On Leadership and Hiring

Why Leaders Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Push Past Surface-Level Interview Questions

Interview Questions

If you’ve been in a leadership position for more than a couple of years, you’ve likely interviewed dozens of job candidates.

You know all the textbook tactics, and you’ve seen every character imaginable — from the guy wearing an Armani suit and too much cologne to the recent college graduate nervously shaking in her boots.

But you’re also smart enough to know that it’s all an act.

Performing Arts

Don’t kid yourself; you’re interviewing actors and actresses. Some candidates could win Academy Awards, while others would struggle to make the cast of a low-budget horror flick. But whether the candidate is Meryl Streep or an extra on a laundry detergent commercial, you’re interacting with a façade.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve fallen for the act in the past. Remember when you were excited about the candidate who knocked the interview out of the park, only to find out that she was a dud a month later?

So to guard yourself against this mistake, you try to be shrewder than the interviewee. You ask her sly behavioral questions, have her come in for multiple interviews, and make her take a series of tests. But unfortunately, no amount of testing will reveal the real person, especially in the artificial environment of an interview. You can’t really know whether the candidate will be a self-starting, knowledge-hungry superstar or a clock-watching D-list player until you give her the job.

So what should you do? In short, there is no easy answer. But when it comes down to it, the first step is revamping your interview process.

The Interview

Tactic You Need to Employ Right Now

What if the interview became a personal conversation instead of a casting call? What if the primary focus was on the person, not the résumé?

I’ve found a way to make this happen. I call it the “personal letter interview.” My company has been using it for four months now, and the people we’ve hired have been outstanding. Time will give us more data, but I’m convinced we’re on the right path.

Here’s how it works:

  • If you have a qualified job candidate you’d like to interview, ask her to write a letter to a loved one — a child, spouse, parent, or friend.
  • Ask her to describe both what she is proud of and what she regrets, and prompt her to tell you how she feels about where she is today.
  • Finally, have her conclude with how she envisions her future.

Keep your instructions loose; the letter can be to anyone and about anything.

Move Beyond the Surface Level

This is when the mask comes off, so be ready for some tearjerkers. The first candidate who submitted a letter to me talked about the impact of his newborn baby on his life. Another talked about how she was still hurting from a breakup 10 months after the fact.

But this process is about more than a few tears; it’s about opening the door to a deeper conversation by responding to something personal in a caring, compassionate way. And even if the letter you receive is more matter-of-fact, you’re still chipping away at the façade.

As a result, the interview becomes more of an exploration into how the person truly feels about her life, career, hopes, and dreams — and less of an exploration into her sales numbers. That’s not to say experience is unimportant, but the candidate’s experience is in her résumé.

You wouldn’t be interviewing her if you didn’t think she could do the job.

She has already met your initial screening criteria, so you might as well spend more time getting to know her personally.

Be Smart!

Still, there are a few questions that are “off the table,” so to speak. You have to guard against veering into legally unacceptable areas — anything that involves gender, nationality, social club memberships, age, or family status. That’s not what you’re after, and you can still have a meaningful conversation without diving into those subjects.

If your current process is consistently churning out less-than-stellar hires, consider the personal letter interview. You’ll feel more confident that you really know the person you are hiring, and that will positively impact your company in the long run.

And at the end of the day, I’ll take the hard working, sharp, and determined person with a high level of honesty over 20 years of experience.

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Bob La Loggia

Bob La Loggia is the founder and CEO of AppointmentPlus, a fast-growing SaaS business based in Scottsdale, Arizona. His company has won a number of awards, including CareerBuilder’s Best Places to Work award. Bob is a serial entrepreneur who’s passionate about his business and helping Arizona develop a world-class startup ecosystem.

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4 Ways Leadership Can Prepare Facilities for Weather Disruptions

Bad Weather Ahead

It’s essential for leadership to take incoming weather threats seriously. If not, there is the very real risk for huge revenue losses, crippling facility damage, staff and operational turmoil, and compromised customer service, all of which could put the company’s future at risk.

