Good morning,

Welcome to Sword Tips, the Exkalibur Newsletter for May 19, 2022. I’m glad you’re here.

One of the workplace dynamics that’s been turned upside down during the COVID-19 pandemic is the demand for Transparency. In 5 Tips to Integrate Transparency in Your Organization, you’ll learn how a powerful tool like Transparency can help you respond to employee demands for more information about your company’s plans and how they will impact decisions about their professional and family life. You’ll also find a look at the litany of excuses that wreak havoc on the Accountability in an organization and in Monday’s Quote, how waiting for perfection will sabotage even the most worthy projects.

This week, I’ve answered another question from a subscriber dealing with an employee who doesn’t like feedback. In our Business Brief, we take a closer look at return to the office trends, how to define “exceptional leadership skills”, what to do if your employees don’t like your product and a quick crypto update to help all us better understand what’s going on in that world. You also don’t want to miss the interesting in potpourri in this week’s Sword Clicks.

Got Comments?

If you have any comments or suggestions for Sword Tips, please email me directly at

Leadership Insights

Are you Sharing or Hoarding Information?

When I began my career, the word “transparency” wasn’t in the corporate lexicon.

In fact, I can’t remember a single instance of a company-wide meeting … at any of the companies where I worked … or even a widely-shared discussion of the company’s performance, strategy or direction.

But then comes an unexpected downturn ...

… and people demand to know “what’s up?”.

A lot of companies seemed to figure that out as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and employees demanded clearer guidelines about the company’s plans. That level of anxiety hasn’t completely abated, but the demands for greater clarity about what the workplace will look like going forward continue to grow.

In 5 Tips to Integrate Transparency in Your Organization, I offer some insights from the late Jack Welch, the legendary GE CEO, and share 5 Tips about how you can embed Transparency in your organization.

FROM THE LIBRARY: Accountability in Action

How's it going in the “making excuses” department?

Has anything changed since the last time I reported that Accountability is among the Top 3 issues that CEOs mention in every coaching session I’ve ever had?


I’ll guess that you’ve probably heard many of these “TWENTY TIRED EXCUSES” in your organization.

I’ve provided the entire list for you so you can be on the lookout when you hear them. To measure how your organization stacks up, I’ve also added a scoring table so you can evaluate how “accountable” your organization is … or isn’t.

As an added bonus, I’ve added an Accountability Ladder, which is a valuable measure of the probability of completing a goal. You can use it to identify specific steps you can take to improve your own Productivity … and also to coach others about how they can become more successful in getting the right things done.

Take a look at How many of these excuses have you heard? to find all these goodies.

Are you waiting for perfection before you get something started?

I think we’d all hate to count how many times we’ve waited to do something because we weren’t sure what others might think.

That fateful mindset lies somewhere in the muddle among impostor syndrome, indecisiveness and insecurity.

When you read Waiting for perfection before you get started?, you’ll find a few simple mantras that I’ve used to get out of this quicksand. I’ve also included a relevant quote you’ll want to keep handy when this dilemma arises.

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Got Questions?

Each week, I will answer a reader-submitted question related to leadership and behavior in the workplace. If there’s something nagging at you, click this link to send your question and I will take a run at it in next week’s Sword Tips (without attribution).


Q: One of our senior managers has a difficult time accepting feedback. He’s a good employee, with a solid performance record, but we need more from him and have been unable to get that across. What can we do to get him to accept the feedback we’re providing and change his behavior accordingly? N

A: This a special challenge, particularly for successful employees who have an inflated or incomplete view of their performance.

Invariably, this dilemma depends on whether Clear Expectations have been set. Think about it. If you Set Clear Expectations with that employee and agree with him that the expectations are “realistically achievable” and appropriate to the role, measuring his performance against those expectations will be simplified. At the next review, there will be little room to disagree about the baseline against which his performance is being measured.

For your direct reports, I recommend writing these expectations on an index card … one for each of you … and reviewing it not less than monthly. You should be meeting with your direct reports at least that often anyway, and with that regularity, you’ll keep those expectations front and center and leave little wriggle room when it comes time to provide the needed feedback.

You can learn more about this approach, with a step by step approach to establishing those “clear expecations” by reading my essay, Accountability Starting Point: Set Clear Expectations.

Sword Clicks for May 19, 2022

This week, you’ll discover a $600 Billion industry you don’t often think about. You’ll also learn about software to detect anxiety and depression in the human voice along with a great combination of coffee and chocolate. Don’t miss Sword Clicks.

Business Brief

Have a favorite day to return to the office?

It’s not hard to guess that the favorite day of the week to return to the office is … wait for it … Wednesday, of course. It’s in the middle of the week and doesn’t interfere with those desirable loooong weekends. That’s the finding from The Hottest Work Day of the Week Is Now…Wednesday?!

In the meantime, Bloomberg reports that Workers Are Winning the Return-to-Office War Because They’re Right.

Let me know when you have it all figured out.

Like this word to identify "Exceptional Leadership Skills"?

There’s always someone trying to define leadership with a single word or merge it with a particular trait that defines it.

In How Can You Tell Someone Has Exceptional Leadership Skills? It Boils Down to 1 Word, the author argues that CURIOSITY is the single word that determines if someone has exceptional leadership skills.

I’m a big fan of curiousity and agree with the notion that without it, people live a dreary and uninteresting life. Curiosity, of course, is one of “the key features we feature” in Sword Tips.

But, does Curiosity work as the single word that earmarks “Exceptional Leadership Skills”? Let me know what you think and we’ll summarize the results next week. Send your comments to me at

What if your employees don't like your product?

In Netflix Is Telling Employees Who Find Content Objectionable to Quit, and It’s Kind of Brilliant, you’ll find a provocative take on Netflix’s response to employees who don’t agree with certain content that Netflix releases and how those employees and Netflix are expected to deal with it.

I agree with the author’s take on this. Do you? Let me know by emailing me at

Ready for a Crypto Update?

You may recall that we put a “Spotlight on Crypto” a few issues ago. In that segment, we touched on the Tokenomics essays from Nat Eliason. Now in Crypto Gaming is Broken. How Do We Fix It?, he explores Crypto Gaming.

It’s brand new and although Eliason is tough on it, he’s confident “that gaming will grow to be a trillion dollar industry with crypto.”

If you’re skeptical of cryptocurrency, you may like Crypto’s Richest Lost Nearly $60 Billion In Recent Weeks In Massive Crypto Collapse … unless you happen to have some.

Make it a great week - and Don't Stop Leading!


Join the thousands of people reading Sword Tips.

I share insights about Leadership, Accountability & Productivity to help you Become a More Effective Leader, supplemented by a wide-ranging curiosity about what affects our lives outside the office.

Helping Leaders Pull the Sword from the Stone through Understanding rather than Strength.”