6 Insights for a Culture Change

February 27, 2019 by  

One of the greatest business challenges is effectively changing workplace culture. In order to do that, you must understand the underlying issues involved in order to make it happen. In addition, you need to answer all the questions and concerns that people may have and provide them with the compelling reasons why this change is going to be beneficial to everyone.

Here are some insights to consider when making a culture change:

Insight #1: Culture is the key to success and the key to the long term survival of any business
It is easier to decide on change than to get people to change. The more companies looked at, it seemed most were a bit like dysfunctional families. They had turf issues and trust issues, resistance to change, and it was very easy to do things in some companies, but it was almost impossible in others.
The greatest predictor of a company’s future is its culture. That culture is created and maintained by the leadership.

Insight #2 – The “Jaws of Culture” chew up most initiatives
Most companies invest in their strategy, initiatives, processes, and structure. All those issues have to go through the “Jaws of Culture”. The jaws are the dysfunctions of an organization:
• Are there turf issues or is it one company?
• Do people blame one another when things don’t work or are they accountable?
• Is there a positive spirit in the organization?
• Do people feel appreciated?

The primary Jaws of Culture in most organizations today are a lack of collaboration and agility and not much of a learning mindset for the kind of world we are in. No matter what the initiative is, those issues are going to chew it up, and those are the “Jaws of Culture”.

Insight #3: Creating a “one company” culture
Culture has really hit the tipping point because, in addition to the need for agility, most companies are very fragmented. Most big corporations today are a collection of acquisitions or geographies or business units or product lines; they aren’t one company. Truthfully, if they are going to survive, they really can’t afford to be fragmented today. In order to establish trust and rapport with the customer, control costs effectively and in the end just be successful, an organization needs to present itself with a united front. So, sadly there are very few fully integrated companies.

The answer is creating an allied or shared business model, and that only works with the right culture. It means creating a culture where decisions are made for the greater good with everybody having some common higher cause and being part of the process. Creating one company is critical today for big corporations to succeed.

Insight #4 – Diagnose the organization, Create your From-To model
Every organization has a culture. The only question is: Does it shape you or do you shape it?
In most organizations, people just step in and pick up behaviours of people who are there. That’s what culture is about, and yet you can systematically and intentionally shape a culture if you model it and commit to it.

Step 1 is to diagnose the organization. Given what you are facing, what are the behaviours you need and what are the behaviours you have? At this moment in time, in order to execute your strategies, what are those shifts you need to make happen and how will you make those shifts? That’s the diagnostic.

Step 2 is to then create a “From-To” model: Shift from being hierarchical to being more empowering. Shift from being siloed to being more collaborative with better lines of communication. Shift from being resistant to change to being very agile and open to change.

Insight #5 – Culture shaping needs to start at the top
Culture shaping definitely needs to start at the top of the organization. The principal issue here is that organizations become “Shadows of Their Leaders”. You affect your company so if you commit to the particular culture and model it, it will be more likely to be mirrored by those around you.

Insight #6 – Engineer ‘aha moments’ to shift thinking and behaviour
The challenge faced is how do you change habits of adults? Here is a thought: When we are young, we are like a flowing river, and then we freeze.” We get stuck in our habits. So how can be get ‘unstuck’? That only happens if we decide we want to change and then commit to doing what is necessary to make it happen.

Most models of change today are behavioural models. People define a set of values and then they communicate them. They talk to people about them. That doesn’t necessarily tend to change people. We all know we should do things that we don’t do.

So in the end, what does change people? It often takes some sort of wake up call to truly get someone’s attention and make them really consider embracing the change that is necessary. So how do we create those “aha” moments???

Here is an example: Do you remember when your mom told you if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all? So, that’s an underlying belief you likely espouse.
Then, you can have an insight that says, “As a leader, if you work for me, my job is to help develop you so that you can fulfill your potential. In fact, I need to show you that I appreciate your contributions and provide constructive feedback so that you can grow. If I do those things, I will be a good leader and be of benefit to everyone and the organization.
So, if you can have that shift in mindset through an epiphany, and change that behaviour, then you are going to really execute differently going forward. So, the next step in the process is to “unfreeze.” In other words, in order to make people want to change, you must offer reasons to change their mindset and allow your people to be able to accept the new idea and then make that their new mindset.

