Archive for the ‘Strategic change management’ Category

Is Focusing on Strengths Enough? Time-Sensitive Information – Act Now!

May 9, 2011
People-Whispering Tip:

Leadership is a popular and confusing topic for many probably because it can seem to be in short supply in many organizations.  If you go to any bookstore and search the titles of the business section, you will find numerous books about leadership and how to create results through people.  Is leadership really that complex that we need so many perspectives on the topic? 

Perhaps there is just so much misinformation about what constitutes good leadership, that all of these books serve to dispel some common misperceptions.  For example, there is a tendency to think that only those at the top of the hierarchy are leaders, but that simply isn’t true.  Leaders can be found at all levels of an organization and in all walks of life.  Some of the most powerful leaders don’t have the official title but are individuals who have made a tremendous positive impact through the power of their personal example and influence.

That said, horror stories of corporate greed and/or poor decision-making from just a few senior leaders can be enough to bring a whole company down along with a lot of good people in the process.  For example, the fall of Enron (and Arthur Anderson along with it) is not the result of the majority of people not doing their jobs well. 

I am not an expert on what happened, but I did watch the compelling 2005 documentary entitled “The Smartest Guys in the Room” which highlights the fact that having only intellectual prowess is not enough to be an effective, credible leader. 

Granted, the Enron debacle is an extreme example of corporate fraud and a lack of ethics.  Nevertheless, as Enron survived the dot.com bubble burst in 2000, it was named as the “most admired” corporation by Fortune magazine for the sixth year running. 

Clearly, Fortune magazine missed the Darwinian worldview of the Enron corporate culture which had a review committee which graded employees and annually fired the bottom 15 percent who were deemed unsuitable for the company’s objectives.  This created a highly competitive and brutal working environment where trust and teamwork, never mind ethical behavior, could not survive.

My purpose here is not to talk about Enron but to highlight the confusion around what real leadership is and how to cultivate it.  The challenges of the 21st century are requiring greater flexibility and adaptability than ever before.  Management guru Peter Drucker described these demands by saying, “Leaders require the capacity to analyze, to think, to weigh alternatives, and to harmonize dissent.  But they also require the capacity for quick and decisive action, for boldness, and for intuitive courage. They require being at home with abstract ideas, concepts, calculations, and figures.”  That sounds like the intellectual capabilities that were emphasized when I got my MBA.

But Drucker went on to add, “They also require perception of people, a human awareness, empathy, and all together a lively interest in people and respect for them.”  That sounds a lot like the emotional intelligence that Daniel Goleman and others have popularized in recent years understanding that leadership is ultimately about understanding people and how to work with and through others.  

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be interviewed on Atlanta Biz Radio recently on “Building Bridges with Emotional Intelligence and DiSC” which you can listen to here.  My interview starts at about 18 minutes in as there were multiple guests at the studio that morning.

In short, effective leadership is quite multidimensional requiring intelligence, emotional savvy, and flexibility to navigate beyond one’s comfort zones to become well-rounded and more fully expressed.  It requires the ability to respond to rapidly shifting circumstances which requires access to a full range of leadership behaviors most of us just haven’t practiced enough.

As a people-whispering leader, the first step is the first component of emotional intelligence which is self-awareness.  We need to be aware of our strengths and gifts yes, but it is not enough to focus on those alone as many popular management books would have us believe.  Since leadership requires such a broad range of competencies and behaviors, leaders must also understand their “blind spots” by understanding their psychological drivers, motivations, and default stettings or comfort zones.  Without a multidimensional model for leadership, the one-dimensional leader may lack the diverse skills needed to deal with complex challenges and would often choose the most comfortable and inadequate response.

The second step is to understand the strengths and “blind spots” of others or, in emotional intelligence speak, to have social awareness.  Third, stopping at awareness is not enough.  We must learn to adapt to speak to the other in their language and this requires us to broaden our repertoire of leadership skills and grow in new directions. 

For this we need a model of leadership that is multidimensional.  I am excited to announce the forthcoming book to be released by Inscape Publishing authors called The 8 Dimensions of Leadership based upon the DiSC model which does just that.  

The book provides a leadership framework for an individual leader to understand their primary leadership dimension and the psychological drivers, motivations, and “blind spots” typical of their behavioral style.  It also provides solid suggestions on what is most important to their leadership development depending upon the stage in one’s career a person is and the leadership lessons that will help them to get from where they are now to where they want to go.  These lessons relate to the other two components of emotional intelligence which are self-management and relationship management.

I will be offering keynotes and workshops about the book as soon as it is released so stay tuned.   It is exciting in that the model will expand your perspective about what effective leadership is and will help you to chart your own course towards becoming a better leader.  As you learn to stretch and grow, you can expect to become more comfortable in your own skin as a leader.  While your “default” style is valuable you can build upon it by understanding your strengths and your areas for growth.

For assistance on your journey, please feel free to contact me at (404) 327-6330 or via email at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 

DiSC® Assessment Application:This virtual showcase gives you first-hand experience with the new Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders Profile.  From the comfort of your office, you can participate in a webinar featuring Inscape’s newest product, the Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders.  This isn’t just any 360.  It combines the best of 360’s with the simplicity and power of DiSC, plus 3 strategies for improving leadership effectiveness.Virtual Showcase:  Everything DiSC Application Library for Management, Sales, and Team Applications, June 1, 2011, 4 PM to 5:30 PM Eastern

Enhance your internal management, sales, and employee training programs with The Everything DiSC Application Library product line

From the comfort of your office, you will participate in a webinar featuring the entire family of Everything DiSC Application products.

One of the biggest benefits of having you and your team take any of these profiles is the ability to run Comparison Reports on any two individuals for free.  This is excellent information for coaching for performance or for conflict resolution, etc.

If you or your internal training staff are interested in learning more, join me for the upcoming webinars led by the experts at Inscape Publishing.

You will experience the Everything DiSC Workplace profile as pre-work, and then participate in an interactive, 90-minute webinar from the comfort of your office.  

SPACE IS VERY LIMITED SO CALL OR EMAIL ME ASAP IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING ANY OF THESE EVENTS!

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN CONVERSATION WITH ME PERSONALLY?

Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentary discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see what assessment and coaching/training tools would best benefit you and your team/organization’s needs.  You are under no obligation to make a purchase and there is no pressure, just a process of education about your options.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how these tools can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development today!

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:This month’s coaching tip is short and sweet.  It is simply, know what pushes your buttons and start to notice your patterns so you can be proactive about responding and not reacting to your triggers.We all have pet peeves about people or events that can irritate us until we just want to scream.  Perhaps you have a coworker who is overly dramatic and who has to communicate everything as if it were the first act of a dramatic play.  You, on the other hand, tend to be a more subtle and calm communicator such that their dramatic behavior really gets your goat.

Often our buttons are pushed by people displaying behavior that is the opposite of what we deem appropriate to the situation at hand based upon our style.

Knowing who and what pushes your buttons is essential to developing the ability to take control of those situations, maintain your poise, and calm yourself down.  Knowing why your buttons are pushed can open doors to managing your reactions to your triggers.

Jot down a list of your major triggers and see if you can detect any patterns.  In future issues, I will further develop the self and relationship management strategies that will allow you to successfully manage these situations with grace.

Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach.  For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email Laura@lauraadavis.com.  

To your inspired success!

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Need More Time? Find More with Flow – DiSC Showcases, Time-Sensitive Offers

February 21, 2011

People-Whispering Tip:

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go on a Caribbean cruise with Hay House where I participated in a “Writer’s Workshop.”  My wonderful first coach, Cheryl Richardson, was one of the presenters and it was great to see and learn from her again.  I have posted our photo on my Facebook page.  Check out Cheryl’s work at www.cherylrichardson.com.

As I reentered my “normal” life at home, I began reflecting on the nature of time and how it can be hard to get back into the swing of things upon returning from a vacation.

In my work as an executive coach, I see that many people walk through their days unaware and out of touch with their emotional lives in the workplace as well as at home.  This inattention can cause people to flip back and forth into two extremes:  during much of the day, people live their lives filled with the anxiety and the pressures of work and “making a living” kinds of obligations, while during their leisure time, they tend to live in a state akin to passive boredom “vegging” out in front of the TV or internet.

The real key to getting things done with a high degree of satisfaction and even joy is challenging ourselves with tasks that actually require a high degree of skill and commitment.  Psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-SENT-me-high”) wrote the best-selling book “Flow” on this topic and offered compelling research to show that we actually desire the joy of complete engagement and don’t want to just “do nothing.” 

Instead, we want to do what we do with a transformational approach.  It is not so much what we do as how we approach what we do.

Sure, it is easy to say that being on a cruise in the Caribbean is more fun than compiling your information for your taxes or paying your bills both of which I had to complete upon returning home.  That said, I bet you know people who can’t seem to relax even while on vacation such that they must always be doing something or checking their Blackberry or iPhone.

I must admit it took me a few days to drop some of my worldly concerns and projects enough to let the rhythm of the sea enfold me.  And I had to chuckle at the sign in the photo below in Half Moon Cay whose caption reads “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever.”  This is my writing friend Lucy and me on our last day with the ship in the background.  I suspect the “here” in this message refers not just to this beautiful island in the Bahamas, but to the state of mind we all long to live in daily.

I Wish I Could Stay Here

The good news is, this state of mind can be taught and self-taught and I have included some of my tips in the “Transformational Coaching Tip” section below so be sure to scroll down! 

Over the years, I have learned to train myself and my clients to be more consistently in the flow.  Living in the flow means living fully in the present.  It means not hanging out in the past rehashing old issues or previous conversations.  It also means not hanging out in the future trying to second-guess how things will turn out. 

