December 6th, 2016 by Miki Saxon
Can you believe it? Blink three times and the year disappears. Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot this year and grown in many ways. Now choose the posts from this month’s carnival that will add an edge to what you’ve already learned.
Verity Creedy writes I Believe I Can Fly: Leadership that Inspires Innovation
Learn the three conditions that we as leaders should be setting for our teams to create and execute innovative change.
Follow Verity on Twitter: @VerityDDI
Julie Winkle Giulioni shares “Not My Decision”: Constructive Responses to Workplace Decisions You Wouldn’t Have Made
Last week, many Americans had a profound experience of what employees encounter routinely on the job: responding to a decision they don’t support but must still live with. In organizations worldwide, strategies are set, markets are selected, tactics are identified…and not everyone agrees with the direction. When confronted with these situations, it’s easy for employees to feel powerless and out of control. Yet no matter the issue or the organizational level (of those deciding or those following in the wake of the decision), what remains well within each individual’s control is how he or she responds.
Follow Julie on Twitter: @julie_wg
Julie Baron wrote How to Prevent Leadership Derailment
You made it to the leadership position you have been striving for, but what must you do to avoid derailment? Learn the derailment behaviors and traits witnessed by business leaders in corporate catering, industrial distribution, construction, web design, HR technology, gift giving, marketing, and structural engineering.
Follow Julie on Twitter: @commwrks
Dana Theus shares What to Do If You’re Worried About Getting Laid Off
Dealing with the dread of being laid off can be a gift in disguise. Use the possibility of a layoff to get proactive about your career and personal brand.
Follow Dana on Twitter: @DanaTheus
JesseLyn Stoner writes How to Talk about Politics at Work
How do you talk about politics with people whose views are different than your own? It’s not a good idea to assume that everyone agrees with your views. One thing the U.S. elections showed was that what people say and what they actually believe are not always the same. And it also showed that we need to reach across the divide and try to understand what’s really driving each other. Here are six guidelines that will help your conversations be more informative and productive.
Follow Jesse Lyn on Twitter: @JesseLynStoner
Randy Conley shares 6 Strategies for Leading When People Won’t Follow
Leadership is tough enough when things are going well, much less when people are resisting your leadership. In this post, Randy Conley shares six practical strategies leaders can use to help them deal with team members who won’t follow their lead.
Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyConley
Mary Jo Asmus wrote Your Discomfort is Whispering to You
The discomfort you feel is normal and the tendency to avoid difficult conversations is common. Listen to your gut – it’s telling you that it’s time for you to step into that uneasiness and be a leader. This post provides practical advice on where to begin.
Follow Mary Jo on Twitter: @mjasmus
David M. Dye shares Why Do So Many Leaders Suck?
Perhaps the most common question David is asked after he shares Winning Well leadership tools is: “If this works, why are there so many lousy leaders?” In this article, David shares ten reasons leaders run into problems and how you can avoid falling into the same traps.
Follow David on Twitter: @davidmdye
Tanveer Naseer writes 3 Important Lessons Leaders Can Learn From Success
Three important lessons leaders can learn from success that will help them inspire and motivate employees to bring their best efforts over the long run.
Follow Tanveer on Twitter: @TanveerNaseer
Jon Mertz shares The Coming Day After
Regardless of your feelings about our most recent election cycle, we must all work together to end the divisiveness, stalemate, and finger-pointing. No matter our segment, our status, or our role, we must dig deeper, resolve challenges, and renew our greater purpose.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @ThinDifference
Anne Perschel wrote Your Leadership Megaphone Instruction Manual
Your leadership megaphone comes with the role, and it’s always on. People use it to broadcast what they THINK you said, and the results are not always what you intended. This instruction manual will help you use your megaphone wisely.
Follow Anne on Twitter: @bizshrink
Michael Stallard shares What Mayo Clinic Discovered About Burnout
Could something as simple as having a meal with colleagues to discuss work experience-related issues help reduce burnout? Michael Stallard explains what Mayo Clinic researchers found.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelstallard
Wally Bock writes about Leadership Theology
Our discussions of leadership have begun to sound like theological debates.
Follow Wally on Twitter: @wallybock
Karin Hurt shares 7 Reasons to be a Little More Grateful at Work
Karin Hurt takes time to reflect on the things to be truly grateful for at work, and encourages us to do the same.
Follow Karin on Twitter: @letsgrowleaders
Chris Edmonds writes Culture Leadership Charge: The Weakest Link
Chris Edmonds continues his Culture Leadership Charge series with this discussion of the cost of tolerating selfish, competitive players in your culture.
