Three steps from Surviving to Thriving!

Three steps from surviving to thriving!

Do you enjoy change? Does the unknown of tomorrow thrill you with anticipation and excitement for the surprises that await you? Are you eager and prepared for whatever the day throws at you?

I’m not.  There, I’ve said it.  Sometimes I’d rather just close my eyes and wake up in the morning and take whatever life tosses my way, one thing at a time.

As an entrepreneur, I don’t have that luxury.  Just as I’m sure you have days where you’d just rather…not. But you have to, because of responsibilities.

We do the best we can, we try to plan ahead, accounting for every eventuality and contingency, and hope that things go according to plan.  But they don’t always, do they? When things go awry as they have with the Coronavirus outbreak, we all are facing changes unlike any we’ve experienced before, and we have decisions to make.

For some people though, change is particularly hard. Making a decision with so little clear direction or reliable information can be daunting, even if you’re pretty comfortable with change. For others, it’s almost impossible to make a decision. Fear can lock them into a cycle of analysis-paralysis which is great for procrastinating, but unhelpful for decision making.

This simple 3-step process can be applied to almost any situation where change is evident or required. It can be applied organizationally, individually, whether you’re a leader or a follower. This universal approach is the first step in improving your ability to deal with change: Identify, Pivot, Adapt.

Identify

The first step is to identify the problem, and the source of the problem as best we can. In my business, classroom-based training and consulting services, the problem is obvious. Nobody wants to sit in a classroom (neither do I), and employers are actively laying off consultants first.

Identifying the source of the problem is also important because that’s how you can determine what your level of influence is. What part of the issue are you able to control? I know for example that the outbreak is like to come in waves over the next 1-2 years until a vaccine becomes available to the public at large. I know that it’s got a widespread infection rate which has resulted in businesses shutting down, mass layoffs, and an upsurge in people working remotely and self-distancing. I don’t need to know every detail, but this information alone helped me pivot.

Pivot

Pivoting is an intermediary action. When a basketball player is blocked, they pivot on one foot to shift their body in a different direction. We have 360 degrees of pivoting available to us, so choosing the direction you want to aim for really depends on the information you have available.

To help me make a direction-based decision, I use the hand method. I lay my hand flat on a surface and spread my fingers. My middle finger is the undesired direction I’m currently heading in, and that I know needs to change.  Each of the other four fingers represent four different options for changing direction.

I don’t worry that I don’t have all the information to make an informed decision…pivoting is about making a quick decision to evade trouble by retargeting myself to aim for a different outcome. Keep it high-level, broad strokes. The details come later. Can you think of four ways you can respond to the problem you’re facing?

Will one of those four “finger options” represent a higher chance of success for a better outcome? If none of the options is particularly better, then choose one randomly and prepare to pivot again. This may go on until more informed decisions can be made, or one direction becomes clearer than the others.

Adapt

Once you set a direction, make a list of all the things you need to adjust to make that direction work. 

Maybe you’re suddenly working from home 100% of the time. If you have a spouse, can you work together in the same house? What about the same room? Are you competing for resources? Do you have a quiet area for phone calls? How will you adapt your schedule? Do you have a support system in place?

For Get Up and Learn, I’ve adapted by delivering training virtually instead of in classrooms. Also, because it’s online, I’m delivering all training in 1-hour segments, which can be linked together to fill a morning or a day, delivered as lunch & learn virtual group sessions, or provided on a pre-scheduled basis for example.

Three steps from Surviving to Thriving

By following the Identify, Pivot, Adapt approach, I was able to determine the problem I was facing including a general idea of the scope, duration, and probable impact.

By pivoting I was rapidly able to determine the most at-risk direction (which was to stay the course and do nothing) as well as four other reasonable options. The best of those was to move everything online and virtual.

A lot of work went into adapting and will continue over time. The training material & resources, delivery methods, website content – all of it needed adapting as a result of the Coronavirus.

The best part is my business is well-positioned for the future and I can see many opportunities to grow that weren’t available to me under the old model. Following this three-step process not only helped me navigate the emerging crisis, but it also strengthened the business potential for the future.

Identify, Pivot, Adapt helped me determine what was right for my business, and it can help you make choices too!

