Discerning Organizational Disconnects

Discerning Organizational Disconnects

We are surrounded by disconnects – gaps that keep things from being as good as they could be. In news coverage today there is a disconnect between journalism based on investigation and journalism based on ideology.  In public discourse there is a disconnect between attacking positions versus attacking people.  In elevation of people as role models there is a disconnect between notoriety and admirable qualities.   Cognitive dissonance is the result of a disconnect between beliefs and actions/new information. Leaders must be adept at recognizing disconnects in order to profitably grow their organizations. At a recent executive breakfast that I hosted with prominent local CEOs and leaders, many disconnects were uncovered just in the area of talent management.  These included: Disconnect between the company story and its application. Too many job postings are mundane, minimalistic and do not give an applicant an emotional reason to join an organization. Disconnect between efficiency and inclusion. Too many organizations are having too many interviews with too many team members and losing out on their top picks. Disconnect between selection and success. Too many organizations are leaving success in a role up to fate after the hire by not having concrete, open and practical measures of success decided at the onset. Disconnect between screening and learning. Too many organizations use assessments to screen applicants, but then do not use the data collected in the assessment to enhance future job success. Disconnect between fun and engagement. Too many leaders cannot make the distinction between activities that promote fun and those that actually promote engagement. For your consideration, Gary’s Six Strategic Disconnects: Disconnect between strategy formulation...
How to Not Lose Money with your Employees from Day One

How to Not Lose Money with your Employees from Day One

Even excellent people cannot be excellent if the right conditions are not met.  Imagine recruiting a top basketball player and then not turning on the court lights.  “Sink or swim” may be good for Spartans, but it is an expensive and time-consuming philosophy for those tasked with creating value in an organization. Many leaders take the incomplete view that onboarding is an HR service limited to facilities (ex. computer, telephone, and business cards) and orientation (ex. Introductions and “Company 101”).  The common result is “busy” employees who are labeled as “not working out” or “underperforming” or “not fitting in” about 13 months later. Excuses abound: executive hires are too sophisticated; internal hires know what to do already; or for external hires, it’s obvious what they need to do. The solution (and this is what A level players do to get A level players acting like it) is complete onboarding. By complete I mean the incomplete view above plus a process to describe what success looks like over the next 90, 180 and 360 days. Start with the question (to yourself the person supervising the new employee): “I would be delighted by (the employee’s) performance this year if I saw these three things…”.  Some examples of three things include: demonstrated competency on critical internal systems, demonstrated mastery of essential skills, and progress on a specific project/account/initiative. The answer to that question should then be discussed, agreed upon, documented and followed up with the new hire. Do this correctly, and not only will you avoid costs associated with an A player in the dark, you will plant the right seeds in...
Don’t be a Bully

Don’t be a Bully

Why can we be so mean to ourselves? If we heard someone talking to one of our friends the way we sometimes talk to ourselves, the gloves would be coming off. But somehow when the bully is ourselves, it seems OK. If being a high performer is part of your game plan, then managing negative self-talk is critical. Sometimes negative self-talk is obvious. Sometimes it is sneaky. A leader I know succumbed to the sneaky when he took on too much of the blame for a peer over promising and under delivering. His sneaky negative self-talk (all BS) was things like “I expected too much”, “I should be more patient until I can have more control”, “it’s my fault for not being more connected in the organization”… So sneaky or out in the open, take time to clue into and eliminate negative self-talk. Things you can do to be less mean to yourself AND be more effective: Monitor the quality of your internal dialogue. Would you be proud if those words came out of your mouth and were directed at your children, spouse or friend? Scan for sneaky negative self-talk. The symptoms are usually taking too much blame for a situation. Beware absolute terms like “always” (messing up) or “never” (going to get better). Absolutes are often not true or useful. Avoid definitive labels, especially the negative ones. How far will a person get using labels like “failure” or “stupid”?? Give up comparisons. Inner dialogue that unfavorably compares oneself to others can affect motivation and undermine potential. Conversely inner dialogue that favorably compares oneself to others can leave one...
Multiply your Global Leadership Impact

Multiply your Global Leadership Impact

The article also appeared in the September 2015 edition of Inbusiness Magazine and can be accessed HERE. _________________ Many leaders of organizations with global aspirations have a wealth of global business experience. This experience serves them well in guiding their organization to opportunities and improves their individual performance. But how about translating that experience for the larger organization? How can savvy global leaders multiply their impact beyond themselves? Below are five actions leaders can take to multiply their global impact immediately. Develop the global potential of team members. Don’t expect the global abilities of the team to improve by accident or through osmosis. Make development of global potential an active process. There are many high-quality resources for training and development. Resources vary by intensity and cost and can include online training, onsite training and one-on-one coaching. Make some resources available to your team and make global development a part of formal employee development plans. Development might include learning about the specific cultural or business environment of a country or could be more broad-based and geared to cultural awareness. Incentivize team members for global outcomes. This is where Peter Drucker’s wisdom of “what gets measured, gets managed” comes into play. Make some part of team members’ goals to be expressly global in nature. Examples of goals could be to identify opportunities and resources for global exports or establishing a go-to-market route in a specific region. Documenting the goal and linking to appraisals of performance will focus attention and give solid direction to global efforts. Show global to be of value in the organization. Look for ways to promote global as...
Take me Seriously

Take me Seriously

Being taken seriously by direct reports, peers and upper management is a key component of leadership success. The issue is often addressed as “executive presence.” Think of some examples of leaders you would describe as having a big dose of leadership presence. The examples may be quite different from one another. Some leaders are quiet and intense. Some are energetic and engaging. Some are provocative and creative. There are many ways to display executive presence. The key to developing your executive presence is being a best you – a you that captures people’s attention in a way that says “I should listen to what that person has to say.” For some of my clients I recommend a book called Own the Room by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins. The message from the book is to develop a Signature Voice. A signature voice is a position of speaking and thinking that balances a voice for others and a voice for self. The authors describe how people can slide into a “driving voice” that is too directive and all about our own agenda or perspective. Other people might tend to have a “supportive voice” that is all about addressing the needs of others. Leaders with powerful executive presence can balance both and advocate strongly for themselves as well as advocate strongly for the needs of the organization. (Note: Another possible dimension is the “passive voice” which is weak in both advocating for self and others.) What is your voice? Do you tend to be in the driver? Executive presence can be hampered by drivers being perceived as short sighted...
Listen Up: The Right Way to Hear Feedback

Listen Up: The Right Way to Hear Feedback

Hearing feedback is a critical part of any self-development process.  For my clients feedback comes from their peers, teams, managers and most often in the form of 360 interview feedback or sometimes in a performance review.  The feedback is sometimes a lot to handle.  Here are a couple key points to remember to make feedback work for you and not against you.   Feedback can be used to feed your positivity. Be in a mindset to learn and not beat yourself up by judging.  “Wow that’s an interesting perspective on me I had not considered before ” is much better than “I knew it, they think I am terrible.” Feedback may be some version of the truth, but it is not the whole truth. People may see our behavior and attribute a motive or value to it that does not exist.  “He/she just doesn’t care about people” can have a multitude of causes.  Consider the behaviors that may have generated that feedback. The feedback may be old news. Keep in mind some people may still be playing old tapes of past behavior when you have already moved on. How can you reset the tapes they are playing? Sort and lend more weight to feedback that is based in fact versus an opinion. “They just don’t understand that the business environment has changed and don’t have the skills to address those changes” is an opinion. “They have not articulated a new vision for the changing environment” is closer to a fact. Let time give nuance and perspective to feedback. Sometimes feedback hits too many defensive trip wires for it to...