Category Archives: Employee Engagement

Close your mind! avoid these questions!

questions.answers

We are often automatic with how we think –not always open-minded. That is because we don’t ask ourselves or others the important questions. Opening your mind with “opened-ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or is a necessity for growth. It starts with an exploration of what you might be taking for granted. When you do this, you begin to delayer things and get to the truth.

• Why did we see the need for this decision in the past?
• What if we do things differently?
• What if our biggest competitor were in this room; what would he or she say about us?
• What if we re-imagine things radically? What if we create a new market segment?
• What if I owned this business? What would I do differently?

Source: Think To Win: Unleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking

Wisdom — Who Do You Go With?

We can probably count the “true people” who are confident in sharing everything they know –who will help others with the assurance that he or she expects nothing in return. How fortunate are we to meet individuals who are truly giving! Is there anyone who comes to mind?
I have, and many others who have been fortunate to come across his path also have someone in mind! – his name is Peter Klein. I first met Peter in the spring of 2001 while working at Gillette. He was an officer of the company who was an important part of Gillette’s turnaround story. As a trusted advisor and confidant to many of us, he was the “go to guy” when you needed help thinking through an issue. There were no title constraints or turf issues as he was genuinely concerned about doing the right thing for the business and the people in the organization.
After I left P&G in 2006 to start my company, I again turned to Peter for help. His guidance in how to start and grow a consulting practice was invaluable. I also really learned not to take myself so seriously as his sense of humor helped ground me. I owe much of my success to his support.
I grew to know him even better between 2010-2015 when he collaborated with myself and John Manfredi on our book Think-to-Win. His library of content, insights and experience in business were invaluable. Through Peter, we could reach some of those most successful leaders in organizations and tap into their minds. It was remarkable how people were willing to share their stores with us. Most likely because Peter had been part of them.
Peter has a saying “with whom you go is more important than where you go.” I am lucky that I have been able to go with Peter for these last 15 years!
To learn more about Peter and see his wisdom and humor on display, go to www.pkassoc.com and also see the 2015 interview conducted by Gary Vaynerchuck, founder of VaynerMedia and a digital/social media icon. It was tweeted to over a million people and viewed by thousands more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjwe3K89ENs

Reach Paul Butler at Pbutler@globaledg.com

What the hell does “I have to go to work” mean?

ATT00015 pexels-photo-510391Who among us has walked around on a Sunday night with that “pit in our stomach” feeling? Last weekend I was having this very conversation with two close friends; both professionals, one a lawyer and the other a schoolteacher. They both expressed to me they were feeling a little blue and continued to explain they were “dreading” going to work the next day. The whole conversation centered on why they were feeling this way on a Sunday night and why the anticipation of starting a new workweek stressed out so many people. Maybe it’s how our culture talks about and defines “work” today. Does any of this sound familiar…

· Are you still at “work”?

· How many hours did you “work” this week?

· Unfortunately, I must “work” this weekend.

· I have been working too hard lately.

You can add to the list!

One definition even defines work as “an exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.”

As our conversation continued, we shifted from the when and how, to the “why” of work. That’s when the conversation became more meaningful allowing us to look at “work” in a different way. In their book, The Why of Work, David and Wendy Ulrich refer to the “Why “ as the human search for meaning that finds its way to our office and factories; a search that motivates, inspires, and defines us. George Washington University professor Neal Chalofsky also writes in his book , Meaningful Workplaces, that learning is the most critical human function to reaching your purpose and potential. Learning new skills and applying them in some way allows you to raise the bar for yourself and others.

As my friends and I concluded our conversation, we agreed to adopt a better way of thinking about work; more as a meaning maker rather than as a laborer. I suggested they capture, declare and write down how their work provides meaning and refer to it on the Sunday nights when they were feeling that “pit” in their stomach.

This past Sunday, I also took time to reflect on the “why” of my work, and in doing so, found myself really looking forward to the week. I was coming off an intense facilitation of an executive retreat, one where the group was wrestling with the future of the company. The session I facilitated provided them with an opportunity to shape the future of their organization; building a new kind of company where they help saves lives and attract the best people to join and stay with the company. It was a privilege to be there working with these executives. I learned, I was inspired, and I was making a difference! It reinforced “why” I love the “work” I do.

