Leadership

2019-every-great-leader

Every Great Leader Has This Quality – Do You?

Courage is a trait possessed by all great leaders. So much so, that leadership absent courage is nothing short of a farce. Let me be very clear – I’m not advocating for bravado, arrogance, or an overabundance of hubris, but rather the courage necessary to stay the course and to do the right things. I believe […]

Courage is a trait possessed by all great leaders. So much so, that leadership absent courage is nothing short of a farce. Let me be very clear – I’m not advocating for bravado, arrogance, or an overabundance of hubris, but rather the courage necessary to stay the course and to do the right things. I believe it was Aristotle who referred to courage as the first virtue, because it makes all of the other virtues possible. Many leaders think they have courage – few actually do.

Standing behind decisions everyone supports doesn’t particularly require a lot of chutzpa. On the other hand, standing behind what one believes is the right decision in the face of tremendous controversy is the stuff great leaders are made of. Courage enables leaders to break from the norm, to work in collaboration not isolation, challenge the status quo, seek new opportunities, cut your losses, make the tough decision, listen rather than speak, admit your faults, forgive the faults of others, not allow failure to dampen your spirit, stand for those not capable of standing for themselves, and to remain true to your core values. You can do none of these things without courage. Courage is having the strength of conviction to do the right thing when it would just be easier to do things right.

The best thing about courage is that a lack thereof can be overcome. Courage is teachable and therefore it is learnable – proof of this can be found in every instance of overcoming a fear. Courage should not be defined as the absence of fear – that’s ignorance. Courage is finding the strength to move ahead in the presence of fear. In short, courage isn’t a skill, it is a decision. Here’s the thing – we’ll all be remembered for the decisions we make or don’t make, and the courage we display, or that we fail to exercise. Will you pursue courage or will you just continue with your routine of doing nothing more than what’s expected of you. Real leadership is about more than checking off boxes.

There are great rewards for those who choose the path of courage. Courage will give you the confidence and humility to accept courage in others rather than stifle it. Courageous leaders invite others to challenge their thinking and encourage (no pun intended) dissenting opinion. Leaders who consistently demonstrate courage will stand apart from the masses, and earn the trust and loyalty of those whom they lead. As a general rule, most people can be characterized by their courage or their lack thereof:

  • In the corporate world those who demonstrate courage stand apart as innovators and opinion leaders, those who display a lack of courage are viewed as ”yes men” who are the politically correct defenders of status quo.
  • In the military great courage is often referred to as heroism, while a lack of courage will brand you a coward.
  • On the stage of world affairs those who display courage are statesmen, and those who don’t are politicians.
  • In relationships courage will show you to be a trusted friend, whereas the absence of courage will reveal you as a gossip, adversary, or even enemy.

Each day brings with it a new set of challenges, and the best any of us can hope for is that we will have the courage and character to stand behind our personal beliefs and convictions regardless of public opinion or outcome. Courage will make you faithful, where a lack thereof will cause you to be fearful. Whether you look back on your personal experience or a greater historical reference, you’ll find it is always better to stand for courage than regret failing to do so. Leadership always begins with one courageous act – making a decision. Will you decide to be courageous?


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Mike Myatt is a leadership advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and their Board of Directors.  Widely regarded as America’s Top CEO Coach, he is recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on leadership.  He is the bestselling author of Hacking Leadership and Leadership Matters, and a Forbes leadership columnist.

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Maximizing ROI from your recruiting process.

Approximately 70% of companies in the Life Sciences industry utilize a recruiting/staffing service provider to increase their network of qualified professionals and leaders. Why? There is a war for talent.  GTS Scientific was founded to provide a recruiting service for highly regarded life science organizations in need of an efficient screening and selection process.  As […]

Approximately 70% of companies in the Life Sciences industry utilize a recruiting/staffing service provider to increase their network of qualified professionals and leaders. Why? There is a war for talent.  GTS Scientific was founded to provide a recruiting service for highly regarded life science organizations in need of an efficient screening and selection process.  As a service provider, direct communication with the decision maker generates all the difference in the hiring process.

A talent acquisition strategy that aligns the interest of the end user, with that of the recruiting fulfillment team is preferable. On average, this 30-minute time investment at the beginning of the search process saves days, weeks and even months of time saved at the end of the search. ROI in this process is achieved through clear communication and most importantly a Decision Maker Intake Call (DMIC).

The most important aspect of the DMIC is the information that isn’t apparent on most job boards.  Many of these job descriptions provide an ample number of “requirements.”  The intake call requires the decision maker to select at most five of those requirements versus the 15-20 seen on formal job descriptions.  Which new hire do you remember having 20 of 20 requirements “necessary” for the role?  As talent acquisition advisors, it’s our obligation to consult the hiring manager on realistic expectations from the labor market.

