John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger

Lemberg Guest Blogger. John has more than 30 years of experience as a leader and manager in fields ranging from sales and marketing to customer service, financial services and human resources. Since 1993, he has provided facilitation, training, coaching and leadership-development support to hundreds of leaders, from front-line supervisors to C-suite executives. John is a facilitator and certified coach for Living As A Leader in Brookfield, WI.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

4 Ways to Make Positive Feedback More Meaningful

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Apr 8, 2019

Recently, after facilitating a leadership workshop, I received this question on an evaluation: “Recognition and thank you’s can come across as insincere. How do we overcome that?”

It’s a great question. Giving positive feedback in the workplace is important, especially when you’re the leader. Recognition, appreciation and gratitude for good work has motivational power. It also enhances employee engagement.

Read More

3 Elements Of A Great Scoreboard For Team Productivity

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 25, 2019

Brian Tracy, famed self-development author and speaker, once wrote: “Time management is really life management, personal management.”

Productivity ultimately relies on you and me; what you do, what I do. Time management is an element of self-leadership.

In organizational life, however, it’s also about the team. When you have projects and initiatives that you’re responsible for, most of the time, you’re responsible for some parts, and others are responsible for other parts. Right?

And so, it’s not just what you and I each do as individuals – it’s what the team does as well. How it interacts, how it works together, how it tracks its progress.

That’s where a scoreboard comes in.

Read More

Want to Be Productive? Block Time for Your "Big Rocks."

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 1, 2019

Recently I wrote about a productivity principle I call, “Think 20%.” 

It’s a strategy for focus to help you tame your whirlwind. It involves focusing your activities around the top 20% of things you need to do – those things that are most important, like key projects, goals and initiatives. What Stephen Covey called our “Big Rocks.”

But what about focusing your time?

If you identify your most important projects, goals and initiatives, but you don’t make time for them, nothing changes. You’re still trapped in the whirlwind of too much “stuff” to do and the feelings of exasperation, futility and stress that often come with it. So…

Read More

Your Boss Just Gave You an Objective. Now What?

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jan 25, 2019

The other day, a leader I coach – we’ll call him Jim – said to me:

“My boss gives broad direction about what I’m supposed to accomplish, but she doesn’t give details about what she wants to see. At the end of December, she said, ‘Next year, I want you to increase distributor sales.’ What am I supposed to do with that?”

I asked Jim some questions to learn more about his story. Then we discussed these five suggestions….

Read More

Focus Your Team for Powerful Productivity -- "Think 20%"

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jan 21, 2019

As I’ve traveled across the country through the years, working with leaders in organizations of all shapes and sizes, I’ve recognized what I think is the greatest risk to our organizations.

It’s not a lack of strategy, or a lack of passion, or a lack of commitment.

The greatest risk to our organizations is…a lack of FOCUS.

We lack focus on the most important initiatives and activities that drive our organizations forward to growth and prosperity.

Read More

5 Rules for Being a Person Others Want to Follow

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Sep 10, 2018

In his book, The Art of Possibility, renowned orchestral conductor Benjamin Zander shares a simple idea he calls “Leading from Any Chair.” He writes:

“A leader does not need a podium; she can be sitting quietly on the edge of any chair, listening passionately and with commitment, fully prepared to take up the baton.”

I believe the same is true for all of us who work in organizations. Anyone in the house can lead. We don’t need special authority or a title. We don’t need a certain technical expertise. Heck, we don’t even need permission. We merely need the desire to engage others in moving the ball.

The real leadership question is: Will other people WANT to follow you?

Read More

4 Ways Leadership Involves Change

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jul 13, 2018

The distinction between management and leadership has been debated for decades. Great minds – such as Warren Bennis, Stephen Covey, Grace Hopper, and John Kotter – have argued that management and leadership are different. I've argued the difference, too.

  • Bennis: “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things.”
  • Covey: “Leadership deals with direction. Management deals with speed.”
  • Hopper: “You manage things. You lead people.”
John Kotter of Harvard Business School put it this way:

Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership is about coping with change. -- J.Kotter, Harvard Business School

I like Kotter’s thinking. A defining distinction about leadership is its focus on change. After all, in the work-world, change is all around us.

As I’ve reflected on this idea over the years, I’ve come to realize the most effective leaders focus on creating change in four key ways.

Read More

"Birthday Week" -- A Leadership Lesson

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jun 14, 2018

It’s “Birthday Week” at our house. Birthday Week is an annual tradition that begins six days before my wife’s birthday, ending and culminating on the anniversary of her birth. It’s a tradition invented by her dad, my father-in-law.

Read More

Better Leaders Reduce the High Cost of Turnover

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Apr 20, 2018

You may have heard it before: People join companies, they leave leaders. Through decades of working with leaders at all levels in organizations around the county, we’ve found this claim to be true. Employees most often leave because of their immediate manager.

Research also supports this fact. Gallup has conducted more than 30 years of research into employee engagement and productivity. They have concluded that upwards of 70% of the reasons for voluntary turnover relate to elements that can be influenced by managers.

A survey conducted in the U.K. by Approved Index showed that 42% of employees admitted having left a job because of a bad boss. 

Read More

Every Leader Needs Feedback (Including YOU): Four Reasons and Six Tips

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 23, 2018

Frank, a marketing director for an international distributor, was having dinner with Victor, his vice-president boss, on a trip together to Germany. Frank and Victor were visiting from the U.S. for a meeting the next day with Victor’s international marketing team. Frank used this private opportunity to give Victor some feedback.

Read More