The question isn’t so much, “Will my facility be disrupted by weather?” as, “When will my facility be disrupted by weather?” Even in areas with mild climates, the unexpected is a regular occurrence.

Why put your bottom line in such danger when you can be proactive and put your business in an advantageous position? Leadership is supremely important when dealing with weather-related outages — as it goes, so will your business’ status during an unplanned disruption.

How to Captain Your Ship Through Its Next Storm

Despite improvements in weather forecasting in the past decade, there is still risk when storms happen. Rather than being caught off guard, use these four strategies to prepare your facility for what’s coming:

1. Draw Up a Blueprint

Every enterprise needs to prepare a thorough disaster plan that establishes protocols for staff, operations, supplies, and services. This plan should be comprehensive enough to apply to any kind of business interruption, be it weather, power loss, evacuation, road closures, missed shipments, etc.

It should also be focused enough to provide real guidance and direction in the event of chaos. Make sure this plan is widely shared, practiced, and available even if your primary location is inaccessible.

2. Talk To Your Team

Communication is essential before, during, and after a severe weather event. Unfortunately, making calls, sending emails, or even meeting face-to-face may all be impossible during a disaster.

Explain to your staff when, where, and how to exchange information, and have multiple backup communication plans in place. You should also establish clear hierarchies and contact trees so nobody in your organization gets left in the dark.

3. Get the Gear and Service You Need

The supplies you need and the service you require to endure a weather event may not be available once that event is on the horizon or underway.

Supplies can be something as small as a snow shovel and rock salt, or as significant as boards and tools to cover your windows and doors, or a generator to provide backup power. Have as many of these items nearby as possible, including food, water, or extra fuel for your generator.

If the “gear” you need is service, make sure vendors are available to support you during an emergency.

4. Be a Good Neighbor

If your business is disrupted, it’s quite likely surrounding shops and residents are, too. Rather than adopting an “every person for himself” mentality, look for ways to use your facilities, resources, staff, and expertise to help with the disaster effort.

This is a welcome demonstration of corporate citizenship that can not only help build goodwill for your business, but can also keep your company in the public’s mind for patronization when the weather clears up.

Your goal whenever weather affects facilities, operations, staff, or supply chain is to maintain business continuity. If you must close, your aim should be to stay closed only until it’s safe to resume working. You don’t want to invite unnecessary risks, but you also don’t want to be overly cautious and damage your reputation or growth potential as a result of an unexpected storm.

The only way to marshal the suitable response is to act early and appropriately based on extensive plans and protocols. If any aspect of your business is unprepared for the next blizzard, hurricane, flood, or fire, now is the time to shore up your defenses. Organizations that embrace a culture of preparedness can keep any disruption, no matter its form, from turning into a disaster.

No matter when or where the next storm happens, forethought, technology, and tenacity in preparation eliminates the need to guess if or when. This way, when it happens, despite timing or location, leaders can operate from a position of strength in a time of vulnerability.

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Dave Gorham

Dave Gorham is Senior Meteorologist at StormGeo
He is a former U.S. Air Force meteorologist with expertise in aviation meteorology and severe weather.
Email | LinkedIn | Website

Image Sources: savainsurance.com

 

Equipping Leaders to Battle Fear with Accountability

Leading with Honor Video Coaching from Lee Ellis

Six Leadership Obstacles to Team Success  

As leaders, we want the positive elements of success—achievement, notoriety, money, and excellence for clients and customers.

pilot plane But we’re unwilling to do the right things to get there. The missing cultural piece is courageous accountability.

What are the six obstacles that can get you off-course? Read Lee’s latest article below, and see where you’re vulnerable –

Read Now

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——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

 

 

Mentoring in the Workplace: Spreading the Knowledge

Sharing Knowledge

We often hear about the need for gaining and sharing organizational knowledge to further our careers, reach our goals (and create new ones), and make connections in various industries.