The DMIC also provides detail on the organization’s market position: Are they a small, medium, or large-sized company?  How are they funded?  What does career advancement look like for an interested candidate after 12 to 24 months in the role?  These factors often determine whether the qualified candidate would be interested in the company and more importantly the long-term opportunity.

Even great operating companies often substitute the DMIC between their internal hiring manager and their recruiting service with less helpful techniques. These substitutions are paper job descriptions (often dated), or a requisition call with their internal human resources or talent acquisition representative; who at times doesn’t weigh in on the final hiring decision and often does not conduct the final interview. Each of these scenarios put the service provider in an adverse situation, left to interpret the decision maker’s request via a paper trail, or word of mouth.

Additional expectations are set during the DMIC regarding the interview process.  Most recruiters have spoken with hiring managers who would like to “interview 5-10 good candidates in order to make a decision”.  As talent acquisition advisors our role is to consult with the decision maker advising a reasonable number of candidates that are available and interested in the company and career opportunity. Hiring managers miss out on talent by extending the interview process and waiting for comparison candidates.  Four qualified candidates, at most, is what we advise for technical skill sets.  For the most niche skill sets the number of qualified candidates can be as few as one or two.  In the current labor market, qualified candidates will accept competing offers if the decision maker hesitates and wants to conduct comparison interviews.

In 2018, GTS Scientific was five times more likely to fill a hiring manager or decision makers requisition in the first 45 days when a DMIC took place. Furthermore, GTS averaged three candidates to interview for every offer accepted – 3:1 interview to offer ratio versus 5:1 interview to offer ratio – for requirements lacking a DMIC.

A 30-minute time allocation by the decision maker with their service provider before the recruiting process begins is rewarded with great service and the proper candidates.  Assuming the average interview takes 30 minutes and three managers will interview each candidate, the DMIC saves clients 2½ hours per position on unnecessary interviews alone. Providing data and analytics to a decision maker is the best way to show the operational excellence the intake call provides.

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It’s time to restore funding to PA’s tech-based job-creation engine

Launched more than 35 years ago, Ben Franklin Technology Partners was ahead of its time. In 1983, with steel and other industries in decline, unemployment was high, and Pennsylvania’s economy was reeling. The state needed a bridge between its struggling heavy manufacturing economy and the technology-based economy that would carry it forward. Enter Ben Franklin. […]

Launched more than 35 years ago, Ben Franklin Technology Partners was ahead of its time. In 1983, with steel and other industries in decline, unemployment was high, and Pennsylvania’s economy was reeling. The state needed a bridge between its struggling heavy manufacturing economy and the technology-based economy that would carry it forward. Enter Ben Franklin.

By every measure, the plan worked. The statewide initiative accelerated the development of technology-based industries by investing in start-ups and funding innovation in established manufacturers. Serving all 67 Pennsylvania counties through four regionally-based centers, including the northeastern center located in Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, Ben Franklin became one of the most widely known and emulated technology-based economic development programs in the nation.

Since its inception, Ben Franklin has invested in more than 4,500 technology-based companies and boosted the state’s economy by more than $25 billion, helping to generate 148,000 jobs through investments in client firms and spinoff companies in Pennsylvania.

However, all of this success is at risk. This recognized international gold standard in tech-based economic development is starved for financial support.

Since 2007-08, state funding for Ben Franklin has dropped approximately 50 percent, from $28 million to $14.5 million per year. Pennsylvania’s current budget draft for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1, would keep funding at the reduced level, which is about half of the amount that it has received over most of its history. Because of diminished funding, Ben Franklin has already been unable to invest in some deserving companies and has seriously short-funded others.

Ben Franklin significantly increases the success rate of the highest-potential early-stage technology firms. It also supports established manufacturers by leveraging technological innovation in Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to implement product and process improvements that allow clients to be more globally competitive. Ben Franklin identifies and evaluates investment opportunities, selects the most promising ones, and provides companies with crucial resources as they strive to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
Clients come from a variety of industries — from computer software, hardware, and telecommunications, to robotics and industrial machinery manufacturing, to life sciences, including pharmaceutical, biotech, instrumentation, and medical devices. Clients are technology-intensive, investing in research and development, intellectual property, and capital equipment, and creating highly paid sustainable Pennsylvania jobs.

