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On November 11th, NCIEDI in partnership with i2.Intergrated Intelligence hosted a 1/2 day workshop at the Cardinal Club.

 Tony Hayes welcomed the attendees and honored veterans since we were meeting on Veteran's Day.

Mr. Stewart started the meeting by defining "Organizational Health - An organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete..." Attendees completed a Five Performance Criteria Survey to determine their organization's health. Mr. Stewart continued by explaining Behavior & Assessments and then Learning Styles. We took the Learning Styles Assessment to determine our individual learning style and why this is so important. Melissa Wood, i2's Business Manager, had a delicious lunch prepared for the attendees. Mr. Stewart wrapped up the workshop by discussing Benchmarking & Metrics and Root Cause Analysis.  The class was so interactive and informative, that all materials could not be covered, so NCIEDI would encourage attendees to contact us or Mr. Stewart for additional consultations.



As an added bonus, Mr. Stewart presented each attendee with a personalized autographed copy of his book, FIRE YOURSELF [as your own higher power].
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There is a great scene in Godfather 2 where Kay (Diane Keaton) complains to husband Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) about his unfulfilled promise to make his business fully legit and quit being a mafioso. Michael responds that he is still working on it, reassuring Kay emphatically: “I’ll change, I’ll change — I’ve learned that I have the strength to change.”

Although most of us aren’t part of the mafia, we are still a bit like Michael Corleone in that we overestimate our capacity for change. In theory everyone can change, but in practice most people don’t… except for some well-documented changes that affect most of us.

For example, most people display antisocial tendencies during adolescence and slower thinking in late adulthood, but these changes are by no means indicative of a psychological metamorphosis. Rather, they are akin to common lifespan changes in physical traits, such as gains or drops in height during childhood and late adulthood, respectively — they occur to everyone. Likewise, there are typical changes in personality, even within 5-year periods. A seminal review showed that we become more prudent, emotionally stable, and assertive with age, while our energy and intellectual curiosity dwindle after adolescence. In other words, as we grow older we become more calm and mature, but also more passive and narrow-minded.

A more interesting question is whether categorical changes are feasible. Can someone be extremely introverted at certain age, but super outgoing at another? Can someone transition from being a self-centred narcissist to being a caring and giving soul? Or from being exceptionally smart to being incredibly stupid?

On the one hand, there is no shortage of famous case studies to illustrate radical transformations in people’s reputation (their public persona). Sometimes these changes — like Miley Cyrus’s transformation from innocent Disney star to tongue-wielding twerker — seem more like carefully planned PR campaigns than true psychological journeys. But others do make us wonder if there’s something deeper going on inside. Bill Gates started as a stereotypical computer nerd, then turned into a talented entrepreneur, then morphed into a ruthless empire-builder, and then became the most charitable person on earth, giving away most of his — and his friends’ — wealth. The late Nelson Mandela, perhaps the least disputed moral figure of our times, had an arrogant, aggressive, and antisocial youth before inspiring everyone with his path of nonviolent resistance.

And yet scientific studies indicate that categorical changes in character are unusual. When there is change, it usually represents an amplification of our character. In other words, even when our patterns of change are unique, they are predictable: we simply become a more exaggerated version of ourselves. This happens in three different ways. First, we tend to interpret events according to our own personal biases, which only reinforces those biases. For instance, pessimists perceive ambivalent feedback as criticism, which, in turn, enhances their pessimism over time; the opposite happens with optimists. Second, we gravitate towards environments that are congruent with our own default attitudes and values. Hedonists seek pleasure and fun-loving people, which, in turn, makes them even more hedonistic. Aggressive people crave conflict and combat, which only augments their aggression. Altruists hang out with caring people and spend time helping others, which enhances their empathy and reinforces their selflessness. Third, our reputation does truly precede us: others (including strangers and acquaintances) make unconscious inferences about our character in order to explain our behavior and predict what we may do next. These intuitive evaluations may be inaccurate, but they are still self-fulfilling. With time, we morph into the person others think we are; their prejudiced and fantasized representation of us turns real and becomes ingrained in our identity. Reputation really is fate.