Necessary Sales Pitch Section

Jim Longman, through Get Up and Learn provides consulting, contract, and training services for employers in all industries. Our soft skills training helps people develop new thinking and skills when it comes to handling change, making better decisions, and much more. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

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Enterprise Security Risk Management

Perhaps you’re aware of the recent culmination of a managerial approach in the security industry. As an aside the Michael White Group has been promoting the very fundamentals of this approach for years. However, this approach changes how security has been managed for many years.

Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) is a business decision making tool. So, let’s clear up some of the confusion. This is not Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). Although utilizing the exact same risk principles as ERM, ESRM is an additional tool for ERM.

Unfortunately, more than ever, your municipality’s reputation and brand are at risk. Incorporating ESRM into your organization strengthens your municipality’s security program and puts you and the other leaders within your organization as leaders in your vertical.

Organizational Resilience Management

ESRM drives your security program in developing a stronger relationship to your municipality’s Assets and overall risk and security mitigation strategies. It allows you as the security leader to see the bigger picture.

ESRM is not something that happens overnight. It takes careful thought, planning, decision making and involves change. A cultural change. Long gone will be the days that one or two people are essentially responsible for the security needs of the municipality. It will be everyone’s task to be involved. All employees will be associated with the ESRM program and you as the ESRM leader will keep them on track to identify, reduce and mitigate risks.

ESRM creates a stronger brand for your municipality, a stronger brand attracts new business, new residence.

Ready for an enterprising change?

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, the application and benefits of a Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

 

 

 

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10 Golden Rules for First-Time Managers

One of the biggest challenges we see new first-time managers come up against is changing their mindset when they first take on their new role. As an individual contributor, they were mostly concerned about their own performance and success. As a Manager, they now need to shift their thinking to help other people succeed. And not just their direct reports, but also those who contribute to their team’s success, such as internal and external suppliers to their team.

It’s not an easy shift, because we become habituated in our thinking. So, it’s really about changing our focus and habits.

How do we do that?

By consciously selecting what we want to focus upon, and what new habits we want to develop.

It takes effort, but it’s worth it. We decided to put together a list of things to do, ten in total, to help you achieve that mindset change. Here they are:

  1. Avoid the Expert Syndrome – Your role as a manager is to help other people succeed. When they succeed, you succeed. Many first-time managers make the mistake of thinking that they are the manager because they are the most accomplished person on the team – they are the expert. This is the biggest mistake I see new managers make. Action: You need to give away your expertise.
  2. It’s Not About You, It’s About Them – Your first duty as a manager is to better understand your team members – their goals, career aspirations, strengths, and weaknesses. Even their fears. This also applies to a better understanding of your own manager.
    Actions: 1) Help your team succeed by focusing on their professional and personal development. 2) Seek to understand your manager. 
  3.  Don’t Try This Alone – Gone are the days when managers worked out what needed to be done, by whom and by when, and then gave out the orders. Times have changed and people expect to be included in the planning of their work. They also have higher expectations when it comes to greater freedom in how they do their work. You need to be able to balance the need to get work done safely, on time and on budget with these new expectations.
    Action: Develop collaborative based planning, problem-solving and decision-making processes.
  4. Delegate to Coach – When you engage in collaborative planning, you will discover many opportunities to delegate tasks to your team members which will stretch them. They need your support in developing the competencies to perform these tasks. That’s where your role as a coach plays a big part in their success and also yours.
    Action: Learn the skills of coaching.
  5. Build Up Your EQ Muscles – Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is just as vital as General Intelligence (IQ). It’s now a well-established fact that how you manage your emotions plays a vital role in how you build strong relationships. EQ is not about becoming “softer” in how you handle interactions with others, especially in emotionally intense situations. It’s about stopping your emotions from taking control of your behaviors. Actions: 1) Learn more about E.Q. 2) When faced with intense emotions, say “I can’t help feeling the way I feel right now, but I can choose how I will respond.” 
  6.  Live Your Beliefs and Values – Organizations have core beliefs and values, so do you. As a manager, there will come a time when you will need to defend your team. This is when your core beliefs and values will be put to the test. If you back away from such confrontations, you will lose the respect of your team and also your fellow managers, and probably even your own manager. This does not mean defending the indefensible. When a team member commits an offense, you have to be the first person to call it and deal with it.
    Action: Do the internal work to discover your core beliefs and values, especially as they apply to your role as a manager in helping other people be successful. 
  7. Find Good Role Models – Research has shown that we learn most from watching others perform. The same is true of learning to manage and lead. The three core processes of daily management are planning, directing/delegating and coaching. Other managers have taken the same learning journey as you, and many of them can be good role models for you to learn from.
    Action: Find good role models to learn from for planning, directing/delegating and coaching. 
  8. Find a Mentor – A mentor is uniquely positioned to help you progress in your career as a manager. Their role is to provide you with emotional and psychological support on your journey. In addition, a mentor will help you see the bigger picture and not get trapped in the minutiae of day to day organizational drama.
    Action: Find a mentor who is willing and able to support you. 
  9. Seek Out Mastery Experiences – Every managerial position has limitations in terms of time and resources. While you will need to develop many competencies, you will not always have the opportunity to practice them “on-the-job”. That’s where, working with your manager and mentor, you can identify opportunities where you can step away from your day to day duties and perform roles that will broaden and deepen your skills. These could be special assignments, volunteer opportunities and even shadowing a more experienced manager.
    Action: Talk with your manager about your development and craft a personal learning plan with the support of your manager. 
  10. Solicit and Act Upon Feedback – Without feedback, you won’t know if you are improving. Leadership 360 feedback systems have matured to such an extent that now they are an indispensable tool in your management toolbox. Keep in mind that your manager, staff, and others want to help you improve, so take advantage of that willingness by providing them with the opportunity to support you on your journey. Action: Seek 360 feedback

