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Rekindle Your Creative Thinking

Working Resources is an Executive Coaching San Francisco Bay Area Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Creative Thinking

I recently spoke with the Human Resources Director of a company regarding providing executive coaching for the company president. The HR Director asked some very pertinent questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for initiating behavioral change.

The HR Director and I spoke about my approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior and business acumen are important competencies for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a culture where innovation flourishes.

The Human Resource Director is interested in partnering with me in helping the president to become a more motivational and inspire his executive team to ignite their creativity. We further discussed how company executives can benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.

According to a global IBM survey of chief executives, creativity is the most sought-after trait in leaders today.

Without continual breakthroughs, Facebook, Google, Apple, Procter & Gamble and General Electric couldn’t sustain success.

It starts with an innovation mindset. Creativity isn’t something that’s learned, as much as rediscovered. Most people are born creative. Just look at children to see how naturally they use their imaginations. But somewhere around adolescence, we begin to stifle our creative impulses as we become more aware of what other people think.

We learn to be more cautious and analytical. This tendency becomes even more pronounced as we join organizations that favor critical thinking. As we become mature contributors to corporate culture, we are continually rewarded for our analytical abilities.

Creative thinking takes a backseat, except in breakthrough situations. But you cannot achieve such innovations unless your company’s culture supports new ideas—even those that fail.

In “Reclaim Your Creative Confidence” (Harvard Business Review, December 2012), Tom Kelley and David Kelley suggest strategies for rediscovering our innate creative thinking abilities. The authors are the manager and founder, respectively, of IDEO, an international design and innovation consultancy.

They identify four common fears that block our best ideas from coming to fruition:

1. The messy unknown

2.  Being judged

3. Taking the first step

4. Losing control

Fear of the Messy Unknown

Creative thinking in business starts with having empathy for your customers. You cannot be truly inspired if you’re sitting comfortably behind your desk—unless, of course, you’re venturing into online forums and social sites where customers express their complaints.

Looking at spreadsheets filled with focus-group data won’t inspire breakthrough ideas. In the real and virtual worlds, you’ll hear unexpected, outside-the-box comments. Even feedback from irrational people—the customers whose comments you really don’t want to hear—can provide important insights.

Implement these strategies to conquer your fear of the messy unknown:

  • Visit online social sites to tap into customers’ grievances and desires.
  • Ask colleagues who regularly go into the field to report what customers are saying.
  • Seek opinions from an unexpected expert, such as a repairman.
  • Be a spy. Observe people in places where your product is used.
  • Interview potential customers in stores or other places they may be found.

Fear of Being Judged

Most of us care deeply about what others think of us. While we don’t mind being judged in some situations, we rarely risk our business-world egos.

We don’t want our bosses or peers to see us fail, as gossip spreads quickly in the workplace. We therefore stick to safe solutions and suggestions. We hang back, letting others take the risks. Unfortunately, this approach prevents us from unleashing creative ideas.

Trust your intuition and embrace your ideas. Write them down in an idea notebook so you can systematically find them, when appropriate. Keep something handy for note-taking during downtime: in the shower, next to the bed, while jogging, in the car.

You can also:

  • Schedule daily free-thinking time in your calendar.
  • Defer judgment or critical thinking until later.

Fear of Taking the First Step

Creative efforts are hardest at the beginning: writing the first sentence, making the first phone call, announcing the intended project. The first step can be anxiety-provoking and physically draining.

Stop focusing on the huge overall picture and find a small piece you can tackle right away. Give yourself a crazy deadline. Instead of “by the end of the week,” try for “before lunch.”

The first step will seem much less daunting if you make it a tiny one and force yourself to do it now.

Fear of Losing Control

Collaboration means losing complete control of your product, team and results. This is an enormous sacrifice, especially for control-oriented executives.

In reality, we have less control than we think. The downside of shunning collaboration is staying stuck with the same routines, products and business models. In a rapidly changing world, this really isn’t an option. If your business doesn’t change, it won’t sustain success in the long term.

