LeadershipTips

Transformation begins with small but mighty changes.

Looking at Culture

It is important for each of us to step back and look at our organizational culture. What does it look like for a customer? Is it friendly and welcoming? Have you considered asking a visitor?

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Determining Success

“Your growth determines who you are.  Who you are will determine who you attract.  Who you attract determines the success of your organization.” – John Maxwell

What do you value? What does your organization value? How will those values lead to success?

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Bright Ideas:

Complacency develops for many reasons, with one being a perception that new ideas are unwelcome or even rejected. To combat complacency, consider ways you can encourage ideas from employees at all levels. Allowing employees to submit Bright Ideas to a peer group for review and implementation honors employees’ ideas while simultaneously improving the organization.

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Encourage Work Friendships

When people start a new job they are experiencing a transition; they’re introduced to a new role, coworkers, and environment. Paying special attention to a new hire’s first several months can positively influence their chance for success with your organization. Consider incorporating opportunities for new hires to bond with current employees and start developing friendships. Having work friendships is important, they help us feel connected and therefore motivated and productive. Gallup research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.

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The Silent Start

To ensure productive meetings, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos doesn’t use presentations. He recommends starting each meeting with at least 5 silent minutes for each member to review a memo in preparation for the discussion or meeting. Although this can sound awkward at first, Bezos notes several benefits: this time inspires the undivided attention of attendees, provides direction, reduces misunderstandings, and allows attendees time to think and make notes to contribute to the conversation. Leaders who have used this tactic with their teams have noticed more meaningful conversations, increased collaboration, and shorter meetings. Try a silent start during your next team meeting.

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Cast Vision for Change

Help your team members envision a brighter future, with the change in action. While being transparent, consider what positive outcome we can all focus on as a result of the change.

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Anticipate Conflict

High performing teams, and teams of individuals who are just getting to know each other may have different ideas, visions, and opinions. As the team leader, be prepared to manage all voices and conflicts that may occur as teams are beginning to build trust and execute together.

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Establish an Employee Onboarding Team

An employee onboarding team comprised of individuals who model the organization’s culture and values can be created to own the onboarding process for incoming new hires. The onboarding team can then work with each new hire’s leader to personalize an onboarding plan in which a variety of team members may be included. Does your department have a team with a variety of members to facilitate relationship building for the new hire?

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Commit to Connecting

If the months keep passing and you keep forgetting to connect with customers, use your calendar to establish a cadence for connecting. Set a 30 minute appointment on the same day of each month and use that time to schedule your connections. Then, treat the appointments as sacred events on your calendar. Avoid canceling and adjust the number of appointments each month, as you learn what works best for you.

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Model the Culture You Want

“You create the culture in your environment.” – Dr. Natalie Harder.

If you want a positive culture in your organization, as the leader realize you set the tone for the culture of your organization. Hold up the mirror and reflect on how you can model the culture you want for your organization. Culture change happens one interaction at a time and causes a ripple through an organization from person to person.

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Form a Pack of Leaders

Surround yourself with other individuals who lead their own work, and exchange ideas and best practices with one another. You can connect in person or create a private group or community on social media. If you interact through a group or community online, your conversations, documents, tips, and best practices will all be saved in the group so anyone invited can refer back to it later.

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Talk is Cheap

…unless it’s a manage up. Messaging and celebrating the impact of an individual doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple manage up of an individual’s impact in front of the larger team means more to most than a purchased prize.

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A Journey

It’s easy to think that an organization can “arrive” at excellence and then take a breather. In reality, organizational excellence requires a constant effort and process of reflecting on where you are and where you need to be. Having a framework and set of principles to guide this effort keeps teams moving forward and aligned.

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How Can You Exceed Customer Expectations?

Start by asking your customers. Find out what their expectations are, and probe customers for ways your organization can improve the customer experience. Your current customers have the best insight into your customer experience, and asking for their feedback will make them feel valued and important. Don’t forget to thank them for their input.

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Start Small

PDSA can be used to test and measure system-wide improvements, however, it’s important to start with small fast tests when implementing PDSA. It’s helpful to focus on only one piece of the change rather than the entire implementation as you move through each round of testing. You can choose to run separate PDSA cycles simultaneously or sequentially depending on your desired outcome.

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Conduct an Initiative Audit

It’s hard for teams to innovate when they are pulled in competing directions. Before expecting innovation from your team, figure out if unnecessary initiatives are taking up time and energy. Conduct an initiative audit by asking your team to simply list all of the initiatives or projects they are working on. Align those initiatives to your strategic priorities and annual goals. If an initiative or project doesn’t align, consider getting rid of it. Why cloud valuable brain space with something that isn’t aligned?

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Empathetic Listening & Negotiating

Try your hand at empathetic listening and negotiating to strengthen team communication and relationships. During your next meeting, listen to other team members and strategies they are using or plan to use in the next 30 days. Before the meeting is over, communicate at least one way you will support that strategy.

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Analyze Your Communication

Barriers and silos often exist in an organization when there is a lack of effective communication. People in different departments aren’t sharing information, causing work to get repeated or the organization to send out mixed messages. Audit your communication to identify areas to eliminate barriers that are a result of inefficient communication.

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Lead by Example

Passively deal with a difficult employee by choosing to lead by example. You can’t expect others to act in ways you aren’t willing to yourself, and a positive role model just may be the push the difficult employee needs to change their behavior. Start role modeling by:

  • Using clear, consistent communication at all times.
  • Follow-up while working on projects.
  • Follow-through to meet your deadlines and commitments.
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Clear Language

The futuristic nature of an organization’s strategic plan can sometimes lead to ambiguous language and goals. Ensure statements like “Become the market leader” are replaced in the final version of the strategic plan with concrete statements like “Increase consumption of services by __ target customer.”

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Investing Your Time

As leaders working with individuals to support their growth and improvements it’s important to be aware of the time you are investing in each individual compared to the outcomes. There are some individuals that will reach the high-solid performance level but may not achieve the high performer level. Leaders have to decide if they can accept performance at the solid performer level, or if they have more time to contribute to investing in the individual.

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Who’s Doing What?

To increase accountability across a team, create clarity. Ensure roles, responsibilities, and goals are clear. It’s easier to be accountable when you know who’s doing what and where the team is going.

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Unmistakable Recognition

Remember to recognize those providing unmistakable value in your organization. This recognition can be as simple as a shout-out during the next team meeting. Recognizing an employee’s commitment to being unmistakably valuable to stakeholders encourages more of this behavior and mindset across the team.