You don’t need to go it alone. You have assets and resources available to you if you just ask. So many first-time managers simply don’t get the training they need to succeed, and as a consequence, the majority fail at reaching their true potential as a manager and leader. Don’t make that mistake.

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A Sobering Thought – Is Your Succession Planning Underway?

How’s this for a sobering thought?

According to Statistics Canada’s – Canadian Demographics At a Glance – by the year 2030, deaths are expected to outnumber births in Canada. In addition, Statistics Canada projects that by 2021, one in four members of the labour force could be aged 55 or older.

This means there won’t be as many young workers entering the workforce – plus the current workforce is going grey as we speak.  The result of these two merging factors is labour shortages in many professions Canada-wide.  

Municipalities are no different.  In fact it may be even more difficult for municipalities to attract youth to these roles because youth do not really understand what municipalities do or what it means to work in a municipality. It’s therefore imperative for municipalities to find ways to reach secondary and post-secondary students to educate them on the merits of a municipal career in order to attract them to becoming tomorrow’s leaders. 

What is Succession Planning?

 

Simply put, succession planning is getting the right people with the right skills in the right roles at the right time.

In the words of one of our professional members, “Succession planning and development should be like a well- run relay race. The transitions should be smooth.” (Prism Group International, Sophie Mathewson, President & Coaching Practice Leader)

Many municipalities are proactive and have succession plans in place, but there are still many others that do not give it much thought or consideration until key personnel leave and there’s a scramble to replace them. Sadly, the exodus of one key person often sets off a domino effect that just results in another municipality needing to hunt for a replacement.  Again, there’s a real need to bring youth and new candidates into the municipal stream.

For those who have not given it much thought yet, here are few things to think about as you start to develop your succession plan.  

In broad terms, succession planning starts with a sound assessment process;  

  1. Identify key areas and key positions you will be losing (number of pending retirements, which year, etc.) so you can identify future needs. Create an inventory of sorts.
  2. Take a look at the key competencies the incumbent has now and determine whether or not these are the same competencies you need in that position in the future.  
  3. Create programs for pre-retirees and if they don’t already track their processes, have them start doing so.
  4. Assess the skills you have in-house and compare them to the skills you need in the future
  5. Determine if there are any interested employees in-house and assess their ability to fill any of the upcoming vacancies. Your performance management program will help with identifying if there are qualified in-house staff to fill positions.
  6. Match the skills and capabilities of your current employees to their career ambitions
  7. Identify any training needs and create customized development plans to develop talent.
  8. Evaluate whether or not you will need to move to an external hire and if so, set the wheels in motion to ensure that you can have the position filled by the expected vacancy date.
  9. Monitor and measure success. 