Ben Franklin invests more than money alone. It surrounds clients with internal and external experts in accounting and finance, marketing, intellectual property protection, supply chain management, and other disciplines. Ben Franklin’s “secret sauce” is providing high-value, enterprise-wide support, often working with clients for many years. The process is labor intensive, customized, and has been developed over three and a half decades of experience.

The formula works. According to an in-depth analysis by two nonpartisan research organizations, The Pennsylvania Economy League and KLIOS Consulting, Ben Franklin helped to create 11,407 high-paying jobs, generated $386 million in tax receipts for the state, and boosted the commonwealth’s economy by $4.1 billion between 2012 and 2016.

Among the reasons for the large impact on the state’s GSP is that these jobs are in industries that pay annual salaries of $79,364 per year, or 52 percent higher than the average private nonfarm salary in Pennsylvania.

Every dollar invested by the state into Ben Franklin generates $3.90 in additional state taxes, the analysis found. Pennsylvania received a total of $386 million in additional state tax receipts as a result of Ben Franklin investments in clients.

Other states recognize Ben Franklin as a smart investment, which is why so many have launched their own high-tech economic development programs. In fact, a recent analysis of state funding support for technology-led economic development programs in 13 comparable and competitive states found that Pennsylvania’s per capita spending of $1.37 was second to lowest. The average state spending per capita in that study was $5.67, more than four times Pennsylvania’s level. Neighboring states like Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio all surpass Pennsylvania in funding.

Innovation is the key to long-term economic prosperity. States that harness innovation, and the companies associated with it, are capturing a disproportionate share of economic growth.

Less funding for Ben Franklin Technology Partners means lost opportunities, and fewer highly paid, sustainable jobs — now and in the future. It’s time to restore state funding to Pennsylvania’s technology-based job-creation engine. What’s lost by underfunding Ben Franklin is lost forever.

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The 4Cs of Building Trust

Trust is a fun word for organizations to throw around. They use it as part of branding with customers. They build employee cultures around it. They attribute it to the ability for someone to lead. Trust is a vital ingredient for sustainable success. But where does it come from? 1. Trust must be built. Sometimes […]

Trust is a fun word for organizations to throw around. They use it as part of branding with customers. They build employee cultures around it. They attribute it to the ability for someone to lead. Trust is a vital ingredient for sustainable success. But where does it come from?

1. Trust must be built. Sometimes you’ll hear phrases “I have asked for their trust” or “I’ve decided to trust him for now.” This can imply that trust is a decision or choice. But these phrases are almost always a one-time offer after trust has already been breached and are also limited in their scope.

Trust can be lost through an action or decision but must be built up over time across a series of actions. If you already have an established culture of trust, that will certainly reduce the friction of making your strategy work. Do not ask for people’s trust; instead, take deliberate actions to build it. The next four items cover care, communication, competence, and consistency as ingredients for trust.

2. Demonstration of care. If people do not believe that you care about them, their outcomes, or their circumstances, it is very difficult to build trust. This is usually considered from an ethical perspective, meaning that people’s ethics dictate that individuals and organizations should care about one another. But care does not just have to ethical, as long as it is genuine, it can be functional or operational as well.

Let’s start with a definition of the duty of care, a legal term used to describe situations where people must, legally speaking, care. This essentially means that you have taken care in situations that could do harm to others. You may think that “taking care” and “caring” are fundamentally different, but to the recipient, the experience is identical. The point is, whether your motivation is ethical or functional, the perspective of care will give people certain experiences, and those experiences will lead to impressions, and those impressions will build trust. Said another way, your actions speak louder than your intentions.

3. Communication provides context. People will draw conclusions based on their experiences whether you want them to or not. The question is, do they have all the information needed to draw an accurate conclusion. If you do not communicate effectively and thoroughly, those information gaps will be filled in with rumor, doubt, and fear.

Part of building trust through communication includes feedback behind bad news. Whether it is an evaluation or a rejection of an idea, people need to hear the “why” behind those decisions. They may not like the decision, but if you effectively communicate, then they can at least trust that you did not withhold information. It is quite possible, and frankly important, to be able to trust someone even if you don’t agree with them.

4. Competency delivers on the promise. This goes both ways. When a leader promises something, people must believe that the leader is competent enough to deliver on that promise. If it sounds good, but a leader cannot deliver the result, then what will someone expect the next time?

This also works in the other direction. For a leader to empower their team, then they must assume a competence to deliver on what they were empowered to do. If an individual or team is not competent to deliver what is expected, then the leader’s behaviors will reflect that, and trust will deteriorate.

Overall, there are two systematic actions that help. First, the continuous development of people to build competence. Second, making competency transparent. Knowing that there are gaps and that we understand them, and that we are making efforts to close them, builds the trust of competence.

