Mo Rousso is a Business Coach at Activate Group Inc. With a passion for helping leaders break through barriers and transform their companies, Mo empowers businesses to achieve exponential growth through strategic planning, leadership development, and execution excellence.

Elevate Your Business with Proven Management Systems

In today’s fast-paced and complex business environment, having a robust management system is not merely an option—it’s a necessity. Systems like Scaling Up, Metronomics, and the Business Acceleration System offer structured methodologies that can transform the way your organization operates. These systems are designed to streamline processes, foster growth, and enhance leadership capabilities. Let’s delve into how these systems function and the distinct advantages they offer.

Scaling Up: Focusing on the Four Decisions

Based on Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits, Scaling Up centers on mastering four key business decisions: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. This framework helps leaders to identify and leverage their core strengths, define strategic goals, optimize operational efficiencies, and manage resources effectively. For leaders, Scaling Up acts as a blueprint to build a well-rounded and resilient enterprise.

Metronomics: A Harmony of Metrics and Rhythms

Metronomics combines rigorous analytics with periodic business rhythms to create a cohesive strategy for sustainable growth. By integrating key performance indicators (KPIs) and regular review cycles, this system ensures that every layer of your organization is aligned and focused on achieving shared objectives. It’s particularly beneficial for leadership as it provides a clear, measurable path to success and helps in making informed decisions swiftly.

Business Acceleration System: Speed and Adaptability

The Business Acceleration System emphasizes speed and adaptability, allowing companies to respond to changes in the market dynamically. This system advocates for rapid implementation of strategic initiatives and fostering a culture of innovation and agility. Leaders benefit by developing an environment where quick decision-making and continuous improvement are part of the organizational DNA.

Why Implement These Systems?

Implementing any of these management systems brings about profound benefits:

(1) Clarity and Direction: Clear frameworks and guidelines that help in simplifying complex decisions.

(2) Alignment Across the Board: Ensures that everyone in the organization is moving towards common goals.

(3) Enhanced Decision-Making: Empowers leaders with data and structured processes to make effective decisions.

(4) Sustainable Growth: Provides the tools to scale operations while maintaining quality and culture.

Spark Action and Drive Execution through Management Systems

As a business coach, I encourage you to consider how a structured management system could be the catalyst for your business needs. Start by evaluating where your organization stands in terms of people, strategy, execution, and cash. Choose a system that aligns with your core needs and organizational values. Remember, the goal is not just to implement a system but to foster a culture that embraces continual improvement and strategic thinking.


About the Author: Larry Rutkowski is a Senior Business & Executive Coach at Activate Group Inc., specializing in helping leaders transform their organizations through effective management systems. His practical advice and real-world examples have inspired countless individuals and organizations to unlock their full potential and achieve operational excellence and sustainable growth.

Leading with Conviction: Non-Delegable CEO Duties for Lasting Success

The role of a CEO encompasses several indispensable responsibilities that cannot be delegated. Inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s insightful work in “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive,” this article delves into these non-delegable duties vital for any effective leader.

Lencioni’s Framework: A Guide for CEOs

In his book, Patrick Lencioni outlines key areas where a CEO’s direct involvement is critical. We’ll explore these along with additional duties essential for a CEO.

Duty #1: Building a Cohesive Leadership Team

According to Lencioni, the cornerstone of effective leadership is creating and maintaining a unified executive team. This responsibility is not just about assembling talent but fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, which is critical for any organization’s success.

Duty #2: Creating Organizational Clarity

A CEO must clearly define and communicate the organization’s vision and values, what our business is, who our competitors are, how we are unique, what is expected from each person, and our priorities.

Duty #3: Over-Communicating Organizational Clarity

Lencioni emphasizes the importance of over-communicating this clarity to ensure alignment across all levels of the organization. A CEO’s role involves relentlessly reinforcing the company’s vision and objectives, ensuring every team member understands and embraces these goals.

Duty #4: Reinforcing Organizational Clarity through Human Systems

Implementing systems and structures that support and reinforce the company’s direction is another non-delegable duty. As Lencioni suggests, these systems should be robust yet adaptable, reflecting the organization’s core values and objectives.