One of the best ways to share knowledge is also a vital part of the leadership toolkit – mentoring.

Mentoring in the Workplace

Mentoring is an essential leadership skill, and encompasses the professional development of others. Mentors show others the ropes, answer questions, and guide mentees in the direction they need to go.

When a new employee first meets with a mentor, the first question often is this:

What can you tell me about your experience at this organization?

Mentees must get oriented to their working environment and learn how to handle the challenges it poses. The mentor serves as a guide through those challenges with advice and constructive criticism, while paving the way to the mentee’s next goal or challenge.

Throughout the process, mentors build on their acumen as leaders and information sharers.

Sharing Knowledge

Sharing organizational knowledge is an invaluable part of mentoring, as much as it is a way to keep an organization’s business practices. Mentoring to share knowledge is different from traditional mentoring, in that there is more emphasis on practical applications than on organizational culture or building networks.

The key is to combine both types of mentoring.

Sharing information about an organization and teaching about its culture, mentors offer mentees a richer experience and a more complete picture of the organization and its needs.

Types of Knowledge

Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, distributing, and using knowledge, and considers an integrated approach to sharing the information assets of a given organization. These assets include policies, databases, documents, procedures, and the expertise and experiences of individual employees.

KM looks primarily at two types of knowledge, explicit and tacit, which are the primary types of knowledge imparted to employees, especially via mentoring; a third type, embedded knowledge, can be found in processes, organizational culture, and ethics.

  • Explicit knowledge is codified, and can be found in documents and databases.
  • Tacit knowledge is more intuitive and is rooted in experience, context, and practices.

Learning How to Teach

One way to look at mentoring is to imagine teaching someone how to ride a bike. The act of learning to ride the bike is the tacit knowledge, while a set of precise instructions on how to ride the bike is the explicit knowledge. And embedded knowledge is the “rules of the road” to keep in mind while riding the bike.

Establishing mentoring relationships are crucial to fostering leadership skills and professional development, both for mentors and mentees. Mentors ensure the transfer of organizational knowledge and offer guidance to those who may one day become leaders themselves; mentees benefit from learning about their roles and the organization.

So how are you doing at creating an atmosphere and workplace that actively relies upon sharing knowledge, experiences, and expertise? If you are not doing this, what steps can you take now to implement a process of systematic mentoring to help people learn, grow, and develop? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————
Linda R. Ranieri

Linda R. Ranieri is a Graduate Student in Communication
She works in the Medical Testing and Assessment Industry
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Priority Management for Leaders

Tips and Tricks to Align Team Priorities

Balancing Act

Ever since I was a child, I was told to get my priorities straight if I wanted to be successful. Turns out, that’s a lot easier said than done.

Sometimes it feels like I have a never ending to-do list; what’s more, everything on it feels important, and I can end up feeling as though I’m being pulled in 12 different directions. The pressure of this situation is amplified when you’re not only responsible for managing your own priorities, but those of a team as well.

It takes an extremely high level of organization and decision-making, whether you’re a project manager, small business owner, or a mid-level manager at a huge company.

So, how can we manage priorities to make sure we’re focusing on the right things?

Below, I’ll present you with five techniques that you can use to align team priorities, simplify your workload, and make sure you and your team are working on the right things.

Determine Your #1 Priority

This tip stands in direct contrast to the feeling that “everything is high priority”. Let’s take a second to zoom out and examine how this works.

I work for a company that developed a prioritization and collaboration tool that aims to help teams align their priorities and work together more efficiently. Due to the nature of my company, this is an issue we talk about a lot.

For us, what helps us stay on track is determining our #1 objective, and aligning our goals and action items around that.

For example, our overarching goal at the moment is growing our top funnel. When we consider taking on new initiatives and projects, we ask ourselves “does this contribute to the top funnel?” If the answer is yes, the project is a go.