5. Be consistent. The final factor is that all of the above must be done with consistency. If, for example, you demonstrate care sometimes, and disregard it other times, then all of your good intentions will be for naught. Just like product brands, trust is built through consistency fulfilling your promise.

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How Smart Leaders Unlock Hidden Value

Leaders who fail to unlock hidden value in their business are ceding opportunity to others. If you’re a leader who’s been anesthetized by the routine you have a huge problem – you are not leading. Leadership is a game for the mentally agile, not the brain dead. Sound harsh? It’s meant to. While most of the world has […]

Leaders who fail to unlock hidden value in their business are ceding opportunity to others. If you’re a leader who’s been anesthetized by the routine you have a huge problem – you are not leading. Leadership is a game for the mentally agile, not the brain dead. Sound harsh? It’s meant to. While most of the world has succumbed to a static life imprisoned by the limitations of their own mind, real leaders are always looking beyond what is, thinking about the possibilities of what if, and acting to ensure what’s next.

What if? What if you could reinvent your business? What if you could change the perception of your brand? What if you could break from the status quo? What if you could attract better talent? What if you could reenergize your corporate culture? What if you could make the changes you know you need to make? What if? To the one, great leaders aggressively pursue what if – do you?

I’ve always said status quo is mediocrity’s best friend. While static thinking is the best short cut to obsolescence you’ll ever find, why would you want to travel that path? The sad thing is, I observe many more people willing to travel a path of ruin than I do people willing to change their thinking. While companies destined to fail reward average thinking, successful companies reward the bold thinking revealed through the microscope of what if?

Much has been written about the power of creative thinking, ideation, disruptive innovation, etc., but little has been written on how to successfully implement these processes. If you’ve ever wondered how to find those “ah-ha” moments, they all begin through observations inspired by asking what if? Just because what I’m espousing today is simple doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. While many so-called business gurus sell profit through complexity, the reality is leaders rarely profit from complexity – real profit is found in the pure elegance of simplicity.

Change doesn’t need to be complex. In fact, what’s more simple than using the filter of what if? It doesn’t require any special skills or ability, just the willingness to look beyond what presently exists. Let me be as clear as I can – there is simply no reason to continue to do things that make no sense. Ask yourself this question, when was the last time you did something for the first time? Leadership and herd mentality should have nothing to do with one another. If you want to become a better leader stop doing things the way they’ve always been done – don’t copy create.

What if Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t ask what if search could be more simple and relevant? What if Steve Jobs failed to ask what if you combined technology and design to create the ultimate customer experience? What if Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos didn’t ask what if about almost everything? Real leaders are open to the possibility that most things not only can, but should be improved upon. They understand it’s the ability to innovate and change which creates competitive advantage, adds value, and ensures sustainability.

The process of unleashing what if begins with not painting yourself into corners. Perhaps the single greatest barrier impeding the transition from what is to what if is allowing yourself to fall into the trap of either/or thinking. The best leaders realize there’s rarely a good reason to juxtapose one option against another. This is simply a false paradigm created by intellectually dishonest rationalizations. The sole use of A/B frameworks as a decision-making model unnecessarily limit opportunity by impeding creative thought and innovation. The job of a leader is to create, expand and preserve options – not limit them.

Utilizing what if thinking allows you to maximize the present while securing the future. The best leaders know how to attain desired outcomes while remaining discovery driven. It’s clearly important to achieve short-term hurdles, but not at the expense of long-term sustainability. Smart leaders understand the present is simply a springboard to the future. Absent an aggressive forward leaning bias, short-term wins will represent little more than pyrrhic victories as the innovators, the what if thinkers, pass you by.

My recommendation is a simple one – not only do I suggest you put everything you do through a “what if audit,” but ask your team to do the same thing. Question: What if you challenged everything, slaughtered a few sacred cows, and stopped holding false truths as real? Answer: creativity would be inspired, innovation would occur, and things would change for the better. Remember, conventional wisdom usually isn’t.


 

mike_myatt head shot

Mike Myatt is a leadership advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and their Board of Directors.  Widely regarded as America’s Top CEO Coach, he is recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on leadership.  He is the bestselling author of Hacking Leadership and Leadership Matters, and a Forbes leadership columnist.

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Teach Me to Fish – The importance of mentoring in the growth of your business

You came up with a great idea. You built your business. You hired the right team. Now what? You build them up. Every. Single. Day. Hire for Attitude: Hire people who work hard, are passionate about the field, and are genuinely interested, personable and kind. Find the characteristics you cannot teach and then focus on […]

You came up with a great idea. You built your business. You hired the right team. Now what? You build them up. Every. Single. Day.