In the end, this mostly boils down to how effective the leadership of any organization is. The better they are at communicating with impact, honesty, clarity and influence, the more likely they are to have a great culture and to be able to affect change in their organization as it is necessary.

5 Keys to Building & Maintaining a Culture of Innovation

January 3, 2018 by  

In today’s fast-moving world of technology, businesses need to find a way to keep up and even move ahead of the crowd. In order to do that, the leadership needs to create and commit to establishing and maintaining a culture that invites and encourages innovation. In order to do that, employees must feel that they are appreciated, supported, and encouraged as well as listened to respectfully. When that is well known, individuals can be free to think in creative and innovative ways thus being able to freely develop new ideas, processes, and products. When allowed to do that the organization will have engaged, challenged, high-performing, and productive teams. All of which are beneficial to the success and longevity of any organization.

In order to do this the following elements should be considered:

1. The leadership must demonstrate their intention and desire to innovate:
Many business leaders pay only lip service to innovation. Many opportunities are lost if companies stop innovating. Intentional innovation involves not only announcing a company’s plan to ‘innovate’ but also requires the creation of avenues for that innovation to actually occur throughout the entire company. Intentional innovation provides legitimate and meaningful opportunities that allow everyone in the company to be able to bring forth their ideas. This also means that the leadership must have the strength and be willing to make the changes necessary to actually move the new ideas forward.

2. Unstructured and experimenting time must be scheduled:
You cannot develop a strong team overnight and the same is true for great innovation. Your organization has to develop a real and respected place to germinate and develop new ideas. Time and resources must be made available as the best creations come from a mind free from routine. You need to allow for individuals to have some limited latitude beyond the normal confines of the office, such as retreats, outdoor activities, and even just walks at any time, which can all be conducive to creative thought.

3. Permit mistakes as they are opportunities to learn:
Any company ramping up their authentic innovation efforts needs to allow for errors and inefficiencies. Innovation does not always yield its benefits according to preset timelines and costs. We would not have the technological advances, aerial options or even electricity if the inventors had not made mistakes and learned from them. It is not always about profits and accounting processes. Better to give your people the opportunity to just be creative, experience a few bumps, but keep moving forward and experimenting until something viable is developed.

4. Determine ways to effectively measure innovative impact:
One of the keys to nurturing impactful innovative efforts is to have determined just how you will measure their impact and the resulting successes. The key metrics to consider include new additions to your revenue, profit margins, penetration into new markets, a reduction in costs, absenteeism or turnover. All of which generally occur when employees feel appreciated, supported, and encouraged because when that is present so is engagement. Engaged employees are more self-motivated, generally work at a higher level of performance, and are going to be likely to stay with the company because they are happy there.

5. Find ways to motivate in a meaningful way:
Innovation generally changes the way people work, and what they work on. Leaders need to ensure that everyone affected by the changes understands the impact of the innovative efforts and can actually see the benefits for themselves and their departments. This may mean more skills development, promotional opportunities, job diversity, or bonuses, nonetheless, it needs to be seen as important to each employee so that they will all buy into its success. Keeping everyone in the loop about the project will go a long way to getting and keeping everyone on board with the new project. In addition, it demonstrates that the leadership is committed to its success.

Building this internal architecture of innovation is no simple task, it takes patience, dedication, and commitment by the leadership. However, if you are strongly behind it and can demonstrate that support in meaningful ways you will very likely be able to develop and maintain that desired culture and reap its benefits.

Important Tips on Loyalty and Leadership

July 22, 2017 by  

Leadership and loyalty are two elements that can certainly go together in any organization…..in other words, if you demonstrate good leadership, you will engender loyalty in your people because they will be happy following you and being a part of your organization.
Here are some tips to ensure that you are an effective leader who fosters loyalty because you have created an internal architecture that encourages, supports, and respects the members of your team so that they feel appreciated, challenged and happy. When that happens you will have higher performance, more efficiency, productivity, and creativity……all good for the bottom line!