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Less is More

When creating a scorecard, it is important to remember less is more. What are the most important indicators of success for each strategic area? What are the few measures that will indicate progress? What are the 1-2 actions that will get us closer to the goal? Most of us are responsible for a substantial number of projects and tasks. We don’t put all of these responsibilities on our scorecard. The scorecard is a tool that keeps us focused on the few that matter most. This doesn’t mean we don’t tend to the others, but it does help us prioritize.

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Outside Perspective

Not sure what to change or if change is needed? Invite a critical friend to observe your meeting and offer feedback. An outside perspective can provide valuable insight.

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Be Interested

Instead of focusing on the next thing you will say after the speaker is finished talking, focus on the messages being sent. Where do you need more clarification? What do you want to know more about? Develop probing and clarifying questions for the speaker to encourage them to continue communicating and facilitate deeper understanding.

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Idea Bank

As you meet with your direct reports each month, you may find you have more ideas than you can possibly implement. Come up with a system to put the best ideas in place. For example, at the end of each quarter, a leader may present the bank of ideas to their team and let them vote on which ideas to fulfill.

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Engaged Employees Inspire Loyal Customers

Employees who are engaged are more likely to be enthusiastic and emotionally attached to their work. They are fully committed to the organization and more likely to go above and beyond to provide excellent service. A positive employee experience directly enhances the customer’s experience, after all, it is your employees who create the customer experience. Take action by implementing one recommendation for increasing engagement on your team this week.

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One at a Time

After an initial communication of all organizational goals, consider focusing on one goal at a time during the next few team meetings. Use this time to help team members see how their roles connect to the larger aims and identify actions the team will take to support achievement of the goal.

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Check in with Stakeholders

Schedule time each quarter to connect with a few external stakeholders. Ask for feedback and perceptions about the organization’s progress. Directly ask if there are any trends to which you should be paying close attention.

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Connect Actions to Values

When discussing strategic direction and strategic actions with our teams, it’s helpful to connect those actions to the organization’s values to allow people to visualize the meaningful outcomes of their work.

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Analyze Your Complaints

Keep track of the complaints you receive and respond to. Every 6 months revisit that list and make note of the complaints that arise the most. Ask your team and yourself if there is a barrier in the process or if there is a change that can be made to decrease the most common complaints.

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If You’re in a Hole Stop Digging

Communicate about a crisis as openly and honestly as possible. Don’t try to leave out information, mislead the public or the media, or avoid owning up to the crisis. The crisis may feel detrimental at the time. However, in the long-run, the attempt to cover it up can leave an organization’s reputation in shambles.

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Ground Yourself

When you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions, practice a “grounding” technique. One option you can use while sitting or standing is to place all of your awareness on the bottom of your feet. You can also do this by wiggling your toes inside your shoe, or visualizing yourself making an outline of each foot, while paying attention to any sensations. Grounding will help you get out of your head and instead focus on your body rather than your emotions.

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Plus/Delta & Why

A plus/delta tool can also aid in reflective practice. When using this tool, it is important to ensure you capture WHY each factor is a plus or a delta. The why is critical in deciding the best next steps.

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The Power of Silence

Silent feedback may seem like an oxymoron, but it can be a powerful tool for collective brainstorming and reflection. In a meeting, ask each participant to write his/her response to a given question or prompt. Then, ask them to pass their papers to right, read what their colleague wrote, and provide comments or a reaction. Continue rotating the papers until each paper gets back to its owner. Ask the owner to review all comments and provide a one-sentence summary about the contents of the entire page.

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Make Goals More Manageable

Support high solid performers by working with them to breakdown their 90-day goals into more manageable pieces. Identify opportunities to celebrate the small wins along the way, which add up to the completion of the goal. Celebrating small wins motivates, encourages, and retains solid-performers.

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Remember Why You Started

Don’t forget why you started on the path of continuous improvement. Regularly remind yourself and your team why changes are occurring, particularly during the tougher phases.

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Win Vs. Loss

When we’re trying to accomplish really important goals, it’s easy to forget to celebrate progress. For one week, keep a tally of the number of times you point out a set-back and a tally of the number of times you celebrate a win. Do the wins win? If you proclaimed the negative more often, try again next week. Build a habit of celebrating wins that matter.

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Ask Your Team

During connections with your team members, clarify their understanding of the strategic goals and how their roles reflect those goals. Ask, “What actions are you prioritizing this month?”. Offer feedback about how those actions align with the overall goal for the organization. This will give you an awareness of team members who might not be prioritizing the right actions and opportunities to support those individuals.

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Tackle Problems One by One

When working on a Fishbone diagram, you may find that there could be several problems related to your project that need to be addressed, but do not attempt to answer them all using one diagram. Give each problem its own diagram to reach individual root causes.

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Who Needs to Know?

Every time you make a decision or are informed about a decision by senior leadership, pause and think, ‘Who else needs to know this information?’ Next, develop a plan for executing the communication via email, telephone, social media, etc., to the employees and community members you’ve identified.

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Develop Awareness

Track your actions for one week to develop an awareness of how you stack up in the area of modeling standards and expectations.

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Remember Why You Asked

Before you open your next results report, pause and remember why you asked for data in the first place. Whether it’s feedback or an audit, the larger goal is likely improvement. Keep this perspective as you open the file.

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Revisit Your Plan

Your career development map should be a living document. Revisit it every 90 days, or every 6 months to make changes and be sure it’s up to date. Don’t forget to keep track of your development progress.

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You Get To

Stop yourself from thinking you “have” to do something, and start thinking about things like you “get” to do them. This shift in perspective supports a positive and grateful mindset.

For Example: I have to take the kids to school daily. Becomes: I get to spend extra time with my children each morning driving them to school safely in my vehicle. 

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Master Storytellers

Always be on the lookout for opportunities to harvest stories for your organization. Whether the story is from a customer and can be used for marketing purposes, or from an employee and can be used to showcase company values, good organizations make an effort to collect and distribute these stories. Make it your goal to harvest at least 1 story per week.

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Question for Passion

During one-on-one conversations with potential new leaders, dig deep to learn about what motivates the individual. What part of their work do they most enjoy? What would they like to do more of? What skill areas do they think they want to develop? Connecting people with what they are passionate about at work increases results.

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Reward Mastered Skills

Monitor your aspiring leader’s progress and when a new leadership skill is mastered, recognize and reward the new leader. Individuals generally like to be recognized and rewarded in different ways, try to be as personal and specific as possible. If you are using or creating a formal new leader development program, incorporate regular reward and recognition into the program plan.

