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What’s Critical for You?

Institute for Corporate Productivity

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) released the results of its 2014 Critical Human Capital Issues Survey . The survey shows that creating change-ready organizations is still the top priority for high-performing companies. One of the key takeaways from the study is that most companies simply do not have the internal bench strength to enable sustained high-market performance.

Working with companies that are tackling rapid growth and change, this rings true for me. When I work with clients and we are identifying bench strength for key roles, we often see that the bench strength for those roles is limited. Our challenge then is to proactively begin to develop talent and identify talent sourcing strategies to fill the gaps.

If you see this in your company, you’re not alone. Here are the survey’s top 10 human capital issues for 2014 for high-performance organizations:

1. Succession planning
2. Leadership development
3. Knowledge retention
4. Coaching
5. Managing/coping with change
6. Non-executive succession planning
7. Measuring/rewarding behavior
8. Talent shortages in critical areas
9. Measuring/rewarding results
10. Internal communication

  
  

About Edith Onderick-Harvey
Edith Onderick-Harvey is a highly regarded consultant, leadership and talent expert, and speaker. Edith is frequently quoted in the media including The New York Times, CNN.com, HR Executive, and American Executive. As the President of Factor In Talent,  Edith works with leaders to take performance — their own, their team’s and their organization’s — to the next level.

It’s Lonely at the Top

lonely at the topA common topic in my newsletters is about communicating effectively as a leader. Whether it be storytelling or positioning change, communication is a critical skill for someone who wants to lead others. A few years ago I contributed to an article about the challenges of CEO’s and loneliness at the top.

A big challenge for leaders is to have open communication from others. It can be tough for people to be open and honest with executives. They want an executive to perceive them as a great team player, as someone who has great ideas or as someone who is really getting the job done. This desire to be seen in a a positive light, can make it tough to bring up issues, frustrations, and the things that aren’t working.

This difficulty stems from some things that are inherent in any organization. The first and foremost is that the executive or manager makes determinations about others’ careers, salaries, performance ratings, job assignments, etc. Basically, there is a serious power imbalance. Others include lack of executive availability, personal reaction to less than great news, and the expectations you set for what you want people to talk about with you.

To lead effectively, you need to open the door for all kinds of communication. Think about the messages you are sending about how open and honest people can be with you. Then think about what you can do to let others know you want to hear it all — the good, the bad and the ugly.

WHAT OTHER THOUGHT LEADERS ARE THINKING

thought leadership

On a regular basis, I take a look at what other thought leaders are saying about leadership, change, and work. Here are some great ones I’ve found recently.

Do you have someone interested in moving into a leadership position? Share this with them.

Turns out being likeable has more impact on being an effective leader than we may think. Click here to read more.

When you think you have leadership mastered, the world may change on you. Watch this TED talk with General Stanley McChrystal on listening, learning and then, leading.

Now that the economy is picking up, maybe you’re concerned about losing some of your best people. Avoid being dumped by your best employees. Read the full Forbes article here.

Love Change? Not so much.

Change is Coming

People often don’t relish the idea of change. As a matter of fact, many people just don’t like it. However, the reality for the foreseeable future is that change is happening quickly and often.

Our mindset about change is a significant factor in how we think and feel about it. Let’s look at how we can use our mental models to approach change more openly and positive

 

Old mental model: Change means loss. The first thing we often think about when a change is announced is “what will I lose?” We do lose during change. We lose what is familiar, what is stable, and what is defined. And, often times, that is a good thing.
New mental model: means opportunity. Focus your mind space on what you can gain from change– the ability to learn something new, the potential to be re-engaged in what used be very routine and possibly boring, and the opportunity to contribute to making something new.

Old mental model: Most change is a mess when executed.
Unexpected things come up. Time lines shift. We all scramble when it doesn’t go as planned.
New mental model: Change is messy, so think about contingencies. One of the best ways for change to work well is to think of those things that may not go as planned, plan for them and put those contingency plans in place if need be.

Old mental model. Change happens to me. I’m the victim of change. It’s like an engine coming down the track and I can’t change how fast it’s going or where it will end up.
New mental model: Be part of the change. Think of yourself as one of the many engineers of change. Ask to contribute to change planning. Suggest an improvement to change that isn’t working well. Learn all you can about it and share your knowledge with others.

