Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Got Leaders?

So who's an author whose books I most look out for? Mark Miller is right about the top of
the list. His new book, Leaders Made Here, was just released and I happen to be hosting his blog this week.

So many leadership books talk about theories . . . sorry, dozed off there for a second. Mark writes in a way that keeps your interest and makes it easier to sink in. Want to learn quickly? Tell stories. That's exactly what Mark does. Through parables, he tells leadership stories that strike a cord. Here, we learn about building leaders - not one at a time or as needed - so there's always a leadership pipeline . . . a real culture of successful leadership.

My favorite quote from the book sums it up and goes like this: "A leadership culture exists when leaders are routinely and systematically developed, AND when you have a surplus of leaders."

Got Leaders?
Mark Miller - originally published on GreatLeadersServe.com
What do you talk about at work? Recently, I’ve come to appreciate how many conversations I have every week about leadership issues… dozens, scores – probably thousands of these discussions over the past decade.

What do you believe about a leadership pipeline? Do you think this is something only big companies do? Do you wonder why you don’t have one? Do you want to know the secret to creating a never-ending supply of qualified leaders? Keep reading…

I’m more convinced than ever when it comes to leadership, an organization has only two real choices: Hire leaders or grow leaders. And, over the long haul, I believe the right answer is a combination of the two.

I want to address the more challenging and probably more productive method – Grow your own.  Here are a few questions for your consideration if your current pipeline is not producing enough leaders to satisfy demand.

How do you define leadership? This is the most common mistake I see in organizations struggling to develop leaders. Without an agreed upon operational definition of leadership, creating a pipeline is virtually impossible. What do you want your leaders to be able to do? What character traits are you looking for in leaders? These are non-trivial questions! They represent the foundation for any legitimate attempt to systematically grow leaders.

Who are your emerging leaders? You cannot, nor should you, invest equally in the development of all your people. Targeted and strategic investments will pay the greatest dividends. Where do you place your bet? Emerging leaders. Before you can move forward with this approach, you must know who they are.

What stretch assignments can you give them? After you’ve identified emerging leaders, you can begin to shape their development. One powerful approach is to match individuals with appropriate stretch assignments. If selected carefully, these can be opportunities to test and strengthen future leaders.

What experiences do you want emerging leaders to have? When we think about developing leaders, our first thought is often about the skills of leadership. This is important. However, experiences can add depth to a leader’s resume and contribute greatly to his or her confidence. Experiences can include such diverse situations as working in a union environment, turning around a struggling division, launching a start-up, and more. You decide.

Who can you ask to mentor or coach emerging leaders? I am a fan of mentoring and coaching. There is something that happens in the context of a relationship that rarely happens when we attempt to go it alone. When done well, coaching and mentoring can unlock vast reserves of untapped potential in people. I realize you may not be able to afford external coaching for all your people, but you can assign an internal mentor to guide, challenge and encourage emerging leaders. You’ll be glad you did. Oh, before I finish here, I did promise you the secret to a successful leadership pipeline…Leadership.

You will never find a successful leadership pipeline without leadership. A vibrant process for developing leaders will not emerge spontaneously. When leaders decide to make leadership a competitive advantage and invest accordingly, that’s the day the construction of your pipeline begins.

How strong is your process for growing leaders?


Mark Miller is the best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Who Are Your Employees Playing For?

This week, we're celebrating the paperback release of the 2014 best-seller, Why
Motivating People Doesn't Work...and What Does, by Susan Fowler. I liked it so much when it first came out that I just got done reading it again. The "traditional" ways of motivation just don't cut it anymore. Through real life examples and process Susan shows us how to understand the reasons people are motivated and to capitalize on them.

Today, I have the honor of hosting Susan Fowlers blog post, Who Are Your Employees Playing For? I know you'll get as much out of it as I did.


Who Are Your Employees Playing For? by Susan Fowler
As the young man ducked his head getting into the elevator, I recognized him immediately as a new face on my favorite pro basketball team. I don’t seek out celebrity sightings and have never asked for an autograph, but like most people, I think it’s fun to see someone in person that you’ve watched on television.

