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How do you address conflict with a peer you have a great relationship with?

Posted on December 6, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you address conflict with a peer you have a great relationship with?

  • Ignore it. Things tend to work themselves out on their own: 15.2%
  • Say something directly and get to the root of it quickly: 82.7%
  • Act passive aggressively in retaliation for the conflict: 2.1%

Get to the issue quickly. The vast majority of you identify and try to resolve issues with peers as quickly as possible. Bravo. Letting something linger won’t necessarily resolve it. Granted, there’s judgment involved in which issues to proactively discuss and resolve and which issues (the small ones) to just let slide in the interest of maintaining a good relationship. If you find you tend to avoid issues and are afraid to give feedback because of the reaction you might receive, try using a fact-based feedback model that focuses on the behavior first and then highlights the emotional impact of the behavior. Starting with facts can reduce the tension and enable you to move forward more quickly. And if you’re passive-aggressively retaliating, stop. It doesn’t help anyone — least of all, you.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Positive Work Cultures are More Productive

Posted on December 3, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Customer Service, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Coffee Roasting Factory

Achieving a breakthrough organization is achievable for any leadership team willing to invest in designing for the future of work. Creating work that is both customer-centric and that is employee-centric is possible.

Today’s post is by Jessica Higgins, Chief Operating Officer at Gapingvoid Culture Design Group.

“Although there’s an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better, and faster, what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred.” – Proof that Positive Cultures are More Productive, Harvard Business Review

The timeworn industry standard is to focus on purely bottom-line results. Productivity obsessed leaders, however, experience a massive, and often invisible, cost of doing business this way. News outlets are reporting that employee burnout is costing US business alone over $300 billion in labor costs annually. Voluntary separations and employee churn are well documented in companies, but what is less well documented are healthcare costs, which are increasing rapidly, according the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Simply put, your machines are breaking down on you, and most leaders are failing to see it. In any average company, human capital is the primary expense. This means that your people have the highest replacement cost, and the highest value. I am arguing that you should start treating them this way.

It’s well proven that employees cost around 4 months of time to train. In companies that haven’t resorted to 1099s primarily, there are healthcare costs associated throughout the year. Let alone your churn rates, unemployment, recruiters and all of the other expenses attached should any employee choose to leave.

The cost of implementing more holistic management systems that take care of your human capital quickly become cheap, once all of your invisible costs of old management are brought to the surface.

I first noticed this trend at the beginning of 2017, and increasingly this year. In my work in culture design, historically leaders have desired to employ culture-based management systems that improve engagement and productivity. But then the opposite started happening. CEOs started coming to us with the opposite issue. How do I make my teams work less?

I dug through the research and found the following statistics, and solutions, for rethinking your people-side of your business.

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How do you deal with slackers on your team?

Posted on November 29, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you deal with slackers on your team?

  • I immediately counsel them and put them on performance plans: 8.3%
  • I try to figure out how to motivate them: 37.0%
  • I ignore things and hope their performance improves: 2.3%
  • I restructure their roles to make them happy: 1.7%
  • I use a combination of tactics: 50.7%

It’s about motivation… and consequences. Clearly the majority of you focus on finding your slackers’ motivation. That’s the key. They often have the skills and abilities to do great work — they just choose not to. Unlocking a slacker’s motivation is the key to turning around performance. That said, sometimes it’s impossible to find a way to motivate them in their current role. In those situations, the combination approach of finding motivation but then doling out consequences, up to and including termination, are on the table. Regardless of which approach you choose, doing nothing is not an option. The rest of your team sees the slacker getting away with it, and their morale suffers as a result.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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How to Figure Out Where You Should Focus

Posted on November 26, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Roulette Table

True business leaders stay focused. This is crystal clear. But how can you make sure you are focusing on the most promising business opportunities that can lead your company to success?