As a consequence, deliberate attempts to change are far less effective than we like to think, which is why most New Year’s resolutions are never accomplished — and why our long-term happiness levels are fairly constant and relatively immune to extreme life events (whether it is a painful divorce or the joys of winning the lottery).

Needless to say, some people are more capable of changing than others. Ironically, those individuals tend to be more pessimistic about their very chances of changing. Indeed, neurotic, introverted and insecure people are more likely to change, whereas highly adjusted and resilient individuals are less changeable. Likewise, optimism breeds overconfidence and hinders change by perpetuating false hopes and unrealistic expectations.

So, how can we change? The recipe for self-change is fairly straightforward — it is just hard to implement. In order to change, we need to start by building self-awareness, which is best achieved by obtaining (and believing) honest and critical feedback from others. Next, we must come up with a realistic strategy that focuses on attainable goals, such as changing a few specific behaviors (e.g., more eye contact, less shouting, more smiling, etc.) rather than substantial aspects of our personality (e.g., interpersonal sensitivity, empathy, and sociability). Finally, we will need an enormous amount of effort and dedication in order to both attain and maintain any desired changes — or we will quickly revert to our old habits. In short, change requires self-critical insight, humble goals, and indefatigable persistence. It means going against our nature and demands extraordinary levels of willpower.

So think carefully before you promise to change. And if you have tried to change and failed — well, you’ve got lots of company.

by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
 
 

By Rafael Aparicio

In today’s world, where competition is global and products so similar, brands go to great lengths to differentiate themselves from the rest, looking for new ways to attract customers to buy something that is essentially the exact same product as their competitors. Think soap, sneakers, electronics, even advertising agencies, almost everything today, including ideas, has become commoditized and has left people relying solely on one thing to make their decisions: brand. Some go for a nicer identity, smarter packaging, better customer service, the list goes on. Companies are constantly trying to find the slightest edge that can ultimately mean their key differential and set them apart.

Now imagine your group of friends being that differential.

Let me start off first by asking you this question: are you a brand? Yes, you. Do you consider yourself a brand? We accept David Beckham and Michael Jordan as brands, but somehow we tend to think “us mortals” are not, just because we’re not recognizable enough and don’t even have our own line of underwear. Just as the old saying goes, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” – well, “if you walk out to the street and no one recognizes you, are you still a brand?” I have to say the answer is yes, of course you are. Regardless of the power of your brand, it will still trigger a perception to those around you, and that’s what branding is all about: perceptions. It is up to you to go ahead and take control of how people perceive you, because if you don’t take control of your own brand, others will.  The way you talk, walk, behave, all adds up to that brand called you. Think of your group of friends, each has a set of traits that makes them – “them.” Are you the cool friend? The nerdy one? The jock?

Many of your friends make up for what you’re lacking. You might be shy, but thanks to that idiotic extroverted friend of yours, you now have a girlfriend. Now hold on to that thought and raise it to a professional level. We’ve all have had situations with clients or bosses where you are lacking some vital knowledge and you remind yourself of a friend that can help. So you call him up and voila! Problem solved. When they ask you how you managed to solve the problem you answer, “I just called up a friend.” Ah, the power of friendship: people sharing valuable knowledge and know-how just for the sake of friendship. That friend might just have helped you close a deal, and not only was he pleased to help you, he doesn’t expect much in return other than a beer or two – after all – ‘that’s what friends are for’.

Now imagine if instead of saying, “I called up a friend” as the reason of your solution, you tell your boss or client “I’m part of a knowledge network.” Not only that, you go ahead and put a name on that knowledge network and even slap on a logo and a slogan to it; You brand it. Suddenly the informality of “calling up a friend” transforms into this tangible, solid institution that can differentiate you.  Your clients don’t only think, “this guy has a friend” but rather, “this guy has access to knowledge.” You might think your personal brand is pretty cool, but your brand as part of a group brand might be even cooler. Both personal brands and group brands can leverage from each other. A personal brand might sell well, but people often overlook the potential group branding has.

