The job market is rebounding. Are you ready? Not everyone is…. If we were to take a hypothetical conversation between a hiring manager, whom we’ll call Dave, and his boss, we can imagine the conversation might go something like this: “Don’t worry. The candidate will wait for us to make our decision. We are the ones with the job and the job market is still tough” Three weeks later however, Dave would probably come back with something like “I really thought we had this hire – I mean, the position is a great opportunity and they wouldn’t have to relocate. Look, I’m sorry. I just didn’t think they would take the other job. I know it’s a loss – and to our competitor. I promise this will not happen again.”
One thing that is for certain is the tide is changing, or may have already changed. Talk with recruiters in the software arena to be specific and you can be sure, hiring is heating back up. And, because of these current hiring shifts now is the time to evaluate and tighten up your recruiting processes, if you haven’t already done so. A number of companies who may have had solid recruiting processes in the past have abandoned their practices over the last several years. The reasons are varied – a cut back of the recruiting team and HR, massive restructurings, and perhaps most significantly, companies simply losing their recruiting mentality. Organizations, just like the people in them, lose skills when not exercised.
So let’s take another look at Dave. The first mistake he made was that he thought he had plenty of time. Really good people, especially those candidates who are passive and not currently in the market for a new position, do not have to wait around for an opportunity. They are valuable in any market and will therefore have the opportunities that reflect this. His second and third mistakes go hand in hand: not having a solid interview process in place and not investing the time it takes to produce a quality result – a great hire. More than likely his interview tactic, resume review process, and communications with the candidates were not crisp, disciplined and thoughtful, as they should have been when making a significant investment for the company.
Let’s take this example one step further and think of it in this manner: if you were given $110,000 to buy a resource for your company, you would invest the due diligence required. You would be very clear on the requirements, specifications and needs that this new resource must fulfill and you would probably check references through other buyers. You would also understand that the price and availability of this specific resource may change if too much time passes. Bringing on a new professional should be thought of in these same terms and requires the same discipline.
Some objectives to keep in mind the next time you are in need of bringing on a new team member are: paint a picture; be very clear on the requirements and specifications of the position; assign a team of staff that consists of a few people who know the position and can be trained in effectively interviewing the candidates; and finally, develop a timeline for hiring and a communication plan both internally and externally for candidate review, acceptance and rejections.
Above, I list one of the helpful interview objectives as being “Paint the Picture.” I would like to take a moment to expand on this. Painting the picture for any position simply means establishing a context for the position you are about to hire. Painting the picture can be especially important for management positions that tend to be complex, fluid and placed within a matrix-ed organization. If you are hiring a high performer, they will be much more effective if you have articulated the vision. They need to understand the importance of their role, the key stakeholders involved and a definition of success for the position.
Years ago I was working with a company that had a revolving door of front desk receptionists. As a first step towards solving the situation, I asked the manager to define for me what he thought the job entailed. He replied the phone had to be answered within 3 rings, and that whoever came through the door was to be ‘dealt with’ by being pointed to the appropriate department. Sounds simple enough, yet the manager had never been satisfied with the performance of any of the previous hires. So in a step further, I asked him what was really important – what was the actual end result he desired from this position? He said he wanted the customers to feel they were calling into a professional organization that cared about them and their issues; a company that would go the extra mile to help solve problems and would really partner with them. He wanted that ‘high touch’ that would differentiate them from other software companies.
As we proceeded with the interview process (made with appropriate objectives and a disciplined process), the receptionist hired ended up being the epitome of his desired result. The effects were immediately noticeable and fulfilled the real reason the position had been created in the first place. The following example describes the effects of a successful hire crafted around clear objectives. It was a Friday afternoon. The company’s major client called in – experiencing some serious problems with the new software. The lead project manager had left for the day and could not be reached. The receptionist left her desk, tracked down another project manager who could help and assured the customer that the company would not leave them hanging. The issue was resolved quickly and efficiently that evening. On the following Monday the client called back to the company’s CEO and said, “I just want you to know that the reason I am still a loyal client with you is because of your receptionist. She really represents what you say in your brochure.”
My point with these above stories is that none of this would have occurred if in his last hire, the boss had not painted the picture of his desired results. Articulating how and what this position entails really matters. Match your expectations to your vision.
Although painting the picture is a vital part of successfully filling a position within your company, we are not done here. It is indeed important for the details and expectations of the role to be specified but, moving past this, providing your candidate with specific ‘course approaches’ is also essential for their success or, in other words ‘Charting the course’ for them.
Imagine one of your clients has left your company. Their complaint is “You just are not delivering what they need. The response in your head to their complaint is “You never stopped long enough to tell us what you really needed. We are not mind readers.” In getting what you want, it is important that you clearly and effectively communicate it. People are lousy at mind reading, just ask your spouse or partner. You want to have an immediate, positive impact on a new employee’s success –right? You can assist this through effective communication. Providing objectives supports your context; think of it as giving color to the picture you have already painted.
Here is quick activity to help you ‘Chart the Course’ for success:
Begin by listing out the top 10 objectives for the next 12 months for this specific position. Under each objective, list 4 or 5 Actions Steps, which, if accomplished, will greatly help your new hire in achieving the above objectives. In this manner, you are helping to chart a course towards success for them. You have the knowledge because you have been on these waters before – but they have not. Fortunately through these action steps and your painted picture, you have set them up with successful means to accomplish the objectives.
I am reminded of a company I worked with that was tied into the financial industry – they had offices in over 20 locations, multiple divisions – and were in a very fast paced competitive environment. The CEO was on the road more often than not. In the process of hiring a new SVP (Senior Vice President), the company took the time to develop their top ten objectives and came up with the action steps. Guess what? When their new SVP started, he hit the ground running. He did not need the handholding or redirection that the previous SVP had required and he created no chaos within their own division or the divisions of others. Further, initiatives that had been stalled or shelved came back to life. They went from treading water to winning the race; and all this because their CEO took the time up front to chart the course.
Once you have your picture painted and the course for success has been charted, you are on a pretty solid path towards a successful hire. However, I believe there is one more area we should explore. Creating a culture of accountability is one more aspect that will further support your company culture and its success. It is important to hold ourselves and the people we work with accountable, and we are more capable to do so when the vision and expectations are clear. Clarity about purpose goes far beyond a detailed list; it provides the framework in which individuals and teams can excel without constant direction. Our world is rapidly transforming, therefore how companies go about achieving their goals and objectives is also changing. Yet even with all these adjustments in technologies, environments, and markets we still need to achieve our targets.
In our world today, it seems we are surrounded by a lack of accountability – in our government, our schools, places we shop, our neighborhoods and in our homes. I would make the argument, however, that it starts with us. Each of us needs to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask the question, do I live up to my commitments? Do I hold myself accountable – especially when it’s tough? Open communication between ourselves and others about our levels and expectations of accountability is where it all starts. I believe an effective tool in developing a culture of individual and team accountability is this:
*Hold an Accountability Check-In once a month.
*Have a conversation between you and your staff related to accountability.
*Complete and share responses to these two statements:
*Here’s what you’re doing that’s helping me meet my commitments.
*Here’s what you’re doing that’s hampering me from meeting my commitments.
These two questions can also be important questions to ask yourself. What am I doing that is helping me meet my commitments and what am I doing that’s hampering me from meeting my commitments?
There are two books I would strongly recommend reading on the topic of accountability. The first is by one of my favorite authors, Patrick Lencioni. His book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, provides wonderful insight into the thought of accountability. The second book is The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. This is also an outstanding book that beautifully describes the complexities of our world and the tools needed to support individual and team accountability. I would wager that you will not be able to put either book down until you have read the last page.
