Include People in the Process
There are times where there are no easy choices or decisions. Yet, when we collaborate with others, we can help ease the weight and also discover victories worth celebrating. Listen as Superintendent, Dr. Tim Dilg, shares how their district is accomplishing more by working together.
Jump All-In to Improve
After implementing improvement science, many leaders find themselves wondering if they are, in fact, making any improvements and find it difficult to define and sustain progress. In this podcast episode, Superintendent Ryan Carpenter discusses why his team made a commitment to adopt a continuous improvement mindset and tips for implementing an Evidence-Based Leadership℠ framework across the school system.
Vulnerability is a Strength
For years, people have felt the need to “shut off” or conceal their emotions in the workplace. Now, we are realizing, effective leaders tune into the emotions of their employees to provide support, motivate teams, and create deeper connections between individuals.
Deliver your message with clarity and impact
Use the Clear Communication Template to help you get clear about the message you want to communicate to your organization. Record the necessary actions, and then answer each question so that you can create a clear and timely message for the right people at the right time.
Craft and deliver a message that leads to execution
A lack of clear communication or communication that is executed poorly can be highly detrimental. The Execution Triangle is a framework that can help us build clearer, better communication in our organizations, taking us closer to the outcomes we desire.
How do you respond when you don't know all the answers?
Times of change and uncertainty can be unsettling for employees. Have you ever been asked a question you don't have the answer to yet? The Manage Up With Empathy Tool is designed to help you respond in a way that builds confidence in the listener despite the unknowns.
How Do Organizations Succeed Through Difficult Times?
Resilient organizations are able to improve faster because they place emphasis on and build disciplined routines around people, service, and alignment. To cultivate a culture of resilience leaders align people to goals, take time to routinely reflect, and communicate transparently with all stakeholders.
There will be anxiety
Whether onset by sudden and dramatic change, or sustained exposure to stressors, the effects of anxiety can be damaging to organizational progress. Keeping themselves and their teams connected and focused on what matters most can help leaders move forward and build the emotional stamina of the team.
What is the Outcome?
In times of crisis or disruption, it's rare for anyone to have all of the answers. The best leaders are most impactful by focusing on what needs to be communicated first and how to be intentional with that message. In this episode, JoAnn explains why your communication should always start with why.
Bring Teams Together
In this podcast, a school district leader describes how his team came together to solve problems amid disruption. Corey credits his team's success to their culture and guiding principles established across the system to make decisions and collaborate for the benefit of their students.
Increase Customer Transparency
Utilizing social media platforms is a natural way to enhance transparency. On a personal level, people use social media to connect with others and stimulate conversations. In this podcast, a social media expert discusses how organizations can humanize their brand and connect with their communities.
What Can I Say About a Team Member's Transition?
When the time comes to make the hard decision and remove an individual from the organization or the team, we recognize this transition has effects on other individuals in the organization. To avoid assumptions being made, rumors from spreading, or unnecessary concerns about job security, it's important for leaders to acknowledge the transition with their teams.
How can you inspire customer loyalty?
More and more organizations have been making it a priority to increase connection and invite customers to take an inside look. Why? Because increasing transparency between an organization and its customers build trust and credibility increasing customer loyalty.
Define What Excellent Service Means
When we ask our teams to deliver excellent service, it’s important to explain what “excellent service” means for your organization. To build on the explanation and increase the understanding and delivery of service that goes above and beyond, employees benefit from ongoing communication about standards of service.
Bring Problems Forward
What can leaders do to create safe environments for teams to bring problems forward, while avoiding being bombarded by complaints? In this podcast episode, Dr. Pilcher encourages team members use key words, take ownership, and bring complex problems to their leaders for guidance.
Refocus the Conversation
As leaders conduct monthly meetings and regular check-ins with the employees that report to them, it may become apparent that some individuals are more difficult than others. If you find yourself dealing with an employee who frequently guides meetings to an unproductive place, anticipate this behavior and develop a plan to refocus the conversation.