Now, this isn’t to say we’re all working on the same thing. Our engineering team is still working on product development, our CEO still runs analytics and works on business development, and our customer success team still takes care of our clients.

However, each particular team works on initiatives that are geared toward the top funnel, rather than other steps of the business process.

By determining your #1 priority, you create a roadmap for all other initiatives and projects.

Make a List (of everything)

You may be rolling your eyes at me right now, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this simple step, even though it’s the first step of almost every method of time management you can imagine. 

Whether you go the traditional route and use pen and paper or you download a productivity app, write out everything that needs to be done.

You might feel overwhelmed at the beginning, but just lay it all out on that list.

Take some time to read through it and determine which tasks are the most important. If you’re having difficulty, next to each task, label it with a number from 1-10. A rating of one means that it will not make a difference whether you complete the task within the next day or the next month, or you might be able to delegate the task to somebody else.

On the other side of the spectrum, a rating of 10 means that you need to get moving on this task ASAP. Remember to be honest with yourself; not every task should be rated a one or a ten.

This allows you to see the big picture right in front of you and to determine what you need to focus on the most.

Yeah, I know this sounds basic, but trust me, it works.

Go Non-Linear

If your linear list is too long or overwhelming, try the Eisenhower Method of Time Management. Eisenhower is famously credited with the quote, “what’s urgent is seldom important, and what’s important is seldom urgent”.

This strategy promotes prioritizing by dividing all of your assignments, projects, and tasks based on their level of criticality and urgency.

Here are the four categories:

  1. Critical and Urgent
  2. Critical and Not Urgent
  3. Not Critical, but Urgent
  4. Not Critical and Not Urgent

Below is a picture that sums up this concept:

Eisenhower Method of Time Management

When you divide your tasks or projects in this manner, you single out the items that are both highly urgent and highly important. By focusing on these tasks, you can ensure you are doing high-impact work.

Helpful Tip: Use the ratings from the list you made above to help decide the proper placement of each task.

Be Strategic

Find out exactly what you are already doing right and what you are wasting your time on. A great way to do this is by doing a retroactive project analysis.

Similar to the Eisenhower Method, divide events and actions into the following categories:

  1. Planned and Successful: These are the initiatives that were carried out flawlessly. The time and effort that you put into preparation was well worth it in the end. The events that you would add into this category are those that you want to try to do again or replicate. This is the category where you give yourself a pat on the back and say “Keep up the good work!”
  1. Unplanned and Successful: Unanticipated events that occurred that drove you closer and closer to your end goals. We are not always lucky enough for these types of events to occur; however, closely inspect their causes and try to recreate them.
  1. Planned and Failed: You spent way too many resources on this project to attract more customers and in the long run, it did not do you or your company any good. Stay away from any similar projects that might have the same  devastating results.
  1. Unplanned and Failed: These are the unfortunate things that you did not expect to happen that did not bring you any closer to the finish line. Think about it through this real-life situation (this has happened to me, twice). You finally got your family room redesigned: new carpeting, new furniture, and freshly painted. A terrible thunderstorm takes place and floods the entire room. Try to stop similar events from happening again by working proactively to prevent their causes

When you conduct a retroactive project analysis, you might not feel like you are prioritizing, but you most definitely are. By determining what works and what does not work, you give yourself more time to accomplish what will get you closer to that finish line.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

This is probably the most straightforward tip of them all.

Stop multitasking. Stop trying to do multiple things at once. None of us are superman or superwoman. It is impossible to work on one thing, then be disrupted, and start working on another.

In fact, this is a recipe for being counterproductive.

According to the Zeigarnik effect, when we leave tasks unfinished, they linger in the back of our minds and cause us to feel distracted. This means we aren’t utilizing our full cognitive capacity or working to the best of our ability when we don’t finish what we started.

Use the techniques above to decide which tasks you need to work on first and foremost based on their criticality and urgency.