Think of Marvel’s carefully thought-out 5 year plan to make box office history. Each “personal brand” was given its own spotlight to then conclude with the climactic ‘The Avengers’ movie, which went on to be the 3rd-highest grossing film of all time. Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Ironman – all of them built as solid personal brands – had movies launched year after year, knowing that the idea of having them together in one final movie would be irresistible to fans worldwide. That’s basically why the 1992 US Olympic Basketball team, better known as “The Dream Team” packed stadiums.  Michael Jordan was already amazing, but the idea of MJ alongside Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and the likes, was mind-blowing.

During my executive MBA at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, not only did I meet some of the world’s top advertising creatives and executives, I met true friends. Later on, back home in Bogotá, Colombia, working at my recently founded advertising agency, Raf & Mike, I had three occasions where “I called up a friend” needing their help, each for a special reason. Every time I came back to the client telling them “I talked to this person from this city” they were more than impressed. I thought to myself, “what if this calling up friends thing was more than that, what if it was organized and managed? What if it was branded?” They say behind every good brand there’s a good story – we already have the story, we are just missing the brand.

My thesis went on to research, not only branding but also the creation and management of knowledge networks, the academic foundation I needed to establish this new network and have the structural groundwork for a fluid knowledge network, not just a group of friends.

So tomorrow, I can walk into client boardrooms presenting my agency as part of one of the world’s most exclusive advertising and creative Knowledge-sharing Networks, ‘The Berlin Exchange’… 20 of some of the worlds top advertising creatives and executives at their reach. They let me pick their brains and I let them pick mine. It’s one big brain-picking fest, all because we believe in each other’s talent and good faith, something only friendship can build.

So think of your friends on a professional level, what can they bring to the table that you are lacking or that can reinforce and complement your knowledge? More importantly; what can you bring to the table? How could you brand your friendship?

You never know, that brand might be the one who sets you apart.

Rafael Aparicio Gómez is Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Raf & Mike, an advertising agency based in Bogotá, Colombia. Rafael is the first Colombian graduate from The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and has done award-winning work with brands like Coca-Cola, Unilever, SAB-Miller, and the Colombian Football Federation, to name a few. He is an Advertising and Marketing professional from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University and has work experience as General Creative Director for a local BTL agency and as copywriter for ad agency J. Walther Thompson. Oh, and he believes in friendship as well. 

 
 
A company’s culture can have a powerful impact on its performance. Culture is the glue that binds an organization together and it’s the hardest thing for competitors to copy. As a result, it can be a lasting source of competitive advantage. Take these examples: 

  • Kent Thiry builds a values-focused culture at DaVita and transforms the company from a laggard to the world’s leading provider of kidney dialysis services
  • Alan Mulally creates a “working–together” spirit at Ford Motor Company that focuses and re-energizes the automaker, reversing a decades-long slide in market share
  • Herb Kelleher fosters a culture of employee empowerment and cost containment at Southwest, enabling the airline to become one of the world’s most admired and profitable carriers
  • Steve Jobs builds a challenging culture at Apple — one where ”reality is suspended” and ”anything is possible”’ — and the company becomes the most valuable on the planet 
But culture doesn’t always produce great results. In fact, when my colleagues at Bain & Company surveyed more than 400 senior executives from large, global companies last year, they found that fewer than one in four felt that culture was very effective in supporting business performance at their company. The majority felt that their organization’s culture was largely disconnected from what it took to win.

Why this disconnect? In our experience, too many companies think of culture as a way to make people feel good about where they work and not as a way to help employees — hence the organization — perform better. High-performing companies think about culture differently. They know that winning cultures aren’t just about affiliation; they are also unashamedly about results.

Our research suggests that winning cultures are comprised of two interrelated and reinforcing elements. First, every high-performing company has a unique identity — distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other organizations. These characteristics give employees a sense of meaning just from being part of the company. They also create passion for what the company does.

Southwest Airlines is the classic example. Under Herb Kelleher’s leadership, the company became known for its sense of humor, irreverence, and focus on the employee. This unique identity not only made flying Southwest fun for passengers, it made its labor force more productive. Flight attendants, not cleaning crews, cleaned aircraft between flights, reducing time at the gate and improving on-time performance. Maintenance workers routinely devised better ways to maintain Southwest’s fleet of 737 aircrafts, lowering costs and improving up-time. The company’s unique identity reinforced many of the elements that were critical to Southwest’s strategy, such as keeping costs low. As a result, Southwest is the world’s largest low-cost carrier and is consistently among the most profitable airlines in the world.

