Blind Spots

How the Worst Leaders Destroy Trust in the Workplace

How the Worst Leaders Destroy Trust in the Workplace

Guest post by Jim Haudan

I’ve interacted with dozens of executive teams in my career, and it always happens. The seven, 10, or more men and women on the executive team each have an IQ of 160, but their IQ as a team and with trust seems like a whopping 22.

Why is the team total always less than the sum of the parts?  Why do so many teams seem to drift to a place where the culture is soft on the difficult issues and strained among the people? If there is a single factor that most contributes to the erosion of trust in the workplace (and makes teams seem less intelligent than they are), it is this: the “absence of the assumption of positive intent” of others.

Looking at that thought from the opposite side, the one behavior that has the potential to immediately elevate the performance of individuals and teams is “assuming positive intent” of others. Assuming positive intent is the ultimate performance driver, but it is more uncommon than common.

For example (and this is just one of many): A CEO confessed that whenever he worked with his executive team he would tell himself stories about the motives, agendas, and driving intents of his leaders.

It was this assumption of intent that created his reality and basis for interaction with them. As a result, it took the team five times as long to try to get aligned on the most critical imperatives for the business rather than actually working on them!

So you can see how the lens through which you view others’ intents can really color the trust factor–and therefore the whole culture and even productivity–of your organization. Here are a few ways to check your intent meter.

Pick up a copy of Jim’s latest book:  What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back

1) Avoid the “other guy” trap

Most of us are guilty of getting distracted by or frustrated with what someone else should have done. Resist the temptation to make assumptions based on limited information about individual circumstances.

Assuming positive intent gives other people the benefit of the doubt. It replaces judgment with curiosity. Listen with the intent to understand and not the impatience to reply.

2) Stop conspiracy theories

We have been conditioned to be suspicious. From stranger danger to 21st-century terrorism, we often lean toward believing people don’t have our best interests at heart, and we act accordingly.

In the case of strangers and fear of terrorists, this is understandable; however, relationships flourish when we don’t assume intentions that aren’t there. At work, and even at home, assume positive intent until proven otherwise and watch how rapport, communications, respect, and trust grow.

3) Take away the anger

Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of Pepsi, tells the story of learning the power of positive intent from her father. She says, “When you assume negative intent, you are angry. If you take away the anger, you don’t get defensive and scream.”

When we are calm and level headed, we have a higher emotional quotient (EQ), and our ability to collaborate and be productive skyrockets, along with our happiness.

Assumption of intent. Build trust with it, and its impact on your workplace can be massive.

In fact, assuming positive intent is the single behavior that high-performance teams choose time and again to set as a goal when crafting a new set of behavioral standards for the future. How’s your intent meter reading?

About Jim Haudan

Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Root Inc. Root Inc., the organizational change expert on helping companies create leadership alignment, execute strategies and change successful, build employee engagement, and transform businesses.  He is a sought-after business presenter who has spoken at TEDx BGSU, Tampa TEDx, and The Conference Board. His latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back is co-authored with Rich Berens is CEO and Chief Client Fanatic of Root Inc. The book equips readers with the tools needed for a personal leadership reset. You’ll discover how to increase engagement, productivity, and growth in your own organization.

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Contact Us Today to help overcome your blind spots!

We provide Extraordinary Development, leading to Growth Exponentially. EDGE is a Service Disabled Veteran owned Human Resources Development performance consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth. Our focus is in the areas of Leadership Development, Talent Management, and Organizational Development. We don’t want to be seen as consultants working on your organization, we want you to feel like we are working with you in your organization through the delivery of solutions that are transparent, practical, robust, and long-term.

Visit www.whereleadershipbegins.com to learn more.

This piece originally appeared on the Root Blog.

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Blind Spots

The Blind Spots Identified

The Blind Spots Identified

Guest post by Jim Haudan and Rich Berens

We have identified five leadership blind spots that perpetuate disengagement and indifference. They do the exact opposite of creating thriving, innovative workplaces that turn customers into advocates and fans. Let’s take a quick look at each one before each chapter breaks them down further and answers the key questions leaders need to ask themselves in order to see things as their employees do.

 

Leadership Blind Spot #1: Purpose

Common Misconception. Purpose matters, but it doesn’t drive our numbers.

The Basics. While there was a time when employees were only paid to complete a specific set of tasks, there is way more to it than that today. Many leaders are starting to embrace the concept of purpose but fail to actually run their businesses in a purpose-driven way.