Then, keep your attention on one task at a time, give that task your all, and move on to the next one. 

Understanding how to align and manage priorities is key in order to complete your massive list of tasks. Managing your priorities efficiently allows you to get ahead.

So think about your goals, determine what you need to do in order to achieve them, and prioritize accordingly. Try out these different approaches and knock all of those items off your to-do list (and maybe even have some time to take a breather).

What are you doing to make sure that you are focusing on the right thing(s)? How can you improve on letting of the things that are holding you back and work on things that produce better results? What else have you done to be more successful with your time and energy that you can share? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

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——————–
Kari Beaulieu

Kari Beaulieu is Marketing Manager at Appfluence Inc.
She serves her clients with Marketing, PR, Business Development, and Customer Success
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

 

Image Sources: acclivityperformance.com

 

Send Them to a Movie, Don’t Train Them!

by A.D. Roberts

Movie

People love training when it’s entertaining and they enjoy themselves.

They like it when the training gives them information that provides hope. Hope that their life will get easier, that the organization will be more successful, that their job security is enhanced, etc.

It’s good when you leave a training session fired up and ready to go use the techniques that you’ve learned. It’s good when you feel you’ve learned all the information you need to solve your workplace problems.

What’s bad is—thinking the training session alone will change anything!

Do What You’re Told!

People do not learn from being told or exposed to the information one time. Research shows we need an average of six exposures to the information with reinforcement (using the information you were exposed to) between the exposures to retain the information.

Of course the complexity of the task and each individual’s previous life experiences are just a couple of the factors that will determine how many exposures to the information being trained the individual will need.

Do the Math

I’ve done training programs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars with multiple sessions of in-depth information. I always advise management that in order for a training session to have a positive effect, the participants must have multiple exposures to the information.

Since I am only paid to deliver the information once, the organization (with my help) must use other methods to ensure that everyone gets their multiple exposures. It can be structured and timed e-mails that require a response to all participants. Or it can be a strategically placed sign with key elements of the training. Or even supporting audio materials playing in the break room, etc.

I offer clients a number of different ways to give their participants multiple exposures at no additional cost. Even when it’s easy and inexpensive, many clients do not provide follow-up activities and methods for multiple exposures.

The truth is, if you are not going to provide the necessary multiple exposures then, “SEND THEM TO A MOVIE, DON’T TRAIN THEM!” It will only be an entertaining waste of money that way.

Square Peg, Square Hole

Square PegAnother critical aspect of training retention is adjusting organizational policy and procedures to fit the new requested methods of behavior. Once individuals are trained to perform through new and different procedures and techniques, their evaluation and performance procedures and policies must be altered to support the new behaviors, If they are not, then they are forced to return to the old behaviors.

People cannot do something differently if they are forced down an opposing path.

One of the reasons I have observed to explain this phenomena is a lack of participation from the decision-makers (management) in the training. If management does not fully understand the information being delivered, they cannot adjust the policies and procedures to fit the requested behaviors and procedures.

If you aren’t going to change the policies and procedures to support the purchased training, “SEND THEM TO A MOVIE, DON’T TRAIN THEM!”

Big Picture

As a professional trainer, coach, and consultant, my mission is to share information that makes my clients more profitable, gives them a better work environment, increases customer satisfaction, and builds individual and organization success.

Entertaining people is fun; however, educating them so they can achieve their goals and aspirations in life is much better! Make training count! Give your team the information but also the supporting elements that ensure their retention of that information and organizational success.

So please take this REAL advice:

DON’T TAKE THEM TO A MOVIE, TRAIN THEM RIGHT!

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——————–
Tony Roberts
A. D. Roberts is President/CEO of A. D. Roberts Consulting, Inc. in North Augusta, SC
He helps with Leadership & Interpersonal Communication Consulting & Training

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Creating an Atmosphere of Collaboration

How to Use Icebreakers for Powerful Results

Atmosphere of Collaboration

This past week, I had a project team meeting. The project had a number of people on it that I hadn’t worked with before.

