L2L Book Review “Under New Management” by David Burkus

An Open Invitation To Join The Integrative Leader's Book Club

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David Burkus argues in his book Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual that the management practices that have evolved from the factory work economy just do not apply to today’s knowledge work economy.

Burkus walks the reader through compelling case studies of companies who have abandoned traditional management and leadership practices in favor of new ways to organize and lead.

His premise is this:

Burkus’s insights are convincing companies to leave behind decades-old management practices and to implement new ways to enhance productivity and morale. Fire all the managers, outlaw email, and make pay transparent.

L2L Book Review

Title: Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual

by David Burkus

Purpose:

NewManagement_3D

The purpose of David Burkus’s new book Under New Management is to find answers to these questions and more:

  • Do open-floor plans really work – or do they make employees miserable?
  • Are there companies which really put their employees’ welfare first, and their clients second?
  • Are annual performance reviews really necessary?

Premise:

Fire all the managers, outlaw email, and make pay transparent. These are all chapters in David Burkus’ new book “Under New Management”. David argues in this book that the management practices that have evolved from the factory work economy just do not apply to today’s knowledge work economy.

He walks the reader through compelling case studies of companies who have abandoned traditional management and leadership practices in favor of new ways to organize and lead.

A Reader’s Guide:

I found myself starting each chapter thinking that there would be no way that what I was about to read would work. But, by the end of most chapters, not only did I feel it was possible but optimal.

In my opinion, any book on leadership and management that gets me to pause and reflect is of great value. This book provides page after page of things to pause and contemplate.

New Book Club

The Integrative Leader’s Book Club

I was so energized after reading it, that I decided to feature it as this month’s selection in The Integrative Leader’s Book Club.

What is really exciting is, I was able to connect with David and he graciously agreed to join us for a live Q&A session.

Linked 2 Leadership is one of the best forums for leadership exploration. By nature, its readers are actively working to hone their craft. Therefore, I would like to personally invite you to join The Integrative Leader’s Book Club. Each month we pick a thought provoking book to read and discuss.

This club was created to help us lift our heads up from working in our business and allow us to spend a little time working on it. Leadership is a practice and the books read and the wisdom shared will help us all become better at our craft.

Sign-up Here.

I would also invite you to register for the online Q&A session with David on Monday, May 23at 11am Pacific.

Click Here to Register.

At the end of each month, I will post right here on Linked 2 Leadership a review of the book and some of the key learnings that our club gained and shared. Hopefully together, we can all become better leaders and develop future leaders that are well prepared to guide the organizations of the future.

I hope to see you in the club.

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Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
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Communication Breakdown: Are You Resonating With Your Audience?

How Leaders Can Refine their Focus to Know their Audience

Communication Breakdown

Over the course of my career many leaders have lamented this: “Little I say seems to be resonating!?!?”

Although this can be very frustrating, it certainly does not mean that you should just stop communicating (as I’ve also heard…)

Knowing Your Audience

Problem:

Most likely, the failure to communicate effectively an indicator that you need to take more time to find out what makes your audience tick, and how and when they’re most receptive to information.

Solution:

Think about any questions and concerns they might have that will impede their ability to hear you. By anticipating audience needs and concerns, you can ensure that you shape your message in a way that will resonate with your listeners.

The Real Communications Challenge

As challenging as it can feel to state your thoughts clearly and concisely, the real challenge is shaping those thoughts clearly and concisely for your audience.

Employees (and any audience) want you to appeal to them in terms that speak to them and their needs, often on a personal and emotional level—yes, even if you’re just talking about work.

Especially if you’re talking about work.

When leaders don’t understand their audiences’ needs or perspectives, they make these two common missteps:

  • They mistake any communication for good communication
  • They communicate from their perspective instead of the audience’s

Your Communication Role as a Leader

As a leader it’s your job to use communication to help your audience make the connection between business objectives and their role in helping you meet them. But it’s important to understand that before you can get to the business big picture, you’ll need to address employees’ personal needs first.

At the end of the day, employees want to know “What’s in it for me?

They might articulate that need in any number of ways:

  • “How does this affect me?”
  • “What does this have to do with me?”
  • “What should I be doing?”
  • “Does anyone care about me?”

The Solution: Know Your Audience

Know your audience and speak to them. There’s real magic in addressing your audience’s needs first. When you do your audience is more likely to trust you, and as a result be more generous, open and receptive to big-picture, strategic communication.

All communication should always be tailored to the specific audience to make them aware of their role in the organizational whole.

That’s what leads to engagement and the discretionary effort all of us want.

Then, you can truly inspire employees to action as only a great leader can by giving them feelings of significance, community, and excitement through your communications.

Specifically as a leader you should:

  • Contextualize organizational information to ensure your team understands how it fits in.
  • Craft information so that it’s relevant to individual employees and teams.
  • Provide job-related information so that individuals and teams can do their jobs effectively.

When it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s whether you can make it relevant to your employees.