Follow Chris on Twitter: @scedmonds
Shelley Row wrote Give the Gift of Attention: Three Steps You Can Take Today
Shelley gives us practical tips for sharing one of our greatest gifts with others—our attention.
Follow Shelley on Twitter: @shelleyrow
Jon Verbeck shares But I’m Not an Accountant! Why Every Business Owner Still Needs to Understand Basic Financial Statements
Jon Verbeck shares a down-to-earth explanation of the three most vital financial statements with which EVERY business owner should be familiar.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @jonverbeck1
Beth Beutler wrote A Project Management Lesson from a 6-Year-Old
Beth shares some project management tips that were inspired by a 6-year-old tackling what could have been an overwhelming project of his own.
Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethbeutler
Joel Garfinkle covers How to Get Your Ideas Heard at Work
People have difficulty getting attention, let alone getting their ideas accepted and implemented. Here are three things that you could do right now to get your ideas heard at work.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @JoelGarfinkle
Susan Mazza shares How to Overcome the Tyranny of Your To Do List
To-do lists can easily transform from a useful tool to stay focused and productive to becoming an ever present reminder of all that you are not getting done. Even though you know not everything on that list is a “must do,” it is easy to get lost in the abundance of the “should do’s” that so easily pile up over time!
Follow Susan on Twitter: @SusanMazza
Neal Burgis writes Employees to Bring Ideas to the Table
Leaders need to rely and trust employees to use their creative thinking skills to generate ideas and produce results. Allowing room for your employee’s ideas helps leaders reduce supervisory control over the solutions to problems, challenges, and difficulties. The ideas employees put out generates various alternative solutions instead of one solution to what leaders want for their clients.
Follow Neal on Twitter: @exec_solutions
Mary Ila Ward shares HR Santa Clauses focus on the Employee Experience
This holiday season, HR and Talent Management leaders may need to consider a different approach on employee engagement. Mary Ila compares her real life experience of Christmas shopping for her children to how HR Santa Clauses focus on employee engagement. After all, maybe experience is what drives the engagement.
Follow Mary Ila on Twitter: @MaryIlaWard
John Hunter writes Add Constraints to Processes Carefully
Product and service design impacts the user experience. When the product is needlessly complicated and includes needless constraints it is the opposite of mistake-proofing, it is mistake-promoting.
Follow John on Twitter: @curiouscat_com
David Grossman covers The Top Reason People Resist Change and How to Best Address It
People resist being forced to change without their involvement. They don’t like change forced down their throats. People naturally resist being controlled and being uninvolved in decisions that affect them.
Hat tip to DDI World for hosting the December Carnival.
December 5th, 2016 by Miki Saxon
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over nearly a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.
Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
The year is nearly over, so I thought I’d focus the next few weeks on personal growth.
The principle of I/O as applied to ourselves is frequently overlooked as we search role models, gurus and pundits in efforts to grow and improve.
Read other Golden Oldies here.
Personal and professional growth is a major focus for most people—that’s one of the reasons you’re reading this blog.
We research, dissect, write, discuss, preach, teach, and study, all with the goal of improving ourselves.
No matter what you seek to learn/improve think of yourself as a computer.
In computing, the term I/O refers to input, whatever is received by the system, and output, that which results from the processing.
Programmers know that the results coming out of the computer won’t be any better than the information given it and this phenomenon is known as “garbage in/garbage out.”
And there you have the secret.
No matter if it’s career-related, relationship-focused, personal-internal or something else, I/O applies to everything in life.
What comes out is a function of what you put in.
Blindly accepting everything offered by even the most brilliant source will result in garbage out at some point.
Learning/improving requires critical thinking on your part—no one person, past, present or future, has all the answers.
You need to evaluate the available information, take a bit from here and a bit from there, apply it to your situation and, like a computer, process it.
The result will be at least slightly different from what you started with, because you’ve added the flavor of your own life experiences, knowledge and MAP to the mix—and that’s good, it shouldn’t be an exact copy.
Because, as Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
Flickr image credit: FindYourSearch
December 1st, 2016 by Miki Saxon
Tuesday I commented on the ‘duh’ factor in relation to Amazon finally eliminated forced ranking reviews, AKA, rank and yank, recognizing that they did nothing to foster teamwork or improve retention.
Like I said, “duh.”
Today we have Facebook offering up another duh moment.
Facebook is trying to accommodate millennials and its younger predecessor by talking to each worker and figuring out how their individual skills can be used to make a more personalized career path, not something more traditional and cookie cutter-like.
I defy you to think of anyone who works at any job and any level who doesn’t prefer this approach.
