11 Must-Do’s for a Kick A$$ Q4

October 30th, 2018
There are three months left in 2018 – are you primed to make the most of them? Here’s what you should be doing now to finish Q4 strong – and create momentum to make next year your best yet.

 

Leadership Tip of the Month: Choosing the Right Leadership Style

October 30th, 2018

Consider these questions when choosing the right style for you, your team and your entire organization:

  1. How do I like to help people?
  2. What leadership style will best suit my direct reports? (Consider experience, demographic factors, team size, member interdependence, nature of work and individual personalities)
  3. What did I like best about my favorite manager / least about my worst manager?
  4. How important are social relationships to team and organizational success?
  5. What leadership style aligns best with the organization’s mission, long-term goals and overall culture?

Leadership Tip of the Month: Systematically Evaluating Alternatives

September 6th, 2018
To make a complex decision, ask questions to determine where you are now – and the best path to follow. Customize and expand upon questions like these to systematically weigh your options:
1) Who must weigh in? What are their perspectives, issues, pain points and motivations?
2) What are the limiting factors (e.g., time, money, technology, process bottlenecks, expertise)?
3) Whom will this decision impact?
4) What’s at stake (i.e., what if you make the wrong decision – or do nothing)?
5) What will likely happen if you do “A,” “B” or “C”?
6) How will you define and measure the success of this decision?

Grow Your Own Superstars: Get MORE From Middle Performers

September 6th, 2018

Average employees comprise 60 percent of the workforce. With these strategies, you can tap the potential of middle performers — and dramatically improve your organization’s performance:

Stop and think for a moment about the employees who receive the most attention from you. If you’re like most leaders, two groups come to mind: Your highest performers and your lowest performers.

But what about those employees who are doing just enough to stay off your radar?

Average employees who meet expectations but don’t exceed them make up 60 percent of your workforce and likely receive the least of your attention.

Ignoring your average performers is a mistake.

If your entire team is to succeed, you need to develop those employees. And let’s be honest — in today’s employment market, hiring a rock star is hard. It takes time, it costs money and the margin for error is great. With a little bit of attention and coaching from you, however, your average performers can develop into the rock-star team you’ve always dreamed of. Here’s how to tap their potential:

Define Clear Duties and Goals

One of the biggest reasons why employees fail to exceed expectations is the fact that they don’t know what your expectations are. Take the time to sit down with every employee to make sure their job description aligns with the duties they are performing and adjust them as needed. This may mean updating the descriptions, moving tasks around or a combination of both.

Once everyone is clear about what they are supposed to do, define success for them by setting clear goals. Remember that strong goals follow the SMART framework:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-based
  • Time-based

A clearly defined set of duties and clearly defined goals that speak directly to those duties gives employees a roadmap to success.

Check In and Provide Two-Way Feedback

Once everyone has their goals in place and they know what they need to be doing, set aside time at least once per month for one-on-one meetings to address progress. These meetings don’t have to be long, but they should be non-negotiable.

Provide actionable feedback the employee can use to improve their performance and ask each person what they need from you in order to achieve their goals. If someone is struggling, work out action steps they can take to get back on track quickly.

Ask Them What They Want

You may find that some of your average performers are perfectly content to stay exactly where they are. But you will likely find that most of your team members do have goals and they have an idea of what it is they want their job and their career to look like.

When you have one-on-one meetings with your team members, ask them what it is they are looking for from their career. If an employee wants to become a manager, for example, take steps to help them. Connect them with a mentor, help them map a career path, and let them know the gaps they need to fill in their skills and experience in order to take that next step.

Showing an interest in their personal goals can help reignite their passion for their work, and it will give you an idea of what motivates them to succeed.

Reward Great Work With New Responsibility

Many people fall into “average” territory because they simply aren’t being pushed beyond their limits. If someone has been doing the exact same tasks the exact same way for two years, they are bound to get a little complacent. As you start working with your employees towards goal achievement, reward those people you see improving by giving them new responsibilities.

Trusting employees with something new shows them that their efforts are not going unnoticed, and they will feel honored that you’re allowing them a chance to spread their wings. New duties and responsibilities also help energize employees by breaking up the monotony of their core tasks, and can improve their overall engagement.

Make It Safe to Fail Forward

Average employees are used to flying quietly under your radar and they aren’t apt to rock the boat by trying a new approach or testing a new idea. They may feel that failure will put them on your radar for all the wrong reasons. However, success is built on the back of failure and if you want average performers to grow, they must feel safe stepping outside their comfort zone.

Create a culture where failure is acceptable — within reason. You don’t want to promote failure every day, but start instilling in your team that a failure every now and then isn’t the end of the world. You can build that trust by sharing your own failures when they occur, and letting your team know exactly what you learned. Help them understand that they should always strive for successful outcomes, but if they try their best and happen to fail, it’s ok — as long as they learn from that failure and use it to improve in the future.

If you are looking for more strategies for success, or if you want to hire rock stars for your team, contact your staffing or recruiting partner today.