When the project began, we all had very divergent ideas on how we were going to accomplish our end goal.

I’ve found over the years, that the less clear something is on a project, the more apt there is to be a misunderstanding and/or miscommunication. Along with the many different ideas, I was working with many different personalities.

And some were quite stronger than others!

I decided that to get the best results for our project it was necessary to begin by building an “Atmosphere of Collaboration.”

I wanted to initiate an activity that demonstrated our need for clarity and the need for teamwork. I thought about the many diverse “collaboration ice breakers”  I had read about and researched and found a few possible ideas. But when they didn’t seem to fully apply to the task at hand, I was inspired to create my own activity.

Breaking the Ice in Style

Not only did the activity generate some really thought-provoking and idea-inducing conversation, but it turned out to actually be fun!

I called it the “Jungle Survival Challenge.”

Here’s a quick overview of how the activity is played:

  • Divide the group up into small teams (2-4 people each)
  • Pass out the “Survival List.” This is a written list that catalogs 60-80 items and keep them face-down until the timer is set.
  • Read the instructions to the participants and ensure everyone understands.
  • Begin the timer and provide notice of the half way point, two-minute warning, one minute and then count down from 10 seconds until the time expires.

Read the following “instructions” to the group:

You and your team have been flying in a small plane and encountered a small storm that has forced the captain to land the plane. There was not a clearing for a runway so the pilot was forced to try to land in a jungle. Unfortunately, the pilot did not survive the crash,  and you and your team are uncertain where you are.

You all must gather your supplies quickly and get away from the plane though, as fast as you can because the plane is on fire and it will likely explode within minutes!

You and your team have five minutes to agree on what supplies you need to survive and get out of there! Unfortunately, you failed to prepare for a disaster in advance, so you need to pack your Bug Out Bag with the 10 items that you think you will need most.

NOTE: Let the team members collaborate on which items they will need to choose together to survive in the jungle.

Inspect What You Expect

Here is the suggested debrief of the activity:

  • Have each team review/discuss the 10 items they selected and why.
  • Point out the similarities and the differences.
  • As you recap the activity, you may want to say something like the following:

This activity is much like a team project. We all have differing ideas on what we need, and most of the teams made different selections, but they all still contained the four basic types of supplies. (Most teams will select a source of light, a form of shelter, some type of fire, and some food.)

As with a project, there were clearly some differing thoughts about what supplies were needed. Yet, most of you were able to come to an agreement as to what your team needed in a relatively short period of time, set clear expectations and discern the common goal. (If a team does not have a smooth experience, then use that as a teachable moment of the dangers of a project  failing if everyone doesn’t work together.)


Kickstart CardsNot Just Another Icebreaker!™
Free Deck and Free Training


Leading Through Variables

Participating in this activity helped to align the project team and allowed them to begin to realize all the variables of a project. I found that it also went a long way to committing us to working together to make the project a success.

If you consistently promote an atmosphere of collaboration, it is exceedingly likely that your project will run smoothly and efficiently and it will lead your team to a successful outcome.

So, what type of success have you had using things like icebreakers, interactive activities, or problem-solving exercises to increase collaboration and teamwork? Which ones have been most successful? Which ones flopped? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Leonard Cochran, CPLP

Leonard Cochran, CPLP is Manager Learning Programs for Hilton Worldwide
He helps people Identify and Move Toward their God-Given Talents
Email | LinkedIn | TwitterWeb | Blog | Personal

Image Source: sundaymag.tv

 

From Humble Leader to Narcissist: Where Are You on the Continuum?

Leading with Honor Video Coaching from Lee Ellis

From Humble Leader to Narcissist: Where Are You on the Continuum?

Typically, narcissism is historically associated with physical beauty.