Culture is more than just a unique identity, however. The best performing companies typically display a set of performance attributes that align with the company’s strategy and reinforce the right employee behaviors.  Our research revealed seven of these:

  1. Honest. There is high integrity in all interactions, with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders;
  2. Performance-focused. Rewards, development, and other talent-management practices are in sync with the underlying drivers of performance;
  3. Accountable and owner-like. Roles, responsibilities, and authority all reinforce ownership over work and results;
  4. Collaborative. There’s a recognition that the best ideas come from the exchange and sharing of ideas between individuals and teams;
  5. Agile and adaptive. The organization is able to turn on a dime when necessary and adapt to changes in the external environment;
  6. Innovative. Employees push the envelope in terms of new ways of thinking; and
  7. Oriented toward winning. There is strong ambition focused on objective measures of success, either versus the competition or against some absolute standard of excellence.
Few organizations exhibit all seven of these attributes. But high-performing organizations typically spike on the three or four that are most critical to their success.

Take Ford Motor Company. When Alan Mulally became CEO at Ford in 2006, the company operated in regional silos. As a result, the Ford Focus in Europe was different from the Ford Focus in the Americas. The company had too many brands, too many platforms, too many disparate parts, too many suppliers, and so on. To turn the automaker around, Mulally focused on building One Ford — a leadership model based on collaboration, innovation, and a desire to win (again). With time, leaders at the automaker started working together to simplify and streamline the company globally. They rationalized brands, consolidated automotive platforms, made options and parts more common and designs more innovative. In just three years, Ford went from losing share and money to gaining share and making money.

Culture plays a vital role in performance. Winning cultures treat performance as an explicit output and foster an environment that is conducive to generating the best possible results — not just for employees, but for customers, suppliers, and, yes, even shareholders.

by Michael C. Mankins 
 
 
Exercise Good Meeting Hygiene 

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Don't contribute to the dread. Next time you need to gather people together to advance your project, make sure you do the following to make your meeting worthwhile:

  • Make sure it's necessary. Before sending out the invite, ask yourself whether there's another way to move the project forward. Can you get input via e-mail? Can you gather a sub-group to solve the current issue?
  • Be clear about the objective. State the purpose of the meeting in the invite and again at the beginning of the meeting. Be sure to explain how the meeting will advance the overall project goals.
  • Focus. Just because you have an hour scheduled, don't take it. Keep the discussion centered and avoid unnecessary side conversations.

Adapted from Guide to Project Management.

 
 
Although the ghost of the Great Man still haunts leadership studies, most of us have recognized by now that successful organizations are the product of distributive, collective, and complementary leadership. The first step in putting together such a team is to identify each member of the team’s personality makeup and leadership style, so that strengths and competences can be matched to particular roles and challenges. Getting this match wrong can bring misery to all concerned and cause considerable damage.

I was once asked to facilitate in a group coaching intervention for the leadership team at the subsidiary of a large chemical company. A year before Kate (not her real name, the head of the subsidiary) had been moved from head office to take charge. At head office she had always been viewed as a person extremely insightful about personnel decisions. Given her talents in HR, she was seen a good candidate to sort out the mess in that particular subsidiary. It was a big leap in terms of promotion but Kate was given a chance.

Unfortunately, I quickly realized that her tenure had been a disaster. She may have been a good coach but didn’t have what it takes to create greater strategic focus and execute a turnaround. A great amount of money had been spent on consultants and on training a workforce that had no clearer idea at the end of 12 months what they were doing or why. What had dazzled the people at head office had been Kate’s coaching and communication skills. She was at sea, however, in a more operational role.

What can be done to prevent a situation like the one with Kate? There are a number of serious leadership questionnaires that are worlds away from the enneagrams and compatibility tests that litter the coaching circuit. Some of these try to identify certain recurring behavior patterns considered more or less effective in a leadership context. We have also tests to discover whether executives are people or task oriented, autocratic or democratic, transactional or transformational, and variations on all of these. These sorts of questionnaire may be a bit simplistic, but they can help point someone in the right direction on a career or organizational path.

