I was recently working with a new client on applying Situational Leadership® II in his organization. I suggested as a first step he meet with each of his direct reports to get clear on their goals.
“But I already know each person’s goals,” he said. “We all always have goals. In fact, we just did a midyear review to make sure all the goals are still on target. How on earth would people know how they are supposed to be spending their time if they didn’t have their goals?”
I had to laugh and answered, “You’d be surprised how many managers out there are not at all clear about their own goals, let alone their peoples’ goals.”
He was absolutely appalled at the idea that anyone would try to achieve anything in an organization without clear goals. Goals aren’t important only for helping people prioritize their time; having goals and becoming more successful at reaching them are key motivators for learning new skills and trying on new behaviors.
There is so much excitement about e-learning—but engagement and completion are a real issue. MOOCs (massive open online courses) may have record attendance, but no one is really talking about the fact that completion rates are somewhere around 3 percent. Online learning is proving to be extremely successful in the university setting, and I would submit that’s because attendance and online module completion is mandatory for a degree. In organizations, however, learning competes for precious resources: time and bandwidth. The only way to win with learning in an organizational setting is to somehow hook into each individual learner’s inherent motivation to make the effort by making the learning experience immediately, bracingly relevant to success on the job. How to do this? We’ve had good results with Impact Mapping.
The Impact Map, widely used in Blanchard programs, is a highly useful management tool developed by Robert O. Brinkerhoff. It provides a big picture view, or “line of sight,” of what an individual’s department and company are trying to achieve and connects what a person is learning to the behaviors needed to be successful in the job role. It also allows the tracking of learning alongside the job by adding action items that are meant to put learning to use at work immediately.
It isn’t hard to create an Impact Map, but it does take some thought and a little footwork. Allow me to detail the components of an effective Impact Map.
- Organizational Goals are the most important goals everyone in the organization is working to accomplish within a certain time frame. They provide the big picture direction of where the organization is headed.
- Departmental Goals are the key goals the department is trying to achieve so that it can best contribute to the overall goals of the organization.
- Key Results are those items that are the mission critical focus for any specific job role.
- Critical Actions and Observable Behaviors are what the exemplars or most successful people in the specific responsibility area use to achieve the Key Results. They also paint a clear picture of what a good job looks like for people in that role.
- Individual Goals are generated for each learning experience. Individuals can map their learnings and new behaviors to everything else on the map, creating a compelling alignment.
You may find in your organization that organizational or departmental goals aren’t as clear as they could be. Possibly, individuals aren’t at all sure about expected outcomes. Just answering the questions that arise during the creation of an Impact Map will result in a healthier organization.
Blanchard Online Learning offers dozens of lessons and tools that are focused on development. Adding the Impact Map to the mix is a differentiator for us because it aligns the learning journey with what is relevant to everyday work. It is much more compelling for workers to spend time in the lessons, learning and practicing new skills, when they know it will make them more successful on the job.
Now if I could only find a tool like this to help my high-schooler find the motivation to learn algebra!
Re-blogged From Blanchard Leader-chat Forum
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Regardless of their formal title or position, people who want to be great leaders must embrace an attitude of service to others. That’s the message that Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller share in the 10th anniversary edition of their bestselling business book, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do.
Leaders can find countless ways to serve the people they lead, and they should always be on the lookout for new and different ways to do this. However, there are at least five critical ways leaders must serve if they want to be as effective as possible.
- See the Future: The ability to envision and communicate a compelling picture of a preferred future. Leaders must help the people they lead see the destination, as well as the advantages of going there. Everybody needs to see who they are, where they are going, and what will guide their journey.
- Engage and Develop Others: Recruiting and selecting the right people for the right job while creating an environment where people wholeheartedly invest themselves in achieving the vision. Blanchard and Miller believe that engaging is a two-part proposition. The first part is to recruit and select the right people for the right job. That means to get the right players on the team. The second part is to do whatever it takes to engage the hearts and the heads of the people. Historically, the authors point out that many leaders have employed the hands and nothing else—and that’s probably where the term “hired hands” comes from. The best leaders engage the head and heart of their employees in addition to their hands.
- Reinvent Continuously: To possess a never-ending focus on improvement. Blanchard and Miller believe a leader must be willing to reinvent on at least three levels. The first is personal. Some key questions they recommend asking are: How am I learning and growing as a leader? and What am I doing to encourage others in my group to constantly learn and reinvent themselves? The second level of reinvention is systems and processes: How are we doing the work? How can we do it better? and What changes would enhance our ability to serve our customers and each other? The third type of reinvention involves the structure of the organization. A recommended question to ask here is: What structural changes do we need to make to be more efficient and effective?
- Value Results and Relationships: The ability to generate positive, measurable results AND cultivate great relationships with those you lead. Leading at a higher level includes both results and relationships. The authors encourage leaders to put equal emphasis on both. According to Ken Blanchard, “We traditionally teach people the important skills they need to get results: problem solving, decision making, and so on. Leaders need to put an equal emphasis on building relationships and connecting with people. It’s both/ and, not either/ or.”
- Embody the Values: To live in a fashion consistent with your stated values. This is fundamental and ongoing, explain Blanchard and Miller. If a leader loses their credibility, their leadership potential will be greatly limited. Aspiring leaders must do more than articulate values—they must live their values every day.
TheSecret3rdHow would you rate yourself in these five areas? In your experience, which of these five attributes holds leaders back most often?
For the new 10th anniversary edition, Blanchard and Miller have added a skills assessment and a special new section with their reflections on helping leaders develop these skills. For new leaders looking to improve their ability to bring out the best in themselves and others, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do provides an inspiring road map. You can learn more about the book, read an opening chapter, and access additional resources at this special book page. To participate in a complimentary September 29 webinar that Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller are conducting on the key concepts of The Secret, click here!
Re-blogged from Blanchard Leader-chat Forum
Tags: employee skills assessment, skills assessment, skills assessment definition, skills assessment tools, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do
In the past, undertaking leadership training programs was taken lightly. People used to consider it as a way of gaining an added advantage in leadership. However, this has changed today. As a way of stabilizing leadership and fitting to the competitive leadership world, one needs to undertake leadership training. This kind of training helps one attain the necessary leadership skills such as communication. As a way of achieving corporate success in leadership, one needs training on how to solve problems and counterattack challenges as a leader.
When leadership training, one gets to know proper communication skills and the diversity in management. This is necessary since it opens up the mind of a leader. One gets to know the length and the width of leadership which is quiet vast.
Other things that one is trained in, are ways of solving conflicts and being innovative. For a leader to achieve set objectives, they must know how to solve arising conflicts and be fast thinkers. Innovation expands the boundaries of leadership through bringing necessary improvement and achievements in a company.
After leadership training, a leader gets to know how to plan strategically and ways of managing projects. This can also help a leader to achieve much of the objectives and targets.
The benefits of leadership training are as follows; a leader gets the crucial leadership skills that help to trigger achievement of the organization. The leadership training makes a leader knowledgeable, and this helps him or her to properly direct the employees and resources. With good directions from a leader, the employees can provide performance and give high quality services or products.
