Saturday, March 4, 2023

4 Top Leadership Behaviors That Minimize Employee Problems

If you've been following my blog, you've noticed that as of late I've been putting a special emphasis on the concept of being an effective executive. And with that, I've  been providing information to help you break through the overwhelming glut of leadership information that can easily distract from focusing on what's most important first.

As a fellow business leader, my deepest desire is to help all of us build the business of our dreams if we're an owner, or to be the most valuable senior leader possible in supporting those dreams. So I consistently attempt to provide the most useful, fine-tuned information so that you can act quickly to improve your results.

I feel lucky that I'm able to do this in a distinct way through my expertise in human behavior. It's my contribution to the American dream! This expertise offers unique insights into how to grow and manage a business though people.

In doing this, I constantly ask myself, "If I could narrow down to just a few things what leaders need to know through my lens...or what's the most important or #1 insight that would be the most helpful - saving a ton of time and money...what would I share?" I regularly get inspired thoughts, so here is my most recent.

Question: What are the most significant leadership behaviors that need to be in place so that employee problems stay at a minimum? The answers to follow are based on years of observation. I've laid them out so that you can use them as a  checklist for yourself and your leadership/management team(s). By the way, if you are having employee problems within particular teams, you can be assured the managers for those teams is not fulfilling this list. However, as you're reading this right now, read it as if you're applying it to yourself first.

1. Have clear expectations
What is it that you want?... for your business related to how you want your managers and staff to act, behavior and the kind of mindset you want them to have  - this is beyond their job role/responsibilities? You have to be clear because this is your standard and benchmark for your business.

Additionally your expectations need to be believable and that means you not only need to talk it, but you walk it. Your staff won't think it's real, respect it or take it serious if you don't honor your own expectations. You've got to be and remain credible!

2. Communicate your expectations clearly and consistently.
You know this is happening when everyone on your team has no doubt what's expected. Don't assume (which many leaders do) because you've expressed it a few times means they remember, get it or take it seriously. And remember, we communicate not only by what we say, but by what we do. you might be thinking at this point..."Alrighty...this is easy...I do this..." Good, let's keep going because #3 is where for many, it starts to break down.

3. Quickly act to address expectations not met.
When you address the expectations not being met is equally as important as communicating them in the first place. Why quickly? - because the timing of when you do will demonstrate your level of seriousness. The more and longer you tolerate something, the less serious it will be taken...and the more your credibility will begin to crumble.

How you address is also important. Please don't go the punitive, parental route. Ugh! You want to convey a collaboratiave partnership, so have an adult conversation about expectations  and willingness to honor. Something like, "Here's the kind of business and atmosphere I want, hopefully it's what you want to and are you willing to help make that happen ...or are you willing to honor that."

4. Ensure your management team is consistently, appropriately representing and communicating your expectations and equally as important - make sure you've equipped them with the process and support they need to do #3. Please don't "leave it to HR". You need to be the lead...setting the standard and process and can be supported by HR.

As a business leader, I'm not leaving anything of this important to someone else or a department. I set the standard, expectations and how those will be communicated...and how those who are unwilling to honor will be handled. Hopefully this is your philosophy as well!

So, here is my closing bold statement - I guarantee you that almost 98% of people management issues are related to the absence or weakness of 1-4. 

If you need assistance addressing any of these 4, we're happy to help. Our Effective Executive Blueprint for Smart Management addresses all of these with a visual framework you can use to assess, develop, manage and monitor these through-out your organization.

I invite you to check it out with our The Distinct Leader Blueprint. .

Exciting News! // To compliment our global reach with our LinkedIn Learning courses, we're offering a compelling resource - The Blueprint. It can be accessed and implemented in any business environment, world-wide. It provides a step-by-step roadmap to simultaneously improve business and people management while developing competent managers. If you feel a need for improvement in any of these areas you'll want to learn more. Check out the link above.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

A New Era - How Can I Best Serve?