My own approach to leadership assessment is based on observational studies of real leaders, mostly at the strategic apex of their organizations. My aim is to help them see and understand that their attitudes and interactions with people are the result of a complex confluence of their inner theater (including relationships with authority figures early in life), significant life experiences, examples set by other executives, and formal leadership training.

As these influences play out over time, one typically sees a number of recurring patterns of behavior that influence an individual’s effectiveness within an organization.  I think of these patterns as leadership “archetypes,” reflecting the various roles executives can play in organizations and it is a lack of fit between a leader’s archetype and the context in which he or she operates is a main cause of team and organizational dysfunctionality and executive failure.   The eight archetypes I have found to be most prominent are:

  • The strategist: leadership as a game of chess. These people are good at dealing with developments in the organization’s environment. They provide vision, strategic direction and outside-the-box thinking to create new organizational forms and generate future growth.
  • The change-catalyst: leadership as a turnaround activity. These executives love messy situations. They are masters at re-engineering and creating new organizational ‘‘blueprints.’’
  • The transactor: leadership as deal making. These executives are great dealmakers. Skilled at identifying and tackling new opportunities, they thrive on negotiations.
  • The builder: leadership as an entrepreneurial activity. These executives dream of creating something and have the talent and determination to make their dream come true.
  • The innovator: leadership as creative idea generation. These people are focused on the new. They possess a great capacity to solve extremely difficult problems.
  • The processor: leadership as an exercise in efficiency. These executives like organizations to be smoothly running, well-oiled machines. They are very effective at setting up the structures and systems needed to support an organization’s objectives.
  • The coach: leadership as a form of people development. These executives know how to get the best out of people, thus creating high performance cultures.
  • The communicator: leadership as stage management. These executives are great influencers, and have a considerable impact on their surroundings.
Working out which types of leaders you have on your team can work wonders for your effectiveness as a group.  It helps you to recognize how you and your colleagues can individually make their best contributions. This will in turn create a culture of mutual support and trust, reduce team stress and conflict, and make for more creative problem solving. It also informs your search for new additions to the team: what kinds of personality and skills are you missing?

Kate’s story had a happy ending. The group coaching session made it clear that the problem was not so much Kate’s lack of ability but rather that team lacked specific leadership qualities.  If the team incorporated an executive with a strategic outlook and who had turnaround skills and experience then Kate’s skills as a communicator and coach would be more effectively leveraged to resolve the subsidiary’s crisis. After talking to the head of talent management at head office we were able to identify exactly such a person, creating a more rounded team and helping Kate to fulfill her mandate.

by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries 

 
 
Your firm's employees work hard (well, most of them). And in a world where corporations like to boast about running "lean and mean," it may seem nearly impossible to compensate employees for doing good work without breaking the budget.

The good news? You don't have to. A January 2007 survey by staffing firmAccountemps found that “frequent recognition of accomplishments” was the top non-monetary compensation named by full- and part-time office workers, with “regular communication” coming in at No. 2. Both activities can make your staff more productive without shaving one millimeter off your bottom line.

We talked to management consultants, HR pros, career coaches, book authors and bosses from a range of industries to glean the 25 best ways to reward employees without breaking the bank. Here's their hard-earned advice.

1. Flex those hours. If there's one free reward that rises above the rest, it's flexible work schedules. Nearly every expert we contacted suggested flex time as a perk that offers the most gain with the least pain. 

“Give a little latitude in determining work schedules and to take time for family or personal issues (such as doctor’s appointment and banking errands),” advised Richard Martin, president of Alcera Consulting Inc. “As long as the employee is deserving and doesn’t abuse the privilege, this can go a long way to building trusting and mature relationships with key workers.”

2. Send a handwritten note. Supervisors should ask top brass to write a personal note to employees who deserve recognition, advised Cindy Ventrice, author of "Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works." For example, AdvancedMD CEO Jim Pack handwrites his thank-you notes to employees on a $2 bill. “In three years of doing this, only one employee has asked if he could spend it,” said company spokesman John Pilmer.

