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Shhhh…Don’t tell anyone, but…

Gossip

Can you keep a secret? It starts out innocently enough, but malicious gossip doesn’t just occur among the rank and file of your organization. Executives too often play a role. Yes, the very people who should be setting the example. You would think people at this level would know better, and they do, but for some reason, gossip seems irresistible

It’s No Secret - Why We Gossip

It’s almost in our DNA. Picture a group of prehistoric hunters surveying the downing of a mastodon and gossiping about Fred who didn’t hold up his end of the hunt. Humans have been gossiping as long as we’ve been communicating. Men do gossip, they just call it “shooting the breeze.” An article in psychology today offers that women may gossip more simply because they communicate more. However, I’ve seen a group of men who could put any woman to shame when it comes to gossip. Even though it may hurt someone’s reputation, we continue to do it. Why? According to the experts, it can be for any number of reasons:

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Changing Business Models? You're in Good Company

Bus Model Change WEBWhen your business is new and small, you may change business models often. Of course, this ends after you grow and become established. Not so fast. Organizations of any size can change their business model. Organiztions like PayPal, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Tiffany & Co. just to name a few have all found it necessary to change business models. Some changes were more radical than others.

There may be good reasons to change your business model. Beating the competition, what you have just isn’t working, trends, and the fickle market have changed are some reasons it might be necessary to change your business model. Other times, it might be a decision to cut losses for one business unit that’s dragging down revenues and sell it off. One organization simply doesn’t have the qualified staff to run a division that’s lipping along right now. You may think it an easy solution to just hire a staff, but they are in an area of the country that doesn’t have a good talent pool and it’s even worse for technical talent. This can pose a real problem for the growth of the organization.

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How to Avoid an $8 K Mistake

8M Mistake WEB

As a leader, when it comes to talent management, you often hear the call to not only have the right people on the bus, but also to have those people in the right seats. But what does that mean exactly? Yes, it means hiring the right people for the right position, but it also includes assignments the individual participates in once on board. Let’s look at some scenarios.


1. A frustrated VP and I were discussing a hiring project he was working on and that it had been assigned to one of his executives. When he told me this assignment was made six months ago and that no progress had been made, I began asking probing coaching questions designed to get at the core of the frustration.

It seems the assignment had been given to someone who is responsible for building business. Further, this individual is on salary plus commission. Where’s the motivation? This executive is not motivated to take money out of his pocket for a hiring project. Solution: Make the executive the chief advisor on the project and gather a few other individuals together who are not on commission or in sales and have them take on the hiring project.

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Faint-Hearted Over Feedback? Here’s Why.

Feedback Faint WEBAlmost any manager who conducts reviews or has to give employee feedback, especially negative feedback, dreads it worse than most any other aspect of management…and with good reason. Feedback is serious business. An article by Kenneth M. Nowack indicates that more positive than negative feedback in one’s life can increase longevity. As follows, the opposite is true. Too much negative feedback can shorten the lifespan. Now you may feel fainter than ever at the thought of giving feedback. Unfortunately, managers are not hired to only provide positive feedback.

One way to lessen the faint feeling is to train supervisors how to give feedback. While not providing feedback is not an option, many organizations use assessments, to determine how the employee likes and does not like to be communicated with in the first place. Reading about ideas on how to give feedback helps as well. For example, Mr. Nowack suggests a technique called Feedforward created by Marshall Goldsmith. Feedforward works like this when offering feedback: “Next time you are in a staff meeting, you can be even more effective in getting everyone to participate by directly asking for the opinion of others.” Such feedback helps reduce defensive reactions and increases likely receptivity.

In a recent article by Dori Meinert, Senior Writer for HR Magazine, she supports the idea that feedback “creates as much anxiety for the giver or the receiver.” The article cites advice from a book entitled Thanks for the Feedback by Sheila Heen a consultant. Ms. Heen suggests that the onus is on the receiver to be “in control of what they take in and whether they decide to do anything about it.”

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Why You Need Two Plan Bs

2 Plan BsBusiness change is constant - that’s a given. Strategic planning and goal setting must also change with every curve the fickle finger of fate throws at your organization. Then, of course, in order to meet the challenges of change, your executive team and management staff must all be on the same page in order to effectively drive the change throughout the organization and meet your goals.

Recently I had the privilege of working with a small community bank whose executive team had worked diligently to make and begin implementing a two-year strategic plan. A monetary goal is set, and the mission statement is in place and it reflects their goal of helping those with banking needs who reside in their state. Like any consultant worth his/her salt, I set about launching a survey to see if everyone was on the same page with this mission and the monetary goal. When respondents would complete the survey, I then set up an interview with them to dig deeper into their answers.