Leadership Tip of the Month: Attitude Is Everything

February 15th, 2018
Leadership Tip of the Month
When you’re working, pay attention to how you view your responsibilities, not merely what you’re doing. As a leader, the attitude you choose (yes, it’s a choice!) to bring to your activities is as important as what you actually do; it influences employees’ behavior, shapes your culture and ultimately, affects your bottom line.

What Can Aluminum Teach You About Leadership Development?

January 20th, 2018

Like the element, great performers are everywhere — but extracting their potential requires mining their skills and nurturing their development.

 

Certain materials have consistently been valuable throughout history. People have valued gold and silver, literally, forever. The value of other precious metals has varied over time. Today, I am going to tell you the brief history of aluminum; I think it will surprise you. But more importantly, I will translate these lessons to us as leaders — lessons more valuable than aluminum.

Aluminum is the most prevalent metal in the earth’s crust, even more common than iron ore. But since it can’t be extracted from ore with heat, it remained unused until 1825 when Hans Christian Oersted created a few flakes of what now is considered an aluminum alloy. Whatever it was, those who saw it, wanted it. It looked like a brand new precious metal.

Here’s a brief history of what followed from Slate.com:

…aluminum became more precious than gold and silver in the 19th century, because it was harder to obtain. The French government once displayed Fort Knox-like aluminum bars next to the crown jewels, and the minor emperor Napoleon III reserved a prized set of aluminum cutlery for special guests at banquets. (Less favored guests used gold knives and forks.) The United States, to show off its industrial prowess, even capped the Washington monument with a six-pound pyramid of aluminum in 1884. By 1888, the company now known as Alcoa could produce up to 50 pounds per day, 20 years later demand was 88,000 pounds per day. In September of 2017, daily global production of aluminum (according to world-aluminum.org) was over 350 million pounds. The earliest records for the price of aluminum, in the mid 1800s was $550 per pound. 50 years later you could buy the same pound for just a quarter.

And now? Aluminum is everywhere, and while not treasured as it once was, it’s utility and wide and varied uses make it a valued and powerful force in the world economy.

What does all of that have to do with leaders?

Too many people think of great performers like people in the mid-1800s thought of aluminum — extremely rare and, therefore, to be highly treasured. Those people are right, if they don’t know how to extract the potential, mine the skills and nurture the development of great performers. In other words, if you believe you can’t extract the potential and reliably turn it into productivity, then great performance will be seen as rare.

But the facts about aluminum in 1825 were no different than they are today — then, as now, aluminum was everywhere. The only difference was that people didn’t know how to access it then. That fact didn’t change the abundance of the material.

So, while there are people everywhere with tremendous potential, if we don’t know how to help them see it and extract that potential, we will only see the rock stars as tremendously valuable. But if we see the world clearly, knowing that tremendous potential is everywhere, and then go to work extracting and refining that potential, we will be far ahead of those opining for the rare rock star.

Your job as a leader isn’t to search for the rock star, as much as it is to see potential and become a “human chemist” working to transform that potential into productivity and results. While doing this well is a life-long endeavor, here are three things you can do today to start your personal transformation, setting the stage for using the valuable potential of others more predictably and successfully.

1. See potential. If you don’t see it, or know it is there, nothing will change.

2. Help others see it too. It isn’t enough for you to see it. Know that many people can’t see what you see, or their belief in themselves is damaged to the point they know longer believe they have any potential.

3. Give them opportunities to use it. As a leader you can provide a safe place for them to try things, build their confidence, and begin to see their potential as real.

Once you have helped people get started you have two more important roles:

1. Encourage progress. No one gets it all right the first time; yet they don’t fail completely either. Encourage the wins and help people build their confidence and momentum.

2. Provide guidance. While encouragement is needed, so too is guidance and correction. Potential won’t turn to productivity without help; and that guidance and correction is part of your job too. When that is done with the hopeful belief in a great future, the guidance will be seen as more valuable and, therefore, more likely accepted by the other person.

Potential is everywhere. It is our job as a leader to help people see it and use it for everyone’s benefit.

Leadership Tip of the Month

January 20th, 2018
As a leader, you must never view a problem as a distraction, but rather as a strategic enabler for continuously improving and identifying new opportunities. To effectively overcome challenges, use this four-step process:

  1. Communicate transparently, facilitating dialogue among all parties affected.
  2. Break down management silos to facilitate cross-functional collaboration and problem solving.
  3. Hire and develop open-minded people who see beyond obvious details and are comfortable with calculated risk-taking.
  4. Develop a solid strategy for solving problems by gathering the right people, resources, budget and experiential knowledge to work on it.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/11/04/the-4-most-effective-ways-leaders-solve-problems/#419f85904f97

Leadership Tip of the Month

March 23rd, 2017
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire teammates and customers.”
— Robin S. Sharma

Leadership TIP of the Month

November 11th, 2016

Leadership Tip of the Month

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining — it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.”

–Zig Ziglar

Leadership Tip of the Month: Great Leaders Always Do These Things

September 30th, 2016
Put Your Weirdness into Your Work
  • Set worthy — and clear — objectives
  • Gather intelligence, including market research and competitive analysis
  • Create sound tactical plans for achieving goals
  • Use every available asset when pursuing objectives
  • Remain highly visible, especially when things become difficult

Source: http://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/23-things-great-leaders-always-do.html