Try to Overcome fear in order to perform at a higher level:

Don’t suffer from “small pie” disease, as this leads to fear and inaction among your team members. There is always enough to go around so don’t be afraid to share and you will be enriched by that approach many fold.
Continue to feed your mind good stuff. In other words, make a habit of reading uplifting and inspiring articles at the beginning of each day, instead of diving straight into business emails or social media. Starting with more positive thoughts will set you on the right track for positive outcomes.
Reduce the negativity in your day. You can accomplish this by writing down the sorts of media you are consuming and how long you spend on it. Once you have done that, then, you can reduce the time you spend exposed to negative and stressful media and increase the positive and inspiring options available.
Earn validation. Record positive memories of times you succeeded and keep them where you can read them easily and often. That way, you can revisit them to build and maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Constructive Criticism can be beneficial. When criticism is delivered in a constructive, exploratory, and supportive manner, the information can give the individual the opportunity to learn from their mistake, fix the resultant issues and consider other options for future situations so that the mistake is not repeated.
Try to follow both your purpose and your passion. This can be done when you align your work activities with your core values, as well as with the sort of word that you love. When that is accomplished, you will have a greater impact on your outcomes and hence will be more successful and happy.

Foster growth at your company:

Be a big picture thinker. There are several types of business owners: dabblers, dreamers, and leaders in pursuit of excellence. The future belongs to the learner who believes that they should continually improve their ability to lead with effectiveness. Leadership, to a large degree, is an ongoing process and the best leaders invite input from their team to find out how they are doing so that they can improve in areas of weakness.
Marketing creates awareness. Attracting customers and sales happen when you have gained the trust and loyalty of prospects who have experienced your product or services and found them to be reliable, consistent and worthwhile. This takes time, effort and cooperation from all the team members who are in contact with your ideal market. The better your people are trained and supported, given a measure of autonomy and flexibility to under-promise and over-deliver, the more repeat business and even referrals you will receive.
Determine your ideal market. Instead of espousing a desperate, take-all-comers outlook, position your company to take only the best, most appropriate clients/customers who allow you and your team to deliver your best work. That, in the end, will actually lead to more great clients and enjoyable work. In addition, it will be a better use of your prospecting time, especially if you have done your homework well.
Hone your elevator speech. Who wants to listen to something that is not truly relevant to them? Instead, develop a great brand identity that is true to who you are, then talk about it, model it and have your people do the same when they are interacting with prospects.

The road to the successful leadership of your employees:

What makes them happy? Consider why employees stay with you. Do they take pride in their work, enjoy serving customers well or just like being part of a great team? If the answer is yes to all of those questions, then you are likely doing a great job. Happy employees are more productive, efficient, and creative. In addition, they are sick less often and less likely to leave a job that they enjoy. So if you have a lot of turnover, many sick days and a general apathy in your work environment, you need to examine your leadership style and the way your run the culture of your business and try to rebuild it so that your people are happy, challenged, appreciated, supported and encouraged. This could require you to be more of a mentor, offer more autonomy, opportunities for training and advancement, as well as explaining more clearly their exact roles and responsibilities so that they truly understand just how they fit into the “big picture”.
Respect the contributions of your employees. Consider going out on jobs to learn exactly what your workers do. With this deeper understanding, you can then show respect by setting appropriate policies and rewards that reflect that understanding. In addition, the acknowledgment of those contributions goes a long way to making individuals feel appreciated and valued in their positions.
Convert your goals into reality. You can accomplish this when you involve your people collaboratively to recast the company’s goals. When they feel they have a stake in the decision making and then the outcomes, they are more likely to buy into both the process and results because they helped design the process. It is much easier to get workers invested in a cause that they embrace. Therefore, there will obviously be a much better chance that those goals will become reality when “all hands are on deck” toward that end.