Don’t forget that using early retirees from the municipal world and municipal consultants can also form part of your succession plan.  These experienced veterans can often get you past the hump until you can find permanent employees. They can also be utilized to mentor your new hires and they can pass the relay race baton of knowledge and experience on to tomorrow’s leaders. 

The competition to replace retirees and fill vacant positions will no doubt be challenging over the next decade but by initiating a sound assessment process today you will be well on your way to having the right talent in the right positions by 2021!

 

Susan Shannon is the Founder & Principal of muniSERV.ca and muniJOBS.ca

[email protected]

 

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How Do I Set up a Webinar? Productivity Tools to Help

muniSERV’s professional members know that as part of their membership, we advertise their webinars directly to our municipal members. We know it’s hard to get past municipal gate-keepers so what better way is there to increase your visibility and credibility with municipal decision-makers, than with a webinar?

 

And our municipal members love webinars – particularly the free Lunch & Learn type webinars.  We know this because our open and click-through rates for our newsletters are consistently higher than the industry average rates.   

 

To be successful though your webinar must be educational and address a topic of interest to municipalities.  Municipalities won’t register for your webinar if they think it’s just about “selling” your product or service.  

 

Here’s What Our Members Say

 

“At Emergenetics we are always looking for strong, credible partners as we build our international brand in Canada and I have loved partnering with muniSERV and muniJOBS.  

I am continuously impressed by the outreach opportunities we receive with our muniSERV membership, the response we receive to our webinars and the quality of the audience it attracts.”

Gail Green, President – Emergenetics Ontario  April 2019

 

Ideas for Webinars

 

If you sell risk management software, provide some educational – or even scary statistics and inform municipalities on ways to mitigate online losses.

 

If you sell HR services, speak to the importance of performance reviews and what led you to develop your solution.  You can even provide a sneak peek of your solution with a quick demo – but again, it must be delivered as a solution to the problem you are educating them on and not just a sales pitch for your services.

 

Here’s where I feel a bit hypocritical though. I know the value and the power of providing webinars (that’s why we encourage our members to do so), but I confess, that while I have co-sponsored some webinars, I have never actually set one up myself.  (because shamelessly – I don’t know how to do it!)

 

So, in order for me to help you I had to help myself by learning how to conduct a webinar.  Here are some tricks and tools I learned along the way.

 

Webinar Tools

Your webinar can be as basic as creating PowerPoint slides and delivering a webinar by using remote conferencing services that use cloud computing, such as Zoom or JoinMe.  

 

I use Zoom to share my screen and provide online demos of muniJOBS.  While I pay the annual fee for Zoom, you can use many of their features for free. However, their specific webinar service comes at an additional cost.

 

If you want folks to register for your webinar (and you will so you can gather leads), you will need a way to handle the registrations even if registration is free.  There are many registration tools available, but one I’m familiar with is Eventbrite.

 

To create and deliver webinars you may want to consider using specific webinar software.  Here’s an article by Joe Warnimont for codeinwp, that summarizes and compares the Best Webinar software of 2019.  

 

Once you’re ready to start creating your webinar content, these Six Tips for Success are a great guideline to follow.  Don’t forget to engage your audience with a poll, some direct questions or an icebreaker to make it interactive and fun.  There’s nothing worse than listening to a “talking head”, with no opportunity to provide input or ask questions!

 

Also, be sure you turn off any chat windows and on-screen notifications that could (and will) pop up while sharing your screen.

 

And finally, be prepared with extra batteries for your wireless mouse and a fully charged headset – because we’re all well aware of Murphy’s Law!

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The Biggest Mistake I See New Managers Make

When I became a manager, I made the same mistake myself. It’s the most common mistake that I see many first-time managers make. It’s a mistake that causes so much anxiety and stress in their lives, and it can be avoided. It’s a mistake that’s easy to make, but not so easy to fix.

I call it “The Expert Syndrome”. Let me explain…

In my case, my expertise got me noticed and got me promoted to a management position. I was on cloud nine. I was feeling euphoric. That’s when it hit me. My staff were not as “expert” as me. As a result, I unwittingly communicated to them that I was smarter, more experienced and certainly more effective at their work than they were.

