Archive for March 2013

Help Your Direct Reports Hit The Ground Running Monday Morning

March 22, 2013

Do people dislike Monday morning because they are disappointed the weekend is over or because they dread the week ahead?

There’s not much a leader can do about the disappointment direct reports feel when the weekend is over but they can help make the start of the week less dreadful by helping them understand their job’s priorities.

Use a job accountability matrix to identify the three to five major parts or buckets of the job. Once these accountabilities have been identified, rank them in the order in which you’d like your direct report to think about them at the beginning of the week. Click here to see a sample job accountability matrix.

Helping your directs reports REALLY understand the order of importance of their job accountabilities allows them to focus on what’s important and relieves some of their anxiety over the week ahead.

Empower your direct reports with rank ordered job accountabilities and you’ll experience more success.

Reinforce Core Values At Least Quarterly

March 16, 2013

Most organizations have core values or some set of guiding principles that determine the ways in which business is conducted.  Some organizations take them seriously, but other distribute core values within the organization with much pomp and circumstance and pay little attention to them thereafter.

One of the best ways to ensure core values are understood, internalized, and lived is to make them a part of the performance review process.  At least quarterly each employee in an organization should be asked to recount specific situations where they have demonstrated EVERY ONE of the organization’s core values.

One organization we worked with scored each employee on a ten point scale each quarter for each of their core values.  The score was determined by: 2 points for knowing of the core value, 2 points for being able to recite the core value verbatim, and 2 points for each of three instances where the core value was documented and demonstrated.  This organization has little problem with their employees living their core values.

Empower your direct reports to be measured by knowing and demonstrating core values and you’ll have a more successful organization.

Help Your Direct Reports To Become Better Thinkers

March 11, 2013

More and more leaders are realizing their competitive edge lies with their talent.  And with their talent, they realize the greatest opportunity for growth is to develop their critical thinking skills.

Leaders must first create a safe environment for people to make mistakes and to admit thinking errors.  If this isn’t accomplished, people may feel afraid of embarrassment, humiliation, and perhaps even loss of professional status.

Once people feel comfortable explaining their thinking process, the leader can coach them on their critical thinking.  The leader’s first impulse will be to correct the direct report, provide the proper solution, and move on.  Providing the solution and explaining the rationale rarely works to develop cognition; the successful leader will ask questions to encourage the direct report to exercise that brain muscle and develop better critical thinking strength.  Some questions leaders may ask to coach for better critical thinking include:

  • “How did you come to that conclusion?”
  • “What are the facts that led you to that conclusion?”
  • “What other options have you considered?”
  • “What would happen next?”
  • “Have you considered your bias?”

Empower your direct reports to learn from their mistakes and they will become successful critical thinkers.


Conversation Tips When Communicating To A Dominating Personality Style

March 1, 2013

Whether it is intended or not, most people in buying or customer mode take on the characteristics of a “dominating” personality style.  It’s a natural defensive posture we all assume when we are concerned someone may take advantage of us.

The best way to present to these buyers/customers when they are in that mode is to be direct and to the point.  Don’t waste time with unnecessary small talk and overwhelming facts and figures.  Get directly to the bottom line.  Use the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) model when communicating.  Keep the conversation concise, focused, and on the immediate topic.  They will be impressed with an efficient, no-nonsense, business-like manner and should help them reduce some of their defenses to create a more pleasant, less defensive interaction.

Remember, Peter Drucker’s advice, “Communication is what the listener does.”  Customize your delivery to the style of the listener and empower yourself for successful conversations.