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Join us in Las Vegas and help your business THRIVE!
Lynda Silsbee will be presenting at THRIVE 2017 for the second year in a row. Join her workshop at the conference and learn how to Crack the Code on Employee Disengagement.
May 11, 2017
10:40 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
High levels of employee engagement translate into increased customer satisfaction and bring other competitive advantages.
During this workshop, you'll receive actionable and innovative instruction on:
* The #1 reason for disengagement
* The downward spiral of disengagement and reduced productivity and morale
* How to develop your leadership skills to encourage an engaged culture change
* 4 steps to take right away to re-engage a languishing workforce
* And much more.
SAVE $100 off registration
Use Lynda's exclusive discount code: SILSBEE
During our 1/2 Day Team Alignment Workshop, teams to step out of their day-to-day together, get to know each other, identify similarities and differences and explore tough conversations, and then learn how they can work together to be more effective -- ultimately driving to higher performance.
Here are the top three measured changes that participants collectively report after the workshop:
Do you see how these changes lead a team to higher performance?
“A culture is made—or destroyed—by its articulate voices.” ~ Ayn Rand
As an organizational leader, you can consider yourself to be a “cultural architect.” It is your job to create and sustain culture in an organization. Yet shaping the culture can, at times, be a heavy burden to carry.
Your organization’s culture is the foundation upon which your results sit. A weak, dysfunctional or misaligned culture will usually yield poor results. A strong, high-functioning, well-aligned culture, on the other hand, will typically bind people together to produce amazing results.
Organizational culture is generally defined as the values, beliefs, symbols and norms people follow in the execution of an organization’s day-to-day business transactions. It shows up in behaviors that are considered acceptable and unacceptable — behaviors that begin and end with the attitudes and actions of leadership.
6 Phases of Construction for Building Culture
So, as leaders, you can choose to either build a high-performance culture or allow a variety of destructive forces to tear down your culture. If we look at the raising up of an effective culture as a construction project, here are six phases of the job that you’ll need to complete:
1. Goal setting: The building plans. Every construction project begins with a plan, right? In the same vein, leaders must set specific goals to drive success and point people in the right direction. Goals can be thought of as the overall plan for what needs to be accomplished during a given period in order to achieve key organizational objectives.
To ensure buy-in and line-of-sight, be sure to allow employees plenty of input in establishing their own short- and long-term goals. In addition, ensure objectives are put in writing using the “SMART” criteria (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound), prioritized and regularly evaluated.
2. Expectation setting: The pre-project meeting. Before most construction projects, the contractor sits down with his project manager and workers and goes over the building plans. Why? Because putting something down on paper isn’t enough — expectations must be established. Clarify items such as:
Clear expectations are as important as the goals you set. In fact, research has shown that a lack of clear expectations is often the root cause of poor performance. Expectations can be thought of as the “means” or how one achieves his or her goals. Expectations set the boundaries of behavior so people can “play big” and “play fair” as they work to achieve their goals.
3. Continuous feedback and coaching: “The barking foreman.” When many of us think of a construction project in progress, we might think of workers clambering about a half-built structure, pounding hammers and carrying different building elements. But we may also picture a foreman or project manager walking around, barking orders to the hardworking crew.
Now the barking part isn’t advisable in most work environments. But your busy workers do need effective systems in place for determining whether they’re making progress and meeting stated goals and expectations. A few ideas might be:
Other key factors are verbal feedback and an open, two-way dialogue.
Leaders must create a feedback-rich environment where employees know where they stand. Course-correction feedback (when an employee has drifted too far from the goal) and acknowledgment and praise (for progress and momentum in achieving the goal) are equally important. In fact, studies have shown that a 5:1 ratio of positive interactions/feedback to negative promotes the most effective self-development and performance.
In short, communication is critical to creating and maintaining a high-performance culture. Leaders are visible, caring individuals who provide “state of the organization” information regularly and don’t shield employees from bad news. They share expectations, provide feedback and acknowledge strengths. High-performing cultures manage to strike a balance of both quality and quantity of information communicated.
4. Development: Raising the roof. As a construction project nears its finish, the roof — either literally or figuratively — is raised. The property is being developed into something new, useful and exciting.
