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3 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Bottom Line by Tapping Your Most Valuable Asset, Your People

Two startling facts regarding issues absolutely impacting the bottom line of manufacturing companies in today’s challenging economy:  

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

  1. 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.

Categories: 

3 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Bottom Line by Tapping Your Most Valuable Asset, Your People

Two startling facts regarding issues absolutely impacting the bottom line of manufacturing companies in today’s challenging economy:

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

  1. 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.

Categories: 

Clashing at Work – Who Are the Generations?

I was recently meeting with one of the senior leadership team members of one of my San Francisco Bay Area clients. She was struggling to deal with the conflict between supervisors who had been on the job for a number of years and new and younger employees.

The younger employees wanted coaching and more formal mentoring from their supervisors. The supervisors were very frustrated with the performance review process with newer employees. The newer employees were complaining about perceived favoritism.

We had a great discussion with the senior leadership team members on how the different generations view the workplace. They often have different values that clash.

I suggested a good place to start before jumping in with ideas to create a more cohesive workforce, was to have a discussion about who are the generations? What motivates the different age groups?

Learning how to work, live and play together is crucial, and every manager must master ways to bridge generational gaps. Managerial survival calls for a coordinated, collaborative strategy to leverage each generation’s strengths and neutralize its liabilities.

Who Are the Generations?

A quick review of how the generations are grouped in the modern workplace:

1. Veterans, born between 1922 and 1945 (52 million people). This cohort was born before or during World War II. Earliest experiences are associated with this world event. Some also remember the Great Depression.

2. The Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 (77 million people). This generation was born during or after World War II and was raised in an era of extreme optimism, opportunity and progress. Boomers, for the most part, grew up in two-parent households, with safe schools, job security and post-war prosperity. They represent just under half of all U.S. workers. On the job, they value loyalty, respect the organizational hierarchy and generally wait their turn for advancement.

3. Generation X, born between 1965 and 1979 (70.1 million people). These workers  were born during a rapidly changing social climate and economic recession, including Asian competition. They grew up in two-career families with rising divorce rates, downsizing and the dawn of the high-tech/information age. On the job, they can be fiercely independent, like to be in control and want fast feedback.

                  4. Generation Y (the New Millennials), born between 1980 and 2000 (estimated to be 80–90 million).
                   Born to Boomer and early Gen Xer parents into our current high-tech, neo-optimistic times, these are
                   our youngest workers. They are the most technologically adept, fast learners and tend to be impatient.
   
Gen X and Y comprise half the U.S. work force. Baby Boomers account for 45%, and the remaining 5% are veterans (many of whom are charged with motivating newer employees).

One of the most important questions to ask is “Who are the generations and what motivates each group?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their high 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 better understand generational differences. 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: 

Clash Points at Work – Geeks and Geezers

Geeks and Geezers

I was recently thinking about getting the new iPhone for my fifteen year old son. I still don't have a smart phone, and thought maybe it was time to get one for myself too and use some of the apps. My son quipped "why dad...you don't even know how to use all of the functions on the tv remote"!

I’m the oldest of the Baby Boomers and my son is a Gen M or the Media Generation. He’s already started his own online advertising and marketing business and views Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as his entrepreneurial role models. The generational gap is wide, but we stay close as father and son with a lot of listening, understanding and openness to learn from each other.

Clash Points at Work:

Baby Boomers are lingering in the workplace. The younger Gen X and Gen Y (New Millennials) are growing impatient to ascend to leadership responsibilities. New graduates are knocking at HR’s door in record numbers. And technology, including social media, is transforming the mode and pace of communication. These trends are creating new opportunities, but not without foreseeable generational clashes.

In 1999, leadership expert Ira S. Wolfe coined the term “perfect labor storm” to describe a convergence of demographic and socioeconomic developments that would result in an unprecedented shortage of skilled workers in 2011—the year the first Baby Boomers hit 65 and start to retire.

But a severe and prolonged recession has delayed Dr. Wolfe’s predicted storm. Economic uncertainty has caused many Boomers to remain on the job, amid the highest unemployment rate in more than 30 years. Until we see the inevitable changing of the guard over the next decade, the workplace will be inhabited by a multigenerational stew of younger and older workers.

This environment will provide real opportunities and significant technological problems, Dr. Wolfe notes in his latest book, Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization: How to Manage the Unprecedented Convergence of the Wired, the Tired, and Technology in the Workplace (Xlibris, 2009).