The Question We Will Answer. As leaders, how can we put purpose at the center of the way we operate our business and achieve exceptional financial results because of it?

 

Leadership Blind Spot #2: Story

Common Misconception. We have a compelling story to tell that our people care about.

The Basics. Most organizations have a semi generic vision statement, accompanied by what seems like too many slides to outline their strategy for what winning looks like for the organization. Leaders believe they have a compelling story to tell, but when seen through the eyes of the employee, the complete opposite is often the case.

The Question We Will Answer. What makes a strategy story compelling, and how can we craft one for our people?

 

Leadership Blind Spot #3: Engagement

Common Misconception. Rational and logical presentations engage the hearts and minds of people.

The Basics. In many organizations, a tremendous amount of money is spent creating strategies to win. Those strategies then get communicated using PowerPoint presentations, road shows, or town hall meetings—but things seemingly get stuck. Employees fail to connect with the strategy, leaders are frustrated about the lack of progress, and managers just try to hold the ship together.

The Question We Will Answer. How do we move from presentations to conversations and create genuine engagement in strategies in the business?

 

Leadership Blind Spot #4: Trust

Common Misconception. People will not do the right thing unless you tell them what to do and hold them accountable to do it.

The Basics. Companies want and need to deliver great service to differentiate themselves, and the common belief is that the best way to deliver this is to create tight processes, scripts, and routines that minimize variability—to hold people and their behaviors to a strict policy and uniform standards. But that approach will never create consistent yet unique, differentiated, and personalized experiences that lead the market.

The Question We Will Answer. How can we trust and scale the unique human judgment, discretion, and care of our people, while at the same time having firm standards that we all share?

 

Leadership Blind Spot #5: Truth

Common Misconception. My people feel safe telling me what they really think and feel.

The Basics. In many leadership teams, what people really think often gets discussed in the hallways and bathrooms and by the watercooler rather than in meeting rooms. People don’t feel safe telling the truth because they don’t think it is smart or safe to do so. Many leaders believe that to be effective and successful, they need to be smarter than the next guy, fight for their area of the business, and not show vulnerability. This mentality creates lack of trust, collaboration, and common ownership for a greater goal—and ultimately greatly slows down execution speed.

The Question We Will Answer. What can we do as leaders to make it safe for our people to tell the truth and act on those truths to make the business better?

 

About Jim Haudan

Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Root Inc. Root Inc., the organizational change expert on helping companies create leadership alignment, execute strategies and change successful, build employee engagement, and transform businesses.  He is a sought-after business presenter who has spoken at TEDx BGSU, Tampa TEDx, and The Conference Board. His latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back is co-authored with Rich Berens is CEO and Chief Client Fanatic of Root Inc. The book equips readers with the tools needed for a personal leadership reset. You’ll discover how to increase engagement, productivity, and growth in your own organization.

About Rich Berens

Rich Berens is CEO and Chief Client Fanatic of Root Inc, and has helped align leaders at Global 2000 organizations to drive strategic and cultural change at scale. He is a noted speaker on the issues of, transformation, and how to create lasting change  and has authored articles for numerous publications and blogs. Under Rich’s leadership, Root has been listed among the Great Place to Work® Institute’s top 25 places to work, been named to the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list, and experienced 10 years of consecutive growth. His latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back is co-authored with Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Root Inc.

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Five Key Ingredients of the Courage Way

Five Key Ingredients of the Courage Way

guest post By Shelly L. Francis

Leadership is a daily, ongoing practice, a journey toward becoming your best self and inviting others to do the same. And at the heart of this daily practice is courage.

Through more than 120 interviews, I found a pattern of five key ingredients in how leaders have learned to cultivate courage. Three powerful main concepts are true self, trust, and community; the two key practices are paradox and reflection. Here’s a brief overview.

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True Self

Our basic premise is that inside of each person is the essential self who continues to grow and yet somehow, deep down, remains constant. Every person has access to this inner source of truth, named in various wisdom traditions as identity and integrity, inner teacher, heart, inner compass, spirit, or soul. Your true self is a source of guidance and strength that helps you find your way through life’s complexities and challenges. When you begin to listen to and trust the truest part of yourself, your choices and relationships flow from that trust, begetting more trust.