Look for opportunities to cede control and leverage different perspectives. As a leader, you can:

  • Set up pilot projects.
  • Invite new people to participate.
  • Observe the culture to learn how mistakes are processed.
  • Make sure the unspoken rules don’t squelch risk-taking and creativity.
  • Frequently communicate shared values to reinforce creative thinking aligned with mission and purpose.

Focus on the Future

Top executives estimate they spend only about 3 percent of their time thinking about the critical issues that will shape their businesses 10 or more years down the road. It’s simply not enough.

Shift from small- to big-picture thinking by employing these strategies:

  • Daydream! Carve out time each week to peer into the distance and imagine what may be out there.
  • Take 30 minutes each day to learn what’s going on in your industry, with customers, and with your products’ and services’ potential future.
  • Ask others for imaginative thinking about the future. Create a task force to explore ideas.
  • Find out what competitors are envisioning. There are many ways to do this without spying (create relationships, host a panel, connect through trade organizations).

Even when the economy may be unhealthy, innovation must remain alive. Take a look at how the four fears that squash creativity are playing out in your corporate culture.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders to develop an innovation mindset? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more compelling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a creative leader?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their leadership development and innovation initiatives.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help tap into your creativity. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Sales and Communications: 16 Bad Habits You Can Change

Working Resources is an Executive Coaching San Francisco Bay Area Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Sales and Communications

Creating a positive experience for customers is every employee’s job, including those who work outside the sales department.

Unfortunately, training often overlooks key interpersonal skills for influencing others. Workers at all levels fail to understand that:

  • Customer expectations for the sales experience have increased.
  • Customers enjoy a broader, more competitive selection of products and services.
  • There is often misalignment between sales and service.
  • Customers define value both rationally and emotionally, yet less than 25 percent of salespeople are deemed proficient in core selling competencies.

Functional vs. Human Factors

“There are two sides to your job: functional and human,” write Marshall Goldsmith, Don Brown and Bill Hawkins in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There in Sales! (McGraw-Hill, 2011).

The functional arena of your job involves mastery of a product or service, including features, benefits, advantages, and proof of what the company does. You must know procedures, policies, process and pricing. You also need to master the computers, software and data systems that run the business and measure results.

Most of this functional mastery happens without customer interaction. The human arena determines whether you win, keep or lose a customer. Companies turn over 10 percent of their customer base every year, on average. Replacing this 10 percent, as well as adding to it, is a constant challenge that requires employee talent.

Every interaction with customers represents an opportunity to provide necessary information and ensure a valuable investment. View yourself as an educator who supplies everything customers need to benefit from your business. To accomplish this, you must learn to surpass their expectations.

Connecting Through Empathy

Empathy allows us to understand others’ feelings, thoughts and experiences. Customers must sense that you care about their needs.

Studies show, however, that our sense of empathy is eroding. The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan has collected data for more than 30 years, and researchers have found that young adults are 40 percent less empathetic than their counterparts in 1979. The ability to empathize dropped steeply in 2000, and narcissism rates have skyrocketed.

Many experts speculate that these trends can be attributed to increases in Internet usage, texting, and cell-phone and computer ubiquity. Regardless of the cause, the solution lies in regaining empathy.

Destructive Sales Habits

Goldsmith, Brown and Hawkins identify 16 negative habits that severely damage a customer’s sales experience:

1.  Failure to be present: repeated and annoying displays of behavior that indicate we’d rather be somewhere else, “some when” else or with someone else

2.  Vocal filler: the overuse of unnecessary and meaningless verbal qualifiers

3.  Selling past the close: the irresistible urge to verbalize and execute every possible step in the sales process

4.  Selective hearing: the absence of listening in the presence of a customer

5.  Contact without purpose: repeated, deliberate communication for no valid business reason (other than wanting to sell something)

6.  Curb qualifying: the tendency to judge a prospect’s means and motive superficially, from a distance

7.  Using tension as a tool: also known as “sale ends Saturday”

8.  One-upping: the constant need to top your conversational partner in an effort to show the world just how smart you are

9.  Over familiarity: the use of inappropriately intimate gestures

10.  Withholding passion and energy: the tendency to forget that people make decisions on the basis of emotion and later justify them with logic