Hire for Attitude:
Hire people who work hard, are passionate about the field, and are genuinely interested, personable and kind. Find the characteristics you cannot teach and then focus on teaching the skills needed to do the job.  Of course, do not ignore the technical skills required, but do not overlook someone awesome because they haven’t learned one particular computer program yet. Helping someone grow into their potential is an extremely rewarding experience that motivates an entire team!

 

Offer Training:
Onboarding, a new team member, is vitally important to the success they find in your organization. Taking the time to train each person in his or her respective roles properly can take a lot of time, but you get back what you put in. Invest up front by making yourself available for questions and feedback. Schedule meetings for the one week, one month, three month and six-month marks. Be open to suggestions and make improvements where needed.  Consider online courses and training options to help your team improve their skills. This will also let them know you value them and support their professional endeavors.

 

Manage Up:
Encourage team members to support one another. Set reasonable expectations that allow everyone to understand their job as well as the responsibilities they have to the team at large. Set up regular team meetings that create accountability. Start meetings with positive feedback and give each person the chance to share a victory they had recently. Build from there, review challenges as a group, and problem solve together. Then trust them to get the job done!

 

Give Feedback:
Running a business can often be challenging and requires everyone to be on the same path. It also requires a certain amount of risk-taking and experimentation. Sometimes new ideas work and sometimes they don’t. Do not be afraid to honestly address concerns, issues, and mistakes as they happen. Focus on what is working first and then move into what needs to change and why. Explain the bigger picture and help create the vision for all team members to follow and help support. Empower them to help advance the mission of the company and grow as people in the process.

 

Walk the Talk:
Be willing to set the example. Your team will look to you to set the tone of the company. The way you conduct yourself both inside and outside of the office will be the primary example of how your team should behave. If you make a mistake, admit it openly and explain how you rectified it. Allow them to see your weaknesses and how you are also growing and learning from them. Be an example of a humble lifelong learner who strives to be better every day.

 

Get Involved:
Motivate everyone on your staff to get involved in the community. It’s amazing what can happen when you give back. Volunteering allows people to use their strengths to “do good” outside of the workplace. This builds confidence and boosts morale across the team.  It also fosters networking opportunities, hones professional skills, and allows a deeper understanding of the world around us.

 

Have Fun:
Take the time to get out of the office and do something fun together! Plan a group activity that encourages teamwork, laughter, and relaxation. Enjoy the environment around you and take a break from the intensity of a normal workday. Give your team a say in the plans and allow them to take the lead and plan the day. This builds important career skills and provides a positive feeling for everyone!

 

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THE ROI OF HR: HR Has Shifted from Overhead to Investment

Over the past ten years, there has been a monumental shift in workforce management away from the traditional idea of staffing a “personnel department” to push papers in tucked-away cubicles, far removed from the hub of the workplace. Today’s modern human resources operations play a big role in optimizing the workforce, and they must have […]

Over the past ten years, there has been a monumental shift in workforce management away from the traditional idea of staffing a “personnel department” to push papers in tucked-away cubicles, far removed from the hub of the workplace. Today’s modern human resources operations play a big role in optimizing the workforce, and they must have a legitimate voice in the executive suite and boardroom.

Increasingly, HR is rightly viewed as an investment, not an expense or overhead. Modern employers realize that cultivating their people is as important as maintaining their technology, brand, quality systems, and other business functions. Without a strong, productive workforce, there is no guarantee anywhere in the company.

Organizations of all sizes have been enhancing their HR programs and processes for good reasons. If you listen to politicians, it would seem that the movement centers on the need to meet ever-changing (and sometimes onerous) regulations and rules. This is a valid concern for any workplace. However, while avoiding the pain and expense of non-compliance is important, it is not the most compelling reason for improving HR operations. The biggest reason most organizations have been modernizing and expanding their HR services is really quite simple: It improves their bottom line.

Four vital ways HR improves your workforce ROI

There are several major ways in which HR operations can contribute significantly to increasing the value of your workforce investments.