So, what is the take-away? Does any of this really matter? The only way to build companies that have sustainable, economic value is to start with a team of smart, dedicated staff, driven by a clear purpose and held accountable for their results. The one factor that our competitors cannot duplicate is the depth and quality of contributions that our employees make – led by supervisors, managers, owners and boards of directors who view the attainment and retention of staff as an asset and not an expense. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts on what I believe are critical factors in the talent acquisition world. I hope you have enjoyed reading this piece and have gleaned some helpful ideas.
About the author:
Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management. She has held the role of Senior Vice President, Human Resources for a Fortune 500 company, midsize companies and software start-ups. Much of her experience has been in the software, financial and insurance industries, representing significant merger, acquisition and divestiture activities. In addition, Julia has extensive experience with large, nonprofit organizations. You can find out more about Julia and her work at http://leaderscove.com/about.html
*image courtesy of SOMMAI/freedigitalphotos.net
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
The job market is rebounding. Are you ready? Not everyone is…. If we were to take a hypothetical conversation between a hiring manager, whom we’ll call Dave, and his boss, we can imagine the conversation might go something like this: “Don’t worry. The candidate will wait for us to make our decision. We are the ones with the job and the job market is still tough” Three weeks later howeJulia Hill-Nichols Articles
Despite the hundreds of books, programs and websites devoted to leadership, the truth is that leaders can't be trained. Leaders need to be developed. Hopefully this doesn't seem like a simple matter of semantics, because it isn't.
Let me illustrate this distinction. Leadership is more about WHO you are than about what you do or what you know. Two executives can do and say the same things but get very different results - even when they do and say those things to the very same person! Although what you say and what you do are important, effective leadership is even more dependent on HOW you do or say those things. This explains why the actions of those two executives can elicit such different responses.
You can train people about what to say. You can train people about what to do. You can even show someone how to do and say those things. But getting them to change how they go about doing things and getting them to change how they go about saying things is a whole other story.
Leadership is about who we are, and it's this "how" of doing, saying, and being that defines who we are. I think a good deal of "who we are" is captured within the competencies of Emotional Intelligence, developed and made popular by Daniel Goleman. There are 12 EI competencies, with five of them being the one's that ultimately affect our effectiveness as leader. These five competencies are:
1) Coaching and Mentoring - The ability to develop others
2) Inspirational Leadership - The ability to develop a compelling vision and to lead with it
3) Influence - The ability to utilize persuasion
4) Conflict Management - The ability to resolve disagreements
5) Teamwork and Collaboration - The ability to build and guide teams
Let's briefly examine each one of these competencies with respect to training vs. development as it pertains to leadership.
Coaching and Mentoring
As a professional coach, I know many professionally trained coaches. They've gone through a curriculum of coach training from an accredited coaching school. And yet, although they have the necessary skills and knowledge to be a good coach, a number of them are really rather poor at coaching. Conversely, I've come across associates who are reasonably good at coaching, yet have never had any formal coach training.
How is this possible? How is it that someone with great coaching skills is mediocre at coaching? And how is it that someone without any formal training is very effective at coaching?
The answer of course, is in HOW they apply their coaching knowledge and skills. In order to be effective as a coach, one must, at the very least, be aware of one's own emotions, have control of one's emotions, be empathetic, and have good judgment. The reality is that each of those traits must either be developed or be natural to a person. They just aren't things that can be "trained".
Leaders need to be inspiring. They need to instill pride, they need to hold and communicate a vision, and they need to inspire an organization and its people to aspire to excellence.
Here's the challenge… People aren't simply inspired by the right words. The right words spoken by the "wrong" person will have only a minimal effect. In order for a leader to move others to action, he or she needs to be someone who others admire and respect.
How does someone garner the respect of others? It's obviously through our words and actions, but once again, "how" we say what we say and do what we do determine the impact those words and actions will have. "Who we are" is something that can be shifted and developed, but it cannot be "trained".
Effective leaders are influential. We influence people by our words and actions, but of course, it comes back to how we're viewed by others and how we do and say the things we do. Honing and improving those abilities comes down to development and not training.
Conflict and challenges are inevitable in business, and a good leader has the ability to diffuse and resolve situations as they arise. In order to be effective in this effort, a leader needs to have the respect and trust of those involved. How we conduct ourselves during these times is important, but even more critical is how we've conducted ourselves in the past. Establishing "who we are" takes time and is not something that can be trained - only nurtured and refined.
In order for a leader to successfully foster an atmosphere of collaboration, he or she must be good at the previous competencies - coaching, inspiring, influencing, and resolving. Clearly this ability once more rests on things best developed and not trained.
Now that we've made a case for leadership development and one against "leadership training", we need to address how this development occurs. Here's what has to happen:
1. An objective assessment of one's competencies needs to take place. Since "how" we do and say things is habitual, we're generally blind to our shortcomings.
2. No one needs to be excellent in every competency in order to be an effective leader. Based on the objective assessment of our leadership skills, we need to focus on one or two areas to target for improvement.
3. Enlist the help of one or two trusted associates to help point out (in a loving fashion, of course!) when we fall back into old patterns.
By being mindful of your words and actions, and being persistent in your efforts to improve, you'll find that over time - there is no "quick fix" for what we're achieving - your effectiveness and impact as a leader will increase. Not only should we strive to develop ourselves as leaders, but need to work to develop those around us. Ultimately, a great leader is someone who develops other leaders.
About the author:
Michael Beck is a Business Strategist and Executive Coach. For more articles on leadership, personal effectiveness and personal productivity, please visit www.michaeljbeck.com.
Despite the hundreds of books, programs and websites devoted to leadership, the truth is that leaders can't be trained. Leaders need to be developed. Hopefully this doesn't seem like a simple matter of semantics, because it isn't. Let me illustrate this distinction. Leadership is more about WHO you are than about what you do or what you know. Two executMichael Beck Articles
Turmoil, stress and uncertainty would all describe the working experience of many of us over the past three or four years and even today as we are beginning to look forward to an improving economy, many millions of Americans remain out of work. Many millions more remain marginally employed and stuck in a world that does not give them the luxury of choice. A job, any job, remains a blessing and upward mobility remains a distant memory to many among us. Confidence remains tenuous in the American work place. As leaders, not only are we tasked with hitting our benchmarks and goals, we are also responsible for looking out for the welfare of our people. The current economy gives us the chance to do both.
There is no doubt that the fight and drive of the American worker took a hit several years back, when we went from, what on the surface, looked like a strong healthy economy, to one where nothing was for certain and one where we did not immediately know where the bottom was. It took agonizing months to understand just how low it could go and suddenly jobs were at a premium, companies were disappearing and millions of Americans whom had never seen or experienced a true economic down turn, were out on the street and unemployed, unemployed and with no immediate prospects of finding another job. Talk about frightening!
I would have to admit to loving the spirit of the American worker. Irascible to the core but damn they can surprise you with their ingenuity and willingness to put their head down and get the job done. The chances are very good that they will whine about something after the crisis has passed but there is not a more productive worker in the world. Part of what makes them such an incredible and productive asset is that ingenuity and the great initiative they show in getting the job done. Needless to say, the trauma suffered by the US economy in 2008 and well into 2009, was way more than enough to dampen that spirit and way more than enough to take away that incredible initiative.
Though I am very cautious in saying this, and though the signs and measures remain very mixed, it would seem that the American economy is in recovery. There remain any number of challenges and obstacles to our getting back to something resembling the powerful economic engine we had known and pretty much took for granted but consumer spending and confidence are steadily improving, the unemployment rates are inching downward and the real estate market has regained a pulse, though it remains in very grave condition. This is a critical moment in time and one in which strong and effective leadership can and should play a big role.