This attitude of mine caused a very interesting dynamic to occur. They would bring me their work, and their problems to solve. I later discovered there was a name for this…upwards delegation! I found my in-tray and inbox overflowing with work that was certainly not managerial. The biggest issue I faced was that I loved the challenge, I loved being the expert!

I had to find a way to let go of the need to solve all their problems. That’s when my mentor showed up. He was an experienced manager, and quite successful too. He asked me to describe my role as a manager. As I reached for the job description that HR had given me, he stopped me in my tracks. “You don’t need that” he proclaimed. “Just tell me in your own words what your role as a manager is, and make it brief!”

I was stuck. You see, I thought that the role of a manager was complex and multi-layered. Too difficult to explain in just a few words. He left me to ponder on it for a few days. When we met again, I was still struggling to come up with a clear definition of the role of a manager. My mentor was not about to let me off the hook. He knew I was struggling, but he felt the struggle was natural and would pay off in the end. He left behind a little booklet titled “Servant Leadership” and suggested I read it.

That little booklet set me off on a journey that continues to this day. At times, it’s been a somewhat crazy yet exhilarating journey. I’ve now reached a point on that journey where I can explain the role of a manager in a few words, here they are:

Your Role As A Manager Is To Help Other People Succeed

Now I know, with all the articles, books, courses, online content on management and leadership out there, that this definition may seem to be overly simplistic to many of you reading this. I understand. It’s my definition, unique to me. It works extremely well for me. It may or may not work for you. I get that.

I learned along the way that all the management and leadership competencies (and there are many!) I needed to master could be summed up in what I call The Management Trilogy:

  • Daily Management – Leading with Values
  • Crisis Management – Leading with Valor
  • Strategic Management – Leading with Vision

You need to help others succeed in these three areas. When they succeed, you succeed.

To learn more about The Management Trilogy, subscribe to our free four-part online course at Management4m.com

 

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Leadership Skills: You Can’t Become a Leader By Attending Courses on Leadership

 

Every successful leader I know learned to be a leader, not by attending classes on leadership, but by “being” a leader. When I look back on the successful leaders I personally know, and examine those larger than life leaders in history and business, a number of striking similarities emerge:

  1. They were hell-bent on achieving an ambitious goal. This was their primary motivation.
  2. They learned primarily, not from leadership models developed by leadership “experts”, but from real-life role models whom they admired.
  3. They sought out trusted mentors who were not afraid to ask them the tough questions when they hit the inevitable roadblocks on the way to achieving their ambitious goal.
  4. They mastered the relational, networking and communication skills needed to attract and retain the resources and talent that would help them achieve their ambitious goal.

I call the above the 4Ms:

  • Motivators
  • Models
  • Mentors
  • Mastery

I know many people who are leadership development professionals. I have the utmost respect for them. Yet every one of them I know will attest to the fact that despite billions of dollars spent annually on leadership development, effective leaders are still in very short supply. And the same leadership development professionals will tell you that the demand for inspiring, transformational leaders in their organizations is huge. I believe that people in organizations are disengaged for this reason alone.

Why is this? My own take on this is that leadership is a decision, not a position. By that I mean, if you really want to be a leader you need to make a decision to go after an ambitious goal. Too many people in leadership positions, especially senior ones, avoid this because their career and pay-check are guaranteed to them regardless of what they achieve. If a CEO decides to play it safe, then that decision has a trickle-down effect in their organization where everyone in a leadership position plays it safe. I’m not advocating reckless goal setting, but I am suggesting setting the bar high to begin with.

You start your journey to becoming a great leader by getting motivated to achieve an AMBITIOUS goal, not by attending more leadership development courses. Leadership skill-building and courses are important only after you make the decision to lead by setting an AMBITIOUS goal. If you are having trouble setting a truly ambitious or big goal, here are some real-world examples (some are missions/visions, some are strategic goals):

  • President John F. Kennedy: This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.
  • Susan G. Komen® for the Cure: A world without breast cancer.
  • Novo Nordisk: To prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes.
  • FedEx: The World on Time.
  • Disney: We Make People Happy
  • Mattel: To be the premier toy brands — today and tomorrow.
  • Amazon: To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  • SpaceX: Enable human exploration and settlement of Mars.
  • AIESEC: Engage and develop every young person in the world.
  • Google: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home.
  • Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.
  • SolarAid: Eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020 through the creation of a sustainable market for solar lights.
  • Zappos: To provide the best customer service possible.