3. Make work fun. “During a business coaching engagement, I found employee morale to be way down,” said Terri Levine, president of The Coaching Institute. “We created a weekly event to boost morale. One week we asked everyone to bring in a baby picture, post it on a wall, then pick which person matched each picture. Everyone was having fun and socializing while productivity went from 58 percent to 72 percent — all in the same week.”

4. Help them connect. Introducing employees to key suppliers, customers or someone in senior management can help make an employee's career, says Ventrice — and it won't cost you a thing.

5. Lose the shoes.
 Kaerie Ray, an account executive with the Echo Media Group public relations firm, said implementing a “no-shoes policy” can make employees feel right at home with each other, which translates into increased productivity. (But she suggests keeping the footwear handy in case clients come in.) “It's great to be in an office where employees are more concerned about doing quality work than what shoes or jewelry they have on,” she said. “We get so much done.”

6. Send them to the showers.
 (As in parties, not lathering and rinsing.) “Every birth and wedding deserves a shower,” said Ray. “Echo employees always leave early on shower days, and the food is on the house. No need to make up the time.”

7. Reward effort as well as success. Even if their ideas sometimes fail, you want employees to keep producing them, said Alan Weiss, president of the Summit Consulting Group Inc. “When I consulted with the CEO of Calgon, we created an annual award for 'the best idea that didn't work' and presented a loving cup at the annual awards dinner. This stimulated innovation and positive behavior, not 'winning.'”

8. Give them a free pass. Levine suggests giving out a certain number of free days off to employees to use as they see fit. “Employees get a few of these a year and can use them as they like,” she said. “They don't have to pretend to be sick. They can go to the beach, read a book, play with their kids ... it doesn't matter.”

9. Dole out cream and sugar. During the busiest times of the year, executives at the Cigna Group push coffee carts around the office, serving drinks and refreshments to their colleagues, noted Steve Harrison, author of "The Manager's Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Build Great Companies." As they serve, executives coach and encourage colleagues and hear about real consumer issues.

10. Blow out the candles. Cisco Systems Inc.'s CEO John Chambers hosts a monthly hour-long birthday breakfast for any employee with a birthday that month, says Harrison. “Employees are invited to ask him anything. They feel recognized, and he gains loyal employees who share their ideas.”

11. Spread the love. Ask co-workers to write something they truly like or admire about an employee on a scrap of paper, then frame them along with a photograph of the employee, suggested David Russell, author of "Success With People – A Complete System for Effectively Managing People in Any Organization." 

12. Offer a swap. Giving your best employees a chance to pick their own projects or trade tasks with a colleague empowers and rewards them at the same time, said Harrison.

13. Applaud their efforts — literally. If someone has done something really worthwhile, have your entire staff give them a standing ovation at the next meeting, suggested Sharlyn Lauby, president of HR consulting firm ITM Group Inc.

14. Say it with flowers. 
Professor Linda M. Lopeke, principal ofSmartStartCoach.com, sayid she used to reward top employees by bringing in flowers from her garden and arranging them in a spectacular crystal vase on their desks. “Everybody knew what having the custody of the flowers meant,” she said. “Surprisingly, even the men competed fiercely for custody of the flowers.” In the winter, she'd substitute a showpiece display of floating glass fish.

15. Walk it as you talk it. The City of Dallas sponsored a walkathon where employees set goals for walking a certain number of steps each day, offering a free gym membership to those who walked the farthest. Not only did they get more fit, they turned their daily walks into traveling staff meetings, says city spokeswoman Danielle McCelland.

“Group members were able to update one another on projects, solicit team input and improve their fitness,” she said. “The organized program ended after three weeks, but the work group still holds their traveling staff meetings two months later.”

16. Pass the bucks. Handing out monopoly money that can be redeemed for gifts and other goodies may not be strictly free, but it pays off handsomely in the long run. For example, associates at BankAtlantic can pass out “WOW! Bucks” to colleagues who've done something outstanding, said bank vice president Gregory Dalmotte. The bucks can eventually be traded in for real goods. “There's a clear correlation that words of encouragement have created associates who perform at a higher level,” he says.

17. Share the memories. “My team created a scrapbook chronicling the impact I'd had on their company and gave it to me on my last day in the office,” said Lopeke. “People who’d worked on my teams wrote testimonials and creative graphics highlighting some our team successes. It's the best gift I ever received in my 40-year career.”