Certainly it would be hoped that leadership has sustained us through all that has gone on but now it has gone from being a fight just to survive, for both the business and our staffs, to one where we need to stand up and move forward, to compete, to attack, to overcome and to win. A great many of our staff members are scared and very reluctant to move and we as leaders need to show them the way. Leaders have to lead, that is what we do and why we are here. In taking these initial steps, we have every opportunity in the world of getting shot down or shouted down but our determination to stand up and move forward will give our people great reasons and the inspiration to do the same. I can promise you that there will be many wanting and hoping we will fail, not many willing or able to face their fears and do much more than keep their heads down. Our willingness allows them to have hope, to believe that something can get better and it will inspire others to follow suit. More than anything else, leaders are purveyors of hope and hope can lead to action and action well directed (leadership) can lead to success.
Of course there is that chance that our timing will be off or that our actions and message will be misunderstood and we end up standing out there by ourselves looking the fool but that is why we do this right? I can promise that the alternative and our failing to stand and make the attempt to move our people will not move us any further toward success.
In the aftermath of this long and very deep recession there are not many among us who are looking forward to doing anything other than keeping their heads down and remaining a part of the anonymous masses. There are not many among us who are that confident in our status and willing to stick out their necks. The immediate and most obvious impact of this fear driven environment is a complete lack of initiative. People who are scared do not take chances and do not stick their necks out. Our job as leaders is to give our people the confidence to step forward to have the willingness to take chances, to make mistakes and to have the courage to succeed. Leadership and only leadership can inspire that change.
Why does any of this matter? Isn’t blind compliance a good thing in the work place? What does it matter if our staff members have initiative or not, as long as they do their job? As leaders we are not so much the ones doing and touching everything, as we are the ones assigning who does what, to what standard, as well as assuring that tasks are getting completed and assuring that those standards are being met. There is no doubt that our lives are simplified if our people are doing what they are told and shutting up in the process but without an attachment and sense of ownership to the tasks our staff members would take on, there is no sense of accomplishment, no sense of ownership and no sense of pride. Beyond that there is no interest in finding better or more effective methods and little or no desire to improve. It is nice to think of ourselves in our various leadership roles as being all knowing and omnipotent but that is just not reality and beyond benefitting from the collective knowledge of those we lead, a huge side benefit to listening and giving voice to their suggestions or concerns is letting them know they are valued and that their opinions matter. Even if we ultimately choose a different path, that we listened and considered their suggestions is extraordinarily important and encourages that initiative and extra effort we need as leaders. Beyond simply accomplishing tasks, there has to be something in it all for our people and a big part of leadership is providing that insight, that vision of something better. If they can see it, they are much more likely to accomplish it.
For his actions on 16 February 1967 in the Republic of Viet Nam, Platoon Sergeant Elmelindo R. Smith of Honolulu Hawaii was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was 32 years old. The chances are very good you never heard of him. I wonder why that is?
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty: During a reconnaissance patrol, his platoon was suddenly engaged by intense machinegun fire hemming in the platoon on 3 sides. A defensive perimeter was hastily established, but the enemy added mortar and rocket fire to the deadly fusillade and assaulted the position from several directions. With complete disregard for his safety, P/Sgt. Smith moved through the deadly fire along the defensive line, positioning soldiers, distributing ammunition and encouraging his men to repel the enemy attack. Struck to the ground by enemy fire which caused a severe shoulder wound, he regained his feet, killed the enemy soldier and continued to move about the perimeter. He was again wounded in the shoulder and stomach but continued moving on his knees to assist in the defense. Noting the enemy massing at a weakened point on the perimeter, he crawled into the open and poured deadly fire into the enemy ranks. As he crawled on, he was struck by a rocket. Moments later, he regained consciousness, and drawing on his fast dwindling strength, continued to crawl from man to man. When he could move no farther, he chose to remain in the open where he could alert the perimeter to the approaching enemy. P/Sgt. Smith perished, never relenting in his determined effort against the enemy. The valorous acts and heroic leadership of this outstanding soldier inspired those remaining members of his platoon to beat back the enemy assaults. P/Sgt. Smith's gallant actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and they reflect great credit upon him and the Armed Forces of his country.”
Leadership, no matter how much we would try to make it into an academic exercise, is our looking our people in the eye and asking them for something better and our being willing to, not only stand with them, but to stand out in front of them, in the effort. If we are not willing to take risks and sacrifice toward accomplishing an end, why should they?
Leadership is about inspiring others in accomplishing our goals, even if we are wounded and have to crawl or perish in the attempt.
Who have you inspired today?
About the author:
Brian Canning is a regular contributor to weLEAD and a business analyst working in the federal sector. For the past thirty years he has worked in the automotive repair industry, most recently as a leadership and management coach with the Automotive Training Institute in Savage, Maryland. After serving as a tank commander with the 1st Armored Division in Europe, he started his career as a Goodyear service manager in suburban Washington D.C., moving on to oversee several stores and later a sales region. He also has been a retail sales manager for a large auto parts distributor, run a large fleet operation and headed a large multi-state sales territory for an independent manufacturer of auto parts. His passions are history, leadership and writing.
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
Turmoil, stress and uncertainty would all describe the working experience of many of us over the past three or four years and even today as we are beginning to look forward to an improving economy, many millions of Americans remain out of work. Many millions more remain marginally employed and stuck in a world that does not give them the luxury of choice. A job, any job, remains a blessing andBrian Canning Articles
Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples.
“Make It a WOW Experience!”—Sign in the office of Kate T. Labor, Vice President-Customer Support, Systems, and Software.
“I will change one life today!” —In the article, “Understanding the Importance of Rituals,” author Justin W. Carter said that this sign was in the front office of a small company. As employees entered the office, they tapped the sign with their hand. This ritual instantly reminded them of the importance of their mission.
“Bring Energy!” —Sign on the desk of Maxine Clark, Founder and Chief Executive Bear, Build-A-Bear Workshop.
“Prove Your Groove.”—Sign on the office wall of Peter H. Reynolds CEO/Owner, FableVision Enterprises.
“The Buck Starts Here!”—Sign on the desk of Donald Trump.
Leaders inspire us by what they say, how they say it, and what they do. You must believe in yourself, your employees, and your message.
What Leaders Say
Leaders speak the truth about what is—current reality and about what’s possible—their vision. They keep it real but also identify opportunities for a better future. Leaders use words that are positive, affirming, uplifting, and encouraging. They inspire us by making us feel good about ourselves.
We all want to feel respected, valued, useful, and part of something important and successful. Package your message in a way that connects to these universal feelings. In addition, you can inspire people by tapping into their core values. Emotions and values are the spark that get us excited and energized.
The words leaders say that inspire us include:
*Telling Stories. Stories that describe setbacks, great struggle, hard work, perseverance, and eventual success inspire us to press on and achieve demanding goals.
What’s your inspiring story?
*Affirming Statements. Leaders inspire us by telling us we have the ability and talent to be successful. Doug Conant former President and CEO of Campbell’s Soups said that in graduate school his grades started to slide. He was working two jobs and taking a full course load. His favorite professor pulled him into his office and said, “You can do better.” Those four words touched him, affirmed him, and inspired him.
Who have you affirmed in the last two days?
*Planting Seeds. Leaders inspire us by getting us to see ourselves performing a bigger role. They plant seeds with comments such as, “I can see you leading our international marketing campaign.”
*Encouraging People. One of my mentors always encouraged me to pursue bigger goals. Whether I was applying for a new job, considering graduate school, or starting my own business, her consistent response was: “Now’s your time. Believe in yourself and your goals. I’m confident you can do it.”
Who are you encouraging to pursue loftier goals?