Explain the big picture. When you show workers how supporting the cause will grow sales, improve outcomes and reap rewards for everyone, it is likely that that will also create a better, more productive work environment with fewer problems and conflicts. The clearer everyone is about how they fit in and what their contribution means to the end results we are all aiming for, the more likely they are to rise to the occasion and perform to the best of their ability…..a win/win for everyone!

So, if you want to lead a successful organization then considering employing at least some of the tips offered in this blog. And remember, happy, challenged, supported, encouraged, and appreciated employees are more likely to perform better, be sick less often, and be innovative. In addition, when they feel satisfied they will be less likely to seek work elsewhere…..which is always very costly.

One last tip…..have fun!

The Top 10 Qualities of Great Leadership

December 13, 2016 by  

Whether you have worked your way up the corporate ladder or started your own business……the path to successful leadership isn’t an easy one. There will be good times, stressful times, and challenging times, however a great leader is always able to lead a team to success, regardless of the situation. Simply holding a position of leadership doesn’t make someone a good leader. A truly great leader understands the many factors involved and strives to help their team reach their goals. Effective leaders are always developing themselves, and act as the visionary for their organization.

Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?
1. Honesty
The foundation of any relationship, both personal and professional, is based on honesty. People want to work for a leader they can trust−one who exhibits morals, values, and integrity. They want to work for a company that offers great products or services they believe in, and that have an honorable reputation. Your employees want to feel good about their jobs−it is important to establish core values for both the business and yourself, and then to lead by example.
2. Communication
Without clear, open and honest communication, your employees won’t understand your mission, goals, and vision. Employees want to work toward something they believe in, so it is important for them to understand the common goals for which we are all aiming. Communication should be consistent in establishing work expectations, giving constructive feedback, and in training new employees. With effective communication, your employees will be able to understand their roles and responsibilities and thus be able to achieve high performance and meet expectations.

3. Confidence
When things go wrong, employees look to you for the answers and will judge the situation based upon your reaction. Even if the company is experiencing a major downturn, it is important to be confident and calm, as an example for your team. Your role is to maintain a happy work environment and to continue leading the team positively.
4. Inspiration
Whether you are starting a new business, or are leading a team at a already been established business; it is important to encourage employees to become invested in the vision of the company. The leader must set the example….good leaders are so inspiring that people will follow them anywhere just to see what they will do.
5. Positivity
Stay positive in any situation as this attitude is essential to productivity, employee happiness, and the work environment. When mistakes are made, even if they are serious, it is important to look at the bright side of things, and as necessary offer constructive criticism. You set the tone for the work day, and your attitude directly affects those under your leadership. Bringing snacks, giving compliments, and showing an interest in an employee’s personal life can have a significant impact on work attitude and productivity.
6. Delegation
When we have a highly-important project, it can be difficult to trust employees without micromanaging. Trusting them to do their best work will encourage them to live up to your expectations. When delegating, decide what strengths each employee possesses, and assign them tasks that best fit those strengths. The ability to delegate successfully will lead to higher performance.
7. Commitment
Nothing demonstrates commitment and humility better than getting your hands dirty with the rest of the workers. Showing your commitment sets an example for others to follow, and leads to greater loyalty and respect for you as a leader. Set a tone of commitment and others will follow suit.
8. Humor
Although it is not a requirement, a sense of humor goes a long way in helping to create a positive work environment and enhances the feeling of camaraderie. Your unique personality and sense of humor shows your employees that you are human, too, which encourages them to feel comfortable around you.
9. Creativity
Some decisions have to be made quickly, and can surprise us. It is up to the leader to think outside the box to find a solution. Your team will be looking to you for guidance, so a quick decision must also be a good decision. You might want to brainstorm with your team in order to build upon some of your ideas. When your employees collaborate on a decision, they often feel more invested, respected, and important.
10. Intuition
Sometimes we are presented with situations that aren’t in a textbook and for which you might not be prepared to solve. The first decision isn’t always the best one, so take your time to come up with a unique solution that will be in the best interest of your workers and organization. Sometimes, leaders have to draw upon their instincts, past experiences, and mentors for help in these complicated situations.