Trust

Courage takes trust—in ourselves and in each other. Trustworthy relationships create the conditions for people to flourish and for positive change to arise. Relational trust is based on our perceptions of personal regard, professional respect, competence, and integrity in other people. Coming to understand the attitudes, assumptions, and biases that lead to such perceptions of trust entails honest inner work. Our collection of principles and practices is a time-tested approach for facilitating inner work and cultivating relational trust.

Community

Becoming more self-aware and trustworthy requires both individual introspection and a supportive community. We offer a specialized meaning of community as “solitude’s alone together” as well as a “community of inquiry.” Our practices offer models for how to reflect and interact with each other so that new clarity and courage can emerge.

Being receptive to the very idea of needing other people in community takes courage and yet, in turn, creates resilience. Leaders must know how to invite people into and hold them accountable for co creating trustworthy space so that they can support each other in service of their work together. Achieving effective collaboration requires genuine trustworthy community.

Paradox

We can learn to practice paradox by recognizing that the polarities that come with being human (life and death, love and loss) are “both-ands” rather than “either-ors.” We can learn to let those tensions hold us in ways that stretch our hearts and minds open to new insights and possibilities. With paradox we honor both the voice of the individual and our collective intelligence. We trust both our intellects and the knowledge that comes through our bodies, intuitions, and emotions. Paradox values both speaking and listening. An appreciation of paradox enriches our lives, helping us hold greater complexity. Integrating our inner lives with our work in the world comes from daily practice in holding paradox.

Reflection

Refection cultivates more ways of knowing and learning that complement your mind and emotions, but draw from a deeper place: your intuition, imagination, and innermost being. Reflection is a practice that can be enriched by the mirroring of trust- worthy companions.

When we reflect together, such as by exploring how universal stories of human experience intersect with the personal stories of our lives, it can create relational trust. Guided conversations focused on a poem, a teaching story, a piece of music, or a work of art—drawn from diverse cultures and wisdom traditions—invite us to reflect on the big questions of our lives, allowing each person to explore them in his or her own way. Reflection helps us find the inner ground on which we stand firm, and it helps us find common ground with others.

If we are willing to embrace the challengeof becoming whole, we cannot embrace it all alone—at least, not for long: we need trustworthy relationships to sustain us, tenacious communities of support, if we are to sustain the journey toward an undivided life. Taking an inner journey toward rejoining soul and role requires a rare but real form of community that I call a “circle of trust.”

—Parker J. Palmer

 

About Shelly L. Francis

Shelly L. Francis has been the marketing and communications director at the Center for Courage & Renewal since mid-2012. Before coming to the Center, Shelly directed trade marketing and publicity for multi-media publisher Sounds True, Inc. Her career has spanned international program management, web design, corporate communications, trade journals, and software manuals.

The common thread throughout her career has been bringing to light best-kept secrets — technology, services, resources, ideas — while bringing people together to facilitate collective impact and good work. Her latest book The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity identifies key ingredients needed to cultivate courage in personal and professional aspects of life.

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Charting New Paths to the Future

Charting New Paths to the Future

Guest post by Marina Gorbis

We are living in a moment of great transition. Some call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution, others refer to a Great Disruption or the VUCA world, the world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. At the Institute for the Future (IFTF) we talk about a transition from the First to the Second Curve, from the world of institutional production to the world of socialstructed creation, in which many things are accomplished by aggregating efforts of large networks of people using online platforms and tools for algorithmically coordinating activities. We believe that we are in the early stages of this transformation but the impacts will be profound over the next decade. No organization, no sector of our economy and society will be left unchanged.

We are living in a moment of great transition.

So, how do you ensure that your organization is not only prepared for the future but also shaping it? To start, you need a deep understanding of the big shifts driving the transformation on the horizon. My suggestion is to focus on what my colleague, prominent investigative journalist Drew Sullivan, refers to as “tides, not waves.” This means a focus not on what’s new and ephemeral but what is underneath, what is deep and durable and may be an accumulation of multiple forces building up over decades. These tides are often a combination of myriad technologies, demographic, social, and cultural changes coming together.

The Larger Tides of Change

At IFTF, we are constantly tracking and making sense of the larger tides of change. Once you recognize and understand such changes, you can start asking yourself what do they mean? And informed by those insights, what can you do to future-proof your organization? What should you do to build a more desirable future for yourselves and for others? You can also place your existing efforts in this futures context to see how prepared you are for what’s coming.