*Empowering People. Ralph Stayer, former CEO of Johnsonville Foods, inspired his employees and built their confidence by empowering them. He gave people power and authority to get things done. When leaders empower us, they’re saying, “I have confidence in you.”
How Leaders Say It
Leaders deliver their message with passion and conviction. Check out some of the YouTube videos of Tom Peters, Pat Summit, Colin Powell, and Tony Blair. Observe how animated and passionate they are. If you don’t have enthusiasm for your ideas, who will? A passionate speaker gets the audience to sit up, open up, and fully consider the key points. You must have great conviction for what you’re advocating. Leaders have no doubts, no hesitation, and no questions about the correctness of their ideas and recommendations. If you’re not fully committed to what you’re doing, why should anyone else?
Do you deliver your message with passion and conviction?
What Leaders Do
They set the example. When change is taking place all eyes are on the leader. Setting an example is a powerful way of inspiring people. People can’t ignore what you do. Leaders are often the first to take action. Their actions are strong and decisive. You increase your influence exponentially by adding highly visible examples to your words. Author and Artist, Susan Conroy said that the best example of leadership she got was from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Susan states, “I made my first trip to work with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in 1986. Mother Teresa inspired us by her example.” Every day she was a consistent role model of humble service.
What example are you setting for your people?
Problems Related to Inspiring People
1) Some leaders lack optimism. Others are too optimistic and are thought to be out of touch with reality.
2) Some leaders aren’t inspiring because they are flat in their delivery. They lack energy and conviction when presenting their message.
3) Some leaders don’t create a sense of urgency. There is no burning platform so people are reluctant to jump into the water.
4) Some leaders talk a good game, but don’t back it up with action.
What Can You Do?
First, inspire yourself. Discover what gets you excited. Second, think about your life stories. What challenges and obstacles have you faced and overcome? Craft your own personal stories that you can use to inspire others. Third, build your vocabulary. Ed Zimmer, Founder and President, Zimmer Foundation says that a large vocabulary helps you select the best words to sell your ideas and inspire people to change.
About the author:
Paul B. Thornton, MBA, M.Ed., is an author, trainer, and professor of business administration at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has provided leadership training for over 10,000 supervisors and managers. This article is an excerpt from his new e-book, WHAT I TEACH ABOUT…LEADERSHIP. His e-mail address is PThornton@stcc.edu
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples. “Make It a WOW Experience!”—Sign in the office of Kate T. Labor, Vice President-Customer Support, Systems, and Software. “I willPaul B. Thornton Articles
Two startling facts regarding issues absolutely impacting the bottom line of manufacturing companies in today's challenging economy:
*The Gallup organization, an international research company with a division that focuses on employee engagement and motivation, estimates $300 billion is wasted every year in lost productivity at U.S. companies due to un-motivated, dis-engaged employees.
*Another research firm, Sirota Survey Intelligence, reported in 2005 that in 85% of Fortune 1000 companies, employee motivation and morale "declined significantly" within the first six months of employment and continued to go down after that.
Those statistics are startling with regard to the potential impact on bottom line results of companies today. But, it is also not surprising.
Research I recently conducted of over 3000 subscribers to the Workplace Communication Expert blog (www.WorkplaceCommunicationExpert.com) showed 44% of business leaders are unhappy with employee performance.
When you look around your workplace and evaluate the productivity, motivation and morale of your people, how much might your organization be contributing to that $300 billion?
And, in evaluating the cost of hiring, on-boarding and training new employees, if not being done effectively, could this be another place where company profits are stealthily slipping off the financial statement?
Here are three specific strategies manufacturers can apply to develop, maintain or recapture employee motivation, morale and engagement so that your employees are truly assets bringing high value to the work environment:
1) Define your "Championship Game"
From the first day of training camp everyone that is part of an athletic team at any level from little league through the professional ranks knows the ultimate objective and vision for their team (organization) is to reach the Championship Game (for baseball it's the World Series, football The Super Bowl, soccer it's the World Cup, etc).
It is the inspiring vision to win the championship that keeps everyone focused, doing the right things for the right reasons so they can contribute to the team's success, while also being able to reap the well-defined, and not so-well defined, individual and collective rewards and opportunities that come with their contribution.
The same type of culture can be created inside any business. It takes strong, visionary leadership and consistent communication to make it successful.
2) Jointly create an agreed upon set of core organizational communication and behavioral values
Many organizations have their "values" hanging on posters in the hallways while managers and leaders both engage in, and enable others, in behaviors inconsistent with those values.
With no one holding anyone accountable to the values on the walls, performance and behaviors deteriorate and subsequently default to what is witnessed and experienced in the halls.
This, too, is a strategy that is both easy to create, plus easy to maintain when two processes are applied:
*Bring your team(s) together to jointly create the organizational communication and behavioral values and commit to a "team agreement" that everyone, literally, signs on to.
*Leaders, managers and teammates agree to address violations of the values and team agreement immediately (or, at the earliest possible opportunity after a documented and witnessed behavior).
NOTE: One client that recently concluded this process reported employees were self-regulating themselves and their teammates six months after installation of the above strategy.
3) Create a communication "Forum" that includes a "feedback loop"
Communication is always among the top three issues or problems identified by employees in organizations. The challenge with this generic, vanilla statement is that there are too many aspects of communication to fix the problems.
It must be more clearly defined.
In a recent client project three different teams in one focus group identified communication as an organizational problem. Yet, each defined it differently from a completely different context.
One simple way to resolve this issue is to create a formal forum for communication that includes a two-way feedback loop.
This sounds much more complicated than it really is. It simply means that regular, structured meetings are facilitated to bring issues, problems, ideas and suggestions to the fore for company leaders to address and respond to.
There are four key steps for doing this successfully:
1) Schedule meetings at regular and consistent times
2) Invite a cross section of participants representing the various departments, divisions, etc.
3) Collect ideas, chunk them into related categories and prioritize
4) Create a system through which company leaders can respond to every item in a reasonably timely manner.
Often company leaders are leery of developing this type of communication process for fear of the meetings devolving into gripe sessions. These fears are valid and can be eliminated by doing these three things:
1) Setting clear guidelines at the outset,
2) Ensure that all ideas and suggestions are articulated in a positive, constructive manner, and
3) Following through with prompt feedback on all ideas so that those contributing feel as if their contributions were taken under consideration and were valued (it is perfectly okay to say "no" to an idea as long as it comes with a credible reason).
Manufacturers that have implemented some, or all, of the three above suggestions have been able to generate dramatic results, such as:
. $900,000 in waste eliminated within 12 months of implementation
. 300% increase in pre-tax profits over a five-year period
. 100% increase in pre-tax profits within four months of implementation
. 65% permanent improvement in workflow processes and 22% waste reduction within 12 months.
With results like that no business leader in Western civilization can argue that they can't invest the time, energy and resources to learn how to implement the three simple strategies outlined above.
Give it a try.
About the author:
Skip Weisman is The Leadership and Workplace Communication Expert based in Poughkeepsie, NY. Since 2001 he has partnered with business leaders and their teams to transform communication in workplaces in a way that offers dramatic increases in productivity, profit margins and the bottom line. You can find out more about Skip at www.TheEmployeeEngagementExpert.com
Two startling facts regarding issues absolutely impacting the bottom line of manufacturing companies in today's challenging economy: *The Gallup organization, an international research company with a division that focuses on employee engagement and motivation, estimates $300 billion is wasted every year in lost productivity at U.S. companies due to un-motivatedSkip Weisman Articles
The hiring retention success rate is disheartening with some studies reporting a rate lower than 50%. Through more than 50 years of combined experience 50+ in helping organizations improve their business performance, we (Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest) have uncovered three reasons why most companies and organizations fail to hire and retain top talent.
