Chronic Indecision – Who’s gambling away your team’s future?

The inability to make a decision can be among the most devastating personality traits of a manager.  No matter how sound or reasonable a course of action may seem, indecisives can’t bring themselves to commit.  As a result, they stifle their teams, kill productivity, and demoralize those team members whose energy and enthusiasm depend on continuous forward progress. Indecisives are frustrating to work with, difficult to reassure, and nearly impossible to trust with any projects or priorities having strategic value to your team. The reason behind chronic indecision, however, is a bit counterintuitive.  On the surface, it may seem like […]

“Just be yourself” – Why it’s really bad advice

Like many coaches and leadership consultants out there, I use social media from time to time to express and share interesting ideas that arise during my professional engagements. Doing so allows me to showcase a bit of my expertise, refine my thinking about important topics, and help others whose current circumstances might render these ideas particularly relevant. Unfortunately, there is also an abundance of online self-help gurus lacking experience, training, and wisdom. Their desire to be seen and heard is far greater than their sense of accountability to professional standards or best-practices. Their advice, therefore, must be taken with a […]

Victims of Big: Surviving a Deadly Corporate Plague

That growth is both an economic advantage and an existential threat in modern organizations is not a new concept. The dangers of runaway growth are well known and well documented.   In the 1990’s IBM became a corporate comeback story by transforming its self-described “wild west” culture into a harmonized integration of once “maverick” teams.  Accountability replaced gullibility as IBM restored discipline and commitment across its workforce.   IBM was a victim of big.  It survived by changing. Volkswagen was a victim of big.  Engineers knowingly designed engines that could detect when their emissions were being tested, switching into a sort of […]

Somebodies and Nobodies: An Interview with Dr. Robert Fuller

Dr. Robert Fuller is the author of Somebodies and Nobodies – Overcoming the Abuse of Rank.  Last November, I interviewed him to discus the relationship between “rankism” in organizations and their propensity to breed other kinds of hostile or harassing workplace abuse. Please enjoy my conversation with Dr. Robert Fuller: John Collins is a High-Stakes Leadership Consultant & Executive Coach at Critical Victories near Lansing, Michigan.  He is an active speaker, writer, coach, and consultant focusing on people, teams, and organizations seeking to thrive in high-pressure environments.  Learn more about John and Critical Victories at

The harassment not making the news

Sexual harassment continues to exist on a grand scale in the American workforce.  And, yes, the covers under which the perpetrators have been hiding are being pulled away. Forcefully. Finally.  But there’s an even bigger story that is not being told, mainly because it does not have the same political and social momentum behind it.   Most workplace hostility and abuse are not sexual in nature.  As sexual predators are flushed out by the brave souls of the Me Too movement, nonsexual abusers are left to continue eroding the quality of organizational cultures across the United States with little risk. […]

Scoundrels Thrive in the Absence of Leaders

“. . . 2017 is shaping up to be The Year of No More.” Harvey Weinstein is the new poster boy for abusive behavior: a Hollywood high-roller who reportedly low-balled vulnerable women with unwelcomed advances and expectations of sexual submission. Until recently, he sneaked under the radar of a town that prides itself on social progressiveness and the championing of women’s rights.   Tinseltown A-listers have come forward to admit that they knew. Yet their shame is poor consolation for the suffering that Weinstein, among the most accomplished film producers in the entertainment industry, apparently inflicted on women who placed their […]

Millennials Under Pressure: How will they perform when the stakes are high?

Companies and governments are falling slowly into the hands of perhaps the most stereotyped generation in history.  They are, of course, the so-called “trophy kids” – too often dismissed as a bunch of entitled brats who expect accolades just for showing up.  Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are suspicious of authority, intolerant of misinformation, and slow to extend loyalty to those who haven’t earned it.  Writing for the New York Post, Karol Markowicz observes that “much has been written about how millennials are tender and delicate. They’re sometimes absurd, like when they don’t eat cereal because there is, apparently, […]

Recollections of the 1996 Olympics and the Atlanta Serial Bombings

Go To Podcast Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Dr. John Moran at the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence about my role in the investigation of the 1996 bombing of the Olympic Games in Atlanta and the serial bombings that rocked the city and its surrounding areas in the months after.  I am including a link to the podcast at the top of this page. Exactly 20 years ago, my colleagues and I were immersed in one of the largest and most complicated criminal investigations in American history.  In the interview, I explain the lead-up to the games, our […]

An Assessment of Professional Coaching as a Method for Accelerating the Development of Forensic Science Talent

(Summer 2017)  The occupational culture of forensic science places a high premium on attendance at conferences, symposia, and seminars for developing knowledge and talent among forensic science employees, and it should. The opportunity to immerse one’s self in a learning environment, where direct engagement with a national or international contingent of peers and mentors can be enjoyed, is critical for professional growth in intellectually intensive fields of endeavor. But as valuable as this kind of learning can be, it does not necessarily facilitate the introspective self-scrutiny that is needed to accelerate one’s development, nor does it hold attendees accountable for […]

A Simple Formula for Surviving Stressful Jobs

If you work in a high-stakes, high-pressure environment, you understand the toll it can take.  Yes, your job is important.  Your work has great meaning.  People are counting on you.  The successes are exhilarating.  And though you often feel tired, you’ve found your own ways to cope with it. Unfortunately, coping is the problem, not the solution.  It is not possible to be at one’s best when exhausting precious energy on coping.  Unfortunately, many high-stakes professionals and their teams function far below capacity without even knowing it.  As the heat rises, the ability to cope begins to feel like an […]