You may recall that in Greek mythology, Narcissus was the handsome young man who became so enchanted with the image of himself in the pool that he could not pull away.

Today we hear about a leader who has narcissistic tendencies, but it’s not so much about their physical beauty as their strong, offensive ego.

Where do fit on the narcissistic leadership continuum? Pinpoint your spot –

Read Now

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——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Ter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

 

HR Leaders: How Decisions Actually Affect Talent Retention in a Real Way

Talent Retention

It isn’t uncommon for the human resources department to be viewed as one having little impact on a company’s profitability, finances, or sales. However, is this consensus a fair one?

After giving it some thought, which department in the business is responsible for the talent driving the finance and sales sectors?

Developing Your Business Infrastructure

Once all the layers of a business are peeled back, it is safe to say that it is truly only as first-rate as the talent working within each department. Without those individuals, the business wouldn’t exist, and the human resource department is responsible for each of these employees.

They not only attract them, but they also help develop them and organize them strategically throughout the company, so they perform at their best.

Giving further thought to this subject, it makes no sense not to give credence to the critical factor that HR plays in a company’s profitability and decision-making process. The real question is, though, how this department’s decisions impact the company’s bottom line, where their value lies, and how their decisions affect the retention of talent in a real way.

Decision-Making and Talent Management

The most obvious point of contention regarding HR is the decisions the make regarding talent management, and its impact on retention. The driving force behind every successful company is a solid talent. Therefore, it’s up to the HR department to have a thorough understanding of the business’s talent requirements, how to attract them, and the requirements necessary to develop that talent to enable them to assist the company strategically, so goals are met.

Because it’s so difficult for organizations to attract and retain experienced leaders currently, those holding these management leadership roles deserve separate mentioning.

A business is a “make or break” situation if strong leadership isn’t in place, especially when times are tough, or during periods of transition.

Attracting the Right People

The HR department can have a huge impact on an organization when they attract the right leadership and develop them effectively. They don’t just advertise for a particular leadership role and fill that slot.

Instead, they will assess the needs of that leadership position for a particular department, first attracting an individual fitting that specific need, and following through by developing their behaviors and skills based on particular requirements.

When each of these decisions is made, and all of these goals are accomplished by the HR department, how the company’s bottom line and the retention of talent are evident. Companies not only have the correct people serving in the right positions, but they are working at their highest level that, in turn, will inevitably have a positive effect on the company’s performance and profitability.

HR Strategy Alignment and Decision-Making

Every department in a business is an important one and, with every strategy and decision, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, when it comes to HR activities, some of these decisions truly impact employee retention in a real way. Integrated HR software helps management hire and retain employees.

These organizational tools assist the HR department to organize hire dates, compile data, and track every employee’s career path. The importance of this data includes making a determination for future leadership roles, as well as identifying where employees can serve in various departments in the company.

When strategies are intrinsically linked to the goals of the business, as a whole, then there is greater success for talent retention. This is because when employees know that companies are willing to invest money into developing them and increasing their skills, then they’ll be more willing to stay with the company.

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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The Essence of Life and Leadership

Learn Lead

“Emotions transform energy; energy creates movement; movement is change; and change is the essence of life.”  ~Darren Weissman 

Did you know?

  • Only 20-50% of re-engineering efforts succeed [1]
  • Only 28% of information technology projects are successful [2]
  • Only 33% of corporate mergers are successful [3]
  • 50% of firms that downsize experience a decrease (not increase) in productivity. [4]
  • 75% of all change efforts fail to make any dramatic improvements. [5]
  • An astonishingly high percentage of failed projects had excellent technical plans. [6]
  • Failure to change is the primary source of organizational failure.5

Empowering Interface

These dismal revelations about change management success and failure come right out of the research of real organizations, real projects, real managers, and real leaders.  If we were grading leaders and managers on their change management report card, they would get a ‘C,’ at best.