Additional Non-Delegable CEO Duties

 –  Setting Strategy and Direction: The CEO must be the primary strategist, determining the course for the company’s future.

 –  Modeling Company Culture, Values, and Behavior: The CEO sets the tone for the company culture through their actions and decisions.

 –  Allocating Capital to Company Priorities: Effective allocation of resources is critical for achieving strategic objectives and ensuring organizational growth.

Embracing these non-delegable duties is crucial for any CEO committed to leading their organization towards enduring success. For CEOs seeking to master these essential responsibilities, consider a coaching session tailored to enhance your leadership effectiveness.


About the Author: Howard M. Shore is an author, CEO coach, and founder of Activate Group Inc. With his deep expertise in executive coaching, Howard empowers business leaders to excel in their roles, drawing upon proven strategies and industry insights.

Crafting Resilient Leadership Teams for Tomorrow’s Challenges

In my journey as the CEO of Activate Group, Inc. and through the insights shared in my books, including “The Leader Launchpad,” I’ve often grappled with a leadership puzzle: Should we endlessly chase the ideal of an all-star team, or is there merit in nurturing the team we already have, warts and all? In this article, I aim to dissect these approaches, highlighting the pitfalls and steering you toward a balanced strategy that embraces growth, potential, and excellence.

The All-Star Illusion

I recall consulting with a high-flying tech company, a story I touched upon in “The Leader Launchpad.” Their relentless pursuit of top talent created an enviable roster but also a revolving door, disrupting team cohesion and, ironically, limiting growth. They found there were downsides to this approach:

  • The instability is bred by constant change.
  • A culture where individual achievements overshadowed team dynamics.
  • The potential neglect of team synergy and collaboration.

The Comfort Zone Pitfall

A family-owned enterprise I encountered, preferring to rely on long-standing team members, missed crucial growth opportunities. This story, while not in my book, is a testament to the risks of complacency:

  • Becoming stagnant and resistant to new ideas.
  • Settling for mediocrity affects the company’s competitive edge.
  • The inability to adapt to market changes.

Striking the Right Balance

I recognize that flexibility and adaptability are necessary to build our teams correctly. I recommend using the following playbook:

(1)  Invest in People: Encourage and support the development of your current team.

(2)  Evolve with Purpose: As your organization grows, so should your team, but with strategic intent.

(3)  Uphold High Standards: Accept nothing less than excellence.

(4)  Lead by Example: Remember, the tone is set at the top. Mediocrity at the leadership level permeates the entire organization.

(5)  Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess the dynamics and capabilities of your team.

(6)  Development Opportunities: Foster a culture of learning and growth.

(7)  Thoughtful Hiring: Look for candidates with both skill and potential.

(8)  Cultivating Excellence: Promote a mindset of relentless improvement.

Conclusion on Building a Resilient Team

The essence of effective leadership lies in navigating these complexities with wisdom and foresight. It’s not merely a choice between chasing superstars or settling with what you have. It’s about fostering a culture that values growth and excellence. As leaders, we shape our organizations’ futures. Let’s build teams that are not just fit for today but are resilient and adaptable for the challenges of tomorrow.



About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc., a growth-focused coaching firm for business leaders. With decades of experience, as a CEO Coach and the author of The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket, Howard is dedicated to empowering leaders to unlock their potential and propel their organizations to new heights.

Bridging the Gap: How CEOs Can Ensure Their Message Is Heard and Understood

A common challenge for CEOs is ensuring that their vision and directives are communicated, understood, and internalized throughout the organization. This article explores the concept of overcommunicating clarity – a critical practice for any effective leader.

The Importance of Overcommunicating

Overcommunication is not about redundancy; it’s about reinforcement. It’s ensuring that your message cuts through the noise and becomes a guiding principle for every team member.

Where Overcommunication Often Fails

(1) Assuming Once is Enough: Many CEOs believe stating their vision or strategy once is sufficient. However, messages are often lost amidst daily operations.

(2) Lack of Consistency: Inconsistent messaging can lead to confusion and misalignment within the team.

(3) The Echo Chamber Effect: Sometimes, senior leadership only fully hears and understands a CEO’s message, failing to permeate the entire organization.

