Remember To Ask “Why”

Posted June 23, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Leadership, Performance Acceleration

In 2012, there was a television commercial for Hyundai Sonata featuring a little boy following a man doing yard work and asking him “why?” about various questions.  At the end of the commercial, the man looks at his neighbor and then to the boy where he says, “Why don’t you go ask your Dad?”

It seems somewhere between childhood and management, leaders stop asking “why”.

The 5 Whys is a formal iterative question-asking technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem. The “5” in the name derives from an empirical observation on the number of iterations typically required to resolve the problem.

Great leaders are always trying to understand what’s going on.

Leaders who empower their team to ask “why” have more success.

Effective Leaders Are Challenged By Their Team

Posted June 15, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Communication, Leadership, Performance Acceleration

We are naturally attracted to people who agree with us and confirm what we already believe. It makes us feel better and less stressed.  However, disagreement, not consensus, leads to better decisions. Unfortunately, few leaders are comfortable seeking out differing opinions.

People with different behavior styles approach problems and offer solutions from different perspectives.  The forceful, aggressive team members will give strong, no-nonsense answers.  The fun loving, high-energy team members will offer optimistic, conflict free approaches.  Easy going, steady team members like logical and empathetic solutions.  And the rigid, compliant types prefer analytical, data driven options.

Leaders should first take time to evaluate how their team typically solves problems and use some psychometric assessments for additional insight.  Once they understand everyone’s strengths and approaches, they should encourage the team to challenge them from those different perspectives.  Once given permission and inspiration to contribute using new solutions in this way, the team will naturally make better decisions.

Leaders who empower their team to challenge their positions by using their strengths experience more success.

Avoid A Common Hiring Bias

Posted June 9, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Leadership, Selection

Hyperbolic discounting is the tendency for people to prefer a smaller, immediate payoff over a larger, delayed payoff. Much research has been done on decision-making, and many factors contribute to the individual decision making process. Interestingly, delay time is a big factor in choosing an alternative. In fact, studies have shown most people would choose to get $20 today instead of getting $100 one year from today.

Leaders often make similar mistakes when selecting new hires.  Many times, hiring managers are seduced by certain hard skills a candidate can immediately apply and may pass over a stronger candidate who needs time to develop those skills.  Remember: most employees are hired for hard skills, but fired for lack of soft skills.  When selecting new hires, hiring managers must consider the candidate’s future contributions; not their immediate productivity.

Empowered hiring managers understand human behavior and how they can overcome their natural tendencies to make more successful hires.

Deal With Jerks For Team Success

Posted June 2, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Communication, Leadership, Performance Acceleration

Leaders, when defining jobs, should assign a percentage of time to the major accountabilities.  This helps the incumbent know how to focus their time.

In an Inc. article, Yuriy Boykiv, CEO of the New York-based global advertising agency Gravity Media, breaks down his time as follows: 50% Psychologist, 25% Sales, 15% Finance and HR, and 10% Strategy.  Really, 50% Psychologist?

It is important for leaders to understand how individual personalities impact team dynamics.  No one disputes the power a team has over a bunch of individual contributors (we’ve all seen the Successories poster showing a team rowing the boat together with the sun in the background and TEAMWORK captioned below).  However, a team’s effectiveness is greatly diminished when one of the team members is a jerk.  Jack Welsh defines a jerk as someone who exceeds performance metrics but demonstrates poor behaviors.  On teams, jerks disrupt team chemistry, are ostracized, and often create an over reaction by the other team members.

A leader needs to put on the psychologist hat when this disruption occurs.  The leader needs to confront the jerk and the whole team on their behaviors.  Failing to do so damages trust in the leader, stifles team motivation, minimizes core values, and saps energy.

Empowered leaders identify and deal with team jerks and have more success.

Encourage Direct Reports To Focus On Organization Success First

Posted May 19, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Leadership, Performance Acceleration

If an administrative assistant prepared for the perfect meeting, yet the meeting did not go well, were they successful?  If the operations department increased productivity by 25%, yet the company missed its sales goal, were they successful?  If the sales department experienced record sales, yet the organization lost money, was that success?

Most people in an organization think of their department, work team, or individual contributions as being their most important focus and measure their success by how well those work units perform. Although the accomplishments of work units are important, at the end of the day, the success of the organization is all that matters. The goals and accomplishments of the whole team must take precedence.  For that to happen, leaders must clearly communicate the organization’s goals and objectives and reward everyone when the organization succeeds.

Leaders who empower their team to put the organization first experience more success.

Check In On Development Plans Before It’s Too Late

Posted May 11, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Communication, Leadership, Performance Acceleration

Even if it is well into the year, it‘s not too late for leaders to have discussions about their direct reports’ development plans.  Even if they have been doing quarterly updates, leaders should be checking in with their direct reports to see how close they are to achieving their development plans.

Everyone wants to feel successful relative to their personal development and growth.  If it looks like a direct report may come up short on their development goals, leaders should see if there are some short term wins that could be achieved before the end of the year, even if the ultimate goal will not be accomplished.  Leaders may also want to consider allowing some extra time or resources to allow the direct report to achieve success.

Imagine how a direct report will go to the wall for a leader when they’ve made an extra effort in helping them achieve a personal goal.

Leaders empower the success of their direct reports by removing obstacles or deploying resources relative to their development goals.

Keep The Saw Sharp

Posted May 5, 2017 by The Metiss Group
Categories: Leadership, Performance Acceleration

Habit #7 in Steve Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is called “Sharpen the Saw.” Covey uses the common analogy of a woodcutter who is sawing every day for several days and is becoming less and less productive. The process of cutting dulls the blade. So the solution is to sharpen the saw periodically.

We’ve found that in practice, however, most people fail to understand what sharpening the saw really means. When leaders overwork themselves and their productivity begins to fall off, common wisdom says to take a break, maybe even go on vacation. However, that isn’t sharpening the saw – that’s putting the saw down. When a dull blade is put down for a while, the blade will still be dull when picked back up.

Sharpening the saw is actually an activity, just as the analogy suggests. Think about what it would mean to sharpen the saw. Here are some saw-sharpening ideas:

  • Exercise
  • Improved diet
  • Continued learning (read, listen to audio programs, attend a seminar)
  • Learn a new skill
  • Organize the home or office
  • Clear out a bunch of little tasks that have been put off

Now the woodcutter can’t just alternate between cutting wood and sharpening the saw indefinitely. Downtime is needed too, but it isn’t the same as sharpening the saw. The woodcutter can become even more productive by sharpening the blade, studying new woodcutting techniques, working out to become stronger, and learning from other woodcutters.

Empowered leaders sharpen their saw and are even more successful.

Source: StevePavlina.com