Take a look at what turns on/off the so-called silver-tsunami of Gen X and Boomers.
Millennials may walk faster than Gen X and Boomers when they don’t like the culture, but that, too, will change as they take on more responsibilities, such as kids, mortgages and aging parents
Whenever I hear how different the needs of millennials are compared to previous generations I’m reminded of these words from Socrates.
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
Give it a rest.
You hire individuals and need to manage them as such.
So put away the cookie cutter and provide everyone, no matter their age, with an environment in which to grow and flourish and the tools needed to do it.
That’s your job in a nutshell.
Flickr image credit: David
November 30th, 2016 by Miki Saxon
Do you remember Wordless Wednesday?
It was a thing on many blogs from around 2008 to 2011.
I’m feeling nostalgic, so I thought I’d bring it back — occasionally.
Image credit: Bored Panda
November 29th, 2016 by Miki Saxon
Yesterday’s Golden Oldie referenced Jack Welch’s responsibility for the atrocious forced ranking system followed by so many large, and even not-so-large, companies.
… a review process known as “stack ranking” or “rank and yank” in which employees are rated against each other as opposed to how well they meet their job requirements. (…) Using it long-term tends to create a dog-eat-dog kind of culture.
That changed drastically under Jeff Immelt, GE’s current CEO, as described last year.
According to Raghu Krishnamoorthy, the head of GE’s in-house management school,
“Command and control is what Jack was famous for. Now it’s about connection and inspiration.”
But not at Amazon, because Jeff Bezos walked in Welch’s shoes on many levels, including reviews.
… the review process was described like “choosing sacrificial lambs to protect more essential players.” (…) Bezos believed managers needed to raise the performance bar with every new hire so that the only employees that rise through the company would be the ones considered exceptional.
Until last year.
There is nothing like public embarrassment (humiliation?) via the New York Times to encourage rethinking one’s actions.
It took a more than a year, but Amazon is finally changing its review process.
Bezos is slow; Microsoft ditched it in 2015 and Marissa Mayer never managed to implement it, although she did try.
Amazing how it’s only taken 30+ years for management to figure out that setting employee against employee does not foster teamwork.
All I can say is, “Duh.”
Image credit: gorfor
November 28th, 2016 by Miki Saxon
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.
Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
I’ve changed a lot since I wrote this in 2006, as has the world. For one thing, if I was writing it today I wouldn’t say “respectfully.” I don’t respect Welch or consider him a sterling example of either management or leadership. Under his watch, GE profits soared — generated by the financial engineering employed by GE Financial.
Welch instigated a review system based on forced rankings resulting in a culture of fear and mistrust, which spread through major corporations like the flu, damaging moral and trashing talent. And he believes that careers take precedence over family, marriage and life in general. If you are a boss in the 21st Century he is definitely not a role model.
Read other Golden Oldies here.
Today I take my (professional) life in my hands and disagree with an icon. Jack and Suzy Welch write a column in Business Week called, “Ideas The Welch Way” that I’ve been ambivalent about since its inception. Jack Welch is one of the gods of the business Parthenon and for a “nobody” to publicly disagree with him—well, fools rush in and all that.
The July 17 column is about what HR is and should be. My disagreement is that they seem to feel that HR should orchestrate, and even do, line management’s job. In the second paragraph they say, “Look, HR should be every company’s killer app. What could possibly be more important than who gets hired, developed, promoted, or moved out the door?”
Agreed, nothing is more important; those four actions are critical, but there is no way that the most brilliant HR person can make the call on any of them. They are neither close enough to the day-to-day actions of each department or knowledgeable enough of the work and its technical requirements to determine
- what skills should be strengthened or what skills-hole needs to be plugged most urgently based on upcoming projects;
- the subtle competence, latent leadership or intuitive flashes of brilliance that would bloom with effort—or what efforts would produce the best growth;
- the level and quality of leadership and interpersonal skills in action;
- whether/when to terminate (unless the company uses some variety of forced ranking, a practice I really detest!)
These are not only the responsibility and decisions of line managers—it’s what they’re paid for!
I’m not saying that top flight HR can’t play a real role in a company’s success. I am saying that it can’t substitute for excellent managers and that the smaller the company the less need for HR talent or, in many cases, any HR beyond benefits administration.
Look, without people there is no such entity as a company (Welch and I agree on that). In my headhunting years I saw stars at all levels change companies and dim under different management; by the same token, I’ve seen people who were terminated for poor performance become internally (and externally) recognized stars under different management.
It’s great line managers at all levels that attract and retain talent.