Instead, it means focusing all of our attention on each interaction, whether it is washing a dish, attending a meeting, doing your laundry, or listening to a loved one or colleague.  Whenever we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing, time seems resonant and full.  Many call this practice mindfulness and there are great books out there about it.

It also means knowing yourself well so that you can be aware of where you are now and where you want to go.  Even more fundamental than that, you must also know who you are and how you help or hinder yourself. 

As a coach, I loved the movie “The King’s Speech” as it exemplifies the ways and whys we struggle when we could be in the ease and joy of flow.  Aside from superb acting, it is an uplifting triumph of awareness.  The main character becomes more aware of the beliefs about himself that drive his behavior and learned some tools and techniques to deal with his stuttering.  But it wasn’t until he reframed his identity and completed a successful public address, that he knew he could stop being derailed by powerful emotions and unknown drives.

Once you become aware of how you think, act, and feel and understand what you believe at work and at home; you can begin to accept where you are now with all of your strengths and limitations and become a leader in your own life.  Then you can begin to consciously mold your own destiny and express yourself with authenticity and real power. 

I wish you success on your journey!  I coach leaders to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent so that their success is inspired with ease and flow.  This can be done one-on-one and with teams and groups in training sessions or keynote speeches.

For the appropriate balance of challenge and support in becoming a better leader of your life and the lives of your direct reports and colleagues and associates, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Time Mastery Profile and Facilitator Kit

Sometimes it is important to get tactical about managing our time and yet effective time management still begins with self-awareness.  The Time Mastery Profile and Facilitation Kit is a unique tool that provides you and your staff with a complete understanding of where they are now and where they need to take action to improve their time-management effectiveness.

Setting priorities and managing time are vital to enhancing individual and organizational performance.  If you could reduce your staff’s wasted time by just 5 minutes every hour; productivity would jump 8.3%!

This profile helps people explore time-related behavior in 12 categories:  Attitudes, Goals, Priorities, Analyzing, Planning, Scheduling, Interruptions, Meetings, Written Communications, Delegation, Procrastination, and Team Time.

The 32 page EPIC Time Mastery Profile is more robust and includes the Skills Gap Analysis.  This feature shows how respondents rate their skill in each category as well as its importance to their jobs.  This data helps a “leader as coach” to determine where to assist someone in focusing their time-management efforts for greater personal and professional success. 

There is also a Facilitator Kit with fully scripted training and coaching exercises for use with both the paper and online Time Mastery Profile.  The online assessment is only 10 EPIC credits or $32.00.

For more information on how these training and coaching tools can support your business, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

2) Virtual Educational Webinars – Limited, Time-Sensitive Seating Available

Enhance your internal management, sales, and employee training programs with The Everything DiSC Application Library product line

One of the biggest benefits of having your team take any of these profiles is the ability to run Comparison Reports on any two individuals for free.  This is excellent information for coaching for performance or for conflict resolution, etc.

If you or your internal training staff are interested in learning more, join me for the upcoming webinars led by the experts at Inscape Publishing.

 You will experience the profile of your choice (Everything DiSC Sales, Everything DiSC Management, or Everything DiSC Workplace) as pre-work, and then participate in an interactive, 90-minute webinar from the comfort of your office.  

SPACE IS VERY LIMITED SO CALL OR EMAIL ME ASAP IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING ANY OF THESE EVENTS!

February 22, 2011:  Everything DiSC Application Library from 11 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern.

This webinar provides you with an overview of all of the assessments and training programs in the suite including Management, Sales, and 363 for Leaders.

March 2, 2011:  Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders from 12:30 PM to 2 PM Eastern  

363 for Leaders is meant for anyone who wants to use 360 degree feedback for leadership development; whether they are an emerging high-potential leader or an experienced executive.  In addition to the free profile with a retail value of a very cost-effectively priced $155, you can purchase an invaluable Coaching Supplement Report to create an action plan for development.

March 14, 2011:  Everything DiSC Application Library from 4:30 PM to 6 PM Eastern

This webinar provides you with an overview of all of the assessments and training programs in the suite including Management, Sales, and 363 for Leaders.

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN CONVERSATION WITH ME PERSONALLY?

Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentary discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see what assessment and coaching/training tools would best benefit you and your team/organization’s needs.  You are under no obligation to make a purchase and there is no pressure, just a process of education about your options.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how these tools can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development today!                                                                    
 
Transformational Coaching Tip:

“We are shaped and guided by what we love.”  Goethe

Coaches and leaders who are coaches have learned to ask themselves and others questions that create value and new ways of thinking and being. These questions can help to guide us in discovering what we love. Here are a few for you on your journey into flow:

1. What is your natural pattern for getting things done? If you are not a morning person, don’t fight it. Schedule your important activities and meetings for the time you are naturally in “the zone.” I resist any “one size fits all” advice as it just doesn’t work that way in my experience.

2.   What are your natural talents and defining strengths? Skills are things that you can do while talents reveal how often and how well you do it.  Talents are instinctive, naturally recurring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that can be enhanced by new knowledge, skills, and experience. Identify yours and leverage them!

3. What are the activities and tasks that I can get so absorbed in that I lose track of time? There are clues in your life that can help you determine your career path and perfect creative self-expression.  For example, I love to speak, coach, write, and help people with personal and professional growth.  It took me awhile to realize I could make a living at it.  Make sure your career is aligned with your passions and you can’t help but succeed.

 4.   How can I keep developing hidden talents into new strengths?  Commit to a life of continuous learning and growth.  That’s where the fun is!

 5.   How did I take on new challenges this week or how did I face old challenges in new ways?  Exercise your reframing muscle and remember the power of a positive attitude in getting things done under even the most challenging of circumstances.

As stated earlier, the best of life comes from a willingness to stretch byond your current capabilities amd explore, test, and reflect on expanding in new and exciting ways.  Enjoy the process and find the flow without effort!

Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach.  For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at

Laura@lauraadavis.com 

To your inspired success!

What Makes Change Hard and What To Do About It!

February 11, 2011

 Written by Laura A. Davis, www.lauraadavis.com

People-Whispering Tip:The start of a new year and, in the case of 2011, a new decade is a wonderful time for reflection and renewal. Many of us have some ritual for honoring the gifts of the past year and for making resolutions for the new one. Yet, one doesn’t have to look far for dismal success rates and depressing statistics on the sustainability of commitments to behavior change whether they be New Year’s Resolutions or not.As a professional coach and facilitator, one of my greatest passions is learning why people do what they do. The corollary of that is to understand how to use this knowledge to increase the quality of our lives personally and professionally. Earlier in my career in working to assist clients as well as myself to learn and grow, I naively thought it was mainly about “knowing what to do.” 

I actually knew better and yet there is such an emphasis in our culture on strategies, “how to’s,” certifications, and credentials that it can be seductive not to think that that is the main event. And I am not saying ignorance is bliss as it is important to know what your options are and to keep abreast of new developments in any field. As Goethe said, “we must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” Heaven knows in today’s world the recognition of the importance of resilience is certainly the opposite of hardening. We do need to stay current if not inundated.  

Yet over time, having witnessed the results of coaching and training thousands of individuals, teams, and employees in Fortune 500 companies, I have come to the conclusion that there are at least 4 main reasons why transformational, desired change doesn’t occur as rapidly as it might. Actually, the 5th main reason underlies all the rest which could be summed up with a lack of radical personal responsibility. That in of itself is an important topic for another day.

The 4 main reasons conveniently make yet another acronym akin to WIIFM (what’s in it for me) and relate to radio and sound as well; they are HIFI for 1) Habits, 2) Ignorance and/or Misinformation, 3) Fear, and 4) Identity.  

There is a wonderful Spanish proverb which says “Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.”  If you have ever tried to change a habit, you may be smiling at this quote with a sense of recognition. The latest neuroscientific breakthroughs show that when we consistently think certain thoughts and reinforce them with feeling and behaviors, we form neural networks or circuits in our brains which become “hardwired” over time. 

Likening the brain to a computer, when certain programs are running, our actions become automatic, routine, and we are no longer aware of them. Behaving habitually takes no effort at all, and no conscious awareness means no personal responsibility needs to be exerted. 

The good news is that by not engaging in certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors consistently, those neural networks atrophy and die and can be replaced with new, more productive patterns of thinking, feeling, and doing. Working with a coach and with transformational processes helps to release and replace some of these unproductive programs.

The second barrier to effective sustainable change is ignorance and/or misinformation. Remember, humans once thought that the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth and that air flight was impossible. Who knows what else we will discover about managing our minds and emotions that will continue to support us in the coming years?  For instance, I have found the techniques of energy psychology, especially the emotional freedom technique developed by Gary Craig, to be very effective in facilitating changing beliefs and therefore behavior. 

Do stay informed and do learn through books and reading and courses and whatever other educational media supports your goals. There is so much exciting research in the mainstream today about emotional intelligence, neuroscience, energy psychology, and much more that it is truly exciting. I truly believe that revolutionary changes lie ahead and I am optimistic about our collective future. 

Of course, I am not so naive to think that real change takes place from reading books and from going to seminars and training courses alone.  It is life experience that truly teaches. And alas, ‘”the rubber meets the road” so to speak when we look at results over time. 

Both knowledge and intellect are wonderful tools when knowledge leads to insight which is supported by practical application. And that practical application must go deeper than just the behavioral level in order to stick.

Which brings me to the third barrier to lasting, effective change which is simply put, fear. Fear is sourced from our emotional nature and yet can be reprogrammed through thought and repetition. In the late 90’s, I had the pleasure of working with a knowledgable change expert Harry Woodward who wrote about 5 major fears in his book Navigating Through Change

They are the subject of this month’s Transformational Coaching Tip so please scroll down to learn more. The main point I want to make here is that all of these fears are learned. In fact, the only two fears we humans possess from birth are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Both of these undoubtedly served some evolutionary purpose in their day. The good news is, if all of our other fears are learned, then they can be unlearned or released and replaced with more effective beliefs and behaviors.