I couldn’t help but ask him about the dismal circumstances of his team. “You must have been thrilled to be drafted by such a legendary franchise to play with the most winning coach in history,” I began. “But what’s it like now that he’s been replaced with a different coach, to have a losing record, and to learn this week that your teammate, who was known as the heart of the squad, has been traded to a conference rival?”

After a pause, where he must have been considering the risks of being honest, he told me, “It’s hard. You tell yourself it’s just a game and have fun. But, it’s also a business and my life and livelihood. My family depends on me.”

“How do you keep up the physical and mental energy needed to be a professional athlete under these circumstances?”

As the elevator stopped at the lobby, he shook his head as he ducked getting out, and said, “To tell you the truth, you stop playing for the name on the front of your jersey and you play for the name on your back.”

Of course, on the front of the jersey is the team’s name. On the back of the jersey is your own name.  I often think of that promising young player, caught in a situation he couldn’t navigate effectively. Currently, he’s playing on teams overseas, unable to take advantage of his untapped potential in the NBA.

I was reminded of this chance encounter again last week. I was on a coaching call, listening to an employee describe changes going on in her organization and how her sales territory is being rearranged and her clients being parceled out among other reps. I asked how she was handling her frustration, and she said, “I’m just playing for the name on the back of my jersey, not the front.”

My heart sank. I could hear the anguish in her voice. It is in our human nature to thrive through meaningful work in concert with like-minded people. Feeling alienated or unable to trust her tribe was threatening her sense of well-being.

As leaders, we need to help employees understand the reasons for their anguish. Then, we need to help them satisfy their psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence. Employees can’t thrive when their psychological needs are thwarted at work. When employees don’t thrive, they suffer–and so does the organization. Disengaged employees, who are so overwhelmed by circumstances that they simply give up and begin looking after their own best interests, are costing organizations billions of dollars every year.

As our coaching call continued, three lessons emerged that might help you deal with a disenfranchised employee.
  1. This employee’s sense of autonomy was nonexistent. She felt she had no control over the changes “being done to” her. My question to her was, “What do you have control over?” We identified three areas of her role where her choices would make a difference in the quality of her experience.
  2. She felt her sense of relatedness with the organization was compromised. She didn’t trust her company or the reasons for the changes being made. When I asked her why, she replied, “The changes are unfair.” Nothing erodes an employee’s psychological need for relatedness like injustice. My question to her was, “Have you discussed why the changes are taking place with your manager? Have you asked for a rationale so you can understand the reasons for the changes?” She admitted she had not. Should her leader have provided the rationale for change? Sure. But, even the best-intentioned leaders usually share an organizational perspective. People need a personal rationale–they need to understand why the changes are “being done to” them, their job, role, and world. I encouraged her to be a self-leader and seek out the answers she needed. With information in hand, she could then determine if the reasons for the changes were unjust or just unclear.
  3. The employee’s sense of competence was diminished because she didn’t know how to navigate through ambiguity and uncertainty. But, she realized that identifying ways to refocus her autonomy and relatedness needs already made her feel more confident about moving forward.
I will continue tracking her progress. My hope is to hear about the success and flourishing that both she and her organization experience as she plays for more than the name on the back of her jersey.
*****

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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Surprise Me!

Chip Bell has done it again! I so anticipate getting his newest book releases in the mail
and his newest, Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles, was worth waiting for. Chip's writing style of giving us inspiring stories of actual people and organizations getting customer service right makes reading interesting and thought-provoking. Even if you're not in the customer service industry, you'll find this book worth a good read.

Today, I have the privilege of hosting a Chip Bell blog post.

Surprise Me! by: Chip R. Bell
How would you like receiving a birthday present without any wrapping or colorful bow...just a Post-it note on the present with handwritten: “Happy Birthday?”  What would an Easter egg hunt be like if the location of all the eggs were clearly marked with a red flag?  How exciting would a treasure hunt be if some else did if for you and just brought you the bounty?