11. Explaining failure: behaving under the erroneous belief that simply assigning blame, fault or guilt is enough to satisfy the customer

12.  Never having to say you’re sorry: an inability to apologize or accept responsibility for personal or organizational errors/injuries

13. Throwing others under the bus: sacrificing a colleague—often anonymous, often vulnerable and usually innocent—to cover up a functional failure

14.  Propagandizing: overreliance on organizational rhetoric and themes

15. Wasting energy: taking part in organizational blame-storming and pity parties

16. Obsessing over the numbers: achieving revenue, profit or productivity targets at the expense of metrics of a higher calling

It’s never easy to create a new habit, but you can easily choose to stop a bad one. Here’s the secret: Don’t try to change everything at once. Use the rule of three, whereby you identify only three of your bad habits and commit to stop doing them.

Most bad sales habits indicate an excess or deficit in either information or emotion. We usually share too much information or not enough emotion (or vice versa). This four-step action plan will help you neutralize bad habits:

1. Gather data. Notice the kinds of casual remarks others make about you. These comments contain key information that can help you improve your communications.

2. Find or develop a “mute button.” Allow seven seconds of silence to pass during your next conversation. You may find that this gap helps you listen more carefully instead of mentally working on your response. Also use this time to observe your conversation partner’s nonverbal communication.

3. Observe your own self-deception. Each of us denies certain behaviors to protect ourselves from discomfort. Identify what you can do—and stop doing—to achieve even greater success.

4. Work with a trusted peer, mentor or coach. Personal change rarely happens when we work in isolation. If it does occur, it’s usually harder to sustain. Studies show that sharing plans and following up with another person lead to long-term behavioral changes.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders to improve sales and communications? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I connect through empathy with customers to understand others’ feelings, thoughts and experiences?” Emotionally intelligent and sociallyintelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development and sales training programs.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help improve your sales and communications. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

Business Priorities for 2013

Working Resources is an Executive Coaching San Francisco Bay Area Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Business Priorities for 2013

Many business leaders I coach and consult with admit they spend a good deal of their time doing the everyday routine tasks – and as a consequence they rarely have time to think and plan their marketing and sales activities, to build their business. So what activities need to change to achieve a better result? Get clear about your key business objectives for 2013, focus on strategic projects, collaborate with your people to create goals and prioritize key tasks around them.

Rank your 2013 business priorities and areas of resource allocation.

  • innovation
  • strategy
  • culture change
  • succession planning
  • selection
  • leadership development
  • execution
  • analytics
  • customer service
  • social media

Focus on your company’s top priority, and make 2013 a remarkable year.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders to help prioritize business initiatives? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I spend a good deal of my time doing everyday routine tasks rather than think and plan my marketing and sales activities to build my business?” Emotionally intelligent and sociallyintelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development and sales training programs.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you prioritize your business objectives for 2013. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman

http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

The 5 Disciplines of Genius-Makers

Working Resources is an Executive Coaching San Francisco Bay Area Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

The 5 Disciplines of Genius-Makers

Some bosses make us better and smarter by eliciting and revitalizing our intelligence. Others seem to stifle intelligence and capability, always wanting to be seen as the smartest person in the room. They suck the energy out of the team, whose members end up looking or feeling dumb. IQs seem to drop, and meeting times double.

Multipliers follow five principles to bring out the best in people. Each allows workers to stretch so they can contribute greater effort and productivity.

1.  Attract and Optimize Talent: Be a Talent Manager

a.  You attract the best people when you take full advantage of their strengths.

b.  They subsequently let other talented people know about the benefits of working on your team.

c.  Talented people seek opportunities to grow and appreciate your efforts.

2.  Create Intensity that Requires Best Thinking: Be a Liberator

a.  You create an intense environment that demands people’s best thinking and work.

b.  People flourish under the right amount of pressure and support to perform their best work.

c.  You are empathetic, yet firm about expectations for high-quality work.

3.  Extend Challenges: Be a Challenger

a.  You define an opportunity that causes people to stretch.

b.  You give them freedom to make mistakes, learn from them and be creative.

c.  Instead of giving people answers, you ask the right questions and then stay out of their way.