And wouldn’t you agree that, like life, change is arguably also the essence of leadership?

While there are many change management models, if there is one thing that would help your organization dramatically improve the quality of outcomes, it is empowering interface.  That’s what researchers from the University of Bath and George Washington University called it.5

Empowering interface occurs when executive leadership empowers middle management to interface comfortably between executives and frontline employees breaking down silos and enabling both macro and micro variables to change and cascading empowerment across the firm.

This process requires executive transparency and a “change sponsor” or “change champion.”

Change Champion

What does it mean?

It means that executives need to change the way they look at change.  In order to be successful at change leadership and management, you must break down the silos between executive and frontline levels using middle management, create a safe climate, and generate empowerment and trust through transparency and responsiveness.

If there is not open two-way communication and action, change efforts could be doomed.

Empowering middle management, especially with increasing discourse between executives and frontline, greatly increases the odds of success.

Exactly How to Fail

Macro initiatives designed solely by executives (no middle management or frontline input) creates a “closed system” or silos and spreads disempowerment (through rumors, false assumptions, and miscommunication) and that cultivates strong resistance.  Put another way, when change initiatives are rammed down people’s throats and without involvement, expect contempt, defiance, subversion, and eventually failure.

Successful change leadership and management are all about communication, relationships, empowerment, respect, and responsiveness.

This sounds a lot like love, if you ask me.

Work-Out and CAP

Jack Welch and Steve Kerr of GE developed one of the most well-known and successful change models in the late 80’s and early 90’s and used it successfully at GE.6  They called it “Work-Out.”  Similar to a “time out,” those on a change project take a “work-out” from typical bureaucratic practices and behaviors and instead rely on continuous focus, efficient decision-making, and accelerated implementation.

The Change Acceleration Process (CAP) part of Work-Out became popular because of its effectiveness and has since been marketed to many other institutions and industries.

It is no coincidence that a significant portion of CAP – the first four (of seven) steps – are exactly what the researchers describe as empowering interface above.

They call them:

1.  Leading change
2.  Creating a shared need
3.  Shaping a vision
4.  Mobilizing commitment

The last steps in CAP are:

5.  Making change last
6.  Monitoring progress
7.  Changing systems and structures

Change is at the very essence of life and leadership and “resistance to change” doesn’t have to be a given – at least not strong resistance.

Both the research and successful organizational change models like CAP are telling us that when people are involved in the change process, not only does cooperation increase, but the quality of the outcome dramatically improves, as well.

So how do you effect change with those you lead and your extended team?  What is the change management and leadership model and philosophy were you work or lead?  Do you or your organization even have it defined?  What steps can you take today to improve it?  What other models or techniques have helped you and your organization arrive at successful outcomes?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Alan Mikolaj

Alan Mikolaj is a Professional and Inspirational Trainer, Keynote Speaker & Author
He is the author of three books and holds his Master of Arts  in Clinical Psychology
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Book | Web

Image Sources: b-i.forbesimg.com

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[1] Strebel, P. (1996, May/June). Why do employees resist change? Reprinted in Harvard Business Review on change in 1998. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, pp. 139–157.
[2]
Farias, G., & Johnson, H. (2000). Organizational development and change management: Setting the record straight. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 36, 376–379.
[3] Dinkin, D. (2000). Unlocking the value of M & A. The Banker, 150(895), 118.
[4] Appelbaum, S.H., Everard, A., & Hung, L.T.S. (1999). Strategic downsizing: Critical success factors. Management Decision, 37(7), 535–552.
[5] Raelin, J.D. & Cataldo, C.G. (2011). Whither middle management? Empowering interface and the failure of organizational change. Journal of Change Management, 11(4), pp.481-507.
[6] Von Der Linn, B. (2009). Overview of GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP). Retrieved August 24, 2013, from Bob Von Der Linn’s HPT Blog: http://bvonderlinn.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/overview-of-ges-change-acceleration-process-cap/