Understanding the Gap in Communication

The gap between what a CEO communicates and what the organization comprehends can be substantial. This disconnect often arises from a lack of repetition, unclear messaging, and the absence of a feedback loop to ensure understanding.

Case Example: Satya Nadella at Microsoft

When Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, he initiated a significant cultural shift within Microsoft. Nadella repeatedly communicated his vision of a more collaborative, innovative, and growth-mindset-driven Microsoft. He used various platforms and repetitive messaging to ensure this new ethos was understood company wide. The transition from a ‘know-it-all’ to a ‘learn-it-all’ culture, as he often emphasized, required consistent reinforcement to take root effectively.

Strategies for Effective Overcommunication

(1) Repetition with Variation: Regularly communicate your message through different mediums and contexts.

(2) Engage in Dialogue: Encourage feedback and discussions around your vision and directives to ensure understanding.

(3) Lead by Example: Demonstrate your message through your actions. If your team sees you embodying the communicated vision, they are more likely to understand and embrace it.

Conclusion – Assure Absorption and Action

Closing the gap between what is said and what is heard is a vital skill for any CEO. Overcommunicating clarity is not about saying more; it’s about ensuring that what is said is fully absorbed and acted upon.

Consider a coaching session to explore strategies tailored to your unique leadership style and organizational needs.


 About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc., a growth-focused coaching firm for business leaders. With decades of experience, as a CEO Coach and the author of The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket, Howard is dedicated to empowering leaders to unlock their potential and propel their organizations to new heights.

Beyond Profits: A CEO’s Guide to Building a Human-Centric Organizational Culture

A CEO’s influence in shaping company culture, values, and behavior cannot be overstated. This article explores how CEOs can authentically model these aspects, creating a cohesive and values-driven environment while addressing the common pitfall of inadvertently prioritizing performance over people.

The CEO as the Cultural Beacon

The actions and decisions of a CEO set a powerful example for the entire organization. It’s essential to align these actions with the company’s stated values and desired culture. This alignment reinforces trust and integrity throughout the workforce.

Challenges in Modeling Values and Behavior

One significant challenge many CEOs face is the perception of caring more about profits than people. This perception is often fueled when high-performing employees are allowed to operate outside the bounds of company values or when employee well-being seems secondary to financial success.

Case Example: Marc Benioff at Salesforce

Consider Marc Benioff of Salesforce, who consistently models the company’s values of trust, customer success, innovation, and equality. Benioff’s approach to addressing social issues and prioritizing employee well-being, especially during the pandemic, reinforced Salesforce’s commitment to its values and the importance of everyone in the company.

Avoiding the ‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’ Trap

CEOS must avoid a disconnect between what they say and how they behave. This means talking about values and living them, even when challenging or less profitable in the short term.

Making People Feel Valued

Beyond modeling values, CEOs need to make their employees feel valued as human beings. This includes acknowledging their contributions, understanding their challenges, and creating an inclusive environment where every voice matters.

Recognizing the Red Flags

When CEOs do not lead by example in fostering a values-driven culture, several telltale symptoms can emerge within the organization. Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing underlying cultural issues.

(1) Employee Disengagement: One of the most immediate symptoms is a decline in employee engagement. When leaders do not embody the company’s values, employees may feel disconnected from the organization’s vision, leading to a lack of motivation and commitment.

(2) High Turnover Rates: If employees perceive a mismatch between the company’s stated values and the actions of its leaders, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. High turnover not only disrupts operations but also incurs significant costs in recruiting and training new staff.

(3) Difficulty in Attracting Talent: In today’s market, where many job seekers prioritize company culture, a lack of genuine leadership can make it challenging to attract top talent. Prospective employees are often deterred by a perceived lack of authenticity in a company’s culture.

(4) Lack of Extra Effort: When employees are not inspired or feel undervalued, they are less likely to go above and beyond in their roles. This lack of discretionary effort can significantly impact innovation and productivity.

(5) Team Dysfunction: A leadership that fails to model positive behavior and values can lead to increased conflicts, poor communication, and an overall breakdown in team cohesion. This dysfunction can ripple across the organization, affecting performance and morale.