4.  Debate Decisions: Be a Debate Maker

a.  You drive sound decisions through rigorous debate.

b.  People own outcomes and participate in course corrections without blaming.

c.  You challenge your people to ask the right questions and debate the true issues.

5.  Instill Ownership and Accountability: Be an Investor

a.  You give other people ownership for results and invest in their success.

b.  You hold high expectations across the organization, which leads people to hold themselves and each other accountable.

c. You provide the necessary resources for success.

Becoming a Genius-Maker

You needn’t excel in all five disciplines to be considered a multiplier who brings out the best in your people. You must, however, master two or three disciplines and be “good enough” in the remaining ones.

Instead of trying to perfect all five disciplines, create a development plan with your executive coach. Pick one key area of strength and develop it to a higher level.

Next, choose an area of weakness and strive to make improvements. View your leadership effectiveness on a continuum so it can be realistically achieved.

Diminisher-to-Multiplier Performance Continuum

Multiplier

Talent Manager

Liberator

Challenger

Debate Maker

Investor

Strength

 

 

 

 

 

Competent

 

 

 

 

Vulnerable

 

 

 

 

 

Diminisher

Empire  Builder

Tyrant

Know-It-All

Decision Maker

Micromanager

 

(Source: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown, HarperBusiness: 2010.)

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who maximize their people’s capabilities? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a genius or genius-maker?” Emotionally intelligent and sociallyintelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you bring out the best in people. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

The Parallel Worlds Of Gondolas And iPads

 

When we arrived in Venice last week, I could not locate a single car. Only gondolas and transport boats peppered the waterfront. After hundreds of years, the transportation system has barely changed. The gondola, a marvelous, ancient rowing craft, is part of a complex web of commercial and passenger interdependence, and has withstood the test of time. Will today's game-changing mobile innovations be able to boast the same infamy?

While we revel in the impact of mobile technology on our daily lives, think about how the gondola--one of the first mobile innovations to navigate the ancient Venetian canals--has endured centuries of social, economic, and political changes. In many ways, the gondola's rich history and stability remind me of how mobile technology has gained market dominance. I'm also intrigued by the parallels between the gondola and Apple's winning product streak:

  1. Few boat builders (squeri) own the market. Yes--after 750 years, only three companies still own the secret sauce. Imagine owning your market for hundreds of years without fear of competitors stealing market share. Apple's competitors are still jockeying for second and third position, and one--Samsung--has paid dearly for imitating Apple's user interface.
  2. People are willing to pay top dollar for a gondola experience. As of this writing, the cost of a forty minute ride is eighty euros--approximately $125. The price is non-negotiable. Many tourists pay extra for musicians. Just imagine Apple's profit margins on their devices and genius bars. Why bother with promotions when you have crowds lining up for hours in anticipation of your next release?
  3. Earning a gondoliere license is a tradition and a privilege. Gondolieres, as they are known, keep canal chaos to a minimum. Magnus and I watched with wonder as our gondoliere gracefully traversed the narrow Venetian canals. He was never fazed by the wave-producing passenger boats (vaporetti) that serve as public transport. When the polizia careened by our gondola in hot pursuit--leaving all boats in its wake--he calmly pulled aside, keeping us out of harm's way. I have no idea how he could gracefully glide the oar through those canals, but I knew he had years of experience under his belt. Apple makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to understand the inner workings of their operating system. I revere the technical support teams when I need to call them. And frankly, I don't really want to know how the device works internally. After nearly 30 years of watching Apple survive challenging and awe-inspiring moments, I believe in their ability to make reliable, durable devices.
  4. The gondola's appearance is distinctive. You won't find rowboats, canoes, or any other boat that remotely resembles a gondola.

The ferro, a sturdy iron symbol placed at the stem, is festooned with six "teeth" which represent the six districts of Venice. The top of the ferro represents the Doge of Venice's hat. The Doges ruled the Venetian republic for centuries, and cited gondolas as early as the 11th century in their letters. You can spot Apple's distinctive devices from any distance because they have maintained a common "ferro" of their own for the past decade. Apple products don't just represent sleek design and intuitive user interfaces. They have also spawned an accessory cottage industry.