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Use “But” to Improve

When you find yourself describing a supervisee as “a great employee, but lacks punctuality,” use what comes after the “but” as an opportunity to improve that individual’s performance. Instead of accepting the one bad behavior because you think the person is a high performer, try providing support to correct the problem and help the individual become a  true high performer.

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Mirror Your Leader’s Style

When approaching a conversation with your leader about their performance, use their preferred communication method. Match their communication style and be mindful of your body language.

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Be Serious

Don’t start the low performer conversation with a greeting such as, “How are you?” This is not the time for a positive, friendly conversation. Stay focused on the talking points you prepared, and let your low performer know they will have a chance to speak after you’ve finished.

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Enlist Help From Your Team

The best person to improve a process is the person who carries out the process. Fully utilize employee skill-sets – can someone be doing more? If the process is improved, they will likely have time to take on higher level work.

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See it – Reward it

Recognize the right behavior right away. Don’t wait until it’s time for a quarterly or yearly recognition program. Make it a habit to recognize performance that deserves to be rewarded.

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Align Your Team One Step at a Time

Identify one thing at a time you can do, or stop doing, to make sure your leadership team is on board and then commit to taking action. It’s the senior leader’s ultimate responsibility to align the executive leadership team.

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Treat Every Interaction as a First Impression

It is often the small things that we remember during our experiences as a customer that form our long-term perception of an organization. Make every interaction a positive one, no matter how quick or seemingly insignificant it may be. You never know when a small gesture will make a big impact.

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Recognize the Good

Confronting organizational issues gives the leader the opportunity to teach important lessons about behavioral norms and living the values of the organization. Use positive examples of colleagues leading by example especially through a conflict or challenge. By recognizing and rewarding colleagues for living the mission of the organization, this clarifies the expectation for all employees in the organization by demonstrating what right looks like.

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Reach Out & Learn

Have someone you would love to learn from? Approach them! Be ready to make the commitment to bettering yourself and your career today.

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Round with Middle Leaders

Are your middle leaders confident in their abilities to execute your most recent goals? Could they use a hand? Take the time to find out what they need to feel confident in their ability to achieve their goals.

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Become an Active Mentor

Reflect on your current connections and pinpoint someone you think would love to establish a mentor/mentee relationship with you and set up a meeting to talk about the possibility.

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A Fresh Take: Observe & Report

Conduct a Plus/Delta with the participants at the end of your next board or team meeting. Observe dynamics in the discussion, is every leader an active participant?

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Get Back to the Fundamentals

What tactics do you have in place to create better alignment in the workplace? Are you training your leaders in basic competencies? Are you using a common agenda for all of your meetings? Reflect on what you could implement or do better.

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Gather Feedback to Grow

To facilitate a system of development consider implementing 360 Feedback opportunities on a regular basis at your organization. Based on the feedback received, people adjust their behavior, develop skills, and can learn to focus on other areas to be more effective.

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Stop What Doesn’t Work

Revisit your organization’s processes every 90 days and decide if it is effective and efficient or if the process could be improved or stopped altogether.

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Practice Your Messages

Before approaching an Impact Conversation practice what you want to say with a trusted leader or colleague. Monitor your tone of voice and body language and avoid setting a negative tone by using ‘Yes, and’ instead of ‘Yes, but.’

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There is Always Time for a Smile

Next time you’re rushing to that next meeting, look up and give the people you’re zooming past a smile or a quick hello. The difference it could make to their day, and your own, is bigger than you might anticipate.

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Give Trust to Get Trust

How do we get people to trust? We start with trusting first. Share a vulnerable experience with a colleague today that will begin building your relationship.

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Break Down Big Goals

Bigger goals become more manageable when broken up into smaller, less disconcerting, achievements. Apply this method to a personal goal as well.

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Change Can Be Uncomfortable

The initial reaction is to slow down and back off because leaders tend to be uncomfortable with discomfort. This is the most important time to keep the throttle down.

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What We Permit We Promote

When you see or hear someone that is not adhering to the standards, speak up. At the same time compliment those that are living the values and mission of the organization and encourage others to recognize values-driven behavior as well. As a leader, you are not only obligated to live your mission, vision and values, you are responsible for ensuring others do as well.

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Strive to Inform

Executive leaders should constantly strive to keep their team informed, as well as the entire organization. Be certain your executive leaders have the necessary tools to make informed decisions in order to share out accurate information.

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Put Your Network Before Yourself

Look for opportunities to provide value and support to others. Offering feedback or advice, acting as a trusted mentor, or providing a quality referral for an open job position all have a positive effect on your reputation.

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Reflect on Turnover

Is your organization or department retaining talent? Is there room for improvement in your hiring process? Chances are there is ample space to make stronger hiring decisions. Apply just one new method to your next round of interviews.

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Schedule Time for Note-Taking

Set aside specific time in your schedule after meetings to take notes. You’ll be meeting with many people and you’ll want to remember the valuable information you learned about the organization and them personally. Looking back on these notes will help you take action after your first 100 days have passed.

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Keep the Purpose in Mind

Approach each conversation – formal and informal – with a specific purpose. Set clear expectations with your team.

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Get a Team Together

If your organization doesn’t have a peer interview team, determine how you can start assembling the right team for your next hiring process. If you have a team in place, consider adding new tools to make the process a smooth success.

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Non-Dominant Hand Practice

Time yourself writing your name with your non-dominant hand. Then, time yourself writing your name with your dominant hand. Relate that to the time wasted when we, or our team members, are asked to work outside of our strengths. Think about how you or your team members can spend more time working within their strengths.

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Focus on Behaviors

When providing feedback to colleagues and employees, focus on behaviors. As you and your conversation partner discuss an observed event or action, describe specifically what the individual did and the impact that it had. Use action verbs and narrate the sequence as you observed it; then describe what happened as a result. Often, we remember what we “think” we did, or intended to do, but we’re not self-aware enough to know what we actually did.

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Grow Daily

“Make a commitment to intentionally grow. Identify the areas in which you want to grow. There should be at least two and no more than five. Invest one hour a day in those two areas. Preparation. Practice. Reflection. You do it every day.”

– John C. Maxwell

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Reflect on Your Own Behavior

Take a moment to reflect on how well you are upholding your organization’s values… usually they match your own. Is there room for improvement? Take note of what could be improved in your own behavior.

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Decide When Adjustment is Necessary

Have a look at your compliance standards. Where are you allowing variance, and should you?

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Make Meaningful Connections Simple

Connecting personally with your employees makes them feel heard and valued. Take the time to connect with one employee today on a personal level. For example, if you heard an employee got a new pet, ask about it.