Customers today live in an over-stimulated, highly entertained world and love surprise. Unfortunately, we have so automated, programmed and managed surprise that it is now assumed when it was once upon a time enchanting.  Remember a time when a front desk clerk, rental car agent, airline gate attendant, merchant or waiter enchanted us with an unanticipated value-added something.  It had a neighborly, old-fashioned feeling when we got an extra.  The mechanic fixed something broken while servicing our vehicle and wrote “no charge” on the invoice.  We heard words like, “It’s on the house” or “we’ll comp it!”

Then, the world of unexpected extras pretty much came to an end.  Easily blamed on the tough economy, the shift was more subtle.  Extras were not actually taken away, they were managed away.  The extremes of a “no variance” philosophy from TQM and Six Sigma got pushed way beyond its rank and pay grade requiring the frontline to hand over their spontaneous generosity to the computer.  Now, the computer, not the gate agent, decides if you get that first class seat upgrade based on your frequent flyer status and seat availability.  Getting upgraded to the concierge level at a hotel is a  computer-driven decision based solely on availability and affinity program status and not the judgment call of the desk clerk.

And, the customer, robbed of that Jack-in-the-box feeling of surprise, has simply built the expectation of an extra into their criteria for satisfaction much like the cleanliness of a hospital or the security of a bank.  Value-added has become value-assumed and no longer a loyalty-creating value at all.  Proof that it has become a given not an extra is how easily the customer is disappointed when he or she fails to get what was once presented as a true surprise.

It is time to bring back the trust and authority the frontline needs to be both generous and ingenious.  If the Ritz-Carlton can trust a housekeeper to responsibly spend up to $2000 to make sure a guest leaves happy, the waiter can be trusted with the decision to comp a dessert for a loyal customer. Employees who can successfully manage a family budget, juggle soccer, tutoring and baseball practice schedules, and shop for groceries can figure out ways to surprise customers without jeopardizing the unit standards or the bottom line. 

Turning ho-hum service into a compelling story customers are eager to share requires bringing back a setting lined in trust; a place filled with joyful innovation.  It takes leaders who are as courageous as they want their employees to be creative. It calls for leaders in search of invention, not obedience.


Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several national best-selling books. His newest book is the just-released Kaleidoscope:  Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. He can be reached at chipbell.com. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Leadership Kick in the A**

Do leaders sometimes need a kick in the ass? You bet they do . . . even if they don’t think
so. I’m referring to the new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, by Bill Treasurer. It's been awhile since my last post but a perfect time to start up again. I’ve been waiting months to be able to read this book, and I was NOT disappointed.

Bill’s book should be a wake-up call and a learning experience for any leader. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to make much-needed corrections (kicks) to become the leader you were meant to be.

In addition to realizing that mistakes are GREAT opportunities to learn from and to improve, there are other things to look at. Case in point is Bill’s definitions of two types of leaders, Pigheads and Weaklings. We all know those people, and we probably fall into one or both categories at least on occasion. Sometimes we need a kick to get realigned. To fall into one of these categories causes damage to yourself, your team, and your organization. In addition to discussing all of the ins and outs of each, Bill gives us types of “butt kicks needed”.
Pigheads
  • Kicks that shatter the oversized ego.
  • Kicks that instigate humility.
Weaklings
  • Kicks that expose the withheld potential.
  • Kicks that inspire assertiveness.
This should be an eye-opener for some of you or people you work with. Realize what went wrong, fix it, learn from it, move on.

No matter where you are on the organizational ladder, this book WILL open your eyes. Do you have a book club where you work? This would be an excellent read to be able to share with others.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Embrace Millennials as the Opportunity They Are

Today's guest post comes from Dan Negroni, author of the new book, Chasing Relevance. Check out my Monday blog for my great review.

Embrace Millennials as the Opportunity they are

            A massive shift is taking place in the workplace and marketplace. Millennials—currently representing 36% of the workforce—will be 75% of your employees and customers by 2025. This change is creating a huge gap. Boomers and Gen Xers grew up with structure. Millennials have grown up with flexibility and the freedom to say what they want, when they want, simply by sending a tweet or a snap. They want feedback 24/7. They collaborate and create influence through network and community. They work way differently than previous generations. This difference is causing what you might label a “problem” in the workplace. There is a clear disconnect between expectations and work style.