18. Elect them to the Wall of Fame. Several experts suggested setting aside a public space inside your firm and placing photos of employees who've accomplished something truly special, along with the details of what they did to earn their place on the wall.

19. Create your own "Club Med." 
Set aside a quiet space or unused office in your building where employees can meditate, chill out, nap or otherwise re-center themselves, said John Putzier, author of "Get Weird! 101 Innovative Ways to Make Your Company a Great Place to Work." 

20. Stoke their passion. “Great employees are not mercenaries,” said Dr. Richard Chang, CEO of Richard Chang Associates Inc., a performance-improvement consultancy. “They don’t just want to enjoy their work, they want to be passionate about it ... if you want your employees to feel valued and inspire their passion on your behalf, encourage them to make their own decisions. You can have systems in place to control the implementation of ideas, but you must be certain not to compromise the enthusiasm, creativity and hard work that make them possible in the first place.”

21. Give them a place to park it.
 Reserve the best parking spot for employees who've done something truly worthwhile, said Lopeke. And if it's next to the CEO's Lexus so the employee can chat him or her up on the way into work, so much the better.

22. Remember the spouses.
 Independent management consultant Nan Amish recalled one time when she had 16 employees trapped in a hotel lobby on a Sunday night, waiting for the ballroom to open so they could set up a trade-show booth. “I bought flowers at a farmers market, a nice $6 bouquet of roses for each person,” she said. “I told them to take them home to their significant others, apologizing for me taking them away from their families on a Sunday. The next day I got thank-yous from most of them. One wife sent a letter saying I could keep her husband until Friday.”

23. Publicize their successes. “We like to publicly recognize employees so the whole company can share in their accomplishments,” noted Scott Ragusa, president of contract businesses for staffing firm The Winter, Wyman Companies. “Each week, nominations for our quarterly 'Clutch' award are shared with the whole company. The Clutch nominations are a way to recognize our administrative and nonmanagerial professional staff members who have come through in the clutch in supporting their departments or the firm.”

24. Let them phone it in. Telecommuting programs can relieve stress and make workers feel more appreciated, as well as more productive. “Reward the employee by starting with one day of telecommuting, then add additional days as performance heightens,” suggested Brian Margarita, president of IT staffing firm TalentFuse Inc. “Having the option to cart the kids to soccer practice, visit the beach during the afternoon or cut out early to avoid traffic congestion is becoming more important than working an 80-hour week for a larger paycheck.”

25. Remember the secret words. “The two most underused words in corporate America that get the highest ROI (return on investment) and ROT (return on your time) are the simple words 'thank you,'” noted Michael Guld, president of the Guld Resource Group author of "The Million Dollar Media Rep: How to Become a Television and Radio Sales Superstar." 

While telling your employees you appreciate them should be obvious, added Amish, no one does it enough or is specific enough about what the employee did. “So when you share your appreciation, be specific about what you really liked, so they not only feel appreciated but can do it again.” 

By Dan Tynan

25 Ways to Reward Employees (Without Spending a Dime)
 
 
When I took over as CEO of Intralinks,  a company that provides secure web based electronic deal rooms, the company was hemorrhaging so much cash that its survival was at stake. The service was going down three times per week; we were in violation of the contract with our largest client; our chief administrative officer had just been demoted, and so on.

So, what I do on my first day? I spent more than four hours  listening in to client support calls at the call center.  I shared headsets with many of the team, moving from desk to desk to speak to the reps. To say they were surprised is an understatement: Many CEOs never visit the call center, and virtually none do it their first afternoon on the job.

I made this my priority partly because I wanted to know what customers were saying—but also to make an internal statement. I knew there had to be some radical changes to behaviors, expectations, and attitudes.  There was no time to be subtle.  I needed to show I was different, that things were going to be different, and I needed to establish trust as quickly as possible.

In leading various companies over the years, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that establishing trust is the top priority. Whether you are taking over a small department, an entire division, a company, or even a Boy Scout troop, the first thing you must get is the trust of the members of that entity.  When asked, most leaders will agree to this notion, but few do anything to act on it.