Managers are the reason that
- within the same company (or division) one department has high turnover while another doesn’t;
- within a department one manager promotes from within and fills her openings while another doesn’t.
It’s managers that raise productivity, promote innovation, and set the company on the road to success.
And it’s the CEO, supported by his senior staff, which, as Welch says, should include HR, that is the font of the culture that allows and encourages all this to happen.
November 24th, 2016 by Miki Saxon
Today’s the day and I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope you enjoy every minute of it with people you adore and, since holiday calories don’t count, feel free to gobble ‘til you wobble. And…
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
That said, Christmas is just around the corner, so the more you farctate today the less you can in December.
November 23rd, 2016 by Miki Saxon
I’m a bit ambivalent about Thanksgiving along with many other holidays, such as Mother’s Day. While I understand and even agree with the idea of honoring a certain attitude, it seems hypocritical when it’s done only on that day.
Sadly, many of the people most vocal about a holiday are the same people whose actions during the rest of the year belie their holiday attitudes.
That said, here are my suggestions regarding Thanksgiving.
No matter how bad things are in your corner of the world give thanks that you are alive to read this. As long as you’re breathing you have a shot at changing your circumstances or improving someone else’s.
Several years ago I had a terminally ill friend. Her final Thanksgiving act was to sign papers consigning all her useable body parts to an organ donor program; she died just a few days later.
Her action infuriated her family, but she had made sure they couldn’t stop her choice.
Which brings us to my second suggestion.
Remember the words of Plato, “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle,” and follow the advice of Anne Herbert, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” daily.
Get in the habit of doing one small, unplanned thing every day—drop a quarter in an about-to-expire meter; pick up a piece of litter; help someone across the street. Just think of the difference if everyone did just one random act every day.
Have a wonderful day tomorrow and remember this special request from your turkey friends.
November 22nd, 2016 by Miki Saxon
From 2006. Food for thought this holiday (AKA Miki’s Rules to Live by 8)
Don’t judge who you were and what you did in the past based on who you are and what you know now.
Think about it.
Everybody knows that hindsight’s 20/20, but that doesn’t stop people from laying a coulda//shoulda/woulda trip on themselves.
Each of us is composed of multiple, past “me-s,” each a different, stand-alone version from the current one.
When you look at past actions (Why did I…) you need to first ask yourself if you made the best decision/action possible based on the information you had at the time in conjunction with the person you were at that time.
If, in fact, you did, then the you you-are-now has no right to judge, i.e., beat up on, the previous you for that decision.
This doesn’t mean that you need to condone everything—today’s you may decide that in the future you should do more research or whatever—but it does preclude you from taking your former self to task.
Thanksgiving is a time when we’re supposed to be thankful, but exactly what you give thanks for is a very private matter—I have one friend who gives thanks for her family, another who gives thanks that her family is far, far away.
So, no matter your age, when giving thanks be sure to include all the past you-s, whether you love ’em or hate ’em, since their very existence guarantees that there will be many more in the future as you continue growing.
November 21st, 2016 by Miki Saxon
That’s right; all week. I’m taking the week off to get stuff done — some of which should have been done months ago.
Rather than leaving you with nothing to do (that’s a joke), I thought I’d provide a week of past Thanksgiving posts. Some are for fun, but, hopefully, others will prove thought-provoking.
Today’s is called Getting through an F Day.
Read other Golden Oldies here.
Did you know Thanksgiving is an F day?
There are five Fs that come immediately to mind, they are fun, family, friends, food and football.
Of those five only one comes close to being guaranteed good and that’s food, but even food isn’t a given. There was the year that my host’s two Siamese cats stole the turkey—dragged it off the platter, dropped it to the floor, dragged it across an Aubusson carpet and were on the way out one door when I entered another.
Football often depends on whether your team wins, although a good game, as opposed to a romp, can make the difference.
Friends are often a better bet than family since you can pick and choose, but that only works if you’re the host. One friend always invited two people he knew would ignite—one year it was an Arab and an Israeli just after the Six Day War. Talk about fireworks, more like bombs.
Then, of course, there is family. Family is family and blood may be thicker than water, but that doesn’t mean putting the family together in one room will always generate sweetness and light—too often there is a large dose of vinegar and sour grapes. It’s said that leopards don’t change their spots and neither do family members. If they are difficult or you can’t stand them 364 days of the years, they won’t change for the 365th day.
Fun depends either on the first four or your ability to take a step back and laugh—at the food, the game, your friends, your family and, most of all, yourself.
Laughter is the balm that soothes a holiday rash; apply liberally and often.
Image credit: auntjojo on flickr
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