            But what if you challenged yourself to view this generational gap not as a problem to be solved, but as an opportunity to be embraced? Millennials control $660 billion in spending and will soon be leading the workplace, if they’re not already. Be the solution and embrace this generational “shift,” you can “shift” your perspective on this gap and win the millennial race! Millennials hold a tremendous opportunity for your workplace to excel in the future. Here are 3 millennial “problems” that are actually opportunities to be embraced.
1.)They constantly seek feedback.

            Millennials grew up in an era of instant gratification, so they expect feedback all the time. While this classic millennial trait may seem annoying or ridiculous, it offers you an incredible opportunity to actually communicate and connect. The” problem” isn’t just that they want feedback, they are scared to ask for it and don’t know what to do with it or how to react..

Use this opportunity to be a mentor and guide for your millennials. Be real, be honest, be a teacher.  Show appreciation when they do a good job, and let them know when they make mistakes and how they can improve. Ask them questions on a regular, weekly basis so you can create a two-way relationship. If they see you, their boss, asking questions, being vulnerable and caring, they will mimic your behavior and develop confidence. Use feedback the way it is intended, as a give and take. . 

2.) They want flexible or their “perfect” schedule
            It may seem like a pain to offer a flexible schedule to your millennial employees. You may think, “Why can’t they just work 8 hours straight like I did and not complain about it?” Well, technology has changed the world and millennials can get work done remotely as well as in an office. Millennials tend to seek a perfect work/life balance. By allowing a flexible schedule, you provide your millennials the opportunity to fulfill other activities that make them happy and keep them fulfilled and engaged.

            If your millennials are engaged in the other areas of their life, they will be more inspired to do more great work for your company. By caring about their needs, they are happier, therefore so are your customers and you also create more success of your company.

3.) They have wild ambitions and ideas
            “They all want to create the next Facebook.” The initial reaction to millennials’ wild ambitions may be that they’re entitled and expect success overnight. But what if you could focus their ambitions within your own company? As a manager, you can motivate your millennials to learn and grow within your company. You can provide opportunities for them to excel, create and innovate…a win-win that would benefit your company. Don’t suppress your millennial worker’s ambitions, but guide them so they can flourish and excel both personally and professionally.

            Where one sees trash, another sees treasure. The millennial shift is happening…its inevitable. However, it’s up to YOU how you view it…as an opportunity to be embraced!

Need help understanding, engaging, and retaining your millennial workforce?  Dan Negroni, Author, Speaker, Attorney, Kick butt business consultant, coach, and proud Dad of a few Millennials delivers actionable solutions.  Different from all other millennial experts, Dan's empowering business approach at Launchbox, creates quick value and seamless connections with millennials and management each on their own terms.   Using unique content and delivery methods that audiences respond to immediately he leverages results from the inside out.   Allow millennials to be your secret weapon and maximize your commitment to them to innovate, create a culture of engagement and grow your businesses today.    To start click here to grab your copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace or call them at 858.314.9687 for a free Coaching Assessment

Monday, August 22, 2016

Chasing Relevance

So this may be one of the most important business books of the year - Chasing
Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace
, by Dan Negroni.

Today we live in a world of multi-generational workforces. As Dan says, by 2025 the number of millennials in the workforce will grow to 75%. That's a BIG number and leadership must begin learning from and teaching them now.

Two things struck a cord with me outright. First is his profile of a millennial:
  • Days filled with scheduled activities.
  • Trophies for everyone on the team.
  • Families of all different shapes and sizes.
  • Socially connected every minute to everyone.
  • Information at their fingertips.
  • Multitasking is the norm.
  • Center of attention.
  • Family technologists.
As soon as I read this, the wheels immediately began turning. This is a great starting point for understanding how millennials fit into our society and office staff.