By combining all the tips gained in the leadership training programs, a leader helps a company to increase its productivity. In connection to this, a leader becomes stress-free as far as his job is concerned because the duties have been tasked out to the right person and it has been done correctly.
Apart from success of the entire company, there are other benefits that a leader may enjoy in return. Taking into consideration the competition that is in the job market today, most of leaders who enjoy promotions are ones who have undergone leadership training. With corporate training, one can earn a high rank in the leadership ladder as well as increased earnings.
Leadership training programs brings up leaders who cannot be distracted or blocked from achieving the goals set by the company. These types of leaders have all the necessary techniques and skills that they can employ in hiring qualified, morally upright and dynamic workers. Hiring employees of high quality in relation to working skills reduces the tension of micromanagement.
In conclusion, there are different leadership training programs that offer training to corporate leaders. One of the most commonly used training programs focuses on the organizational leadership. This form of training is mostly preferred, since it basis on a known structure that is always on sight.
The other leadership training program mostly preferred is the one focusing on situational leadership. This leadership training program aims at training leaders to be flexible.
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Every organization with managers can benefit from leadership development coaching programs. By maximizing the effectiveness of your leadership pool, your entire workforce reaps benefits.
While morale is a big part of this equation, a lot of the benefits are easier to demonstrate tangibly, and impact the organizations bottom line. Here is a list of five ways leadership development justifies itself with benefits to your workforce:
Five Key Benefits of Leadership Development Coaching:
1. Boosts Morale: the most obvious benefit is also the hardest to measure. A poor leader can make any worker miserable, and miserable workers don’t do their jobs well. Having your leaders be well trained and intentional in how they lead will have an immediate impact on the work environment, which leads to a snowball effect of positive outcomes. Though morale seems like an abstract, that doesn’t mean that the results aren’t noticeable.
2. Limits Employee Turnover: Keeping your workers motivated, content and showing them respect makes it less likely they will leave. Less turnover impacts the bottom line immensely; you get to keep skilled staff and team dynamics while avoiding the cost of recruiting and training new employees. Don’t underestimate the cost of cycling through a perpetually non-content workforce.
3. Increases Productivity: Effective leaders are able to guide their team and minimize obstacles. They get the best results out of the resources at their disposal. This means that the team members are ultimately empowered to succeed, resulting in much better productivity.
4. Provides Better vision: When leaders are well-connected with their team’s, they can see the issues effecting the group better. This vision makes problem solving easier and keeps the group from being blindsided. Also, the more aware leaders are of the group, the better they are at creating a solid set of actionable goals which can lead to success.
5. Fosters New Ideas: An effective leader is a good facilitator, making the comfortable enough to share new ideas, and allowing for them to study those ideas in detail. Being a good steward of new ideas can help keep your organization dynamic and ever evolving.
There are many reasons to start a leadership development program within your organization, and hopefully this list has started you thinking on that path. Of course, this doesn’t need to be complicated or time intensive task – all it takes is a commitment to learning and seeking out resources that fit the needs of the group. Whether using seminars, books, or online articles, the most important component is a willingness to learn and the initiative to seek growth.
About US: — The Ken Blanchard Companies is a global leader in workplace learning, productivity, performance, and leadership training solutions. We help companies improve their performance, productivity, and bottom-line results.
Upcoming Event Programs for Leadership Development Coaching
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Executive coaching has become a mainstream development tool for leaders in today’s organizations. The challenge with any tool is to use it properly. Used poorly, a tool can have unintentional effects, or fail to achieve the desired outcomes.
That was one of the key points that Patricia Overland, Executive Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies made in a recent presentation on Coaching In Today’s Organizations—Best Practices and Common Mistakes. Drawing on her extensive experience helping to implement coaching in a wide variety of organizations, Overland shared the five mistakes she sees organizations making most often.
1. Failing to set the context:
It’s important to be clear on communicating why individuals are being offered coaching. Overland shared an experience of bringing coaching into an organization where it had been previously used to correct performance and was seen as a last ditch effort to “save” people before termination. The new program was focused on development and helping leaders grow. In this instance, resetting the context of coaching was a first priority. As Overland explained, “Imagine what people would have thought if they were chosen for this new coaching program without first addressing the old way of viewing coaching!”
2. Failing to get top down sponsorship:
Overland stressed the importance of having a top-down mandate and formal senior leader sponsorship to help with overcoming organizational barriers and easing change management. A successful coaching implementation is much harder without sponsorship. Overland’s advice? Know what is important to senior leaders and address that in program design and in setting coaching objectives.
3. Not vetting the coach or the coaching organization:
Overland explained that there are several factors to consider when selecting a coach. In Overland’s experience, individual executives often emphasize hiring a coach who is most like them in terms of industry experience and positional title. “I’d like to be coached by a former VP in my industry,” for example. On the other hand, learning and development departments who are bringing in coaches may pay more attention to global capability, cost, and a coach’s past track record of getting results. Vetting the coach in a variety of areas can help ensure that coaches selected are a best fit for your organization and your people.
4. Ignoring measurement and evaluation of coaching:
Measuring the outcome of coaching can be difficult and time consuming. However, in order to ensure the investment in time, dollars, and effort is paying off, some form of measurement needs to be implemented. The process begins by getting clear on the desired outcomes of the coaching initiative, setting expectations around outcomes, and then coaching to those outcomes. Overland explained that it is not enough for a client to say, “I want to improve my communication.” Be sure to clarify to what end, and how that will affect the person being coached, the people around them, and the organization.
5. Underestimating the balance between development and workload:
Workload is a real concern. Overland explained that the culture you create, and the permission you give people to take time to be coached is an integral factor in whether or not coaching works. “People want to grow, change, and develop but when the boss says, ‘I need this now,’ not many people are willing to defer and say, ‘I have a coaching call now.’” To address this, Overland recommends creating a culture that engages leaders in the development of their people and where learning is a part of the ongoing daily dialogue.
With a little bit of care and planning, Overland believes that any size organization can improve the capabilities of their executives through coaching. To learn more about Overland’s recommended approach—including case studies and best practices—be sure to check out the recording and handout from her session, Coaching In Today’s Organizations—Best Practices and Common Mistakes. It’s free courtesy of Cisco WebEx and The Ken Blanchard Companies!
Re-blogged from Blanchard leader chat forum
About The Author: –
David Witt is the Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. With 14 years of experience in the leadership development arena, David combines a research-based background with an engaging style to create innovative and thought-provoking presentations about new ways to improve performance and productivity in today’s organizations.
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Ever get a good idea? It starts out as a feeling that you might have a solution to a problem. A few days later you’re thinking Hey, I’ve got something here. This could really help. And the cost is well within reason. I owe it to myself and the organization to get this on the radar. But how do you go about it?
There are three phases in selling ideas or initiating a new approach. There is the pre-sell. Then there is the sell. And then there is the after-sell. The actual sell may be the least important element.
Persuading people to adopt something new is tricky. It requires them to move away from their current thinking and embrace something different. Sometimes the real challenge isn’t getting them to like the new way—it’s getting them to let go of the old one.