While Venice's economic and architectural infrastructure continues to crumble, its timeless designs and traditions stay strong. How will our own mobile innovations be remembered in 500 years?

[Images: Courtesy Lisa Nirell, Flickr user [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/wasfiakab/3821172517/in/photostream/] Wasfi Akab]

--Author Lisa Nirell helps companies grow customer mind share and market share. Since 1983, Lisa has worked with Sony, Wells Fargo Advisors, Adobe, Microsoft, and hundreds of entrepreneurs in nine countries. Lisa is also an award-winning expert speaker, FastCompany expert blogger, and author of the acclaimed EnergizeGrowth® NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company. Download your sample chapter and business energy booster survey at energizegrowth.com.

This post originally appeared in FastCompany. Copyright 2012, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Categories: 

The Mindset of Effective Leaders

Working Resources is an Executive Coaching San Francisco Bay Area Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

The Mindset of Effective Leaders

Leadership consultants Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown explore how leaders make their people better in Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (HarperBusiness, 2010). Wiseman and McKeown divide leaders into two camps, based on the results they achieve: multipliers or diminishers.

Leadership effectiveness can be judged on a continuum. Some leaders, for example, are unintentionally diminishing, but they can switch directions when armed with the right mindset and communication tools.

Leaders are likely to act on one of two extreme beliefs:

1. Diminishing leaders believe their people will never be able to figure things out without explanation from a leader who provides all the answers.

2. Multiplying leaders believe their people are smart and can come up with solutions on their own.

The following table outlines the differences in these leaders’ approaches:

Challenge

Diminisher’s Mindset

Multiplier’s Mindse

How would you manage talent?

I must closely supervise people if I want them to complete assigned tasks.

If I can identify people’s genius, I can watch them succeed on their own.

 

How would you motivate for outcomes?

 

Pressure increases performance.

People’s best ideas must be given, not taken.

 

How would you solve problems?

I need to have all the answers.

People get smarter by being challenged.

 

How would you run debates?

There are only a few people worth listening to.

With enough minds, we can figure it out.

 

How would you develop your people?

People will never be able to figure things out without me.

People are smart and will figure things out independently.

Leading like a multiplier requires more than mimicking the approaches described above. You must believe in your people’s capabilities and trust them to use their intelligence and creativity to develop their own solutions. Act as a guide instead of an expert to achieve buy-in and self-sufficiency.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who have a multiplier mindset? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I multiplying or diminishing leader?” Emotionally intelligent and sociallyintelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you bring out the best in people. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

How Smart Leaders Bring Out the Best in People

Working Resources is an Executive Coaching San Francisco Bay Area Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams
 

Smart Leaders              

Some corporations have made hiring the most intelligent individuals a core strategy on the basis that smarter people can solve problems more quickly than the competition. But that only works if the organizations can access that intelligence.~ Stephen R. Covey

According to surveys on engagement, most workers have greater capabilities, creativity, talent, initiative and resourcefulness than their jobs allow—or even require—them to use.

Other surveys reveal that most workers feel pressured to produce more with less.

These results are paradoxical: People are underutilized and overworked at the same time.

Fortunately, some leaders understand how to create genius within their teams: They bring out the best in people. They’re “genius-makers.”

Many bosses, however, seem to excel at draining people of their intelligence and abilities.

Management guru Peter Drucker predicted the challenge of managing knowledge workers in the 21st century:

The most valuable assets of the 20th-century company were its production equipment. The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.

For the most part, leaders are highly intelligent and capable professionals—traits that facilitate their promotion to management. Some, however, experience a bumpy climb up the leadership ladder. So, how does one successfully make the shift from genius to genius-maker?

Leadership consultants Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown explore this question in Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (HarperBusiness, 2010).

