Articles tagged with: People Champion

Why Leaders Coach

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We live in a fast-paced, ever changing, complex world. As leaders we are constantly looking for more effective, efficient, and productive ways to do our work and that of those we lead. You probably have read the statistics that the Gallup organization published about the percentage of non-engaged and actively disengaged employees (http://www.gallup.com/consulting/52/Employee-Engagement.aspx). The cost is staggering. Even with jobs in jeopardy during tough economic times, employee engagement has not significantly increased and the reasons for the lack of engagement have not changed. Leadership is still the key but a specific style of leading is needed.



The Leadership Landscape

This is the time of year most home owners are focusing on getting their yards looking good again.  Many of us are seeding, re-planting, trimming, raking, mowing… and mowing…. and mowing!  The poignant thing is, living things keep growing, the weeds continue to pop up and everything needs to be watered regularly as well as trimmed.  It takes maintenance and consistent effort to keep a yard looking good.  


 


Is Unselfish Leadership Also Inspirational Leadership?

                                             

I recently read an article about a generous stand taken by a leader and CEO named, Dan Price.  Price is the Founder and CEO of Gravity Payments. When I read the story, I was impressed with his benevolence. However, it was his actions as a leader that peaked my curiosity and prompted me to find out more about him and his leadership style.


If you don’t know the story, Dan Price announced at a staff meeting that over the next three years the minimum annual salary for every employee will be increased to $70,000. It was heartwarming to hear expressions of the positive impact the salary increase will have on the employees. One young man said he and his wife will be able to start a family sooner than they had previously thought and one young woman stated she would be able to fulfill her dream of purchasing a home before she turned 21. As I tend to do when I hear something of interest, I immediately went to Google and searched for Dan Price and Gravity Payments. I wanted to know more about this company, its leader, and ultimately, what it was that drove Mr. Price to make such a generous gesture. After all, it is not likely that he woke up one morning and thought, “I have an idea! I’ll give everybody a raise when I get to work today!” So when I visited the company website I went to their About Us page.  Right there, in the middle of the page, I found my answer-a quote from Dan Price.




Always Leave a Place Better Than You Found It

Do you remember those things you mother always said to you?  Do you also remember when you realized those things she said were meaningful to life?   One of the things my mother used to always say was, "Always leave a place better than you found it".  She was referring to cleanliness.  She taught me when I stayed at someone's house, before leaving I should put clean sheets on the bed, empty the trash and make sure the rooms I used (including the bathroom) looked better than when I arrived.  I value this lesson and still live into it.  



Creating Your Leadership Credo or Mantra

The word “mantra” has a few different meanings.  One of the definitions means, “an instrument of thought” (Wikipedia).  A credo is “a statement of the beliefs or aims that guide someone's actions” (Dictionary.com). A few weeks ago, I was writing up my thoughts on leadership to share with a new team member.  In doing so, I realized I created a list that makes up my personal leadership credo or mantra.


Performance Reviews – It’s Your Job

Performance reviews – groaning ensues. I have met few people who like to give or receive performance reviews. Yet, we are continually told that feedback and holding people accountable are important to ensure engaged employees and successful organizations. Perhaps a little reminder may be in order – “Leader, it’s your job to give performance reviews”. Here are a few of the problems that most organizations struggle with:

  • Giving and receiving feedback has to be encouraged. Formal reviews are necessary and need to happen but equally important are ongoing conversations between you and your employees. Waiting for the “formal” review time to give and receive feedback is often too late for any real adjustments or meaningful celebrations.
  • Having a form that is just a checklist that you mark with a score or check is not feedback. I understand if there are standards and production requirements that need to be measured but it will never will never increase the engagement of your folks. A review must be a two-way conversation.
  • Often employees are unclear about expectations and goals therefore, they do not achieve the desired outcomes. Often organizations have changing priorities but those never filter down to the employees. Regular on-going review sessions would ensure that employees know what is expected.
  • Many organizations do not have an established performance review process or any accountability for doing them. It starts at the top. If leadership is not adhering to a performance review process among themselves, it will never become part of the culture. Performance reviews must be done at all levels.