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Communicate to Connect

The most effective communicators are those who can connect the dots for others in a way that creates clear understanding and leads to the desired outcome. After connecting with a group, our goal is always to accomplish three things:

1) make sure the listener understands the outcome or the results of the technique or tool,

2) explain how to implement the expected action, and then

3) tell a story that illustrates the impact. The key is moving from people to action.

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Celebrate the Small Steps

Use weekly adjustment meetings to celebrate wins and unify the team around priorities. Spend a few minutes at each meeting letting team members share successes from the week and meaningful progress.

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One Step at a Time

Review the strategic actions of a current goal and break the actions into smaller steps to be measured with more frequency. This will create the opportunity for small, achievable wins that build momentum and confidence within the team.

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Relate Don’t Compare

Look across industries for benchmark data. Some of the greatest innovations and successes are inspired by businesses doing completely different work.

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Track Your Actions

At the end of each day track your actions on a four-column table. In the first column, list your meetings, calls and tasks. In the 2nd column list the actions you took that align to your organizational standards. In the third column list what you could have done better in adhering to your mission and values. In column four, note opportunities to hold others accountable.

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Lead by Example

Be aware of your actions as a leader but also be aware of the actions of the leadership team. All eyes in the organization are looking to you to commit to excellence and lead by example.

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Display Trust in Others

Start your day by speaking with each employee. Make a personal connection, know about them and their family. Ask colleagues how you can assist them in meeting their goals. Ask colleagues if they have the tools needed to be successful. Eat lunch in the break room with colleagues.

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Achievable Does Not Mean Easy

Unachievable goals have the potential to deflate and demotivate teams when time runs out and the target is not reached. Keep your team motivated and success realistically incremental by setting challenging, but achievable goals.

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Create Goal Champions

Identify an executive champion for each organizational goal. That leader works with the team to break the goal into smaller chunks and each person takes responsibility for part of the goal. On a weekly basis, talk about actions each person is taking to achieve the goal and celebrate milestones accomplished.

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Know Your Audience

Communication can be used to effectively lead change. To help craft key change messages and cascade them throughout the organization, executive teams must work closely together to identify the audiences within an organization that should be targeted and reached with consistent and accurate information. It is also the responsibility of leadership to draw clear lines that connect each employee’s role to the organization’s mission and strategic actions.

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Values Start from the Top

Team members look to the leader to set the expectation. Leaders must lead by example and align their actions to the values of the organization. To become a credible leader, you must genuinely and consistently stand up for your beliefs and principles.

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Planned Communication

Pre-planning for conversations with employees is the sign of a high-performing leader. Preparation is necessary for identifying a clear outcome from the communication, as well as the specific feedback we want to share. Identify the Key Words you will use during the conversation as well as any recent accomplishments or recognition to highlight.

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EQ is a Must-Have for Leader Success

“Emotional intelligence, not knowledge, education or experience, is the key driver in leader success. To excel in personal competence, one must exercise high levels of self-awareness and self-management. To achieve at high levels in the area of social competence, one must be skilled in social awareness and relationships management. Gaps in any of these 4 EQ skill areas could contribute to individual performance gaps that will negatively impact employee engagement and organizational results.”

Source: Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

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Empower People to Solve Problems

Good processes arise when the workforce is empowered to identify and solve problems to achieve excellence. Process improvement reinforces and accelerates a culture of performance excellence. Encourage people to be problem solvers by bringing a solution with every problem.

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Grow Your Own Program

Set up an exploratory pipeline program for new leaders interested in building career options within the organization. Partner a potential successor with the leader serving in a position soon to open to complete current projects, especially ongoing or challenging projects, to learn about the position and processes. Conduct ongoing talent review discussions to keep options and opportunities open for rising talent. Invest in talent development training for rising successors.

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Utilize AIDET in Many Situations

AIDET® is a valuable tool for all types of interactions. Elements of AIDET® do not have to be delivered in any specific order, nor do all of the elements have to be included in every interaction. You can use AIDET for a brief introduction, to set expectations, or even to reduce anxiety. The possibilities are endless.

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To Be Great, Innovate

Nothing new or great is achieved by doing things the way they have always been done. Leaders that apply a results-focused approach are not afraid to experiment and take risks while understanding the importance of celebrating small steps of success.

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Displaying Data

One caution for the results report and the sharing of the data would be to give careful thought to the way data are broken out when displaying rates of change. Often change that appears small in a graphic display may be more significant and some changes displayed as large may not be significant. Be careful when using graphic displays to describe the accuracy of the data.

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Conquer Big Goals

Leaders make change happen, and they do so by challenging their team to tackle Big Hairy Audacious Goals. To encourage and inspire a team to change and grow, leaders must break big goals into small, achievable action steps and celebrate the small wins along the way. The most effective change comes in incremental steps and the small wins create a cadence that keeps the synergy alive within the team. Small steps produce results that build confidence and increase the natural desire to increase momentum.

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Find Opportunities to Grow

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, drive, and your effect on others. To improve your self-awareness, observe how you react to mistakes. Do you apologize when appropriate or do you become defensive and blame others? Ask a critical friend to be brutally honest when it comes to your growth in self-awareness. Adopt the mindset that coaching is caring. Challenge changes us for the better, look for opportunities in your daily routine to stretch yourself and grow in areas where you are not an expert.

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Build Strong Relationships

When you consistently treat people with respect, transparency, fairness, and gratitude, you’re building a strong emotional bank account with them. Our own happiness and success are largely dependent on the relationships we build with others. Having a good friend in the workplace increases satisfaction at work according to Gallup. Take one action today to build a stronger relationship with your coworkers.

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Be Specific with Reward and Recognition

As part of the Reward and Recognize principle, we encourage the development of systems and processes to notice and recognize great work. We know that to be most effective we cannot leave recognition to chance. Making reward and recognition is specific is key. To get started, set up a notebook to build on the processes you already have in place. Arrange tabs in the following categories and document processes as they are developed: Celebrating weekly wins, peer-to-peer recognition, individual notes of thanks, department/group celebration, and formal public recognition.

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Expressing Gratitude Becomes Contagious

Openly thank employees and provide specifics about why you are thanking them, or send them a “thank you” note. Place a “thank you” sticky note with specific feedback on someone’s desk or computer. Bring someone a cup of coffee from time to time or ask a colleague how you can be helpful to them.

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Paint a Picture with Your Team

Fully activating a strategic plan and engaging all employees includes setting the stage and helping your team visualize the destination. How can you paint a picture of what the future will look like once the vision is accomplished? How will you inspire your team to enthusiastically embrace the vision and the strategic plan? Create a story to help your employees visualize your organization in 5 years and use your employees in the starring roles. Include in the storyline, what right looks like, and ask each employee how they see themselves supporting these goals. What actions will they take?

