What Does it Mean to Be Accountable?

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Sat, May 14, 2022

Several years ago, I worked as a consultant for a Fortune 500 high-tech company. I was part of a team of consultants hired to help this company make significant changes. Specifically, I was hired to assist with the human side of change, which meant building strategies to ensure buy-in and adoption. I was part of a team of other successful consultants. I remember one particular moment when our team gave each other feedback at the end of the project. One colleague commented that I was accountable. I remember being very flattered and validated. Yet what did this mean?

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Leadership Skills:One on one coaching tips from a professional dancer

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Thu, Jan 16, 2014

A colleague of mine, I’ll call him Aaron, is a professional dancer who has worked in a international professional dance company for five years. He and I got to talking about his work and the leadership tangles that have presented themselves. As we spoke, I realized that therewere some lessons to be learned for all leaders. Here is the first excerpt of an interview I conducted over a period of several weeks.

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Leadership Wisdom for Executive Leaders--Tip #1

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Mon, Mar 21, 2011

Leadership is both an inside and outside game. In this series of blogposts, I will share leadership wisdom I have gathered and found useful in my own leadership development and what I have observed in my work with executive leaders. As the Tangle DoctorTM, it is my opinion that leaders who create productive, accountable cultures are better able to minimize Organizational TanglesTM –unproductive working relationships, snarled lines of communication, and fuzzy lines of authority-- demonstrate the leadership qualities I will share in a series of blogposts.

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Three Lessons Executive Leaders Can Learn from the S. F. Giants

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Thu, Nov 04, 2010

Okay, I admit it. I am a fair weather San Francisco Giants fan. I tuned in to the team in the last weeks of the series as they began their championship playoffs. I found myself playing catch up, learning the names and stories of the players. All of a sudden I really cared. As the Giants came closer and closer to winning the World Series, a goal that eluded them for 56 years, I put on my Tangle Doctor hat. How did the team's management orchestrate this turnaround? What can business leaders learn from a team that seemed so unlikely to win a championship trophy?

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Executive Leaders: Are you Playing to Win or Not to Lose?

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Thu, Oct 14, 2010

In a recent episode of AMC's Mad Men (Season 4, Blowing Smoke), a fledgling ad agency is faced with the fallout of losing one of its key accounts, a major cigarette company.  Even though the show is fictional and takes place 50 years ago, the situation and reaction of the firm's senior partners felt eerily current.

Topics: Fear leadership
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Cough it UpTM How to Rid Yourself of Corporate Hairballs

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Fri, Mar 19, 2010

When I began my research into seemingly unsolvable corporate messes, I used the metaphor of a cat hairball to conduct my inquiry. Some people loved the metaphor. Others had negative visceral reactions.  Hairballs subsequently became tangles, although much of my work is inspired by my research results on corporate hairballs. I had a lot of fun comparing a cat hairball to a corporate hairball. What follows is just a taste.
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Shaun White, Olympic Gold Medalist, and VUCA Leadership

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Fri, Feb 26, 2010

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Oprah. I don't watch it live so when I do have a few free moments, I turn on the digital video recorder and catch up. Last week, on February 19, Oprah had Shaun White, the Olympic Gold medalist on as one of her guests. He flew overnight from Vancouver to Chicago to be on her show. I have to admit that I hadn't been following Shaun White, his career, or his sport--snowboarding. I did catch his medal winning half pipe performance and his exuberant reaction to winning gold. When he spoke to Oprah about what it takes to pull of such a daring performance, my ears perked up. There is a relationship to VUCA and tangles I thought!
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Why Exceptional Leaders Provide Air Cover . . . And Prevent Tangles

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Thu, Jan 28, 2010

As an executive development expert, I’ve facilitated dozens of 360 degree leadership assessments, team development, and new leader assimilation processes. Along the way, I have learned that leaders get dinged if they don’t provide air cover to their direct reports. When I first heard the term “air cover,”  I was surprised. On the other hand, military language, like sports talk, permeates the business lexicon. I decided to delve deeper and see what it really means.
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Today’s Leaders Must Up their Game

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Sat, Dec 05, 2009

We are living in tumultuous times. Today's business leaders need to be more discerning in gathering and processing business and environmental data. They need to be more accurate in setting strategy, and more effective in leading the execution of that strategy. Additionally, leaders must work harder to focus employees on being productive, while at the same time helping them make sense of the current reality and direction. Finally, today's leaders need to be masterful in both nurturing top talent and motivating the workforce, particularly if they have had to reduce headcount. In a word, leaders must up their game. Are you up for the task?
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What Leaders Can Learn from Michael Jackson

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Wed, Jul 01, 2009

I was stunned when I heard about Michael Jackson's untimely death last week. As a huge Thriller fan,  I remember watching Jackson and being captivated by his music, his dancing, and his beat. He really was a musical genius. I never paid too much to the tabloid headlines swirling around his life. However, in the last few days, given the constant news coverage about Michael Jackson and his life on Larry King Live, 20/20, and other news shows, I got to thinking what leaders might be able to learn from Michael Jackson's life, and how it ties in to organizational tangles. One category of tangles that I often encounter in my work as an executive coach are what I call individual or internal tangles.
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Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

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