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How to Get Rid of That Pesky Alarm Clock

Got purpose WEBRecently an executive I was coaching said that when she told her father she was going into banking, his reply was, “You need to go into a field that helps people and can save the world.” These types of messages can roll around in our heads all our lives. They cause us to doubt ourselves, to second guess our decisions, and they kill our motivation. Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, wrote an article entitled, “Waking Up With No Alarm.” The article addresses how a person who is truly excited about his/her job doesn’t need an alarm clock to start the day.

There is so much concern today about disengagement, demotivation, tangled relationships, the inability to set and achieve goals, and feelings of having no power. Managers are unsure of how to motivate their reports. What’s the point, or better yet, what’s the connection?

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The Furrowed-Browed CEO

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At this time each year, there are a plethora of articles on what CEOs worry about. Yes, there are universal elements of business that worry every CEO. These pesky topics include items such as

  • The economy
  • Safety
  • Rapid change
  • Customer service
  • Skill shortages

No doubt you can think of a few others. On the other hand, there are industry specific elements of business that may be more of a concern to some CEOs than others. For example:

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How to Avoid a Train[ing] Wreck

Training Wreck WEBIt’s no secret that training is the first on the chopping block in organiztions when times get tough. Many trainers lament the fact that they get no respect. Regrettably, there is often good reason for these opinions.

According to a 2015 study by Training, Organiztions spend around $70 Billion on training. Many times this hefty price tag comes with no ROI. CEOs are pulling their hair out over the failure of training programs. This includes both inside and outside training programs. A typical example is communication.

Upon a few communication failures such as information being withheld, unnecessary communication, not enough communication, inappropriate communication, the wrong communication, etc., etc., etc. someone in management calls for communication training, Dutifully, the in-house trainer slaps together a communication training and everyone is required to attend, they also must sign off that they’ve been, and there may even be penalties if one does not attend. Of course, managers are exempt from attending. Everyone attends and six-weeks later, there are more communication fiascos. Sound familiar? What can be done to stop such training wrecks? Keeping with our communication example…

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When Executives Behave Badly

Woman at Computer 2 WEBWe’ve all seen children and how they can get hurt feelings over the most minor infractions, become territorial to the point of landing blows, and just being plain nasty. Of course, people who have attained high educational levels, worked their way through the ranks, and now manage executive positons would never behave in such a manner. At least, one would think.

Recently, I had a conversation with a Vice President. This individual not only is a VP but has a string of letters behind their name that represent both professional level achievements as well as certifications. It seems Pat, (not the VP’s real name), has serious issues with another individual, (Madison, again not a real name), who happens to be in a higher position in the organization. Pat has complained many times about being overwhelmed with work so much so that the organization is going to hire an assistant for Pat.

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Need Teamwork? Maybe Not

cat in teamDoes your team work together? No, I don’t mean do they cooperate, collaborate, and have a culture of kumbayah. Do they physically work together every day? This is an important question to ask as it can change the way you manage, save you time, and resources.

Recently, I had the opportunity to deliver a program to a group of mid-level executives, each in a different city and in charge of a different market sector for their organization. The manager, a VP in the organization was intent on teambuilding and that had been his management focus. However, during the program, one of the participants stated aloud that he found no benefit in their weekly teambuilding phone calls. Ouch!

The executive and I looked at his team and he realized that that they don’t work together or even depend on one another for resources or business. While that is true, I pointed out to the manager that the concentration should be on having his team focus on the strategic plan, ensure that each of his managers buys into the vision for the organization, and then drive that vision throughout their own teams. But don’t they still need to collaborate and cooperate? Glad you asked.

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Culture: A Hard or Soft Business Element?

Two Head Dragon WEBOn one hand, culture appears to be too full of fluff for some leaders. Phrases like, “I’m not here to make friends, I have a business to run!” come to mind. On the other hand, phrases like “Our culture drives productivity, great customer service, and that grows profits.” might waft through the corporate rafters. So which is it? Is culture a hard or soft business element? In a word, yes. Culture is a two headed monster that dares you to wrestle with it…and wrestle with it you must.

Neglecting culture is like failing to feed a caged monster. One day, it will break loose and eat you alive and have your business for dessert. Culture has come to be defined as “The way we do things around here.” There is another saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” However, in the face of necessary business change, not making the changes won’t get you what you’ve always got, business will change, but for the worse. In other words, current operational processes, policies, and principles need to change in order to meet current market needs.

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The Mystery of the Micromanager

Micro Mgr WEBLast week’s blog, “The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Respect,” discussed how to better manage teams and projects. As with everything, there is the dark side and extremes, like the manager who micromanages teams and projects. Managers who micromanage find non-productivity from their teams as a mystery. Others feel that it’s their job to be a “helicopter” manager. Micromanaging, unfortunately, has the opposite effect of almost everything a manager wants, and needs, to achieve when working through people. Here are a few of the unnecessary headaches micromanaging brings:

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The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Respect

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A colleague of mine, Kelly (Allen) Vandever, Leadership & Communications Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Host of the Leadership Podcast Permission to Speak recently posted an excellent article. Rather than regurgitating the article, you can read it in full here “Respect” In a nutshell, the article is about a manager lamenting the fact that her direct reports do not turn projects in on time or at all. She asked a colleague to step in and the colleague advised her that she has lost the respect of her direct reports. Well if they haven’t, they certainly will now by asking a colleague to step in and do her job. Did the respect mysteriously disappear or did she ever have it? The article is well-written and makes some important points about the mysteries of management.

  • Inform your reports about the “why” of a project. Check! This helps them to take the mystery out of the big picture and to see how important their position is to the larger goals of the organization.
  • Make it OK to Push Back. Check! Creating an environment that allows for back and forth commentary and analysis is healthy and productive. Nothing mysterious here.
  • Be Respectful of Your Employees. Duh! Err I mean Check! It’s no secret that basic, human respect is Management 101.

In the article, Kelly goes on to make some other important points.

What else could the manager do to ensure that she gets the job done through her people, and not “mysteriously” lose respect in the process?

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