Kathi Graham-Leviss

Recent Posts

Give and You Shall Receive, or Will You? The Art of Receiving Feedback

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Dec 3, 2019 1:21:14 PM right

Famous author Ken Blanchard says, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions,” but the value of feedback is only realized if the person on the receiving end truly acknowledges what is shared. Often, business and HR leaders focus heavily on the ways in which they can effectively provide feedback to others, which is certainly an important component of performance development. However, the second part of the equation – the ability to effectively receive that feedback – is very often overlooked.

Arguably, the ability to take feedback to heart is even more difficult than the art of delivering it. Why? Because inherent in receiving feedback are several “personal” triggers that can influence how each of us perceives feedback, particularly in the workplace. And, many of us are triggered to ignore, become defensive or even anger at the hint of criticism or constructive feedback due to the way in which the person communicates or behaves when providing the feedback. 

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Topics: talent integration, Performance Management, Performance Review

Applying HR Analytics: Taking Small Steps To Reap Big Benefits

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Nov 19, 2019 12:07:09 PM right

The idea of “data,” “analytics,” and “automation” often set off a whirlwind of emotions among HR leaders – from excitement of new possibilities to confusion and angst over how or where to leverage them. However, these trends simply can’t be ignored given that workforce analytics will be more widely adopted to help optimize workforces, develop employee performance metrics, reduce operational costs and stimulate market growth. The key to understanding and leveraging the many benefits of the data evolution is to evaluate potential areas across the employment lifecycle where it makes operational and financial sense to embed meaningful analytics.

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Topics: talent integration, HR Analytics

Effective Communication: Teamwork At Its Best

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Oct 30, 2019 10:00:51 AM right

The value of highly communicative teams is well understood among business and HR leaders. However, what may be less widely known is the financial implications of ineffective team communications or the financial gains that can be realized from exceptional communication. For example, a recent study found that in U.S. hospitals, a whopping $12 billion per year is lost due to ineffective team communication. Meanwhile, a robust meta-analysis of more than 150 studies and over 9,000 teams has confirmed the link between team communication and performance.

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Topics: Team Dynamics

How to Unleash the Power of Diverse & Inclusive Teams

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Aug 14, 2019 9:02:00 AM right

Did you know companies with more diverse management teams have 19 percent higher revenues due to innovation? Did you also know a recent Gartner study found 75 percent of organizations with front line decision-making teams that reflect a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets? In fact, gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50 percent on average.

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Topics: Unleash The Power Of Diverse & Inclusive Teams

Why Corporate Culture is More Than Just a Buzzword

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Jul 29, 2019 8:45:00 AM right

Employees today yearn to be connected to both their employer and to something broader and bigger than what may be found in their job description. In fact, a recent survey found that 74 percent of workers agree that their job means more to them than just a way to earn a living. And, 78 percent say that feeling a personal connection with the company’s culture and values will determine their decision to accept a job or not.

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Topics: Why Corporate Culture Is More Than Just A Buzzword

How Agile Is Your Organization?

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Jun 20, 2019 2:19:22 PM right

If the “gig economy” was the hottest trend in 2018, it’s fair to say “agile” is taking its place in 2019. The fact is, the term “agile” can mean a lot of things these days – from operating within an Agile Framework, flattening the organizational chart to integrating gig workers and other non-traditional talent pools into the workforce. But, at its core, agility is the ability of organizations to be more flexible and adaptive to rapidly changing business dynamics. And, it is arguably a key characteristic required for future business success.

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Topics: 3 Strategies To Make Your Organization More Agile

What Change Agents Value at Work

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on May 14, 2019 11:02:00 AM right

When it comes to change management, half the battle is making sure you have the right leaders in place. And that means looking carefully at their competencies, behavioral styles, and values.

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Topics: 5 Key Indicators Of Effective Change Management

Best Practices for Boards

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Mar 26, 2019 11:02:00 AM right

In our latest comprehensive guide, Best Practices for Boards, we provide insights and recommendations for corporate board governance. Whether you are a private, public, or non-profit board, Best Practices for Boards has extensive resources to enhance the effectiveness of your board. Our guide also contains information on the following areas...

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Topics: XBInsight's Guide On Best Practices For Boards

Don’t Rely on Luck When Building Your Executive Team

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Mar 13, 2019 2:13:43 PM right

St. Patrick’s Day heralds in a time of celebration, parades and for many, the hope of attaining the “luck of the Irish” – a phrase commonly thought to mean “extreme good fortune.” However, it originated during the gold and silver rush years in the 19th century and referred to Irish and Irish American’s who were among the most famous and successful miners. The phrase carried with it a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck as, opposed to brains, could these Irish folks succeed!