Eighty percent of polled adults believe Gen X and Y have a distinctly different point of view—the highest perceived disparity since 1969, when generations clashed over the Vietnam War and civil rights.Younger adults (18 to 29) report disagreements over lifestyle, views, family, relationships and dating. Older adults criticize their “sense of entitlement.” Gen X and Y tend to be more tolerant on cultural issues, while Boomers cite manners as the greatest source of conflict.

New information technologies also divide the generations. Only 40% of adults ages 65–74 use the Internet daily, while 75% of those ages 18–30 go online daily. The gap is wider when it comes to cell phones and text messages.

Older generations’ complaints about the next generation are nothing new. Conflicts replay throughout every decade. No generation is better or worse than another, and prevailing attitudes are neither right nor wrong—just decidedly different.

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is “How can I help employees learn to work, live and play together more harmoniously?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their high 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 better understand generational differences. 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: 

3 Reasons Under-Performing Employees In Your Company Are Not At Fault

In today’s economy business leaders can’t afford to accept under-performing personnel in their companies. Yet, in a recent survey 44% of them reported being unhappy with the performance results of their employees.

In order to solve a problem such as this, employers need to first identify the cause and then create viable options for applicable solutions. There can be many reasons why employees under-perform and some leaders may point to poor attitudes, low motivation and individuals’ inability to work with others, or accept and adapt to change.

Although those reasons may be absolutely valid on the surface, there are always underlying issues that have led to the causes identified by the business leader.

There are only two aspects to evaluate with under-performing employees. It’s either due to an individual’s:

  • ability, or
  • their attitude.

In either instance, the employee is not at fault.

There are three primary mistakes business leaders make that prevent employees from being engaged in their workplace and contributing at higher levels:

  1. The organization has not given the employee a reason to be engaged and motivated, or to contribute more than minimum effort.
  2. The organization has created an environment that is actually de-motivating and dis-engaging.
  3. The employer failed to hire the right person for the job or to ensure the person hired is working in a role that fits their talents, skills and interests.
  4.  

Business Leader Mistake #1 – Not Giving Employees a Reason to be Engaged, Motivated & Contribute

Many business leaders mistakenly believe that providing someone the privilege of a steady income and certain quality of life via a paycheck should be enough to create a motivated employee. 

Yet, studies continue to show that salary and benefits, although important for providing base levels of motivation, is not enough to generate higher levels of engagement. 

Many managers and leaders say they are frustrated with the feeling they have to continually find ways to light a fire under their people to get them to do what needs to be done. Instead they should be investing energy in connecting to their employees on a personal level to instead find ways to light a fire within them.

One extremely effective way to do this is to apply the Employee Motivation Equation.

The Employee Motivation Equation begins with creating an inspiring vision for the company that employees at all levels will be excited to contribute to. Daniel Pink, in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us identified “Purpose” as one of the key motivating components for a 21st Century workforce. 

Business Leader Mistake #2 – Creating a De-Motivating Environment

In any new relationship there is always a honeymoon period where all the parties involved have good feelings about the possibilities moving forward. It’s the same when a new hire joins a company.

Unfortunately, a survey of about 1.2 million employees at mostly Fortune 1000 companies in the early part of this century conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, and revealed in 2005 that in 85% of companies, employee morale sharply declines after an employee’s first six months on the job, and continues to fade in ensuring years.

In a significant number of companies, as this Sirota research shows, something is occurring in these work environments that causes an enthusiastic and engaged employee to change their attitude.

Many factors can be attributed to this drop off, some of which include:

  • Poorly communicated job descriptions and responsibilities causing uncertain performance expectations for the individual,
  • Inequity in managers addressing inappropriate behaviors and poor performance of co-workers,
  • Managers that play favorites and communicate disrespectfully in the workplace,
  • Lack of positive feedback for contributions made

Business Leader Mistake #3 – Making a Wrong Hiring Choice

In the haste to fill positions, often those making the hiring decisions fail to invest enough time in making sure the new hire is a good fit for the position. A “good fit’ includes assessing skills, talent and job experience perspective, plus checking into the potential new hire’s personality, including beliefs, attitudes and motivations.

Additionally, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances employees are asked to fill roles not originally intended, and for which their skills and talents are not the best fit.

In these situations, despite the employees best efforts they are unable to meet desired performance expectations, and both the employee and the employer become disenchanted with the relationship. Yet, the onus must be on the employer to get it right when inviting someone into his or her work culture.