Providing and seeking feedback doesn’t have to be hard and rigid. Some things to consider:

  • Employees want feedback and they really would like to give you some feedback as well. This is where the skill of coaching can really open the door to very meaningful conversations. Here are a few coaching questions to choose from:
    • What is going well? What’s one brag you want to share? What has been your biggest success?
    • What do you like most about your job, right now? What part of your job is the most satisfying?
    • What is not going well? What’s getting in your way of doing your job? What’s been your biggest challenge? What do you need to do differently?
    • What do you like least about your job? Which part is the least satisfying?
    • What am I (the leader) doing well? What could I do better?
    • What advice do you have for the organization?
  • Make the employee part of the process. Give them opportunity to contribute to their performance review. If there is a checklist, have them complete it and then compare with each other and discuss. Use the time to find ways to help them grow and problem solve.
  • Use the Performance Review as a reminder of the goals, vision and values of the organization. Engage the employee in a conversation of how the goals, vision and values are showing up in their daily routine of work.
  • Schedule at least three formal sessions during a performance year and strive to have on-going informal conversations. During the first formal sessions set the goals and encourage the employee to create goals. Discuss the expectations and how they will be measured. Set the dates for the next two formal sessions. One of the expectations should be that you and the employee will show-up for the sessions prepared to discuss successes, challenges and opportunities for growth.
  • Hold yourself accountable to have “mini” informal feedback sessions with all your employees. It can be as simple as asking one question – What would you like me to know, right now? The point is to have a conversation – you will definitely walk away with just a little bit more insight.
  • As a leader, if you are not receiving regular feedback from your leadership, seek it. You will become much better at giving feedback if you are receiving it. And a much better leader!

I can’t promise that establishing a culture of productive performance reviews is going to be easy. It’s going to take discipline and a real desire. I can promise that if you stick with it, the ROI will not just be in dollars – it will be a great place to work! 


Why Hire A Coach?

 

  1. The higher an executive advances up the organizational latter, they are less dependent on technical skill and require more effectiveness in interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
  2. Coaching is an effective tool for improving the bottom line performance in executives and organizations
  3. Coaching builds skills and capacities for more effective working relationships.
  4. Coaching paves the way for decision makers to create higher levels of organizational effectiveness through dialogue, inquiry and positive interactions.
  5. Coaching helps identify when teamwork is important; the how and when to apply the skills necessary to foster it.
  6. Coached executives have reported improvements in the following areas:
    1. 53% in Productivity
    2. 48% in Quality
    3. 48% in Organizational Strength
    4. 39% in Customer Service
    5. 34% in Reducing Customer Complaints
    6. 32% in Retaining Executives who Received Coaching
    7. 23% in Cost Reductions
    8. 22% in Bottom-line Profitability

*Research from the Center for Creative Leadership


Leadership Journey To Discovery And Development

What happens when you get where you think you want to be to realize it is not the right place or you find yourself compromising your values or passions to an upward position? If you are a leader and have not experienced something similar, hold on to your boots, you probably will. Is the school of hard knocks the only option? Many of us have a graduate degree in learning from failure,which is OK. As John Maxwell says, “success stands on top of a pile of failures”.

Although I have not found a way to eliminate mistakes (and frankly do not think we would ever want to, as they are a good teacher) I do believe there is a way to help leaders navigate through moves and decisions that maybe less painful. The “new” title given to this sort of awareness is authentic leadership. Often, leaders, through years of experience develop this but it has not been defined with a  name until  recently. Last year I read the book titled, “True North” by Bill George and realized it summarized what I had been  personally striving for as a leader. Throughout the last year, I have engaged in much of what I have  learned through this process as well as coaching others to their own personal authentic leadership style. If you have read the book, you will notice some of George’s passion threaded throughout this article.  We have tried for many years to develop the perfect model for leadership but the truth is, leaders come  in all shapes and sizes. That is because we are all different and bring our own set of experiences,  personalities and passions into our leadership. We can learn from other’s experiences but we cannot  live through and lead through another’s experiences. In the book titled “The Enemy Called Average”  was the quote, “we are all born originals but most die carbon copies”. Others can mentor and influence your authentic leadership style but only you can determine what it is. There is only one you with your  personality inspired by you unique set of life experiences. Although there may be other people like you,  only you have lived your life.