So should it be with employees. Leaders need to create and execute an ongoing process to develop staff members in their areas of strength and interest. The best managers/leaders find ways to make every day a “development day” for their people. Specific ideas include:
Leaders have these and many other methods at their disposal to grow, shape and engage employees while improving organizational performance.
5. Performance appraisals: The punch list. At the very end of a project, most contractors must complete a “punch list.” This is an itemized document reflecting precisely what needs to be finished to truly complete the project. Similarly, performance appraisals provide a summary at the end of a given term that lets employees know how well they’re meeting expectations and progressing toward their goals.
In terms of driving performance, however, an annual appraisal is your least effective tool. People want to know how they’re doing in the here and now, yet such appraisals focus largely on the past.
Performance comprises both results (what) and behavior (how). So, to do an appraisal right, you need to address both the “what” and the “how.” Set up appraisals on regular cycles and, of course, follow the golden rule: There should be no surprises! Always step in immediately when problems arise — don’t wait until the next appraisal.
6. Recognition and reward: Celebrating completion. The successful end of a construction project is generally referred to as “completion.” It’s something that contractors strive to reach efficiently and profitably. And, at least for large projects, they often celebrate when they get there successfully.
Encouragement and celebration in every organization are critical. Leaders must recognize progress as well as accomplishment of a goal, so employees know they’re on the right track and will keep striving for success. Recognition doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, what distinguishes recognition from rewards is the use of “I” words that create “intrinsic” rewards, which tend to last longer and be more meaningful to employees than monetary or “extrinsic” rewards. Intrinsic rewards include things such as:
Another good approach might be to share success stories during staff meetings or events or in company e-mails or a newsletter (if you have one). Oral or written praise delivered in this manner can serve as a real morale booster to recipients.
Whereas recognition tends to be intangible, rewards are generally tangible. They include statues, company merchandise or plaques. Of course, rewards may also be financial — such as spot bonuses, merit raises or other monetary incentives. Remember, the more timely the recognition/reward is given, the stronger the connection to performance.
The Demolition Crew
e’ve listed above the six phases of building a positive culture. But what about the behaviors that can tear one down? These are just as important to identify when trying to make productive changes to your organization. As you endeavor to raise up your organization’s culture, watch out for the demolition crew:
Flawed character. Dishonesty, intentionally poor communication and blame can sabotage any culture.
Fear. Organizations that refuse to take any risks and that avoid problems and tough decisions typically don’t get far.
Unchecked power. If leaders have or need complete control over others, a culture won’t thrive. Employees will feel that collaboration is pointless.
Arrogance. Anyone with too much pride, who is unable to admit mistakes, ask for help or recognize the value of others, is more than likely a liability. These individuals can poison even the best-intentioned culture.
Ineffective coaches. At the end of every season, no matter what the sport, a number of coaches (or, in baseball, managers) are usually fired. Most of these individuals may not have been bad employees, per se. But, in their employers’ opinions, they failed to develop a winning environment for their players. This dilemma can apply to any type of organization — which doesn’t necessarily mean you should fire a bad coach, but he or she may need additional training or, in worst cases, reassignment.
YOU Are the Architect
Leaders play a key role in the process of creating a positive, high-performing culture. You are, in fact, the architect. Your behavior, attitude, language or jargon, style of dress, decision-making process, everyday work practices and strategic direction create the cultural blueprint for not only your employees, but also clients, suppliers and anyone else who comes in contact with your organization.
Thus, as a leader and architect, you’ve got to recognize the boundary lines of your existing culture, align your strategies accordingly and always be on the lookout for ways to improve it. For help assessing your culture, determining whether your leadership style/habits are aligned with your organization’s strategic objectives, and targeting effective improvements for the future, please contact us.
Marketing gurus always tout that you get far more bang for your buck by developing existing customers than trying to find new ones. The same value and resulting higher benefit applies to developing talent internally rather than sourcing it externally. However, so many executives have experienced first-hand, the myriad of failed leadership development investments. That doesn't mean there isn't a good solution.
In fact, leadership development solutions that work are well documented. The requirements include the right balance of: assessment data, skill building, 1:1 coaching, peer solution development, real-world application, time, and accountability. But there are very few programs available to bring in-house, that integrate all of these areas, are proven, measurable, adaptable, and scalable.