The First Reason Why Most Companies Hiring Retention Rate is Less Than 50%!
In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) hears a voice as he walks through his cornfield—"if you build it, he will come". Over the years it has since become part of our lexicon of misused quotes. It has even seeped into the talent integration and talent management world.
Many CEOs, executives, managers and HR directors believe if you hire them (or promote your employees) they will contribute. Well, to use another well-known phrase—"not exactly".
Why would you believe that hiring or promoting employees into a new job or position will result in immediate success?
The Second Reason Why Most Companies Retention Rate is Less Than 50%!
Many executives, managers and HR managers fail to plan out completely:
*The job requirements
*What needs to be done
*What skills, behaviors and attitudes are required for success now
*What role adaptation is anticipated for the future
If you fail to map out exactly what you are looking for as well as the position you are hiring for - you might as well spend your money on a trip to Las Vegas to roll the dice! The chance of winning is about the same - or maybe slightly better in Vegas (and likely you will have more fun).
The Third Reason Why Most Companies Retention Rate is Less Than 50%!
Most companies are still hiring and promoting candidates using the standard elements:
a) An application
b) A resume
c) An interview (or two, potentially including a panel)
d) Perhaps a background check,
e) And references.
However, these really only tell you only what the candidate wants you to know. Meaning, good creative writing and strong impression management skills do not necessarily equal the most suitable candidate for your organization. Just because candidates can report experience and expertise on a resume does not mean they have the personality and character attributes to do the job and it doesn’t mean that they are the right fit for your company.
For example, we saw one of our clients hire a department director who was charged with turning around an under-performing department. He appeared to be well-qualified, coming from a department that recently had undergone a very successful turnaround. He was the assistant director.
But, he floundered in the new job. One of the reasons is that he was too empathetic and had a very high-interpersonal sensitivity toward others. Simply, he could not make the tough people decisions. Nowhere on the resume, during the interview, nor with the hand-picked references did this come out.
To Integrate Your New or Promoted Talent Effectively, You Need to Start Considering the “Talent Integration Potential”
This means, you need to look specifically to how a candidate fits the prospective role and how suitable the candidate is to your organization. Just as you cannot fit a square peg in a round hole (without damage), you cannot make successful a person who does not have the basic ingredients for success in the job you need done.
This does not mean the person cannot be successful. It just means they cannot likely be as successful in a particular job or perhaps even in your organization.
So, how can you know?
4 Ways to Uncover If a Candidate is Perfect For the New Role & For Your Organization
1) Use behaviorally-based interview questions that probe their history of actions and outcomes respectively.
2) Include some culture-based questions to help you determine values and motivators as compared to company values and attributes.
3) Include/give them time for a scenario based problem to work and resolve and report back on.
4) Have top candidates complete personality-based and job performance indicators that measure a candidate's potential for success in different business environments and roles. (Though such an assessment should never be used as the sole criteria for selection. As part of a selection set, it can be an invaluable tool to avoid hiring the wrong candidate for the job.) It can also be used as a tool to support and coach the new employee in areas that need to be addressed to ensure a fast and effective integration into a new job and organization.
Now, are you ready to start increasing your top employee retention rate? Great! Then, change your thinking from “if you hire them or promote them – they will contribute” to “if I hire the right talent, they will contribute.” And, start following my advice by taking action on the items listed in this article.
About the authors:
Sara LaForest and Tony Kubica are management consultants with more than 50+ years of combined experience in helping organizations improve their business performance simply by improving the leadership effectiveness of top management. You can find out more about their work at http://www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com
The hiring retention success rate is disheartening with some studies reporting a rate lower than 50%. Through more than 50 years of combined experience 50+ in helping organizations improve their business performance, we (Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest) have uncovered three reasons why most companies and organizations fail to hire and retain top talent. TSara LaForest & Tony Kubica Articles
Leaders from around all types of fields are facing a new kind of challenge: coping with the various waves of disruptive, revolutionary change. One wave has to do with the rise of the Internet-based “new” business and its driving force, the process of digitization (Castells, 1998; Kelly 1998). A second has to do with the rise of new relational patterns and their underlying driving forces: the processes of globalization (of markets, institutions, products), individualization (of products, people, and their careers), and increasingly networked structures and web shaped relationship patterns (Castells, 1996). A third and more subtle dimension of change has to do with the increasing relevance of experience, awareness and consciousness and their underlying driving force, the process of spiritualization (Conlin 1999) or, to use a less distracting term, the process of becoming aware of one’s more subtle experiences (Depraz, Varela and Vermersch, 1999). An example is the recent growth in interest in topics like “flow” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) or personal mastery (Senge, 1990) both inside and outside the world of business.
There are two different sources or processes of leadership: one that is based on reflecting the experiences of the past (Type I) and a second source, one that is grounded in sensing and enacting emerging futures (Type II). Each of these processes is based on a different temporal source of learning and requires individuals to work with fundamentally different learning cycles.
The temporal source of Type I learning is the past, or, to be more precise, the coming into presence of the past—learning revolves around reflecting on experiences of the past. All Kolb-type learning cycles are variations of this type of learning (Kolb 1984). Their basic sequence is action, concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and action again.
The temporal source of Type II learning is the future, or to be more precise, the coming into presence of the future. Type II learning is based on sensing and embodying emerging futures rather than re-enacting the patterns of the past. The sequence of activites in this learning process is seeing, sensing, presencing, and enacting.
Yet, Type I learning is no longer effective as the single source of learning, because the previous experiences embodied in the leadership team are no longer relevant to the challenges at hand. And the experiences that would be of relevance are not yet embodied in the experience base of the leadership team. The issue for leaders is how to learn from experience when the experience that matters most is the not-yet-embodied experience of the future.
Moreover, large-scale change, particularly transformational change, always plays out on multiple levels. The action (at level 0) is “above the waterline” and is embedded in four underlying or contextual levels of reorganization and change. The four underlying levels of reorganizing are restructuring (level 1), redesigning core processes (level 2), reframing mental models (level 3), and regenerating common will (level 4).
When leaders face a challenge, they must choose whether (1) to react directly to the issue (level 0) or (2) to step back, reflect, and reorganize the underlying contextual levels that gave rise to the challenge in the first place. Accordingly, we can distinguish among five different responses to change: reaction (the response on level 0), restructuring (the response on level 1), redesigning (the response on level 2), reframing (the response on level 3), and regenerating (the response on level 4).
The Invisible Territory of Leadership Practice
The invisible territory of a leadership practice (aka. blind spot) concerns the inner place from which an action—what leaders do—originates. Leaders are usually well aware of what they do and what others do; they also have some understanding of the process: how they do things, the processes they and others use when they act. And yet, there is a blind spot: usually they are unable to answer the question “Where does our action come from?” The blind spot concerns the (inner) source from which they operate when they do what they do—the quality of attention that they use to relate to the world (Scharmer, 2001).
I first began thinking about this blind spot when talking with the former a Senior Manager from IBM due to my research study about organisational learning. She told me that her greatest insight after years of conducting organizational learning projects was that “the success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.” That sentence struck a chord. What counts is as Scharmer (2001) stated not only what leaders do and how they do it, but the inner place from which they operate (Scharmer, 2001).
I also realized that not only individuals but also organizations, institutions, and societies as a whole have this blind spot. What might really set successful organizations and societies apart has to do with that dimension that Senior Manager was talking about: the inner place from which a person, an organization, or a system operates.
