Archive for February 2014

Encourage Your Direct Reports To Think Strategically

February 24, 2014

According to a study conducted in 2013 by Management Research Group evaluating the leadership practices and effectiveness of over 60,000 managers and executives, a strategic approach to leadership was 10 times more important to the perception of effectiveness than other leadership behaviors.  This strategic focus was twice as important as communication and almost 50 times more important than hands-on tactical behaviors.

Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning. They think in multiple time frames, identifying what needs to be accomplished over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, and in three years. It means thinking systemically, and identifying the impact of their decisions on various segments of the organization.

Here are some ways you can help your direct reports to think strategically:

  • Encourage them to set aside regular time for strategic planning.
  • Provide information on the market, the industry, customers, competitors and new technologies that influence your business, exposing relevant and broad business information to help direct reports elevate their thinking beyond the day-to-day.
  • Keep them informed on what is happening internally by sharing information across boundaries, allowing them to see the organization from a global perspective.
  • Connect them with a mentor known for keeping people focused on strategic objectives and the impact of actions on the broader organizational strategy.
  • Communicate a well-articulated philosophy, mission and goal statement throughout the organization, allowing them to understand the broader organizational strategy in order to stay focused and incorporate it into their own plans and strategies.
  • Reward direct reports for evidence of creating a culture in which problems are anticipated and avoided to discourage crisis management.

Empower your direct reports to think strategically and you’ll experience more success.

Source: Robert Kabacoff, Ph.D, Vice President of Research at Management Research Group

The Best Interview Question To Ask

February 17, 2014

We’ve all heard stories about silly interview questions aimed at gauging a candidate’s fit: “If you were a tree, what would you be and why?”, “What animal are you most like?”, “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?”.

Also, there are the mind-bending questions Google asks trying to determine how smart a candidate is: “When there’s a wind blowing, does a round-trip by plane take more time, less time, or the same time?”, “Using only a 4-minute hourglass and a 7-minute hourglass, how can you measure 9 minutes.”, “At 3:15, what is the angle between the minute and hour hands on an analog clock?”.

While hiring managers may have good reasons to ask these questions, asking this single question can provide much more insight into a candidate’s qualifications: “What would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career?”.

Follow up these with these probing questions:

  • Tell me about your role and the team involved; why were you chosen?
  • What were the actual results achieved?
  • When did the project take place and how long did it take?
  • What were the 3-4 biggest challenges you faced and how did you deal with them?
  • When did you go the extra mile or take the initiative?
  • Explain your manager’s style and whether you liked it.
  • What were some of the biggest mistakes you made?
  • What aspects of the project did you truly enjoy?
  • What aspects did you not especially care about and how did you handle them?
  • Give examples of how you managed and influenced others.
  • What would you do differently if you could do it again?
  • What type of formal recognition did your receive?

You’ll be amazed what you can learn about a candidate by digging deep into just this one event.  Empower your hiring managers to ask insightful interview questions, and you make more successful hires.

Source: Lou Adler of The Adler Group

Understanding Workplace Behaviors Makes Mirroring More Effective

February 10, 2014

Mirroring is a rapport-building technique in which one person takes on the behaviors of the person with whom they are communicating.  Being naturally wired to connect with others, we all mirror in our interactions to some degree.  But those leaders who use mirroring effectively connect better with their direct reports.

Understanding the behavioral styles of their direct reports allows leaders to better adjust their behaviors to develop greater rapport. Being able to read another’s natural behavioral style allows one to adapt or mirror their style to create stronger relationships.  For example, leaders who have a naturally more reserved, introverted behavior type should work to initiate conversations and be more direct than they naturally would to better connect with direct reports who have a more extroverted, dominant style.

Some people are better at mirroring than others; it is a skill that can be developed through behavioral training and understanding. Most behavioral assessments provide insights as to how people behave and provide mirroring approaches.

Empower yourself with behavioral assessments of your direct reports and you will experience more success.

February 6, 2014

Cyndi and John Gave of The Metiss Group were awarded the 2014 Bud Bowers Blue Diamond Award from TTI Success Insights.  There were selected from hundreds of consultants based on their cooperation, dedication and contributions to the TTI network.  This is the second time Cyndi and John have been honored with this award.

Repeat Your Message If You Want It Remembered

February 3, 2014

It is a basic marketing principle that it takes seven “touches” before someone will internalize and/or act upon a call to action.  This is why we are inundated with branding messages from billboards to websites to athletic events.

In the workplace, the average person needs to hear new information at least three times before it registers into their mind for immediate recollection.  Similarly, the average person needs to hear new information at least seven times in order to retain it.  This makes you wonder how many times below average people must hear your message before they retain it.

It’s your job to communicate your message, your values, what’s right about what’s happening, and what’s wrong — over and over and over again.  To be on the same page, everybody has to hear the message repeatedly. Even when you tire of the message, you have to keep communicating it.

Empower yourself to repeat your message and your team will experience more success.