(6) Ethical Lapses and Reduced Integrity: In the absence of a strong ethical framework demonstrated by leadership, employees might deprioritize ethical considerations in their decision-making, potentially leading to integrity issues and reputational damage.

The Ripple Effect of Leadership Misalignment

The effects of a CEO’s failure to model company culture and values extend beyond the organization’s internal workings. They can impact customer relationships, brand reputation, and, ultimately, the bottom line. It underscores the importance of a CEO’s role in consistently demonstrating the behaviors and values they expect to see in their organization.

As a CEO, your behavior and decisions are a mirror of the company’s culture. You can create a thriving, resilient, and aligned organization by consistently modeling the values you champion and showing genuine regard for your employees.

Consider reaching out for a specialized coaching session for guidance on effectively modeling your company’s culture and values.


About the Author – Howard M. Shore is an accomplished CEO coach, author of Your Business is a Leaky Bucket and The Leader Launchpad, and the founder of Activate Group Inc. He specializes in helping leaders build strong, values-driven organizations by aligning their actions and decisions with the company’s core values.

Mastering Leadership: When is the Right Time to Bid Farewell to an Employee?

Today, I invite you to join me on a journey into a topic that holds a crucial place in the realm of leadership – knowing when to say goodbye to an employee. It’s a decision that can shape the trajectory of your organization and define your leadership legacy. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the intricacies of this challenging yet essential aspect of leadership.

The Unspoken Dilemma

“I have never met a leader who told me their goal is to staff their organization with incapable, unmotivated, and incompetent misfits with bad attitudes. And yet look around.” These words from my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” speak volumes about a dilemma that often goes unaddressed in the corporate world.

Let’s begin with a story from my own journey. I once had a talented team member whose attitude eroded team morale. Despite my best efforts to mentor and support, the situation persisted. It became evident that, despite their skills, this individual no longer aligned with our organization’s core values. The decision was tough but a step towards preserving the team’s spirit and performance.

When is the Right Time?

Determining the right time to part ways with an employee is a skill every leader must master. Here are some key signs that it might be time to bid farewell:

(1) Consistent Performance Issues: When employees consistently fall short of expectations despite coaching and development efforts, it might be time to reevaluate their fit within the organization.

(2) Cultural Misalignment: If an individual’s values and behavior clash with your organization’s culture, it can negatively impact team dynamics.

(3) Toxic Attitude: A negative or toxic attitude can poison team morale and hinder productivity. Address it swiftly.

(4) Impact on Team: If one team member’s performance or behavior negatively affects the entire team, it’s a red flag.

Consider a case where a company I worked with had a star performer who displayed a consistent “my way or the highway” attitude. While their results were impressive, the team’s frustration and burnout levels soared. Eventually, they had to decide to let go of the star to save the team.

The Silver Lining

Every exit is an entry somewhere else. When you bid farewell to an employee, you open doors for transformation:

  • For the Employee: It can be an opportunity for them to find a role that better aligns with their skills and values.
  • For the Team: It creates space for fresh talent and new perspectives, breathing life into your team’s dynamics.

Actionable Steps

(1) Regular Performance Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to identify issues early and provide opportunities for improvement.

(2) Cultural Assessment: Continuously assess cultural alignment and address misalignment promptly.

(3) Open Communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing concerns and feedback.

(4) Mentorship and Coaching: Invest in mentorship and coaching to help struggling employees improve.

(5) Exit Strategy: When necessary, have a well-thought-out exit strategy that ensures a smooth transition for both the departing employee and the team.


In the world of leadership, knowing when to say goodbye is as important as knowing when to say hello. It’s a decision that requires courage and empathy but is essential for the growth and prosperity of your organization.


 About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a company dedicated to helping executives and business owners accelerate growth and achieve their goals. With over three decades of experience in leadership development, Howard is the author of “The Leader Launchpad” and a sought-after speaker and coach in the field of leadership and business growth.

Navigating the Talent Shortage: How Successful C-Suite Leaders are Rethinking Online Recruitment

As CEO of Activate Group Inc, I’ve been privileged to guide numerous growth-driven businesses through various market conditions. Over the last few months, we’ve noticed a trend that has caught our attention: a decline in the volume of online job orders. Why, might you ask? We are currently navigating one of the tightest labor markets in recent memory.