Even Shakespeare recognized the power of your thinking on how you perceive your situation:

“There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so.”
— Hamlet

Change Lessons from the New Pope

popeLast week 1.2 billion Catholics were introduced to their new leader. We all know that the church has many problems and challenges that this pope may or may not address. However, in his first few days he has let people know that his leadership will be different and that there is a potential for change. Here are a few lessons in change we can all take from Pope Francis:

Use language that signals change: By choosing the name Francis, the pope needed to use only one word that, for Catholics, carries huge symbolic meaning. St. Francis of Assisi is known as a reformer, rebuilder, and one who gave up his wealth to focus and live with the poor. It was a name many considered no pope would ever consider taking.

Let the people most impacted know they are important: When a pope is elected, the first thing he does is meet with his direct reports (the Cardinals) and others in the Vatican who will support him during his tenure. After meeting with the Cardinals, he asked the others if they would be their for a while. When they indicated they would, he let them know he’d come back and talk with them later because the people had been standing in the rain waiting to see him and he didn’t want them to wait any longer. He knows these are his stakeholders and he is there for them.

Listen before you speak During his first address rather than providing a blessing to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square he asked for them to bless him. Rather than speaking, he chose to listen.

Show those you are leading you are, in many ways, just like them: Within the 24 hours after becoming Pope, Francis indicated he was the same guy he had been. He went back to where he’d been staying on the bus with the other Cardinals. He showed up at the hostel the next day and paid his bill. He want to a local church, giving them 10 minutes notice, and then crossed the street to say hello to some school kids and people on there way to work. Too many times, leaders give off signals that they are different from everyone else and that he or she is separate from the others who will be impacted by organization change.

The Five Keys to Having a Nice Conflict

The Five Keys to Having a Nice Conflict by guest blogger Kent Mitchell, Personal Strengths Publishing

Poorly managed conflict takes a toll on our time, money, health, and happiness. However, we can learn to have a nice conflict-the type of conflict that consistently leads to greater productivity, stronger relationships, and leaves everyone involved feeling good about themselves.

1. Anticipate
Anticipating conflict starts with having a better understanding of the people you’re dealing with and how their view of a situation might differ from your own. When you respect a person’s unique vantage point, you’re better equipped to steer clear of their conflict triggers.

2. Prevent
Preventing conflict is about the deliberate, appropriate use of behaviors in your relationships. If you know a person who highly values trust and fairness, you can prevent conflict with him/her by not using words or actions that threaten those values.

3. Identify
There are three basic approaches in conflict: rising to the challenge (assert), cautiously withdrawing
(analyze), or wanting to keep the peace (accommodate). When you are able to spot these approaches in yourself and others, you are empowered to handle conflict situations more productively.

4. Manage
Managing conflict involves creating conditions that enable others to manage themselves out of the
emotional state of conflict. But it’s also important to manage yourself out. Managing yourself in conflict
can be as easy as taking some time to see things differently.

5. Resolve
To create movement toward resolution, we need to show the other person a path back to feeling good and valued. When people feel good about themselves, they are less likely to feel threatened and are free to move toward resolution.

If you’d like to find out more, contact Kent Mitchell at 562-889-8286 or kent@ps4sdi.com.

Innovation=Conflict

All innovation, big and small, involves conflict. Innovation is about coming up with what I call the ‘third solution.’ It’s not my solution or your solution but a third solution that may or may not have elements of our original solutions. The problem is that getting to that third solution can be really, really hard because it involves conflict.

Most people don’t like conflict so they avoid it, sugar coat it, see it as a necessary evil, or quite frankly, just handle it badly. That’s a problem when there are statistics that show 42% of a manager’s time is spent dealing with conflict and
when one of the key characteristics of innovative firms is a culture of robust conversation and debate.

A framework developed by Elias Porter, PhD. is a helpful tool for taking a more effective approach to conflict. The foundation of this approach is that relationships are based on motivation under two conditions. These two conditions are when things are going well and during conflict. The four premises are:

1. Behavior is driven by the motivation to feel worthwhile as a person. The first question we should ask ourselves about why someone else is behaving is ‘what in this situation may seem threatening?” How is what is being proposed threatening to the other person?