We're So Excited About Our 2022 Update
For those who have been clients over the years, there is a thing you’re very familiar with…my passion for sharing information to improve all aspects of life. It’s common to hear me say at the beginning of just about every training or presentation. “I just love this topic, it’s one of my favorites or it’s one of THE most important…” 

No matter which one, they all share 1 common thread. They’re all human behavior related - how to become aware of it and how to improve it. Whether it’s emotional intelligence or creative and innovative thinking, all professional development…in fact everything in business and in life is about behavior and the elements of the human experience that generate it. The variety of professional development topics on the market just address it through a variety of lens. 
Consider these examples of business activities through the simple view of behavior: 
- people management (or human capital management) is really human behavior management 
- building great teams is really about cultivating the behaviors that create the results of a great team. 
- creating an innovative culture is really about fostering the thinking and behaviors that lead to effective ideation & collaboration 
- dealing with difficult employees is really about how to deal with their counterproductive behaviors and what that’s producing 
- performance management is behavior management 
- when hiring - you’re looking for skills - a skill is a mastered behavior 
- when interviewing - you’re assessing the interviewee’s behaviors and your perception of what those behaviors represent and are communicating to you. 

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. 

So, as I was contemplating how to best serve my clients in the new year, it occurred to me that I’d never formally created a class around that one common thread. Though I’ve written 2 executive briefing books addressing it, Show Me The Money & The Human Quotient, they are usually offered as compliments to the variety of topics in my portfolio, but not on their own. (Those books can also be found on Amazon or Barnes & Noble). 

Then it occurred to me - that 1 common thread is really the critical, underlying foundation to all other topics…and that in fact offering all the topics I do without it is like putting the cart before the horse and even filling up the cart…with still no horse. 

Additionally, I’m coming upon my 25th year in business, and as I’ve worked with thousands of folks around the globe - both in-person and virtually - the same recurring issue comes up that I can just no longer ignore. 

What’s the issue? It’s that common thread…leaders/decision-makers fundamentally do not know how to effectively work with human behavior - even surprisingly - folks in HR. It’s a huge knowledge gap that continually causes so many avoidable employee performance issues which wastes tremendous amounts of money, time and opportunities (to which I devoted 2 LinkedIn Learning courses).

What do I mean “work with human behavior?” Effectively working with human behavior comprises 3 abilities: 
> notice it - pay attention to it (it’s amazing how much is ignored or minimized) 
> measure it to see and understand its broad impact (what I call “the ripple effect”) 
> and here’s the biggy… financially calculate the value or cost of it. 

Because many leaders are not skilled at all 3, here's what typically happens… ​​
-They see people, not behavior 
-They don't take negative behavior seriously - it's overlooked or highly tolerated 
-They don't know what to do when they see it 
-They don't see/understand the human, team, organization, client or customer impact and cost 
-They don't know how to financially calculate that impact/cost 
-And because of everything above, they don't have a timely response.

Also, it causes talent to be undervalued, unappreciated and under compensated. So what does talent do?...they leave…”great resignation” anyone? I’ve even seen very talented people let go or perpetually not promoted not because they weren’t contributing value, but because of something personal or an unexplainable bias. 

So, it became clear to me that the best way for me to serve this year is to finally teach folks how to read behavior, measure and financially calculate its value and cost. That's what our Masterclass will do.

Our Mantra: Read It - Map it - Measure It

One thing of which I am firmly convinced - the key reason destructive behavior in the workplace is left unaddressed and tolerated is because decision-makers (HR included) are not aware of the financial cost because they don’t know how to measure and calculate it. The one exception…turnover…but by then it’s too late, the short-term and perhaps even long-term damage has been done. 

So, I’m excited to announce that I am adding to my offerings a signature masterclass (which also serves as a perfect complement to my LinkedIn Learning Courses). 

Finally, the horse has arrived! 

Its content is an essential foundation to any other training and development plan and therefore a critical resource in every professional toolkit. Bottom line - it’s for any leader at any level. 