Last, our identity is the main challenge when attempting to create lasting sustainable change whether that be as individuals, or in organizations on a collective level.  Years ago, I quit smoking (at the wise old age of 23) through the help of an organization that no longer exists called Smokenders. What impressed me about the Smokenders approach was the lack of scare tactics and shaming to stop smoking.

Instead, the emphasis was upon becoming a nonsmoker or one’s identity. Not only were the benefits of becoming a nonsmoker in terms of a healthier lifestyle addressed, but so were the identity-based issues associated with smoking. In short, they asked “who would you be as a nonsmoker?” I have always remembered the wisdom of that approach and apply it to my work today.  As a footnote, I haven’t smoked since I was 23 (a few years ago!) nor do I have any desire to do so. Those neural networks have thankfully died and been replaced with healthier ones.    

So in seeking to change and grow, remember it is not just about resolve, will, to do’s, how to’s, and/or strategies.  Instead, tune into the power of HIFI by understanding how to work with your habits, your ignorance and societal misinformation, fear, and identity.

Here’s to your best decade yet!  

For more practical tools and application on how to apply this to your business, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.  We are here to make you and your organization an inspired success!

 

 

DiSC® Assessment Application:
 
1)  The Discovering Diversity Profile: Over the holidays, I finally went to visit the “Bodies” exhibit that everyone has been raving about. As someone who is not very knowledgeable about the human body and anatomy and physiology, I thought it would be somewhat interesting just for the heck of it. Instead, I came away from the experience with an incredible appreciation for the diversity of all of the systems in a human body and the incredible way they are designed to work together, each fulfilling a unique function, and yet expressing and fulfilling needs that work together in a unified whole.Similarly, a well-run organization has people who fulfill many unique functions in diverse and highly orchestrated ways, that when well-run, lead to a successful, unified whole. Successful organizations understand that the cultural backgrounds and experiences of their employees and customers are valuable resources which enrich the whole just like the diverse systems within a human body contribute to its well-being.

  The Discovering Diversity Profile helps employees:

  •  understand how they respond to workforce diversity
  •  where they need to develop further understanding

 The profile explores the complex issues surrounding diversity in four key areas which are:

  • Knowledge:  Explores diversity and where that knowledge comes from
  • Understanding:  Examines empathy and the willingness to consider another’s position
  • Acceptance:  Looks at receptiveness and respect for diverse behaviors and backgrounds
  • Behavior:  Explores self-awareness of attitudes and behavior towards others   

The 20 page EPIC Discovering Diversity Profile individual report contains feedback about those items that need attention, provides suggestions for improvement, and offers a detailed action plan.

Let us all be reminded of the incredible positive impact managing diversity well can have in whatever context you find yourself; a leader in business, in the non-profit world, in your family, and/or in your community.

 Transformational Coaching Tip:

 

Earlier I mentioned having worked with a change management expert on our basic fears and how they can get in the way of our creating lasting, sustainable change. Actually, it is normal to have desires and goals but when they become demands they can become unhealthy and generate fears.Psychologists agree there are five major categories of goals or desires which are:

  • To be right
  • To be loved
  • To succeed
  • To be in control
  • To be comfortable

The associated fear with “I must be right” could be a fear of making mistakes which could lead to procrastination. If you “must” be loved in an unhealthy way, you may fear rejection. This could result in a failure to act for fear of upsetting people with an unpopular decision for example.

If your desire to succeed becomes extreme, you may fear failure such that you won’t take a necessary risk. Likewise, always needing to be in control can be at the root of fearing changes. This fear can result in the classic micromanaging behavior where you overcontrol people or a job function.

Last, we coaches talk about the fear of pain or wanting to be comfortable or stay within your comfort zone. This can lead to inaction and freezing up for fear of “rocking the boat.” Another way to say this might also be the fear of the unknown.

Regardless, awareness is the first step and an understanding of DiSC allows one to get at the underlying fears of people by style so that you can support them in moving through their self-imposed limitations.

I invite you to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com to learn how to work with these desires in a healthy way to reach your personal and professional goals.

 To you and your organization’s BEST YEAR YET!

How to Hire Now, Leadership Principles, Digital Age Beliefs

December 2, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:

Human beings have always been fascinated with what the future might bring. This curiosity has led to wonderful achievements in all facets of life including science, art, literature, and of course, one of my personal favorites, motion pictures. Who can argue with the exploratory and visionary spirit of the “Star Wars” series for example? Or how about the classic “Back to the Future” with likable Michael J. Fox?

As we near the end of the year, we tend to look back on what the year has brought us. This can be a wise, reflective practice if we are grateful for the gifts the year has brought as well as grateful for what we have learned for the future. Depending upon your tendency to look back or to look forward, you might be more inclined to think about what 2011 might bring than on what you have learned from 2010. 

Regardless, it makes sense to assess previous learnings and leverage that knowledge to create an even better and brighter future with intention. While being intentional about creating, it can also be useful to look at trends and predictions for guidance and ideas in addition to learning from the past.  With all of this in mind, I scoured my library shelves for some “fresh” material to honor the end of 2010. 

Since my primary area of expertise is in helping individuals, teams and organizations to create leading-edge, healthy thriving workplaces where people want to go to work and are empowered to bring their best selves to the table, I thought it appropriate to look at workplace trends. 

Now that we have survived what many are calling “The Great Recession,” what does the future hold for the world of commerce?  How can we begin to thrive again but on a solid footing this time and not by building our houses on proverbial sand if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors?

With this goal in mind as you plot your next career move, shape your company’s corporate culture, think about reinventing the way you work, and/or relate to your peers, direct reports, colleagues, and customers more effectively, consider the following guidelines:

  1. The best and brightest people will gravitate toward those corporations/organizations that foster personal growth.
  2. The manager’s new role is that of coach, teacher, and mentor.
  3. The best people want ownership – psychic and literal – in a company; the best companies are providing it.
  4. Companies will increasingly turn to third-party contractors, shifting from hired labor to contract labor.
  5. Authoritarian management is yielding to a networking people style of management.
  6. Entrepreneurship within the corporation-intrapreneurship is creating new products and new markets and revitalizing companies from the inside-out.
  7. Quality will be paramount.
  8. Intuition and creativity are challenging the “it’s all in the numbers” business-school philosophy.
  9. Large corporations are emulating the positive and productive qualities of small business.
  10. The dawn of the information economy has fostered a massive shift from infrastructure to quality of life.   

This sounds like fairly current advice with the exception of the references to the “Information Age” which are now often replaced with “The Digital Age.” Actually, these hot new trends are taken from the 1985 book “Re-inventing the Corporation” by John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene. I was surprised that we are still talking about these trends as if they are new ideas while they have been in process at successful organizations for quite some time.  Ahh our short-term memories as human beings!

As things change, they remain the same as the saying goes.  And we still have ample opportunity to revisit and implement these leading edge recommendations as we move solidly into the 21st century.

As an Executive Coach and Leadership Trainer/Consultant, I am struck by the prescient nature of the authors’ comments about the “new” role of the manager. Likewise, the identification of trends as identified by Daniel Pink such as a nation of freelance contractors and an emphasis on intuition and creativity in “Free Agent Nation” and “A Whole New Mind” are also very relevant in today’s global, virtual, increasingly interdependent economy.

The good news in my mind is the fact that current technologies make it impossible for us to go back and operate profitably in silo-ed, traditional, “command and control,” hierarchical organizations. Transparency is required and hoarding information to gain power is harder and harder to pull off. 

At the same time, the internet and other technologies are seemingly commoditizing many products and services which can benefit the consumer in terms of affordability. Just look at the price of most electronic devices now from even a few years ago.  And yet, just as Naisbitt identified so many years ago, we all still seek, high-touch as well as high-tech and price is never going to be the only factor in why people buy what they do. In other words, in this “Digital Age,” it pays to care.

To differentiate itself, a successful organization must use the internet more to engage with its customers (both internal and external – ie employees are internal customers!). Successful companies see their employees and customers (and even competitors in some cases) as partners so as to develop solid, long-term, mutually profitable relationships. 

In short, we need to reexamine some of the philosophical foundations of our lives and of business and not be afraid to find that many of the old ways are crumbling.  We are ready to build new ways of working and living in accordance with a new set of more enlightened business principles which are centered on collaboration, transparency, and loving, caring relationships in the workplace.

What it all boils down to is that caring is the fundamental principle for success in the new world of business.  The “Digital Age” is and will always be about people communicating, interacting, and creating value with and for other people. 

Once we all embrace that, we will be living and thriving in a brave, new world.

Come join me on your personal and professional journey to embrace these principles. You and your organization can thrive instead of just survive in this new paradigm of the 21st century workplace. 

For more on how to change your corporate culture to one where employees are self-reliant, emotionally educated, self-confident, and empowered to create solid, bottom-line results, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

I know the reason I have been successful in business for the last 16 years despite economic cycles is because I truly do care about my clients, customers, and business partners.  Let us succeed and exceed our wildest dreams in 2011 together!

My sincerest wishes for a joyous holiday season however you celebrate them.

 

Make it your best holiday season ever…!

DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Role Behavior Analysis:

Speaking of trends, one of the happy ones I am noticing lately is the fact that many of my clients are hiring new people and are concerned about attracting and retaining the best people for their roles and for the organization.

In recruiting and hiring the best, companies need to train their interviewers or interviewing team(s) on targeted, behavioral interviewing techniques.  This involves asking questions in a structured interview that elicits detailed descriptions of an applicant’s past behaviors which are related to behaviors required for success on the job.

A successful interviewer will not only ask questions about the interviewee’s education, credentials, and experience, but will also ask questions to see how the applicant might fit within the organization’s AND the team’s culture.