  1. HR helps limit the amount of time, energy and money invested in recruiting. Organizations cannot afford to waste resources on poor hiring and applicant attraction practices. Focused and faster processes are a must, and they must be executed without sacrificing the quality of candidates. Even one bad hire can take a tremendous toll on your workplace climate and overall employee satisfaction.
  2. HR helps enhance workforce productivity. Good HR practices can find inefficiencies within a workforce and remedy them in a way that both employers and employees can appreciate and value. HR can also teach, encourage and reward productive behaviors.
  3. HR helps reduce turnover. When employees feel that their company nurtures them, supports them and respects them, they are far more likely to stay. What’s more, they are going to work harder, be more loyal and be more likely to tell others about how much they enjoy where they work. This all helps to boost an organization’s employer brand authentically.
  4. HR helps you keep up with the competition. Whether you realize it or not, you compete every day to attract and retain talent. If great people don’t enjoy working for you, they’ll find a paycheck elsewhere. What’s more, if you aren’t employing the top talent in your field, you will also find it harder to compete for clients, because they will gravitate towards other organizations that have a more robust workforce. Clients today demand a high-quality customer experience that comes naturally from businesses that employ great people and retain them long-term. This is thanks in no small part to quality HR practices and support.

Tracking ROI of HR programs

It can be difficult for organizations to measure how some of their HR functions contribute to revenue or decrease expenses in hard numbers. This may help to explain why the benefits of modern HR operations are not top of mind for some business owners. However, valuable investment-related metrics can still be collected to assess the effectiveness of many HR programs, provided employers know what to look at, and how. Training investments are a perfect example of this.

According to Fortune magazine, most training programs can be assessed for ROI when companies zero in on one or two goals they want to achieve in advance, and then measure those areas before and after the programming takes place.  This information can then be compared to the cost of training. Other ways to track the benefits of training programs include using ongoing surveys/questionnaires, pre-training exercises that make clear what the quantifiable expectations are for after the instructional sessions are completed. This data can be compared to the long-term, resulting revenue or cost savings. In some cases, cost savings may come from reduced time spent on compliance paperwork or money spent on regulatory fines or legal fees.

Businesses that take the extra step of measuring the returns of training investments can also use this information to then improve their overall development programming, as the connection to the organization’s improved bottom-line becomes clearer.

Besides training, the same tracking principles can be applied to many other HR functions once goals, desired outcomes, and methods are pinpointed. Because HR is an investment, it is imperative to establish objectives and metrics at the outset of a new initiative so objective measurement can occur.

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The environment and tools your employees need today to be successful, fulfilled and invested in your organization are also what they need to help make you successful. Creating a productive, positive workplace with the help of modern HR functions results in a win-win situation and a tangible return on investment.

BY: Tina Hamilton is president and CEO of myHR Partner, Inc., a Lehigh Valley company that offers human resources outsourcing for mid-market companies in 24 states. She can be reached at tina@myhrpartnerinc.com.

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Invisible Boundaries

My wife and I were blessed with two exciting additions to our family a few years ago. Cooper and Zeke came into our lives on a warm summer day after much anticipation. They were brand new Goldendoodle puppies, and we were not fully prepared! We quickly realized that an Invisible Fence would be a wise […]

My wife and I were blessed with two exciting additions to our family a few years ago. Cooper and Zeke came into our lives on a warm summer day after much anticipation. They were brand new Goldendoodle puppies, and we were not fully prepared!

We quickly realized that an Invisible Fence would be a wise investment. It would allow our puppies to enjoy outdoor freedom while keeping them safely on our property.

Here’s how it works:

  • Cooper and Zeke wear special collars that give them an audible warning signal if they get too close to the property line.
  • If they ignore the warning and continue to approach the boundary, they receive a mild electrical shock that is uncomfortable but not harmful.

Our puppies quickly learned to avoid discomfort by moving away from the boundary when they hear the warning.

Programming
One day I let Cooper and Zeke outside to play. All was well until I realized that I had forgotten to put their collars on them! They were free to roam wherever they pleased!

Fearing for their safety, I ran outside, frantically calling their names. To my pleasant surprise, Cooper and Zeke were contently sitting on the front lawn, surveying the neighborhood.

Even though they were free to explore the world, they were unaware of that freedom. They never challenged the physical boundary because the Invisible Boundary is now programmed into their minds!

Does this sound familiar?
Your Programming
Just like Cooper and Zeke, you and I were programmed at an early age. This programming comes from parents, teachers, and other authority figures, and it drives our belief in who we are and what we can achieve.

Some of our programming is good; some of it is bad. Either way, it defines our Invisible Boundaries.

Your Invisible Boundaries
What are the things that you desire but have been unable to achieve because something stops you?

When have you heard the warning signal and retreated back to safety instead of moving forward into freedom?

What would your life, relationships, and business be like if you could discover and crash through your Invisible Boundaries?

This is exactly what a Professional Performance Coach can help you do.

Coaching vs. Mentoring

Coaching and Mentoring are different disciplines. Sports “coaches” are actually sports mentors.

Mentors teach. They tell you what to do, and that is valuable when lack of information is the challenge.

