Archive for April 2016

Celebrate Direct Reports’ Accomplishments

April 29, 2016

If you have children and have sat through one of their graduation ceremonies, you know the mixed feelings you experienced; a mix of joy, sadness, and pride – pride for the accomplishment of the graduate and pride for the contributions you’ve made to the graduate’s success.

Leaders should feel the same pride for their direct reports’ achievements.  If they continuously challenge their direct reports to develop while providing resources and removing obstacles for their success, they should feel deep pleasure and satisfaction.  In fact, the resumes of leaders today will often include the development and accomplishments of their direct reports, as well as their own accomplishments.

Effective leaders empower their direct reports to succeed and revel in their accomplishments.

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Be Creative When Sourcing For Candidates

April 22, 2016

It wasn’t all too long ago that when businesses needed to hire, they simply placed an ad in local newspapers.  Hiring managers only needed to decide how large an ad to run, what newspapers, and for how long.

Today recruiters rarely use newspapers and instead have moved to online job boards like Monster, Craigslist, and LinkedIn for sourcing.  Now those sources are becoming less effective and hiring manages are being forced to get creative.

It’s okay to recruit candidates who are still working.  Hiring managers who received great service while dining or shopping can hand the associate their business card and encourage them to contact them about a great opportunity they might have for them.  Enterprise Rent-A-Car is known for developing great sales people and has the “we’ll come pick you up” service offering; it’s not uncommon for hiring managers to recruit Enterprise sales associates while they are being “picked up” or driven around.

Hiring managers should be on the lookout for good people they might come across while they are out and encourage everyone on their team to do the same.

Empowered hiring managers are always on the lookout for top talent to make successful hires when the time comes.

Use Premortems For Better Decisions

April 15, 2016

It’s a well known fact that 75% of business startups fail in the first year, over 80% fail in the first 5 years, and only 4% survive 10 years. Given these overwhelming odds, why do so many entrepreneurs risk their life savings and start businesses?  When most people anticipate future events, their initial reaction is to be overly optimistic.

We’ve all sat in meetings where the high influencers in the group persuade the team with the optimistic vision.  The opinions of the quiet realists are often overlooked or stifled by the enthusiasm created by the energetic influencers.  Good leaders recognize decisions can be hijacked by the overly optimistic vocal team members and go out of their way to extract the opinions of the less forceful deep thinkers.

One approach is for leaders to challenge their team to conduct a premortem when making important decisions.  When the team has almost come to an important decision, have the team imagine they are a year into the future. They implemented the plan as it now exists.  The outcome was a disaster.  Have them discuss what went wrong that created the disaster.  It’s amazing how engaged the introverted conscientious team members become and how better decisions are made using this approach.

Leaders who empower their decision makers to conduct premortems make more successful decisions.

Increase The Question To Statement Ratio

April 8, 2016

When communicating and giving feedback, leaders should use questions rather than statements for a number of reasons.

When leaders ask questions and solicit solutions, they gain commitment to the execution of that solution since the direct report feels empowered. Secondly, they expand the direct report’s critical thinking ability when they ask questions, probe for answers, outcomes, and long term ramifications.

In Jim Collins’ book, “How the Mighty Fall,” he stresses the importance of a leader’s question to statement ratio suggesting they appoint someone in a team meeting to track how many statements they make and how many questions are asked.  Then he suggests leaders systematically try to increase the number of questions to double that ratio over the period of one year.

Leaders should empower direct reports by using questions to increase critical thinking and problem solving ability throughout the organization for more success.