A leader can develop their authentic leadership by focusing on seven areas:  self awareness, personal  values, balancing extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, developing a trustworthy support team, staying  grounded, integrating life and empowering others to lead. Being self aware is not as easy as it may appear. Self awareness is birthed out of one’s own life story  and how their story affects their leadership. Often leaders do not tap into this goldmine of discovery. They may not go through this process for several reasons.  Some of these reasons may include:  not knowing how, lack of understanding in the value of their life story, it is too painful or they are unwilling  to invest the time. This journey is worth the investment however.  A recent study from Stanford  Graduate School of Business’s Advisory Council recommended self awareness as the most important  capability for leader’s to develop. Learning your authentic leadership will require not only honesty but  also courage. The process can begin in through different areas of self discovery such as: writing out  your story and listening to feedback to more formal methods such as: 360 profiles, personality profiles,  strength finder and emotional intelligence.

Reflecting on and learning from your life story is the starting point. One’s personal life story allows a  leader to better understand themselves. It also opens their eyes to their passions, values and principles. Reviewing life experiences that go back as far as can be remembered encourages a leader to discover  what drives their passions and then learn how to channel that passion to their own leadership. The  difficult challenges faced in life often define who a leader is and give direction to what they will become.  A leader’s understanding of their values becomes even more relevant when tested under pressure. Having a strong foundation of values that are tried under fire enables a leader to develop the principles  they will apply in leading others.

A leader’s values help them to gain insight to their motivations both intrinsically and extrinsically. The  common response in measuring a leader’s success is extrinsically. When the measuring stick for success  is the “world’s view” it creates a void that is never satisfied. This view encompasses tangible things such  as:  money, home, cars, titles, etc. The challenge is that these things are not sustainable and more often  than not leave a leader unfulfilled with lack of meaning in life. Intrinsic motivations on the other hand  lead the person to pursue more meaningful success that is congruent with their values thus balancing  the fulfillment of their extrinsic motivations. Discovering both your extrinsic and intrinsic motivation takes self evaluation, honesty and a willingness to explore how to bring balance between the two.  Leaders cannot succeed on their own. It takes support and advice. Authentic leaders build a support  team to help them stay focused. This team provides feedback, balanced perspective and has earned the  right to speak into the leader’s life. They will help with focus and correction when the leader needs it. This support group also gives a leader a group of individuals to authentically be themselves with and to  rely on to coach and challenge them. This group may consist of peers, family, colleagues, mentors  and/or friends. Staying grounded as a leader can be a challenge. Leaders that are able to integrate all areas of their life  find the journey to authenticity become a reality. True authenticity comes when a leader is balanced  and consistent in work, faith, family, community and friends. The challenge is balancing effective  leadership at work and maintaining a strong personal life. Those who achieve authentic leadership are constantly working to maintain balance and stay grounded through holistic lives. This allows for  accountability, spending time with family and close friends, physical exercise, community service and a  commitment to spiritual practices, remembering where you came from, what values drive your values  and passions – all allowing authenticity to be sustainable.

Once a leader has worked through self awareness (which is an on going challenge), they now have  earned the right of passage (so to speak) to empower others to lead. Authentic leaders create a culture  of trust and loyalty. This culture enables the leader’s organization to retain and attract top talent that  aligns team members with shared values and goals. Team members are inspired at all levels to step up  and lead and/or take on greater challenges. Thus, authentic leaders are able to produce sustainable  results for themselves and their organization for a long term period.  At MSBCoach, we are dedicated to coaching leaders to become authentic leaders. For more information please contact us at: .


Off Target with your 2014 Goals?