Masterclass Overview 
The masterclass is designed to help you construct a relevant case-study, using a real-time scenario. You can use yourself or another situation. As you build the case study you'll be learning to...
> move your leaders/managers from an employee mindset to a business partner mindset 
> see the big picture of an employee’s performance/behavior by mapping their ripple effect (this is pretty eye-opening) - whether its contributed value or costs incurred. 
> financially calculate that contribution or the cost. This part really shocks folks. When they see situations translated into concrete $, it’s mind-blowing. I have some great case studies. 

For example, just this past week, after 1 session, a client was able to save $100,000! And another, recognized a win due to a new hire. The brilliance of that hire enabled her to regain and redeploy $30,000 of a grant. Another client gained the courage to let go of a severely disgruntled team member (when she saw the "ripple effect" numbers - they were just to hard too ignore, the negative impact and cost was clear). And in our working together, she learned there was no need for a replacement. The gain - $50k!

So, let me close with 2 questions: 
 > As a manager, can you calculate the big picture impact of an underperforming, or dysfunctional team member? ...or the value of a high-contributing team member?
> If you lead leaders – do you know how to calculate the cost of a harmful manager? 

If your answer is no, here is the reality. Everyday that passes in which you’re not able to do that and make an informed decision about it, you are definitely losing money or taking talent for granted - it’s costing you. That's called opportunity cost.

I highly encourage you to take the Masterclass or at least enroll in one of our 45 min. previews. Your future self will thank you! Learn more here.  Or if you know it's something you need but want to chat first, email me to schedule a time:

Final note: Our goal is to help folks be distinct leaders. If you become part of our community, take our masterclass and work with our smart management blueprint, you will be positioned like no other. This is a compilation of our best work and insights over the past 24 years with amazing case studies to prove it!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Different Kind of Spring Forward!

This post is a special announcement!
We will be moving all of our content to a new all-in-one learning platform. Our goal is to reimagine leadership and management development. It's time to offer something different!
Read on...

Clocks have changed for most of us. Have you recovered yet? The one good thing about this time of year?...there is an inspiring sense of Spring coming. We see daffodils popping up from the ground and trees with early blooms and we feel it's just around the corner. We're beginning to break free from the winter doldrums, feeling a bit more energized as we look forward to welcomed days of sun-filled activities.

If you're anything like me, Spring is also a time when I take a moment to assess what's been happening since the beginning of the year - what was and what could be as the year continues to progresses.  I set aside time to plan because I want to act with intention - to make the most of each day.

I encourage you to do the same and in particular with your professional development.  This is the purpose of this post.

One of the new initiatives I'm super excited to introduce is an all-in-one platform that holds my complete collection of offerings, including books, articles and courses. It's intended to be a one stop shop to serve as an expert professional development resource for leaders and managers.

Why the Platform? 
It's time to not only rethink leadership, but also to completely reimagine leadership and management development. This is the challenge I am issuing to my professional community and in doing so, want to offer a viable alternative.

It's well passed time - it just really needs to change! 

I wrote about this need a while back on LinkedIn: Is The Leadership Industry Failing You?  And, the timing for this challenge and offering could not be more perfect as it aligns with many disruptive changes due to the pandemic. There is no better time than now!

Here's The Issue
For years, I've witnessed and been very frustrated with the overall inadequacy of professional development offered by most companies and the professional industries that serve them. This inadequacy has continually hurt employees (and businesses) at all levels in variety of ways including delayed skill development. All of which ultimately suppresses cumulative earnings for employees and companies.

My philosophy and a professional truth: 
Skills undeveloped is money left on the table...
for everybody...and definitely not in your bank account.

So, I felt compelled to create an opportunity to remedy this. I'm launching a professional development resource that offers the best, most effective way to grow capabilities and skills in a way that is sustainable and which can even be measured financially. All resources to achieve this will be housed on the platform.

What Needs to Change?
The current traditional approach to professional development is not only antiquated, but also does not adequately take into account basic principles of human psychology and behavior - the origin of all change.