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Serving with Excellence

Movement to excellence is first seen in our interactions with internal and external customers. This means we speak to people in the hall, or as soon as they approach our desk or office area. The tone of our voice is pleasant, and our intention from the beginning is to meet the needs of the customer by listening first, delivering the best possible experience, and providing something extra. This extra may not occur all the time, but often enough that it makes a difference.

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Connect to the Heart

Thinking about and plotting staff on a performance curve can feel a bit mechanical. While this task is guided by the head, it is a prerequisite for connecting to the heart of employee performance. The ability to have meaningful conversations that support growth of individual employees is only possible once a leader has an accurate picture of each employee’s current performance. Differentiating staff is not just about placing a name on a curve, but about reflecting on opportunities to maximize each employee’s potential.

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Boost Your Low Solid Performers

Low solid performers are important members of our team. While they might need coaching around a particular skill, they are often eager to grow. Low solid performers are committed to the organization, but can also be easily influenced by negative, low performers. To best support a low solid performer, partner them with positive, high performers for skill development opportunities.

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Grow Owners

Owners are deeply committed to organizational performance. They often take personal responsibility when things go wrong and immediately begin looking for solutions. This is the type of behavior organizations seek to replicate. To grow owners in your organization, find ways to deliberately and publicly highlight displays of ownership behavior in others.

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Establish a Clear Objective

Focus groups can be led by individuals inside the organization or by external facilitators. For either approach, it is critically important for the facilitator to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the focus group. Knowing the objective will help the facilitator ask probing questions during the session and provide insight after the session. Before your next focus group, connect with the facilitator about the purpose and questions to be asked during the session.

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Engage at All Levels

An employee forum can either be viewed as a valuable learning opportunity or as a waste of time. To ensure your next employee forum is an engaging and informative experience, think about the message you want to send and how to make the message relevant for each employee group. Incorporate clear connections to the work of each group in your presentation. Ask yourself, “Does the message tell employees how their work contributes to the whole?”

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Getting Comfortable with Compliance Conversations

Compliance conversations are often uncomfortable. It’s important to be clear and direct about expectations and steps for correction. Avoiding the discomfort of compliance conversations by not having one only makes matters worse for you, the employee, and the team. To get comfortable and ensure you have the right words, consider scripting and practicing your compliance conversation.

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Use Top Box and Rank Ordering to Improve

When paired with survey item means, top box information becomes even more valuable for goal-setting. During your next results review, consider rank ordering survey items by mean and by top box percentage. Arranging data this way provides additional guidance as leaders determine improvement priorities.

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Break the We/They Habit

We/They is easy to do and often undetected. Bringing the practice to light and learning how to spot statements that paint others in a negative light is the first step to eliminating We/They from your organization. Model the expectation of eradication by admitting when you We/They throughout the week. The team will respect this open reflection and be more willing to hold themselves accountable.

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Get the Team Involved in Action Planning

90-day planning helps us focus on the 90-day priorities and actions that will move us closer to achievement of annual goals. These plans also help to focus our teams. Presenting goals in achievable chunks creates opportunity to celebrate success along the way or make adjustments where needed. Invite your team to provide input as you draft the next 90-day plan.

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Devote Time to Listening

As leaders, we do some things well and others not so well. Our perception is not always the perception of others. When we ask employees what we can do to be a better leader, we build emotional bank accounts with them. Now is the time to listen rather than react to the problem. After the discussion, continue to leverage relationships by following-up with specific actions we will take to improve.

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Define Service Standards

Service excellence is about providing high-quality service to both internal and external “customers.” Leaders must define what excellent service looks like. They must also make sure they have best-place-to-work standards that define the way people are expected to behave in their work environment. Does your organization have clearly defined standards in order to deliver aligned services?

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It’s More than a Note

Organizations generally reward and recognize employees, but too often it has been the equivalent of a generic pat on the back. If we get specific about the behaviors we reward and recognize, we’ll go much further toward encouraging others to practice those behaviors. Plus, it’s important to create systems for recognition, such as writing a certain number of thank-you notes. Handwritten notes sent to employees’ homes can have a huge impact on their lives.

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Tell Your High Performers You Want Them to Stay

Retaining high-performers is absolutely key to the success of the organization. Top-performing employees drive the culture and achieve quality results. When conversing with these employees, try saying, “We want to make sure you are with us for a very long time. Is there anything that would cause you to think about leaving? Are you satisfied with your work here? Are you moving in the direction you want to go?”

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Consistency Creates Excellence

Managing up ensures that the right behavior gets repeated—not just by the employee who originally performed the behavior, but also by those around that person who observe the reward and recognition. Recognizing people encourages others to do the right thing, and ultimately it encourages the consistency we need in order to create a culture of excellence. Does your organization have a system in place for employees to submit manage-ups?

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Rolling Out Results Builds Trust

Rolling out results with employees is a powerful form of transparency that breeds trust among employees. When employees trust their leader, they become more deeply connected to the work they do. Moreover, when the direction and goals of the organization are clearly communicated, employees take ownership of their work and set their own individual goals to achieve overall results.

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Data is a Force that Drives Change

More than a force, it is a powerful tool for aligning both the goals and values of an organization. How? Data provides evidence. When employees see the evidence behind the work they do, they feel a sense of ownership and hold themselves accountable for achieving results. Thus, they continuously strive to achieve the organization’s overall goals and values. Do you present data at your organization in an intentional, meaningful way?

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Take Time to Talk

Leader Connection Questions are key to employee satisfaction. The better employees feel about their work environment, the greater opportunity they have to achieve results. Why ask employees these crucial connection questions? They give employees the opportunity to provide input and share areas working well and processes to be improved. Employees feel like valuable members of the team. As we know, when employees feel valued, they will always do more than what is expected.

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Relationships Over Data

As a new leader in an organization or role, it’s important to gain a deep understanding of the data, measures, and goals related to your work. But remember the data is not more important than the people. Be aware of your attitudes, behaviors, and energy; these days set the tone for your future and establish credibility. Act transparently and be open with people. Avoid any temptation to isolate yourself or focus on data over relationships. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try inviting a colleague to lunch away from the office.

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Initiating Change

When communicating any organization goals or changes start with explaining the reason why it is necessary. Make changes only after you fully understand the process, you can’t fix what you don’t understand, and you risk alienating staff.