If you have the list of  qualities described above you are likely an excellent leader.  If you want to improve your leadership skills and outcomes, it would be a good idea to consider developing those qualities.  If you do, the results will certainly be more successful.

Transitioning…..the Process for Change

October 26, 2016 by  

Managing transitions can be very frustrating for leaders because this process is not linear or sequential. Rather transition management requires a multifaceted, simultaneous approach. There is a wide variety of ways that can be implemented to support people throughout the change process.

After identifying some of the pitfalls and challenges of the change process, the question is: What can leaders do to implement changes more successfully? There is no easy answer to that query.

Here are 6 key areas that will help you to deal more effectively with this process.

The list includes the needs that should be addressed by people when going through change.

Leadership
Engagement
• Trust and betrayal
• Coping with Anger
Transition Management
Communication

Leadership
Successful transitions begin and end with effective leaders. Employees need to feel supported, encouraged, and respected by their supervisors. In fact, when exiting employees are asked why they are leaving, most identify the issue as, “not being treated with respect by their manager.”

Leadership is particularly challenging in times of change. If there is an atmosphere of trust, respect, and rapport developed through open, honest, clear communication, and transparent integrity, transitions happen much more smoothly.

Engagement
For a change to be successful, employees need to be fully engaged and involved in the process. That happens only where there are the following pieces in place.

Clarity
The first rule of engagement is clarity. People need clear information about the change. They also need answers to all their questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how? Clarity allays people’s fears and helps them to feel more committed and willing to embrace the change. Ambiguity, withheld information and double speak only fuels fears and rumors which will work against the process.

Competence
Competence is the second rule of engagement. People who are good at what they do, feel more committed to their work. This does not mean that employees do not like to be challenged, because they do! However, if a task is overwhelming, it frightens people and makes them feel less confident. This creates a barrier for people going through transitions because the change may feel overwhelming. Leaders need to support and encourage employees to be able to make “skill links” from the old to the new. Even though employees may be required to try something new and different, they will be more likely to accept this new approach if they are able to use their strengths and skills in the new system or process.

Influence
People want to have influence and feel they have some control over their situation so that they can be engaged in the process. People will be more committed to an idea if they own it. Conversely, no one likes to be forced to comply. Leaders who take this rule seriously ask for employees’ input and look for ways to implement the as many of the suggestions as possible. This will be a win-win.

Appreciation
People want to be appreciated and acknowledged for the good work they are doing. When leaders notice and express their thanks for a job well done, employees feel more committed to their work and their performance and self-confidence will improve. A simple thanks so much for working late last week or coming in early to finish you portion of the project….shows that the supervisor noticed the efforts of the employee.

Trust and Betrayal
There is nothing worse than feeling that you have been betrayed and often when ‘change is in the air’, employees feel they have been let down and betrayed because they were feeling comfortable and confident and now you are taking all that away from them. The way to prevent the feelings of betrayal is to clearly and openly lay out the change vision and let them know exactly how it is going to happen, the sort of support they can expect and that the leadership is more than willing to entertain suggestions, listen to concerns and explain the process fully and in small steps. Once they feel part of the process and understand their role and what they will now be doing, how they will be supported toward that end and what the time frame will be, they will feel much more relaxed and maybe even excited about the new changes.

Coping with Anger
It is only natural that some people will feel angry about the change as once again, they are comfortable with their work, understand what they have to do and now you are telling them that it is going to change. When people are angry they make mistakes, do not listen well and are unhappy and stressed. These feelings can pervade an entire organization and make this process even more difficult to accomplish. Therefore strategies to overcome these sorts of feelings must be offered and expected for some employees. For some, it is the fear of failure or just of the unknown that can make them angry, so the support systems you will put into place need to be explained and put into operation. Just listening to concerns can also allay fears so employing active listening is key to coping with this issue as well.