It’s hard believe we are past the half-year mark for 2014.  Have you pulled out your goals and reviewed your progress?  How are you doing?   If you are in the majority, you probably are not doing so well.  Why? There may be a few reasons:

  • Setting goals has become just an empty ritual. We take last year’s goal and “tweak” it.  Often there is not much thought put into creating the goal and not much thought given to it afterwards.
  • No one is really checking in, holding you or others accountable.
  • There are too many barriers – not enough resources.
  • Priorities are constantly changing.

As leaders, if we do not make reaching goals a priority, no one will. Setting and achieving goals needs to be part of regular conversations and expectations. Want some help to get things moving again? Let’s start by analyzing the goals that were set many months ago. 1.  Are these real goals?  Apply the SMART formula to them:

  • Are they specific? Significant? Stretching? Focused?
  • Does each of them have a specific metric that you have applied?  How far off the mark are you?  This shouldn’t be a guessing game.
  • Are the goals attainable?  Goals must stretch us and they need to be attainable. Were you over-reaching? If not, who is responsible for the lack of achievement? Have you been holding yourself and others accountable?
  • Are the goals realistic? Relevant?  Do they align with the mission and vision? Does everyone consider them real goals?
  • What are the time constraints?  Have deadlines been set?  Were there milestones established and published?  Have you and others met all the deadlines?  Why not?  What got in your way?

2.  Once you have completed the SMART formula, consider these questions:

  • Do you have the right goals for the mission and vision of your organization?  Are there more important specific goals that need to be introduced?
  • Which of the goals are truly attainable and relevant?   Which goals must be reached?
  •  Are your metrics appropriate?  Are you tracking the right things?  Are others tracking progress?
  • What barriers need to be removed?

3.  Pick the top 3-4 “must reach” goals. Schedule time with your team and stress the importance of this “2014 Goals Check-In” meeting. Send out an agenda days in advance. The agenda should include:

  • Vision and Mission discussion.  (Note: the vision and mission answers “Why we do we what we do.”)
  • 2014 Goals – Where are we? What do we need celebrate? What do we need to talk about?
  • Focus for the remainder of 2014. New goals, more focused goals.
  • Setting the plan
    • The SMART formula is applied to every goal
    • Barriers are identified and a strategy is created to deal with the barriers
    • Bi-weekly check-ins are scheduled to discuss each goal and progress (no exceptions)
    • Celebrate each milestone achieved
    • Reward appropriately

You still have time to achieve the “must-have” goals. Stick to your plan. Hold yourself and others accountable.  Be sure to celebrate along the way.  The reward of hitting your target will be long lasting and gratifying! Also, as you look to 2015 in your Fall Planning activities, MSBCoach would be happy to help facilitate meaningful and productive planning and team building sessions.  Contact us at to discuss a customized approach for your organization.


Are you feeling energized or exhausted at the end of the day?

A few days ago I was sitting at my desk after dinner going through a few emails.  I was really tired, but it was not a draining tired, it was an energizing tired.  I started thinking on this a little more.  Recently I have been very tired and also exhausted, but this was different.  What had changed? I started thinking about where I am in my personal and professional life to connect the dots and identify what makes me tired and pulls the life out of me versus what makes me tired but still motivates me.  

If you think about it, you may be able to reflect on times when you have felt the same way. For example, when I completed my first half marathon, I was wiped out but also exhilarated from completing something:

  • I wanted to do,
  • I had trained for,
  • I had years of practice doing, and
  • I had set a goal to accomplish.

Life is much like this.  I appreciate the human behavior tool Emergenetics  because it helps us to identify what give us energy and what drains our energy, and not just what we are good at (it is important to know the difference).  Have you ever noticed you can be good at something and it still drains your energy?  That is because we develop competencies (skills) and become better at those skills through practice, but that does not necessarily mean that those skills are energizing. For example, I may not be good at innovation so I take some classes, read books, and surround myself with innovators.  The truth is, if this is not a natural talent for me, it will not move to strength .  That does not mean we do not develop skills in areas that are not energizing talent areas.  Sometimes we have to in order to be successful or move to the next level in our leadership roles.  However, we need to be aware that skills that are not 'raw talents' will likely not move to 'strengths'.  Further, even though we may develop competencies around them, they will most likely still drain our energy.