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If It Isn’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Sometimes when new leaders are getting started in their role, they feel pressure to make changes, get quick results, and prove their worth. The most successful new leaders, however, know to focus instead on building trust and relationships with the individuals they work with and lead. As a new leader emphasize:

  • Learning the organization’s pace and norms
  • Focusing on identifying short term priorities, and making note of focus areas for the next year and the following year
  • Empathy and Compassion. Change often makes people uncomfortable, avoid making sudden changes especially during your first 100 days
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New Leader to the Organization?

Spend as much time as possible observing and learning.

  • Review all of your organization’s content possible such as training manuals, and reports
  • Set up meetings with employees at all levels of the organization
  • Seek to learn and understand as much as you can about practices, processes, the organization’s culture, and the employees personally
  • Discuss what’s working well, areas that could be improved, and personal and professional goals
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The Value of Note-Taking

Set aside specific time in your schedule after meetings to take notes. When meeting with many people you’ll want to remember the valuable information you learned about the organization and them personally. Looking back on these notes will help you take action after your first 100 days have passed.

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Stay Organized with Plus/Delta

The plus/delta tool is an effective way to keep feedback organized. As electronic file sharing continues to be a positive trend in organizations, consider leveraging electronic tools for feedback gathering. Teams might use a shared plus/delta document to collect feedback about wins and challenges, if a particular process is ongoing. The notes made on the plus/delta can then be examined at each team meeting.

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Recognize Silos Taking Place

Symptoms of silos include:

  • Lack of information or knowledge sharing across teams,
  • Major projects are a surprise to people outside specific divisions,
  • Infrequent communication from leadership,
  • Inconsistent communication from leaders,
  • Multiple departments are working on similar projects or research simultaneously creating a duplication of work.
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Do What You Say

Follow through with your crisis communication plan after the crisis has blown over. Do what you say you will do to overcome the obstacle. Continue to keep the community updated about progress the organization is making or changes to the plan. Continue listening to your stakeholders to support rebuilding relationships and trust. After the crisis, analyze what worked well and areas the organization can improve their response before the next crisis.

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Avoid Speculation

Prepare for a crisis communication press conference by brainstorming as many questions as the team can think of that the media will ask and how to answer them. Be careful not to fall into the trap of speculation or answering opinion-based questions, be open and honest but don’t talk about uncertainties, stick with the facts. Don’t assume or provide insight on to what could have happened or what might happen.

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Consult a Lawyer

During a crisis it is essential for leaders to consult with a lawyer before releasing information. Once a lawyer is consulted release all of the information allowed as soon as possible. Avoid withholding any information you can legally provide, attempting to hide information can only harm the organization during a crisis, there is no benefit.

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Monitor Social Channels

Often times the first place people will look for information about an organization is on their social media pages. Organizations should have a plan for posting updates and messages about a crisis to social channels such as twitter. They should also be prepared to monitor those channels (sometimes 24 hours a day depending on the severity of the crisis) to gauge the audience’s perception of the incident and further guide communication.

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Consistency During a Crisis

Depending on the extent of the crisis, multiple audiences may need to receive information and messages from the organization. Develop key words to be used across all audiences such as investors, the public, and employees. Make messages as consistent and clear as possible to increase understanding across audiences.

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Don’t Ignore a Crisis

An organization’s reputation will fare better during a crisis if the organization can get in front of the messages being released in the media. Controlling the messages rather than allowing speculation and rumors to spread helps the organization maintain its reputation. Don’t ignore a crisis or requests for information from the media. Silence will only increase the problem.

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Prepare for a Crisis

How will you respond when a crisis hits your organization? What information needs to be communicated to employees? to stakeholders? to the community? Outline and know the process for handling a crisis within your organization. If there isn’t one already, assemble a team to develop a crisis communication plan.

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Take Ownership of Customer Complaints

Avoid placing blame on someone else, sincerely apologize, and take ownership of the situation. Try not to offer customers a prescribed solution to their problems, the suggested solution should be personalized. Don’t forget to thank your customers for their feedback, whether it is positive or negative.

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Practice Your Response

It’s normal to feel defensive when listening to a customer complain about their experience or service. Practice listening and responding to complaints with team members. Remember, the complaint isn’t personal and mostly the customer wants to feel listened to. Before responding to feedback in an emotional manner listen, empathize, and ask questions to get as much clarity as possible about the situation.

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Empower Employees

Give individuals on the front lines the authority to do what it takes to make customers happy, so their issues are solved the first time. Employees closest to the customers are most in tune with customer pain points and how to solve them. Harvest this information for continuous customer service recovery and improvement.

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Remove Service Barriers

The number one complaint customers cite is the difficulty of resolving their problems. Analyze your customer service process. Are there obstacles your customers must face to resolve their issue? How can you make it easier for customers to have their complaints resolved?

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Seek Out Experts

Professional organizations and industry events are a great way to meet experts in your industry. These are people you can reach out to for advice and feedback, who may even become a mentor of yours at some point. To build relationships and your own credibility, make a commitment to attend specific industry events or a specific number of events per month.

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Plan to Get the Most Out of Networking

Before you attend the event, have your purpose or goal in mind. Are you looking for career opportunities? Are you trying to expand your business? Will people you want to meet be attending? Have a 30-second elevator pitch about yourself and organization or position based on the type of event and what your goals are.

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Track Your Achievements

As you develop and progress throughout your career, it can be useful to track your accomplishments or your career achievements. This is not the same thing as your LinkedIn profile, CV or resume, although tracking your career achievements can influence those materials. Keep your mentors and advocates informed of your development and accomplishments. This can be done digitally through a saved document that is updated, a blog, or a personal website.

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Provide Value to Your Network

Who do you know that could benefit from being introduced to another professional? How can you improve your relationships by connecting people or providing them value in some way? Think about what you can do to make a deposit in the emotional bank account of individuals in your network, then act.

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Be Curious

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Ask open-ended questions like, “What got you interested in that field of work?” and about personal and professional interests, look for commonalities to keep the conversation going.

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Networking Opportunities are Endless

We often think networking has to be a rigid, professional experience. However, time spent at volunteer events, children’s practices and activities, and during business travel are all opportunities for valuable networking. The next time you have the opportunity, introduce yourself to someone new and strike up a conversation.

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Compliance Matters

What we permit, we promote. If non-compliance is tolerated, it is therefore promoted. As soon as possible address the non-compliance providing the employee with specific evidence. Be clear and explain the “why” of the expectation for compliance as well as the consequences for continued non-compliance.

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Consistent Poor Performance

We give people every opportunity to improve their skills and choose to change their behavior through coaching, performance conversations, and development opportunities. When people aren’t compliant, don’t live the standards, or become toxic to our organization, it’s time to take steps to transition the individual off the team. If you’ve had multiple performance correction conversations with the same individual, take the next step today to moving them out of the organization.