There is an adage in business that says, “A players hire A players, but B players hire C players.” However, in this ultra-competitive market, some companies have been forced to hire below their usual standards just to keep operations going. We’ve seen it firsthand. Some organizations tolerate poor performers or even overpay for them just to fill seats. A worrying trend but an understandable one given the circumstances.

In a recent example, one of our high-growth clients, let’s call them XYZ Corp, had a key position vacant for months. The management team was overloaded with work and lacked time to fill the position. So, they opted to hire an internal recruiter. This recruiter successfully filled the vacancy, but not before the management team had been stretched thin for far too long.

Another one of our clients, ABC Inc, desperate to retain their current workforce, decided to invest heavily in creating retention strategies. Despite their efforts, they faced a high turnover rate due to competitive job offers from competitors. It’s a classic case of companies having to work harder to keep the talent they already have.

So, what does this mean for the use of online job boards? In my view, it indicates that companies are exploring other recruitment avenues. The rising talent costs and urgency to fill roles have led to a heavier reliance on external recruiters and headhunters. While still useful, job boards are not providing the immediate results required in this demanding labor market.

But let’s be clear – this doesn’t mean abandoning online job boards. It means adjusting your strategies. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

(1) Expand your channels: Don’t just rely on online job boards. Network at industry events, use professional social platforms like LinkedIn and consider engaging external recruitment agencies if need be.

(2) Improve your employer brand: If you’re struggling to attract top talent, consider how your company is presented to the outside world. Is your vision, mission, and culture evident and appealing?

(3) Offer competitive packages: Ensure your compensation packages are attractive and competitive. But remember, it’s not always about the salary. Consider flexible working conditions, professional development opportunities, and other non-monetary benefits.

If you’ve been struggling to navigate this labor shortage, I invite you to contact our team at Activate Group Inc. We’ve helped countless businesses overcome their growth barriers and would be thrilled to help you do the same.


About the Author: Howard M. Shore, CEO of Activate Group Inc, is a renowned executive leadership coach and author of “The Leader Launchpad.” With decades of experience in assisting companies to achieve exponential growth, Howard’s proven methodologies have become the gold standard for businesses seeking to reach their peak performance. Through Activate Group Inc, Howard continues to guide C-suite leaders to navigate their business challenges, regardless of market conditions, successfully.


Breaking Free from the Recruitment Quagmire: A Guide for Overwhelmed Leaders

There’s no doubt that we are currently in the throes of an incredibly demanding job market. As CEO of Activate Group Inc, I’ve had a ringside view of how this has impacted businesses across various sectors. I’ve noticed a concerning pattern: leaders straining under the immense pressure of filling vacancies while handling their managerial responsibilities.

Consider the case of one of our clients, a high-growth tech startup we’ll call XYZ Corp. After one of their key team members left, the responsibility of filling the position fell squarely on the departed individual’s manager. Now, this manager was already short-staffed and had to take up the responsibilities of the vacant position. The added task of reviewing hundreds of resumes, conducting initial screenings, and formal interviews simply exacerbated the strain.

The example above occurs often. Many leaders find themselves stuck in a similar rut, battling to maintain operations with a depleted team while having to recruit new talent. It’s an unsustainable situation that calls for a change in strategy. Here’s how you can escape this quagmire:

(1) Delegate: Distribute some of your non-essential tasks to trusted team members to free up your time for recruitment. This doesn’t mean shifting your responsibilities onto an already overworked team, but rather, empowering them to take on new roles.

(2) Leverage Technology: Invest in applicant tracking systems (ATS) or recruitment software to streamline your hiring process. These tools can automate the initial screening process, filter out unfit candidates, and help you focus on potential hires.

(3) Training: Provide the necessary resources and training to your internal team to screen candidates effectively. Equip them with the skills to identify key traits and qualifications that align with your company’s values and needs.

(4) Engage Recruitment Professionals: If you find the recruitment process too overwhelming, consider getting assistance from external recruitment professionals. They can provide a shortlist of potential candidates, saving you valuable time and resources.