However, when striving to increase achievement and success, lack of information is rarely the challenge. There is most likely a lack of awareness – an Invisible Boundary.

Coaches don’t teach or tell you what to do. They know that YOU are the only expert of YOUR life, and they ask surgical, powerful questions that cause you to think deeply into your situation, increasing your awareness of your Invisible Boundaries and how to navigate past them to a more fulfilling path forward.

The Coaching Process

The Coaching process is a series of confidential conversations that raise awareness of the following:

  • Your Goals – What Do You (REALLY) Desire?
    • What is your Model of Perfection?
    • What does this look and feel like?
    • THINK BIG even though you don’t know all the steps to achievement.
  • Current State – What is Currently Happening?
    • What is your self-belief level?
    • What have you tried?
    • What results are you getting?
    • What assumptions are you making?
    • What are you avoiding?
    • What do you fear?
    • What is confusing or unclear?
  • Options – What Can You Do?
    • This is the start of your Action Plan
    • What steps can you take now to move toward your goal?
  • Action Plan – What Will You Do?
    • What next steps do you commit to take?
    • What obstacles do you expect?
    • What will you do to navigate past these obstacles?
    • How committed are you to this plan?
  • Accountability – What Did You Accomplish?
    • What went well?
    • What did not go well?
    • What did you avoid?
    • What stopped you?
    • What surprised you?

If you desire to permanently blast through your Invisible Boundaries and achieve your big goals, Coaching is an excellent next step for you.

About the Author

Michael Barrovecchio, President of CAPO Leadership Consulting and an Executive Director with The John Maxwell Team, believes that everyone has greatness on the inside. He Coaches individuals and teams to success by equipping them to engage that greatness and replace limitation with empowerment. He can be reached at 732-713-1900 or Michael@CAPOLeadershipConsulting.com.

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How Leadership Changes Culture – Part II

A few issues ago I began unpacking how “leadership changes culture” by giving a backdrop on the creation of The Culture Compass® in 2006 designed to help CEO’s measure and manage culture.  I addressed three barriers I learned that were holding back real change; un-customizable employee engagement surveys, a lack of actionable implementation, and the […]

A few issues ago I began unpacking how “leadership changes culture” by giving a backdrop on the creation of The Culture Compass® in 2006 designed to help CEO’s measure and manage culture.  I addressed three barriers I learned that were holding back real change; un-customizable employee engagement surveys, a lack of actionable implementation, and the missing culture cog.  In this issue, we will jump right into the six leadership factors that change a culture.  For the purposes of this article, leadership is defined as the CEO and his or her executive team.

  • Leadership Cares
  • Leadership Alignment
  • Leadership Listens
  • Leadership Commitment
  • Leadership Implementation
  • Leadership Flexibility

 

Leadership Cares

There are different reasons why leaders care.  I had one client who cared because he was experiencing an employee revolt.  He was truly concerned that if he did not get his arms wrapped around his dysfunctional corporate culture that he would have a mass exodus on his hands.  Some leaders care because they understand that improved culture leads to improved profitability.  Other leaders care because they want to enrich the lives of their employees.  Bottom line, the leadership needs to care.  A friend and colleague of mine who was the President of a mid-market global firm told me flat out; he just didn’t care.  The employees to him were a means to an end.  Another human resource colleague of mine cares deeply about changing their culture, but she isn’t the CEO, and without the CEO caring, it will never get the attention it needs.

 

Leadership Alignment

When beginning a culture change endeavor, the likelihood that the CEO and all of the executive team really cares, views culture impact with the same gravity, and has the same cultural values is rare.  For successful culture change to occur, leadership needs to be aligned.  This is not an easy task, but my pill for the cure is training.  With each culture change engagement I deliver, I interview and train the leadership team together.  We review how it impacts their business, and we talk about what kind of culture they have and want.  We even design the employee engagement survey together for aligned executive level buy-in.  People own what they help to create, so in this manner, the leadership team owns their culture and shifts into alignment.

 

Leadership Listens

One of the most important messages you can send to people that follow you is that you listen.  That means you ask for opinions and give others an opportunity to influence.  When you incorporate a strong feedback mechanism in your employee engagement survey, you create a pathway for communication that fuels employees’ personal value.  The key though is to listen.  The biggest mistake to corporate culture change is to ask and not act.  Essentially communicating that you are not listening.  I encourage my clients to respond to culture change feedback even if the ideas cannot be adopted—this reinforces that you have listened.