The best organizations want development of leaders to happen internally, across teams, so they can work within their culture and learn from employees as they transform from manager to leader. But developing custom curriculum takes time and is somewhat unproven--ultimately a risky and hefty investment in today's agile, fast-moving corporate environment. The question is no longer "should we build or buy?" when it comes to strong leaders and middle management; the question is, "how do we build leaders in a cost effective way and show measurable results?"
This is the reason we're suddenly seeing so much adoption of the LEAP University approach. While LEAP has historically been a "public" offering allowing organizations to send one or two leaders to be developed, we're seeing a significant uptick in organizations that are bringing the program in-house to develop a broader cross-section of their leaders from within.
LEAP University is scalable to fit organizations in two ways:
CERTIFY INTERNAL RESOURCES. Certify and develop internal experts to coach, facilitate, and manage unlimited LEAP cohorts internally, across the organization, gives you maximum flexibility and scalability. Additional benefits include:
ENGAGE AN EXTERNAL EXPERT. Sometimes, culture, quest for external knowledge, or availability of resources call for bringing in a third party professional. In this scenario, organizations contract with our LEAP Certified Coach/Facilitators to organize, assess, facilitate, and coach through the transformation. Benefits of bringing in an external resource include:
Buying talent is expensive and risky because ultimately you don't know what you will get. Building your existing talent is less risky and pays much bigger dividends to the business. Which pathway is right for your organization? There's no one right way, it's a decision best determined by honest reflection of your organization's needs, culture, and resources.
Emotion is an ever-present energy in the workplace. Harnessing this untapped resource in a positive way can have a tremendous impact on the reasoning side of business.
The EQ Competence Framework includes 3 foundational areas: Attitude, Feeling, and Behavior.
Within these lie three “Personal Intelligences” and three "Interpersonal Intelligences” which can also be thought of as competencies because all of these can be developed by anyone who chooses to develop them.
IQ has long been an important factor in the business world. However, when we look at the most successful leaders, we see more than IQ—we see EQ.
Know someone who needs to beef up their emotional intelligence muscle? With LEAP, the Leadership Acceleration Program, we work with managers/leaders on these very things.
One step to predictable and enhanced team performance is understanding the common characteristics of teams that achieve exceptional results. Characteristics of an HP team:
One of the best models we’ve seen for creating HP teams is from a book called “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.
Know someone who needs help creating and sustaining high performing teams? LEAP the Leadership Acceleration Program is the answer!
Organizationally, this time of year, most leaders are getting Ready and Set for next year with strategic, operational and budget planning taking up much of their time. According to a recent HBR article Why Strategy Execution Unravels and What to Do About It, most leaders are pretty good at the strategy and planning but it is often in translation of those plans into results where things unravel. According to the author’s research, there are five key myths about effective execution and to overcome them
I encourage you to invest a little time now into thinking about your implementation approach so when you Go Go Go, you are executing your plan in a way that gets you the results you’re after.
Come join me for an Executive Briefing Breakfast on November 17 from 7:30 – 9:00 am at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center to learn "Why Strategy Execution Unravels - and What to Do About it."
Sign-Up now at https://execbrief-nov2015.eventbrite.com
There’s a hidden gem in your organization. This person is working right there among your workforce and having a huge impact on your organization’s success. No, it’s not the owner or a top exec — who’s more than likely pretty high-profile in your local market and industry. And, no, we’re not necessarily referring to that hotshot salesperson who “makes it rain.”
The diamond in your midst is none other than your middle manager. That’s right; he or she is the shining hero whom you may inadvertently be undervaluing or simply not recognizing or developing adequately. Unless you keep your middle manager polished and bright through ongoing leadership development, this precious jewel will remain hidden and dulled. He or she may even slip from your grasp.
Indeed, middle managers are fast becoming a key cog in our national economy. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released just a couple of years ago, there were about 10.8 million middle managers working in the United States. In a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, middle managers were described as making up “a growing share of the U.S. workforce.”
But this burgeoning population of professionals also faces great challenges. In the current era of “rock star” CEOs, middle managers are often ignored, viewed as easily replaceable or, in worst cases, left to take the blame when upper management’s strategic initiatives fail. And the increased use of specialized project teams has only exacerbated the tendency in many organizations to undervalue their middle managers.
The good news for your organization is that these issues create an opportunity. If you can change your view of middle managers, recognize the contributions of yours and then maximize the value of this underrecognized human asset, you’ll gain a competitive advantage.