So, how clear are you about who EXACTLY is your audience? Have you developed the right mindset to serve them in a way that will work with them? Or are you stuck in a place where you seemingly don’t connect well? If you are, what would you do to get to a more effective platform for your audience? I would love to hear you thoughts!

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David Grossman
David Grossman is Founder and CEO of The Grossman Group
He is a much sought-after Consultant, Speaker, and Executive Coach 
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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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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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———————
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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Leadership Lessons: Success and Fatal Flaws

3 Flaws That Never Get Talked About

Fatal Flaw

There is so much glitz and glamour that comes with that power-word “success.” It says “You’ve made it!” And “From here on, life is good! Right?”

Well, no… Not so fast…

The biggest distraction to success is all the stress and anxiety that sits like a weight in the pit of the stomach that often comes with the territory. It has to do with the worry that it will all disappear tomorrow, the next day, someday.

Falling From Grace

You know the saying:

The higher they go the harder they fall?”

It’s a warning to watch out, be careful because you never know when the party is over.

How about this saying:

“Don’t rock the boat.”

This tells you to play it safe and not take too many chances, especially once you have the houses, the cars, the perks.

Keeping Your Grip

So many films show the fall from grace; quickly going from success to the gutter. Why is this amorphous thing that we all covet, called success so tenuous to grab and to hold?

Partly because once success hits, there is a tendency to hide the fear by acting over-confident. You get used to being bowed to, applauded, and respected by folks who only know you by reputation.

They never see your uncertainties, hesitations, and inadequacies.

  • But what explains the unsettling tendencies for success to be so tenuous and difficult to support?
  • What are the enemies to success?
  • What causes a strong journey to fail along the way?

Take a look at these recipes to sabotage success.

3 Fatal Flaws

Here are the 3 Fatal Flaws that never get talked about:

1) Entitlement

Paradoxically, many people do not feel entitled to success.

Stupid idea? Perhaps.

However there is a sense that many successful people have, the “if they really knew me syndrome.” That thought of being in a masquerade, being seen as more than one really is, waiting to be “caught with pants down” often is a fatal flaw that sets up the fall down the slippery slope to failure.

You see so many times we have these self-fulfilling thoughts and deep in us we would rather be right than to be happy!

Doesn’t make logical sense, yet in the emotional parts of the brain, it is exactly correct and makes total sense.

2) Loyalty

Another flaw is loyalty spawned from generational expectations. This is where we look at success in terms of our lineage to understand benchmarking and standards. Consider this line of thinking:

If it is good enough for my parents and grandparents, then it is good enough for me.”

That is a set-up to not be capable of going beyond the level of the family, often for generations and generations. It means that if no one ever went to college, well you may be able to wear that cap and gown, but don’t ever expect to get the top job.

Or, if you do become the top dog, expect the fall from success to come along eventually. “After all, one shouldn’t stray too far from living at the level of the rest of your family.”

Does this make sense? Not really. Does it happen often? Absolutely.

3) Patterns

We all play roles in our families that become familiar ways to stay safe and accepted. Often these patterns show up when we are tense and anxious. When stress hits the hot button, we all tend to revert to childhood patterns that were there for security and survival.

These patterns may not be effective in high level positions, yet there they are making us look like we have spilled a bowl of oatmeal on our shirts.

So, if you think you’ve been acting like a baby, you’re right!

Now you know the flaws to watch. Take the time to understand and work on these areas of entitlement, loyalty, and patterns. By bringing to light these often invisible forces you can harness and refine them so that you will continue to build on success after success and leave a powerful legacy for future generations.

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Dr. Sylvia Lafair, Business & Leadership Coach

Sylvia Lafair, PhD. is President, Creative Energy Options, Inc.
She does Workplace Relationships, Conflict Resolution, Exec Coaching & Consulting

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Employee Development: Who Should Take Responsibility?

Training Development

Having been on both sides of the manager-employee equation, I sometimes wonder who should take responsibility of an employee’s growth and development.

This because I am a firm believer of self-awareness and constant growth of an individual.

Finding the Way

The process of identifying a development area and then working on it is now ingrained in me and I consciously work on it. However, some aspects of an individual are harder to identify and work on, than others. Some habits if not identified and worked on in the nascent stage can become an annoying trait.

These annoying traits can come back to bite an individual in the most crucial times.

I believe that in addition to an employee taking responsibility for their growth, managers should also take the time to give timely and appropriate feedback.

On Strengths and Weaknesses

Of all of my personality traits I have worked on over the years, some were easily identifiable by me. However, there were a couple of weaknesses that if not pointed out by my manager, I would never have identified the root cause and possibly never worked on them.

From my experience, each and every aspect of an individual can be worked on by carefully identifying the root of the problem and then coming up with appropriate steps to correct it. Having an understanding mentor or coach is the key to this process especially for those problems that are harder to work on.

Sometimes a couple of different solutions may have to be tried before one can completely fix a problem but the key is to keep trying.