Before proclaiming employees are unmotivated, and/or unwilling, to perform to expectations and bring positive attitudes to the work environment start evaluating these three workforce mistakes from an organizational leadership and communication perspective to see if there is room for improvement.

Categories: 

Managing Complexity – A Leadership Checklist

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the CEO of a Silicon Valley High Tech company. We had an enlightening coaching conversation, that revolved around how leading people and organizations today is much more complicated today than just a few years ago.

Economic uncertainty and globalization, along with innovative technologies provides leaders constant challenges to successfully run their business enterprise. The following checklist can help business leaders navigate complex change initiatives.

Leader’s Checklist

1.  Articulate a Vision: Formulate a clear and persuasive vision, and communicate why it’s important to all members of the enterprise.

a.  Do my direct reports see the forest, as well as the trees?

b.  Does everyone in the firm know not only where we are going, but, most importantly, why?

c.  Is the destination compelling and appealing?

2.  Think and Act Strategically: Make a practical plan for achieving this vision, including both short- and long-term strategies. Anticipate reactions and resistance before they happen by considering all stakeholders’ perspectives.

a.  Do we have a realistic plan for creating short-term results, as well as mapping out the future?

b.  Have we considered all stakeholders and anticipated objections?

c.  Has everyone bought into, and does everyone understand, the firm’s competitive strategy and value drivers? Can they explain it to others?

3.  Express Confidence: Provide frequent feedback to express appreciation for the support of those who work with and for you.

a.  Do the people you work with know you respect and value their talents and efforts?

b.  Have you made it clear that their upward guidance is welcomed and sought?

c.  Is there a sense of engagement on the frontlines, with a minimum of “us” vs. “them” mentality?
 

4.  Take Charge and Act Decisively: Embrace a bias for action by taking responsibility, even if it isn’t formally delegated. Make good and timely decisions, and ensure they are executed.

a.  Are you prepared to take charge, even when you are not in charge?

b.  If so, do you have the capacity and position to embrace responsibility?

c.  For technical decisions, are you ready to delegate, but not abdicate?

d.  Are most of your decisions both good and timely?

e.  Do you convey your strategic intent and then let others reach their own decisions?

5.  Communicate Persuasively: Communicate in ways that people will not forget, through use of personal stories and examples that back up ideas. Simplicity and clarity are critical.

a.  Are messages about vision, strategy and character crystal-clear and indelible?

b.  Have you mobilized all communications channels, from purely personal to social media?

c.  Can you deliver a compelling speech before the elevator passes the 10th floor?

6.  Motivate the Troops, and Honor the Front Lines: Appreciate the distinctive intentions that people bring to their work; build on diversity to bring out the best in people. Delegate authority except for strategic decisions. Stay close to those who are most directly engaged with the enterprise’s work.

a.  Have you identified each person’s “hot button” and focused on it?

b.  Do you work personal pride and shared purpose into most communications?

c.  Are you keeping some ammunition dry for those urgent moments when you need it?

d.  Have you made your intent clear and empowered those around you to act?

e.  Do you regularly meet with those in direct contact with customers?

f.   Can your people communicate their ideas and concerns to you?

7.  Build Leadership in Others, and Plan for Succession: Develop leadership throughout the organization, giving people opportunities to make decisions, manage others and obtain coaching.

a.  Are all managers expected to build leadership among their subordinates?

b.  Does the company culture foster the effective exercise of leadership?

c.  Are leadership development opportunities available to most, if not all, managers?

8.  Manage Relations, and Identify Personal Implications: Build enduring personal ties with those who work with you, and engage the feelings and passions of the workplace. Help people appreciate the impact that the vision and strategy are likely to have on their own work and the firm’s future.

a.  Is the hierarchy reduced to a minimum, and does bad news travel up?

b.  Are managers self-aware and empathetic?

c.  Are autocratic, egocentric and irritable behaviors censured?

d.  Do employees appreciate how the firm’s vision and strategy affect them individually?

e.  What private sacrifices will be necessary for achieving the common cause?

f.   How will the plan affect people’s personal livelihood and the quality of their work lives?

9.  Convey Your Character: Through storytelling, gestures and genuine sharing, ensure that others appreciate that you are a person of integrity.

a.  Have you communicated your commitment to performance with integrity?

b.  Do others know you as a person? Do they know your aspirations and hopes?