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Reflect on Performance

Ask employees to reflect on their own performance:

  • What’s working well & why?
  • What’s not working as well as you would like?
  • Why isn’t this working? What do you think?
  • What about the work plan is helping you achieve the results? What is not working?
  • What adjustments could you make?
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Will or Skill?

When addressing mediocre performance with a low or low solid performer, it’s critical to recognize whether the individual is unwilling to change or is requiring additional skills to change. Prepare for a conversation with the individual based on specific examples of their performance or behavior.

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Know Your Impact

What is your impact? What do you want to be known for? What are you passionate about? What are your special skills or talents? What do you want your legacy to be? Are you taking steps to pursue what is most important to you?

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Lead Your Work

Leaders are present in all roles of an organization. They meet deadlines, live the organization’s values, foresee and prevent obstacles, focus on what’s important, and take pride in their work. Are you a role model of leader behaviors, can your colleagues rely on you?

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Prepare for Tough Questions

When leaders are communicating with employees about goals, strategy, or organizational change, employees often have tough questions. When cascading communication to leaders, anticipate the tough questions employees will have and include key-worded responses to establish a consistent, clear message throughout the organization.

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Win Vs. Loss

When we’re trying to accomplish really important goals, it’s easy to forget to celebrate progress. For one week, keep a tally of the number of times you point out a set-back and a tally of the number of times you celebrate a win. Do the wins win? If you proclaimed the negative more often, try again next week. Build a habit of celebrating wins that matter.

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What’s a Win?

As teams set out to achieve new goals, meet and define what will determine positive progress is being made towards the goals. What does success look like? How can we recognize the individuals responsible for each piece of the project? Intentionally design opportunities to celebrate wins into your next or current project.

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Celebration Builds Momentum

To help our teams understand the bigger picture and continue to focus on our big aim goals, take time to celebrate wins that indicate progress is being made towards the larger goals. Some goals take years to complete, celebrating progress motivates teams to continue the hard work.

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Build Culture Daily

Use quick huddles or short beginning of shift meetings to culture build by highlighting one of the organization’s values or standards. Tell a story about the value or standard in action and discuss common barriers to living the value. Let a different team member lead the conversation each day.

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Set Realistic Performance Goals

It’s important for goals to be difficult to achieve, to challenge us. However, too much of a challenge can cause extreme stress leading to burnout. A study from Gallup reveals setting realistic performance goals is a better indicator of work-life balance than allowing flexible work arrangements. For those employees who are at risk of burnout, revisit their goals to determine if they are realistic, or if they need adjusting.

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Take a Break

786 million vacation days went unused for Americans in 2018. Research reveals 55% of American’s didn’t use all of their allotted PTO. Use time off to recharge, enjoy new experiences, and connect with friends and family. While many high performers may struggle internally with taking a break from work, a vacation is proven to increase productivity, energy, and optimism.

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Do You Really Need to be Doing That?

It’s common for high performers to continue to volunteer for additional responsibilities, to the point where they may become burned out. To prevent this, it’s vital to pause and think, “Do I really need to be doing this? Is there someone else on my team that would like this opportunity? or Is there a way to automate this task?” Consider whether you are delegating responsibilities as you continue to take on new ones.

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Reduce Stress by Improving Processes

As new technology becomes rapidly introduced, it’s a good idea to revisit processes you use to execute your daily work. Analyze which tasks take you the most time, or cause you the most stress, and look for ways to improve the process for greater efficiency.

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Make the Application Process Easy

Candidates spend a lot of time looking for the right jobs, reading job descriptions, and filling out forms to apply for positions. The easier the application process is for your potential candidates, the more likely you are to get more highly qualified applicants. High performing job seekers who are currently working will appreciate the efficiency of a straight forward, easy application process.

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Consult Current Employees

While creating job descriptions or new job roles, ask your current employees for their opinions and feedback. It’s likely that current team members have a unique perspective on what a role will require and what skills the company should be looking for.

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Focus on Growth & Development

When crafting a job description and searching for highly talented candidates, it’s important to focus on how this person will contribute to the overall success of the organization. Don’t create a list of endless responsibilites. What opportunities will they have to grow and develop their skills? How will the candidate’s achievements in this role align to business objectives and advancement opportunities?

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Develop Specific Job Descriptions

When crafting a job description, be as clear and detailed as possible. Provide an accurate picture of what’s required for the position. Avoid using terms such as “ninja,” “rockstar,” “guru,” or “wizard,” which are vague and do little to contribute to the actual responsibilities of the job. Think carefully about the words you use, and whether or not they deter applicants from applying for the available position.

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Re-Connect with an Old Friend

Reach out to a colleague at a previous job, an old friend from college, or someone else you’ve lost contact with. Spend time listening and catching up. The sole purpose of this connection is to start rebuilding your relationship. Listen for ways you can be helpful or provide value to your old friend and then follow through.

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Avoid Thinking ‘Should’

Don’t focus on how things “should” be. This is a trap that can create unrealistic expectations and undermine happiness. Let go of the control over how an experience should go and enjoy the moment.

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Focus on Being Grateful

If you’re feeling grateful it should be hard to also feel sorry for yourself. One way gratitude can change your perspective quickly is by asking yourself, “Does someone on the planet have it worse than me right now?” It’s likely the answer is “yes.” To instantly change your perspective try:

  • Writing a Thank-You note to a friend or colleague.
  • Going out of your way to do something nice or useful for someone else.
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You Get To

Stop yourself from thinking you “have” to do something, and start thinking about things like you “get” to do them. This shift in perspective supports a positive and grateful mindset.

For Example: I have to take the kids to school daily. Becomes: I get to spend extra time with my children each morning driving them to school safely in my vehicle. 

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Hold “Renters” Accountable

Identify employees you lead who could improve their ownership behaviors and help them develop plans for improvement. Clearly explain the impact of their behavior on the organization, their colleagues, and those they serve. Set clear expectations for adherence to ownership behavior.  Establish a timeline for improvement and clearly communicate the consequences of continued negative behavior.

 

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Find Ways to Be An Owner

Seek out ownership opportunities within your organization. You don’t need a specific role or job title to be an owner. Adopt a “that’s my job” mindset. Be willing to help and execute in areas other than your assigned responsibilities.

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Commit to Following-Through

Owners do whatever it takes to get the job done. This may require overcoming barriers, or additional resources or personnel. Own the work by following-up and following-through with all people involved. When you handover a customer to another employee, follow-up to be sure the customer’s needs were met. Close the communication loop with customers and colleagues about progress on projects, next steps, and completed actions.