Because of this and for a few additional reasons, you are being held back...that is if you're solely dependent on your company to provide all the resources for your professional development. And sadly, most folks are.

I'll state the challenges this way. I want professionals to not have to...
- wait on the timing of internal decision-makers to get help to gain knowledge and/or develop a needed skill
- be beholden to selective, restrictive investment
- be dependent (and this is a big one) on inexperienced, novice decision-makers who select "trainings", which are typically limited, deficient time-wasters.

Sourcing and decision-making goes something like this...hum we need training, where should I look. I'll go on LinkedIn (and I'm saying this even as someone who has one of the most popular LinkedIn HR courses) and shoot out a question to the community (who by the way promote the traditional approaches). A one time event or series of webinars and workshops - usually in the form of massive information dumps - are suggested, along with certain vendors. A topic is decided and scheduled..but oops you can't make it...that's'll be recorded. Decision-maker then thinks, "Training done, needs met, we're good to go."

You sign up, learn a bunch of stuff, your brain is maxed to capacity within the first 30 mins. You may get to ask some questions at the end...then, the end. No implementation support, post event interaction and follow up from the presenter, generally not tied to meaningful business objectives with little to no accountability of usage. That's it.

Here's The Reality
One information dump does not automatically fix a skill deficit and the problems created.. talking about a skill does not make a skill. Temporary change can be immediate, but permanent change takes time. Permanent change is a mastered behavior change aka a skill.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Your Management Training Sucks! by [JoAnn Corley Schwarzkopf]
I talk about this in depth in my Kindle Short - 10 Reasons Why Your Management Training Sucks.

And these are the driving factors behind my new offering. After years of the same ole' same ole' truly is time for something different. You deserve it! Your career and family deserve it and so do your fellow colleagues and if you're a leader/manager, those you led....and if you're a fellow HR professional you deserve something you can confidently offer that can provide the utmost value.

I'd like to offer the opportunity for professionals to...
- get competent help exactly when they need it
- in an affordable way so they are not dependent on their company to do so
- have strategic, affordable control of their professional development and earning potential by working with proven experts for as long as is needed.
- use of time efficiently 

So my message is... I encourage you to not undermine your professional earnings and development by being too dependent on your company and if you're at a senior level, not be wholly dependent on a novice HR, training and development department to make critical decision regarding the development of your most important asset - your employees. It is rare that they adequately provide what's needed. Additionally, there are definite gaps in development offerings for senior and executive leadership.

The Platform
It is a site that has a breath of learning resources - books, articles, videos, podcasts, courses, including live weekly interactive roundtables and periodic, specially curated masterclasses and 1 on 1 real-time conversations. Though this may sound like a bunch of random stuff put together, it all serves our key focus and development method:

What's different? Everything on the platform is serves to support our signature approach to leadership development using the lens of power => the ability to achieve desired results. My experience...everything in life is about power.

Our Approach
1. We use 3 unique, simple competencies - Personal Power, Community Power & Social Power.
2 Points here:
a.  Community is our updated, modern view of management and operations 
b. We think a lot of stuff around leadership & management competencies, as well as formal performance management is waste of time, adding little if any real, substantive value to an organization.
2. Framed within tested, proven blueprints.  They serve as a step-by-step guide to developing carefully identified competencies. Additionally, the blueprint is designed with behavior science threaded through-out, along with a method to calculate the financial impact of each step.

Our 3 Core Blueprints
1. The Emerging Executive - newly promoted or pre-promotion preparation
2. The Disciplined Executive - executives who want to refine their effectiveness (designed to be a tactical compliment to Peter Drucker's book, The Effective Executive)
3. The Smart Management Blueprint - for leader/managers at any level who want to improve their people management.

Each are designed to be implemented within a 90 day development cycle with weekly, measurable outcomes. Each has easy to access learning bites, action items with weekly, live accountability for feedback and additional learning. You experience support at each step along the way...for as long as you need! 