This is exactly the journey that the California Community Colleges the largest provider of higher education in California recently embarked upon. Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development, Van Ton-Quinlivan wanted to place their recent investments within a larger future context, as an inventory of preparedness. To do this, we first turned to IFTF’s research map, Learning is Earning in the National Learning Economy, which maps the emerging innovation zones resulting from a world where working, learning, and living are blending together. We then used those eight innovation zones as a lens through which to examine the CCCs current innovation efforts. In which zones are they furthest along? Which zones need our immediate focus? The findings of our work together can be found in the newly released report, Charting New Paths to the Future in the California Community Colleges, now available for free download.

Every forward-looking educational organization should check its efforts against the larger tides of change. A place to start is IFTF’s rich archive of futures research available through our Learn and Work Futures Initiative. And for more inspiration, please read Charting New Paths to the Future in the California Community Colleges.

 

About Marina Gorbis:

Marina Gorbis is a futurist and social scientist who serves as executive director to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a Silicon Valley nonprofit research and consulting organization. In her 19 years with IFTF, Marina has brought a futures perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services.

 

About Bob Johansen:

Bob Johansen is a distinguished fellow with the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley. For more than 30 years, Bob has helped organizations around the world prepare for and shape the future, including corporations such as P&G, Walmart, McKinsey, United Rentals, and Syngenta, as well as major universities and nonprofits.

The author or co-author of ten books, Bob is a frequent keynote speaker. His best-selling book Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present was selected as one of the top business books of 2007. His latest book is The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything discusses five new leadership literacies—combinations of disciplines, practices, and worldviews—that will be needed to thrive in a VUCA world of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

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The Mood Elevator and Secrets of an 80-Year-Old Triathlete

The Mood Elevator and The Secrets of an 80-Year-Old Triathlete

Guest post by Dr. Larry Senn

I don’t know how to say the word “retirement” as the concept is foreign to me. I tell people “how can I retire from my purpose” which is to help more and more people live life at their best mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The Mood Elevator is the best tool I have found to support me and others in that purpose. And Senn Delaney the firm I founded 40 years ago is best at creating healthy cultures where that purpose is alive. I still love writing about the Mood Elevator, speaking about it to groups and being an active partner in a firm that teaches it as part of shaping the culture of companies around the world.

Most weeks I am traveling around the country meeting with, coaching and facilitating culture shaping session. Weekends and most mornings I am running, biking, weight lifting or swimming as part of training for the half dozen sprint triathlons I do each year. I win most in my age group because I’m often the only person in the group (last man standing).

The Mood Elevator is the best tool I have found to support me and others in that purpose.

Family is incredibly important to me, and I am committed to being fit to keep up with all of them including a teen age son we had when my wife was 52 and I was 65. I’m blessed to have raised a very adventurous family with 5 children and 5 grandchildren so in the summers you’ll find me water skiing, off road motorcycle riding, zip lining, or jumping on the trampoline with my kids and grand kids.

This is probably not what most people picture for an 80 year-old so I am frequently asked “how do you do that?”

I think it is largely based on having a purpose which inspires me to need to be my best. For me that purpose is family and the work I do. I can’t do that if I’m not at my best and I can’t be at my best mentally and emotionally if I’m not at my best physically. That belief and the understanding that you use it or lose it and the body is a sacred gift provides me motivation and some discipline. I tell people that when I look at a chocolate chip cookie I see my 17 year old sons face– and I don’t eat it.

For those who want to know some specifics here are my tips from the 82-year old triathlete:

  1.  If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. This motto came from Dr. Kenneth Cooper who wrote the original book titled It states that the body doesn’t wear out; it rusts out from lack of use. After reading this book I changed my mindset on movement, I had always been an athlete growing up but once I started my business and I got busy I stopped making the time for exercise. This book encouraged me to develop a regular cardiovascular exercise routine and I started running 50 years ago, and I haven’t stopped since.
  2. Aerobics and Beyond. There are three important types of exercise that I make an effort to incorporate into my routine: aerobics, anaerobic, and stretching. My aerobics is my running- I also swim and bike ride which I picked up after I did my first triathlon at 70 years old. For anaerobic, I do strength training. Strengthening your muscles helps with core strength which prevents back injuries and improves posture, it increases bone density, and increases your metabolism which can help with weight loss. The last and perhaps most neglected form of exercise is As we get older we become stiff and less flexible, I notice in some elderly people that when they’re driving they can’t even turn their neck far enough to see what’s behind them when they’re driving- this is an image that motivates me to stretch regularly.
  3. Foods You Choose. There is so much information that I have read over the years on what the best food to eat is. I do firmly believe that the food I eat has had a profound impact on my health. I haven’t had to be on any medication, I have had no sign of high cholesterol, blood pressure, or any other medical issues and my doctors are often astounded when they do my blood work on the kind of shape I’m in. Below is the foods I have tried to avoid and what I incorporate daily that has helped me keep healthy.
What I avoid:
  • Saturated fats from dairy products, processed or red meat, and the wrong oils (saturated or trans fats) found in most processed food
  • Simple carbohydrates and non-naturally occurring sugars found in pastries, desserts, soft drinks, white flour, and most fruit juices
On the other hand, these are what I try to get plenty of:
  • Vegetables, whole fruits, and nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Protein mainly from legumes (beans and lentils) and other plant products. If more protein is needed, I use plant-based protein powder supplements. For meat, I choose fish, such as wild caught salmon or tuna.
  • The right oils, especially those that have high omega-3s
  • Fiber from vegetables, as well as grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat
  • Antioxidants, such as those found in blueberries, acai berries, and pomegranate juice
  • Water, while limiting juice consumption and cutting out fish

 It took me a while to develop and implement these habits and guidelines for myself. All it takes is a small step towards bettering your health. From my experience, it has been so incredibly worth it and allows me the gift to play with my kids and grand kids and do the work I love.

About Dr. Larry Senn

Dr. Larry Senn pioneered the field of corporate culture and founded in 1978, Senn Delaney, the culture shaping unit of Heidrick & Struggles. A sought-after speaker, Senn has authored or co-authored several books, including two best-sellers. His newest is The Mood Elevator (August 2017), the follow up to his 2012 book, Up the Mood Elevator. You can learn more about Larry and his work at his website, www.themoodelevator.com.

 

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Is My Feedback Motivating? (part. 1)

Is My Feedback Motivating?

Guest post by Susan Fowler

Does giving feedback cause you to toss and turn at night, procrastinate on delivering it, disappoint you when it doesn’t make a difference, or frustrate you because it instigates an argument? No matter what your role, you are probably in a position multiple times a day to give people feedback about their past or current behavior—with the hope of motivating their future behavior. If providing feedback is part of your job or something you do in your personal life almost daily, why can it be so challenging?

I hope you discover answers and useful information in this three-part series on how to deliver effective feedback drawing on the science of motivation. Maybe it will help you overcome your insomnia, procrastination, disappointment, or frustration—at least when it comes to feedback!

Realize that feedback is always motivating, but not necessarily as you intended.

Consider two examples of typical feedback:

“Sara, I am proud of you for getting this report done ahead of time. It makes my life so much easier. I hope you can continue to be this timely with deadlines in the future.”

“Sara, I am disappointed in you for being late with this report. It made life difficult not just for me—but for others, too. I need you to get these reports in on time in the future.”

Both statements are examples of personalized feedback—information steeped with your judgment. Both are risky.

The first example, praising Sara for her work, risks having Sara embrace the feedback for the wrong reason—to please you. The second example, expressing disappointment in Sara, may prompt her to change her behavior in the future, but also for the wrong reason—to avoid guilt, shame, or fear of not meeting your expectations. In both cases, you risk Sara developing an external need for your praise. Without your ongoing validation, research shows Sara may stop submitting reports on time since her reason for doing it, her reward for acting, has been removed.

Personalized feedback includes evaluative phrases such as …

  • I am so proud of you.
  • You make me happy when…
  • You are amazing (wonderful, terrific, the bomb).
  • I don’t know what I’d do without you.
  • You sure didn’t disappoint me when you…
  • You suck (failed, screwed up)
  • You disappointed me when…
  • I am so disappointed in you.

Remember why you provide feedback in the first place: to develop an individual’s competence and commitment on a meaningful goal and to facilitate high-quality, sustained performance. Giving personalized feedback puts these outcomes at risk.

There is real science behind effective feedback.

Neuroscience demonstrates how praising stimulates the reward-center of our brain. Motivation science has well documented the eroding effect of tangible rewards on productivity, creativity, innovation, and sustained effort. Intangible rewards, such as praising, tie to people’s need for status, power, and image, and have the same eroding effect.