Consider multiple perspectives
During the strategic planning process, organizations are encouraged to gather input on perceptions and priorities from all stakeholder groups. Focus groups, surveys, and environmental scans are the most widely used methods of gathering this feedback.
Motivate Colleagues to Grow & Improve
Moments to provide feedback aren't limited to leader-employee interactions, oftentimes it's necessary to deliver feedback to colleagues while working together. In this video, Mandy and Tatiana meet to discuss a project and engage in a collaborative feedback conversation with a positive outcome.
Positively Improve Performance
Think about the last time you received constructive criticism. Did it actually prompt you to change your behavior? Maybe not. Yet we know learning new skills and improving performance is something our peers and direct reports desire. The key is to reshape your feedback conversations to focus on achieving a positive outcome together.
"Here's what you should do..."
On the surface giving feedback seems simple; just tell someone what they did wrong and how to fix it. The problem is this type of constructive criticism rarely inspires improvement. The way we provide feedback makes a difference in how people receive and act on the feedback.
Problematic coworkers initiate conflict
While working with other people it’s not uncommon to encounter a difficult colleague. The better prepared we are to handle situations with difficult coworkers, the happier and more productive we will be at work. Use this video clip to practice responding to a difficult coworker.
Address Employee Needs & Ideas
When an employee reveals a needed resource, barrier to a process, or an idea for improvement, leaders have the responsibility to act on that information. Following-up and following-through after conversations or receiving feedback from employees builds trust and increases engagement and productivity. For this leadership challenge, determine follow-up actions to take as the leader after each leader connection scenario.
Connections Require Follow-Up
Scheduling and conducting monthly connection conversations with employees is a giant step towards increasing engagement on your team. Just as important as the conversations you’re having, is what you do with the information you collect. How can we ensure employees know they’re supported?
Does everyone know the goal?
Most of us have a hard time remembering the important goals and strategies we’re responsible for achieving because they aren’t communicated in ways that stick. One of the most effective ways to help our teams really know what we’re asking them to achieve is to draw clear connections for them.
Are You Ready for the Media?
Senior leaders are the faces navigating the public and communicating during crisis times for the organization. Working closely with the communication director or public relations team, the following checklist can be helpful in preparing for a full press conference.
The Right Way to Respond During a Crisis
If you're lucky, you haven't had to respond to a crisis on behalf of your organization...yet. The truth is, a good crisis response happens long before catastrophe strikes. Analyze the steps Southwest Airlines took to recover from one of the worst crises of 2018 with its reputation still intact.
How much is too much?
Effective communication is an obstacle all organizations face. To be successful, organizations have to communicate clearly and often with their employees, customers, and the surrounding community. How can an organization know how much communication it is sending and if that communication is being understood the way it’s intended to?
Does your organization open up on social media?
People use social media to connect with others and stimulate conversations. In time, organizations have recognized the many benefits of using social media to humanize their brand and connect with their communities. Why should your organization consider using social media to increase transparency?
How will feedback help me improve?
In this video, Robin explains after feedback is collected, its important to review the results and analyze the differences in the way we are actually perceived and the way we think we are being perceived. Learning more about our strengths and weaknesses provides us room to develop into better professionals and coworkers.
Are you prepared to address compliance issues?
We find that the better we can prepare our people to meet organizational expectations, the more successful they will be. Leaders are responsible for explaining what behaviors are acceptable and addressing those who are non-compliant. Use the following tip sheet to guide your future compliance conversations.
How do I connect with employees?
Leader connections provide employees with opportunities to give feedback and contribute to decision-making. In this video, one Human Resources employee catches her leader up on process improvements, professional development, and a colleague who has been especially helpful.
Call It How You See It
Values and standards of behavior are essential to high performing organizations. They only work when respected by all team members. Having conversations with a colleague you feel has violated your organization's values is one way to assure everyone stays on course and their is continuous respect of standards.
Can't I just say "Hello?"
