Archive for May 2014

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May 22, 2014

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Strong Critical Thinking Skills Create More Behavior Flexibility

May 19, 2014

We all have natural behavior styles.  This hard wiring is the result of our personal DNA.  Ideally we perform best when we are matched with a job that requires us to use our natural skill set.

Even though leaders should strive to fit jobs and direct reports’ skill sets, rarely is there a perfect match for a person and a job.  We are all required to adapt our natural skills to those required in the job we are performing.  Those people with a more developed critical thinking or problem solving aptitude are better able to adapt their natural skills for short periods of time to accomplish the job at hand.

When evaluating talent or considering job fit, pay particular attention to critical thinking skills and aptitude.  An increased critical thinking ability provides much more job flexibility and likelihood for success, especially when the tasks within one job set are quite diverse.

How Strong Are Your Core Values?

May 12, 2014

Peter Drucker was hailed by BusinessWeek as “the man who invented management.” Drucker was a prolific writer publishing over 39 management books and countless articles.  One of Drucker’s famous quotes was “culture eats strategy for breakfast” emphasizing the importance of core values in an organization.  In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras continued the core values mantra in their popular book Built To Last.

How do you know you have strong core values?  Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Would you actually fire somebody for violating one of your values?
  2. Would you be willing to take a financial hit in order to live one of your values?
  3. Can you tell some stories about when and how your team demonstrated each value?

One fun and impactful exercise is to start team meetings by going around the table and asking each person give an example of how they have seen others demonstrating one of the values.  First of all, this forces team members to know the core values in order to make the observations and secondly it underscores the importance of living the core values for all to see.

Empower your team to live the organization’s core values and you’ll experience more success.

Deal With Jerks For Team Success

May 5, 2014

We have always advised leaders when defining jobs to assign a percentage of time to the major accountabilities.  This helps the incumbent know how to focus their time.

In a recent 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 Welch 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.

Empower your leaders to identify team jerks to address the impacts and you’ll have more success.