Articles tagged with: Critical Thinking

Blindsided! Six Strategies to Protect Your Blindside

Posted in Blog, All Posts

As a first time supervisor, I was given lots of advice. Much of the advice was helpful and some of it – not so much. One thing that I was told by my new boss on my first day as a supervisor was, “never blindside your boss”. I was not quite sure what he meant but I promised that I would never blindside him. I was reminded of that advice recently when I was “blindsided” by some news. My first thought was how did I not see this coming? You set the path, you’re working hard, pushing for that goal. Then – the report drops on your desk, a member of your team drops in, you get a phone call from your boss/stakeholder. You’re blindsided! Why didn’t someone sound the alarm? Where was your team?

No one likes being blindsided. Here are some strategies that will keep you protected:

  1. Constantly cast the Vision – People tend to live and work in the “here and now”. They are working on the tasks at hand – doing the next thing. Understanding and working toward a company vision is generally not a motivating factor. More concerning is that many employees don’t even know the vision of their company! Vision provides the direction and focus of the organization and should be the driver of every goal and decision. It is vital to talk about the vision, connect the vision, and live the vision for your team. Experts say that leaders should “re-cast” the vision every 30-60 days to keep their teams fully engaged. Find creative ways to remind everyone what they do every day contributes to the vision.
  2. Pay attention to fatigue, mentally and physically - We live in a world that is fast-paced and demanding. Working long hours for an extended time creates burnout, physical and emotional fatigue. Research continues to show that work weeks that extend past 40 hours are non-productive and supports poor decision making. Know the number of hours your team is putting in. Make sure that you do not project the message that working long hours is a badge of honor. Your team needs time away to de-stress and recover. Yes, there will be times where the extra push and hours are needed. If you have done a good job of keeping the vision alive and connecting it to the desired goals, the vision will become the fuel that energizes the team. And I’m betting the extra hours will shrink and goals will be met.
  3. Answer the Why - Perhaps you did a good job of stating and defining the goals. Did you take the next step? That step is discussing the “why” of the goal. This is one of the most important steps in the entire process, because once people know why they are doing something, they are more likely to do whatever it takes to figure out how to accomplish it. Answering the why question is essential to defining the importance of the particular goal. Ensure that you team knows and understands the Why of every goal. This means that you must be engaged and in conversation with your team - not just your “inner circle” folks. Encourage questions from everyone.
  4. Be aware of conflicting priorities – Once I was discussing with an employee my concern about her attention to priorities. It was obvious that she was frustrated and after a few seconds she summoned the courage to tell me that I made everything a priority. It is important that we “keep the main thing the main thing” and that your team knows what that is. Seemingly constant changing priorities are frustrating and confusing especially if they are not communicated well. Take the time to define clear purpose, values, strategy and goals. Do this often. Remember to answer the “Why” and re-cast the Vision.
  5. Be available and visible – Don’t be a “MIA” leader. People want their leader to be visible more during tough times than they do in good times. They need to see someone who is stronger than they are. They need to feel a sense of direction, a sense of security. The key is to cut back on focusing inwardly on your goals and the company, and to focus more on what’s happening around you, often in unexpected places. Why focus outwardly? Because the more you focus internally, the less peripheral vision you have, and the more signals you could miss - setting yourself up for being blindsided. By being visible and available helps to create a culture of trust. It also creates opportunity for you get information first hand and unfiltered.
  6. Celebrate the small victories - Acknowledge and celebrate small victories. This re-energizes the team and gives you opportunity to re-cast the vision. Celebrating is part of the culture of successful organizations. It provides the opportunity to recognize what individual or team achievement means to the company's success. Celebrating the small victories will drive the success of the vision. Celebrate your team! And make sure you are there to celebrate with them. And when it’s time to celebrate the big victory your team will celebrate YOU as the one who led the way.

We all have been blindsided at some time and have questioned why others let us down. In reality it is often that we let them down. I am confident if you work toward these strategies, your team will watch and protect your blindside!

MSBCoach provides leadership, team and organizational coaching, consulting and training. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your leadership and team development strategies with you. Please contact us today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Finding Opportunity in Any Market

Posted in Webinars, All Posts

Today’s economy has presented both challenges and opportunity. Due to the rapid changing job market people are choosing new career paths, even self-employment as a means to “stay afloat”. Even in a time of great uncertainty, the market is full of opportunity—if you know where to look.

What you will learn:

  • How to find opportunity no matter what the job market looks like
  • How to “keep it together” when transitioning careers What tools and resources are available when transitioning
  • How to create a network of support

Cultivating Creative Leadership

Posted in Webinars, All Posts

Study Presentation

Cultivating Organization Creativity in an Age of Complexity With Susan J. Thomas, Ph.D., IBM Global Business Services, Organizational & People Consulting Practice and MSBCoach The new leadership differentiator is organizational creativity, but how does an organization identify and cultivate this capability? IBM conducted a global study of 40 creative leaders to explore this question our part of their Centennial Research projects.  Findings from IBM’s CEO study indicated that creativity was a key leadership characteristic necessary for success for the next decade; however, a CHRO study also by IBM, indicated that Chief Human Resource Officers didn’t know how to develop creative leaders and are seeking guidance.

In this webinar with MSBCoach and Susan J Thomas, We will explore how organizations can uncover, unlock, and unleash the creativity within their leaders. We will review short case studies and specific suggestions that leaders can use in their organization.

This webinar will answer the following three questions:

  • What are the key creative capabilities of an organization?
  • What are the catalysts of these creative capabilities in leaders?
  • How can these capabilities be scaled across the organization?

Susan J Thomas

Susan J. Thomas is Managing Consultant with IBM Business Consulting Services, Human Capital Solutions. She works with a variety of clients and companies to provide consulting services in the areas of skills competency analysis (which includes different types of questionnaires), certification test development and skills assessment, questionnaire development (both paper-based and Web-based), and training evaluation. She also assists clients with data-based decision making by helping them design question-naires and by performing statistical analysis and data mining to help them make recommendations and create action plans. Prior to joining the IBM Corporation, she was a measurement statistician and test development specialist with the Educational Testing Service. She was also an adjunct professor at Rider University, where she taught graduate courses in research methods (including questionnaire design), testing and measurement for teachers, basic statistics, and authentic assessment. Previously, she was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Florida State University, where she taught courses in measurement, research design, and various areas of educational and developmental psychology. She has directed numerous funded research projects, has presented extensively at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association and the National Council for Measurement in Education, and has served as a Divisional Vice President of the American Educational Research Association. She has published several journal articles, as well as Evaluation Without Fear with coauthor Roger Kaufman, and Designing Surveys That Work!, a predecessor to the current book. She conducts workshops for teachers on topics related to assessment and has developed many training guides for these workshops. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and received her Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Answering the WHY?

Posted in Webinars, All Posts

As leaders we are pretty good at the “what and how” of our business.

We tell what needs to be done and what results are needed. We explain how it is to be done and how it will be measured. But when was the last time talked about “why”? Better yet, when was the last time one of your employees asked, “Why?” If people get the “why”, they will get the results.

Join us as we talk about the importance of “Why”.

What you will take away:

  • The value and importance of asking and seeking “Why”
  • How to connect the “why” to daily task/routines
  • Important questions that you should want your employees to ask
  • How the “why” improves engagement
  • Understanding how the “why” impacts the bottom line

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