(5) Revisit your Hiring Process: Are your job descriptions clear and accurate? Are you utilizing the right platforms to attract the talent you need? Take a moment to audit your hiring process and identify any areas that need improvement.

We all know that filling a vacant position can be a time-consuming and arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing these strategies, you can reclaim time, focus on your managerial tasks, and still recruit top-notch candidates.

If you need further assistance, I invite you to reach out to our team at Activate Group Inc. Our goal is to provide businesses with the tools and strategies to navigate their growth and operational challenges successfully. Let’s overcome this hurdle together.


About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc and author of “The Leader Launchpad.” His proven methodologies have guided countless businesses to break free from the barriers stunting their growth. Howard is passionate about helping businesses navigate their unique challenges and achieve their maximum potential. Through Activate Group Inc, Howard continues to empower C-suite leaders to overcome their business hurdles, no matter how complex.

Internal Recruitment: The Underrated Powerhouse for Staffing Solutions

In the bustling corridors of Alpha Industries, a multinational tech giant, there was a mounting sense of disarray. Despite the organization’s innovative spirit, it was losing its competitive edge. Staffing vacancies were as constant as the tick of the clock, with the HR department perpetually trying to fill seats. Their predicament stemmed from a critical deficiency – the absence of a coherent internal recruitment strategy.

Many companies find themselves in a similar predicament, unsure of how to leverage the power of internal recruitment, a potent tool often underutilized. It’s a scenario I frequently underscore in my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” where I explain that “Organizations, like rockets, can only reach their desired destinations by continuously adjusting their course.” The course correction we’re exploring today is internal recruitment.

Rethinking Internal Recruitment

Typically, internal recruitment refers to promoting or reshuffling existing employees. However, it’s more than just filling a vacancy with an insider. It’s a comprehensive strategy that encompasses developing an internal recruitment team or designating an internal recruiter, cultivating an environment that promotes employee referrals, and ensuring existing employees are continuously upskilled and primed for possible advancement.

An internal recruitment team can tap into the rich potential within your organization, identifying rising stars, understanding the skill sets available, and mapping potential career trajectories. It’s also responsible for fostering a culture that encourages employee referrals, which can uncover impressive candidates who can seamlessly fit into the existing company ethos.

Weighing Internal Recruitment and Its Alternatives

 Internal recruitment offers multiple advantages:

  • Employee Retention: Career progression opportunities within the company can enhance job satisfaction, reducing turnover.
  • Cost-Saving: With an internal team, expenses related to job advertisements, agency fees, and prolonged onboarding are mitigated.
  • Understanding of the Business and Culture: As existing members, the team grasps your company culture, facilitating a smoother transition and placement process.
  • Shorter Learning Curve: Current employees are already acquainted with the business operations, resulting in faster productivity ramp-ups.

However, like all strategies, it has its limitations:

  • Potential Stagnation: Relying solely on internal talent can limit the inflow of fresh ideas.
  • Limited Talent Pool: An internal focus could mean missing out on external professionals with the latest skills.

An Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy Requires a Mix of Internal and External Hiring Practices.

Here’s where different methods come into play:

  • External Recruiters: Best for unique or high-level roles that require a specific skill set or experience. They can find those rare gems worth investing top dollar in.
  • Job Posting Online: Ideal for roles with a broader candidate pool. It’s an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience.
  • Internal Recruiters: Perfect for continual or volume hiring needs, where understanding the organization’s culture and needs is critical.

The transformation of Alpha Industries is a testament to the power of strategic internal recruitment. They built a dedicated internal recruitment team, focused on employee referrals, and struck a balance with external hiring. The result was a richer candidate pool, a faster hiring process, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

As I stated in “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” “What gets measured gets managed.” Regularly assess the success of your recruitment strategies, adjust as needed, and remember that internal recruitment is more than a strategy – it’s a culture.


Howard M. Shore, CEO of Activate Group Inc., is a seasoned business consultant known for transforming organizations into market leaders. Author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” he guides businesses to enhance performance, develop effective strategies, and maximize potential. His firm is committed to building leadership capacity and driving growth.