If you are looking to launch an initiative and are hoping to get buy-in and agreement, it’s important to take a realistic approach. None of this is apt to happen if this is an agenda item that only gets ten minutes at a one-hour meeting. It’s even less likely if the meeting is virtual—it’s hard to read people when you can’t see them. Double this if people routinely multi-task. And triple it if there are political implications to the issue.
Focus on the Pre-Sell and the After-Sell
To increase the chance of a successful sell, it’s important that there be time and opportunity for some pre-sell activity. Most success stories don’t come from magic answers and silver bullets. It’s rare that you’ll be able to merely announce “Do this and your problems will be over. This will fix everything.”
Give people significant time to get up to speed on the upcoming proposal before any meeting is held. A useful concept to keep in mind is what the Japanese call nemoashi. It means “building consensus and respecting the individual.” Maximizing the likelihood of success requires some pre-sell effort to let people know what the issue is. This includes advocating a solution and making your case ahead of time.
During any sell meeting, manage the agenda to avoid snap decisions with little opportunity for meaningful discussion.
Most important, leave ample time for after-sell discussions. After the sell, attendees may be thinking about potential drawbacks of the new process or decision or the unforeseen disadvantages that the new order of things could cause. They may begin to regret what they agreed to. Of course, we know this as buyer’s remorse.
To avoid this, restate objectives and clarify goals to assuage fears and support the new decision. Give attendees an opportunity to state their concerns. Be responsive to their resistance. Be grateful that they are willing to surface their candid objections. And then deal with resolving those objections.
Take Time So Decisions Stick
If you really want to advocate progress, you have to do whatever it takes. “Let’s just wait until the Friday meeting and decide when we’re all together,” sounds good, but how realistic is it, really? Even if you do get it on the agenda, even if there is a discussion, there is a good chance that the final outcome isn’t going to work. Attendees may agree with it. There may be a show of hands or a successful vote. But will it really happen?
Increase your chance of success by taking the time to get people up to speed. Allow them the opportunity to surface concerns and resolve issues. It’s the thoughtful approach that leads to better results.
About the author: — Dr. Dick Ruhe is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies.
Tags: Alignment, Collaboration, Decision-making, strategic leadership articles, strategic leadership characteristics, strategic leadership examples, strategic leadership in India, strategic leadership pdf, strategic leadership theory, strategic leadership training, strategic management, Work Teams
When leaders get caught up in their ego, they erode their effectiveness. Leaders with an overactive ego find themselves unable to center. Instead they are constantly moving from a sense of inadequacy to an overinflated sense of their own importance.
In his book Leading at a Higher Level, business author the Ken Blanchard explains that “When leaders are addicted to either ego affliction, it erodes their effectiveness.”
“Leaders dominated by false pride are often called ‘controllers.’ Even when they don’t know what they are doing, they have a high need for power and control. Even when it’s clear to everyone that they are wrong, they keep on insisting they are right.”
At the other end of the spectrum are the fear-driven leaders. Blanchard says these individuals are often characterized as “do-nothing bosses.” They’re described as “never around, always avoiding conflict and not very helpful.” Their fear of making a mistake and feelings of inadequacy keep them from taking action — even when they should.
Four Warning Signs
In their book Egonomics, authors David Marcum and Steven Smith identify four warning signs that an overactive ego might be undermining an executive’s career.
- Seeking acceptance: – A leader becomes overly concerned with what others think. This keeps leaders from being true to themselves. These leaders tend to play it safe, swim with the current and restate others’ ideas instead of putting forth their own.
- Showcasing brilliance: – Leaders go beyond sharing good ideas to making their brilliance the center of attention. When showcasing is allowed or encouraged, the casualty is collective wisdom. Paradoxically, the more a leader showcases his or her brilliance, the less likely people are to listen.
- Being comparative: – Instead of focusing on being their own personal best, these leaders find themselves fixated on comparing themselves to others. Excessive comparison turns colleagues into competitors, and competitors are not effective collaborators. Comparing strengths to weaknesses leads to excessive self-confidence or feelings of inadequacy.
- Being defensive: – Instead of defending an idea, these leaders find themselves defending their positions as if they were defending themselves personally. Leaders focus on proving their cases and deflecting alternative points of view. These leaders resist feedback, brush off mistakes and discussions become superficial.
Keep Ego In Balance
Because ego acts subtly and a healthy ego is necessary for anyone who aspires to leadership, the goal is not to remove ego from the equation, but to keep it in balance. Marcum and Smith recommend that leaders develop their humility, curiosity and veracity. The goal is to achieve and maintain an intelligent self-respect and genuine confidence.
With a little bit of vigilance and an understanding of the four overactive ego warning signs, leaders can head off trouble before it erodes their effectiveness. Leaders with an accurate perception of self, who remain open to feedback and who maintain a commitment to something larger than their personal self interests can help others do the same.
You can learn more about the dangers of an overactive executive ego and explore some additional resources and strategies from David Marcum, Steven Smith, Ken Blanchard, Matthew Hayward and Jim Collins by checking out the new Chief Learning Executive article, When Ego Trumps the Company.
Re-blogged from Blanchard leader chat forum
About Author: – David Witt is the Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. With 14 years of experience in the leadership development arena, David combines a research-based background with an engaging style to create innovative and thought-provoking presentations about new ways to improve performance and productivity in today’s organizations.
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Performance planning, coaching, and review are the foundation of any well-designed performance management system, but the results of a recent study suggest that leaders are falling short in meeting the expectations of their direct reports. A survey of 470 human resource and talent management professionals by Training magazine and The Ken Blanchard Companies found gaps of 24–39 percent between what employees wanted from their leaders and what they were experiencing in 10 key areas (see chart.)
Performance management is a key leadership responsibility. This survey suggests that significant gaps exist between employee expectations and what they are experiencing at work. Left unaddressed, these gaps represent a drain on overall organizational vitality through lowered employee intentions to stay, endorse, and apply discretionary effort as needed.
For leadership development professionals, these study results provide an opportunity to take a more targeted approach to improving perceptions in each of these areas. Here are four ways to get started.
- Take a look at the overall design of your performance management process. Are managers following best practices in setting goals that are specific, motivating, attainable, relevant, and trackable? What percentage of employees have current goals listed? Have leaders conducted an internal assessment to measure the degree to which employees feel that their goals are effective in directing and motivating their performance?
- Take a second look at the amount of time your managers are spending with their people. The Ken Blanchard Companies advocates that leaders meet with their direct reports a minimum of twice a month to discuss progress toward goals and address employee needs for direction and support. Monitoring progress and providing feedback are two of the key ways for a manager to stay involved and partner with an employee to achieve goals. Both activities directly influence improved performance.
- Review your performance review process. In many organizations, goals are set at the beginning of the year and not seen again until the review process at the end of the year. Blanchard has identified that a best practice is to conduct a series of mini-reviews throughout the year—every 90 days is the recommended standard. This allows leaders to make midcourse corrections, eliminates any surprises for individual employees, and keeps the partnership between manager and direct report strong and vibrant.
