Concerned About the Bottom Line? As a Leader, Are You Making an Impact?

At a recent presentation at the South Bay Organization Development Network, Jim Kouzes, co-author of  The Leadership Challenge  challenged us on our own leadership practices, with a quote from Melissa Poe Hood:  ”You already have everything you need to be an effective leader.  You are intelligent, you have the heart to stay motivated, and you have the courage to make it happen.”  Kouzes then said, “Leadership is about behavior, and he asked, “What were you doing when you were at your personal best as a leader?”

Kouzes and Posner concluded from their extensive research during the 80s that there are five practices common to most extraordinary leadership achievements:

  • Model the way
  • Inspire a shared vision
  • Challenge the process
  • Enable others to act
  • Encourage the heart

You may be saying: “That was decades ago.  There is nothing new about that.”  That’s just the point!  [Read more...]

Are your high performers heading to the door? Maybe you can still save them!

Part I of the high-performer blogs included some disturbing statistics about those who are preparing to leave. Read below and then come back to read this Part II about high-performers!

So you’ve decided to do what it takes to retain high-performing employees and managers. That’s a good first step. The second is to be sure you have correctly identified your high performers.  It’s likely that you have favorites in the staff and managers who report to you. A good question is “Why are these employees my favorites?” Beware of assuming that your favorites are high performers.  Objectively evaluate the performance of your direct reports. Ask:  “Who has the right skills?”  Who is productive and finishes the work? Is their work done in a high quality manner?”  What other criteria do you have for identifying high performers?

Once you are clear about who falls into this category, it’s time to turn your attention to keeping them.  To do so requires objective and intentional thinking. There were three strategies in our last blog – here are a few more:

  1. Empowerment   Give them autonomy, authority, and flexibility whenever possible – in the right circumstances at the right times. Help them to feel like a partner in the success of the organization
  2. Delegate with Care   Know who likes challenge and the kind of challenge that appeals to each person.  Then delegate those projects/tasks to the right person and support their effort as needed.  A mistake most of us make [Read more...]

What do VPs, Directors and Managers Worry About the Most?

High Performers May Be At The Top of the List.

Bob Nelson, Ph.D. is focused on high performers and how to get the most from their work. He is an expert in employee recognition, rewards, and motivation, and presented last week at the HR Star Conference in South San Francisco.  Here are a few of his interesting statistics that might have senior leaders losing a little sleep.

Statistics from 2011

  • 30% of turnover in the organizations studied, were high performers
  • 40% of high performers that stayed on the job, had troubling performance
  • 90% of those that stayed on the job were less than fully engaged

When performers are not engaged, studies show that their effort on the job amounts to 50% of those who are engaged.  Ouch! So – what’s going on here?

High performers who were interviewed in this study said they had little confidence in their coworkers and even less in their senior management.  They felt a lack of support, lack of empowerment, and assignments given to them weren’t what they wanted. So – what’s to do?

Three Strategies

Here are three strategies for getting and keeping high performers engaged. I’ll include more in next week’s blog.

1.   Start with what motivates and excites them about their work

     DiSC® can be very helpful here in describing motivational behaviors that need attention.

  • Dominance: motivated by challenge, direct communication, opportunities for individual accomplishment, freedom from direct   control, and a desire to be in charge
  • Influencers: motivated by social recognition, relationships, freedom of expression, variety, and an opportunity to come up with creative solutions
  •  Steadiness:  motivated by infrequent change, quiet, sincere appreciation, using traditional methods for getting the job done, and a cooperative, collaborative environment
  • Conscientiousness:  motivated by clearly defined performance expectations, a reserved, business-like environment environment where quality and accuracy are valued, and articulated standards

 2.  Provide regular and thorough communication from the  top                                                      

This helps high performers align their work with the organization’s mission, vision, and strategies, and speaks volumes to them about their value to the success of the organization.

 3.   Continue to invest in a variety of professional development activities

Things like coaching, cross training, leadership development, and in some cases, formal education can be big motivators.  This group is often forgotten for development perks.  Too often, managers spend most of their time working to improve low performers.  Experience has shown this strategy has a low ROI.

We welcome your comments!

DiSC® is a registered trademark of Inscape Publishing.

Hire Right? Was your last choice a disaster? Want to get it right this time?

“What did we do wrong? Our last new hire has been a real problem!  This time we must hire right!

In the interview he had all the right answers. He was easy to talk with. He had done his homework about the company.  He was current with technology and had lots of ideas of what to do once he was in the job.  I  interviewed three people and was sure  he was the best one for the job.  Now I have a personnel problem and have very unhappy team members and customers – internal and external.”

Sound familiar? The first thing to remember is that the best predictor of how a person will behave in the future is how he or she has behaved in the past. [Read more...]

“I’m Not Who I Thought I Was! My DISC Style Just Changed!”

Although DiSC® behavioral styles don’t often change, they sometimes do. And if you are DiSC literate, you are aware that we recommend people “flex” or “shift” to the style of the person you are speaking with for more effective communicaton. If a specific situation requires  a different strength or skill than your preferred strengths, you may need to flex into that behavior to be more successful in that specific situation.

Changing from one behavioral preference to another for long periods of time is another story. When a person finds themselves in that situation, it is usually very uncomfortable and difficult to maintain.  Enter “ Jerry”, the source of the quote in the title of this post.  Jerry  was in shock when he first looked at his new DiSC report.  He took the DiSC assessment three years ago, reported a high dominance preference and was clearly comfortable that the assessment was right on.  This time his assessment showed a steadiness preference - a startling shift for anyone.  Particularly for Jerry.

When I had the opportunity to talk with Jerry, I asked him what he thought had influenced his responses to show this shift in  behaviors.  Having  had some time to reflect on his circumstance before we talked, he commented that the “steadiness” [Read more...]