It's Time to Spring Forward Into Something New!
It's time to break out of our traditional view and approach to professional development. We've got to move passed and reject the notion that a meaningful "training", developing a skill is a 1 and done information dump and can only be sourced via Human Resources....that webinars and courses are the remedy. They are vehicles - they are not in and of themselves the remedy.

The best approach is to have access to proven tools, anytime needed, in manageable bites, with ongoing, live human support that is tied to real-time needs, for as long as is needed. That's what we offer.

Learn more about this innovative approach and how you can use this for your professional development. 

By the way, if you're a decision-maker or HR professional and recognize the value of this opportunity, we do offer special discounts for corporate subscriptions. Consider adding this platform and its offerings to your corporate leadership and management development portfolio.

A Final Note
After conducting thousands of professional development workshops, seminars and delivering many keynotes, here is one of the many professional development truths I've observed. There are primarily 2 kinds of learners - passive and active. 

Passive learners - which have been referred to as seminar junkies - love to learn...take in new information, but typically do nothing with it...they just keep learning and that's it. 

Then, there are active learners. They take in information with the intent to apply what they've learned to generate change. They have the motivation, focus and commitment to implement. In fact they welcome ongoing help. They want to be held accountable to maximize the learning experience. They want to ensure they're growing professionally and can achieve meaningful change...change that really matters.

Which one are you? If you happen to be a passive learner and want to boost your professional effectiveness and put more money in your pocket, we invite you to fully participating in all that the platform offers. If you're already an active learner, you'll love the format, offerings, live weekly interaction. You'll feel right at home. All are welcomed no matter your stage of growth. See you on the Platform!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

My Advice During Covid - Hang On To What's Certain

There is nothing new under the sun...ever heard that phrase. It's from a biblical passage, Ecc. 1:9.

Well, in the time of Covid, you might be that true now? These are unprecedented times. We're entering into a new normal (not a fan of that phrase)...but ok, yes things are definitely unsettling and uncertain. And, some elements of life may permanently change...or not. We'll see.

However, there are some very human, historical and universal truths that are settled, certain and will remain unchanged.

While we get tossed about by how we and others are describing this current experience, as someone who lives in the realm of human behavior in life and business, I can say - and I hope this is encouraging- there are some things...and I dare say the most important things... that has not changed and will not change.

This should be comforting news! There are some very important things that are unchanging in the midst of uncertainty that we can hold on to - anchor ourselves to - as we weather potential stormy times ahead. This is true both personally and professionally.

And, what would be an essential and very useful activity is to take the time to recognize and deeply connect to this truth.

So What Has Remained The Same? What's Certain?
Ultimately, who we are as human beings - how we're created and wired - as well as our core human needs, fundamentally do not change.

No matter the context - our human makeup drives everything from how we're managing homeschoolling, being an essential worker to business owners deciding how to navigate their unique challenges.

Specifically in business, whether you are now migrating back to an office or working remotely, your human needs, that of your colleagues, those you lead, your client or customer are still the same.

Though you wouldn't think so by the plethora of "new ways to manage" articles and webinars being offered to be a more effective remote leader/manager. Themes like being more compassionate, having more empathy, developing your emotional intelligence...which can all be categorized as in essence - being more human.

Here's a news flash - 
Human needs have not changed just because we've decided to pay more attention to them and now are spotlighting their value.

In any context, personal or professional, compassion and empathy, for example, have always been needed. The kindness of my banker was needed and welcomed before Covid and will after. A leader's ability to to develop'/have emotional intelligence has been a popular need expressed for years.

Here's what's changed... these human, relational qualities are now positioned front and center - a defining element - to management and leadership success.

How we relate (lead and manage) in a time of crisis and change is now the new success currency, because other elements in working together (onsite office culture and camaraderie for example) covered up or diminished the impact of its weakness or complete absence...affording a palatable toleration.

What has remained the same is the heart, mind, soul and spirit of who we are, what shows up to work everyday and is impacted by those with whom we work. Period. As long as we work with - interact with - another human being, this will not change.