Some bosses make us better and smarter by eliciting and revitalizing our intelligence. Others seem to stifle intelligence and capability, always wanting to be seen as the smartest person in the room. They suck the energy out of the team, whose members end up looking or feeling dumb. IQs seem to drop, and meeting times double.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who maximize their people’s capabilities? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a genius or genius-maker?” Emotionally intelligent and sociallyintelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you bring out the best in people. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

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Categories: 

Genius or Genius-Maker? How Smart Leaders Bring Out the Best in People

Genius or Genius-Maker?
How Smart Leaders Bring Out the Best in People   

I’ve learned over the years that my most inspiring executive coaching leadership clients are congruent with how they feel and what they say. They get excited in my office telling me inspiring stories that engage their people. They are honest, humble, optimistic, and forward thinking.

Emotionally intelligent leaders know that creating a workplace culture and climate where emotions are appropriately expressed increases engagement and moves things forward.  In order for people to be fully engaged, they need to feel they are following trustworthy leaders who inspire them emotionally.      

According to surveys on engagement, most workers have greater capabilities, creativity, talent, initiative and resourcefulness than their jobs allow—or even require—them to use.

Other surveys reveal that most workers feel pressured to produce more with less.

These results are paradoxical: People are underutilized and overworked at the same time.

Fortunately, some leaders understand how to create genius within their teams: They bring out the best in people. They’re “genius-makers.”

So, how does one successfully make the shift from genius to genius-maker?

Leadership consultants Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown explore this question in Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (HarperBusiness, 2010).

Producing More with Less

Wiseman and McKeown interviewed and assessed more than 150 leaders on their managerial practices. Their research sheds light on the important differences between the geniuses and the genius-makers:

  • It isn’t how much you know that matters, but the access you have to what other people know.
  • Team members should be smart, but success depends on how much of that intelligence you can draw out and put to use.

People who work for genius-makers say they give more than 100 percent of their energy and abilities (often citing 120 percent). Genius-makers encourage people to stretch their capabilities and “get smarter.” Conversely, those who work for non-genius-makers report giving only 20 to 50 percent on the job.

Many leaders tackle productivity challenges by hiring more people and achieving linear growth. Genius-makers extract the capabilities of the people already employed, achieving more with the same headcount.

The Mindset of Effective Leaders

Wiseman and McKeown divide leaders into two camps, based on the results they achieve: multipliers or diminishers.

Leaders are likely to act on one of two extreme beliefs:

1. Diminishing leaders believe their people will never be able to figure things out without explanation from a leader who provides all the answers.

2. Multiplying leaders believe their people are smart and can come up with solutions on their own.

The following table outlines the differences in these leaders’ approaches:

Challenge

Diminisher’s Mindset

Multiplier’s Mindse

How would you manage talent?

I must closely supervise people if I want them to complete assigned tasks.

If I can identify people’s genius, I can watch them succeed on their own.

 

How would you motivate for outcomes?

 

Pressure increases performance.

People’s best ideas must be given, not taken.

 

How would you solve problems?

I need to have all the answers.

People get smarter by being challenged.

 

How would you run debates?

There are only a few people worth listening to.

With enough minds, we can figure it out.

 

How would you develop your people?

People will never be able to figure things out without me.

People are smart and will figure things out independently.

Leading like a multiplier requires more than mimicking the approaches described above. You must believe in your people’s capabilities and trust them to use their intelligence and creativity to develop their own solutions. Act as a guide instead of an expert to achieve buy-in and self-sufficiency.

5 Ways Leaders Diminish Others

Diminishers, who hog the spotlight and focus on ways to boost their careers, fall into five categories:

1. Empire Builders hoard resources and underutilize talent.

2. Tyrants create a tense environment that suppresses people’s thinking and capabilities.

3. Know-It-Alls issue directives that showcase how much they know.

4. Decision Makers make centralized, abrupt decisions that confuse the organization.

5. Micromanagers drive results through their personal involvement.

The 5 Disciplines of Genius-Makers

Multipliers follow five principles to bring out the best in people. Each allows workers to stretch so they can contribute greater effort and productivity.

1.    Attract and Optimize Talent: Be a Talent Manager

a. You attract the best people when you take full advantage of their strengths.

b. They subsequently let other talented people know about the benefits of working on your team.

c. Talented people seek opportunities to grow and appreciate your efforts.