Transition Management
Creating and implementing a multi-layered plan to achieve the vision for this change is essential to the success of any change. You must get your management team on board first and all must be wholly committed to this change and be able to demonstrate that commit to the rest of the employees. Usually no simple plan works, that is why several stages must be developed with options when some aspects do not occur as expected. This is the key to effecting change so the development and implementation of this plan is key to your success.

Communication
This may actually be the most important part of your plan. Without clear, open, honest, impactful and influential communication being used to articulate your plan as well as excellent active listening skills to hear concerns, suggestions and strategies suggested by others, the change will not occur. Employees need to feel that their ideas are heard, in addition when you actually employ some of them, they will be more likely to buy into the process and the ultimate change because they were part of it. Collaborative approaches are usually much better accepted than changes that are forced upon people. And, because change usually invites rumors, often unfounded, but rumors nonetheless, these need to be addressed and dealt with appropriately so that employees will eventually feel comfortable and able to embrace the change and your process will be successful.

These simple actions can go a long way toward engaging and committing your employees to the change that must occur as it brings them on board with encouragement, feelings of collaboration and a clear understanding of what is happening, how it affects them and how they are going to fit in once the transition has been completed. The atmosphere will be so much more positive and engaged when this approach is embraced by the leadership and experienced by the employees.

Building a Culture for Success

March 18, 2014 by  

In order for any business to be successful it must first start with Effective Leadership and include a commitment to the development and maintenance of an internal architecture that fosters autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
I The leader sets the tone for an organization so they must be:
1. Effective Communicator: clear, open and honest and must practice active listening in order to establish strong, lasting relationships and understand the needs and concerns of your people…who are your most valuable asset.
2. Forward looking in their approach to business: in order to be open to new initiatives and opportunities and willing to take risks. Open to suggestions and innovations.
3. Competent: able to do their job well
4. Honest: the basis for respect, trust and rapport
5. Inspirational: elicit enough curiosity so that people would be willing to follow you just to see what you are going to do and where you are going
6. Intelligent: show decisiveness, pragmatism, and knowledge, people need to feel confident that the leader steer the ship well
7. A Mentor: leaders must be willing to share expertise and guide their teams to higher levels of performance by leveraging their gifts and offering opportunities for advancement and the acquisition of improved or greater skills.
8. A good Delegator: knowing to whom and what to delegate is essential, as the best leaders delegate the most.
9. Accountable and reliable: speaks to honesty, but people need to know that when one says they will carry out a promise, they do it! Once trust is lost, so is credibility and both are very difficult to rebuild.
10. Exemplify your aims and goals: the leader must walk the walk not just talk the talk because if he/she does not model their philosophy and approach why would the rest of the organization do so. We get the behaviour we tolerate, so if we commit to an environment of respect, support, encouragement and acknowledgement, we must practice it!
II Culture is established within the vision of the leader and he/she must strongly commit to its development and maintenance. It should employ the following principles:
1. Autonomy: assigning the job not the tasks. In other words, allowing the team member to do the job their way. When they are empowered to do that they feel more self-confident, a higher level of self-esteem and will likely rise to the occasion and fulfill their role with high achievement. Certain parameters may be outlined and a time line will likely be provided however, no micromanaging should be exercised.
2. Mastery: providing people with the opportunity to improve the skills they have, and/or offering them the chance to expand their knowledge into new areas, shows support, encouragement and respect. The employee will feel appreciated and valued and realize that new prospects may arise due this expansion of their talents.
3. Purpose: when autonomy and mastery are offered to employees they feel supported and encouraged. These emotions often engender loyalty and help to develop an inner purpose or drive which becomes motivation to achieve more for the company. They are usually happier and when that is evident productivity, efficiency and creativity increase…all are good for the bottom line!

Organizations which espouse this sort of respectful, supportive, acknowledging culture will have a higher happiness factor, less turnover, more innovation, and less down time. The end result will be a results oriented work environment that people like to contribute to, enjoy working in and will therefore perform at a higher level.

Remember: Leaders light the way, if they are not committed to building and maintaining this sort of corporate culture, it will not happen! However, if they are, the business will grow and flourish and enjoy a successful and long term existence.