- Don’t forget job and career development. Growth opportunities at the job and overall career level are important drivers of employee work passion and one of the better ways that leaders can show team members that they care and are invested in them. Be sure that all performance review conversations include time for a discussion on ways that employees can improve their skills in their current role and also what the steps are that they can take to continue to advance in their careers.
A renewed focus on performance management can have significant results on the performance of an organization. Give your performance management system a review—and if you find similar gaps, address them for higher levels of employee work passion and performance.
Re-blogged from Blanchard leader chat forum
About Author: – David Witt is the Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. With 14 years of experience in the leadership development arena, David combines a research-based background with an engaging style to create innovative and thought-provoking presentations about new ways to improve performance and productivity in today’s organizations.
Tags: performance management process gaps, performance management process gaps research, performance management research
Yesterday, I went to my favorite retail store to pick up a pair of silver hoop earrings for my friend’s birthday. While there, I saw a lot of little things that felt new and fresh. I asked my usual salesperson (who has been there forever), “What is different around here? It feels spacious and inviting!” She lit up and shared that there was a new manager and he was empowering store associates to take charge of their departments and share their best ideas for “wowing” customers.
We chatted about how the new direction had impacted her and she said that she now looked forward to coming to work. She proceeded to show me a new display of jewelry on the counter (as opposed to behind/under the counter where it had been before) that she had influenced. She also pointed to the new purse display that her friend had created. Wow!
Let’s dissect this interaction in terms of consistently delivering the Legendary Service you want your organization to be known for.
- It is important to remember that people thrive when they feel their work is meaningful, when they have a chance to grow, and when they feel autonomous and recognized for their contributions. The salesperson was very excited to share with me that she had a new manager who acknowledged her ideas and allowed her to implement them. The truth is, a new manager can bring a real sense of hope to a team. If you are a manager who has been with your team for a while, think about this and ask yourself: What outdated or ineffective patterns of management behavior could I freshen up in order to lift my team and inspire them anew?
- On a regular basis, whether they serve internal or external customers, ask your people for their ideas on how to improve customer service. This will keep them always thinking of new ways to create a better customer experience. This is the backbone of Legendary Service: creating a culture that inspires people to think: If I were in charge, what would I do to serve customers at the highest level?
- Because your front line people interact with customers every day, they are at the forefront of knowing what your customers want. Take advantage of what they know! When they share their ideas with you, act on those ideas whenever possible. My service provider’s idea was that customers would be happier if they could actually touch the jewelry, instead of having to wait in line for her to show them different pieces. Her new manager empowered her to act on her idea—so she took lower priced, but still sparkly and beautiful earrings, necklaces, and bracelets and created six different displays on the counter. The result? Sales have increased and customers are happier—they can now have fun matching jewelry to their new outfits!
How can you update your management style? Can you promote a Legendary Service culture by asking front-liners for ideas, and accelerating those ideas into action? As we move into a new quarter, think about what you can do to inspire innovative, customer-centric ideas and let your people know they matter. They will appreciate the opportunity and you’ll be surprised at the great ideas they come up with to serve and delight customers!
About the author: –
Dr.Vicki Halsey is VP of Applied Learning and coauthor (together with Ken Blanchard and Kathy Cuff) of the new book, Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care now available in bookstores everywhere. You can read an excerpt from the book, download an online quiz, and learn more about Legendary Service at this book page.
Tags:– Employee Engagement, Performance Management
Re-blogged from Blanchard Leader Chat Forum Site
Tags: Employee Engagement in India, Performance Management in India
In a recent online Forbes article, a start up CEO shares how he gets things done. He explains the mechanics of creating his master to-do list each week and how he transforms his many big projects into smaller to-dos on his daily action plan.
He says that the process he uses keeps the projects moving forward “against a backdrop of the normal daily chores that any business owner must perform, such as motivation, recruiting, marketing, accounting, and the like.”
At first blush I am glad that employee motivation is on the list. But then I notice that it’s a list of daily chores. And while I was happy that motivation was on a list of core business functions, it was strange to hear it called a chore.
I suppose if you were a recruiting expert you might also wonder how recruiting could be seen as a chore. Perhaps you are thinking, “Oh, relax. It’s just a word. At least motivation is on a key list or normal daily anythings.”
But words matter. Words matter especially to the phenomenon of employee motivation because they stimulate the creation of meaning. Meaning of what is in large part a function of what the words are. So a particular kind of motivation is more likely stimulated by calling your focus on motivating me a chore as opposed to viewing it as a strategic focus of your time and energy aimed at helping me be my best and do my best work.
Seeing motivation as a strategic focus
The more useful way to view employee motivation is as a strategic focus that sits at the heart of the value creation process. Motivation means to move. The question is, if motivation is a chore, in what ways are employees likely to be moved?
Here are three ways to think about employee motivation that are more aligned with the value creation point of view, and less with the employee motivation as a daily chore point of view:
- Employees naturally want to do good work, and the CEO could best help them do that by fostering an environment in which it is easy for them to bring their best intellectual, insightful, and creative skills to bear on the organization’s needs.
- Language matters. Take great care to talk about employee motivation in ways that speak to the meaning of what the organization does, and how much employees want their contributions to matter.
- Make sure all employee contributions matter. Even if the employee is still learning and making mistakes, celebrate the learning and affirm the effort.
This is not an exhaustive list of how to look at motivation in a value-optimizing way, but it’s a good start. Please share your thoughts and additions.
About the author:
The Motivation Guy (also known as Dr. David Facer) is one of the principal authors—together with Susan Fowler and Drea Zigarmi—of The Ken Blanchard Companies new Optimal Motivation process and workshop.
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You are focusing on building leadership skills and competencies, now what? You now must decide how you want to be viewed as a leader, what style will you develop? Do you know someone who has a leadership style that you admire? Are there different traits from different leaders that you want to model? What do you want others to say about you and your leadership style when you are not present?
What do you want your employees, your peers and or your superiors or other designated followers to think about you as their leader? These are all important questions to ask yourself. Like anything that is meaningful, you must have a vision; a goal; and a plan to assure you will reach the level or position you desire.
Leadership is not necessarily all about positions in the workplace. We are leaders to our children, our family, in our community, and at the workplace. Even, the self employed must lead themselves to success.
Leaders are always developing and supporting others to build leadership skills. Leaders’ help others develop problem solving skills, and help them to become contributors to the cause; home, community or family. Are you helping others grow, by challenging them; by delegating things that are of importance to them? Are you communicating to them that you trust them? You will experience firsthand that delegation with trust goes a long way to gaining immeasurable loyalty and support from others. Do you give your people the latitude to work and act independently?
Leadership skills are necessary in any business or life situation. You may or may not have formal leadership authority, regardless of what you do or where you are providing a role, be it at the office, with the family or in the community; you will be recognized and appreciated by the value of your contributions. People will choose to follow you when they recognize your good leadership skills and attributes.
Focus to build leadership skills and competencies that will serve you well in many roles. We’ll talk about Confidence Building, Communications, Team-building, Mentoring, Empowering, Time Management, Conflict Management and Work Expectations, Improving Morale and Creating High Performance Teams. We will also share humorous stories that help bring home the point.