10.  Dampen Over-Optimism: To balance the hubris of success, focus attention on latent threats and unresolved problems. Protect against managers’ tendency to engage in unwarranted risk.

a.  Have you prepared the organization for unlikely, but extremely consequential, events?

b.  Do you celebrate success, but also guard against the byproduct of excess confidence?

c.  Have you paved the way not only for quarterly results, but for long-term performance?

11.  Build a Diverse Top Team: Although leaders take final responsibility, leadership is most effective when there is a team of capable people who can collectively work together to resolve key challenges. Diversity of thinking ensures better decisions.

a.  Have you drawn quality performers into your inner circle?

b.  Are they diverse in expertise, but united in purpose?

c.  Are they as engaged and energized as you?

12.  Place Common Interest First: In setting strategy, communicating vision and reaching decisions, common purpose comes first and personal self-interest last.

a.  In all decisions, have you placed shared purpose ahead of private gain?

b.  Do the firm’s vision and strategy embody the organization’s mission?

c.  Are you thinking like a president or chief executive, even if you are not one?

Not all of these questions are applicable to every situation, but it is the questioning that counts. Whether you are facing a typical day at the office or walking into a crisis, ask yourself and others these questions to inspire correct actions. Only then can you make sense of the complexities you encounter.

Leaders learn to manage complexities not by prescribing specific behaviors, but by creating an environment for optimal behaviors to occur—even though “optimal” cannot be defined in advance.

Problems are solved when you leverage others’ cooperation, skills and ingenuity. Employee satisfaction and performance will concurrently improve. There’s less need for complicated layers of management, with more energy available to manage situations wisely and effectively.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who are leading complex change initiatives?

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How can I manage complex systems more effectively?” 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 you better understand complex systems. 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: 

A Dashboard for Managing Complexity

Managing Complexity

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the CEO of a Silicon Valley High Tech company. We talked about how leading people and organizations today is much more complicated than it was even a few years ago. Constant economic and global change, along with innovative technologies, provides complex challenges to running a business.

A Dashboard for Managing Complexity

Leading people and organizations is fundamentally more complicated than it was 20 years ago—and it’s not getting any easier. Economic and global uncertainties, along with innovative technologies, complicate efforts to run a business.

Businesses are also becoming more intrinsically complex. It’s harder to predict outcomes because intricate systems interact in unexpected ways.

Interpreting data also proves more challenging because:

1. The degree of complexity may lie beyond our cognitive limits.

2. Past behavior may not predict future actions.

3. In a complex system, an outlier may have a disproportionate impact.

In a September 2011 Harvard Business Review article, business professors Gökçe Sargut and Rita Gunther McGrath distinguish between organizations that are merely complicated and those that are genuinely complex.

Complicated Versus Complex

Simple systems feature few—and extremely predictable—interactions. When you turn a light switch on or off, you expect the same result every time.

Complicated systems have many moving parts, and they operate in patterned ways. We can make accurate predictions about how they will behave. For example, flying a commercial airplane involves complicated, but predictable, steps. As a result, it’s reliably safe.

In contrast, complex systems may operate in patterned ways, but their interactions are continually changing. Air traffic control is a complex system that constantly changes in reaction to weather, aircraft downtimes and other critical variables. The system is predictable not because it produces the same results from the same starting conditions, but because it has been designed to continuously adjust as its components change in relation to one another.

Two problems commonly surface in complex systems: unintended consequences and difficulties in making sense of a situation. With multiple independent and interrelated parts in a system, it’s hard to predict all of the possible consequences of a change in one component. And with so many data and informational components to deal with, it’s tough for an individual decision maker to visualize and master an entire complex system.

Most executives tend to overestimate the amount of information they can process, but humans have cognitive limits. No manager can understand every aspect of a complex business, yet many refuse to acknowledge this reality.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who are leading complex systems?

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How can I manage complex systems more effectively?” 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 you better understand complex systems. 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

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Leadership Resilience - Learning from Mistakes

Leadership Resilience

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the CEO of a boutique hotel and restaurant company. We had an enlightening coaching conversation about how he has handled failure and learned from his mistakes. We talked about how he was able to bounce back from failure by viewing business as a learning laboratory.

My executive coaching client and I further discussed how resilient leaders bounce back from adversity. He has an agile mind and insatiable curiosity.

My client and I shared how we both were saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs. Did you know that Steve Jobs was a college dropout, and got fired from his own company? So how did he turn his story into power, and create the most admired company in the world?