Leadership is a decision, not a position or title. So you first have to make a decision to lead others towards a worthwhile goal.  After that, by all means, attend courses on leadership that will help you develop the skills and insights necessary to lead effectively.

 

About the Author

Brian Ward is co-founder and CEO of Affinity Consulting and Training. Based in Edmonton, Alberta he provides leadership and management development to organizations in the private and public sectors throughout Canada.

Receive a free downloadable copy of his book Lead People…Manage Things: Master The Five Key Facets of High-Performance Leadership when you subscribe to his weekly newsletter Monday Morning Mentor.

 

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The Five Key Facets of High Performance Leadership

What makes a good or even a great leader?
Many people in leadership positions struggle with understanding what makes a good or even great leader. While billions of dollars are spent annually on leadership development, quality leadership is still in short supply.

Organizations have responded to the demand for effective leadership with a steady stream of education and training resources, which seem to be plentiful, (for example, at the time of writing, Amazon.com had over 9,000 references on leadership), yet most attempts at building high-performance leadership are either far too complex or too simplistic to be of any practical use to leaders who need to make things happen. So what does work?

While successful organizations focus on three imperatives: aligning strategy & people; developing world-class leaders; and building world-class teams, when we look at what successful leaders personally do to succeed, we find that they concentrate on building their capacity around what we call five key facets of leadership:

Focus – Authenticity – Courage – Empathy – Timing

Focus

Effective leaders stay focused on the outcomes they wish to create and don’t get too married to the methods used to achieve them. They provide this ‘outcomes focus’ for their organization by emphasizing the mission, vision, values and strategic goals of their organization and at the same time building the capacity of their organizations to achieve them.

This capacity-building emphasizes the need to be flexible, creative and innovative and avoid becoming fossilized through the adoption of bureaucratic structures, policies, and processes. It also means letting go of lines of business, products, and programs that don’t support the focus.

Authenticity

Leaders who are authentic attract followers, even leaders who are viewed as being highly driven and often difficult to work for. Simply put, they are viewed as always being themselves.and therefore followers know what to expect from them and can rely on them, come thick or thin.

Authenticity provides the leader with the currency to obtain ‘buy-in’ from key stakeholders, because it builds and maintains trust. Authenticity is the bedrock upon which the other facets are built.

Courage

The challenges facing leaders today are immense and require great courage to overcome. Leaders are constantly being challenged by others, be it their own team, customers, the public or stakeholders. Standing firm in the face of criticism, yet having the courage to admit when they are wrong, are hallmarks of courageous leaders.

Also, shifting an organization from being introspective to becoming customer-focused requires courage when people pay lip service to the new direction…it means calling people on their bluff.

Empathy

Effective leaders know how to listen empathetically. thus legitimizing others’ input. By doing so, they promote consensus building and build strong teams. They coach others to do the same, and so create a culture of inclusiveness. They tend to be great listeners who capitalize on the ideas of others and provide recognition for these ideas, yet they don’t get bogged down in overly complicated dialogue.

While they create learning organizations that place a high value on dialogue and continuous feedback, they know when to take action, when to ‘fish or cut bait’, which brings us on to the fifth facet…

Timing

The one facet that can make or break a leader is in knowing when to make critical decisions and when not to. All of the other facets must be viewed as subservient to getting the timing of critical decisions and actions right. There is a need to be focused, authentic, courageous and empathetic, but get the timing wrong on critical decisions and everything else stands to be nullified.

Great leaders move with appropriate speed. They don’t believe that everything must be done immediately…they know how to prioritize, and how to get their team to prioritize. As well, they engage in timely follow-through to ensure actions that are committed to happen in a well-coordinated and timely way.

Is that all it takes to be a great leader? These facets of high-performance leadership are not exhaustive. Just as one would look at the facets of a diamond, upon closer observation other facets become observable.

Any person can aspire to be a great leader by starting with these facets. If you are in a leadership role, regardless of your position in your organization, start by asking yourself the following key questions:

Key Questions
1. How focused am I? How much of my time do I spend communicating and inspiring people about our mission, vision and strategic goals? How much focus do I create in my organization? How married am I/my organization to methods that have outlived their usefulness?

