How Are Internal Stakeholders and Team Performance Connected?

Photo credit: todd photography

Photo credit: todd photography

by Rachel Harris

In a periodic series, we share reports from the field about our work with clients. Recently, a client contacted us for strategy to retain top talent and enhance workplace dynamics. Here is the challenge our client was facing:

For the past few months, a group of senior managers, mostly women, have been meeting to re-organize an internal group of stakeholders. The quandary they were facing was retention of top female talent in a male-dominated workplace. By re-energizing the workforce through a special interest group (SIG) they hoped to curb the exit of female staff. 

This SIG hired Center for Purposeful Leadership (formerly Heartland) to re-focus the mission and vision, design a kick-off meeting and provide convening training. Over a period of five months, the design team met monthly. The SIG leadership team, along with key HR staff, took the Art of Convening workshop to learn effective communications and staff engagement techniques.

After the training, the SIG leadership team applied the meeting design principles to the re-launch kick-off with great effect. The SIG relaunched in March with over 70 people in attendance - double the expected turnout! With the SIG firmly in place and staff reengaged - both men and women - employees are seeing one another in a new light, taking time to collaborate and supporting one another professionally.


The internal stakeholders in the SIG have acted as champions for the organization and teams have transformed.

Looking back on these past months with the client, they benefited from executive coaching and training on more effective meetings, and exceeded their goals and expectations. Now that the SIG is up and running, they have requested a quarterly tune-up. 

You may think of tuning up cars on a periodic basis, but how about teams? Consider tuning up your team or a special interest group. Quarterly trainings and monthly coaching enable staff to embody positive business practice adaptations - for the long term. 

If you would like more information, we are happy to talk with you. Call Center for Purposeful Leadership at 612-920-3039 or email

Rachel Harris

10 Things Employees Want More Than a Raise

Photo Credit: Daniel Scotton

Photo Credit: Daniel Scotton

Making big money is often less important to employees than satisfying these basic needs.

Contrary to popular belief, employees value many things more than the amount of money they're being paid.  If they're treated right, employees will not only work for less, they'll be happier and more productive as they do so.

Based upon hundreds of conversations I've had about bosses and jobs, here's what employees really want:

1. To feel proud.

When asked what they do for a living, employees want to boast rather than apologize. They want the people they meet to be at least a little impressed, even if it's only because the employee has taken on a job that's generally thankless.

2. To be treated fairly.

While almost everyone realizes that life isn't fair, employees don't want the boss to make life more unfair than it already is.  Employees hate favoritism.  They expect the perks and promotions to go to the people who work hard, not the people who kiss butt.

3. To respect the boss.

Employees want respect from the boss, of course, but just as strong is the need to feel respectfor the boss!  Employees want to believe in that their boss is a leader who is worthy of their loyalty.

4. To be heard out.

Employees hate it when the boss doesn't have the time or the interest to listen to what they have to say. Employees don't expect the boss to always take their advice, but if the boss won't hear them out they (rightly) assume the boss doesn't care about them.

5. To have a personal life.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

For many bosses (especially entrepreneurs) work is a way of life.  Employees, however, usually think of friends and family as their "real" life.  Even when they're committed to their job, they get twitchy when work keeps them away too much.

6. To be coached not micromanaged.

Employees want the boss's help when 1) they ask for it, or 2) they're floundering so badly they're afraid to ask for it.  What employees don't want is to have the boss looking over their shoulder all the time.

7. To see the assh*les get fired.

In almost every workplace there are one or two jerks who make life miserable for everybody.  Almost more than anything else, employees want the boss to fire those jerks. If the boss doesn't, employees know he's either a weakling, a fool, or a jerk himself.

8. To feel less stress.

People hate the sense that they've got too much to do and not enough time to do it. Bosses must plan carefully, anticipate problems and set realistic goals, so that they don't accidentally and unnecessarily add stress to employees' lives.

9. To have a little security.

No sane employee expects lifetime employment.  Even so, it's hard to concentrate when you feel as if a sword is hanging over your head. Employees want to know that they're not wasting their time when they're giving your their best.

10. To beat the competition.

Finally, never underestimate the power of teamwork, especially when teamwork means grinding the other team into the dust.  Employees don't want to be team players; they want to play on the winning team.

Why isn't money on the list of desires? Well, as it happens, I've seldom heard anybody complain about their salary per se, except in the context of the above desires (i.e. "they don't pay me enough to put up with this.")

Satisfy the ten desires above and your employees will remain loyal and hardworking, even if you're paying them less (and maybe even far less) than they might earn elsewhere.

Here comes the Sun! Gifts of the morning

photo credit: Craig Neal

photo credit: Craig Neal

I've been shooting sunrise photos thiswinter from our home on Lake Calhoun in downtown Minneapolis. And what to my wondrous eyes should appear each morning, but this miraculous sphere of energy that brings us such joy and sustains life. Here is todays gift, as shot through our icy storm window, along with a poem by Mary Oliver.

Craig Neal

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who make the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety—

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light—

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

Mary Oliver

Martin Luther King

Photo credit:  Jeronimo Bernot

Photo credit: Jeronimo Bernot

Lord, who can be trusted with power,

and who may act in your place?

Those with a passion for justice,

who speak the truth from their hearts;

who have let go of selfish interests

and grown beyond their own lives;

who see the wretched as their family

and the poor as their flesh and blood.

They alone are impartial

and worthy of the people's trust.

Their compassion lights up the whole earth,

and their kindness endures forever.

(A Book of Psalms, translations by Stephen Mitchell)

Thank you to Panhala

Web version: <>  


photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

May your day be filled with the grace of knowing you belong to this time on earth for the sake of a world that work for all.  -Craig & Patricia


Thanks & blessings be
to the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
thanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessings to them
who share it

(& also the absent & the dead).
Thanks & Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
(may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
& blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want - for their hunger
sours the wine & robs
the taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & work of justice, of peace.

~ Rafael Jesus Gonzalez ~

(In Praise of Fertile Land, edited by Claudia Mauro)

Leadership: Proving You Can Do Well by Doing Good

Photo credit: craig neal

Photo credit: craig neal

The TLGS were founded with the belief that business and organizations are the conduit and delivery system through which a global renaissance is occurring. Our Friday, February 2 TLG with David Reiling, CEO, Sunrise Banks, exemplified this belief. University Bank’s mission is to be “The Leader in Improving Our Urban Community.” Global change starts locally.

Besides offering a bridge and hand extended to the community, mentoring and leading by example seem to have been core themes throughout David's journey to where he is now. A further ah-ha! came with on-the-ground-learning and empathy: “I soon found out that my job had nothing to do with banking, and everything to do with caring for my customers.”

In his role as CEO, his greatest challenge is to standardize the culture of respect fostered at University Bank. “Getting the staff involved in the community is key. It’s amazing to see the fears and misunderstandings melt away. Before you know it, we’re not looking at the differences between us but how we can help each other.”

Using the organization as the fostering organism, it's a "pay-it-forward" philosophy that creates a loop of generativity for the organization that is good for the individual and community.