For Today, Leadership Tip number one: Focus on Character – Be a leader that people can trust. Be recognized as a person of high integrity and one who is capable of learning from experience. Put your emphasis on your enthusiasm your integrity and your ability to never quit learning.
About US: — The Ken Blanchard Companies is a global leader in workplace learning, productivity, performance, and leadership training solutions. We help companies improve their performance, productivity, and bottom-line results.
Upcoming Event Programs to Build Leadership Skills
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“Every Day at Work is an Interview to Keep Your Job”
The dress code in my office is business casual, but every once in a while I like to wear a tie. You know…look good, feel good…dress for the job you want, not the job you have…all that good stuff. Actually, there are times I just like to dress up for no special reason. But whenever I do, invariably I hear the same wisecrack from one or more team members: “Why are you all dressed up? Got a job interview today?” My response is always the same: “I interview for my job every day!”
Although I say that somewhat jokingly, there is an element of truth I’m trying to reinforce with my team—every day you show up to work is an interview for your job. In today’s economy you have to continually demonstrate to your employer how you’re adding value to the organization. I’m not talking about approaching your job from a state of fear, constantly afraid of being let go if you don’t hit a home run every time you come to bat. I’m talking about having an understanding and appreciation for how you have to “bring it” each day you walk through your company’s front door.
Here are five key principles that will help you increase the value and contribution you provide to your organization and increase your chances for long-term success in your career:
1. Accept the new reality: -
My brother Ron had only one job his entire life. He recently retired from a 40+ year career with a national grocery store chain, having been employed by them since he was a 17 year-old high school student. Those days are gone for most of us. We live in a new reality of a dynamic, constantly shifting, and evolving global economy. It requires businesses to be agile and shift their strategies to take advantage of new opportunities, create new markets, or ward off upstart competitors. You have to come to grips with the need to constantly stay relevant in your job or profession. Complacency and stagnation makes you vulnerable and less valuable to your organization. If you aren’t adding value, you’re probably expendable.
2. Take charge of your own career development: -
As employees, all of us should expect our employer to help develop us in our role, but career development should be seen as a privilege, not a right. Organizations have an obligation to provide the right training, tools, and resources to enable employees to maximize their potential in the job they were hired to do. But career development (promotions, moving into new roles, etc.) is a privilege and is not the employer’s responsibility. Is it a smart thing for employers to facilitate career development in order to attract and retain key talent? Absolutely! But it’s up to you to keep learning, to further your education, improve proficiency in your job, and develop new skills in alignment with the direction of your organization’s goals and strategies. No one else except you is responsible for your career development.
3. Have an ownership mentality: -
How would the value of your contribution be different if you acted like you own the place? Would you be more emotionally invested and passionate about the work you do? Would you produce higher quality products? Would you be a little more prudent or cautious with company expenses? Would you care a little more about the customer experience? People who approach their jobs with an ownership mentality care about these sorts of things. They view themselves as stewards of the company’s resources and work hard to promote the success of the entire organization, not just their particular role, team, or department.
4. Build your brand: - Whether you realize it or not, you have a brand image at work. Your brand image is not only how people perceive you (your reputation), but also what differentiates you from everyone else in your company. Tom Peters, the guru of personal branding, says, “If you are going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, what you’re proud of, and most important, what you can shamelessly take credit for.” Forget your job title. What is it about your performance that makes you memorable, distinct, or unique? What’s the “buzz” on you? Forget about your job description too. What accomplishments are you most proud of? How have you gone above, beyond, or outside the scope of your job description to add value to your organization? Those are the elements that make up your brand. Check out this article if you need help developing your brand.
5. Consider yourself an independent contractor: -
Most of us are governed by at-will employment agreements with our companies. Either party can decide to end the employment relationship at any time for any reason (within certain legal boundaries, of course). You would be well-served to view yourself as an independent contractor in the business of you—You, Inc. You have hired out your services to your employer in exchange for a specific level of compensation. At some point in time, either by your choice or your employer’s, that business arrangement may change or end. In the meantime, focus on building a portfolio of accomplishments you can use to secure business with future clients. See rules 1 and 2 above.
Thinking of yourself in these ways might be new to you. It takes a shift in perspective to view yourself as not just an employee doing a job, but as an independent contractor running your own business. If you make that shift, you’ll realize you have to constantly develop your skill-set (i.e., the services you have to offer), build an attractive brand image, and consistently demonstrate to your client (i.e., employer) how you’re adding value. Remember, you are in the business of YOU!
About The Author:- Randy Conley is the V.P. of Client Services and Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies.
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Steve Jobs famously said, “Here’s to the crazy ones . . . while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Michael Lurie, VP of Enterprise Solutions at The Ken Blanchard Companies, likes this quote because it speaks to the essence of what made Apple and many others into great companies. Interviewed in the June issue of Blanchard Ignite, Lurie explains that in today’s open-market environment we need agile, change ready organizations—and leaders.
As Lurie shares, “The leadership style that most people were trained in years ago—certainly leaders over 40—was designed to avoid and prevent disruption. What we have today is an environment where leaders need to embrace disruption, see the opportunities it presents, and step forward boldly to shape the future.”
New Leadership Capabilities Needed
To succeed in this evolving business environment, Lurie argues that leaders will need to develop and practice a fundamentally different set of capabilities. In the industrial economy’s traditional, capital-centered company model, “management” was largely about planning, directing, and controlling. In the future, Lurie believes leaders will need new mindsets and skills to become what he describes as catalysts, architects, and coaches.
Catalysts: In the old capital-centric view of the world, earning a return on that capital was the most important goal. Looking ahead, Lurie believes we’ll see a business environment where capital is neither scarce nor the most valuable resource. Instead, a company’s most valuable resources will be its human resources, and human resources—like human needs—are infinite.
As Lurie shares, “Rather than the value-capturing, capital-centered mindset of scarcity, competition, and collaboration, we need the exact opposite: a value-creating, people-centered mindset of abundance, collaboration, and evolution. This mindset is at the heart of transforming our traditional, capital-centered companies into agile, people-centered companies—and leaders today must catalyze that transformation through personally modeling, and engendering in everyone else, this value-creating mindset.”
Architects: Lurie also believes that leaders will need new approaches to the “hard” business skill sets of strategy, operations, and organization. As he explains, “Rather than focusing strategy on competitive advantage, leaders today need to focus on innovating new business models. They need to learn to execute strategy not as traditional operational planning and control but as a process of continuous evolution. And rather than sustaining siloed hierarchies, leaders need to learn how to design and operate a network organization, able to harness network effects and act as a value-creation multiplier.”
Coaches: Finally, Lurie believes that leaders will also need new approaches to their “soft” people-skill sets, whether at the level of individuals, teams, or the organization as a whole. They must become coaches, unleashing the full passion and potential of people throughout the organization by deeply understanding people, by recognizing and appreciating their talents, and by helping them work together effectively and collaboratively to create value for all.
As Lurie explains, “This begins with leaders developing a deep understanding of themselves and others, what each can contribute, and what each needs to succeed. Leaders need to develop enhanced capabilities in building diverse and inclusive teams, coaching and developing each member and the team as a whole, and facilitating individual and team performance. Leaders also need to develop capabilities in collaborating and influencing across the organization, leading change, and shaping culture.”
