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Faint-Hearted Over Feedback? Here’s Why.

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

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

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

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Why You Need Two Plan Bs

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

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

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Transcending Team Troubles

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

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

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Rebooting Recruiting

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

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The Rocket Science of Succession Planning

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

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

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

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

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Event Problem Solving – A Blinding Flash of the Obvious

Blinding Flash WEB

You solve problems every day. You feel a sense of accomplishment, self-satisfaction, and maybe even relief. But the very next week, the same problem, a similar problem, or a related problem rears its ugly head. You get Déjà vu and wonder what went wrong. You hear yourself saying, “Didn’t I tell them….” “I explained ….” “I thought they heard me say …” Maybe yes and maybe no. If this is happening to you, you are probably engaging in event problem solving

Event problem solving is solving what is happening at the moment with no further investigation. Event problem solving merely applies a band aid to what can be a manifestation of a larger, more deeply rooted issue. These issues can sometimes be the foundation of the culture of an organization. Unfortunately, more likely than not, these are more negative than positive. So how can leadership “see it coming?” When coaching leaders, I will often explain that if you see a problem once, you may take a brief notice of it. If you see the same problem twice, your ears should perk up. If you see that same problem a third time, now you have a trend or pattern. This is how a reoccurring problem formulates and infests an organization. By the time this pattern develops, it is no doubt affecting many aspects of your organization and business. So what is the plan for deeper problem solving?

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Does Your Team Have System Think?

System Think WEBCarter McNamara, http://goo.gl/bIK5XA, a well-known business consultant, states,

"The system's overall behavior depends on its entire structure (not the sum of its various parts). The structure determines the various behaviors, which determine the various events. Too often, we only see and respond to the events. That's why, especially in the early parts of our lives, we can be so short-sighted and reactionary in our lives and in our work. We miss the broader scheme of things."

This concept is something I strive to instill in coaching clients by helping them to see their lives and their careers as a system. No, it’s not too romantic, but it does help the thinking, analytical, and goal setting process to take roots. This applies to business, management, and leadership as well.

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Is Seeing the Big Picture Smart?

Big Pix

There are two camps, those who see the big picture and those who are detailed oriented. There are some individuals who are lucky enough to see both the big picture and not lose sight of the details. The difference between these two skills is that being detailed oriented is more about having a focused eye on tasks. The big picture falls more into the strategic side of business. Which is more important. It depends.

Many CEOs and other executives think that they should be the only ones who are capable of or who need to see the big picture and that line employees just need to concentrate on the details or the tasks at hand. Is this smart?

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