In the second example above, pointing out a person’s unacceptable behavior by cloaking it in your disappointment can lead to an imposed motivational outlook. Motivation science has shown that people working from this sub-optimal outlook to avoid feelings of guilt, shame, or fear, are more prone to emotional and physical stress—and as a result, are less creative in the short term and less productive in the long term.

Ironically, your well-intentioned praise or expression of disappointment is likely to erode people’s sense of autonomy. They may become more dependent on your opinion of their effort, outcomes, and self-worth than on their own judgment.

If Sara finds value or joy in preparing reports and delivering them on time, what is the purpose of praising her? She might even question why you feel the need to praise her, finding it irritating, inauthentic, or manipulative. But, the biggest risk is that your praise could cause her to shift her attention from her real—and optimal—reasons to perform to sub-optimal reasons: to please you or avoid disappointing you.

Don’t confuse personalized feedback with expressions of gratitude.

Personalized feedback is risky, but you should never shy away from genuinely expressing your thanks. Communicating your gratitude is powerful.

“Sara, I’d like to express my gratitude for the effort you made on these reports. Getting them in earlier than the deadline gave me the ability to focus on something else that was creating a lot of stress. Thank you.”

What is the difference between expressing gratitude and giving personalized feedback? Intention. Your expression of gratitude is not intended to change or reinforce people’s future behavior. Your statement of thanks is not an attempt to develop their competence or sense of responsibility—nor are you looking for a guarantee they will keep up their efforts in the future. When you express gratitude, it is based on your need, not theirs.

Your gratitude, delivered candidly and authentically, without ulterior motives or expectations of future behavior, gives people the choice to continue acting wisely, deepens their sense of contribution and connection, and validates their competence.

Your feedback motivates.

Remember, your feedback is always motivating. The question is whether your feedback is more likely to generate optimal or sub-optimal motivation. If people are optimally motivated, through their values, sense of purpose, or an inherent motivation to perform above expected standards, they don’t need your praise. If they need corrective feedback, your disapproval will usually result in sub-optimal motivation. The science of motivation provides alternatives. In part two of this series, we explore a type of feedback more apt to generate optimal motivation. Find part three here.

*****

Susan Fowler implores leaders to stop trying to motivate people. In her latest bestselling book, she explains WHY MOTIVATING PEOPLE DOESN’T WORK… AND WHAT DOES: The New Science of Leading, Engaging, and Energizing. She is the author of by-lined articles, peer-reviewed research, and six books, including the bestselling Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager with Ken Blanchard. Tens of thousands of people worldwide have learned from her ideas through training programs such as the Situational Self Leadership and Optimal Motivation product lines. For more resources, including a free Motivational Outlook Assessment with immediate results, visit www.susanfowler.com

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feedback

This Feedback Could Change Your Life!

My Love of Feedback

I published a piece on my love of feedback several months ago and I am back to introduce another method of delivering feedback that works exponentially well.

With all the talk about eliminating performance management processes, it’s imperative to have something else, a process, to provide feedback in place.  This is so employees know how they are doing, to repeat productive behaviors or eliminate counter-productive behavior.

Imagine for a Moment

Imagine for a moment that you recently gave some feedback to a team member. You told her that her meeting agendas looked great, but she needed to significantly improve her presentation and meeting management skills.

It’s time to follow up a few weeks later to find out why she hasn’t made the changes needed to be more effective in the areas mentioned. In your follow-up, you discover that she didn’t understand what she could do to improve and that your feedback generated more questions than the benevolent help to intended. She was left thinking “What’s good about my agendas that I can leverage again?” and “What’s wrong with my presentation skills?” and “How did I mismanage the meeting?”

Developed by The Center for Creative Leadership, the Situation – Behavior – Impact (SBI) Feedback tool outlines a simple structure that you can use to deliver more effective feedback. It focuses your comments on specific situations and behaviors, and then outlines the impact that these behaviors have on others.

[Effective] Feedback is a focused dialogue between a manager and an employee, a method of sharing information and perspectives about performance. The goal of ongoing feedback is to identify where performance is effective and where performance needs improvement.

Effective feedback helps the receiver understand exactly what he or she did and what impact it had on you and others. When the information is specific, yet without interpretation, judgement, or evaluation, there is a better chance that the person hearing the  feedback will be motivated to begin, continue, or stop behaviors that affect performance.