5 Tips for Creating a Team Building Culture

November 29, 2013 by  

Creating a team-building culture starts with individual, engaged employees. Engaged employees are happier at work, get more done, and routinely go above and beyond their job descriptions. They also encourage other employees to be more engaged and creative. Most importantly, these employees are proud to be a part of their companies and are likely to stay long-term. There is no one simple set of actions that will create increased engagement levels. You need to identify opportunities, simplify solutions, take action, and hold people accountable for following through with the policies you establish.

In order to create an atmosphere that fosters engagement:
Evaluate the employee: communicate with the employee to identify: What can be improved? What he or she needs? What can be adjusted? What should we start or stop doing?
Evaluate the leader: identify the leadership skills that are most effective for engaging employees. Seek feedback about each leader from his or her boss, peers and direct reports. Align the leader‘s behaviors and leadership skills to the expectations of the organization. Then, close leadership gaps through on the job performance, feedback and coaching.
Evaluate the team:  Each team member brings something unique to the team. It’s important for managers to understand the individual talents of each member and understand how those skill sets interact. Once interaction patterns are clear, it is easier to make adjustments to the current work environment. How the team works together directly affects the productivity of the company. With an overall understanding of where strengths and weaknesses vary, managers are now able to make appropriate adjustments in order to maximize efficiency and leverage the specific talents of each team member.
Create a culture that values engagement – A company’s culture is the unique personality of that company: core values, ethics, and rules that guide behavior. Communicating a clear vision of the future is crucial. Engaged employees require a work culture that is fundamentally stimulating, where they feel appreciated, respected and supported.
Teamwork is rewarded and recognized:  While individual achievements are great, collaborative ideas and practices are what create a team-building culture. Encourage team members to work together to come up with the very best ideas, and reward them when they do.

A company’s brand creates customer loyalty. When one enhances existing processes with the use of predicative performance patterns and job matching, and then empowers managers to use this data, those practices will accelerate performance and build employee brand loyalty. It is also important to remember that team building is not just an activity done once a month. It is something that needs to be a daily part of your organization’s culture.

6 Essential Qualities of a Successful Manager

November 18, 2013 by  

1. Be a great communicator.
Clear and concise communication is one of the most important managerial skills. As a manager you must be able to motivate, delegate, negotiate, persuade, analyze, and critique deals, tasks, and team members on a daily basis. Effective communication whether written, verbal, or through digital media are skills required of any manager today. The better your communication the more likely you and your organization will succeed.
2. Be energetic and enthusiastic.
Negative attitudes bring the entire team down. Managers with enthusiasm and an optimistic outlook will energize the entire team. Adopting a can-do attitude and implementing enthusiasm in the day-to-day interactions will encourage others to look for the positive in even the most challenging situations.
3. Exhibit competence in your area of expertise.
A successful manager must master their area of expertise. The best way to exhibit competence and mastery in your field is to challenge, inspire, and enable your team to successfully complete key goals and initiatives ahead of schedule, under budget, and with exceptional results. Model successful behavior and learn from other successful managers in your field.
4. Delegate effectively and efficiently.
Delegation is an often abused function of even the most seasoned veteran manager. Being able to push critical tasks on to other team members is not the answer to successful delegation. Instead, delegating to those most suited to the task, providing timely information and guidance, as well as consistently following up to ensure everyone understands the task at hand and the desired results are key to effective and efficient delegation.
5. Remain calm, cool, and collected regardless of the circumstances.
Obstacles will arise, unforeseen events will transpire, and Murphy’s Law tends to rule in spite of the most well thought out plans and objectives. When challenges arise handle them calmly and with authority. Identify the solutions and clearly define the ways to successfully navigate the obstacle course presenting itself. Reinforce your team’s ability to thrive in any circumstance by remaining composed and confident even if you are not entirely certain of exactly what needs to happen or when. In a clear-headed state the solutions will materialize and many perceived challenges will work themselves out without requiring major intervention or corrections.
6. Be your team‘s biggest cheerleader and coach.
Encourage your team throughout all stages of any project and offer coaching and guidance as needed during the process. A team is only as good as its leader and requires the manager to understand what is necessary to motivate the individuals to perform at their highest ability. In addition continually recognize and acknowledge the successes of your team. Encourage individuals to strive to improve on an ongoing basis. By leading and encouraging you will inspire individuals to improve their performance and the team’s in the process.