2.    Create Intensity That Requires Best Thinking: Be a Liberator

a. You create an intense environment that demands people’s best thinking and work.

b. People flourish under the right amount of pressure and support to perform their best work.

c. You are empathetic, yet firm about expectations for high-quality work.

3.    Extend Challenges: Be a Challenger

a. You define an opportunity that causes people to stretch.

b. You give them freedom to make mistakes, learn from them and be creative.

c. Instead of giving people answers, you ask the right questions and then stay out of their way.

4.    Debate Decisions: Be a Debate Maker

a. You drive sound decisions through rigorous debate.

b. People own outcomes and participate in course corrections without blaming.

c. You challenge your people to ask the right questions and debate the true issues.

5.    Instill Ownership and Accountability: Be an Investor

a. You give other people ownership for results and invest in their success.

b. You hold high expectations across the organization, which leads people to hold themselves and each other accountable.

c. You provide the necessary resources for success.

Becoming a Genius-Maker

Instead of trying to perfect all five disciplines, create a development plan with your executive coach. Pick one key area of strength and develop it to a higher level.

Next, choose an area of weakness and strive to make improvements.

You needn’t excel in all five disciplines to be considered a multiplier who brings out the best in your people. You must, however, master two or three disciplines and be “good enough” in the remaining ones.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development for enlightened leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching to help leaders develop an emotionally intelligent business environment?  Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to fully engage employees.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a smart leader bring out the best in people?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching for collaborative leaders who are a genius or genius-maker .

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a happy and sustainable company or law firm where everyone is motivated and fully engaged. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

Re-Imagining What A Law Firm Can Be: Scrapping Billable Hours For A More Client-Friendly B2B Service


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't walk into Clearspire's D.C. headquarters and expect to be impressed. Spartan furnishings and a simple glass sign adorn the waiting room. You may not believe you are in the right place--the offices lack the posh trappings of an emerging law practice competing against the top 200 firms.

Yet they represent the new face of the legal profession. And they are winning global Fortune 500 clients by focusing not on the quality of their office trappings, but on the way in which they deliver and manage client engagements. Other B2B companies would be wise to learn how Clearspire is changing the client rules of engagement in a traditionally secretive, high touch, low-tech field.
 
Corporate counsel clients have the right to demand changes. Years after corporations have complained about billable hours and unnecessary fees, most law firms are still deploying industrial age business models to serve their clients. The "hours for dollars" approach to delivering knowledge work simply goes against the grain of delivering value. Professional services firms often promote rainmakers who bill the most hours.
Clients get the short end of the deal in this scenario. They are afraid to pick up the phone because the meter starts running in 1/10 hour increments.
 
In today's flat world, pedigreed resumes and upscale, wood paneled offices no longer cement client relationships. Value does.
 
Let's establish what I mean by value before we share some of Clearspire's value secrets. In today's business world, value is a by-product of several factors: the perception of your brand, your ability to communicate your brand clearly and ethically, and how consistently your brand and delivery mechanisms align to ultimately create a positive client experience. Creating value is one part art, one part science. It takes a blend of great listening skills, the ability to think on your feet, and the courage to be provocative.
 
Clearspire is committed to creating more value, and putting an end to the law industry's dysfunctional behavior. Furthermore, they have the technology and commitment to prove it. Co-founders Mark Cohen and Bryce Arrowood invested their own funds and 2 1/2 years of R&D to build a technology platform called CORAL.
 
Since they launched CORAL earlier this year, it delivers on these promises:
  1. Fixed project fees, established in advance of the engagement--no billing surprises.
  2. A highly secure technology platform to collaborate real time with clients and team members, post questions, review briefs, and more.
  3. Clients receive a project plan that clearly outline how and when a client engagement will be completed.
  4. Efficiency bonuses are shared equally with legal team members, the client, and Clearspire (the firm) when an engagement is completed ahead of schedule.
  5. Clients are not subject to "fee padding" to support exhorbitant bricks and mortar offices.
  6. Collaboration trumps hierarchy. Clearspire's team members do not boast fancy, formal titles. Everyone is a partner.
As co-founder Bryce Arrowood puts it:
 
"Over the last 100 years, the law firm business model was predicated on billable hours. We felt that there was an opportunity to take that model and turn it on its head by re-aligning the incentives of the lawyers who do the work, the law firm that provides the service, and the clients who consume the work." 
 