I realize every role we fill will have a combination of things we love to do that give us energy and things we do not like to do (even if we are good at them) that drain our energy.  This is not necessarily about getting the things off your plate that you do not like to do.  The point I hope you walk away with is one of balance.  Recognizing what gives you energy and what drains your energy and then learning how to manage yourself as well as your schedule to have a balance in your life rather than high highs of energy days and low lows of draining days.

Below are 8 steps to help you identify what gives you strengths and what zaps your energy:

  1. What time of day do you feel most energized?
  2. What are you doing when you feel motivated (example:  working at the computer on budgets, spread sheets, helping a colleague understand a work project, speaking in front of a group, etc.)?
  3. What time of day do you feel most drained?
  4. What part of your job sucks the life out of you (I usually do not have to give examples here)?
  5. How can you take responsibility over your schedule to balance having invigorating work to do during your most draining part of the day (in order to recharge your energy)?
  6. How can you take responsibility of your schedule to complete draining work during your most productive times of the day?
  7. How can you make sure you are balancing work that brings life to you each day with the things that drag you down?
  8. Is there someone on your team that would love to do the things you hate to do?  If so be purposeful and have a conversation with them about “trading” some work responsibilities.  You will be surprised how fun this conversation can be to the possibilities of bringing more stimulating work to both of you.

The bottom line is self-leadership which begins with self-awareness and moves to self-management.  Ned Herman said, “Information without application leads to fascination but information with application leads to transformation.”  We are striving for transformation.  We have too many “aha” moments and then do not do anything with them.  I would love to hear from you.  Have you ever found that you are exhausted but energized and/or exhausted and totally fatigued?  If so, what did you do with that discovery?  How do you balance your schedule for the things that give you energy versus the things that drain your energy?


Where Happiness Lies

I doubt that anyone would so bluntly make the statement, “I want you to make me happy”. However, many people live a life that reflects this very statement. Remarks such as, “My boss is running my life”, “my ‘significant other’ makes life so boring”, or “life would be great if it were not for …. (you fill in the blank)”. Despite knowing that happiness begins internally, many people still rely upon others, things or circumstances to make them happy. Francois De La Rochefoucauld said, "When we cannot find contentment in ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. "Denis Waitley made a powerful observation when he said, "Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."

What is it that makes a person happy? Better yet, what personally makes you happy? Happiness by definition is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy (Wikipedia). I am no longer surprised when I ask the question, “What makes you happy?” and the responses are centered around things, titles, jobs, ages (I once was or will be), place they are in life, or other people’s behavior. While we need to strive to fulfill goals and ambitions in order to keep ourselves growing, happiness is learning to be peaceful where we are. It is being self-aware of the things that bring you joy and contentment despite other events that may be occurring. I am convinced that many people in our Western culture do not know what makes them happy, and they are looking in all the wrong places. When or if they find what they thought they were looking for, they are disappointed to discover that the things they sought did not bring them the happiness that they had longed for.

So how does a person find happiness? This is a good question, and a question that no one else can answer for you. It is an answer you have to discover for yourself. Below are 11 questions to help you identify the things that make you happy:

  • How would you define peaceful and content?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • When are you the happiest (long term, not temporarily)?
  • How do you respond when you are unhappy, and how do you move past this unhappiness to re-center?
  • What do you do to give back to others?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What people in your life fuel you up and in return, are fueled up by you?
  • What do you value and how are you living each day according to those values?
  • Do the people in your life align with your values?
  • Are there areas in your life where you are compromising? (Compromising will certainly weigh on your happiness)
  • Is it too difficult for you or others to please you? Conversely, are you too easy to please? smiley_symbol

I remember a story my Dad used to tell. It goes like this:

An older gentleman and his granddaughter were sitting on a bench outside the city market,enjoying a soda and the sunshine when a stranger pulled up. The stranger asked the older gentleman, “Can you tell me a little about this town… I am thinking about moving my family here.” The older gentleman, replied, “Well welcome… we are glad to have you, tell me a little about where you came from”. The stranger then replied, “Oh, we loved our community… there were lots of friendly people, my work was meaningful, it is sad to leave. However, I have been offered a new position in this town and I am here to check it out.” To this, the older gentleman replied, “that sounds exactly like our town… I believe you and your family will love it here.”