Today’s post is by Sharon Tal, co-author of Where to Play (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

In their best-selling book Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace present well known pieces of advice that lead you nowhere. One of them is “focus, focus, focus!” As they explain: “When people hear it, they nod their heads as if a great truth has been presented, not realizing that they have been diverted from addressing the far harder problem: deciding what is it that they should be focusing on. There is nothing in this piece of advice that gives you any idea how to figure out where the focus should be.”

Indeed, knowing that you need to focus is the easy part, but choosing which opportunities to focus on is a hard nut to crack. This is true for founders of a small startup, just as it is for managers of a large organization. In any case you will need to assess and prioritize your business opportunities to figure out what horse you are betting on.

Here are few tips that will help you to evaluate and compare your business opportunities in a systematic manner, so you can set your strategic focus more easily.

Spotlight on two key factors

Theories on motivation stress that a great goal should be desirable and feasible – both at the same time. A business opportunity is just the same: it should be highly desirable, i.e., offer a high potential for value creation, yet also highly feasible, i.e., bear limited challenges in capturing this value. So when you assess different opportunities for your company, make sure to evaluate these two key factors. Your aim is to focus on a high potential, low challenge opportunity.

Categorize your options

If you systematically evaluate the potential and the challenge of each business opportunity on your table, you can use it to categorize your options into 4 different types:

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How well does your organization anticipate and influence regulatory changes?

Posted on November 22, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well does your organization anticipate and influence regulatory changes?

  • Very well. We see them coming and help shape them: 27.7%
  • Well. We see them but could do more to shape them: 37.1%
  • Not well. We’re sometimes surprised and don’t shape much:27.7%
  • Not at all. We’re always caught off guard: 7.5%

Staying ahead of the rules. All businesses are impacted by new laws, rules, and regulations. Ignore their development at your own risk. It can be a terrible outcome to be unaware of a rule change until it’s announced. Doing so can cause massive disruptions to your business and lead you to incur significant costs. On top of that, you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage if you’re remediating regulatory issues while your competitors are attacking you since they’ve already remediated their issues before the rule was finalized. Even better than staying apprised of pending regulations, see if you can influence their development. There are many opportunities to provide input into the regulatory process. Don’t miss the opportunity to shape the rules you’ll compete under in the future.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Three Best Practices to Obtain and Retain Top Talent

Posted on November 19, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Career, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

Magnet with Iron Filings

The top talent your organization needs is bullish on the future. Here are three best practices we found to obtain and retain your best employees.

Today’s post is by Mark Miller, author of Talent Magnet (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Top talent is bullish on the future. Many would say they’ve already been there in their imagination and are excited about the prospects.

In late 2017, my team and I, with outside assistance, finished a research project where we sought the factors that attract what I like to call top talent. That private research gained insight from more than 7,000 people, collected through various methods across the U.S.

One of our findings is the fact top talent has more of a future bias than their fellow employees. So much so, a brighter future is one of the attributes they consider when evaluating an organization or job opportunity: “Will this place and role help me prepare for my future?”

What is the role of leadership then?

Our research identified three best practices to help top talent realize their preferred future while serving the organization along the way.

Champion Growth

If your goal is to help top talent grow into a brighter future, you can do countless things over the months and years to assist these most talented people. But, there may be nothing more critical than your continuing efforts to champion growth.

Champion is not a term you hear often as a verb; however, in this context, it is the perfect word. To champion growth means you will fight for, defend, promote, affirm and assist others as they attempt to grow. Not only that, you’ll do all of this with tremendous energy, enthusiasm, passion and fervor.

Everyone needs a champion when it comes to growth.

As a leader in this role, you may serve as a resource or assist in securing resources. You can also nurture and facilitate growth by expecting every person to have a written development plan, and don’t miss the power of encouragement along the way.

One of the most satisfying parts of your job as a leader should be helping others reach their full potential, often far beyond what they believed was even possible. Wise leaders understand to become a talent magnet they must champion growth.

Provide Challenge

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What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Posted on November 15, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Career, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What’s the most exciting part of your job?