Another key success factor to hiring well and for onboarding someone successfully at all levels of the organization is matching the prospective employee with the behavioral expectations of the job.  

Any job has multiple roles which require not only different skill sets but differing approaches to how the job or task is accomplished.  The DiSC System is used to very effectively bridge the “how” and the “what” of a job. In other words, most job descriptions tend to focus on the “what” of a job by defining the tasks, duties, or responsibilities. It is often unclear “how” different people (multiple bosses or stakeholders are common for most positions today) expect that job to be carried out which makes all the difference in terms of whether the individual is successful or not.

The Role Behavior Analysis provides a specific set of DiSC related statements which clarify and define role expectations eliminating confusion greatly increasing the chances of a good fit.  A team of interviewers profiles the roles of a particular position and creates a Consensus Role Behavior Analysis which is then compared to a DiSC Profile the applicant fills out. This is used as the basis for a dialogue in the interview and is also very useful for performance coaching once the person has been hired.     

For more information on our workshop “Finding and Hiring the Best” and/or how to use the Role Behavioral Analysis, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

2) Half-Day “The Coaching Conversation” Workshop 

 

The Coaching Clinic

Our 2 day leadership development workshop also has a half-day introductory version called “The Coaching Conversation.””The Coaching Conversation” is a great introduction to the Coaching Clinic in that participants learn and practice our proprietary 5 step coaching model.

We will be offering public seminars in 2011 (watch for dates to be announced soon) and would be happy to bring “The Coaching Clinic” and/or “The Coaching Conversation” into your organization to assist you in transforming your culture from wherever it is now to one with engaged, passionate, committed, productive and fulfilled employees.

Thanks to all of you who attended our complimentary webinar entitled “Creating a Culture of Engagement with the Coach Approach.”  We will be offering this webinar again in a new and improved format as well as webinars on additional topics of interest. 

 The half-day is a great way to get the members of your organization excited about the value of coaching as a part of your executive and managerial leadership development efforts. 

Participants experience “coaching” and “being coached” first-hand around their practical business problems.  As they come up with solutions in real-time, the “aha” moments lead to some powerful shifts and behavioral changes that can make a real difference to any organization.

This workshop is also relevant for onboarding and culture change initiatives.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how this program can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development. 

3)  Recession-Proof Your Career CD Program with Workbook and Personalized DiSC Assessment

Are your employees searching for sustainable job/career security in today’s “turbulent” times?

My colleague Sal Silvester and I created a very affordable 4-CD set program to TEACH YOURSELF AND YOUR EMPLOYEES THE ONLY SUSTAINABLE WAY TO TRULY RECESSION-PROOF YOUR CAREER FOR THE 21ST CENTURY!

This program is packed with the essential tools and mindset shifts necessary for ongoing career management success.  This is information you can’t afford to be without.  Learn how to make the words “laid-off” and “unemployed” irrelevant to you now and forever. 

As a Business Leader responsible for Employee Development (and all leaders ultimately are!) or as an HR or Training Professional (in your organization, do you find your employees have unrealistic expectations about career growth and development? Do you hear the following complaints from your people?: 

  • My company doesn’t recognize my true gifts and talents and keeps putting me in the wrong roles for me!  (see above re the RBA)
  • I don’t see an opportunity for growth and development in my field at this organization.
  • I want to progress in my company, but I don’t know if I want to be a manager.  I don’t want to be a manager like my manager!
  • There are no good role models of leaders that I want to emulate here.

How about in your own career and creative self-expression?  Do any of the following questions ring true for you?

Are you tired of being down-sized, right-sized, reorganized into positions and/or companies you can’t seem to get passionate about?

  1. Have you reached a point in your career where you know you have more to offer than your employer recognizes and rewards you for?
  2. Are you wanting to be sure you are actualizing your full potential to grow and change and make a contribution to your direct reports, your peers, your team and your organization?

 This product is for ANYONE who:

  1. Has been laid-off or outsourced more than once due to mergers and acquisitions or “the economy.”
  2. Is in a “dead-end” job that doesn’t utilize their skills and talents fully.
  3. Is in an organizational culture that doesn’t match their style and/or values.
  4. Is uncertain about how best to market themselves and find the work that is best for them.
  5. Wants to guarantee their career growth and success for the long-term even in today’s turbulent times.  

IS THIS YOU, YOUR EMPLOYEES, AND/OR ANY OF YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES? 

For a complete content description of what the 4-CD set includes, call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com

Your 4-CD set includes a personalized DiSC Classic 2.0 Profile as well as the invaluable content/information on the CD’s with a workbook containing PowerPoint slides for less than $100.00 plus shipping and handling for a limited time.  This is a great deal so grab on now!

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:One of the fundamental principles of effective coaching is that while great coaching ultimately results in behavioral change, the real transformation begins at the level of an individual’s belief system, mental models, and attitudes. So in keeping with this principle, this month’s “tip” is not a list of “TO DO’s” per se.

Instead, the following are fundamental beliefs or premises about the new caring economy taken from the book “The Caring Economy” written by Gerry McGovern.

While I thought it was a new book given the transformational, leading-edge nature of the material, it was actually written in 1999!  Everything old is indeed new again in some form or fashion as truth is universal and timeless!

The “Digital Age” demands new thinking and a new philosophy as follows:

  1. The “Digital Age” requires a new set of business principles, governing everything from research and development to customer interaction.
  2. The “Digital Age” is about technology finally becoming transparent and people becoming paramount.
  3. In the “Digital Age,” people have never been more educated, self-confident, and empowered.
  4. People care. People care about themselves.  They care about their family, their friends, their community, their country, their environment.
  5. Business needs to care about people if it wants long-term success.
  6. The internet is a revolution primarily in communication, not technology.

Great food for thought indeed.

As we close out 2010 and begin 2011, enjoy this magical season and may the miracles of your heart come true!

Feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com for ways to operationalize any of these best practices into your workplace for powerful, effective results.

All my best!  Laura

TO SIGN UP FOR OUR EZINE, GO TO WWW.LAURAADAVIS.COM FOR A FREE CHAPTER FROM OUR SELF-ESTEEM BOOK.

The True Meaning of FEAR in the Workplace

November 16, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and the fun and festivities of Halloween are no exception.  While I don’t watch a lot of television (yes, I know everyone says that), I have gotten into the new show “Glee.” 

If you are not familiar with it, “Glee” is set at a high-school in the midwest where the school’s outcasts find themselves in the Glee Club led by an earnest and idealistic teacher.  It’s a fun show full of teenage angst and amazing singing, dancing, and colorful characters.

One of the funniest characters is Sue, the “evil” gym teacher, who runs the cheerleading squad and does everything she can to promote disharmony, competition, and ill will throughout the school.  She is a perfect villain always seeking to undermine the credibility of the Glee Club while trying to grab the spotlight for herself.

In last month’s Halloween episode, the cast recreated the cult classic  musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  Sue’s famous quote this week was that we have lost the true meaning of Halloween which is FEAR. 

What does this have to do with “People-Whispering” you ask?  Well, it does make me laugh as we can all relate to someone in the workplace (even if it is a fictious high school gym teacher on the FOX network) who seems to be trying to make life difficult for everyone for whatever insecure reason of his or her own.

Sadly, some corporate cultures still try to instill fear into the workplace at great detriment to all who work there never mind the inevitable impact upon the ultimate customer or consumer.  Much research and common sense points to the fact that employees who are happy with their work and work environment treat customers better which in turn results in increased customer satisfaction and profits. 

This healthy work environment phenomenon is accomplished by a paradigm shift to a culture of inclusion, cooperation, and yes, dare I say it, even love.

To illustrate this shift in focus, I often like to take words and use them to reframe concepts and create acronyms that are memorable and actionable for positive change.  Many of you have probably heard that FEAR can be reframed as “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

Sue’s character is funny if not a little bittersweet because she is so “over the top” in her efforts to seek out the worst in people and situations.  Her acronym for fear might be “Frantically Evaluating Anything Wrong” (okay I took a little liberty and went phonetic on you). She is the quintessential example of someone focused on what is not working and managing from a place of fear.

What if we shifted the acronym to “Finally Energetically Aligning For Results?”  By this I mean, what if we as leaders and followers focused our energy and attention on our vision of what we wanted to create and maintained a steadfast insistence on thinking BIG regardless of seemingly limiting circumstances?   

What if we hired people with common values who were committed to telling the truth in meeting their customers’ needs?  What if instead of selecting employees primarily because of their technical competence and appearance (or proper credentials), we added vision, shared values and leadership, and complementary behavioral styles to the mix?  What if instead of a rigid hierarchy, we moved to more fluid, self-managing teams focused on creating real value in the world not just short-term stockholder dividends?

These “what if’s” are not new actually.  They have been practiced by some of the most successful leaders and organizations throughout the world throughout time.  They just seem to be overlooked today in some of our overly intellectual business practices and short-term mindsets. 

I am not saying intellect and strong operational practices are not important.  They are but only to the extent that they are executed with the wisdom of the heart and the soul of effective human connection and communication. 

In future issues of this Ezine, I will mention some of these leaders I have had the pleasure of working with over the years so we can all benefit from their wisdom and inspiration.  I have coached and led training sessions for the best companies throughout the world these past 15 plus years and have learned much about energy, focus, intention, and letting go of fear and negativity in business as well as in life.  

For more on how to increase your organization’s success with a focus on an energized business, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

It would be my pleasure to guide you in your process by reminding you of these timeless principles for inspired success!

DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Everything DiSC Group Culture Report

Just as individuals have unique styles, groups also tend to develop their own styles or cultures.  This culture is an informal combination of behaviors, values, and attitudes that most people in the group take for granted.  Another way to express culture is to say it is “the way we do things” in this organization.