By incorporating these 6 guiding principles into your current management techniques you will be sure to actively engage those around you and improve results consistently. Though not always easily mastered these techniques are simple and proven. Start implementing them today and see how powerful each of them can be in your management objectives.

5 Keys for Successful Delegating

May 20, 2013 by  

One of the signs of a good leader is to delegate, delegate often and delegate appropriately.

How can one do that?
1. Use clear communication: be sure that the individual understands what is expected of them, the scope of their responsibility and the time frame in which this job is expected to be completed.
2. Assign the job not the work: do not micromanage….delegate the job and trust (if you have chosen the right person) that this team member can handle this project and allow them to do it their way. In this way you will empower them to be innovative.
3. Provide training: employees feel appreciated when they are offered an opportunity to either improve or upgrade current skills or to learn new ones. Your most valuable resource is your people…investing in them will bring returns.
4. Find out how to manage this person: as the individual how much support they would like and how often you should check back to see how they are doing. This is to let them know you are there if they need assistance.
5. Show appreciation: everyone likes to be acknowledged for their contribution. Be sure to thank them when the job is completed. If warranted, a small reward (bonus, time off, etc.) never hurts. Realizing that they have been appreciated and how their contribution was valued can greatly increase a person’s confidence and respect for you and the company.

When you empower people to do their jobs in their own way and do them well, the happiness factor in your workplace will greatly increase…when that happens the team productivity, efficiency and creativity also increase which will likely be reflected in your bottom line!

What Are the Traits of a Great Manager?

April 16, 2013 by  

Most of us can recognize a great manager, so why is it so hard to find one?
Almost everyone in business remembers that one special manager from their past who exemplifies the norm, commanded our respect, and treated us respectfully, even in the most difficult situations.

Here is a list of the 10 functional traits of a great manager:
1. Leadership: the culture of the team is set by the leader, if he/she is supportive, encouraging, acknowledging, decisive and competent; the team will be productive, goal oriented and engaged.
2. Delegation: the best leaders delegate the most…they choose the right person for the right job, then allow them to run with the ball, no micro-managing, just appropriate direction, time lines and support as necessary.
3. Competence: good managers exhibit expertise in their field, make productive decisions, and are open to outside the box thinking.
4. Set clear achievable goals: unrealistic expectations do not work for anyone, they only create frustration. A good manager guides his/her team members toward achievable milestones and reviews accomplishments and possible improvements with constructive criticism, support and encouragement.
5. Recognition: great managers acknowledge accomplishments, gives credit where credit is due…in this way, self starters are recognized for their efforts.
6. Active Listener: in order to get to know their team well and be able to lead them effectively, the manager must practice active listening…the key to the development and maintenance of good relationships.
7. Empathic: having the ability to “walk in another person’s shoes”, and to have insight into the thoughts, and reactions of others when facing change is key in today’s fast moving world of new technology. Empathy requires the suspension of judgment of another’s actions or reactions, while understanding them, and treating them with sensitivity, respect, and support.
8. Honesty: never lie to your team, trust is a most important aspect of good relationships and once it is broken, it is most difficult to repair. So be able to walk the walk and admit mistakes…it shows you are human!
9. Sense of Humor: life is way too short not to be able to laugh at ourselves…having some fun at work is a good idea, happy employees are usually more engaged and creative.
10. Keep your Cool: A great manager is an effective communicator and a composed individual, with a proven tolerance for ambiguity. He/she never loses their cool, and is able to correct the team members without emotional body language or comments.

Whole books have been written on this subject. Great managers must have the necessary technical skills; however they also must have excellent people skills.

Now that you understand the traits required in a great manager, perhaps it will not be so hard to find one.

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