Unleash the Crazy Ones
The business environment is rapidly changing and the mindsets, skill sets, and behaviors that many leaders have spent years learning and refining are rapidly becoming irrelevant. Companies looking to succeed in the future need leaders who can build agile, people-centered companies. The leaders who build these capabilities will unleash the crazy ones—to create great, enduring enterprises that will survive and thrive.
Read complete Blanchard Ignite interview
Re-blogged from Blanchard Leader-chat Forum
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Most managers prefer to use a supportive leadership style that encourages direct reports to seek out their own solutions in accomplishing their tasks at work. But that style is only appropriate when the direct report has moderate to high levels of competence and mostly needs encouragement to develop the confidence to become self-sufficient.
What about the other times when people are brand new to a task, disillusioned, or looking for new challenges? In these three cases, just being supportive will not provide people with the direction they need to succeed. In fact, just being supportive will often delay or frustrate performance.
Most managers choose to use a auxiliary leadership vogue that encourages direct reports to hunt out their own solutions in accomplishing their tasks at work. however that vogue is just applicable once the direct report has moderate to high levels of competency and principally desires encouragement to develop the arrogance to become independent.
What regarding the opposite times once folks square measure current to a task, enlightened, or yearning for new challenges? In these 3 cases, simply being auxiliary won’t offer folks with the direction they have to succeed. In fact, simply being auxiliary can usually delay or frustrate performance.
The best managers learn how to tailor their management style to the needs of their employees. For example, if an employee is new to a task, a successful manager will use a highly directive style—clearly setting goals and deadlines. If an employee is struggling with a task, the manager will use equal measures of direction and support. If the employee is an expert at a task, a manager will use a delegating style on the current assignment and focus instead on coming up with new challenges and future growth projects.
Are your managers able to flex their style?
Research by The Ken Blanchard Companies shows that leadership flexibility is a rare skill. In looking at the percentage of managers who can successfully use a Directing, Coaching, Supporting, or Delegating style as needed, Blanchard has found that 54 percent of leaders typically use only one leadership style, 25 percent use two leadership styles, 20 percent use three leadership styles, and only 1 percent use all four leadership styles.
Recommendations for managers
For managers looking to add some flexibility into the way they lead, here are four ways to get started:
- Create a written list of goals, and tasks for each direct report.
- Schedule a one-on-one meeting to identify current development levels for each task. What is the employee’s current level of competence and commitment?
- Come to agreement on the leadership style required of the manager. Does the direct report need direction, support, or a combination of the two?
- Check back at least every 90 days to see how things are going and if any changes are needed.
Don’t be a “one size fits all” manager
Leading people effectively requires adjusting your style to meet the needs of the situation. Learning to be flexible can be a challenge at first—especially if you have become accustomed to using a “one size fits all” approach. However, with a little training and some practice, you can learn how to accurately diagnose and flex your style to meet the needs of the people who report to you. And the best news is, even while you are learning, your people will notice the difference. Get started today!
We at the Ken Blanchard Companies provides comprehensive leadership development training and executive coaching solutions that address your business needs at every level. For more info call us at 1800-102-1345 (Toll Free) or visit us at http://www.blanchardinternational.co.in
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As we look to improve team performances in organizations, there are several aspects to consider, from the quality of leadership to the environments our teams are working in.
Often, in order to build forward steps, behavioural change is required and this is where many teams run into problems. Leaders regularly fail to understand why people find it so hard to change – but it shouldn’t be such a mystery. All we need to do is to consider human nature a little more closely.
A Compelling Reason to Change:
In short, without a compelling reason, it’s unlikely anyone will change willingly, because they don’t see the benefit in doing so.
People want a way of progress within the teams they are operating in. They need to perceive that they are ‘getting somewhere’ personally and/or professionally. Unless we tend to build this sense of progress into our organization, then change will always hit stumbling blocks.
Ultimately, individuals have a limited amount of time and energy, so they will invest it in ventures that are beneficial to them. If, for instance, money is the most important things to an individual, then simply instructing them to change or face the prospect of losing their job (and therefore their income) might produce some desirable short-term changes.
However, most people aspire to something a little more than just financial gain and they need to know that they are making a contribution to something more profound. They want meaning in their work. This is the compelling reason that they need to see before they will follow through with the desired change.
A Model for Implementing Change:
As we may guess, unless the process of change is managed by a talented leadership, it will often be met with resistance.
We designed a model of behavioural change that highlights some valuable considerations for leaders. According to this model, for any behaviour to change, there needs to be three qualities present: motivation, ability and a trigger.
Behavioural change first depends on the organization raising motivation levels. In the context of what we discussed above, a perception of progress in the employee’s minds is one among the most motivators within the work. Work must be perceived as a part of bigger vision of the organization, which means communicating this vision and the organizational values to all; then tasks need to be broken down into achievable steps and all the little ‘wins’ along the way celebrated and rewarded.
People want the power to hold out the required behavioral change. If the task is easy then ability levels may be considered high, and vice versa. Effectively, this means that we can increase employees’ ability levels by simplifying the task or increasing their skill-sets.
The latter way is often the most difficult, but organizations can often achieve a great deal by simply making it easier for employees to do better jobs. By providing the resources and support to permit individuals to do their jobs more efficiently, we may avoid the need for 6-month training courses.
If the motivation levels are high enough and employees have the ability to make the requested changes, then they will do so, providing there is a trigger or cue.
These three factors are well worth bearing in mind for any leader; and remember that all three are needed for meaningful behavioural change. This becomes sustainable when leaders are able to regularly revisit the model and assess whether the three key factors are present over the course of time. How often have we seen changes ‘successfully’ implemented only for people to resume old behaviour after a few weeks?
The team of the Ken Blanchard Companies is at the forefront of introducing new approaches to organizational development through leadership development training. We apply them to all types of businesses, developing high performing teams and enhancing leadership. Find out more at our website: http://www.blanchardinternational.co.in
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Years of corporate restructuring, shuffling people between positions, adding, deleting, and modifying roles, departments, and jobs has taken its toll on people. The mantra of “doing more with less” has become the norm as business continues a slow recovery from the economic recession of the last several years. Employees who once feared losing their jobs are now feeling insecure about keeping their jobs. That’s the message from a recent publication by Vadim Liberman of The Conference Board, detailing the “performance anxiety” that has gripped many in corporate America.
Liberman’s basic point is that people are having trouble keeping up with the amount of tasks added to their plates and the pace of change occurring in their organizations. Recession-driven layoffs, restructures, and job modifications have forced people to take on extra work, new job duties, or assume different roles and it’s taking a toll. As job scope increases, people feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to accomplish, and it leads even the most engaged employees to gravitate toward focusing on the least complex, simple tasks they can control, rather than focusing on the most important and complex issues that need to be addressed.