  • My teammates: 25.4%
  • Our products/services: 17.0%
  • My growth and development: 18.6%
  • Market dynamics and challenges: 15.1%
  • Something else: 10.0%
  • I’m not excited at all about my job: 13.9%

Maybe it’s time to quit. Answers about what excites you about your work were pretty evenly distributed across teammates, growth, and the work you do. The striking answer that jumps out is that 14% of you aren’t excited at all about your jobs. Acknowledging that we all don’t have the flexibility to up and walk out to find another job, something needs to change. See if you can get your responsibilities changed. Find another department to work in. Pin down the top dissatisfiers about your work and figure out how to change them. At the very worst, if you hate your job that much, maybe it’s time to quit. Life is too short to be uninspired and miserable. Don’t just sit there – figure out a way to change your situation.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Ten Things Great Leaders Do

Posted on November 12, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Are You Aware

If our businesses are to be successful, we need to move from an era of command and control to a system of “leadership by consent.” Here are ten things great leaders do to make that shift.

Today’s post is by Debra Corey, author of Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The role of leaders is changing. More than ever, our employees are demanding visible, accountable and valuable leadership. We’ve moved from an era of command and control to a system of “leadership by consent.”

The voice of our employees has never been more powerful, with social media, open communication and public reviews leaving nowhere for leaders to hide if they don’t meet their employees’ demands. Sites like Glassdoor, which has 41 million people visiting each month, allow employees, past and present, to easily leave anonymous reviews of a company and its leadership. And with 80 percent of candidates reading Glassdoor reviews before applying for a job, as well as customers and even external investors visiting the site, we can no longer ignore the influence and power of employee reviews.

In Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement, co-authored with Glenn Elliott, we address this new world of leaders, as well as other critical engagement elements, through our engagement model called The Engagement Bridge™. Using this model as a framework, we talk about the urgency for businesses to start treating employees differently in all areas in order to improve employee engagement and get better business results.

As part of our research, we conducted a study of 350 millennials, asking them what they wanted and expected of their leaders, and had them prioritize leadership traits. The result is what we call “Ten things great leaders do,” and they are:

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What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

Posted on November 8, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Innovation, Leadership, Poll, Project Management

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

  • It’s been great every time: 17.3%
  • It’s been OK most times: 40.7%
  • It’s been hit-or-miss: 32.0%
  • It’s been horrible: 3.3%
  • I’ve never worked on a cross-functional team:6.7%

Cross-functional teams function — most of the time. Most of you have had good experiences on cross-functional teams. For those who have had it be hit-or-miss, consider the following culprits for the misses: team members aren’t fully committed to provide time and effort, they don’t have their supervisor’s support, goals aren’t aligned or there’s no clear charter for the team. These are some of the most common dysfunctions of a cross-functional team. All of these can be solved during the initial stages of forming the team. Do all you can to drive commitment, alignment and direction as soon as the project starts. Skipping that step can spell disaster.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

Read More…

4 Ways to Help Work and Life Coexist

Posted on November 5, 2018 | 1 Comment
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

People Running Marathon

Studies show that the happier your team is, the more productive they will be. Here are simple strategies to keep them energized.

Today’s post is by William Vanderbloemen, author of Culture Wins (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

More and more studies are showing that how we feel about our work impacts how we feel about ourselves, our personal and professional relationships, and our job performance.

Successful companies are wising up to this and nurturing our mind/body connection and seeing a boost in higher quality work, retention and results.

Still not convinced?

Think of it this way: If you buy two pairs of running shoes and switch them off, they’ll last longer. The same is true with your staff. Give your team time to reset during busy work seasons, and they’ll be energized to do more work quicker and better.

Here are four simple strategies to having work and life not only coexist, but get along, and see great results:

Hit the gym

Organizations with a healthy work culture encourage their team members to be healthy themselves.

Give your employees the resources to take care of themselves. Provide a gym membership. Schedule a trainer to come to the office so people can work out while getting paid (not squeezing in during a lunch hour). Or, have a fitness challenge. People can train together for a race or see who can log the most steps in a month.

Encourage LONG lunches

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