The issue that most of today’s leaders face is that they haven’t yet learned how to see below the surface, how to decipher the subtle structures and principles of the territory underneath. They haven’t got the proper methods and tools yet that would allow them to dig beneath the surface to learn what otherwise would remain invisible. And yet, it is this invisible territory that is the most important when it comes to creating the conditions for good learning to occur. Maybe, leaders can learn to see what so far has largely remained invisible: the full process of coming-into-being of social action, the creation of a social reality (Scharmer, 2001). This invisible territory beneath the surface (aka. the territory of the blind spot) is what leaders should explore and describe.
Scharmer (2001) claims that the attention of the actor, group, or organization is exactly the blind spot that corresponds to the invisible quality of the field underneath the surface. He believes that the term ‘field structure of attention’ allows researchers to get their arms around a surface layer of social fields that is still somewhat accessible to scientific observation (Scharmer, 2001). In social fields the corresponding area is where the light of consciousness—our attention—meets and is permeated by that which normally is in the background of our awareness—the structure based upon which we pay attention to the world (Scharmer, 2001). Each field structure of attention embodies a particular type of relationship between the self and the world. Scharmer (2001) identifies seven archetypal field structures of attention that map the territory of the blind spot. They are:
1. Downloading: projecting habits of thought (seeing 0)
2. Seeing: precise observation from outside (seeing 1)
3. Sensing: perception from within the field/whole (seeing 2)
4. Presencing: perception from the source/highest future possibility (seeing 3)
5. Crystallizing vision and intent (seeing/acting from the future field)
6. Prototyping living examples and microcosms (in dialogue with emerging environments)
7. Embodying the new in practices, routines, and infrastructures.
These seven field structures of attention describe seven different ways of relating the self to the world. The one probably least familiar is that of presencing, a term that blends the two words “pre-sensing” and “presence.”According to Scharmer (2001), it means to pre-sense and bring into presence one’s highest future potential. Presencing liberating one’s perception from the “prison” of the past and then letting it operate from the field of the future. This means that we literally shift the place from which our perception operates to another vantage point. In practical terms, presencing means that we link ourselves in a very real way with our “highest future possibility” and that we let it come into the present. Presencing is always relevant when past-driven reality no longer brings us forward, and when we have the feeling that we have to begin again on a completely new footing in order to progress.
Presencing is both an individual and a collective phenomenon. For a social system to be transformed and for a profound innovation to come into being, the process must cross a threshold at the bottom of the ‘U’ (Scharmer, 2001). That threshold can be referred to as the eye of the needle. It is the location of the Self—one’s highest future possibility, both individually and collectively. At the moment we face that deep threshold, as economist Brian Arthur once put it, “everything that is not essential has to go away.” Having crossed this threshold, we experience a subtle and yet fundamental shift of the social field. So, instead of operating from a small localized self at the center of our own boundaries, we change our focus to operate from a larger presence that emerges from a sphere around us. The seven field qualities listed above represent archetypal patterns that apply to the evolution of systems at all levels (individuals, groups, institutions, ecosystems, and so forth) (Scharmer, 2001). They capture an evolutionary grammar of emerging systems from the viewpoint of the actors who actually bring about this process.
Every human being has the potential to activate this deeper capacity. Yet, although most people have had small pockets of this experience in their lives, they are quick to assert that this level of operating is not only very difficult to sustain but also seems almost impossible to perform on a collective level. In most institutions, people spend the most time in the mode of downloading, not in the mode of sensing or presencing the best future potential. What is missing, though, is the social leadership technology that would allow them to shift from learning from the past to learning from presencing emerging futures.
Defining the Social Technology of Leadership
The core of the social technology of leadership revolves around illuminating the blind spot by learning to use one’s self as the vehicle for the coming-into-being of one’s future potential (Scharmer, 2001). Scharmer (2001) defines leadership as the capacity to shift the inner place from which a system operates. And the most important tool in this leadership work is the leader him- or herself, and his or her capacity to make that shift first.
The seven field structures of attention and their underlying principles apply to the evolution of all systems (individuals, groups, institutions, ecosystems, and so forth). They provide a method for producing a common capacity to act from full presence in the “now” (Scharmer, 2001). They also introduce a language to articulate a universal social grammar for bringing forth new worlds (Scharmer, 2001). Presencing is both an individual and a collective phenomenon. The point of the presencing theory is that, for a social system to go through a profound process of transformation, the process must cross a subtle threshold, a threshold that Scharmer (2001) refers to as the eye of the needle. The eye of the needle is the Self—our highest future possibility, both individually and collectively.
Changing one’s method of leadership, when defined as shifting the place from which a system operates, involves a deep cultivation and inversion of one’s quality of attention.
• the inversion of thinking: from being bound by judgmental reactions to opening up one’s thoughts as a gateway to perception and apprehension (“access your ignorance”)
• the inversion of feeling: from being bound by emotional reactions to opening up one’s heart as a gateway to sensing—to enhanced perception and apprehension (“access your emotional intelligence”)
• the inversion of will: from being bound by old intentions and identities to letting go of them and opening up to one’s higher self as gateway to presencing the new that wants to emerge (“access your Self”).
The blind spot can be described in terms of experience (the self), leadership (source of action), organizational learning (learning from the future rather than the past), systems theory (deep field conditions from which social systems arise), as well as capitalism and democracy. For each aspect the same point could be made: that there is a blind spot in the current theory and practice of leading, learning, and change—and that the blind spot concerns the deeper source, the inner place from which an individual or a system operates. The following five practices appear paramount:
- observing: seeing reality with fresh eyes
- sensing: tuning in to emerging patterns that inform future possibilities
- presencing: accessing one’s inner sources of creativity and will
- envisioning: crystallizing vision and intent
- executing: acting in an instant to capitalize on new opportunities
These five practices embody a single movement of co-sensing, co-presencing, and cocreating the reality that wants to emerge.
The cultivation of this leadership capacity involves an inversion of one’s field quality of attention. Crossing the thresholds requires one to transform old patterns of thought, emotion, and intention by (Scharmer, 2001):
• opening the mind: through appreciative inquiry rather than judgmental reaction;
• opening the heart: by providing a gateway to sensing rather than reacting emotionally;
• opening the will: by opening up to one’s higher self and letting go of old intentions and identities.
Performing this new art of leadership effectively requires developing and refining a new leadership technology—a social technology of leadership. In contrast to a social technology of manipulation or control, a social leadership technology focuses on methods and tools that help diverse groups of stakeholders to see, sense, and create together in a way that transforms past patterns and actualizes future possibilities. The most important tool of this technology is the leader’s self, his or her capacity to shift the inner place from which he or she operates.
Arthur, W. B. (2000), Sense Making in the New Economy. Conversation with W. Brian Arthur,
Xerox Parc, Palo Alto, April 16, 1999, in: Scharmer, C.O. et al (eds.), Accessing Experience, Awareness and Will. 25 Dialogue-Interviews on the foundation of knowledge, awareness and leadership. Unpublished project report, Cambridge, MA, August 2000, Vol. IV: 541-576.
Castells, M. (1996-98), The information age: economy, society, and structure. vol.s 1-3. London: Blackwell.
Conlin, M. (1999) Religion in the Workplace, The growing presence of spirituality in Corporate America, in: Business Week, New York, November 1, 1999. Issue: 3653
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990), Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, N.Y.: Harper Perennial.
Depraz, N., F. Varela and P Vermersch (1999), The Gesture of Awareness. An account of its structural dynamics, in: M.Velmans (Ed.), Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness, Benjamin Publishers, Amsterdam.
Kelly, K. (1998), New Rules for the New Economy. 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World. New York, NY: Viking.