Steve Jobs and the success of Apple is an inspiration to all of us who want to tap into our creative genius. Steve Jobs was the Thomas Edison of our time, and the greatest thing we can do is learn from him and build on his incredible legacy. I am coaching my client to help his employees become more resilient, and create a culture where innovation requires both risk and reward.

Learning from Mistakes

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Failure is one of life’s most common traumas, yet people’s responses to it vary widely. Many managers have learned to reframe personal and departmental setbacks by stating: “There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities”—and it’s a great sentiment. In practice, however, their companies often continue to view failures in the most negative light.

Part of the problem lies in our natural tendency to blame. We perceive and react to failure inappropriately. How can we learn anything if our energy is tied up in either assigning or avoiding blame? Still others overreact with self-criticism, which leads to stagnation and fears of taking future risks.

In the 1930s, psychologist Saul Rosenzweig proposed three broad personality categories for how we experience anger and frustration:

1. Extrapunitive: Prone to unfairly blame others

2. Impunitive: Denies that failure has occurred or one’s own role in it

3. Intropunitive: Judges self too harshly and imagines failures where none exist

Extrapunitive responses are common in the business world. Because of socialization and other gender influences, women are more likely to be intropunitive.

Fortunately, managers at all organizational levels can repair their flawed responses to failure. Business consultants Ben Dattner and Robert Hogan suggest three highly effective steps in “Can You Handle Failure?” (Harvard Business Review, April 2011)

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to bounce back from adversity? Resilient leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a culture where people can learn from mistakes.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How do I handle failure?” 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 you become more resilient. 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: 

Leadership Resilience - Optimism and Resilience

Leadership Resilience

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the CEO of a boutique hotel and restaurant company. We had a deep and reflective coaching conversation about how his company bounced back from two recessions. We talked about how he was able to work through his personal distress and low mood.

My executive coaching client and I further discussed how a leader’s emotions are contagious. I am coaching my client to help his employees become more resilient and create a culture of positivity.

Optimism and Resilience

Research clearly demonstrates that people who are naturally resilient have an optimistic explanatory style—that is, they explain adversity in optimistic terms to avoid falling into helplessness.

Those who refuse to give up routinely interpret setbacks as temporary, local and changeable:

· “The problem will resolve quickly…”

·  “It’s just this one situation…”

·  “I can do something about it…”

In contrast, individuals who have a pessimistic explanatory style respond to failure differently. They habitually think setbacks are permanent, universal and immutable:

·  “Things are never going to be any different...”

·  “This always happens to me...”

·  “I can’t change things, no matter what...”

University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Martin P. Seligman believes most people can be immunized against the negative thinking habits that may tempt them to give up after failure. In fact, 30 years of research suggests that we can learn to be optimistic and resilient—often by changing our explanatory style.

Seligman is currently testing this premise with the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, a large-scale effort to make soldiers as psychologically fit as they are physically fit. One key component is the Master Resilience Training course for drill sergeants and other leaders, which emphasizes positive psychology, mental toughness, use of existing strengths and building strong relationships.

This military program will no doubt provide insights for civilians who wish to become more effective within their workplaces and organizations.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to bounce back from adversity? Resilient leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create an adaptable culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I have an optimistic explanatory style?” 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 you become more resilient. 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: 

Leadership Resilience - The Art of Bouncing Back

Leadership Resilience

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the CEO of a boutique hotel and restaurant company. We had an enlightening coaching conversation about how his company bounced back from two recessions.

My executive coaching client and I then discussed how a leader’s emotions are contagious? I am coaching my client to help his employees become more resilient and create a culture of positivity.

How we respond to failures and bounce back from our mistakes can make or break our careers. The wisdom of learning from failure is undeniable, yet individuals and organizations rarely seize opportunities to embrace these hard-earned lessons.

Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter is unequivocal: “One difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing.” Even for the best companies and most accomplished professionals, long track records of success are inevitably marred by slips and fumbles.

Our response to failure is often counterproductive: Behaviors become bad habits that set the stage for continued losses. Just as success creates positive momentum, failure can feed on itself. Add uncertainty and rapidly fluctuating economics to the mix, and one’s ability to find the right course is sorely tested.

Long-term winners and losers face the same ubiquitous problems, but they respond differently. Attitudes help determine whether problem-ridden businesses will ultimately recover.

Luckily, most of us can learn to become more resilient with training and coaching.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to bounce back from adversity? Resilient leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create an adaptable culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “A I resilient in the face of a weak economy?” 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 you become more resilient. 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.

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