According to Liberman, much of the fault lies at the feet of senior leaders. Whether it’s pursuing the latest management fad, reorganizing on a whim, or doing a poor job of managing change, senior leaders can be prone to lay the blame of organizational failure at the feet of employees who aren’t performing up to snuff, not taking into account those same employees are still trying to come to grips with the previous round of changes. Wharton professor Peter Cappelli says, “Today, work demands are through the roof. Not just the amount of work but challenges that employees do not know how to meet, in part because they may not be achievable.” Workplace frustration leads to insecurity which leads to a lack of trust and confidence in leadership.
I can identify with these conditions. The team I lead has experienced increased job scope and responsibilities over the years as our business has grown more complex and demanding in today’s global economy. “Task saturation” is a word we’ve used to describe this condition and the insecure, frustrated state of mind it induces. Here are six strategies I’ve found helpful to deal with this “performance anxiety” in the workplace:
1. Create a safe and trusting environment—
The number one job of a leader is to build trust with his/her followers. Fostering a culture of safety is essential for trust to not only survive, but thrive. People need to know they can count on their leaders to look out for their best interests, protect them when necessary (even from themselves sometimes), and to genuinely care about them as people and not just worker drones showing up to do a job. Simon Sinek speaks to this truth in his insightful TED Talk, Why good leaders make you feel safe.
2. Ask people for their opinions—
One of the most tangible ways leaders can combat frustration and insecurity in the workplace is to ask people for their opinions. But asking is just the first step; you have to do something with what they tell you. The higher up a leader rises in the organization, the easier it is to lose touch with the daily frustrations and battles your employees face. It’s easy to oversimplify the problems and solutions our people face and dismiss their expressions of frustration as whining or griping. Listen with the intent of being influenced and be willing to take action on what you learn.
3. Start, stop, continue—
As you consider your next round of corporate restructuring, job modification, or process improvements, ask yourself these three questions: What do we need to start doing? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to continue doing? I’ve found it’s easy to keep adding new tasks while continuing to do the old tasks. It’s much, much harder to identify those things we should stop doing. We can’t continue to pile more and more work on people and expect them to perform at consistently high levels. There is only so much time to accomplish the work at hand. As an addition to the start, stop, continue strategy, I’m seriously considering adopting a strategy from the simplicity movement: for every new task I add for my team, we have to eliminate one task. Enough of task saturation!
4. Manage change, don’t just announce it—
Managing a change initiative involves more than just announcing a new strategy. That’s the easy part! The hard part is actually implementing and managing the change well. People go through specific stages of concern when faced with a major change and leaders need to be equipped to address those concerns throughout the process. By addressing the information, personal, and implementation concerns of employees, leaders can be much more successful in helping their people adapt and endorse the change initiative.
5. Focus on development of boss/employee relationship—
One of the primary factors in an employee’s success, satisfaction, and engagement on the job is the quality of the relationship with their boss. Intentional effort needs to be placed on cultivating high-quality boss/employee relationships founded on trust and mutual respect. Frequent and quality conversations need to occur regularly between the boss and employee so the boss is aware of the daily challenges faced by the employee and can work to remove obstacles.
6. Foster empowerment, control, and autonomy—
People don’t resist change; they resist being controlled. Much of today’s workplace frustrations are caused by workers having a lack of empowerment in their role, little control over what effects them at work, and scant autonomy in how they perform their tasks. Leaders can build engagement by focusing on the development of these three qualities in the work people do.
Workplace frustration and insecurity is like organizational high blood pressure—it’s a silent killer. This silent killer is not always evident through outward symptoms, but it’s always lurking underneath causing damage day after day. We have a choice…will we do anything about it?
About the Author: – Randy Conley is the V.P. of Client Services and Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies
Re-Blogged from Blanchard Leader chat forum
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We’ve all been there. Do to some mix-up or poor communication we end up being either over or under dressed for an occasion. You’re wearing something too casual for a formal event (think shorts at a client meeting) or you find yourself wearing formal to a casual event (think a business suit to an after-work event.)
The same thing can happen when it comes to matching your leadership style to the needs of the people you’re leading. In this case, leaders often overdress by over-supervising (providing too much direction and support) or under-dress by delegating (providing too little direction and support) when their help is most needed.
How do you make sure that you’re always in style in both instances? Here are a few tips:
Make sure that you understand the situation: – Being in style starts with information. What can you find out about the event that would give you clues to what would be most appropriate? When it comes to clothing choices, ask yourself: Who is going to be there? What is the situation? Where is it being held?
When it comes to leadership style, the same questions, slightly altered, can help in a management situation.
In this case, ask yourself: Who am I meeting with today? What are their specific needs in this situation? Where are they at in terms of competence and commitment for the goal or task? Find out as much as you can about the situation so you can match your style to the needs of the person you are working with.
Develop some flexibility—give yourself some options: – Knowing that you need a certain style doesn’t help you if you don’t have that available in your wardrobe. The same is true when it comes to your leadership style. You need a variety of options that you are comfortable wearing. Most leaders play only one note—in essence, they wear the same style regardless of the situation. As a result, they are only in style a portion of the time.
This means that they might be on track when it comes to delivering a high direction style to someone new to a task, but completely off-track when they try using that same style with a highly-experienced, long time employee.
The best leaders have a full wardrobe at their disposal and are comfortable suiting up in a variety of styles to match the occasion.
Double-check that you’re on track: – Once you’ve identified what you think is the perfect choice for the situation, be sure to double-check. Ask others, “Here is what I’m thinking would be appropriate in this situation, how does that sound to you?” Watch for a positive response. It might be subtle, so watch carefully. Some visible signs such as a release of tension, return of a confident look, or even a smile will tell you that you are moving in the right direction. If you don’t see that, return to step one—maybe you need some additional information to understand the situation more completely.
Creating a comfortable, natural leadership style takes work. But if you focus on the situation, develop your skills, and work together with people to make the right choices, you’ll find that you can develop an authentic, lasting style that will serve you well in any situation.
Tags:– Performance Management , Situational Leadership II
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Celebrating his 75th birthday this month—and the 35th anniversary of the founding of his leadership development company later this year, Ken Blanchard hopes a couple of simple truths he has championed will prove enduring:
—All good performance begins with clear goals.
—Catch people doing things right.
—Help people get an A.
Ken Blanchard tells a story of his early days as a college professor, when he often found himself in trouble with faculty members while trying to put these principles to work.
“I was questioned by some of the finest faculty boards in the country,” Blanchard recounts, “and it was always because of my decision to give students the answers to the final exam on the first day of class.”
Ken believed his main job was to teach students the content they needed to learn, as opposed to worrying about evaluating them and sorting them along a normal distribution curve.
The faculty boards never shared his thinking. As soon as they found out what he was doing, they would call Ken in to explain himself. The exchange usually went something like this:
Ken: “I’m confused.”
The Board: “You act like it.”
Ken: “I thought we were supposed to teach these kids.”
The Board: “You are, but don’t give them the exam ahead of time.”
But Blanchard was determined and would spend the entire semester teaching the students the answers to the final exam questions. He has championed this concept—called “Helping People Get an A”—ever since. Applying the concept to work, Blanchard recommends that leaders use the same basic approach. “Give team members the answers ahead of time by setting clear goals. Then provide direction and support, as needed, to help people achieve those goals,” he says.