Here are four Clearspire-inspired strategies that any B2B company can implement:
  1. Align your proposals and engagements around a client initiative, not your deliverables and outputs.
  2. Create services and deliverables that allow your client to re-use the content without re-engaging your firm. Inside CORAL, Clearspire provides client with templates they can re-use in the future. 
  3. Identify the thought leaders in your industry and educate them on your value-based model. Prior to launching CORAL, Arrowood and Cohen started working with the major legal thought leaders across IT, academia, and industry associations. 
  4. Look beyond your services offering to refine your value proposition. CORAL is the hub of Clearspire's culture and value proposition, not their employees' resumes and pedigrees or a fancy office.
The verdict has been reached: Antiquated "hours for dollars" business models deserve a life sentence. Clearspire's solid defense team ensures corporate client budgets and relationships receive the protection they deserve.
 
 
--Author Lisa Nirell helps companies grow customer mind share and market share. Since 1983, Lisa has worked with Sony, Wells Fargo Advisors, Adobe, Microsoft, and hundreds of entrepreneurs in nine countries. Lisa is also an award-winning expert speaker, FastCompany expert blogger, and author of the acclaimed EnergizeGrowth® NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company. Download your sample chapter and business energy booster survey at energizegrowth.com. 
 
[Image: Flickr user State Library of Victoria Collections]
 
This post originally appeared in FastCompany. Copyright 2012, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
Categories: 

No Leadership without Good Followers

Good Followers

I recently consulted with a San Francisco Bay Area multi-billion dollar financial institution who wanted to create a succession plan for their retiring CEO. We created a Competency Model for the CEO position, and I presented it to the company’s Board of Directors at their semi-annual retreat.

One of the competencies was servant leadership which reflected the core values of this fast growing company. I was the executive coach for two of the vice presidents, and potential successors focusing on emotional intelligence-based leadership development and inspiring committed followers.

There is no leadership without followership. Good leadership requires good followers, who may be passive or active (depending on context). But followers have generally been slow to embrace empowerment and participate in the leader/follower tango.

Flawed Followers

Perhaps today’s leaders can get away with various and sundry peccadilloes because their followers fail to demand accountability.

“Leading in America has never been easy,” writes Barbara Kellerman in The End of Leadership. “But now it is more difficult than ever—not only because we have too many bad leaders, but because we have too many bad followers.”

Many of us are too timid, disengaged or alienated to speak up, making it easy for corporate leaders to do what they want—and what’s best for their bank accounts.

The leadership-development industry has become huge, with $50 billion a year spent on corporate training. Shouldn’t the curriculum include elements of followership? Everyone, including the CEO, has to answer to someone, be it a board, stockholders or a senior team.

What Followers Can Do

If bad leaders are to be stopped or slowed, followers must play a bigger part.

But many followers consider the price of intervention to be too high. There are real benefits for going along, along with real costs and risks for not going along. We often choose to mind our own business. Nevertheless, incompetent and unethical leaders cannot function without followers.

Followers can strengthen their ability to resist bad leaders by observing these guidelines:

  • Empower yourself.
  • Be loyal to the whole, not to any one person.
  • Be skeptical; leaders are not gods
  • Find allies; develop your own sources of information.
  • Be a watchdog (especially if the board seems too compliant).
  • Take collective action (even on a modest scale, such as assembling a small group to talk to the boss).
  • Hold leaders accountable; use checks and balances already in place.

Luckily, more followers are stepping up to the plate, demonstrating a willingness to share responsibilities, power, authority and influence. They know that once bad leaders are entrenched, they seldom change or quit of their own volition. It’s up to us to insist on change—or an early exit.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help followers become more effective? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire followers? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can is “Does our company support and develop fully engaged followers?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help followers engage leaders.You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Working Resources is a  Strategic Talent Management and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

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