Without trust, it is very unlikely you will learn the truth on what is really going on in that organization and in the market place.  Without trust, employees won’t level with you—at best, you’ll learn either non-truths or part truths. I see this all too frequently. Sometimes employees will go out of their way to hoard and distort the truth.

The best way to start building trust to take the time and meet as many individual contributors as you can as soon as you can. In addition to meeting customers, meeting rank-and-file employees should be your top priority.

This is not a common approach. Many leaders see their role as directing and giving information, rather than gathering.  There is pressure to “come up with the answer” quickly or risk looking weak.  Too many new leaders believe they’re expected to know the answer without input or guidance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Doing this correctly takes time—but less than you might think. The meetings can be on one on one or small groups.  The sessions can’t be rushed.  In the first few weeks I’d suggest you spend up to half your time in these meetings. Take a pad and take notes.  Listen intently.  A simple but effective open-ended question is: “If you were put into my role tomorrow, what would be the first three things you’d do and why?”  Or: “What are the three biggest barriers to our success, and what are our three biggest opportunities we have?” Really great ideas can emerge from these meetings—along with some really mediocre ones—but it’s your job to filter and prioritize them. First, gather the information.

Later on my first day at Intralinks, I began arranging meetings with individual contributors. That’s where my learning really began. Over the next few weeks I met with over 60 individual contributors. Not only did I learn a lot, but I convinced them that I cared what they thought and could be trusted with the truth.

In the middle of my first week as CEO, one of the company’s original VCs called. “So, what’s your plan?” he asked. I said I have to spend a few weeks learning. He was incredulous that I did not have a pre-baked plan. I was incredulous he thought that I should.

Over those weeks I learned how unhappy clients were with our complex bills, why service went down so often, why our pricing gave our clients headaches, that 80% of the customer calls could be eliminated with a simple fix to our service, and that clients wanted predictability of expenditures with us.

After six weeks, I had enough information to return to the management team with specific recommendations on what I thought we should do. Instead of just laying this out in an all-hands meeting, I began laying out the plan in one-on-one meetings in which I talked about how each individual’s feedback had helped guide my thinking. This created a tremendous buy in among all levels of the team.

By mid March, after only 10 weeks on the job, we rolled out the new plan. By the end of the year we’d signed 150 new long-term contracts (up from zero), revenue was up by almost 600%, our burn rate was cut by 75%, and we’d positioned ourselves to raise a $50 million round of financing a few months later in the heart of the dot.com winter.

None of this could have happened without building the trust of the team. New leaders must remember that many of the best insights on how to fix a company lie with employees further down the org chart. Creating a trusting, honest dialogue with these key personnel should be every new leader’s top priority.

by Jim Dougherty  

The Best Way For New Leaders To Build Trust 
Harvard Business Review
 
 
When people feel connected to you, even difficult conversations feel less threating. Here are three tips to forge stronger bonds with your employees:

  • Relate whenever you can. View every interaction as an opportunity to get to know someone a little better. Make a habit of asking employees one question about their work or their personal lives each time you encounter them.
  • Take note of subtleties. People seek emotional connection through countless small “bids” for attention—questions, gestures, or looks. Take stock of how much you notice these cues . You might also solicit some feedback from friends and family on how well you listen and respond to social cues in general.
  • Regularly express appreciation. Research shows that the ratio of positive to negative interactions is 5:1 in a successful relationship. You don’t need to pay someone five compliments before offering criticism, but do be mindful of the ratio.
 

Human Resources

12/12/2013

 
Learning styles are various approaches to ways of learning. They involve different methods which allow individuals to learn best. Most people prefer an identifiable method of interacting with, taking in, and processing information.

There are three different learning styles:

1. Visual Learners

  • Learns best through seeing them.
  • Benefits from illustrations & presentations in color.
  • Takes notes and needs to see things in writing.

2. Auditory Learners

  • Learns things best through sounds.
  • Acquires knowledge by reading things aloud.
  • Sits where they can hear but doesn't need to pay attention to what is happening.

3.. Kinesthetic Learners

  • Learns things best by performing them.
  • Communicates by touching, such as a pat on the back.
  • Needs to be active and take frequent breaks.