 

Leadership Commitment

As a leader of your organization, if you are not ready to commit to the adventure of change, then don’t get off the porch.  I mean that—do not start unless you are committed to finish!  I have seen firsthand companies that have turned culture change into an organizational minefield.  The CEO will tell me it didn’t work, and unfortunately, I have to remind them that they weren’t committed to change and that the entire initiative turned into a hollow promise.  Yes, it will backfire if there is a lack of commitment.

 

Leadership Implementation

As a 20-year consultant veteran, I differentiate myself by emphasizing implementation.  When an organization begins culture change, the transformation will only occur through implementation.  I do not stop with a report and recommendations. I help my clients build actionable implementation plans.  I work with the leadership team to identify and select employees who can play a role in helping the execution of those plans.  This spreads the implementation buy-in throughout the company and ensures greater success of implementation.  Leadership’s role is to coach and facilitate implementation.

 

Leadership Flexibility

When a company embarks on transforming their corporate culture, they are embarking on a journey into the unknown.  Culture is fluid, ever-changing, impacted by the daily weather, disruptive, moody and explosive.  During culture change implementation, leaders need to be flexible, understanding that the environment will shift actions and initiative throughout the process.  Leaders need to use their corporate values as the compass, to ensure they are going in the right direction, yet be flexible to allow deviations.

 

Yes, culture change rises and falls on leadership, but a strong culture can make the difference between winning and losing, so I encourage leaders to embrace the challenge and lead their organizations toward a healthy corporate culture.

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Frenemies…and the Fine Art of Finding Your True Friends

Not everyone wants you to succeed. It’s sad but true. Many local business owners spend an incredible amount of time networking to meet people to build their brands.  It’s the Dale Carnegie “Like-Know-Trust” mantra.  You must get out and meet people before you’re ever going to sell them your product or service.  You need to […]

Not everyone wants you to succeed. It’s sad but true.

Many local business owners spend an incredible amount of time networking to meet people to build their brands.  It’s the Dale Carnegie “Like-Know-Trust” mantra.  You must get out and meet people before you’re ever going to sell them your product or service.  You need to connect.  It’s especially important if you run your own business. It has been true for the success of our video production company.

We have had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic business people in the Lehigh Valley.   Networking exposes you to wonderful people.  You’ll find yourself being pulled to some who really stand out. They are likely “your people” and will remain so. The cream always rises to the top!

However, there are a few that seem genuine who will surprise you (and train you to be a better B.S. detector as you grow your network).

I recently had the pleasure of being in the studio audience at a TV show taping, a networking opportunity with The Wisdom Coalition.  There were a few familiar faces in the room but many I’d never met.  It was a diverse, multi-cultural collection of businesswomen I was pleased to meet.  But it was one of the panelists who struck a nerve with every single one of us that day.

Caroline Adams Miller, a professional life coach, best-selling author, and speaker talked about how important it is to surround yourself with like-minded, supportive people.  Friends who will support your long-term goals. Sound advice that can be a challenge for those looking for true friends in business.

When Miller brought up ‘frenemies,” the entire studio audience started nodding their head.  Have you heard of them?  A frenemy is someone that masquerades as a friend but deep down is an enemy.  Miller said, “Eighty-four percent of women today say they have ‘frenemies,’ and what I will tell you is that friends who are enemies will undermine our goals, our success and our well-being without us even knowing it is happening.

Clearly, each woman in the studio audience had at least one frenemy in their life, because that nodding continued. Maybe it was a “mean girl” in high school.   Perhaps a co-worker she met in the boardroom who wanted to be the shining star at a meeting.  Or the person who got the promotion she’d worked hard for.

As sad as it is, it’s not a women-only problem.  How many of you can relate to someone who seemed to be in your corner, who disappointed you with a surprisingly negative reaction to your business or personal success?  Maybe they’re silent.  Maybe they’re negative.  Maybe they’re openly envious. They don’t belong in your inner circle!

Miller says the true test of a friend is whether they celebrate your successes in a genuine way. Here’s a little checklist I came up with to help you decide:

  • Are they curious about your work?
  • Do they support your ideas?
  • Is your friend enthusiastic about your accomplishments?
  • Do they celebrate your wins?
  • Do they openly compliment your ideas in group situations?
  • Do they refer business to you?
  • Do they nominate you for awards or talk up your abilities?
  • How do you feel after you spend time with this friend? Happy?  Tense?  Angry?

If you’ve answered no to most of those questions, you’ve identified a frenemy.

Use the checklist to help detox your life and focus on building an inner circle of those that you can support and that can support you in return. Be the friend who makes introductions and lifts people up. Go to their events, follow them and support their social media posts. Be a connector and a supporter. Becoming a true friend in business is the best way to protect against frenemies.  When you surround yourself with the right people, you and your business will both benefit.

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