A little time later another stranger pulled up and said, “Hey old timer, tell me a little about this town”… again to this the older gentleman replied, “Welcome… we are glad to have you, tell me a little about where you came from.” The stranger began his story, “To tell you the truth, I hate where I live right now, the people are not friendly and my work drives me crazy; however, I am interviewing for a job here today and I thought things might be a little different here.” To this the old gentleman replied, “It sounds like the town you live in is exactly like our town.” The stranger got in his car and as he drove away he said, “Thanks old man, I figured it wouldn’t be any better”.

The older gentleman’s granddaughter looked at him in bewilderment and asked, “Grandpap, why did you tell each stranger a different sorry about our town?” The grandpap replied, “Because honey, everything is exactly what we make it!”

Your level of happiness is a choice, but you need to first identify the sources of your happiness in non-tangible ways. The questions above will help you to do just that. I encourage you to practice happiness for the next 30 days. I challenge you to start or end each day identifying at least three things you are grateful for. You will be amazed at the end of the 30 days when you find that you have created a remarkable new habit, and discover that you are much happier because of your gratitude. We typically realize that we have a lot more to be happy about when we just slow down long enough to identify the good things in our lives. If you do not feel happier after careful introspection, then it is time to take charge and make some changes in your life. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be,“ said Abraham Lincoln.

What about you? What do you do to be happy? How would you identify happiness? What do you do when you find yourself unhappy? We would love to hear your stories. I also invite you to contact us if you are interested in working with a coach to help you move past the extrinsic motivators of happiness to discover the intrinsic motivators of happiness as you learn how to balance the two.


Pushing Past the Fear

The words leadership and fear seem to be in direct contradiction with one another, yet if we are honest and authentic, I believe most leaders would admit that there is something they fear, or of which they are at least a little intimidated.  One fear that I have often witnessed among leaders is the fear of allowing - even encouraging - people to out-shine them. Let me explain a little more what I mean through a personal story. 

My husband (Steven) and I enjoy the sport of running.  While we are not exceptional athletes, we both are committed and consistent.  A new person came into our running world a few years ago, on a brisk fall Saturday morning.  Every Saturday morning in October a group of crazy people begin training for the Charlottesville 10 Miler.  This year was no different - except for our new friend Mike, who was not a runner; in fact, this was his first attempt at training.  As the months went by, our friendship with Mike grew into one of value, held in high regard; however, something else happened during this training.  Mike discovered in his mid-50s that he has a natural talent for running.

After completing his first 10 miler at a much better pace than he anticipated, he went on to run a half marathon.  He did that so well and with such ease that he decided to run a marathon. This year he ran the Boston Marathon and had a record PR (personal record). The point of this story is that there was a time when Steven and I were better runners than Mike.  While we are committed runners, we do not have the talent and passion that Mike has discovered within himself.  Yet through all of this, we have maintained a strong friendship and continue to support and encourage Mike as he surpasses us.

There are strong parallels here between our friendship with Mike (and not being threatened by his success) and leaders being able to let those in their lives move beyond what they only dream of accomplishing.  It’s easy to let pride get in the way and become uncomfortable being around someone who was once a “novice”, but who is now better than you.  Or perhaps you can allow yourself to have a paradigm shift and see the influence you had in this person’s life.  As Mike discovered his hidden talent, Steven and I encouraged and supported him to pursue it more… until he was way past us.

A great mentor in my life, Yvonne Black, always said to me, “put people around you who are better than you and don’t be afraid of that.”  This is something I strive to live into.  I admit there are times I have to remind myself that this is not a threat.  Just as it is with our children, wanting them to go further than we have ever gone, so it should be with those we lead.  Our ceiling should be their floor.  “The key to change, is to let go of fear,” Rosanne Cash.

