Our March 1, 2018 episode is podcast number 51 of our 52-week series. In conversation with moderators, Kim Shirk and Kyle Bruss, Larry Sternberg reviews some of his personal favorite lessons learned from the book, Managing to Make a Difference, which he co-authored with Dr. Kim Turnage.

Kyle begins the conversation by asking why the book begins with a focus on relationships. It’s through relationships, Larry say, that people influence each other. So if you want to make a difference in someone’s life you must cultivate the right kind of relationship with each of your people. He explains why he disagrees with the oft given advice to avoid getting close to your people. And he emphasizes the importance of accepting people as they are – and to stop asking them to change. Listen in to find out how this one piece of advice can literally change your life.

As the conversation moves to maximizing engagement, Larry focuses on empowering people to make decisions and take action without seeking prior approval from their manager. Empowerment creates psychological ownership of the outcome and fosters growth. Engagement increases. If employees are merely carrying out the direction of their manager, engagement decreases.

In reviewing the section on building extraordinary teams, Larry highlights the advice to focus on talent (aptitude) rather than experience for entry-level positions. He explains how de-emphasizing experience will increase your diversity while improving overall team performance. You can teach skills and knowledge, but you cannot install aptitude.

Kyle points out the importance of being intentional and proactive about the kind of culture you want to develop, and he asks Larry to comment on “emotional rehiring”, which is a powerful, easy to use technique in building a celebratory culture. Tune in to find out how to do it.

In reviewing the section on embracing change, Larry points out that we need to abandon the thinking that change management is something that is done periodically. We need to recognize that the pace of change has accelerated to such a pace, the change is constant – we experience one disruption after another. Would you like to know that most important strategy to cultivate a culture that embraces change? Tune in.

Regarding the chapter on investing in your own growth, Kyle asks Larry to discuss how the 20/80 phenomenon applies. Larry explains that this is sometimes known as the Pareto effect: 20 percent of your efforts bring about 80 percent of your results. The problem is that many growth activities in the 20 (for example, taking a class) are important, but not urgent so we keep putting them off because the urgent commands our attention. By the end of the day, we have not focuses on the 20. Do you want to know how to fix that? Join us to find out.

Until next time, manage to make a difference every day!

+ Larry Sternberg, J.D. and Kim Turnage, Ph.D.


This post highlights chapters from Managing to Make a Difference (Wiley), a handbook for hitting the sweet spot of middle management. Click here to see posts on previous chapters. Connect with Kim Turnage and Larry Sternberg on LinkedIn to see their latest updates.

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