The second thing that hit me outright is the B.R.I.D.G.E model. Using this model will "build genuine and caring relationships that increase engagement, productivity, innovation, results, and profits". To bridge the gap, the B.R.I.D.G.E model consists of:
  • Bust Myths - to break through assumptions.
  • Real Deal - to create authentic relationships.
  • I Own It - to become personally responsible for results.
  • Deliver Value - by understanding and mentoring.
  • Goals in Mind - with shared vision.
  • Empower Success - with feedback and recognition.
If you're a new supervisor . . . or even a baby-boomer supervisor, you're going to want to read this book and implement the ideology. There's a big difference between the 55+ era and the millennial era. Now is the time to take hold of the reigns.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Leaders Ready Now

Last week saw the launch of a highly anticipated (and deservedly so) book, Leaders Ready Now: Accelerating Growth in a Faster World, by Matthew J Paese, Audrey B. Smith, and William C. Byham.  If you get half out of what I did, you'll be well on your way in your growth as a leader.

My guest blogger this week is actually by three.  The three authors of this great new book.

Why Are You Pursuing Acceleration?
The business reason for acceleration is often summarized like this: “We’re running
desperately short of leaders, and if we can’t get more of them—good ones—very soon, we’ll be in trouble. It’s not an option to buy talent from the outside, so we have only two options: grow from within or fail.”

This usually causes management to sit up straight and pay close attention to the next part of the meeting: How to solve this? What most executives are thinking at this point is basically what’s going through their heads when the organization faces a quality problem or a service problem or a cost problem: We need to analyze the causes, develop solutions, and execute a plan.

Except that acceleration is different. An organization can fix a quality, service, or cost problem with new and better processes that people learn to execute with discipline. But a leadership shortage will be filled only with energy for growth—fear and excitement—which then fuels the process and discipline that an acceleration system also requires. So, aiming to solve the talent problem demands a plan to solve the energy problem.
Energy will grow as you take on more risk with developing your people. But bigger risks require bigger whys. Why grow? Why accelerate? For management, the why is the business case for acceleration. In the absence of a strong one, it is difficult to convince senior executives to take any risks (much less big ones) with development. In fact, acceleration isn’t appropriate for every organization (e.g., companies in rapid start-up mode may need to emphasize talent acquisition, while others may be stocked with so much talent that the main challenge is retention).

For individual leaders, the why is the personal case for acceleration. Without one, it is difficult to convince individuals to take big chances with their own development. The typical conversation with an individual leader highlights the potentially exciting, lucrative, and influential future that acceleration can bring; the leader can—if the process works—learn, earn, and determine much more in the organization. For most, this would be enough to garner full interest and enthusiasm for whatever may come next. But interest and enthusiasm are simply not enough. Remember that the most powerful learning experiences— the ones that truly transform leadership capability—are characterized less by design than by necessity. When asked how they came into their moments of rapid learning, leaders routinely report reasons such as, “They needed me, and I was the only one available who could do it,” or “I thought I could make a big difference,” or “My boss believed I could do it, so I agreed.”

When it comes to creating energy for acceleration, there is a vast difference between “You could benefit from this” and “We need you.” To create a more powerful why for both management and individual learners, it is insufficient to make a case on behalf of only the business or the person. You will need to appeal to both. “We (the business) need you (the person) to take a big chance.” Your case must be compelling to both management and each individual, conveying why the organization needs leaders to step up, what it needs from each leader, and why it’s worth taking big risks to achieve faster, more significant growth.

*****
Matthew J. Paese, Ph.D., is Vice President of Succession and C-Suite Services for Development Dimensions International (DDI). Matt’s work has centered on the application of succession, assessment, and development approaches as they apply to boards, CEOs, senior management teams, and leaders across the pipeline. He consults, coaches, speaks, and conducts research around all those topics and more.
Audrey B. Smith, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President for Global Talent Diagnostics at DDI. Audrey's customer-driven innovation and global consulting insights have helped shape DDI's succession, selection, and development offerings, from the C-suite to the front line. She has been a key strategist and solution architect, encompassing technology-enabled virtual assessments and development aligned to current business challenges.
William C. Byham, Ph.D., is Executive Chairman of DDI. He cofounded the company in 1970 and has worked with hundreds of the world's largest organizations on executive assessment, executive development, and succession management. Bill authored Zapp!® The Lightning of Empowerment, a groundbreaking book that has sold more than 3 million copies. He has coauthored 23 other books, including seminal works on the assessment center method.