Every time I learn something that makes me a better coach and leader it brings more meaning and purpose to my “work”, so much so, I don’t think about it as “work” anymore, but as a chance to learn and grow and be part of something that is truly making a positive difference in peoples lives.

Whether you are on an assembly line or working in a corner office, try to remember, going to “work” really does make a difference in someone’s life; it does have meaning. Write down your “why” and continue to shape it as you grow and learn. Only then can you know “what the hell going to work means!”

Tread Lightly

slip-up-danger-careless-slipperyIndividual Development Plans Can Sabotage Team Effectiveness

It is hard to believe that I once bought into the theory that we hire people for what they can contribute to the organization, and then we build their initial development plans looking not only at strengths, but shortly thereafter begin to focus on weaknesses or areas of opportunity for growth. Like we can change them before the year has even passed? The danger lies in thinking that we want to.

We all have strengths. They are what we strive to bring forward in ourselves. We want to be successful and add value. As Markus Buckingham, noted author and expert on “Strengths” indicates, “—your particular combination of strengths—is deeply a part of who you are.”

We have a great model of this in our recent Olympic history. Michael Phelps, who ended his record-breaking careerwith 23 gold medals, is an example of the power of focus on strength. Easy? No. Over the years Phelps has struggled both in and out of the pool. Finding his resolve, he was always able to return to what he does best…swim. To train, to improve, to grow stronger in what he excels at. Not switch sports, no change of direction or retooling of what was already strong within him. As a team member, Phelps brings this talent and winning strategy to the medley relay events. He is a powerful part of a powerful team; each having honed strengths…for one it is the butterfly, for another it is the backstroke. None would be expected to swim the part that was not their strongest.

As a leader, how can you get started leveraging your team’s strengths? First of all, you need to change your mindset. Focus onwhat potential or existing members can bring to the game (business, operations, etc.). Then try the following:

  1. Go back to your own assessments. You have probably taken many instruments that measure preferences, style, and competence assessments. Now, focus solely on what you did well. Then ask yourself how much that helped serve you.
  2. Think about the BEST team you were ever part of:
    • How did you uniquely contribute?
    • How did others uniquely contribute, in the ways you could not?
  3. Seeing the unique capabilities in others helps identify how to leverage those talents to benefit the whole team. If you don’t do this, as a leader of a team, you will tend to dominate with your strengths. That might be helpful in many situations, but certainly not all.

How can you make a difference in where you play and how you win? “As Buckingham says, “your Strengths can be put to good use, or they can be put to bad use.”

The choice is yours.

Why

Successful people Communicationknow and communicate the “WHY” of their work…we all should

My lifelong dreamwas to run a successful business that I could be proud of. When I started GlobalEdg in 2006, I felt it was important to clearly communicate what our firm did. We were an unknown startup; it was important for potential clients to understand our capabilities. We invested time and money in our website, created a product and service brochure, drafted presentations, designed flyers and much more—whatever we felt would help. It was what was needed at the time and it served us well. I became pretty good at answering the question, “What does your firm do?” I still believe that it is important to concisely describe what you do and how you are different from your competitors.

Over the years we have continued to grow our capabilities; we have had the privilege to work with some of the best organizations in the world. Today, almost all of our new business comes from referrals. For any consulting firm that is where you want to be. Today we now feel a responsibility to articulate who we are and what we do in a more complete way.

Each year we conduct a strategic review of our business. This being our 10th year we thought it was especially important to update our messaging on “what we do.” During a planning session, we found ourselves having an important conversation about what we “really” do and “what we are known for.” Yet it was different this time, the discussions shifted in a way that we found very powerful and extremely rewarding. A significant amount of time was invested into answering the “why.” In other words, why was our work important? How were we making a difference with the work we were doing? Why was it important work?

We know that our work is meaningful—we do make a difference in how leaders run their organizations. We knew how to articulate the “what we do”—but we finished with defining why our work makes a difference. GlobalEdg is an organization that I am proud of—I am living the dream.

Dig deep…ask and answer why your work is important!