Catch People Doing Things Right
Once goals are set, Blanchard recommends that managers stay in constant communication with their people so that both parties know how things are going and can stay on top of what’s required to get an A. He points out that by staying in close contact with their direct reports, managers get the added benefit of being able to catch them doing things right.
As Ken Blanchard explains, “I am a big fan of accentuating the positive. That’s the basis for One Minute Praisings, the second secret of Spencer Johnson’s and my book, The One Minute Manager. Once goals are clear, managers should not disappear until an annual performance review. Instead, they should constantly wander around physically or virtually to see if they can catch their people doing something right and praise them for their efforts.”
In drawing on the experience he and his colleagues have had in training hundreds of thousands of managers over the past 35 years, Blanchard also encourages managers to adapt their style according to the development level of the people they are managing.
As Blanchard explains, “This is the core philosophy of the Situational Leadership® II model. If you’re anything like me, there are parts of your job and life you’re good at, but there are also areas where you’re still learning and need leadership. This is especially true in today’s constantly changing environment. For example, we all know what it’s like to be a beginner at new tasks.”
Understanding a person’s development level and providing the appropriate leadership style can help them reach goals they’ve never achieved before. Blanchard’s advice? “Take an extra minute with your people to diagnose their development level on each of their goals-related tasks and give them the leadership style they need.”
No One Best Leadership Style
There are still people out there who think there is only one best way of leading people. Experienced managers know this is not the case. Take a look at your own organization. Notice what the best managers in your company are doing. Chances are you will see them adjusting their management style to meet the needs of the people they are working with.
In Ken Blanchard’s experience, “The most effective leaders realize that leadership is not about them and that they are only as good as the people they lead. These kinds of leaders seek to be servant leaders. That begins with a philosophy of meeting people where they’re at and providing them with the direction and support they’re not able to provide for themselves.”
Looking ahead, Blanchard is optimistic that the movement toward others-focused partnerships will continue.
“The new generation of workers demands a partnership model where leadership is more about influence, dialogue, and collaboration. Leaders will be challenged with creating engaging work environments where they inspire people to bring their best creativity to work.
“It’s really a side-by-side approach. Leaders will learn how to partner for performance by improving their relationships with the people they work with. It’s about teaching leaders how to value the relationships they have while simultaneously channeling people’s energy in the right direction.”
Re-Blogged from Blanchard Leader-Chat Forum
Tags:– Situational Leadership II, Performance Management
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The flow is the mental state you’re in when you’re fully immersed in an activity that consumes your entire focus, energizes your attention, and produces a deep level of satisfaction and joy through the process. In the groove… in the zone… wired… in the moment… on fire… and my personal favorite, beast mode, are all ways of expressing this condition. It’s when we do our best work and experience the most fulfillment in our activities. It’s also a rare and fleeting circumstance to be in the flow.
How can we be in the flow more often? First, we have to understand the conditions that lead to flow experiences. Second, we have to take steps to create the environment for us to get in the flow.
Conditions for Flow Experiences
There are three basic conditions you need for flow experiences:
- A clear goal - This is why you often hear athletes talk about being in the zone or having tunnel focus when it comes to their activities. Whether it’s trying to hit a pitched ball, complete a pass, score a goal, make a last second shot, or cross the finish line ahead of others, there is a clear goal that lends purpose, structure, and process to the task at hand. A lack of clear goals often prevents the achievement of flow experiences at work. Unclear goals make it difficult to narrow our focus and attention and leaves us feeling stuck or overwhelmed with the work in front of us.
- A balance between your skills and the challenge of the task - If you perceive you have the skills to meet the difficulty of the challenge ahead of you, it’s easier to get in the flow. If you believe you’re ill-equipped or don’t have the talent to accomplish the goal, anxiety and stress will prevent you from achieving a flow-state. Conversely, if you believe the goal is not challenging enough, given your experience and skills, you’ll encounter boredom or apathy. You need the goal to be challenging enough to capture your attention and simultaneously have enough expertise to give you confidence to tackle the situation.
- Real-time feedback on your performance - You can feel when you’re in the flow. It’s those occasions where you lose track of time because you’re completely immersed in an activity and things just, well… flow. And when you’re not, you feel like you’re trudging up a muddy hill, taking one step up and sliding back to two. Flow is sustained by receiving feedback on your performance. When you see, you’re performing well, it increases your confidence and desire to stay in the flow. When you see, you’re off course, you can make adjustments to get back on track and in the flow.
How to Increase Flow Experiences
We can take concrete steps to help increase flow experiences at work that will allow us to perform our best. Here are six suggestions:
- Connect your work to the bigger picture - Too many of us view our work with a microscope rather than a telescope. A microscope allows you to zoom in on the details of a particular object, ignoring the surrounding area. A telescope, on the other hand, allows you to see long distances away—the big picture. Rather than being uninspired by the small tasks you have to do, connect them to the importance of the big picture. Figure out how your work contributes to the betterment of the world. How does your work help improve the lives of people by meeting their needs or desires? All work is redeeming value and it’s up to us to discover it. Tapping into the bigger picture will add motivation and commitment to your work and help you achieve flow in your activities.
- Clarify and prioritize goals - If your goals aren’t clear, work on gaining clarity. Figure out specifically what you’re trying to accomplish, what the standards are, the deadlines to meet, or the deliverable being produced. If you’re challenged with too many goals, work on priorities. If you have conflicting priorities of multiple stakeholders, you may have to involve your supervisor to help you. Get clear on what you need to accomplish and then applies laser-like focus to your activities.
- View work as a game - Games in general, and video games in particular, lend themselves to flow experiences because they are immersed in nature. We get wrapped up in figuring out how to reach a new level, unlock the next treasure, or beat the “boss.” You can apply the same principles to your work. Engage your mind in thinking about how you can accomplish things faster, better, or easier. Are there other ways you can approach tasks or activities that may bring more fulfillment? Look at work as a game you’re trying to master and let your creativity run wild.
- Seek out biggest challenges and/or improve your skills - Complacency, boredom, and apathy are flow killers. If you find your work lacking in challenge, seek out new ones. Work with your supervisor to see if there are increased responsibilities you can take on, project teams you can join, or other ways to add more challenge in your work. On the flip side, worry, stress, and anxiety are also flow killers. If you find your work is too challenging, explore skill development opportunities. Go back to school, read books, get a mentor, or seek out additional training to boost your confidence and capability to meet the challenges you face.
- Find your sweet spot - Your sweet spot is where your skills are matched appropriately to the challenge, and when you find that place, you have the greatest chance of achieving states of flow. Finding your sweet spot might mean following point #4 above, or it might mean transforming how you do your work by changing/improving processes, delegating it to someone, or collaborating with others.
- Choose your motivation - Your supervisor is not responsible for motivating you. You, and only you, control your level of motivation. You can choose to be disinterested in your work or feel like others are imposing work for you, or you can choose to shift your motivational outlook by focusing on areas of your work where you can exhibit autonomy in your activities, mastery over how well you do your job, and satisfaction in the relationships you build with others.
About the Author: – Randy Conley is the V.P. of Client Services and Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies
Reblogged From Blanchard Leader-chat forum
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