2. Motivation changes in conflict. Early in a conflict we focus on ourselves, the problem and the other person. If the conflict isn’t resolved, soon we are only focused on ourselves and the problem. When we’re at loggerheads, it’s only about me. The more quickly we work on resolving a conflict, the less likely we are to lose our focus on others’ needs.

3. When our strengths are overdone, they become weaknesses. Someone may be very flexible and in many situations that can be a strength. If it’s overused in conflict the individual can be seen as wishy-washy or unable to commit to a course of action or solution. Someone whose self-confidence makes them an effective leader can be seen as arrogant when they seem overly confident in conflict. Ask yourself if you are relying too heavily on a strength when you are faced with a conflict and how could it be perceived negatively. What impact is that strength having on achieving the third solution?

4. Our personal filters add color to the situation. We often believe that people are doing things for the same reason we are doing something and when we think it’s different, we assume it has a malicious or negative motivation. Our filters make us focus on certain factors because of our reasoning but miss important information about where the other person is coming from. Think about what questions you are not asking in a situation. Are you making assumptions that aren’t true?

Leadership in the Age of Social Media

 

Leadership in the Age of Social Media

                         

 

           Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn

 

 

Social media is more and more a part of everyone’s life. While it used to be the realm of many of our teenage children, it is now considered an almost indispensable part of our work lives. Recruiters use LinkedIn to identify candidates for key roles. Companies have Facebook pages to promote themselves and their products. Some forward looking companies are adapting social media for use inside their companies, allowing employees to post, chat, tag and collaborate on social media technologies. Whether your company uses social media or not, people’s growing participation in social media has implications for how you lead. What does leadership mean in the age of social media? How has it changed expectations in the workplace?

                          Leading in the age of social media, means sharing leadership and letting go.

For many seasoned leaders, a core part of what made them successful was managing risk, making all the decisions and providing solutions. Social media allows a wide variety of people to share ideas, solutions and perspectives. At its core is the idea of pulling away barriers and allowing access to ideas and resources as never before. Social media allows people to be part of almost any conversation they choose and lead around issues where they have an interest or passion. This desire to be a part of the conversation doesn’t stop when they walk in the door at work. People in your organization want it to be successful. They want to be part of the conversation, part of the decisions, and part of the solutions, i.e., they want to lead. Executives and managers need to know that there are leaders throughout their organizations and that rather than controlling the agenda, they need to know that it can and should be influenced from anywhere in the organization.

Leading in the age of social media, means creating a clear and compelling vision and giving people information so they can make great things happen.

Power in organizations used to come from having and keeping information. Power today comes from sharing information and building collaborations. The age of social media has tapped into the desire to be engaged and involved. As a leader, you need to know that when you give people a clear vision of where the company is going and information about some of the issues it needs to address to get there, your people will do the rest. I’ve heard multiple stories from companies that use social media internally that have addressed issues and achieved results they never could have imagined without the input of people all over the organization. Polly Pearson, formerly of EMC, shares a story about this. During the height of the economic crisis, EMC needed to significantly reduce costs. Rather than sitting in a room and figuring it out for themselves, company executives gave everyone in the company information about what they were facing and what needed to be done. They then asked for recommendations about what and where to cut. After vetting all the response, they came up with 3X the amount of savings they needed. Whether your company uses social media internally or not, power lies in the contributions everyone has to give.

Leading in the age of social media means removing barriers to collaboration.

Outside of work, when I’m on social media, I can connect and collaborate with engineers, artists, physicians, non-profit leaders, and sales professionals in India, Belgium, Ohio or next door. There are no barriers to which we can connect within social media. What if we could recreate this in our organizations? Effective leaders in the age of social media break down barriers in their organizations to allow for connections and innovation to occur.

Leading in the age of social media means getting real.

Historically, the more senior a leader became in the organization, the more the walls went up around him or her. They dressed differently than their employees. They communicated via official vehicles like memos or emails from the Office of the President, full of very formal language that gave us know insight into the person from whom it was originating. Going to the 35th floor (or whatever floor your executive suite is on) was shrouded in great mystery and only available to a chose few. In the age of social media, people expect their leaders get real. Drop the corporate speak. Take away the mystery. Tell it to us like it really is. We’re big people; we can handle the truth. And, we’re more likely to follow the real human being than the archetype of a leader you used to try to present.