For more information, visit our website, www.globaledg.com

Leadership – What was I learning early in my career? Not what Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings is teaching!

netflixWhy is this memory imprinted in my brain? Although this happened to me over 25 years ago, I remember it so vividly. This article triggered it again! (Link below)

I was a newly promoted manager who had “made it” – being promoted to the home office. During the first few weeks in my new assignment, I was working late when the President of the Division walked by my office door. He stopped, looked in my office –then directly at me and said “You are a hard worker aren’t you?”  He smiled and then said, “I am impressed.”

Why was that important? Well it sent a message to a young and ambitious manager –so much so that I found myself cultivating that reputation. I wanted to be known as one of the hardest working managers in the company. I often found myself looking out the window in the early evening – seeing whose car was still parked outside. It also became a “game” to brag about how many unused vacation days I had at the end of the year. I wanted to be known as the hard working “problem solver.”

Looking back, it seems really silly now. I became burnt out at an early age. Fortunately I was able to recover through the help of good coaching, mentoring and family support.

I am sure I did solve some problems – but where did it get me, my team and ultimately the organization? We had success, but I know we missed our potential because I did not work smart.

It is not about activity it is about results. That happens when you are able to step back and give yourself time to thinking about what is most important. It is only when your shift your mind to results versus activity are you able to win. Then you become the strategic leader who Thinks to Win!

The Next generation of leaders are the ones who will get it right.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/netflix-ceo-reed-hastings-takes-163759505.html

www.thinktowin.net

think to win pic

 

The World Cup Has Me Thinking – 3 Lessons For Teams

Watching the World Cup games had me thinking about players who usually play in their “premier” leagues joining a “national team” – a few thoughts that might correlate with your business team:

1. Put them in a new uniform – but the same uniform all the others wear – What is symbolic of a uniform on your team? ONBOARD FAST!

2. Ask them to communicate in their primary language – What common business language is used in your organization? TEACH THEM QUICKLY!

3. They prepare – they identify opponent’s weaknesses? What is your competitive advantage –do you really know how to use it? MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS IT!

Stay tuned for our upcoming webinar series to learn some of these techniques!

Leadership — Skip-Level Meetings

One of the most important things one can learn as a leader is to listen and let people “be heard.” That should be a guiding principle for all leaders. However, a principle is only as good as a practice that will help make it real. A wonderful practice is conducting Skip-Level Meetings.

Skip-Level Meetings are those that take place with a leader and the people who report directly to his or her staff. You “skip” one level and go directly to the next.

The agenda –whatever is on the minds of the people who attend the meeting!

Several years ago, I was leading a global training function for the Gillette Company. One of my trusted staff members suggested I implement this practice.

The staff agreed (and granted me a lot of trust), and it became an ongoing ritual …often held at lunch time. I believe we ultimately became a better function because of the communication and insights we shared across all levels. It also built even stronger trust between me and my staff.

These meetings never became more important than during the period when

Gillette merged with P&G. During the transition, there were a lot of “unknowns.” Having this structure in place helped during a real time of uncertainty and change. I was able to hear what people were concerned about, what they hoped for, and how they were personally and collective dealing with the change.

I knew this practice had made a difference. As the merger finalized, a decision was made to combine the two training organizations. Several people were losing their jobs. At our final meeting, one of the attendees said, “This is hard, but I feel like we have been kept up to date, listened to, and treated with respect and dignity.”

What else could a leader ask for?

“Easing the Pain” — Annual Performance Management Conversations

What would you rather do? — visit the dentist or have complete annual; performance reviews. With all apologies to the very noble dental community, a manager we were working with recently eluded to the fact the chair would be a better option for her.
Why are discussions difficult for people? Two reasons usually surface to the top. 1) The Forms. A form-driven process with deadlines for completion and sign-offs gets in the way of the true reason for performance reviews. Change the lens you look through — a form should not get in the way of having a robust discussion about performance and development. It is not about the form! Anyone who uses the form as a driver for a discussion about performance is out-of-touch with their employee. Ongoing discussion around objectives and development should not be a surprise during the annual review. It should be summations of the conversations that have taken place between the manger and the emplyee during the course of the year. 2) A conversation focused solely on performance and not development. We encourage our clients to purposely change the name from Performance Management or Appraisal to Performance Development. We are looking for people in organizations who come to work trying to lose money for the company they work for — and we have yet to find them. We believe everyone has strengths and opportunities for development. It is only by focusing on both that people can contribute and do their best.