So, what have you done to move past the “fear” in leadership and encouraged someone you lead to become all they possibly can – even if that means passing you up for a promotion?


A great employee is a like a great pair of shoes... Invest in Quality!

Have you ever bought a pair of cheap shoes in a pinch?  Maybe you needed a quick replacement, or felt the budget didn’t bear anything more expensive?  More often than not, when you compromise on quality, the shoes don’t fit quite right, they to show wear quickly or maybe even fell apart well before you'd like.  In the end… you have to buy another pair.  Making this mistake often will add up quickly.  Consider how many $20 pairs of shoes you have replaced.  They probably add up to what it would have cost for a quality pair of shoes that you would love, feel confident and comfortable in and are made to last. We can draw a parallel from this metaphor to hiring and retaining employees… We should all learn from lessons in buying good shoes:

  1.  No matter what the price, find the right fit.  A bad hire will just end up giving you “blisters”… not to mention the time, money and effort of having to rehire and train the next person. Avoid quick replacements and be sure they fit your culture and the position qualifications!
  2. Be willing to invest.  This might come in the form of someone with more experience, or even better, someone with the potential to learn and grow with training, development and time.  Like your shoes, a larger upfront cost pays off in spades when your employee sticks with you and lives into the potential you saw.
  3. Repair – Don’t Replace.  If an employee that fits well and has all the potential to do great things just isn’t as shiny anymore, or worse, the sole has worn and they are not performing as well anymore, don’t just toss them out!  Now is the time to invest in them through coaching or more formal development. Your initial investment in quality must be maintained! Polish up those shoes and resole them again and again!  The cost of ongoing investment is far less than buying new!
  4. Don’t take your dress shoes hiking.  You wouldn’t try to make your shoes perform in an environment or for a task not suited to their purpose.  Why do we do this to our employees?  Get to know them and their strengths to ensure that they can perform at their best.
  5. Try them with a new outfit.  Sometime the effect of putting the same shoe with a completely different outfit can help you get even more wear out of them!Think about the last time you put those dress shoes with jeans-it can makes for a fun change and you got more wear out of those shoes! The same goes for your high potential employees.  Giving them new opportunities, experiences outside of their area of expertise, or promotions when they are ready for more leadership and responsibility can help them to find longevity and happiness in your organization!

The lesson that you eventually learn is that the return on investment when it comes to quality is almost always worth it… in shoes and in people! MSBCoach is in the business of investing in quality people.  Let us help you polish up or resole your teams through coaching or our training programs.  We also have many effective assessments that can help uncover their strengths and preferences so you can help them succeed!


The Joy of Teamwork

“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten,” says Robert Fulghum, author of the book by the same title. I find this to certainly be true in my life but it is also good to know that the learning continues.

I live in Charlottesville, VA and locally we have a summer camp for kids called “Spectrum”. The camp is sponsored by the Tandem Friends School and they have a hoot (kids and leaders)! Irish dancing, story telling, African drumming, acting, film making, singing, juggling, baking, fencing, organic food production, box city, and more! The tough part for the kids is choosing what to do ... and the best part for parents (and grandparents) is the show they put on their last day. It is hard to believe that kids can team together in such a short time and put on such fantastic performances! You feel their joy radiating as they perform ... and what a delight for those of us who get to watch.

I personally discovered a moral to being able to be a part of these activities. The campers spent two weeks together being highly productive in a wide variety of activities. They loved it and they want to do it again. Why? The answer is the enjoyment and fulfillment of working with their teams as well as the meaningful leadership. The leaders are very good at what they do and they coach the campers (teams) how to have fun learning new things. It was also enlightening to watch the leaders of each session light up with pride as their teams of campers performed ... often, it seemed the results exceeded their own expectations.

Now think of your last two weeks at work. What is so different? Did you participate in a wide variety of activities, work with all kinds of people, learn/teach/coach with joy and enthusiasm, work as a team, produce meaningful results? If you did, I’ll bet you’re enjoying your work. If not, maybe it’s time to be a kid again and have some fun (and call it work)!

-By Ken Karr