Marla Lepore

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This Employee Assessment Takes You Outside the Box


Want to know what your personality is? Or find out your “inner truth”? How about which “Game of Thrones” character you are? There are plenty of employee assessments and online quizzes out there that will reveal what box, character, style or type you fall into—the answer to the question: Am I a “this” or am I a “that”?

But when it comes to the HBDI®, we talk in terms of thinking preferences. No one is strictly a “this” or a “that,” because everyone has access to their whole brain, regardless of what your preferences are. You simply prefer (and in some cases, actively avoid) certain kinds of thinking over others.

So, what exactly do we mean by thinking preference? Well, it might be easier to start by explaining what a preference is not.

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More is Not Always Better: How to Improve Communication at Work


No one listens! It’s one of the most common complaints across workplaces, industries, jobs, even in our personal lives. It doesn’t matter how much detail we give or how many times we say things, it seems like people keep coming back with questions about things we’ve already addressed.

So, how can you improve communications and resolve this annoying problem? One piece of advice you’ve likely heard is to over-communicate if you really want people to listen to you. Explain it again and again. Keep hammering away at it until you break through.

Have you tried that? Had any luck with it?

My guess is they’re still not listening to you.

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Improve Email Communication by Asking Yourself 4 Simple Questions


How many times have you written up what seems like a perfectly clear email message only to find that the person on the receiving end just doesn’t “get it”? Not only is it annoying, it can end up wasting a lot of time for both parties.

Beyond the obvious need for a sarcasm font, here’s what could be going on: You likely communicate in a style that’s rooted in the way you prefer to think. The problem is, that can be at odds with the preferences of the person you’re communicating with. You may prefer formal, sequential, highly organized thinking, and so your email messages will follow suit. Your recipient, on the other hand, may prefer a more casual, free-flowing style. They’re looking for the big picture, and when they see all that detail, they tune out.

Or maybe you gravitate toward a more expressive style. You would never just jump right into the cold, dry facts without a few pleasantries up front. Meanwhile, your recipient might be rolling their eyes, wondering why you can’t just get to the point.

Considering how much we rely on email today, it makes sense to find some common ground and learn how to adapt your thinking and your messages—both so you can be heard and so you can avoid confusion or miscommunication.

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What To Do When Turnover Hits Your Dream Team


There’s nothing better than a team that’s found its rhythm. Healthy debate, deep trust, respect for each others’ ideas, mutual accountability and’s truly the dream team.

And then someone leaves.

Dealing with employee turnover is always a challenge, and it can be particularly disruptive when it happens to a tight-knit, high-performing team. No matter how great things are today, when a key person leaves, it can throw off your productivity, morale and even your results.

People leave. That’s the reality. But the best defense against turnover is having a plan in place before the inevitable happens. Let’s look at a Whole Brain ® approach you can follow to plan for turnover and keep your team on track when a member departs and a new member comes on board.

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Get More Out of Team Collaboration with These Brainstorming Tips


Your team has been tasked to solve a tough problem or to come up with a breakthrough idea or new opportunity. How will you attack the challenge? What’s your go-to creative tool?

In many team collaboration scenarios, the instinct is to get everyone together for a big, freewheeling brainstorming session and see what comes out of it. That is one way to go. But it’s not necessarily the best way. And on its own, it’s not likely to get you to the boundary-pushing ideas and solutions you need.

Why Doesn’t Brainstorming Work?

When leaders look at team collaboration as a way to spark creativity, brainstorming is often one of the first things they’ll think of. The members of the project team will gather around a conference table, set a timer and spout their first thoughts about a topic while some poor soul diligently takes notes. The whole point of the exercise, they’re led to believe, is quantity of ideas, not quality.

Eventually the timer goes off. People stand up, pat themselves on the back, congratulate each other on their creative thinking, and then file out of the room.

And then what happens?

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The Power of the Pause: Managing Employees Who Are Too Busy to Think


They’re some of your most dedicated, hardest working employees. No one gets down to business and gets every box checked, every time, on time, quite like they do. Frankly, it’s a relief, knowing that you can count on them to keep plowing ahead no matter what you throw their way.

But did you ever stop to think that maybe they don’t have time to stop to think?

Deep thinking is in short supply in today’s work environment, where the distractions are many, the work is intense and task-oriented productivity rules the day. As a result, though, we’re sacrificing impact for activity. If people don’t have time to think more critically and intentionally, to make conscious choices instead of habitually reacting and responding, the business is going to suffer—maybe not today, but soon enough.

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5 Signs You Could Use an Employee Assessment


Many companies think of employee assessments as performance management or recruiting and hiring tools. But this represents only a limited slice of the spectrum. Used properly and in the right circumstances, employee assessments can part of a powerful work toolkit, not just for evaluating job fit or lagging performance, but for helping people and teams work more effectively and accomplish their key business objectives.

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Creative Thinking Not 'Your Thing'? Think Again!


In studies of global business leaders and CEOs, “creativity” routinely shows up as one of the top qualities for effective leaders. But you don’t even have to read the studies to know that people value creativity in business. We talk about emulating the Steve Jobs’s of the world, the new technology innovators, those who come up with clever solutions or new products that transform entire markets and industries. In fact, CEOs have been making speeches proclaiming a “fresh commitment to creativity” and urging an entrepreneurial approach to business for decades.

So why are the results so consistently disappointing? What’s holding back creativity in business?

Are we just not that creative?

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Why Inclusive Leadership is Essential to Innovation


Whenever a disruptive business story breaks—like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods—the innovation mandates follow. The message: If you don’t start rethinking your game and, in some cases, even reinventing your mission, you could be the next cautionary tale, the “slow giant that failed to innovate.”

As companies focus more intently on innovation, whether it’s the big, transformational kind or smaller, incremental improvements and pivots, we’re also seeing a growing trend in recognizing the value of diversity in the innovation process. McKesson, for example, proclaimed in their 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Report, “We believe a diverse workforce is a fundamental building block for creativity and innovation.” And Apple CEO Tim Cook has said, “I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that.”

But clearly it’s not as simple as all that. If it was, we’d be seeing a lot more innovative output.

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How to Get Business Impact Out of Employee Assessments


In her recent post on comparing employee assessments, our Whole Brain ® Thinking Catalyst Anne Griswold pointed out a simple truth about assessments: Application can be a challenge. How do you turn awareness and insight into actions that make a tangible impact on the business, especially once people are back in the daily whirlwind of the job?

It’s an important question, particularly as L&D is increasingly being pressured to clearly connect the work it’s doing with specific business results. Every developmental tool needs to serve as a link in a broader value chain. We know this, and still...all too often the employee is the one who’s left with the burden of figuring out how to apply these newfound insights—and then remembering to do it on a consistent basis. It’s a pretty tall order when so much else is going on, no matter how powerful that moment of awareness might have been.

The organizations that are successful in getting to application and business impact take a more strategic view of employee assessments from the get-go. Need some inspiration? Here are just a few of the ways our clients have integrated the HBDI and other assessments into their business operations to get tangible results.

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