Group culture has a large impact on the behavior, attitudes, and satisfaction of each group member.  People who fit into the culture often feel right at home in the group, but if you have ever worked for a culture where you were not the predominant style, you know how challenging that can be.  You can feel like a stranger in a strange land if there is no awareness or adaptability within the group or team.

Culture also has implications for the group as a whole.  It affects things such as the pace at which work gets done, how outsiders are treated, the attention paid to details, and/or the risks the group takes.  These in turn influence the success of the group in meeting its goals and objectives.

This report is invaluable to becoming a high performing team in that it reveals what the prevailing culture rewards and criticizes as well as highlights what the advantages and disadvantages of the culture are so that balancing actions can be taken.  It helps make concrete how the culture supports and inhibits the success of the group or work team so that you can do something about it for improved performance and job satisfaction for all.

There is no link to this report in my Products and Assessments store as it must be generated from the DiSC profiles of an existing team.  However, I would be happy to email anyone a sample report if you are interested.  It is available for any of the application library profiles including Everything DiSC Workplace, Everything DiSC Management, Everything DiSC Sales for only $77.50!  

For more information on how these training and coaching tools can support your business, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

2) 363 for Leaders Offer Extended Until Dec. 10th!

As mentioned in my last Ezine, the new 363 for Leaders Profile Report combines the best of 360 degree feedback with the simplicity and power of DiSC, plus 3 strategies for improving leadership effectiveness. The result is a 360 experience that is more productive and satisfying not to mention actionable and positively-oriented for the feedback participant.

363 for Leadership is meant for anyone who wants to use 360 degree feedback for leadership development, whether they are an emerging high-potential leader or an experienced executive.  From now until December 10, 2010, you can receive a FREE “Everything DiSC for Leaders” personalized feedback report for one leader, per company – FOR FREE!

In addition to the free profile with a retail value of a very cost-effectively priced $155, you will receive a FREE Coaching Supplement Report to create an action plan for development.

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN?

Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentry discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see if the Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders is a fit for your organization.

For more about this powerful tool and how it can work for you, please visit www.363forLeaders.com.Take advantage of this great offer as soon as you can!

 
Transformational Coaching Tip:

In our book A Guide to Getting It: Self-Esteem, I wrote about what I affectionately call “The Wallenda Principle.”  This principle illustrates the power of our focus of attention.  It makes clear the fact that we want to focus on what we want NOT on what we don’t want.

The Wallenda family was renowned for their spectacular circus act comprised of acrobatics and tight-rope walking.  The patriarch of the family, Karl Wallenda, was famous for his death-defying tightrope walks between high buildings and over Niagra Falls without a net.

He eventually fell to his death in his 70’s while tight-rope walking between two tall buildings in Puerto Rico.  Since he had been so successful in the past in even more life-threatening situations, people wondered why now?  What was it about this walk that contributed to his demise?

When asked, his widow replied, “All of his life, Karl had focused on success.  He focused on his vision of getting to the other side of the rope without fear.  In the last year or so, he has focused his energies on not falling.”

And so, we are back to the theme I began with this month.  How is fear getting in your way?  Are you “Finally Aligning Energy for Results” or are you focused on what you don’t want such that you will inevitably get more of it?  Are you like Glee’s character Sue who is deliberately finding fault with people, circumstances, and events in order to gain a false sense of power over others rather than going within to access your authentic personal power with awareness? 

If you are not sure in which direction you are focused, you might ask yourself the following questions:

When your focus is on what you don’t want, you are likely asking questions such as:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Why does this keep happening to me?
  3. Who or what is getting in the way?
  4. Who is to blame? 

A more empowering what you do want focus would entail a mindset shift to questions such as these:

  1. What is my desired result?
  2. What will success look like?
  3. What options do I have?
  4. What insights have I gained from the situation?

Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach.  For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

To your inspired success!

Laura A. Daviswww.lauraadavis.com

Listening Results in Profit!

September 27, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:I just returned from speaking at a wonderful conference I attend every year in the Rocky Mountains with old friends and fellow life adventurers!  The theme of the conference this year was “Listening:  What Stories Do You Hear?”  Here is an example of a fun poster one of the conference organizers created:   It struck me that the art of listening well and its significance to the business world has been greatly overlooked in recent years.  There has been so much attention given to social media and sending out messages as opposed to listening well to others not to mention listening to our inner selves.

Of course, if one uses social media effectively, the messaging becomes a true dialogue and conversation rather than a one-way communication.  This is the heart of its power and why we all need to pay better attention to our listening skills regardless of the medium.  This may be truer than ever in our wild and wooly digital age with so much information coming at us all the time.

Years ago I recall an ad on TV about the cost of listening sponsored by the Sperry Corporation.  The entire ad campaign was based on the Sperry Company being the company who truly listened to customers unlike their competition.  Interestingly enough, whenever I have conducted a workshop on listening, people have not been quick to sign up.  We all think we do it and yet the real question is always, “are you really listening, or are you just waiting for your turn to talk?”

Truly listening is one of the most neglected communication skills in our formal education system as well as in most corporate training curriculums.  In “The Coaching Clinic” 2 day leadership development training workshop I offer, we cite some interesting statistics regarding “communication training.” 

In traditional classroom schooling up until the 12th year or most systems’ senior year in high school, the average student receives 12 years of skills training in writing, 5 to 7 years in reading, 1 to 2 years  in speaking, and 0 years of training in how to listen. 

Have you ever taken a course in listening?  In my Coach U training years ago, we spent a full 6 months or more learning how to listen more effectively.  Indeed, it is a lifelong process.  We all know the qualitative reward of being listening to well, but let’s look at this from a very conservative quantitative profit perspective.

Lets’ assume one employee makes a $10 error due to poor listening.

Assume this happens once per week for 48 weeks or:

Once per week x 48 weeks = $480 per person

$480 x 10 employees = $4,800

$480 x 100 employees = $48,000

$480 X 1000 employees = $480,000

Compare to the “cost” of a one day training between $895 to $1,295 per person – hmmm….have you ever lost more than $10 as a result of not listening well?  Might it be worth it to invest in learning to listen and ask questions rather than just telling all of the time?  Sure there is a time and place to tell, but most leaders overuse this skill and underutilize listening and questioning.

As we can see, we’ve been trained to do so.  And according to John Whimore, author of “Coaching for Performance,” this (listening) is difficult because “obsession with our own thoughts and opinions and the compulsion to talk, particularly if one is placed in any kind of advisory role, are strong.”  

And yet, we can learn or in this case, perhaps unlearn this tendency to create better results and better relationships not only in business but in every aspect of life.  For more on how to improve your listening  and asking skills to create solid bottom-line results, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

It would be my pleasure to listen to your needs!

 
DiSC® Assessment Application(s):1) The Personal Listening Profile/Facilitator Kit:

Inscape Publishing’s Personal Listening Profile is a great tool to help you determine your listening style and its effectiveness. You may not have realized that you have a preferred listening approach that is NOT appropriate to all situations. The Personal Listening Profile will help you to learn when and how to adopt another approach for more successful communication and collaboration. 

The 16-page report gives personalized strengths and growth areas and provides suggestions for improvement.  It includes a Communications Gap Analysis which is an at-a-glance look at how the respondent’s listening strengths and weaknesses relate to the intended message of the speaker.  An action-planning section encourages people to reflect on their listening styles and to develop strategies for improvement.

The Personal Listening Profile Facilitator Report (available only on EPIC) gives a snapshot of group dynamics by showing the similarities and differences that can lead to miscommunication.  It also shows the individuals whose scores fall outside the group averages and identifies who may feel isolated and out of sync with the dominant listening styles of the group. 

This is useful information since everyone’s voice and contribution is significant and they may not be being heard.  With this knowledge and some coaching, all team members can learn to adapt their styles to ensure full collaboration and teamwork.

In addition to the Personal Listening Profile and the Facilitator Report, there is also a fully scripted seminar available in the Facilitator Kit which includes PowerPoint slides and other training materials so you can train this on your own.  The facilitator kit is in the process of being updated and upgraded even further with some engaging video and new material.  This should be released any day now.

For more information on how these training and coaching tools can support your business, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

2) New Kind of 360 is Available Now for a Limited Time:

363 for Leadership combines the best of 360 degree feedback with the simplicity and power of DiSC, plus 3 strategies for improving leadership effectiveness. The result is a 360 experience that is more productive and satisfying not to mention actionable and positively-oriented for the feedback participant.
363 for Leadership is meant for anyone who wants to use 360 degree feedback for leadership development, whether they are an emerging high-potential leader or an experienced executive.  From now until November 15, 2010, you can receive a FREE “Everything DiSC for Leaders” personalized feedback report for one leader, per company – FOR FREE!

In addition to the free profile with a retail value of a very cost-effectively priced $155, you will receive a FREE Coaching Supplement Report to create an action plan for development.

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN? Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentry discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see if the Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders is a fit for your organization.

For more about this powerful tool and how it can work for you, please visit www.363forLeaders.com.

Take advantage of this great offer as soon as you can!

Another option to learn more is to participate in Inscape’s Showcase on the 363 for Leaders solution on Oct. 18.  The cost for this webinar is $30.  Please contact me to register ASAP as space is limited.   

3) Half-Day “The Coaching Conversation” Workshop 

“The Coaching Clinic,” our 2 day leadership development workshop also has a half-day introductory version called “The Coaching Conversation.” “The Coaching Conversation” is a great introduction to the Coaching Clinic in that participants learn and practice our proprietary 5 step coaching model.We will be offering public seminars soon and would be happy to bring “The Coaching Clinic” and/or “The Coaching Conversation” into your organization to assist you in transforming your culture from wherever it is now to one with engaged, passionate, committed, productive and fulfilled employees. 