About the author:
Ayse is a graduate student in the field of organizational learning and now an adjunct lecturer and consultant in this field. You can find more info about Ayse at http://www.aysekok.info/
Leaders from around all types of fields are facing a new kind of challenge: coping with the various waves of disruptive, revolutionary change. One wave has to do with the rise of the Internet-based “new” business and its driving force, the process of digitization (Castells, 1998; Kelly 1998). A second has to do with the rise of new relational patterns and their underlyinAyse Kok Articles
In an interview, comedian Joan Rivers was asked how she stayed so thin and trim and the interviewer said, “Do you do a lot of exercising?” “Oh, my Lord no,” said Rivers. “If God had intended me to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the ground.”
When actress and screen writer, Mae West, was asked about dieting she said, “I never worry about diets. The only carrots I’m interested in are the carats in a diamond.”
Hungarian born American film and stage actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor said that she never hated a man enough to give him back his diamonds. And she received diamonds from 9 husbands.
Diamonds have been considered precious for centuries. Geologists say diamonds were formed billions of years ago deep inside the earth by tremendous heat and pressure. They have literally been around since the beginning of time and they will last through eternity. As the title to a popular James Bond movie states, Diamonds Are Forever, literally.
Even though they have been around forever, diamonds are rare and they are hard to find. They come to the surface of the earth during volcanic eruptions in a bluish substance called kimberlite.
To find these rough diamonds, you can search in the marshes, ponds, streams and lakes near volcanos that have erupted, or you can dig deep mines to find rough diamonds still inside the earth. However, you have to process about 22 to 100 tons of kimberlite to find one diamond. This makes a diamond very precious.
Each stone is unique and it takes a skilled technician to cut and polish the rough stone into the beautiful diamond that sells for thousands, even millions of dollars.
Application for the Charismatic Leader
Charismatic and savvy business leaders are rare. They are hard to find. Charismatic leaders are unique, each having their own facets of strength. They are precious because of the value they add to organizations. They become skilled technicians as they form, develop, and polish people into productive teams.
The four qualities of diamond you can put into your life to become a more charismatic leader are:
1) Diamond Hardness: Diamond is the hardest natural substance in nature. It is four times harder than the next hardest substance. It can cut through any other natural substance so it is used extensively in industry for drilling and polishing.
As a charismatic leader: When I ask you to emulate the hardness of diamonds, I DO NOT want you to be hard to get along with, I DO NOT want you to be hard on people; I DO NOT want you to be hard on yourself.
I do want you to equate the hardness of a diamond with being HARDY – self-determining and self-reliant. And TOUGH – tough enough not to fracture and break from the economic pressures faced in organizations today; tough enough to tell the truth; tough enough to cut through problems to solutions.
2) Diamond Clarity: Diamond has greater clarity or transparency than any other solid or liquid substance. The greater clarity in a diamond, the greater the value.
As a charismatic leader: We are going to translate this into clarity of purpose. The clearer you are on the goals of your organization, your own department or team, the greater impact you’ll have on daily productivity because work will be tied directly to results. Daily efforts bring you and your employees closer to successfully executing your organizational stewardship.
Clarity for your organization, department, unit or team comes from goals setting and time management processes. Do not feel this work is insignificant but give it the time it deserves.
3) Diamond Melting Point: Diamond has the highest melting point of any natural substance: 6422 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a charismatic leader: When it comes to relationships, have a high melting point and give others the benefit of a doubt. Work to raise the melting point of discussions and disagreements. Model for your employees the ability to Pause, Think, and then ACT. Not the reverse order: Act (often inappropriately), then pause and think. Your goal is to replace meltdowns with dialog.
4) Diamond Conductivity: Diamond conducts heat better than anything – five times better than the second best element that conducts heat, silver.
As a charismatic leader: The “heat” you need to conduct is positive energy and a belief in the future. On a daily basis I encourage you to be the conductor of optimism and hope. If you can be a positive leader, you will be as a beacon of light in the darkness.
These four qualities of the element diamond are fundamental for you to emulate in your leadership career. Master them, and your employees will WANT to follow you as they give you discretionary effort, a prize to be cherished by any leader.
About the author:
Karla Brandau is CEO of Workplace Power Institute. The Workplace Power Institute helps organizations be more competitive in the global marketplace by removing blocks to organizational productivity and improving collaboration. For more program information visit the web site: www.WorkplacePowerInstitute.com
In an interview, comedian Joan Rivers was asked how she stayed so thin and trim and the interviewer said, “Do you do a lot of exercising?” “Oh, my Lord no,” said Rivers. “If God had intended me to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the ground.” When actress and screen writer, Mae West, was asked about dieting she said, “I never worry about dKarla Brandau Articles
What if servant leadership had not been initially labeled servant leadership? How many times has this been pondered as this value-laden leadership concept evolved? And why does the name itself present an impediment for implementation, empirical researching, and overall comprehension? Could we not argue that the oxymoronic implication the terminology suggests has hindered the spirited and necessary debate within leadership, management and organizational behavioral circles, both academic and anecdotal, to nearly subjugate this important leadership theory to others such as transformational or authentic leadership?
This brief essay is not intended to offer substantiated results of exhaustive research that are based on testing terminologies and definitions in an effort to “poll”, if you will, labels that might be less controversial. But when most – at least in my experience – conversations about servant leadership begin with an obligatory and extensive discussion on the terminology itself rather than on the characteristics of the theory, it causes me to wonder what if our beloved founder, Mr. Greenleaf, had selected another term. Of course one could make the argument that a conversation on the definition of the term aids the overall explanation of the theory. But I will leave that debate for another day.
So what is it specifically about the term servant leadership that creates a barrier to further understanding? I believe that the challenges are primarily three-fold: the contradiction inherent in the term, the religious connotations that are implied and the lack of operational clarity offered by the theory’s title. I offer the suggestion that a slight adjustment to the theory terminology e.g. the name of it could open the door to further acceptance within the wider community.
Servant and its entomological cousin, service, by its very definition imply assuming an inferior position to a master or leader. Those who are either in positions of leadership or those who aggressively seek these offices (which causes its own set of servant leadership implementation issues) are immediately disengaged when they encounter passive terminology. How can one effectively and efficiently lead while taking an inferior posture. Moving past this initial barrier may be accomplished if the individual is able to transform servant into supporting or, better yet, into stewardship rather than focusing on the more stereotypical passive role of a servant.
Issues of faith are complicated within a standard corporate environment. Not only does their exist an intangible quality to one’s belief system that varies greatly across the world but also there are human resource and legal implications that have to be seriously considered which makes the discussion of religion taboo within most situations. The frequent use of the term servant within religious circles as well as the well-used example of Jesus Christ as the pinnacle of servant leadership has given the impression to many that servant leadership is strictly a faith based approach to leadership and may work in those arenas but not in a serious business environment.
Compounding this issue is the servant leadership community itself. There have been many academic programs that have emerged that teach servant leadership and have attempted to define the theory for future research. Many of these “centers” have emerged at faith-based institutions that teach the subject within a biblical context. Certainly there are moral parallels within servant leadership that align well with religious instructions but until the servant leadership community matures past “do these things because they are the right thing to do” and into demonstrating compelling, measurable increases in output; the theory will continue to remain primarily anecdotal.
Finally, the term does not provide implicit instructions on how to implement the style. Authentic leadership means to lead authentically. Transformational leadership means to lead by transforming. When our hypothetical corporate leader stumbles across servant leadership, although those of us within the subculture know that it means to lead by serving, to the CEO this immediately brings up connotations of inferiority which brings us back to square one of this essay. What if servant leadership was not called servant leadership?
I ask this question merely to generate conversation on a clear hindrance to the development of this wonderful leadership concept. Is it possible to alter the labeling terminology to open up the concept to further research or is the fact that the term “servant” being in the definition give the theory strength and separation from other value-laden leadership approaches? What other terms could be applied to allow the theory to gain more widespread recognition?