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Topics: Don't Rely On Luck For Your Executive Team

The Best Gift for Executives? Feedback

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Feb 19, 2019 11:02:00 AM right

The best gift you can give your executives who may appear to “have everything” is the gift of feedback. Chances are, they don’t have it.In my experience, most executives don’t receive feedback because it’s a hard gift to give. After all, executives tend to be successful, smart and confident people. And they're in positions of power — namely, positions of power over people’s careers. So, barring a resolute and inviting effort on the part of executives, the valuable gift of feedback goes unopened.

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A Better Way to Staff Your Staffing Firm

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Feb 5, 2019 11:02:00 AM right

As a leader in the staffing sector, you know all too well the importance of finding the best-fit hires for your clients. But, what about your own staff? Does your staffing firm believe having high turnover of recruiters and professional staff is just “part of the business?”

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Making Leadership Development a Priority in an Ever-evolving Healthcare Environment

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Oct 30, 2018 10:17:27 AM right
Leading Courageously and Bringing Others Along

Optimizing leadership skills and building a deep pipeline of executive-ready talent is more critical than ever, given a fast-and-ever-evolving healthcare environment. With the introduction of new laws, regulations, care coordination, and payment models, new leadership styles need to be implemented to effectively lead and manage in the new paradigm. However, alongside the need for modern leadership competencies is the need to address an impending talent shortage of leader ready talent. In fact, executive turnover is expected to increase due to a high number of leaders eligible for retirement, combined with a shortage of senior leader ready talent.

To survive, and thrive, healthcare organizations must take advantage of all its institutional talent. Yet, this can only be achieved if leaders widely embrace the need to address the issue of leadership development. Healthcare organizations, like many, are slow to invest resources to identify and develop next generation talent. This is problematic in light of our research that shows a significant gap between what directors do well and what is needed to be a successful executive. This is a classic case of "what got you here, won't get you there".

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The Solution to Talent Shortages Facing Life Sciences Companies

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Apr 6, 2018 3:22:00 PM right

A recent study highlights a pervasive challenge facing the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry, and that is a lack of talent. The study found that 51 percent of CEOs of life sciences and pharma companies admit to greater difficulties attracting and retaining the right people, more than any other industry in the study.


In fact, one of the greatest challenges on the horizon for pharmaceutical and life science companies is filling vacant positions and decreasing the time-to-fill for those positions. On average, pharma hiring decision-makers report they are currently 14 percent understaffed and have roughly 212 open positions at this time. Additionally, they report that it takes an average of 105 days, essentially 3 ½ months, to recruit and hire non-executive positions.


These lengthy vacancies are quickly eating away at corporate profits. In fact, companies lose $500 a day for every job that stays vacant. Given the average time-to-fill among pharma decision-makers is 105 days, and that amounts to $52,000 per vacancy.


Lack of Right Skills and Culture Fit Key Contributors

For many pharma decision-makers, sourcing good candidates is hard and finding qualified applicants can be even harder. Yet, finding the best-fit talent both in culture and skill-set can be downright excruciating. Consider that 76 percent of Pharma HR-decision makers agree, “when positions become available at my organization, we struggle to find people whose skills match the job requirements,” and 70 percent say, “we struggle to find people who are a good cultural fit.”


Pharmaceutical and life sciences leaders will need to increasingly leverage data and analytics to bring greater accuracy, efficiency and predictability to the hiring process. As pharma companies continue to struggle with turnover, open positions and costly vacancies, they simply can’t take a chance on anyone who doesn’t measure up.


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Topics: Succession Planning, Performance Management, Recruitment

Is Your Team Joined at the Hip, or Disjointed?

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on May 24, 2017 9:47:02 AM right

In the age of lean organizations, most work groups in existence today are being pushed to evolve toward a team philosophy as the span of control of management widens. From executive teams and project teams to marketing and sales teams, team structures are vital to the way most organizations organize and deliver their work. However, all teams are not created equal. A key distinguisher among successful companies is their ability to create and maintain high-performing, effective work teams to deploy complex business strategies.

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3 Tips for Communicating with Your Company's Top Performers

Posted by Kathi Graham-Leviss on Mar 23, 2017 2:11:39 PM right


High-maintenance high-performers: Working with a high-performer can be either exhilarating or exasperating. It all depends on how you react to the challenges that come with it. Most likely, this high-performer can be also high-maintenance – which has its benefits along with its drawbacks.

Usually high performers are inspiring, charismatic, focused, direct and driving. Yet with their high-maintenance flaws like being confrontational, demanding, and impatient, it’s often hard to align goals and strategies with such roadblocks between the lines of communication.

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Topics: Coaching and Training, Performance Management