Thanks to all of you who attended our complimentary webinar Sept. 7 entitled “Creating a Culture of Engagement with the Coach Approach.”  We will be offering this webinar again in a new and improved format as well as webinars on additional topics of interest.  

The half-day is a great way to get the members of your organization excited about the value of coaching as a part of your executive and managerial leadership development efforts.

Participants experience “coaching” and “being coached” first-hand around their practical business problems.  As they come up with solutions in real-time, the “aha” moments lead to some powerful shifts and behavioral changes that can make a real difference to any organization.

Transformational Coaching Tip:

Last month I offered some questions you could use as a manager/coach to encourage a team member who is hesitant to take on the leadership of a project team..This month, I thought it might be fun to provide some thought-provoking (and sometimes funny!) quotes on the art of listening for you to ponder and create tips around on your own.

Here goes:

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.”

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force.  The friends who listen are the ones we move toward.  When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

“The first duty of love is to listen.”

“Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.”

and now for some humor…

“No one really listens to anyone else, and it you try it for awhile, you’ll see why.”

“Women like silent men; they think they’re listening.”

Enjoy the beginnings of autumn (in the Southeast anyway!) and feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com for ways to operationalize any of these best practices into your workplace for powerful, effective results.

All my best!

Laura A. Davis

www.lauraadavis.com

The Coach Approach for Leaders and Managers

August 17, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:

Last month, I took some time to reassess what the heart of my business really is.  I discovered that the core always comes back to teaching leaders at all levels of an organization how to influence through “A Coach Approach.” Companies have been talking about this for many years now and for those of us in organizational learning and development, it seems as if it would be old news.  That said, business cycles inevitably cause priorities to shift and the events of the past few years have focused many companies on survival never mind growth and development. 

Fortunately, the tides are turning and it is time to get back to focusing on attracting and retaining the best talent.  This also involves developing the talent that is inherent in the people already with an organization which is often grossly underutilized and underappreciated.

I just read some sobering results from a study conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company, stating that almost half of all organizations around the world saw a significant drop in employee engagement levels at the end of the June 2010 quarter – the largest decline Hewitt has observed since it began conducting employee engagement research 15 years ago. 

This highlights the growing tension between employers – many of whom are struggling to stabilize their financial situation – and employees, who are showing fatigue in response to a lengthy period of stress, uncertainty, and confusion brought about by the recession and their companies’ actions. 

Hewitt’s research also suggests a clear link between employee engagement levels and financial performance.  Organizations with high levels of employee engagement outperform the total stock market even in volatile economic conditions.  For example, even in 2009, total shareholder return for “engaged” companies was 19 percent higher than the average shareholder return. 

And even in those companies with “high engagement” (defined as having 65% or more of employees report being engaged), there is room for improvement and the corresponding increase in prosperity for all.  65% still leaves a third of many companies with “checked out” employees. 

Imagine if a third of a manufacturing plant were closed down or if a third of your bank was not working (okay it does feel like that already at most branches!).  Imagine the lack of efficiency and profit not to mention the lack of joy and fulfillment in the workplace for those who remain there.  Many of my individual coaching clients have been reporting this malaise to me and I empathize.

What is the solution?  Again and again, employees who are coached to performance rather than managed to performance are shown to have a greater commitment to and are more invested in the outcomes of their work and the achievement of the organization’s goals.  That sounds like the essence of employee engagement to me.

Further, coaching promotes the creativity, breakthrough performance, and resilience needed in today’s environments where people are having to “do more with less.”

In Corporate Coach U’s The Coaching Clinic that we now offer, coaching is taught as a professional discipline and skill set to enhance performance, action, creativity, momentum, and transformation.  Our model of coaching literally incorporates hundreds of specialized skills, principles, concepts, practices, and nuggets of wisdom.

We will be offering public seminars soon and would be happy to bring The Coaching Clinic into your organization to assist you in transforming your culture from wherever it is now to one with engaged, passionate, committed, productive and fulfilled employees.  Stay tuned for our upcoming Webinar, “Creating a Culture of Engagement with the Coach Approach.”

A “Coach Approach” is the mindset and heartset of the 21st century leader.  And, as you will learn in the workshop and subsequent coaching, yes, it still is appropriate to “tell” in some instances.  The wisdom lies in knowing when to tell and when not to – the right tool for the right job so to speak.

For more on this topic, I encourage you to read my award-winning article, “Leading with Love.”  I will also be starting a blog on this topic soon in addition to the People-Whispering blog. Stay tuned and for practical tools and application on how to apply these ideas to your organization, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 

 

DiSC Assessment Application:

A New Kind of 360 is Now Available!Many companies are still looking for creative, budget-friendly ways to continue leadership development and training until things stabilize further.To meet such a need, our 363 for Leadership combines the best of 360 degree feedback with the simplicity and power of DiSC, plus 3 strategies for improving leadership effectiveness.  The result is a 360 experience that is more productive and satisfying not to mention actionable and positively-oriented for the feedback participant.

1)  363 for Leadership is meant for anyone who wants to use 360 degree feedback for leadership development, whether they are an emerging high-potential leader or an experienced executive.  From now until November 15, 2010, you can receive a FREE “Everything DiSC for Leaders” personalized feedback report for one leader, per company – FOR FREE!

In addition to the free profile with a retail value of a very cost-effectively priced $155, you will receive a FREE Coaching Supplement Report to create an action plan for development.

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN?

Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentary discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see if the Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders is a fit for your organization.

For more about this powerful tool and how it can work for you, please visit www.363forLeaders.com.

Take advantage of this great offer as soon as you can!

2)  Everything DiSC Management Profile will also be included in our Coaching Clinic in order to assist participants in seeing where they have natural gifts and strengths as a manager and where they might be “getting in their own way.”

The ED Management Profile helps managers understand themselves better as leaders and managers.

Coaching provides not only a context for feedback, but also a process to support changed behavior.  The best workplace coaches are those who:

  • understand and develop their own coaching style, rather than following a cookie-cutter approach.
  • know how to flex their style to connect with and more effectively coach others, and
  • can use the coaching process and concepts effectively through understanding and skill development.

 

The Management Profile helps them know how to develop actionable strategies to do just that.

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:

Two of the keys to effective coaching are listening and questioning. Effective coaches want to learn to ask questions rather than only telling or giving advice.  As a leader, your questions can help team members think through what they can achieve, determine what their goals are, and assess what knowledge and skills they need to develop to achieve them.

Then an effective “manager as coach” can ask questions to get them to explore the options available as well as the likely outcomes for each option.Suppose you have a team member who is hesitant to take on the leadership of a project team. This is a scenario many leaders can relate to as a developmental issue.Here are some “Coach Approach” questions you might ask:

  1. If you were taking responsibility for this initiative, what would you see as being the most important priorities for you as the team/project leader?
  2. Think about leaders you have worked with in the past.  What are the things they did that worked really well for you? 
  3. Are there any leaders with whom you’ve worked that did or said things that really didn’t work for you that you would not want to do yourself?
  4. What support do you need from me in order to feel more comfortable taking on a new role within the team?

While these are simple, “starter” questions, the purpose of asking these questions is to draw on the coachee’s experience of working for different leaders to say, “What have you seen that works and what have you experienced that doesn’t work regardless of style?”  Most things that work are universal leadership principles and practices that can work for anyone in any situation.

This is one way to empower people by getting them to start thinking about what they need to do without having to tell them what to do.  Coming back to the theme we started with in this Ezine, employees who are allowed to think for themselves within guidelines are more committed, more engaged, and often more brilliant than those of us who think we may know more.  As a coach, I am continually inspired by the wisdom that lies within us all.  All of us need a fresh eye and to live in the question a bit more than we may find comfortable.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com for ways to operationalize any of these best practices into your workplace for powerful, effective results.

All my best!

Laura A. Daviswww.lauraadavis.com

Lessons in Leadership and Tender Power: What Can Leaders (YOU) Learn from Princess Diana’s Legacy?

July 7, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:One doesn’t need to look too far for examples of companies that are failing because they have clung to outdated mindsets based upon hierarchy, autocracy, paternalism, and bureaucracy.  These modes of “command and control” style management are thankfully nearing their completion in the world of business today.  Global markets and technologies which democratize access to information are just a few of the trends supporting this shift.  The shift is not happening without resistance however.

Many of today’s “senior management” are products of decades of business management programming with deeply-rooted hierarchy and control issues. Many of the leaders I have worked with would rather see themselves as generals leading an army, instead of the coach-facilitator leader they know might be more effective.  Many senior leaders fear the prospect of giving up control because they fear negative results.  Sadly, many business schools still give students primarily a technical education and a sense of self-importance, but neglect to emphasize the essential understanding of what makes people tick or the importance of ethical values and social responsibility while still making a profit. 

Recent events in the Gulf are a glaring example of poor leadership in my humble opinion.  It is time to rethink what authentic power really is.  It seems as if many in the traditional business world fall into the trap of being overly impressed with the intellect and credentialing and overwhelmed by emotions at work.  This I have never understood as it seems to be obvious that we bring our whole selves to work.  If I have to leave my passion, energy, talents and commitment at the door to get through my workday, imagine the loss of potential to the company as well as to the individual.

This challenge has been around for some time in that employers are always interested in ways to boost productivity, commitment, and job satisfaction for obvious self-serving reasons.  I was delighted to see that this summer’s HBR’s OnPoint magazine (selected articles from Harvard Business Review) highlights articles on “Reawakening Your Passion for Work” and “The Human Moment at Work” among others.  Even if you are not a “senior leader” in your workplace or organization, you can benefit from understanding how to shift from a “command and control” mindset to a more facilitative coaching leadership style.  I like to think of it as tender power which is an end result of effective people-whispering.

