Archive for February 2015

Align Goals Throughout The Organization

February 27, 2015

Almost every company has some sort of annual goals.  But, according to the Staples Small Business Survey, more than 80% of small business owners admit they don’t give enough attention to achieving them.  Leaders should place more attention on aligning these targets throughout the organization. According to business thought leader James Fischer, companies that regularly allow staff to author, contribute and monitor the business goals have 60% less employee turnover than those that plan and strategize from the top down.

An organization’s goals should be communicated to everyone within the organization – everyone.  Department goals should be aligned with the organization goals and individual goals aligned with department goals.  Everyone should have objectives that are linked to the priorities of the organization.

Example: organization goal – increase sales by $500,000 by December 31; IT department goal – implement new CRM system by June 30; IT Manager goal – choose CRM system by February 1.

Once the leader shares organization and department goals, let direct reports determine their own objectives with the leader’s coaching. 

Leaders who empower their team to achieve individual goals benefit from employee engagement, collaboration, and corporate stewardship success.

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Increase Interpersonal Intelligence For Success

February 20, 2015

In 1983 Howard Gardner wrote the revolutionary book “Frames of Mind – The Theory of Multiple Intelligences” in which he describes seven different forms of intelligence everyone possesses in varying degrees: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.  Interpersonal intelligence is what makes or breaks most leaders today.

According to Gardner, “Interpersonal knowledge permits a skilled adult to read the intentions and desires – even when these have been hidden – of other individuals and, potentially, to act upon this knowledge.”  For example, leaders are often faced with trying to get their direct reports with individual aspirations and agendas to work together for the good of a team.  Fortunately today there are many tools available to help determine interpersonal intelligence and improve it.

Improving interpersonal intelligence will make leaders better co-workers, leaders, and influencers. As Gardner says, “interpersonal intelligence is seen in how we notice distinction among others; in particular, contrasts in their moods, temperaments, motivations and intentions.”

Make interpersonal intelligence improvement a personal development objective and be empowered for greater success.

Critical Thinking Skills Can And Should Be Developed

February 13, 2015

The brain is like any other muscle: it strengthens or atrophies with exercise or neglect.  Given the complexities and challenges all teams face, effective problem solving or critical thinking skills are essential.

Critical thinking skills can be learned and developed.  This important skill enhancement should be a part of each direct report’s personal development. Make it a natural part of conversations by asking for solutions, strategies, and what the direct report would anticipate to be the short and long term ramifications of those choices.

There are many sources for learning critical thinking – Googling “critical thinking training” returned about 29,200,000 results (as of this writing).  A well-written, great resource for developing critical thinking skills is: “The Thinker’s Toolkit: 14 Powerful Techniques for Problem Solving” by Morgan D. Jones (Paperback – Jun 30, 1998).

Encourage direct reports to work on their critical thinking skills, empower them to find the resources that work best for them, and watch the successes increase.

Use An Objective Third Party To Make Better Hires

February 6, 2015

You’ve no doubt heard the line “My mind’s already made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” Unfortunately, many hiring managers unknowingly have this mentality.

Confirmation bias is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs.  People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively and ignore information that goes against their beliefs. Whether we like it or not, we all have confirmation bias and try as we might, it still impacts our hiring decisions.

The best way to prevent confirmation bias from contributing to poor hires is to have a third party expert assist in the hiring process.  Whether conducting interviews, analyzing assessment results, or performing reference checks, the objectivity offered by an impartial third party can prevent making a hiring mistake.

Empower hiring managers with an unbiased selection expert to help with the hiring decision, and you’ll make more successful hires.