About the author:
JJ Musgrove is currently the Director of Donor Services, Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley in Columbus, Georgia. He joined the community foundation’s staff in April of 2011 after serving for six and a half years as the executive director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in the same city. He has a bachelor of arts in theatre from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, and a masters of arts in theatre from the University of Central Missouri. He is currently enrolled in the masters of organizational leadership, servant leadership track at Columbus State University. He is a featured speaker on arts administration, nonprofit leadership and fundraising, and value-laden leadership theories. He is a member of the Greenleaf Center on servant leadership and serves on the panels of the Columbus Cultural Arts Alliance and the Georgia Council for the Arts.
What if servant leadership had not been initially labeled servant leadership? How many times has this been pondered as this value-laden leadership concept evolved? And why does the name itself present an impediment for implementation, empirical researching, and overall comprehension? Could we not argue that the oxymoronic implication the terminology suggests has hindered the spirJJ Musgrove Articles
It's mind boggling, to say the least. If you took all the accumulated knowledge in the history of the world and put it into a pile, you'd have an enormous pile. But 3 years later, you could put another pile of the same size next to the first one, and it would consist of all the new knowledge that has accumulated in just those 3 years.
1. Information Explosion
New knowledge breeds new knowledge. One idea leads to another idea and another ten ideas. Knowledge doesn't just grow; it multiplies.
No one knew that better than the world-famous, Nobel-winning physicist Dr. Albert Einstein. While teaching at Princeton, he was walking back to his office after giving his students their final exam. As he walked along, he was accompanied by his teaching assistant who asked, Dr. Einstein, wasn't that the same exam you gave last year?"
Einstein said, "Yeah, the same exam." But his assistant wondered, "How could you give the same exam 2 years in a row?" Einstein answered, "Well, the answers have changed."
How true. Information explosion brings new knowledge, new answers, and even new words. Perhaps you've heard some of the newest words floating around some organizations these days. They include:
*BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed, how a project failed, and who was responsible.
*ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
*CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.
*PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.
*MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.
*STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.
*SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
*XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.
*PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the heck out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
*OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake, such as hitting "Send" on an e-mail by mistake.
So yes, information explosion is driving change, but most people are woefully unprepared. They're not keeping up or even trying to keep up with the information that will be critical to their personal and professional success. According to the American Booksellers Association, 80% of American families did not buy or read a single book last year. And 58% of American adults never read another book after they finish high school, including 42% of college grads. Apparently, books are widely distributed and evenly ignored.
It makes no sense to me. If you're going to survive and thrive in the midst of information explosion, you must make a commitment to knowledge acquisition. Knowledge is the raw material of success. And knowledge ... turned into skill ... is one of the ways you can cope with change and succeed in change.
Contrary to popular opinion, ignorance is not bliss. As the Haitian proverb states, "Ignorance doesn't kill you but it makes you sweat a lot." And lose a lot.
But there's no need for that. Information is everywhere. Take advantage of it. Read books and educational articles. Listen to motivational recordings. Go to seminars. The top 10% in any field ALWAYS do that, and they do it on a consistent, regular basis. As Benjamin Franklin said, "We are all born ignorant, but you have to work hard to stay that way."
Another major driving force in our world of change is...
It wasn't too many years ago people used to brag about being computer illiterate. They would pronounce, somewhat proudly, they didn't even know how to turn on a computer. And people around them would nod and smile. But now, if you were to say you didn't know how to turn on a computer, people would no longer nod and smile. They will look at you with pity.
If you're going to make it in these changing times, you must understand two things about technology. First, it's coming out faster and faster. According to Gordon Moore's law, the speed of information processing doubles every 2 years as the cost drops in half. And his law has proven to be right for 45 years.
Just look at these examples to see how the pace of technology is increasing.
TECHNOLOGY YEAR INVENTED YEAR MANUFACTURED NUMBER OF YEARS FROM CONCEPTION TO PRODUCTION
Florescent light 1852-1934 = 82 years
Ball point pen 1888-1938 = 50 years
Television 1907-1936 = 29 years
Transistor 1940-1950 = 10 years
Computer 1946-1954 = 8 years
Nuclear fission 1941-1945 = 4 years
Of course, these days, the time between conception and production may be a matter of months or weeks instead of years. The pace of new technology is RAPIDLY increasing.
The second thing you must understand about technology is the fact that it is always resisted ... at first. As the great engineer Charles Kettering observed, "Everybody is naturally negative to anything outside his own experience."
Almost every technological advance has some aspects to it that are unintelligible to the ordinary mind. And what people do not understand ... they deride out of ignorance or oppose out of fear.
Your only salvation is to keep up with the new technology and adopt those technologies that make sense in your career or your personal life. That's why my professional group ... called Master Speakers International ... spends a few hours every year sharing the new technologies we've learned and recommend to one another.
Despite the initial resistance that always comes with new technologies, there is some good news. Once you learn to use the new technology, you almost never want to go back to the old way of doing things.
I remember that when I was conducting seminars for the Safeway food stores years ago. As you may remember, grocery employees used to put a price sticker on every item in the store, and the cashier had to manually key in every price for every item at the check-out counter. The process was time consuming and the margin of error was high.
Then the bar code scanning system entered the grocery stores in the mid 1980's. It allowed the cashier to simply scan the grocery items across an instrument panel that automatically decoded and accurately recorded the prices. At first, the cashiers were skeptical. They were afraid of the new "cash registers."
But after their initial fear disappeared, the cashiers loved the new technology. There were fewer mistakes, and they could check out many more customers in a given period of time. Today, if the scanners were taken away and if the old cash registers were re-installed, the cashiers would not be happy.
The point is ... people forget the fear of change as soon as they realize the benefit of change.
Finally, the third driving force in change is...
It's everywhere. In fact competition is fiercer today than ever before in human history. Every business has to somehow or other compete with every other business on the face of the Earth.
With the explosion of information and technology, there just aren't that many ignorant, uninformed customers or prospective customers left anymore. Just about everybody knows what everything costs, or they can find out who sells it cheaper and delivers it faster somewhere else in the world. And just about everybody knows the difference between quality and a lack of quality, and they want quality.
But even those two things ... cost and quality ... are no longer good enough to stay competitive.
When I surveyed thousands of American managers years ago, I asked them what they thought was the key to success in the future of their business. They all said "quality". A short time later, while I was teaching in Japan, I asked the same question of Japanese managers. They all said "innovation". From their point of view, quality was a given; quality was the minimum requirement to even be in business. But it would take innovation to stay in business in such a highly competitive world. I think they were right.
You've got to innovate ... which means you've got to keep on changing things to satisfy your customer ... who wants a safer car, a more energy-efficient home, a faster computer, a more colorful cell phone, and a million new other products. The competition is providing those things, so you have to as well.
It's no longer safe to be a slow lion or a plodding gazelle. As the story goes, every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up and knows he must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. And every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and knows he has to run faster than the slowest member of the herd to live that day. So it doesn't matter if you're a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.
Design your own plan for your own continuing education so you stay on top of change rather than beneath it.
About the author:
2011 Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman, a full-time professional speaker who specializes in attitude, motivation, and leadership programs that pay off. For more information on his programs ... or to receive your own free subscription to the 'Tuesday Tip' ... go tohttp://www.drzimmerman.com/
It's mind boggling, to say the least. If you took all the accumulated knowledge in the history of the world and put it into a pile, you'd have an enormous pile. But 3 years later, you could put another pile of the same size next to the first one, and it would consist of all the new knowledge that has accumulated in just those 3 years. 1. InformatioAlan Zimmerman Articles
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