Situation – Behavior – Impact

The Situation – Behavior – Impact technique of giving feedback is simple and contains three elements:

SITUATION: Anchors feedback in time, place, and circumstances and helps receiver remember and/or understand the context.

BEHAVIOR: Observable actions that can be recorded (audio or video) and allows feedback receiver to know exactly what he or she did that had impact.

IMPACT: Feelings and thoughts the feedback giver had, and how the feedback giver or others behaved as a result of the feedback receiver’s behavior.

In an organizational and work context, the impact of the behavior can include work outcomes, client satisfaction, work team, and/or the larger organization and business. It can also include the impact on the individual who demonstrated the behavior; in essence, the consequences or result of their behavior on their reputation, perceived professionalism, capability, etc.

Most often, a description of the impact will start with, “I felt …” or, “I was” or, “It appeared to me others were … “.  If you find yourself saying, “you were … “, you’re probably on the wrong track. An impact statement is not an interpretation of why the individual showed that behavior, and it is especially important not to label the behavior in a psychological way or to make a judgment about the person.

SO, before you jump on the bandwagon and eliminate your performance management process, contact us to help you and your employees give each other more effective feedback.  Getting this process in place first will help you make sure you make the right decision in the long term.

Who Are We

EDGE Business Management Consulting, a Network Partner with the Center for Creative Leadership, is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth.  We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.

For immediate inquiries, contact Dan Freschi at (414) 301-3343 or email dan@edgebmc.com, and visit our website at www.edgebmc.com.

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Learn to Love the Process not the Result

Learn to Love the Process not the Result

Learn to Love the Process not the Result

Over a long weekend, watching my son and his team experience the highs and lows of competitive baseball, I had a very cathartic conversation with one of his baseball coaches over a 2-hour wait until they played again.  We talked about baseball, the military, and everything in between.  One thing he said to me I’ve known for as long as I can remember, but this time it really struck me and has been rattling around in my head.  As we were talking about baseball, he said “you have to learn to love the process and not the result”.

Some context.  This particular coach on my son’s team was drafted by the Brewers in the mid 90s and unfortunately never made out of the college ranks.  He received high level coaching and advice from a young age through his early twenties about how to play baseball at a highly competitive level.  And now he is the head coach for his older son’s team and an assistant coach for his younger son’s teams of which my son is member, imparting his knowledge and wisdom, developing these boys into young men.

Through the course of our conversation I could not help but think about the correlation to and lessons for developing leaders, whether aspiring or seasoned, the message was the same.

The process of developing the skills to play baseball is a paradox, it’s simple yet complex.  Throw the ball catch the ball, see the ball hit the ball, simple, yet it’s important to have the right arm angle and body posture all in sync to throw a 96 mph strike or hit to the opposite field, complex.

Developing the skills to play baseball is much like developing the skills to be an effective leader.  Simple, from the perspective that a leader has a title now and tells others what to do and they do it, but complex from the perspective that the leader needs to understand how to emotionally connect with each one of his or her direct reports and engage them on an individual basis to motivate them to want to do something on their own accord.  The first perspective represents a result.  You have a title and now tell people what to do.  While the latter perspective represents the process.  The process of learning about self, learning about others, and learning about the context in which one is leading.

As one develops into a successful and effective baseball player, you have to practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently (yet, a career .300 batting average might be HOF worthy).

To me, this looks like the same process a mentally tough, emotionally strong, ego-in-check, leader would follow to develop their leadership skills.  While it is true some are born predisposed to be great athletes, the same is true for leaders, however, the process remains the same, simple, yet complex.  Add or expand to the complexity by thinking about a specific position such as a catcher or from a business perspective an overseas assignment.

A leader needs to learn to love the development process not the result.  If a leader can learn to love the process they will likely get an even better result (At EDGE BMC we believe in leveraging the 70-20-10 development process).

You can read a book about baseball, watch a video, but there is nothing quite like going out to a diamond, experiencing baseball for yourself and going through the development process.  Such is the same for leadership, reading the latest NYT bestseller or attending a workshop does not make you a better leader.  You have to actually practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently.  Can you succeed your first time out?  Sure you can, but don’t get complacent, cocky, and careless.

As one develops into a successful and effective leader or baseball player, you have to practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently.

Think about all the successful people in your life, they’ve ascended to the levels they are at because they learned to love the development process.  They learned that failure is okay as long as it turns into learning and a new beginning requires something else to end.