2. Am I viewed as authentic? Do people see and hear the real me? Do I wear a mask at work, and remove it when I leave each evening?

3. How courageous am I when my values, vision, and goals are challenged? Do I stand firm and only change my position when I know that I am wrong?

4. How empathetic am I? Too much/too little? Do I create enough opportunities for open and candid dialogue? Do I ever find myself getting bogged down in consensus building, or leading my team to false consensus? Is there a feeling of inclusiveness and engagement amongst the members of my organization, and with other stakeholders, including customers?

5. Do I make and execute decisions in a timely fashion? Do I know when to ‘fish or cut bait?’ – do I demand well-coordinated and timely execution of strategy from others?

What can you do to create a high-performance leadership culture? Asking these questions in a candid way will open up many possibilities for you, your organization or your clients…if you have the courage to do it. Building and sustaining a high-performance leadership culture takes time, patience and a clear focus on the vital few characteristics that leaders can develop naturally and authentically.

Listening to what people expect from you as a leader, and then responding empathically, in a timely fashion, will move you dramatically towards mastering these five key facets of high-performance leadership.

Above all, you need to TAKE ACTION.

 

About the Author

Brian Ward is co-founder and CEO of Affinity Consulting and Training. Based in Edmonton, Alberta he provides leadership and management development to organizations in the private and public sectors throughout Canada.

Receive a free downloadable copy of his book Lead People…Manage Things: Master The Five Key Facets of High-Performance Leadership when you subscribe to his weekly newsletter Monday Morning Mentor.

 

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The Benefits of Digital Training

The manner in which technology has become a part of our daily lives has grown exponentially with each passing day. Working with, and taking advantage of technology has made us capable of reaching new heights of communication and has improved our ease of access to information. Finding new careers has never been easier, and neither has completing the training to go with them. When you’re able to offer online, digital training, the benefits are plentiful for not just the company, but the employees as well. Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of offering digital training.

 

Flexibility

With the on-demand nature of digital training, employees are able to complete their courses on their own time. This can make everyone breathe a little easier. Employers can easily set out learning plans for employees and assign the course work with a deadline for completion, and staff are able to pick out the best time in their day to work on it. The whole training process can successfully accommodate everyone’s schedules, as the employer doesn’t have to dedicate extra resources to setting up a training day, hiring trainers and/or arranging to send employees to a training event on a specific day, and the employees can all work at their own pace.

Affordability

On-site training can be expensive. Having to pay the dedicated trainers to attend the workplace, to train the trainees can cause labour costs to soar quicker than you realize. Not to mention room rentals, catering costs for lunches and snacks, etc. These costs are even much greater if employees need to travel to off-site training courses.  It just makes sense not to disrupt the daily operational activities at work and instead assign the training to a laptop, computer or phone.

 

Versatility

Digital training can encapsulate a whole variety of methods to keep it interesting, engaging, and, most importantly, retentive. Using more than just pages upon pages of text is crucial. Switching things up with videos, graphics and quizzes and even incorporating gamification keeps the pace moving while shaking things up for the trainee so they don’t get bored.  It’s been proven that the more interactive digital training is, the more the learner will retain the information presented.

 

Accessibility 

 

With access to phones, laptops, computers and tablets, training can be done on nearly any type of current device. The streamlined, ease of access to online training ensures that everyone is capable of getting on board. Never requiring more than an internet connection and an internet browser like Edge, Firefox, Opera or Chrome, logging in to an online training profile to complete the training on any and all devices, has never been easier.

 

Keeping municipal operations running smoothly while educating your employees can be stressful. However, be sure you’re setting aside dedicated time for employees during the day to work on their digital courses because squeezing courses in between other daily activities are just too disruptive and employees will view it as another task that has been added to them. You want to be sure they’re given the time to enjoy the courses and receiving the soft skills training they need to be ready for the job at hand.  Taking the leap and investing in a digital training platform can ensure you are getting the best value for your training budget and that you have complete control over the learning and development plans for each individual in your organization. Consistency is key!

 

Course Quality Matters

 

Unfortunately, some digital courses can aptly be described as purely for entertainment value.  If you’re simply wanting to check off a box that says an employee received training to comply with organizational policy, then a 20-minute entertainment-style digital course might fit the bill for you. That doesn’t mean that all 20-minute courses don’t deliver value – just be careful that you are getting value. 