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Transcending Team Troubles

Transcend Team Trb WEBAll teams run into roadblocks, challenges, and difficult times. This includes business, sports, martial, family and any other type of team. In business, difficulties can crop up due to outside influences such as a down economy, changes within the organization, either planned or unplanned, poor sales forecast, poor communication, and a myriad of other reasons. Failure to address these challenges quickly can lead to poor morale, quibbling, low productivity, expensive turnover, and a lack of trust. The question becomes, should the leader step in?

A visionary leader can often prevent or at the least, lessen the impact by being sensitive to what the future holds. There is no crystal ball needed, but more often than not, there are red flags everywhere. There are other ways to help “predict” the future. Trusted advisors may have opinions or ideas that can trigger further investigation. Financial and business programs may hint at what seems to be coming down the pike. Some leaders take the attitude that every team member is responsible for his or her own emotions, reactions, and thought processes. While this is true, a hands off or laissez-faire attitude may not be the best in such situations. What tools can a leader utilize to keep his or her team from falling apart, lesson the negative impact of a looming crisis, and even find opportunities?

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Rebooting Recruiting

Rebooting Recruiting WEBNew times call for new techniques in virtually every area of life and recruiting is no exception. This goes beyond using technology such as social media and websites. For example, some organizations are using gamification. If a candidate is applying at a hotel, he or she can go on the website and run a department. An accounting firm allows the candidate to virtually “walk through” their offices and some departments in order to get a feeling for the environment. The recruiting wooing process goes even further by putting your best boot forward.

  •  The boot is on the other foot and now organizations must make their own best first impression. This is best accomplished through branding. In other words, companies will need to showcase why they are the best company to work for by touting benefits, perks, and culture. Mel Kleiman dubs this the UEP or Unique Employment Proposition.
  • Mr. Kleiman http://goo.gl/WNKSV4 offers a unique recruiting idea of his own. He suggests that if you receive a reference check for a former “STAR” employee, call that employee yourself and see if she/he has any interest in returning to your organization. Who knows – maybe the reason they left has undergone changes or corrections may have been made.
  • On the other foot, employees typically do not spend their entire careers at one company or even in one industry. Therefore, it is essential to find out what the candidate is seeking in terms of work. If the boot fits, fine, if not move on to the next candidate.
  • Another source suggests that when hiring, ensure that the candidate has the soft skills necessary to work in a team and who is open to learning. This candidate will have the capacity to learn skills that are lacking and will be much easier to work with than an individual who is technically savvy, but who doesn’t work well with others. I wouldn’t want to be in your boots if you hire such a candidate. It’s only a matter of time before the other boot drops.
  • One of the first rules in business is “Make it easy for people to give you their money.” In a sense the same basic philosophy applies to recruiting. Make it easy for candidates to find your job postings.
  • Once the candidate finds you, quick follow-up is essential. This means getting back to candidates as quickly as possible. Put yourself in their boots. Not following up, can make a candidate feel disrespected and unvalued.
  • A good rule of thumb is to hire slow and fire fast. However, a long, drawn out hiring process, loses candidates faster than you can say adverse impact.

    Don’t get comfortable in your bold boots. Recruiting must change to meet the demands of the market, technology, and industries. How can an organization hope to attract top talent when it presents a face of the past, mediocrity, and a lack of understanding of candidates’ needs? Give old recruiting habits the boot and enjoy the talent that rebooting recruiting will bring to your organization.

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The Rocket Science of Succession Planning

Rocket Science WEBOn a survey gathering data for a retreat for a client, there were questions about their succession planning program. After receiving a survey back, I would interview each respondent to gather some deeper info as to reasons behind their answers. One person commented: “I really haven’t made any plans to replace myself.” Succession planning is about you, but not ALL about you. Another respondent commented, “I don’t know what we’re going to do when Bernice leaves.” Bernice, not her real name, is the CEO. These team members obviously haven’t a clue as to what it takes to launch the succession planning rocket. Further, they fail to understand the full purpose and impact of a succession planning program.

In addition to a misunderstanding about who to include in a succession planning program, the following items received low to moderate scores:

  • Talent Management
  • Training and Development
  • Accountability
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Career Management
  • Key Performance Indicators in Place

The above items are key components in launching any succession plan. Without these, even if you have a plan, it can’t be a good one. One point is clear though. The statement, “I don’t know what we’re going to do when Bernice leaves.” is a clear signal that a succession plan is non-existent. Without a plan, there may be chaos among those who want the position, or no clear choice among the team, or there may be no one who is ready to move the strategic plan forward. The organization will lose ground, and market share with no one ready to take the helm. This rocket topples over on the launch pad.

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