And people-whispering comes down to some conscious communication and action guidelines. One of the first keys to doing this effectively is to act from the healthiest part of your personality that you have access to in the moment.  This requires self-awareness which is the first step to emotional intelligence.  When I interpret the DiSC® Personal Profile and other self-assessment and awareness tools for people, I am careful to point out that all styles have natural strengths and fears which can result in blind spots without awareness and intention.  The more you explore your intentions, the more behavioral options you will create.  Yet regardless of your behavior, people can always read whether you are coming from love or fear.  Loving intentions create real, tender power.  

Between the stimulus and response, or stated more concretely, between the time some event or person triggers you and you are tempted to lash out, manipulate, caretake, fix, teach, judge, blame, gossip, etc., you have a choice.  That choice is to act from a loving part of your personality or to react from fear or an unhealed place within yourself.

The best way to become conscious of which part of yourself you are coming from is to choose your intention before you speak or act.  Doing this allows you to choose the consequences that your words or actions will create in those around you.  And remember, being a true leader regardless of position or title is about creating a positive healthy environment around you like a petri dish where a healthy culture can grow. 

If you are not sure of your intentions, you might ask yourself “what is my motivation?” before speaking or acting.  You can go within and consult your intuition or inner voice and be clear that you are coming from inspiration and shared responsibility, power-with versus power-over.  The DiSC® Personal Profile can give you insight into your fears and strengths as well as how you might behave under pressure or judge others.  This awareness is not to chastise you or make you feel badly about yourself.  Instead, self-knowledge about our potential shadow side gives us power when we shine a light on it. From this awareness, we can make thoughtful, heartfelt, intuitive solutions for the highest good of all concerned.  

This is the mindset and heartset of the 21st century leader.  For more on this topic, I encourage you to read my award-winning article, “Leading with Love.”  I will also be starting a blog on this topic soon in addition to the People-Whispering blog. Stay tuned and for practical tools and application on how to apply this to your business, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 

 

DiSC® Assessment Application:Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to the exhibition, “Diana:  A Celebration” which was the award-winning exhibition paying tribute to the life and work of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.   It was a moving and inspiring showcase of her life and work and brought back memories of what was occurring in my life during major events in her very public and short one.

Whatever may or may not have been true of Diana, Princess of Wales, she had an indisputable ability to connect with all kind of people to uplift and inspire them.  Known for her charity work, she was called “the Peoples’ Princess” and often took on unpopular, unfashionable causes including AIDS, leprosy, and landmines among others.  She seemed to listen with empathy to others who weren’t often heard.  How well do you listen to others?If we relate this to the DiSC® Personal Profile, the Personal Listening Profile, and other self-assessment tools, we can see how she used her intuitive knowledge of how to connect to others to make a positive impact. 

Diana had a knack for “people-whispering” in that she knew how to get people talking, adapt to their style in order to cross the bridge into their world, and partner together with them going forward.  I was struck by her compassionate leadership.  Let us all be reminded of the incredible positive impact tender power can have in whatever context you find yourself a leader in business, in the non-profit world, in your family, in your community.

 

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:I mentioned the HBR OnPoint Summer 2010 issue earlier and found it so rich I had to come back to one of the articles entitled “Retention Through Redemption.”  The article shares the story of demoralized employees (sailors) cheering as their departing CEO leaves the company (the ship). 

This is exactly what happened when the USS Benfold’s unhappy crew bid their captain farewell in 1997.  Today, the vessel is the pride of the Pacific fleet such that sailors from other ships are clamoring to join its crew.The new captain of the ship attributes his success to breaking bad habits and jettisoning old attitudes starting with his own.Here are the key lessons learned which fit nicely into our theme of tender power this month.

  1. Reject the “Command and Control” style – in today’s technology-driven, complex organizations, no single person can manage all the information and make all the split-second decisions required.  Effective leaders provide a compelling vision and clear values – and guide (not dictate) their people to success.
  2. And Learn How to Listen – treat every encounter with every person as the most important thing in the world at that moment.
  3. Differentiate Freedom From Lack of Discipline – set limits and define unbreakable, ethical and safety rules.
  4. And Then Hand Out Trust and Responsibility – if you’ve led well, delegate.
  5. Redeem Employees During Their Toughest Times – when people are at their worst, you can only redeem them by taking some scary chances.

I encourage you to read the article for more and to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com for ways to operationalize these best practices into your workplace.

Employee Engagement Begins with YOU

May 28, 2010
People Whispering Tip:
I had a coaching conversation with a new client this week.  She came into my office and proceeded to cry for the first 45 minutes of our hour long session.  She told me how horrible her last boss was and how she would just have to learn how to accept the mediocrity of the department she was working in.  In between sobs, I felt her frustration in trying to express what she could contribute to the organization but just couldn’t get across to the people she was trying to influence. 

It hurts not to be heard.  Someone had likely given her some bad advice as she said she would just have to learn how to accept this sad state of affairs until she retired.

Since I often have clients with similar situations, it is important for me to clarify here that this client, who happens to be a female engineer in a very male-dominated culture, gave me permission to write about her situation abstractly.  Client confidentiality is of the utmost importance so I want to be very clear about having asked for permission first to be proactive about any misunderstandings. As her advocate, I couldn’t help but urge her not to put her passions on the shelf until she went home at the end of each day.  It’s a tragic loss of life to retire in place in my humble opinion and companies, governments, schools, and communities are much worse off for not having harnessed the passions of their employees.

While it’s a cliché, it does hold true that people don’t leave organizations, they leave people – usually bad bosses.  In this particular instance, my client was able to transfer into another role where her skills and talents will be recognized and valued.  She will still need to interface with this aforementioned nemesis, but not on a daily basis.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, somehow and some way, an interpersonal issue of style and communication got in the way of a clear and collaborative conversation.

I can only assist the person in front of me and part of what we will be working on is developing a greater level of skill for her in having artful conversations where she can express her needs and gifts in a way where they can be received by the listener.  As I have often said, that means understanding your particular lens and filters on the world based upon the perceptions you have regarding the nature of the environment and your personal power in it.

In general, people perceive the world with perennially rose-colored or “what’s not working” glasses on.  Given that perception, we all then either believe we can change and/or influence the outcome of our environment or we believe it is better to work within the existing circumstances in order to navigate our way through life.  Sometimes we hold opposing beliefs which cause us to become unclear in our strategies and therefore our behaviors.

So what does this come down to and how does it relate to my client story and you?  The first step is having the awareness that your particular reality and lens on the world is not the truth.  It may be the truth as you see it, but someone else may see the situation entirely differently.  My question to my client, after asking questions about the situation and empathizing with her frustration and pain, was “And how is this affecting you now?”  It was no longer a problem or issue for her daily reality anymore after all.

The power of this question stopped her in her tracks because she hadn’t realized how tenaciously she was hanging on to being right and to being righteous about the incompetence and wrongness of the other party involved.  It can be hard to let go of things that no longer matter.  AND at the same time, I certainly am not condoning the poor leadership practices of the other people who contributed to a less than collaborative coaching culture in this case.  It would be funny if it weren’t so common in organizational life and in life in general. 

It reminds me of the old Monty Python movie where the knight has his arms and legs cut off and the victor is riding away on his horse while the fallen knight is calling, “where are you going, I’m not through with you yet?”  It’s funny because that knight has lost his power to do anything about the situation in his current state.  A better approach might be to ask yourself, what can I learn from this situation?  How might I have handled this relationship differently?  How can I express my needs in such a way as to be heard by the other person given their beliefs and lens on the world?

Going beyond employee engagement and engaging people’s hearts and spirits is the key.  My client obviously wanted desperately to be of value, to bring her unique gifts and talents to the table.  So much so, that she cried and cried about not being heard even though the threat to her identity and career were clearly over.  Doesn’t this suggest that this happens more frequently than the typical employee survey reveals?

One of my respected fellow DiSC experts and business associates, Keith Ayers, has researched this issue and has identified four primary obsessions that managers unintentionally make which increase the threat of disengagement.  These obsessions contribute to the creation of the kind of scenario I’ve just described with my new client.  In his book, Engagement is not Enough, Keith outlines these common sandtraps.  For our purposes here, I have selected two which I have paraphrased and added my color commentary to as follows:

An obsession with financial results – being obsessed with the bottom line can lead to good results but think how much more powerful an organization could be in achieving their goals with passionate employees who are heard and supported in expressing their values in a positive and productive way for the good of all concerned.     

An obsession with logic and left-brain thinking – managers who are obsessed with logic and left-brained thinking are dismissive of feelings and say that emotion doesn’t belong in the workplace.  They don’t believe that engagement has anything to do with organizational performance or that people can be passionate about their work.  They say things like “people just need to do their jobs.”  Everyone needs to understand that emotional intelligence and right-brain thinking are critical skills for becoming successful leaders in the new economy.   

So my question to you, whether you are a formal leader/manager in your organization or whether you are a leader without title, how are your perceptions and potential obsessions affecting the culture around you?  Are you encouraging passion and engagement from the hearts and minds of your associates or are you dampening their spirits by your lack of skill and awareness?  I invite you to engage with me to see if you can become better at this critical competency.  We are here to assist you.  Feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

SCROLL DOWN 🙂

DiSC Assessment Application:
Given the leadership challenge I’ve just posed, the key question for leaders at all levels is “how can I contribute to creating a workplace environment where everyone in the organization wants to and can perform at their best?My answer is to train everyone in an organization about the power of people-whispering by training them using the new Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitation kit.  Everything DiSC Workplace Offers Modular Facilitation for All Delivery Methods:         
 
In-depth: Three 90-minute modules; fully-scripted facilitation with engaging activities and workplace-focused video. Also includes a 30-minute optional people-reading module.Easily Customizable: Switch out video clips. Modify the PowerPoint, Leader’s Guide, and handouts. Add or delete sections to fit any time-frame. The Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitation Kit includes:

  • Leader’s Guide in MS Word
  • PowerPoint® with embedded video
  • Stand-alone, menu-driven video
  • Participant handouts in MS Word
  • Templates and images
  • Sample Everything DiSC Workplace Profile
  • Sample Everything DiSC Comparison Report
  • Online resources and research
  • Everything DiSC Workplace Guides

Module 1: Discovering Your DiSC Style
Participants discover how DiSC styles affect their Workplace relationships and explore the priorities that drive them at work.