When we think of anxiety-producing experiences, the beginning of school might be at the top of the list. In this coaching clip, Robin Largue provides several examples of how AIDET® can be used to reduce anxiety and build trust in educational contexts. These examples are easily transferred to other industries to help us create excellence customer experience.
How do we make sure our plan happens?
Having a strategic plan provides great direction for a team. Bringing the plan to life starts with transparently sharing it with those who will hold the organization accountable. In this video, leaders in a Kentucky school district explain how they created clarity, buy-in, and ownership by rolling out the strategic plan to the larger community.
What does a focus group look like?
A focus group facilitator relies on a series of questions, to gather information about a specific topic. It is important to record all responses offered by the group. In this video, the facilitator uses questions, probes, and a white board to capture relevant details from participants.
What does a compliance conversation look like?
Compliance conversations are some of the toughest for leaders. They are also the most essential. Leaders can't afford to not address non-compliance. The supervisor in this clip takes a firm approach to clarifying expectations, describes the impact of non-compliance, checks for understanding, and asks for a commitment to change the behavior.
How do I manage employee non-compliance?
Conversations with employees about lack of compliance require a specific leadership skill set. Developing skill in having non-compliance conversations is key to effective leadership. Addressing issues of employee "will” and “skill” helps achieve organizational results.
"If I hadn't asked, I never would have known."
Having 30/90-day conversations with new employees is a practice that should consistently be carried out. These conversations are important for engaging the new hire. They are also valuable for you, as a leader, to gain a new perspective on your organization and make changes to better your organization.
Questions to ask new employees after the first 30 days
The 30-Day Conversation is an opportunity to give feedback and increases a new hire's success. These five questions inform areas where you might provide support and establishes a positive relationship with the new employee. The 30-Day Conversation sets the stage for on-going communication.
Questions to ask new employees after the first 90 days.
The 90-Day Conversation continues to build the relationship established during the 30-Day Conversation. These questions are designed to harvest wins and identify process improvement needs. Why not get recommendations from those doing well?
Key words for the critical first days of a new hire.
To build relationships, some of the best leaders intentionally make solid connections with their employees. This is especially important when employees start a new job. Effectively engage, recruit, and retain new-hires using 30 & 90-day conversations.
Are my meetings effective?
With the number of hours we spend in meetings, it's important to make sure the time is well spent. We have identified several key components for an effective meeting. The Effective Meeting Checklist & Reflection gives leaders an opportunity to validate the use of each component and overall use of time.
Getting value out of short, frequent meetings.
A huddle is a short meeting strategy designed to communicate essential information to support the team's productivity. A huddle meeting aligns teams around key strategies, outcomes, and key words for organizational messaging. Use this meeting agenda template to get the most out of your team huddle.
How can I make meetings more meaningful?
Experience and research tells us employees in all levels of an organization spend valuable time in unproductive meetings. We've developed several strategies to use prior to, during, and after meetings to improve the flow, increase the impact, and reduce wasted time.
Stop the Meeting Madness
We spend a lot of time in meetings. In fact, our research has found that some of us spend as much as 50% of our time just attending meetings. While they are a great way to keep teams connected, wouldn't it be great if we could structure these meetings to be more efficient and effective to give us more time back in the day?
Harness the Power of Feedback
The better we communicate results, the greater opportunity we have to create a team approach to problem solving. We train leaders to share results with employees, celebrate the wins, and ask for input on ways to improve. The Survey Results Rollout process teaches leaders to develop key words and actions for facilitating a Survey Results Rollout meeting with their team.
Help everyone connect to the big picture
High-performing organizations make a real commitment to employee communication, not only at the department level, but also at the administrative level. This allows employees to hear key messages, be informed on key issues, and focus on what they can do to improve.
Are your customers telling you how to serve them?
External customers want to feel valued and to trust you are providing the quality service based on their needs and wants. High performing leaders recognize the need to build feedback loops with external customers to inform service quality, improvement, and decisions that may affect service performance.