For example, according to the 2013 Gallup study State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, organizations with a 9:1 ratio of engaged employees to disengaged employees reported 147% higher earnings per share than their competition during the study period.
Middle managers have a significant effect on employee turnover as well. In a recent Accenture study, 31% of respondents cited “They don’t like their boss” as their reason for quitting. Another 31% pointed to “a lack of empowerment.” Middle managers have a direct and lasting impact on both of these attitudes.
Research released in May 2014 by Bersin by Deloitte, an HR consultancy, found that leadership development spending rose by 14% in 2013 to an estimated $15.5 billion. Small businesses were, believe it or not, the biggest spenders — investing 23% more in leadership development during 2013 than they did during 2012. And the amount invested on average for middle managers was only $3,900 per person.
Priorities for organizations devoting time and money to leadership development include improving middle managers’ communication skills, of course, as well as enhancing their ability to identify and manage talent. But some of the major focuses of today’s leadership development programs may surprise you.
For instance, a survey of 800 global executives and senior talent development professionals by Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning found that 80% of respondents were targeting “change management capabilities” while developing their middle managers. Moreover, 77% of respondents were working to instill “a leadership mindset” in their middle managers.
One last question for you: What does your organization need to do right now to develop its middle-management leadership? Today’s top performers are already doing it, so you don’t want to get left behind.
We can help. Our LEAP® program was specifically designed to bring Fortune 100 leadership development to small to midsize organizations in an affordable package. LEAP identifies key areas for personal leadership improvement in both middle and upper-level managers — using professional assessment tools, individual coaching, real-world application and small peer-based learning groups.
LEAP® is a practical, fact-based, results-driven program designed for immediate practical application in your organization. We have cohort groups starting throughout the year. Now is the time to find your gems and really polish them so your organization will shine brighter than its competitors. To learn more visit http://www.leadership-acceleration.com/ or join us for an upcoming webinar (register at http://bit.ly/LEAPWebinar)
LEAP for Coaches & Consultants
Are you a coach or consultant who is looking to add a new level of service for your clients? We are actively looking for affiliates to help us expand the reach of the LEAP program. Learn more about what it means to add LEAP to your coaching toolkit.
Emotional intelligence is kind of a popular thing these days and it’s been written about a lot. It is a critical component of being a leader and developing as a leader, but an important concept for life in general as well. Emotional Intelligence is made up of many things that stem from:
It's all about knowing your strengths and challenges and how you contribute to the outcomes of different situations.
We know that anyone can develop emotional intelligence. From start-to-finish during our year-long LEAP Leadership Acceleration Program, we track the change in emotional intelligence indicators; we absolutely see positive change in participants during their 12-month leadership development journey—upwards of 30% on average. In a nutshell, once a person gets feedback and becomes aware of the concepts around emotional intelligence, they learn to be aware of their behavior and their impact on their social environment. When they learn the tools for coping and regulating, they really can control their behavior and act with a higher level of emotional intelligence.
As an example, a couple of years ago we had a General Manager at a prestigious restaurant, who was a great employee—sharp, organized, great at his job, but he could not control his outbursts, he could not regulate he impulse when he became upset or frustrated. In this case, the person was very self-aware--the situation was quickly eroding his confidence as a leader and he could feel it. He knew there was a problem, he just couldn’t regulate. Through LEAP, with feedback, skill building, reflection, help from peers, and guidance from his Coach, by the end of the year we saw a 60% positive change in indicators for emotional intelligence and leadership confidence and competence. Backing this up, his sponsor and boss reported a visible and significant improvement in his leadership, the team he managed, and the work environment in general.
So, absolutely we can develop emotional intelligence. It comes down to first understanding “who I am at my core, at my best most natural self?” Then, “how do others see me in the work environment?” And from there, reducing the blind spots through reflection and sharing openly with trusted relationships.
It is important to note that the process of developing emotional intelligence takes time. It’s like working out at the gym; results don’t happen overnight. Throughout the leadership development process, the emotional intelligence muscles are being built overtime with the help of a coach, peers, and the tools and curriculum provided in the program.
Lynda Silsbee is Founder and President of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration. She has spent more than 30 years creating and leading high performance teams. Along with the other LEAP Certified Coaches, she reports that helping managers make the LEAP to leader is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.