Module 2: Understanding Other Styles
Participants learn what works for them and what challenges them when working with each DiSC style.

Module 3: Building More Effective Relationships
Participants create strategies and an action plan to overcome challenges when working with people of different DiSC styles.

People-Reading Optional Module
Participants learn how to identify others’ DiSC styles based on behavioral cues.

SCROLL DOWN 🙂

Transformational Coaching Tip:
Since this month’s theme has been about harnessing passion through engaging effective relationships, it is important to remember that at some point in most people’s careers, technical competence ceases to be the key factor which contributes to their career success.  Early on in our careers, we build our credibility on competence and technical expertise.  If you look at the typical CEO however, they are usually not the “smartest” people in their organization.  They are not the person who is going to cure cancer or discover the next theory of relativity.

What they have learned to do is engage the hearts and minds of those smarter people around them by building strong one-on-one relationships.  I am not suggesting there aren’t other success factors involved, but this is a core skill upon which other leadership competencies are built.Here are some simple but often overlooked tips for doing so that are so easy and yet so often overlooked in today’s frantic and/or virtual workplaces.

  • At least once a week, have lunch with one or more coworkers to connect personally and professionally.
  • Drop into people’s offices for 10 minutes of casual conversation or check in with them via phone in a virtual situation.
  • Smile at people as you see them in the hall or around the office.
  • Be fully present when people talk to you, at least for that moment.
  • Be willing to open up to people occasionally to show your humanness.  You don’t need to reveal your deepest darkest secrets in detail.  Just a little healthy self-disclosure with which you are comfortable can open the door for more rapport and trust.

The key here is to follow through with these behaviors with a genuine generosity of spirit and not as a manipulative technique or a coaching how-to.

For ways to inculcate a coaching mindset into your team or organizational culture, reach out to us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.  We are here to help create healthier, happier and more profitable workplace environments for all!

Do You Know the Keys to Employee Engagement?

April 12, 2010

Sign up for this Ezine at www.lauraadavis.com and get a free chapter from my book “A Guide to Getting It:  Self-Esteem.”

People Whispering Tip:        

Spring has come to Atlanta and there seems to be no more beautiful place on earth with cherry blossom and Bradford pear trees exploding into color and scent after an unusually cold winter for us here in the South.  It is not such a far reach for us to draw a parallel between the promise that spring blossoms bring and the warming trends and hopeful signs in the economy after an unusually long and bitter recession in the US and the global economy.  Nature is mirroring the hope in the world at large and none too soon for many.

The good news is, life has its cycles and the upswing does inevitably come after the downswing if one can keep one’s eye on the long view.  The challenging part now is that the corporate survivors of this most recent economic storm are burnt-out and shell-shocked having seen their colleagues get down-sized or outsourced, while they seemingly hung on by a thread.  I recall the late 80’s had a similar zeitgeist or mood although at that time I was “new” in my career and didn’t have much of an historical perspective.  We talked about survival guilt then.   Now some are talking about envy.

I say envy because almost all of my corporate clients from the Fortune 100 to small to mid-sized companies tell me that they have more to do than they can possibly handle.  They secretly yearn to have been “let go” except for the financial ramifications.  And of course, while the “survivors” have more to do, they are being charged with doing more with less.  One could focus on time management strategies and read more about tools and techniques to get organized.  That might have some short-term traction, but more than likely, the real problem would not be addressed.

The real challenge in employee engagement is re-energizing employee commitment and passion.  Organizations need to go back to addressing the fundamental issues of vision, mission, and values NOT just as empty platitudes to put up on posters around the office but as real beacons as to why people are working there in the first place.

In short, organizations need to look at what they can do to fully engage the whole person not just the mental person.   Most organizations treat employees as if they are merely a number, a headcount to the extent that I recently had an acquaintance say just that to me.  As a National Accounts Manager for a major car rental company, she said, “As of late, I feel like all I am to my company is just a number.”

I don’t know about you, but that would hardly inspire my best performance.  I didn’t have time to probe and more importantly, time to really investigate all of the factors in this individual’s work situation and corporate culture.  And, having worked with thousands of individuals and a wide range of highly respected companies from many different industries over the years, I have no doubt that there are indeed bad bosses, toxic work environments, challenging relationships, and personal and professional crisis situations that can color our perceptions and our behavior.

To back up my hypothesis, a recent Talent Management magazine article (January 2010) contained some depressing news.  “Engagement measures as the percentage of employees willing to go the extra mile for their company has fallen 12 to 24%, depending upon sector, over the past 198 months.”   My belief is that the reason for this is an overemphasis on the intellectual part of business, while denying the emotional and spiritual aspects of the enterprise. 

Just like human beings, organizations (made up of human beings by the way), organizations have their psyches too.  Every business entity has its intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects.  The intellectual includes creative ideas that drive innovation and the implementation of those ideas into products and services.  The emotional aspect saturates the workplace in how employees interact with one another.   The spiritual aspect of a company’s psyche is the true mission for the organization.  This aspect of what the company or organization is about understands what the company does and how it affects its employees, community, country and the entire planet.    

On an organizational level, many people feel disconnected from full engagement because they don’t have a sense of purpose and meaning in their work lives.  Some are just staying in jobs or with companies they don’t really have a passion for to get a paycheck until the economy turns.  Sometimes, people are their own worst enemy and need to leave to pursue their real passion elsewhere and just needed the cosmic boot to take action.  And yet, I often find that people are well-suited for their role and for the company but have lost their passion because of a leadership failure to articulate a compelling and engaging vision, mission and values.   Most organizations need to harness the energy of their employees by tapping into their hearts as well as their minds. 

If you are not in an organization with an inspiring leadership climate, you do have choices.  You can leave and go somewhere that does.  You can start your own business.  Or, consider becoming the light yourself to help transform your work environment and bloom where you are planted.  You may need the support of a coach and/or a mentor to do this however.  A well-trained, experienced guide can help you to re-energize your attitude, skills, and beliefs.

On an individual level, we could all probably agree that performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.  The good news is, we have far more control over our energy and attitude than we usually realize.  While we may not have much latitude regarding our external circumstances nor the number of hours in a day, we can influence the quantity and the quality of the energy available to us.  The more we take personal responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.  Likewise, the more we blame others or our external circumstances, the more negative and drained our energy is likely to be.  For more tips on how to do this, read the Transformational Coaching Tips below and in other Ezines I’ve written.

DiSC Assessment Application: 
       

When employees are disengaged and are showing only minimal effort, the Work Expectations Profile can be an excellent tool to help you to understand why.  One possible cause for employee engagement is the fact that often employees do not have a clear sense of purpose or direction.  I’ve also touched on the possibility that the organizational culture may leave employees feeling isolated and unappreciated.

Another potential cause for a lack of employee engagement can be a disconnection between employee needs and management expectations.  If you have ever wondered what makes a good company great, you can answer very simply:  “It’s the people silly!”  Committed, productive employees are the key to organizational success.

Research has shown that people who have clearly defined, well-communicated expectations have better attitudes and enjoy greater job satisfaction than people whose expectations go unspoken or unrealized.  The Work Expectations Profile helps people explore 10 work expectation areas that impact relationships in today’s world of work.  These areas include:  Autonomy, Balance, Career Growth, Diversity, Environment, Expression, Recognition, Stability, Structure, and Teamwork.

Call us at 404-327-6330 to find out how the Work Expectations Profile can help you and your employees to better understand and manage their work expectations.  Feel free to email me as well at Laura@lauraadavis.com. 

   
Transformational Coaching Tip: 
      

When I was in training to be a coach, I was fortunate enough to have been trained by the visionary late Thomas Leonard and his first graduates from Coach U.  Thomas brought many gifts to the coaching profession not the least of which were some amazing distinctions and top ten lists for how to fulfill certain principles.

In keeping with this month’s theme, I’d like to borrow from Thomas’ book The Portable Coach where he explains the distinction between a Vision and a Purpose.  According to Thomas, “A vision is what is clearly visible to you and probably to others.  It’s not you, nor is it a reason for living.  It’s simply something you see that is clear to you.  You can choose to move toward it or just enjoy it from a distance.  It has a tug, but not a charge.  A purpose, however, is personal.  It orients, defines, and identifies you.  It is likely to be connected with the past, and thus can sometimes be a burden or a drag.”

The following are some ways to have a clearer vision:

  1. Be aware of the trends affecting society, business, and you.  For example, if you are not participating in social media, get on the bus.
  2. Know several visionary types personally.  Associating with people who naturally have vision can help to hone your abstract thinking and visionary skills as well.
  3. Identify a current trend and extrapolate that into a vision.  Practice looking at trends and seeing what they mean for the future of your industry, situation, product, market, or population so you can be where the need is and not be outdated in your skill set.
  4. Don’t confuse your vision with your self-identity.   If your vision becomes a CAUSE, and you start basing your life, self-esteem, success, or identity on the progression of your vision, then you need to step back and get some perspective.
  5. Let our vision evolve naturally.  Avoid getting fixated on a single vision as things are always in flux and changing such that your current vision may no longer be relevant through no fault of your own.  Allow yourself and your passions to evolve and grow throughout your life as well.

For assistance in applying any of these ideas to yourself, your team , or your organization, please call me at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.