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Take Pride in Your Work

Execute your responsibilities to the best of your ability. Your work is a reflection of your personal accountability. Identify ways to go above and beyond in your work to exceed the expectations of your leader and team, and positively affect the organization’s results.

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Role Model Ownership

Leaders lead by always owning the organization in good times and in challenging times. State the mission/vision of the organization early and often to employees and invite discussion about what it means to bring the organization’s mission and vision to life daily. Model owner behavior daily and particularly in times of challenge. Maintain emotional control and maintain the focus on reaching goals and achieving the mission.

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Stretch Yourself

Identify a new challenge you would like to take on or a new skill you are passionate about developing. Are you an aspiring leader who would like to gain more experience? What area could you develop that will get you closer to your career goals? Create a plan for the next 90 days to challenge yourself.

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Build Advocates

Not everyone has a leader that is willing to advocate on their behalf when it comes to a new position, promotion, or career change. It’s beneficial to develop relationships with other leaders and individuals in your industry, or with more experience than you, to advocate on your behalf. Identify at least 1 person you would like to develop a relationship with.

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Take Advantage of Digital Media

Social networks like LinkedIn that have a professional audience can be useful to your career. Keep social profiles refreshed with your accomplishments and skill development. Consider using a form of digital media such as a blog or website to create a portfolio for others to view your work and stay up to date on your accomplishments and progress.

 

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Keep Your Network Informed

Stay in touch with past colleagues, industry friends, old classmates and others in your network. Update your network when you achieve new accomplishments, develop or advance your skills, successfully complete new projects, achieve outstanding results, or complete a degree or certification.

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What Have You Accomplished?

Create a list of your accomplishments since you’ve begun your career. What awards or recognition have you received? What impactful results have you reached? Use numbers and analytics to show impact when applicable.

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Where Are You Going?

If your organization isn’t providing a formal career map or development plan for you, take ownership and create your own. What do you want to get out of your career? In what areas would you like to advance your skills?

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Identify Your Impact

Remind yourself daily why you do the work you do. What is the end benefit of your efforts? You may not even come in contact with the people you impact, but your work does make a difference in their lives. Focus on finding meaning in your work.

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Fulfill a New Passion

Identify an area within your organization about which you are passionate. Have a conversation with your leader about ways to incorporate this passion into your work.

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Build on Your Strengths

What are your greatest work successes? What are your talents and strengths? Think of one way to increase the use of your talents and strengths, that have lead to past successes, in your work now and implement it.

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Guide Employees to Connect to Purpose

To help employees better connect to their purpose, ask them purpose-related questions during one-on-one meetings. Here are a few examples:

  • What do you most enjoy about your work with us?
  • Is there anything you wish you could contribute to?
  • What do you value personally and professionally?
  • How can I as your leader better support your purpose?
  • What about your role are you most proud of and least proud of?
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Use High Performers to Guide

Low solid performers are committed to the organization, but can also be easily influenced by negative, low performers. To best support a low solid performer, partner them with positive, high performers for skill development opportunities.

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Encourage Solid Performers

Solid performers want to build relationships with their leaders, have opportunities for professional development, and hear feedback that inspires improvement. Identify the solid performers on your team, and help them grow by identifying one skill or area for improvement at a time. Ask engaging questions to gain reflective insight and possible solutions from the employee. Ask how you can support their growth and professional development.

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Address Poor Performance

High performers want to work in organizations with other high performers. When leaders avoid addressing low performers, high and solid performers notice sub-par performers aren’t keeping up and can become frustrated, sometimes to the point that they will choose to leave the department or organization. It’s not fair for your team of high and solid performers to carry the low performers, its crucial to address low performer behavior quickly and effectively to retain high performers.

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Meet with High Performers Monthly

50% of high performers say they expect at least a monthly sit down with their managers, but only 53% say their manager delivers on their feedback expectations. High performers want feedback. They want dialogue with you as their leader. Make monthly meetings with high performers a priority.

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If You Want High Performers to Stay, Just Ask

Retaining high-performers is absolutely key to the success of the organization. Top-performing employees drive the culture and achieve quality results. When conversing with these employees, try saying, “We want to make sure you are with us for a very long time. Is there anything that would cause you to think about leaving?”

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4 Steps to Re-Recruit High Performers

  1. Thank them for their contributions.
  2. Ensure that the employee is informed of the direction of the organization.
  3. Review the characteristics that make the individual valuable to the organization, be specific.
  4. Ask what can be done to ensure you do not lose the employee as a member of the team; reiterate that person’s importance to the organization’s mission.

Listen carefully and follow through with any requests for support.

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Rejuvenate High Performers

Conversations to re-recruit high performers are intended to have the high performer leave the conversation feeling appreciated, rejuvenated, and with a renewed sense of purpose. How would you express to a high performer they are a valuable member of your team?

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Ask Your High Performers

Ask what high performing employees need to be a long-term employee; what can you do for them? Coach this individual to take on new responsibilities or reach new levels of performance.

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Use Gratitude to Overcome Obstacles

When you are facing an obstacle it can be helpful to question yourself with a focus on gratitude:

  • What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
  • What is the hidden opportunity, or what can I learn from this situation?
  • Does someone have it worse than me right now?
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Daily Gratitude

Take 30 seconds out of each day to record one thing you are grateful for. You can use a gratitude journal, a word document, or even a voice or video recorder on your phone.

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Specific is Authentic

Generalized appreciation doesn’t feel authentic and may even come off as just going through the motions. Instead, use details and be specific about the person and their actions. This will show you are really paying attention and value the receiver.

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Design a Gratitude System

While everyone will appreciate a random act of gratitude, to ensure gratitude is a part of the culture, a system must be in place for expressing gratitude. Some ideas include: peer-nominated opportunities for employees who go above an beyond, establishing a gratitude station for thank you notes, ending each meeting with time for gratitude, etc. What system can you establish for your team or organization?

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Create an Appreciation Board

Write one thank you note thanking one employee for extra effort at work, post the note on the board, and provide blank cards and pens for others to add their own notes. Intentional expressions of gratitude by leaders provide opportunities for peers to express gratitude and help employees reconnect to purpose and worthwhile work.

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From Results to Action Plan

After you’ve completed the results rollout process, review the additional data you collected. Then, develop an action plan:

  • List the team’s prioritized actions.
  • Determine a timeline for implementation for each action.
  • Identify the person responsible for successful implementation of each action.
  • Provide the team with the draft 90 Day Action Plan for one last review and opportunity for feedback before implementation.
  • Implement the action plan.
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