Charles Pfeffer

Executive Coaching & Leadership Consulting

Insights by Charles Pfeffer

Dare to Soar

One of my favorite experiences as a leadership coach was a monthly gathering of mid level managers in the Skilled Resources Division of Kodak Manufacturing. These were managers and supervisors who led teams of electricians, plumbers and pipefitters, sheet metal workers and other skilled tradespeople. The gathering was named, Dare to Soar by Dave Striker, division manager when we started the program in 2000. I thought the name was corny, but Dave’s intention and the spirit of the group got me past that. We set this up as a leadership academy, with an open space format, meaning we did not… read more >

Short Memories?

“We are a lot smarter than we ever were 10 or 15 years ago,” says James Crowe, chief executive of Level 3 Communications Inc. LVLT -0.66% His company helped define the telecom boom by building its own network from coast to coast, beginning in 1998. It lost more than 90% of its stock-market value a year after hitting its high in March 2000, but it was one of the few to survive the bust. In recent months, for the first time since the 1990s, Mr. Crowe has started extending Level 3′s fiber-optic network into areas where he hasn’t yet signed… read more >

Women in Management Outscore Men at All Levels

Recently, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman published results of a study tracking men and women in leadership roles (As reported by the Herman Group Blog). The study showed women outperforming men in 360 degree assessments across all levels of management. This out-performance gap between women and men was even greater at the top levels of management than at lower levels. Furthermore, beyond the stereotypical strengths that women managers are credited with, the study found that women outperformed men in traditional male attributes, such as driving for results and taking initiative. There is no longer a question of women catching up with… read more >

Thinking Fast and Slow

Reading Nobel Prize winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slowhas been humbling. In it Kahneman lays out a simple model of our brains in which one part is fast, but irrational and the other is rational,butslow, lazy and prone to bias. The net effect is at we are very bad at prediction and our judgement is not to be trusted. You know all that stuff about trusting your gut? Turns out that’s mostly bogus, unless we work in professions that are fairly stable, and which provide rapid, frequent feedback. Key learning: people who say that they can pick stocks, cannot and… read more >

Insights from the In-Flight Hip Check

While flying on a commuter plane to PHL, I noticed that the flight attendant bumped my shoulder each time she passed. She did not say excuse me. I recalled that this has happened on other flights like this, but today I decided to think about the phenomenon rather than just internally complain about it. What’s going on here? Is it another sign of the declining civility of our society, or is it something else? This flight attendant is otherwise courteous and friendly. I did not note the others who bumped me as being especially rude either. But, they were bigger,… read more >