Performance Reviews

What I have often seen is that most managers (if not all) dread when the time comes to giving performance evaluations to their employees.

This begs the question why?

  • Evaluating an employee’s performance should not be such a fearful process.
  • After all aren’t managers are also supposed to be coaches for their direct reports?
  • Isn’t annual review the time for employee growth and development?
  • Shouldn’t performance evaluation be the time where managers can be proud of their coaching skills?

Well, there is only one explanation of why this happens. These managers don’t give direct feedback to the employees all-year-round and wait for the yearly performance evaluation cycle. Some companies conduct mid-year evaluations. Even if companies don’t mandate a mid-year performance evaluation, managers should make it a habit to give feedback to their employees throughout the course of the working year.

Be Wise, No Surprise

Another important aspect of the review process is that any feedback should not come as a surprise to the employee at the performance evaluation time. If the feedback is a surprise, it would certainly make the process difficult and dreadful.

Coaching employees is one of the most rewarding skills for a manager and they should make it work to everyone’s advantage.

I would urge all managers to not let any annoying habit fester in an employee. Help them identify the root cause and work with them to correct it. It is quite possible that they may not be fully aware of the issue and simply need an empathetic guidance.

So how are you doing at identifying your personal and professional needs for growth? And better yet, how well are you doing this same thing for the people that you lead? What can you start doing TODAY to provide the helpful feedback your people need to help them learn, grow, and develop better performance? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Aditi Chopra
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry
She is a consultant, writer and a leader
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How to Ensure Motivation Trickles From the Top Down

Water Trickle

Motivation is considered to be one of the most important contributing factors to high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.

However, as illustrated below, motivation must start from the top in order to be most effective.

Executive Engagement

Research shows that the modern work environment has drastically changed. To illustrate, workplaces are more complex, markets are more volatile and younger generations are more demanding. Therefore, executives must carefully manage their company culture.

Industry icons, such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, were famous for their charismatic ability to inspire employees and customers alike to seek excellence and pursue their dreams. Consequently, executives must play a regular, proactive role in communicating with employees.

Visionary executives who non-invasive methods to appeal to their employee’s emotions will enjoy higher levels of teamwork, production and employee satisfaction. Thus, executives must make constructive motivation a top priority for management.

Motivation from Management

Research from Gallup clearly shows that managers influence almost 70 percent of critical business variables such as productivity, performance and profitability. Even more disheartening, approximately 70 percent of employees are not engaged at work.

This means that the majority of employers are disengaged and indifferent to their work.

Managers play a key role in determining employee engagement and satisfaction levels. Gallup’s research shows that accurate and meaningful communication is extremely important to employees. A healthy business relationship will include daily face-to-face communication, not randomly vague emails.

Clearly, executives must set the expectation that management will invest time and energy into daily interaction with their subordinates. This will identify and resolve many problems before they become serious issues.

Proper Performance Management

Members of upper management rarely receive formal performance reviews like regular employees. Therefore, they often fail to understand how annual performance reviews can affect an employee’s motivation and job satisfaction. Annual performance reviews can create intense emotional pressure and apprehension.

Managers tend to view performance reviews as just another task to complete.

However, performance reviews are an important opportunity to review progress, set goals and get excited about work. Executives should model engaging and productive performance reviews through formally meeting with management and helping them to set their own goals.

Nevertheless, performance reviews are of little worth without quarterly follow-ups with employees. Regularly meeting with employees will reinforce their commitment to growth and the company.

Data Analytics

Executives need factual data in order to better understand their employees. Fortunately, there are excellent ways to glean insightful data about employees. For example, HR software programs can create customized reports that detail important employee metrics.

First, there are financial reports such as:

  • Cost per hire
  • Turnover cost
  • Training investment
  • Recruiting cost ratios

Turnover costs equal the total amount accrued through separation, vacancy, replacement and training. High turnover and hiring costs can financially weaken a company because every hire may cost between five to 10 thousand dollars.

There are other important metrics, such as turnover, absence and vacancy rates. Turnover rates exemplify the state of employee engagement and satisfaction. Executives should consider also performing quarterly employee satisfaction surveys.

Public Perks

Executives should consider unique employee appreciation ideas. While they do not have to be expensive, perks are an excellent way for upper management to demonstrate their commitment to employees.

For instance, flexibility is an abstract concept that matters a lot to employees, who may be single-parents or returning to school. Management should embrace flexible scheduling as a way to motivate employees to increase efficiency and production.

Once employees understand that they are empowered to manage their workload, they will be more responsible and willing to go the extra mile.

Motivation is a deciding factor between high employee engagement and high turnover rates. In order to properly increase motivation, executives should use customized reports created through HR software.

So, how are you as a leader allowing your strengths in motivating your followers work to influence them to motivate others? What are some of the steps you can take today or tomorrow to step back from your daily routine and think about how you can better increase you motivation for others to follow? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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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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