• Dave Lindahl, CEO, RE Mentor

    I have used Bob Norton as a CEO coach and consultant to implement his AirTight Management systems. Bob is one of the few people nationally I found who actually has "Been there and done that," growing multiple companies to over $100M in sales. In just six weeks, we were able to implement the first three systems of AirTight Management. They have moved our company to a new level of professionalism that will allow us to continue our rapid growth and succeed at a whole new level.

  • Craig Brenner, CEO, NEDS

    I was skeptical regarding the value I might get from attending. I went and was extremely happy with the higher-level strategy information and its application to my business. Following my "2nd" time attending, I became a coaching client too. I gained insights, perspectives and a ton of value. I recommend it highly and with confidence.

  • Paul T., CEO, iFive Alliances

    What I like the most is that it is real. There is no fluff. One example is using Competitive Landscape Maps. You explain the purpose and process of using the tools, and then you apply it, and people learn real things about their business.

  • John Edmond, President, Angel Data Networks

    I thought this seminar was appropriate for any senior-level executive who wants to get on the same page strategically with their team and boost their business. I feel I greatly underpaid for the value delivered.

A Safe Negative Feedback Systems is Required to Create an Effective Company Culture

One of the most critical elements to create an organization that improves constantly and increases performance and virtually any key metric is to have "Institutionalized Feedback". This means ways to be sure all negative feedback is captured, even encouraged. A great read on this is The Learning Organization by Peter Senge. It is well known that only 1 in 11 people will provide negative feedback, hence it is critical to encourage this.

Any manager that is using intimidation or does not really listen to others is creating an environment that will degrade over time and where their subordinates will not improve, nor will they personally grow. Listening is a skill that must be practiced. Most people shut down and pretend the person is not qualified when they start saying negative things about them. This is human nature and normal. Good managers will listen, not interrupt, document the feedback and review it critically. There is a reason for this that must be discovered, even if it is not exactly what that person's perception may be. 

This open door policy is a good start, and any manager should have that. However, trust that they will be heard, without retribution, and that the company has integrity is also required. When the negative feedback is about someone's direct superior there needs to be a way to go around them too.

I try to have regular employee reviews where there is a 50-50 balance of talking, not one way that encourages these to be 100% company oriented, not employee oriented. Of course this is not enough as you do not want to wait six or twelve months, or even three months for negative feedback. 

We help companies drop in standard Management Systems, that Jim Collins in Good To Great says takes 5-10 years for even great companies to develop. You can see these and a video about the Human Capital Acquisition and Development (H-CAD) System here

Every company with over about 25 full-time employees needs these processes and policies set. The responsibility to execute them properly, according to the culture and brand defined by the CEO/C-Level, is owned by every single manager. Never just the CEO or executives.

I recently launched a free video series called 101 Management Best Practices. Here is a sample on the topic of culture and how Southwest Airlines does this right. Most companies do it backwards.


Open Door Policy Required Organizational Greatness


Bob Norton has been a CEO since 1989 and a CEO Coach, Consultant and Thought Leader in Leadership, Management and Systems since 2002.

He is the creator of AirTight Management, The CEO Boot Camp and hundreds of training programs for executives and managers.