Whether you are a struggling small business owner, a highly successful athlete, you have to learn to love the process.  The process is going to be hard work in the end, but the pay-off will be much greater, the result will more rewarding when you fall in love with the process.

Process Leads to Results

Chase’s Head Coach on why we do this for our kids:

We do it for the excitement on our kids faces when they win a championship game.  We do it because being part of a team is a valuable lesson. We do it because sometimes we lose and learning to lose gracefully is a valuable lesson.  Lastly we do it because when down 7 runs, and nothing seems to be going right, perseverance, teamwork and determination made our kids successful.  There are few other activities that teach kids these lessons outside of competition.

 

EDGE Business Management Consulting, a Network Partner with the Center for Creative Leadership, is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth.  We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.

For immediate inquiries, contact Dan Freschi at (414) 301-3343 or email dan@edgebmc.com, and visit our website at www.edgebmc.com.

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Employee Investment

Why Invest in Your Employees?

So the economy is doing okay.  It’s booming for some and busting for many others.  Whatever your company is doing, booming, busting, or somewhere in between, investing in your employees is a must.

Employee Investment

Employee Investment

Now, I know you’ve seen the image above before, probably many times, and it’s cliche notion resonates with many professionals.  The thing is, is that it’s true.

One of our clients whose business is currently in a busting period, made the strategic decision to continue the investment in developing their leaders.  This was not without significant consideration and influence.  The argument  that ultimately won over the stakeholders was that very few to no other company in their industry would be continuing this investment in their leaders during this economic malaise and making this investment demonstrates their benevolence towards the employees. And, the evidence revealed itself shortly after the conversation when companies laid-off and terminated contracts of tens of thousands of employees.

Developing employees, managers, and leaders requires not just a financial investment, but an investment in time and effort. Organizations with successful employee and leadership development programs prepare their employees with lifelong skill sets.  They also demonstrate organizational trust and an eagerness to build loyal employees who thrive on growth and want to remain as members of the organization.

Studies have shown that companies with employee and leadership development programs are six times more likely to increase employee engagement, and have a 2.5 times higher productivity rate than organizations that have yet to implement a career development strategy (Scales, 2012).  They stay with the company because they want to, not solely because they need to.  When the economic fog rises in the near future, not only will our client have a ready workforce, but they will be engaged and positioned to scoop up the talent their competitors sent packing.

Another study conducted by the World at Work association shared that only 51% of employers feel confident about retention of top talent as the economy improves.  Rest assured that out client who made the investment in their leaders has a much higher level of confidence in their ability to retain their top talent and it’s directly related to the investment they’ve made while times weren’t so good.

One more thing, they made the Great Place to Work List too in their state.

If you’re in a similar position and unsure what do to next let us help you.  We put employee and leadership development systems in place with extraordinary development activities, leading towards exponential results.

EDGE – Where Leadership Begins,  is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth.  We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.

For immediate inquiries, contact Dan Freschi at (414) 301-3343 or email info@edgebmc.com, and visit our website at www.whereleadershipbegins.com.

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10 Factors for Talent Management & Succession Planning Success

I was recently asked what key factors are important for determining whether an organization’s talent management and succession planning practices are successful?  Here was my response:

  1. Build and have an actual strategy.  Include KPIs in the beginning. Stay focused on the strategy.
  2. Design TM and Succession practices that are congruent with the organization, its business strategy and its culture; and integrated with other human resource practices.
  3. Build in accountability at all levels of the organization for the ownership and execution of the practices. Especially with the CEO.
  4. Collaboration with key stakeholders is critical throughout the entire process.
  5. Right size and scale the tools and practices for the organization.  Leverage them vertically and laterally.
  6. Ensure it’s marketed and communicated to the organization as a leadership and management owned process and not just another HR initiative. Be as transparent at the organization allows.
  7. Maintain adherence to processes, rules, and definitions put in place for consistent application (ex. performance and potential).  But, remain agile to allow for variables out of your control.
  8. Classroom training is not always the answer. Development can take place in many ways.  Allow for failures and ensure learning happens from them.
  9. Have an entry and exit strategy for the talent pools you create.
  10. Build a talent mindset throughout the organization. Everyone is a talent manager. Everyone is responsible for their own development and direction they want to go.

What are your thoughts?  What would you add?  

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