The context may be different, but our human makeup remains the same. And this is what we must become and remain anchored to - hold on to and use as our core guide going forward - no matter what.

Our "new normal" is actually our normal and has been for centuries.

What has remained are those executive leaders, managers at all levels who became effective because they were the most relatable and human and could appropriately work with the human needs in others. They will have the easiest time with the future of work transition, because they have already created meaningful connections with their team that can be transferred or translated anywhere.

They knew creating connection, fostering a productive collaborative community was not based on or held together by physical space but based on the unseen space of heart, mind and spirit.

Ironically, this achievement provided the ultimate conditions for the most productive, profitable teams that could be manifested anywhere at anytime. This is the ultimate in effective leadership.

And that's why I wrote the executive briefing book The Human Quotient. This is what we help leaders achieve - we call it "people acumen" or HQ.  Our experience has taught us that business acumen is weakened without a meaningful level of HQ.

Additionally, we created a blueprint to marry business and people acumen. It's a road map for improving results by cultivating effective leadership and management in a way that can be financially measured through the lens of human behavior amplifying and valuing the human experience.

My advice during this time?...recognize and anchor yourself to that which is not changing...the needs of humanity, yourself, your family, colleagues and friends. Let it stabilize and anchor you as you navigate what's in front of you and what lies ahead.

Consider Working With Us
Achieving successful, sustainable people management - individual & team management - that can be financially measured is our expertise. Through a precisely crafted leadership and management blueprint, we enable executive leaders, along with their extended leader/manager teams, to consistently implement good management practices by developing 9 essential management skills - without major disruptions to their schedule, enormous coaching fees and all consuming consulting initiatives.

The blueprint successfully addresses the need for middle management development...that is managing managers. Our work fulfills how Peter Drucker defines the Effective Executive. 

Our core premise and a fundamental business truth > People management is business management which directly impacts business performance...and effective leadership skills naturally include effective management. Ultimately, business management skills has to include people management skills -it's unavoidable as one directly drives the other.

If this is something you know you need, make a point to learn what we do, how we do it and how you can quickly benefit financially. Go here now.

Friday, April 17, 2020

How to Make Better Decisions

Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, & Senior Leaders are having difficult challenges these days. They are faced with having to make tough decisions... particularly related to employees.
We know. We are a family of several businesses. We're experiencing this first hand. For some owners and senior executive leaders, the difficult decision to keep employees, let some go, even to stay in business...among others are heart wrenching.
I saw one of the Shark Tank guys - Robert Herjavec - talking about this on CNBC the other day. He mentioned that - for some - one of the toughest parts of making these kinds of decisions is dealing with guilt. It's an interesting emotion.
Since helping clients make decisions is part of my work as an executive advisor, I decided to put together a video series for my fellow business owners and leaders.
I'd like to add a bit of certainty to a sea of uncertainty right now. Where possible, I'd like for them to feel certain that they are making the best decisions they can during these crazy economic times.
And the best way to do that is to have a reliable process. So I'm sharing the exact step-by-step decision-making process I use with my clients (which you can download). Among other needs, I also address how to work through being emotionally conflicted and information and tools to make the best staffing decisions.

Here are the relevant series links: 
=> 4 minute intro - 3 key decision-making tips to get you started - click here
=> 5 Part Series - Including 3 videos on how to hire, when to let go or restructure

One final note. In following my series on the book The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, you probably noticed that one of the essential components - I'd say skill - to being effective is decision-making. The above resources are extremely helpful if you see the need to improve in this area.

Exciting News! // We're excited to launch our new digital arm - Manage Global. To compliment our global reach with our LinkedIn Learning courses, we're offering a compelling resource - The Smart Management Blueprint that can be accessed and implemented in any business environment, world-wide. It provides a step-by-step roadmap to simultaneously improve business and people management while developing competent managers. If you feel a need for improvement in any of these areas you'll want to learn more. Check it out here! =>