 

However, quality, certified digital courses will ensure your employees not only have taken the course but that they have comprehended and retained what they’ve learned because they will have been tested and graded. It seems to be a waste of time and money, and there’s no real value to the individual or the organization if they didn’t understand or retain important information that can help them to do their job better and better. 

muniSERV is a leader in quality, certified digital training and learning development solutions for municipalities.  Our new PERFORM® leadership soft skills training is used by governments, educational institutions, private enterprises and organizations worldwide to deliver tangible, real-life competency-based skills.  

 

Through the use of free learning assessments to get learners started, PERFORM® is able to identify soft skills gaps and recommend a training solution targeted to key leadership development areas for your team.  Ask us for the links to these free assessments.

Finding the right training organization to help you achieve your learning and development goals takes time. It’s more than just hiring someone who says they have the materials that meet your needs.  Do your homework and go with proven, reputable training organizations and you’ll experience all the benefits of digital learning!

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Employee Retention in the Age of Feedback

When an organization loses a key employee there is often a palpable sense of betrayal. How could she leave after everything the organization had done for her? Where’s the loyalty?

Employee retention is an ever-present concern for most organizations. The tangible costs (i.e. recruiter fees, delays/missed opportunities, higher salaries and benefits) as well as intangible risks (will the new employee work well with existing employeeshow can you be certain the new hire has the skill-sets delineated within her resume) associated with replacing employees have increased exponentially over the years.

What actions can organizations take to keep employees from searching and eventually taking new jobs?  After all, if another organization is willing to pay more, budget constraints often prohibit negotiating with the departing employee. Even if this constraint does not exist, rewarding the threat of leaving with a higher rate of pay sends a horrible message to other, loyal employees, right? Pointing higher pay at other organizations, however, is no longer a viable explanation for the vast majority of people who leave their current employer for a different position. More and more, employees are leaving for non-financial reasons. Gallup studies indicate that 78% of people who leave their job for a new position outside of an organization, do not leave for an increase in salary[i].

Management should place their focus on retention on those 78% of the workforce that leave for greener pastures based on non-financial reasons. There are various reasons why these employees decide to leave; those reasons are generally tied to dissatisfaction with the work environment, lack of appreciation from management for their career goals, and little, if any, exchange of actionable feedback. Simply put, employees want to be appreciated, told how they are performing and what sort of impact they are having on the organization. Typically, any feedback given to an employee is offered during a brief meeting during the employee’s annual evaluation/appraisal/assessment/review (collectively referred to herein as the “annual review”). Twenty-thirty minutes of feedback for an entire year of work. That is simply nonsensical.

Everywhere you turn, there’s another publication confirming the level of disdain both management and employees have for the annual review. To name a few, Wall Street JournalNew York TimesWashington Post, and Forbes have all published articles condemning this traditional approach and begging for a new way of doing things. Harvard Business Review reported that 58% of companies believe their performance evaluation mechanism simply does not work[ii].

By giving your employees feedback, you will help them develop themselves and pursue their career goals. In return, you will have happy, engaged, efficient and even more loyal employees. The encapsulated, once-every-12-months review is a thing of the past. Offer your employees an outlet to exchange on-going, open and honest perceptions and information. Help them become the success stories they really want to be. When employees receive open and honest feedback, they are empowered to take the steps to showcase and share their strengths; and develop solutions to address their weaknesses. The result will be higher rates of retention and avoidance of the on-going headache of replacing key employees for reasons that could (and should) have been avoided altogether. And, oh yeah, the organization will likely perform better as a whole.

Tags: Employee RetentionLeadership and PlanningBusiness ChangeIncorporating Feedback,dataEmployee Engagement IdeasCorporate Culture

Guest Blogger: Noah L. Pusey

Noah L. Pusey is the President and CEO of Ripple Analytics Inc., an anonymous team member assessment technology firm. For over 20 years, Noah has participated in building teams and developing talent at various companies. Creating strong and dynamic culture within any organization is critical. That’s why Noah co-founded Ripple, a company bent on disrupting the way organizations approach employee assessment, development, and appreciation. Email him at: [email protected]; visit https://www.ripplecrew.com/
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